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Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in at_loose_ends' LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
2:07 pm
For papercrafters
Crossposted from my lj, for those who can't read it.  Sorry for those who get it twice.

You may or may not be aware that english crafting magazines tend to come with free gifts - these are usually embellishments or paper packs.  In fact this year I set myself the task of using some of my Christmas themed free paper packs on my christmas cards instead of just letting them pile up in my drawer.  I'll be posting these to Synaesthezia soon, but I digress.

Some of these companies are now publishing Australian versions of their magazines, complete with free gifts.  And in case you were not aware of it, you can download free digital copies of their paper packs even if you have not purchased the magazines.  Most packs include not only the background papers, but also boarders, tags, feature items, labels, embellishments etc.  Plus some sites have scrapbooking layout templates, parchment craft templates, gift box templates and much more.  And the cool thing about the digital option is that by printing them yourself, you only need to do the pages you want (ie no snow scenes for me!).

While there are no doubt others around, here are some links to get you started.  All you need is a broadband connection to download, and then access to a colour printer.  And if you don't have a colour printer yourself then either a friend could help out, or a print shop will be able to do it for you quite cheaply.

Practical Publishing Australia - Australian Simply Cards, Australian Papercraft Essentials, Australian Scrapbook Ideas

Practical Publishing UK - Simply Homemade, Simply Cards and Papercraft, Papercraft Essentials, Creative Cardmaking, Complete Cardmaking, Knit Now, Scrapbook Magazine, Creative Beads & Jewellery, Creative Stamping (not sure if all of these have free templates etc)

Craft Stamper (UK) - comes with a free, copyright free stamp each month.  Also has a free downloadable vintage image each month, as well as other web resources including downloadable projects and templates from back issues.  I admit I only buy this one if I want the free stamp, but the magazine is actually very good too.

Crafts Beautiful is one I find a bit hit and miss - it covers a huge range of crafts, and so I rarely get it as I may not be interested in anything on offer.  But the downloads section covers just a wide range, including baking and recipes, so it is worth a look!

Cardmaking and Papercraft has a wide range of papers, ideas, templates, digital downloads, and 'How to' instructions.

There was a local magazine called Creative Cardmaking and Papercraft put out by Derwent Publishing, but I can't seem to find a website for them which makes their digital downloads rather useless. The centre pages are free papers but as that ruins the magazine I always prefer to get a download version if possible.

Moving to the US, Stampington has The Studio - no free papers (although there are 4 pages each issue in the magazine), but they do have templates, tutorials, instruction videos, and lots of other fun stuff.  While they do sell many of the products at their online store, you should be able to substitute the basics with items you already have or can source locally.

One thing all these sites have in common is that they are very user friendly, are interactive, and are more than just the publisher listing their publications, which is what the Australian publishers tend to do.  Yes they are selling their subs and promoting their sponsors and advertisers but you know what?  I don't mind that, as they are selling products related to the crafts I am interested in.  There are blogs, forums, downloads, tutorials, videos, special offers and so on.  They seem to make the experience more than just reading a paper magazine, but a whole experience. 

I keep visiting their sites to check out the new features, and therefore see what the latest advertisements are.  It is a pity the local producers don't take note, only those 'Australian' mags that are really put out by local branches of UK publishers seem to get it.

Anyway I thought some of my friends list might be interested in this.  I will do a follow up if I find more, and if anyone knows of additional sites please let me know.  Of course many stamping companies do similar things (eg Hero Arts) but as they are only selling one brand I haven't really gone into them this time.

Happy crafting!
Sunday, December 4th, 2011
7:02 pm
I'm still here
I was replying to sadfrog's post and realised that I hadn't actually done a post of my own here before.

I do read this, I do respond to other posts, but most of my own craft posting is done at my own site, Synaesthezia.  I don't want to send every post from there to this group, as I already feed it into my own lifejournal.  But I guess if there is anything that people want to discuss that I have done - techniques, styles etc - then I'm happy to start up a post here.

Are there any suggestions about how you would like me to present things that I have been doing?

Current Mood: energetic
Thursday, June 9th, 2011
12:44 pm
Things I've been crafting lately: my craft-it-forward projects. I finished the cross-stitch of Laura's owl, and am now just putting it into a patch she can sew onto a canvas bag or something like that. I'm half-way through a baby blanket for someone else, and have started Nay's piece of embroidery. (I'm doing a vibrant purple/green floral on an aida band, so it could be sewn onto a cushion maybe?) I'm trying to keep the pieces I'll have to send light.
I also (finally!) finished Stacey and Sean's wedding card. It started as an engagement card, then turned into a wedding card, and I sent it off today as a post-honeymoon one! Oh well.

Also, when I was doing my 'spend money online' binge, I bought two reprinted books of vintage crochet patterns. Lots of gloves, hats, belts and collars. Very cool. I have several that I want to try. The hardest thing with these is yarn substitution. Luckily crochet yarns aren't quite as changeable as knitting yarns, certainly not the very fine cotton threads. One or two of the heavier weight yarns might be a hassle - I've found ones I want to try, but am not sure I can get them here in Aus.
Monday, January 24th, 2011
8:03 pm
latest craftings
So last Friday I went up to T's to spend a day crafting. I should probably say a 'day'  crafting, as by the time I'd caught the train up to My Vic and got to her place it was almost 11am. But I started my 1880s corset pattern - traced the pieces from the Truly Victorian pattern, then made a calico mockup. Making mockups of corsets isn't as useful as for most other items, as without the boning and lacing it is hard to know how it will look, but there are things - length, the line at the top, the general sizings - that you can check. I also did some more work on my green gloves - finally got one of the thumbs set and sewn into the trank. Once I had it in place it was fine, but it was giving my several frustrating moments along the way.  T was working on some hats, but mostly having fun cuddling and playing with the new kittens. (who are adorable). We sat and watched the cricket and laughed at the cuteness of cats and sewed. A pretty good day.
Saturday, December 11th, 2010
6:24 pm
christmas non projects
I had such plans and hopes for christmas projects this year, a big long list of potential presents to make. And I've made three different half projects to date, which means that I have to do a lot more work just to get even one finished. Not how I wanted it to be. 
I think part of the problem is that I've been generally apathetic about Christmas this year until the last few weeks. Now I am getting excited and it seems as though christmas will be pretty lame this year. Christmas eve Benj will be working, Christmas day will be with his family here, and then I'll see T and I hope Dad on boxing day. Won't see mum til she gets back in Jan.  Still, that gives me longer to work on her present :)

I finished the collar I was knitting and crocheting!
I did make some mistakes in the knitting that are visible on a close look but are hidden by the drape of the collar from a distance, and the crochet section was fine. I used a mother of pearl button from my button box as the fastener, and I am very happy with it.
Friday, November 19th, 2010
1:28 pm
knitting (sort of)
I love crochet. I'm competent at crochet, which is better than being 'good', as I understand it, because being good at crochet implies that I am reasonably fast and able to accurately complete intermediate to hard projects. Being competent, as I imagine it, includes that but also covers the ability to correct mistakes, to be able to look at the piece and tell what stitches I've been using, to really KNOW what the yarn is doing and how it will react to different stitches. 
So learning to knit (again? I did once learn as a child, but not very well and I quickly abandoned the knowledge) has been disheartening because I am so incompetent. I cannot visualise the final product. I don't realise I've made a mistake while the stitiches are still on the needle. I am a slave to the pattern and my instruction books.

I decided to learn to knit again for two reasons. The first is, as I'm sure many of you are aware by now, that I'm a craft junkie. I like expanding my range of techniques. So 'learn to knit'  had been on my to-do list for a few years. What spurred it in particular was a collar pattern from a magazine, that combines  2x2 knit rib for the collar and stand with crochet for the base. I have no idea how, where, or with what I will wear this collar, but I fell in love with the look of it.

2x2 rib involves knit 2 purl 2 and then on the next row knitting into the purl stitches and purling into the knit stitches. As long as you are keeping track at the start of a row, the rest falls into an easy pattern.  I'm not convinced my tension is going well (I think my stitches are a little looser on the actual thing than the gauge swatch, not sure why) and I've made a few little mistakes.  The biggy was messing up something and doing 2 whole rows off-kilter, which messed up the ribbing (ie I did one row of knit into knit, purl into purl, so sort of 'reversed'  the rib). I didn't notice until I'd done two rows because, as mentioned, I'm not reading the yarn like I would with crochet. Still, I pulled out those rows and sucessfully picked up the loops to start again, following the instructions in my reader's digest complete guide to needlework. I appear to have salvaged that situation, but the stupid thing is I suspect I won't know until I've done another two rows and they've turned out correctly.  Ripping out stitches and starting again is much harder in knitting than crochet - at least in crochet you only have one stitch on the hook at a time. (Usually, of course.  There are exceptions, but I can and will generalise).

I've done maybe two inches so far, and I need to get to 4 and a half before I can bind off and start the crochet section.
It could take a while :)
Thursday, April 9th, 2009
5:05 pm
I've recently joined a hat community on LJ, and I've entered the spring challenge with the theme of fairy tales and fables (which I suggested, inspired by Philippa's writing group). Check out the community here to see the challenge and my entry if you like, but I'll just put a picture here as well.

Inspired by Little Red Riding Hood:
Sunday, June 29th, 2008
2:20 pm
Blocked Felt
Yesterday I did a one-day workshop learning to make blocked felt hats. It was loads of fun and I made this cloche hat:

Now I need to get a hat block! Although first I'll search my house for head-size-ish bowls and such.
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008
11:17 pm

I needed to use some material and was inspired by some of the great quilting fabrics you can get but decided i wasn't allowed to buy new material as my material box is already full. So when i discovered yet another place that allows you to download the patterns. Sure i paid a small fee of $30 US but i can just print them.  http://www.sewsensible.net/  for those interested. They are girls clothes but boys clothes are rather boring to make. 
So here is the finished product made for a friends daughter.




I'm always proud of my work and it never ceases to amaze me that the flat material turns into something that looks like clothes!

Sunday, March 9th, 2008
9:51 pm
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