Cluttered Cables No More: Make A Cable Cosy

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I like things organized. If an item doesn’t have a proper place, it gets lost, broken, or just ends up in a cluttered pile. This leads to collecting patterns that will help keep things in their proper place. On Pinterest, I found a picture for a cable cosy and decided to make a few for upcoming travel commitments. I ended up usingĀ  the tutorial as an inspiration point and creating a pattern of my own. Along with varying the pattern, I changed up the closure as I disliked the buckle. However, that doesn’t mean someone else would love it: Make It Cable Cozy.

In the end, I made quite a few of these including adapting them to hold action figures and a larger one for Barbie dolls as my youngest nieces and nephew are going on a long road trip this summer.

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Word Fabric

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Every since I read the March issue of Crafts Beautiful magazine, I have been obsessed with a little retro bus pincushion. It’s cute and practical – in other colors and designs, of course. The artist designed it to be mainly orange, which isn’t my thing. One of the things I really loved about it was the inclusion of Frumble UK’s Typography fabric, which try as I might is just not available. I have searched for an alternative and haven’t quite decided if I like any of them enough. I might just make my own through Spoonflower or with a fabric printed sheet – might be too uggg though. In my search for fabric, I have found some excellent examples of typography fabric though:

With visiting my nieces, I didn’t make anything this last week. I started a couple of things, but nothing to show for it yet. However, both of my nieces wanted to attend the Bristol Renaissance faire and dress up! I would have never expected it from the 16-year-old. She further shocked us by asking if she could dress as a gypsy in skirt and all! This is a girl who wants to wear her Vans, blue jeans, and an appropriately modest shirt every day, all day – nothing frilly or girly ever.

Busy Crafting Week

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I had many hands in the craft fire this week. It was finally nice outside and with the snow melting, it was time to go back to work. So I did.

Rustic Tote

First, I painted a “rustic tote” for my spouse. He’s into storing his craft beer next to the fridge. Rather than continue to knock it over, I felt it was time it had a home of its very own. I’m klutzy and scrubbing perfectly good beer off of the floor is no fun. He’s a huge Cubs fan – born and raised in Chicago – so theming was easy. What wasn’t easy? Stenciling. It looks like I drunk-stenciled. But he loved it anyway.

I seam ripped my old prom dress. I am thinking of turning it into a clutch. Pictures of the final result when I finish.

gogobagI, also, made this purse. I used the Go-Go Bag pattern from Sara Lawson’s Big City Bags. I spaced out the work over four days, and I am very happy with the results. Although, I did not like her Zip Pocket Method 1 instructions. I ended up making a larger zip pocket and lined it with extra thermolam and headliner, so it could hold my tablet when traveling through the airport. (I checked, I have to travel 8 times this year. I think this bag will be my go-to. At least until I am bored looking at it.)

skirtAs if that wasn’t enough, I found shirring that I fell in love with at Joann’s. I made it into a skirt because the shirring is not wide enough to cover my chest. Such is life.

Finally, I decided to catalog my patterns using Pinterest. This way I will not buy any more duplicates.

I am visiting my nieces this week, and so I don’t think I will have the time to complete any projects. Though that isn’t going to stop me from trying to do something. At the very least, I might talk the younger one into picking out the fabric for a Renaissance or Medieval gown. She’ll need one this summer when we take her with us to the faire.

 

Harry Potter Projects for All Ages

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I have this niece who never tells anyone what she wants; she has 4 younger siblings, spends most her time caring for them, and was taught to never ask for anything. So she lets herself blend into the background, and when asked what she wants for a birthday or Christmas or even dinner, she shrugs. She turned 16 this weekend!

To find something that she would like, I had to stalk her on Pinterest. Looking through her interests to find crumbles that said things like: “I really like that.” “I wish that was mine.” “It would be nice to own that.” “I wish someone would surprise me with this.”

And one theme recurred throughout: She really wishes she could go to Hogwarts. So, my daughter and I did what we could to make that happen. If only for one day.

Of course, we started by raiding Hot Topic for Harry Potter gear that was on sale, and we didn’t want to make. Then, we gathered a truly astonishing list of resources to make the rest of the Hogwarts dreams come true. These were not my ideas, so expect lots of links.

Cheap cardbord and plastic 4x6 photo album purchased at Wal-mart for .97.

Cheap cardboard and plastic 4×6 photo album purchased at Walmart for .97.

Interior of the Lemon Squeezy's PDF.

Interior of the Lemon Squeezy’s PDF.

Start with a mini spell book. The Lemon Squeezy Shop on Craftsy created a PDF with spells already in a 4×6 format (for free): Harry Potter Spells. We downloaded that and printed it out on parchment stationary. Cut it out and placed it in an inexpensive cardboard and plastic 4×6 photo album that we found at Wal-mart.

 

 

 

 

All of the ingredients, plus a few more, labeled and ready for her use.

All of the ingredients, plus a few more, labeled and ready for her use.

Mrs. Nespy’s World featured a post about hosting a potions class. Complete with links to to the “potions recipes.” I downloaded her recipes, and then brought together everything my niece would need to create her own class. With three of her siblings much younger than her, she should have fun doing them. Plus, I looked on the Harry Potter wiki for other ingredients used in potions and created some extra bottles. For example, I used dyed glycerin green and called it Flobberworm Mucus. I had most of these containers beforehand. The few I needed, I was able to purchase for a couple of dollars at a craft store.

 

Painted boxes to hold the potion ingredients.

Painted boxes to hold the potion ingredients.

The potions needed a box to hold them in, and my daughter found these at the craft store for about $5 each. So we bought them, painted them up (I hate painting), added some hardware, and put all of the potion materials inside. My daughter decided to freehand a decorative box, and being unsatisfied with her Hogwarts logo we put a Hogwarts patch on top of it.

 

 

The book was the least favorite aspect of this project, and if I had allowed myself more time it might have turned out differently.

The book was the least favorite aspect of this project, and if I had allowed myself more time it might have turned out differently.

To hold her Hogwarts letter, the potion book, the spell book, and her platform ticket, we made her a box. Here is where my hatred of painting really comes in because it didn’t look good by the time we finished, but we needed to keep everything neat and tidy in the larger wrapped box. I used Dave Lowe Design technique. I just didn’t do a spectacular job.

My daughter made the Hogwarts letter by downloading the fonts. We used the letter text from a file sharing site, added a note about the tardiness of the letter, and included a list of the supplies she would need through year 5. We also added a post script that Owls couldn’t be used to deliver the letter due to Muggle’s discovery of magic. We found the platform ticket by doing an internet search, but I liked the quality of the one from Jessie from the blog best.

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Wand box after it was finished with a layer of glossy mod podge.

We even made a description label for the wand.

We even made a description label for the wand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Due to the small children living at her house, and their utter lack of respect for her things, I couldn’t make my niece a chopstick or more robust wooden wand. Instead, we made an Instructables featuring a sheet of paper and hot glue. For her wand box, I made just used two pieces of poster board. I made a 15×5 rectangle. I cut out 1×1 squares from the four corners. Taped it together, fit the two pieces together, and painted it. I used Ollivander’s wand box labels from another Instructable. For the interior I sewed a little bag, stuffed it, and then used some scrap organza as the protective cover.

Simple tote bag with fabric transfer. A shop in London sells this with screen printing.

Simple tote bag with fabric transfer.

Finally, Em added a pin for a Harry Potter tote bag. As she did this practically at the last-minute, I couldn’t just order her one from the London shop that makes them professionally. I made her one instead. I used the font site’s JPG letter generator and put them into Photoshop before printing the graphic out on fabric transfer paper. The bag is just a simple tote bag with a lining and a boxed bottom.

How to Set Up Live Action Clue with Example Documents

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My daughter and her friends love playing murder mystery games at parties. They embrace donning of a persona that is not their own; they are all cosplayers, so this isn’t a revelation. The problem with the typical murder mystery game is it is set for a certain number of players and if someone doesn’t show up, then there is a hole in the game, or someone has to play multiple roles. And due to the scripted nature of these games, they are only really fun the first time. For these reasons, this year I decided the teenagers should play a live-action game of Clue. Attractively with Clue, if someone had to cancel at the last minute I didn’t have to rewrite an entire script. An absentee suspect could still be included in the deck, or removed, with ease.

With my decision made, I turned to the internet for ideas. To be honest, there were several sites that gave anywhere from 50-75% of the rules and set up each of these groups used. None of them fully explained what they did, which is exactly what I hope to do with my posts. I want others to be able to easily play a game and not be left wondering what does something mean. I have broken my master game document into bite-sized PDFs. Hopefully this manner can show others how we played the game.

It seems like a lot of work, but the guests had a wonderful time and could have easily played the game again.

Setting Up The Game:

  1. Send out invitations to your guests. You should request a RSVP. Either assign each of your guests a character or allow the guests to select a character. We encouraged everyone to choose a character and dress up as that person, which they did. No one could play the same character for obvious reasons.
  2. Decide how many rooms and weapons your game will feature. We used an equal number of rooms and weapons as we had suspects. That worked well for our group – 11 girls – but it might not for everyone.
  3. Write a detailed motive for each of the characters. Decide how many parts you want to divide the motives into. We used three-part motives. It certainly isn’t required to use the rest of the game though. The motives need to be put on cards – I made cards in Word using SmartArt tools, but index cards would work just as well.
  4. Make at least one set of “Suspicion cards” for the weapons, rooms, and suspects. We used two sets to speed up play. One set we distributed amongst the guests just like one would do in tabletop Clue; the other set we shared amongst the two “game masters.” We made doubly sure that the solution was removed from both decks before dealing them.
  5. Make a poster board for each room. The name of the room should be clearly displayed. Then, write a non-malicious rumor about one of the character’s (not player’s) on the board. We did this to spark ideas in the guests. The rumor board ended up being one of the favorite things the girls did. One of them asked if she take home a board that had a rumor about her character that she enjoyed. After the game, everyone claimed a board to take home and took turns writing more rumors about the specific characters on the boards. I wish I had the foresight to photograph the final products.
  6. Create a chart to keep track of the score. We used foam board and created a grid with columns.
  7. Create “packets” for each player. In the packets include a full copy of their motive, a detective’s notebook, an accusation sheet, and anything else you want them to have.
  8. Decide on the amount of fun money that each player needs to begin with and distribute it. We gave everyone $55 to start.
  9. If you break up into groups and have multiple “game masters” make sure that each game master understands the rules and the order of turns. Also, agree in advance the order that each game master is going to take through the rooms.

I am linking to the materials I created, feel free to copy/paste and adapt what you need.

Live Action Clue Murder Mystery: The rules
Detective Notebook: A notebook similar to the one found in a tabletop edition of Clue.
Accusation Sheet:
Chaos Phase Examples: A PDF of examples of the Chaos Phase. These may not work for your group.
Player Cheat Sheets: Each player was given a copy of their motive and examples of how telling rumors would work.
Suspicion Cards: Due to time constraints on my part, all of the cards for the game were created using Microsoft Word. The SmartArt Tools had many options for designs to choose from and made creating the cards quick because everything could be done with a click. However, other programs could work or index cards.
Motive Cards: I made the motive cards using the same tool as the Suspicion cards. I made sure they were shaped very differently than the Suspicion cards though. Also, each Game Master had an entire set of Motive Cards to encourage the players to spend their money.

Candy Tree Tutorial

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candy-station

A partial photo of the candy candy station I had at the Halloween party for teenagers. I never took a photo of the full set up.

This particular tutorial is late for Halloween and a little early for Christmas, but it is a good one for any occasion where the host or hostess wants to make a candy station. We did this particular project for a Halloween party, so the finishing touches are Halloween themed. Before we get started you’ll need supplies.

  • Floral foam ball – diameter will be determined by the size of tree you wish to build
  • 3/4 to 1 inch wood dowel – cut to the desired length
  • Washi tape
  • Floral foam disk the width of your pot
  • Pot for tree
  • Aquarium or river rock – or really anything that is heavy
  • Glue gun
  • Suckers – I used about 250 Dum-Dums
  • The weight of the fully candied foam ball will determine the rest of the project.

    The weight of the fully candied foam ball will determine the rest of the project.

  1. Start by sticking suckers into the floral foam ball. You want to cover it completely. If you put too many in you can always take some out, but start with the ball completely filled in.
  2. Weigh you foam ball. This is important because whatever that weighs, your base will need to weigh 1.5 times to two times more or your tree will not stand up; or it will be extremely unstable. For the tree I made my ball weighed 5 pounds. My daughter wanted to use a cute small pot for the tree base, but it was way too light. I ended up purchasing a second pot and five pounds of aquarium rock to make it work. My base weighed 9 pounds.
  3. Cut the wooden dowel to a height that is pleasing to the eye. Wrap the dowel with Washi tape – or any other decorative element you like.
  4. Insert the dowel into your fully candied foam ball. If you need to remove some candy, do so. To be aesthetically pleasing, try to center the dowel in the ball. Set aside for now.
I kept things simple because I thought it needed a little something, and my daughter didn't want it too elaborately decorated.

I kept things simple because I thought it needed a little something, and my daughter didn’t want it too elaborately decorated.

5.Decorate the pot with Washi tape, paint, or any other flourish that you like.

The rocks can be seen in the gaps, which is why I invested in black aquarium rock. I could have left it plan though.

The rocks can be seen in the gaps, which is why I invested in black aquarium rock. I could have left it plain though.

6. Fill the pot with rock or other heavy filler to a height that will allow you to still put the foam disk inside the pot. Weigh the pot to make sure it makes the minimum requirements. To test the weight, place the foam disk inside the pot and then insert the dowel with candy ball to make sure it will be heavy enough to keep the tree upright. It might be a little wobbly, but gluing the foam disk inside the pot will take care of that. However, don’t get ahead of yourself because once the foam has been glued, you won’t really be able to adjust the weight.

7. Insert suckers into base completely covering the foam disk.

The completed tree!

The completed tree!

I stored my tree in separate pieces until the party. Then, I made it part of a candy station but didn’t take a great picture of it. The picture to the left is the only picture I remembered to take of it. I was very tired.