So if you visit often, you’ll see I haven’t made a blog post here in a while, nor have I added any new shop items. I’ve been distracted from my work as a crafter by my music practice. Not only am I still practicing my ukulele (and now I have 4 of them + a banjolele), and my mountain dulcimer (though not as often), I took the plunge and got myself a violin and took my first lesson on it on Friday. I was worried about how the lesson would go but my teacher was great, and sent me home with some homework. I see her again in 2 weeks and I can’t wait!

I’ve always loved violin/fiddle music and really wanted to learn to play but was afraid to try because all I kept hearing is how hard it is. But my time with my ukes has given me some confidence now that I can almost play a few songs and I decided to go for it.

So if its “quiet” over here, its because I’m practicing!

ukulele gig bag

As some of you might know, I have two ukuleles. A tenor, and a concert. I have a soft sided gig bag that came with the tenor, but my concert has no such bag to protect her while travelling. I decided to knit and felt the Hana Hou! gig bag pattern and make my own.

Unfortunately it didn’t go exactly to plan, and the bag fits my tenor better than my concert, but its super thick and padded and will probably protect either of them better than my other bag does.

ukulele gig bag
This was before I felted it- as you can see, its freaking huge! Almost double the size it needs to end up.

After 4 cycles in a hot water/heavy agitation wash, it wad down to this size and not getting any smaller.

ukulele gig bag
Please ignore my dirty feet. Being barefoot is awesome!
ukulele gig bag
This is it inside out. I made a simple fabric lining, hand stitched in place, and velcro will secure the flap tucked in to the bottom to keep and uke from falling out.

And finally, hanging out with my concert uke inside. Its a little big for it, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I would definitely consider making this again, though I would have more fun with the colorwork.

ukulele gig bag

You can see details here.

I was struck by an idea this evening for a simple way to display the necklaces I’ve made for my shop rather then just having them all stuffed into a drawer. My solution? It cost me $5 and about 15 minutes.

Remember my bench rebuilding project? I had a piece of wood left over from that that was 34″ long- which was only 2″ shorter than I initially planned on, and sawing wood down to smaller pieces with a hand saw sucks, so I went with it like it was instead of cutting a larger piece down.

Then I popped over to Lowe’s, bought a package of screws (I only needed 2) to mount the board to the wall, and spent another $3.58 on a package of 40 7/8″ rounded, semi-circular screw hooks. I drilled a hole near each end for the mounting screws, and one hold down the middle every 1.5″ to screw a hook into. Remember when drilling your pilot holes to make them a size smaller in the wood then the actual screw is.

Then I screwed it into the wall and hung up all the necklaces! Easy, and fast! You could of course paint or stain the wood (I might spray it white later on) but I just put it up as is.

I know, do I need a new ukulele when technically I can’t play the one I have yet? Probably not, but when I saw this DIY kit I had to order it. Its not full on build it yourself- the uke body is already together and really you just pin/glue/screw a few pieces in place and bob’s yer uncle. It took about 30 minutes to assemble and another twn minutes to string and tune, once I realized I had done some of the assembly wrong.

Anyway, I started out with a nice plain paint job and it quickly turned into this.

ukefront ukeside ukeback

It’s loud, but honestly it doesn’t sound as nice as my tenor does. There’s a big difference in price though between them, and quality. But it was still a super fun little project and I’d say worth the $40! Looks like I’ll have to build a new ukulele stand too!

My boyfriend and I have this old wood and iron bench in the backyard, that after about 11 years, has all but rotted away. I decided to replace the wood in the old bench so people can safely sit on it again- and the timing was great because we are hosting a BBQ in a few weeks.

I went to Lowe’s and purchased 4 pieces of wood which I had them cut down to size for $7 and change total. I also spent about $2.50 on two packages of screws, which I used about 2/3s of.

IMG_20160504_193400I did have to cut the two smallest pieces of wood vertically with a handsaw after I got them home but that was simple enough.

The first step to rebuilding the bench was to take it apart. I don’t have access to a jigsaw, so I had to reuse the top piece of wood from the bench but that piece doesn’t get a lot of stress compared to say the seat.

IMG_20160505_103231 After staining the wood I bought, bolting and screwing things back into place was pretty simple, and we have a bench that can safely be sat on by us or our guests at our upcoming BBQ.

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I went by one of my favorite thrift stores yesterday morning because I wanted to check out something I thought I saw the day before. What was I after? This. An almost 8 pound bag of buttons!

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For anyone unfamiliar, typically buttons are purchased on a card with somewhere between 2 and 8 buttons to a card depending on size. A card can cost anywhere from $2 to $6 retail. There are literally thousands of buttons in this bag. I paid $28.33 after tax for it. If there are 2,000 buttons in the bag, I paid $0.014 per button. That’s a steal!

I’ve been working on sorting them the last day or so and wow it is slow going!

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On the left are the colored ones, plus the black shanked buttons and the ones made out of shell. In the middle are all browns and metal ones. And on the right are black ones, and the whitish ones. Most of them are divided further by size, unless I only have enough of that color family to fill one spot. I’m nowhere near done sorting them, but I’m going to keep going until I fill up all three containers and then pass the rest onto Tracy at Art Resurrected.

There have also been quite a few conchos that I will be giving to someone who is really into leather-work right now.

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This is about half of them that I dug out of the buttons- there’s literally about 90 of these.

I’ve been wanting a clock in my craft room, but I wanted something a little different, and something that would actually coordinate with my space. I decided to make my own clock, but I had no idea what to make it with. A trip to Michael’s had me walking out with this stuff.

This ended up being a super fast project, taking about an hour, and most of that time was spent waiting for the paint to dry. And if I ever repainted my craft room, I could easily repaint the canvases to match.

So back about 6 months ago, I was super excited to purchase and hopefully learn to play the ukulele. I bought one, 32cef64cloved it, but wasn’t so great about practicing. Then a few weeks back, I joined Ukulele Underground and I found this.

Plans to build your own ukulele stand, this one already sized perfectly for a tenor uke, which is what I have.

All I needed was a piece of wood for the base, a 1″ thick wooden dowel at least 22″ long, some felt, some screws, and some metal hooks sold at Walmart to act as the brackets.

I was super tight on money but really wanted to do this, so I improvised a bit. The wooden plaque I bought from Michael’s, with a 50% off coupon for $1.90. The felt I already had on hand, thanks to getting sent the wrong item when I ordered fabric ages ago. Wood stain and E6000 I had on hand. The dowel was the most expensive piece at about $4.50 for a 48″ length, and the screws were about a dollar for a package of 8. The hooks/brackets I made myself out of polymer clay, then cast them in resin which I dyed a deep red color with some mica powder.

Not counting the cost of materials I already had on hand, I spent about $8 building this.

I just added this little guy to my shop, and oh how I love him!

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Raleigh the Racehorse stands about 3″ tall on his wooden base, and the plaque is 4″ wide. He’s made out of reddish brown polymer clay (Sculpey III and Premo!) to give him a rich bay coat. He’s relaxing on a bed of straw, with his lucky horseshoe and a big bucket of water nearby.

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He would make a great display piece in a horse lover’s home, and he’s absolutely one of a kind! He is not for playing with- he could be broken- so not for young children.

Each individual piece has been bonded with E6000 clear glue and the wood is finished with a pecan stain.

Keep an eye out for other cute minis in the future!

I know I haven’t posted in almost a month (wow! That long already?) but I have some new makes to share, and some updated older makes. A few days ago I decided to make mini sculptures of the dogs after buying some wooden plaques I saw at Michael’s. The dogs aren’t fancy- I joked as I was making them that they were milk dud dogs- but I think they turned out super cute. The color is more true in the back view photo- the front view got kind of washed out with the flash.

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Then I decided to give the same mounting treatment to the polymer clay fish I made about a year ago. They looked pretty good on the plaque but I decided to add some “coral” in different colors to the plaque as well.

fishies

I made the coral the same way I made the kibble in the dogs’ bowl. I roll out a small portion of clay, then sliced into tiny cubes. Then I mixed the pieces with some liquid Sculpey, stirred it up just enough to coat it all, and gentle formed it into shape with light pressure. I’m not sure these pieces will be especially tough, but for looks only, they look great!

I also finally mounted my skull I made a few weeks ago onto its own plaque. I really with I had a glass dome to go over it though.

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These plaques are really inexpensive- I got the round ones for a dollar, and the larger 5″ x 7″ rectangular one was only a little more. All I had to do was lightly sand the edges and apply a few coats of wood stain to them.

Anyway, I’m really happy with these pieces and looking forward to my next project!