Tuesday, March 26, 2013

SDCC Costume: Zelda Part 4 - Belt/Tabard

Progress has been continuing on the most detail-ridden costume I've ever undertaken. I recently completed (it's a relative term right?) the belt and tabard pieces that hang in front of the skirt. It felt funny making this huge piece to cover the skirt... that I'd been painstakingly detailing for what felt like a lifetime (she says as if THAT step was totally done).

I created the belt with craft foam and chain, following the same process as the shoulder armor

 As before, this step was very messy...

...But it came together pretty easily.

I used a main center gem that I pulled off a clearance necklace from Old Navy. I got the whole necklace for 99 cents - cheaper than buying individual fake gems that size! I then sealed and painted the foam (covering the gem in painter's tape to protect it), added another crystal to the center and built the belt using chain and jewelry rings:

There are also blue cabochons in each of the teardrops, but I don't have a picture with those on yet since I had to order them special. This completes the belt portion, except for adding some paint aging to it, which I'll do a bit later.

Up next is the tabard. I was nervous about this part as it's quite detailed and front-and-center on the costume. After sketching the pattern out on tracing paper (like I did with the skirt embellishments) I was ready to get moving.

I used a mix of different colors of canvas, felt, and the same fake leathers as the skirt. The canvas kept everything nice and stiff which I liked. I had to dye the blue canvas to an ombre from blue to purple. This part went pretty well, which is good because I don't dye things that often so I was nervous. I then had to very carefully mark where to cut the canvas out so that the seam would fit perfectly behind the silver leather detailing and attach it to the green backdrop.

Then I set about cutting out the silver detailing - the most time consuming and messy part of this entire process:
Needless to say I had to keep the cats out of the room for this part. Also I apparently do most of my work directly on the floor.

The fake leather was applied with a strong adhesive, and I was pretty pleased with the result. After adding a bit more detailing in felt I lined the back with more green canvas and called it 'done':

It's difficult to photograph because of the reflection, and as I mentioned I still have to age the belt which is what will really make it look real. Overall I'm satisfied but there are a couple little oops spots that irritate me. My husband thinks I'm insane, but *I* know they are there.

Slowly but surely, it's coming together!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Quickie Quilt

So I've been having some issues with depression lately and getting bogged down both creatively, and in the use of my free time. So this past weekend I thought one way that might help me to break out of my funk would be to run out a quick and dirty project, both to recharge my batteries and drain-o the creative constipation I've been having (lovely visual yes?)

Seeing as it was St. Patrick's day, I thought - why not make an Irish Chain quilt?

Why not indeed.

It's a simple pattern that I'd done a variant of once before, so I scooped up my pile of coupons and snagged some quilting cotton at Joanns for a weekend of 'personal time' with my sewing machine (wow, 2 slightly disturbing visuals in one post - I'm on a roll!).

An Irish chain is a basic criss-cross design, and for this one I spiced it up by using 2 different colors in the background instead of one. I started with the idea that I wanted the color orange in this quilt. It's one of my favorite colors and I hadn't used it (in quantity) in any quilt to date. After falling for the perfect orange, I thought it would be cool to use fabric with circular patterns in it for each color. I like my fabrics in quilts to follow a 'theme'. All floral, all stripes, etc because I feel like it makes for a more cohesive design. After finding a teal-y blue and a white with copper metallic circles on it (how much more perfect could THAT find get???). I was set to go. You can see my selections on the right.

So in approximately 24 hours I made this:

I apologize for the bad pictures. I really need a good camera - these (like everything else) were taken on my phone. Also, obligatory 'kitty helped me' photo on the right!

The borders stumped me for a bit, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, especially since I didn't have miles of extra fabric. This top in the end used nearly every scrap of the 8.5 yards I had. I want to see if I can find the blue somewhere else so I can bind it in that color.

Before binding it will have to be quilted, but that will come later. I haven't settled on a pattern for the quilting yet and it's time to get back to other projects.

That said, it sure was nice to clear my head on this project!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

DIY: Garden Boxes

For several years now I've had a project I wanted to take on, but I was always afraid to 'get my hands dirty' or that it wouldn't work out. Well this year I've had enough! I'm going to try my hand at growing some of my own produce.

These instructions call for cedar fencing - each plank runs for only around $2, and cedar is better for garden boxes because it is resistant to rot and doesn't contain the chemicals that standard lumber often does which could get into your produce.

Supplies (for one 3'x6' box)
  • 6' Cedar Fence planks (x6)
  • 2"x2" (x2)
  • 1.5" screws
  • tape measure
  • power drill
  • power saw
  • safety goggles
How-To Build a Raised Garden Bed from Cedar Fencing.

If your fence planks have the corners of one side tapered like mine did, start by sawing off the the tapered end so both ends are square (wearing your safety goggles of course).

Then measure cut 2 of your cedar planks in half.

Then saw your 2"x2"s into 18" pieces - now we're ready to assemble!

1. Lay out 2 of the 2"x2" sections - one beneath each end of a cedar plank and screw in place as shown with 2 screws on each end.

2. Butt a second plank to the first and screw together as well.

3. Measure and mark the center point of your wall, screw a 3rd 2"x2" section here (this post ads extra strength on the long sides of your box). Put this wall aside and repeat steps 1-3 for the other long side.

4. Stand your long sides up, lining up one of half-planks you cut earlier on the end. Screw in place - watch out you don't hit the other screws holding the long planks on.

5. Repeat step 4 on the other side, closing all sides of the box.

6. Add the second short plank to each side - you've completed your box!

You will see there is still 6" of the 2"x2" posts sticking out of the box - this side of the box goes on the ground, with the posts sunk into the earth (you will need to dig a hole for each one). These little posts offer extra stability for the box and help hold it in place.

Now all we need is to fill the box! I'll discuss the plans I have for that next time. For now, check out the boxes I made! They are still upside down - the ground was just a little frozen yet to start digging.