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Category Archives: DIY

Presenting my new Armitage craft project

I’m still on RA sabbatical, but more importantly, I’ve had things shaking up in RL too.

I had written more about it, but decided to move it to a separate post.

Aaaaaaanyway, it’s not all been about wake up calls and climbing out of comfort zones, which has done me a world of good btw.

I’ve also continued doing things like cross-stitching to relax me and focus my monkey brain (not to mention that when you’re busy holding your needle, thread and canvas, you can’t exactly be shoving food in your gob…).

I’ve completed a bunch of cross-stitch projects, but felt a staggering lack of designs that were… a little closer to my fangirling home…

So, what’s a fangirl to do when what she wants hasn’t been done yet?

Why, she rolls up her sleeves and does it herself!

This is still very much a work in progress and to say I’m free-styling it is a staggering understatement, but can you tell who’s emerging?

John Thornton cross-stitch patter 1

This is actually the first part, I’m trying to figure out cross-stitch Thornton, am contemplating Margaret and thinking about fonts and Victorian borders to create a nice pretty North and South image that will be easy to do, even for beginners.

The main issue I have is that poor Thornton dresses like an undertaker and I refuse to spend my time stitching Margaret’s drab brown gown, so I’ve been trying to figure out the clothes designs and colours (you can take a girl from fashion design college, but you can’t take that anal way of thinking about garments out of the girl…).

I also need to think how to create a cross-stitch pattern on my computer so I can share the pdf with others (any help/advice/tutorials very much appreciated).

Beyond that, I’m already thinking BIG and, as always with Armitage, the sky’s the limit!

Once I get a handle on making cross-stitch patterns, I shall be turning to you, fellow Armitage Admirers and Richardettes, to come up with character quotes and the like.

I’ll be working on the pattern a bit more today and will keep you posted ūüôā

 

Top of the Mornin’ to Ya, Liebste Freind! or Yay! I have my very own Pocket Shrine¬ģ

I can’t believe the scheduled¬† posts I prepared to go out during my hiatus are out already.

I’ll be updating you on some of the things I’ve been working on in my next post, but today I wanted to share with you a beautiful gift I got from a dear friend ūüôā

On Friday I received a package that brightened up my day.

Dear Guylty has gifted me with:

The first John Thornton Pocket Shrine¬ģ!

John Thornton Pocket shrine

In years to come my grandchildren will take it to The Antique Roadshow and it’ll be priced a staggering amount of money, but will never be worth as much as it does to me now!

John Thornton Portable shrine 2

In addition, I also received some Thornton’s chocolates that will NOT end up in my belly, but will grace my Shelves of Shame Admiration.

Heres how the shelves are shaping up:

Armitage admiration shelves 1

This gift brightened up my day and reminds me just how special the friendships I’ve made among our little community of friends are!

Now, Frau Guylty, I have my thinking /creative cap on, but I doubt I’ll come up with anything quite so adorable ūüôā

Feeling Crafty: Armitage Army Steampunk Card

Armitage Army card 2

I was feeling crafty today.

OK, not enough to actually finish the projects I had abandoned, but I needed something quick, easy and fun.

A while back I had come across this post at Epbot which involved metal tape (aluminum foil tape to be precise), black acrylic paint and plenty of beating and bashing.

Steampunk-licious? Sign me up!

Every so often I send out a card to my fellow Armitage Admirer as way of thanks for something tasty I received from them, but I always struggle to come up with a funky design, or I’m out of cardboard to print it on and so on, so I needed a fun card that was quick to make and purdy ūüėČ

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The biggest challenge was to find that aluminum foil tape.

After checking out some hardware shops (I know, it was scary…) it turned out that it’s used for fireplace isolation stuff, so you should find it in that section.

I also bought “drywall seam tape” which is a fancy name for adhesive mesh thingy and some foam letter stickers so I could lovingly create the “Armitage Army” sign.

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Once I stuck the letters on, I started adding the seam tape and then covered the whole area with the aluminum tape.

The process was OK, word of advice though:

I felt the letters I had used were a bit too small, therefore when I started to push the tape down to make them more visible the tape punctured in a few places.

Maybe had they been a bit bigger, it would have been easier to really get into all the nooks and crannies and they would have been clearer (“m” was particularly challenging…).

I also think you should avoid having tape seams on the letters.

 Armitage Army card

Having said that, the black acrylic paint luckily covered any rips and I did make my card plenty grimy!

I should add that I wasn’t using any professional tools, I was free-styling with the rivet holes and such, so maybe if I had a clay tool, it would have been easier.

Anyway, now I’m thinking about what else I could do:

cards? notebook covers? an image to stick in a frame and hang on the wall?

Have a wonderful day ūüôā

I saw Something Fine: Crafty Thorin Stockingface

RAflash event

Today marks the start of the RA Flash Fan Event that will run starting Monday 13th of January and last a week.

You can find the list of all the posts from this event here.

The theme is I Saw Something Fine which we can interpret whichever way we like.

I had already scheduled this post and teased Guylty that I have a little surprise for her today, so let’s pretend I heard “I Saw Something Fine” and the following project sprung to mind ūüėČ

Let’s be honest, Thorin has inspired many others to create very beautiful (or very dodgy) stuff, and he sure is fiiiine, so I say it fits!

basic stuff

I’d been meaning to create a lil’ Thorin for some time, one that would complement the ever growing Thorin Book guards that see my off as I head out to work each day.

I had already gathered up all the necessary elements (yarn, felt and such) in autumn, but RL didn’t lend itself to arts and crafts.

With absolutely no plan in place and a very vague memory of doing cute little stocking faces when I was a child, I ventured into my very own Craft Mirkwood.

thorin stockingface

The process would have been much easier had I been able to locate my hot glue gun (last seen some time in 2011, a reward for any info regarding whereabouts…), so I ended up having to hand-stitch an awful lot.

And you need to know that I don’t sew. Nope, never ever…

Anyway, this was intended as a fridge magnet but I couldn’t get the darn magnet to stick to the back, so I quickly changed my non-existent plan and attached a hoop made of yarn so Thorin can be well hung… *cough*… moving swiftly along…

thorin stockingface 2Thorin Stockingface is in the company of gifts from friends ūüôā

This Thorin is actually going to be shipped off to a certain portable shrine in Ireland (because, let’s be honest, EVERY shrine needs a slightly dodgy hand-made puppet head of an angry dwarf to brighten up the place).

thorin stockingface unfinished

Anyway, I started on a second one for myself and I was aiming for a more angry eyebrow Thorin, but I think I stuffed him a tad too much, so we’ll see how this one turns out.

I’m already asking a very dangerous question:

Hey, can I make a full-sized one, thunder thighs and all…

I’ll keep you posted.

thorin 2

 

Five Days of New Year’s Resolutions (before it all fizzles out…)

joke 4

So much has been said about changes in the past few weeks, but I think it’s an inevitable part of life and our little RA community of friends is no different.

I’ve made some resolutions for blogging and being part of the Armitage¬†world and have been working hard to strike while the iron is hot (very much like Thorin banging on that sword only with less impressive muscles).

I’ve often spoken about doing my bit to get help the flow of information.

We had a grand old chin-wag this summer brainstorming different ways to give bloggers their dues, to show them our support and love.

joke 1

As most New Year’s resolutions are broken and forgotten after just 5 days, I’ve decided to use that time wisely.

I started out by updating the blogroll on the right which features RA-related blogs.

I think I’ve done a good enough job, but I can already see one or two inactive links.

If there’s a blog I’ve omitted please leave the link in comments and I will update.

For logistic reasons this list does not feature Tumblr blogs.

joke 2

There’s one BlogSpot/Blogger feature that¬†WordPress doesn’t posses and that is a blogroll that indicated when new posts pop up.

This is what it looks like:

Blogspot blogroll

That’s why I have created iwanttobeapinup.BlogSpot.com for the sole purpose¬†of taking advantage of this snazzy feature.

This way I (and, if you bookmark this page, you!)¬†can stay on top of all the RA goodies that¬†are posted (yup, I’m feelin’ like a boss…)

joke 3

I won’t be posting there, but you are more than welcome to¬†use the list as a cheat-sheet.

Again, if I have omitted any RA/semi-RA blogger please let me know.

The next big step is this Saturday so I hope you’ll be back to see what I’ve been up to ūüôā

joke 5

I’m thinking an Arty Farty Friday tomorrow?

When in doubt, Craft It Out!

There actually wasn’t going to be a post today as nothing has really inspired me in the past few days¬†and the only idea I had was resisting me today, but I will try to tackle it tomorrow.

I figured I might as well share what I’ve been doing and (unfortunately for some) ¬†I’m still feeling crafty.

SAM_0292

As some of you may know, I’ve been trying out making cabochon and resin jewellery for some time, with mixed results.

I’ve been¬†ordering elements from Beads.pl (a Polish¬†online shop) and they’ve been accumulating¬†at an alarming rate in my DIY basket (yup, that’s a thing!), so it was high time I rolled up my sleeves and got to it.

I decided to make a brooch that will be pinned into my new warn autumn coat, and who better to accompany me on my daily¬†duties than Mr Thornton (I’m officially addicted to that image!).

I also opted for a ring with a Tamara Lempicka Art Deco image, a pair of Fairy Pin Up and Roy Lichtenstein earrings and other bits and bobs.

SAM_0295

I had a cabochon for the brooch, but the other pieces are covered with Diamond Glaze which is one tricky mother, let me tell you!

I’ve learned a lot from the last time I made jewellery for RA Vegas Week, so let me share some observations.

The process is quite simple so how can things go so wrong?:

I find the images I like, scale them and print them out on thicker paper.

During RA Vegas¬†Week I used a cream cardboard with tiny ridges, thinking it’d look vintage,¬†¬†but I think that was a bad idea, smooth is best.

Many sites recommend you seal the image with MicroGlaze before you tamper with it, however, it’s actually quite pricey and I question the necessity for it.

SAM_0296

Firstly, by applying it (I use my finger), you are already smudging the print a tad.

Secondly, fluff and dust cling to it, so you end up clearing it off with your finger.

Lastly, I don’t know how long it’s supposed to dry because after an hour (I am very impatient) it was still wet.

After the first batch I abandoned priming the image and there’s no difference, so I’d ditch this step.

Anyway, once the image is printed and primed, you can move on to the next step.

If you’re using a cabochon, glue it to your image, hold it down till it sticks and let it dry.

SAM_03011

If you will be covering¬†your picture¬†with resin, or in my case Diamond Glaze, it’s time for the ultimate mind f*ck, meaning cutting out the image to size.

I usually prepare a template beforehand and then draw out the rough size using a pencil.

It’s important to only trim little bits at a time, you can always shave off more if it doesn’t fit.

What’s important at this stage is to have a needle handy: once the size is almost perfect and¬†just needs a tiny trim, it’s beyond annoying to pull the picture out again.

Once it’s perfect (or in my case, almost perfect) glue the image onto your jewellery.

I use Diamond Glaze, which is also quite expensive, but I heard that any glue that dries transparent will do.

If you’re making a ring, brooch, or anything else that doesn’t lay flat, make sure you think of a way to prop it up.

Seems like a logical idea, and yet last time I ended up applying the resin and THEN thinking how to keep it level (a lemon was the answer).

Now I usually make a tiny tube using cardboard and that holds things in place.

SAM_02991

Once your cabochon dries, it’s time to cut it out, although luckily¬†the glass¬†will cover up any rough edges.

Again, take your time carefully shaving off the edges.

Once that’s done, glue it to the jewellery and Voil√†!! It’s done.

With the other jewellery the mind f*ck¬†fun isn’t over.

Carefully pour the resin / Diamond Glaze onto your image, starting from the centre outwards in a circular motion.

You need to take it slow, but if some bubbles appear, pop them with a needle or, if they are stubborn, push them to the edge (and hope for the best).

Word of warning, bubbles may appear while the Diamond Glaze is drying.

I’d recommend not fiddling with it though, it’s easy to mess up the smooth surface¬†at this stage and bubbles will be the least of your problems.

Once that is done, cover your pieces with a plastic cup so they protected from dust and fluff and wait 12 to 24 hours for them to dry and harden.

It really can be a fickle thing, but I guess that’s what makes it fun, but only if it works.

If it doesn’t it’s frustrating enough to make you tear your hair out!

My favourite from the bunch was the ring with a Tamara Lempicka image:

SAM_0331

On the whole, I think cabochon jewellery is a bit easier and the risk of messing up big time is much lower, having said that all my Thornton silhouette jewellery never comes out quite right.

There’s also something to be said about¬†the glossy¬†simplicity of Diamond Glaze, so it’s tough to call.

The earrings I made are adorable and came out quite well.

¬†I asked an old friend to model them for you ūüėČ

I used a Roy Lichtenstein painting and cropped the image.

Remember that if you are sticking a cabochon onto a picture of a face, make sure it’s centred.

The cabochon edges are rounded and will distort even the prettiest features (I learned that on a picture of poor Thorin).

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I also have some other more RA/Thorin stuff done, but I’ll keep it a secret until closer to The Hobbit DOS premi√®re.

SAM_0319

BTW, while I was putting together this post, I actually got one more thing done from my crafty list.

I’ve always been frustrated at the quality of pictures I take to show stuff like jewellery on the blog, so I decided to make my very own DIY Photo light box.

I’ve been defending¬†a cardboard box for over a month from getting binned, tried to get my hands on white tissue paper (for some unknown reason they seem to¬†only sell it packed¬†with all of the other colours of the bloody rainbow…), pulled out my craft knife (me and sharp objects don’t mesh).

Everything would be fine if it wasn’t a bloody gloomy day and there’s no natural light to speak of, so the images are either too bright (when I use the flash) or too dark.

Anyway, here are some other things I made:

The not quite right but good enough Thornton brooch:

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We’ve been reading¬†more paper books recently, so a bookmark is very much needed:

SAM_0341

See, that’s why I always say¬†that whenever¬†I go DIYing, things turn out OK, but never perfect¬†ūüėČ

There may be not one decent picture for today, but one of these days, camera and photos, I’m going to have the upper hand!

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