Writing The Second Draft

Documenting the Journey as I become who I want to be.

Archive for the category “Crafting”

Axe Sheath pt 1

At the end of this month is a very important date. The Teacher’s wedding.  Because of certain circumstances I will be one of the groomsmen (which I’m quite happy about). The theme is sort of a fantasy/medieval styled thing and so many of the groomsmen will be wearing a sword or other weapon as well.

Personally, I don’t have any medieval style swords, but I do have a neat looking axe that I purchased at the Michigan Renaissance Festival.

Axe
(Forgive the poor quality picture, I’ll replace it later)

It’s beautiful and would be perfect! Except that it’s sharp and the frog I have places it uncomfortably close (and the bottom part (not pictured) scraped up my ankle pretty bad). So, Solution? Make a sheath of course! I grabbed some tools and some leather off of amazon and planned it out with my brother!

Sketch

After the leather finally arrived I still wasn’t quite sure but now I’m in something of a time crunch so i need to get everything cut out so I can ship the axe down to The Teacher in time for the wedding!  My brother recently had his own wedding a few days ago so he won’t be able to help for this part of it however he did let me know I could use some of his old sewing supplies.  So I dug into that and gathered all the tools I figured I could use!

Tools

Here are all of the tools I’m planning to use, some mine some his. The ruler, pencil, awl, rotary cutter, stitching spacer, and needles are mine. Whereas the L-Square, big scissors, and soapstone are my bro’s. I haven’t used all of these tools yet, and I may add more but this is the list right now haha.

So I measured out the designs and started by cutting out a square that was around half an inch bigger than what I needed. Then I traced the shape of the blade onto the leather with the soapstone.  Once I had that I guestimated about an additional centimeter and drew freehanded the cutting lines. I checked it on the axe and started cutting!

Curves with the rotary cutter aren’t as easy as I’d hoped, but they’re a lot easier than using a box cutter like I did when I made my wallet. It didn’t seem to stretch out the leather at all and with a careful hand I ended up with my first piece ready!

First part

As you can see, I also added an additional part for the axe to cut into so it won’t cut through my stitches later on!

I took this cut out, flipped it over and traced it to get the second piece! Which was a little tougher to cut out, and i’m pretty sure it’s nto completely even as of yet but it was starting to get dark so I wanted to get another rough part done before I tried to do any fine work. It’s much easier to see things under natural light than the kitchen light so after I finished the first part for the second bit of my axe I called it a night.

pt1 Finish!

So next time I just have to fine tune some of the parts and make the final cutout for the second bit!  I still have some work to do with making a cover for the bottom weight but I feel pretty accomplished! After that I just have to figure out if I’m going to stitch it up with fake sinew, or waxed thread!Threads.jpg

I’ve never used either so i’m not sure what to pick…

So if you’ve got any insights please comment below! Have you ever had a project to make something like this? Medieval styling or otherwise? Feel free to post any other questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you!

So it’s been a while!

I guess what ends up happening is that i don’t do a lot bc of work or other stuff and so I don’t have a lot to document or mention. But I’m in socal nowadays so i’m going to try and change that.

Right now I only work on weekend nights so I have all week to work on stuff. In fact this month I’ve got a project with a deadline so hopefully I’ll be able to document that nicely and make a post about it!

Main updates being that I moved, (Drove cross-country with pops) towed all my shit in a small trailer lol. And right now I’m working on finding an apartment for next month so i can move in with The Translator and The Game Designer. But I may be staying with my bro for a bit longer not sure yet. Got some projects planned and yeah. Some big projects lol.

I’m excited to be back, I’ve updated my about page and added a new page so yall have some reference for the titles of folks i’ve been throwing around.

I’ve lost a bunch of weight also! (mostly from not being able to afford food but i’ve got a good job now so it’s no problem) So next up is working on being healthier and legitimately stronger. Hoping to start surfing in the next couple months and generally being more active. But first is wedding season, I’m in the wedding party in two weddings THIS MONTH! First of all is my brother. He asked me to be his best man and that happens Next week!!  Then later this month is The Teacher, she asked me to be a groomsmen (Her fiance is from europe and doesn’t have a ton of dude friends to fill out his side so she’s lending hers lol).

Then in June is moving month! I have to have a place ready and then I can move the girls into it. Then once they’ve got jobs squared away they can pitch in with everything. So this month I’m trying to get as much overtime as possible!

Wish me luck and hopefully I’ll have at least 1 more post for you before the month is out!!

Getting (back) into Gunpla!

So recently my interest in Gundam Models (also called Gunpla) has been reignited!  I used to be sort of into it in high school. I made I think maybe 4-5 of them but I didn’t put an awful lot into it haha. I mostly just popped out the pieces by hand, cut tabs with an X-ACTO Knife and used a black 005 Micron Pen to draw in the panel lines. But man, was it fun.

This time around I’m getting some pointers from one of my big bros and am gonna be getting some additional proper tools. I’m also intending to try my hand at painting this time around, I’m less worried about messing up than I was in high school haha. I’ve been looking into it extensively as I figure out what tools and budget for it I’m really really excited!

Last saturday I went out and picked up some tools. (Well actually I went through my storage and found out I had most of the tools from when I took a jewelry-making class.The remaining items I picked up at michaels, coupons ftw.

The tools I have are as follows:

All of which I can use for other projects as well :> The only one I don’t have is the .3mm pencil, which tbh I’m still waffling on. I hear they’re good to panel-line the hard-to-reach places but I don’t know if that’s going to be super necessary for me yet. I’ll probably pick one up when I need one haha.

So I ran around saturday trying to find tools most of which I did at least to the point where I’m ready to go! Now I just needed some gunpla kits! I looked at a couple places but they either didn’t have any models at all (ToysRus apparently stopped carrying them at some point ;o;), or had the realistic type models (Trains, Tanks, Planes, Ships, Cars, etc.  Cool stuff but not what I’m looking for haha.). The woman at ToysRus told me of 2 hobbyshops in the area and after being disappointed by the first one I didn’t look for the second (It had something about trains in the name so I figured it would be like the other one.) but I looked it up when I got home and they did have gundam models!  But by then it was already dark and really cold outside and I was comfortable so I put it off until sunday =u=;;

I’m also interested in painting them and kind of upping my game a lot from before so I called up one of my brothers because I found an old stash of model paints of his (He’s done gunpla and such but mostly repainted Action figures and things :> ). He moved out of state quite a while ago so I asked if I could use/have them and he said yes! Today I’m going to call up one of my other brothers and see if he still has any of his old airbrushing stuff. I know he was really into it a long-ass time ago but I don’t know if he kept up with it or not so I’m going to ask :>

As for the gunpla sets, on Sunday I had a short* list of what sets I wanted which there weren’t any on the website, but I was hoping they’d have more in store. They did but only a few. In the end I got OO Gundam Seven Sword SD and Gouf Custom! (I love the gouf design and when it came to the SD I just saw  it and couldn’t help myself)

GunplaKits

*hahaha I’m lying it was like 20 sets long. I pretty much have all the sets I want to get written down in order of complexity so that I’ll hopefully be pretty good at it by the time I get to my more favored sets :>  After these I plan to get the uh Gunpla Starter Set of the RX-78-2 and Zaku II and maybe the old 1/144 Gundam X (as a practice one. I hear they’re pretty bad so this way I won’t feel bad if I fuck it up 8>) I really hope my skills will be where I want by the time I get to say, 1/144 Blaze Zaku Phantom (Dearka Elthman Custom)  or  1/144 Gundam Astray Red Frame(Flight Unit).

I’m really excited! And if you guys know of any good resources lemme know! I’ll definitely be making posts about them as I go, probably WIPs or just big ass build posts with lots of pictures :> It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to do a hobby that didn’t have some kind of background practical reasons behind it. Most of my hobbies grew from practicality stuff or wanting to be able to sell things and it gets tedious haha; so… yeah it’s nice to indulge :>  I’ve already started working on the SD, so I’ll be posting pictures up of that once I finish (don’t worry there will be plenty of in-progress pictures too!)

**Disclaimer: All links are through my AmazonAssociate account, you can probably find the gundam model kits much cheaper elsewhere, and probably the tools cheaper at like electronics and craft stores and so on. For the record the tools I did buy I got at Michaels and I’d much rather look at local stores before resorting to the interwebs or I’ll be using Amazon Giftcards gotten for free from Swagbucks (This is my referral link too haha;;; you don’t have to sign up but it’s pretty cool I might make a post about it later on.) to get stuff on amazon.

Road to Building a Tiny House!

Over the past couple months I’ve been feeling like it’s really time for me to move out. But… there’s several reasons that’s not gonna happen quite yet :T. Mostly I don’t get paid enough wages to make it living on my own yet. And I probably won’t have enough saved up for a year or two.

This is really disappointing. And then I suddenly remembered Tiny Houses! A few years ago or so I’d read about the Tiny House movement, found a layout I fell in love with and so on. Then as time went on I promptly forgot all about it, it wasn’t practical for me anymore as I had other plans! Well, time kept on keepin’ on and those plans fell through. And eventually I found myself sitting here in my small room, wishing I could afford my own place. And a new plan was hatched!

If I save my pennies through the winter, I might just have enough to get a properly-sized trailer and some lumber to start with, and i could very well build my own tiny trailer house throughout the summer!

Now, I’m under no illusions about finishing said tinyhouse during the summer, in fact I don’t know if I’ll even be able to afford things as I would like to. But that’s not keeping me from plotting and dreaming and mocking things up! In fact here’s what I’ve got so far:

tinyhouselayout

I left a space for the door,  dotted lines are windows, dashes are counters/desk space.  the dotted dash is a storage chest/couch situation and the grey’d area is where the woodburning stove would go(The stove is 1’x2′ (with “accessories” that make it more 3’x2′) but the grey would be the heat-proof’d areas)  The small room in the upper left is the bathroom/shower, and that little corner hall would have the kitchen sink and counterspace and storage and so on.  The scale here is that one square is 1’sq  so the trailer would be 18ft long and 8ft wide!

So far so good yeah? I haven’t quite gotten everything figured out yet, and if necessary I can expand it to 20′ for extra utilities space.  In the next few weeks I plan to mock it out full size in the backyard in the snow (nobody’s been back there yet =u=)  and kind of go through and make sure there’s enough room. I made this purely on assumptions so it’s very possible I’m completely wrong haha.

I have low experience in building things but I have my older brother who knows a LOT and if he had the funds could probably build it in a summer haha. But he’s far away so it’s up to me! I assisted in leveling my sister’s cabinets,  rewiring her kitchen, demo-ing her bathroom, re-drywalling her bathroom, finishing bro’s gf’s room (molding and spackle) and things like that.  I’ve measured and cut lumber, spraypainted various items, and so on.

I’ve never made something entirely by myself before though. And I’ve never really like, built a wall or built anything substantial so… There’s a learning curve I’m sure but I’m mechanically minded so I’m sure I can do it! I am a little worried about the plumbing more than the electrical. Electrical I’ve been getting a good grasp on lately (also one of my friends went to school to be an electrician. She shifted and became The Teacher, but I’m sure she still knows a lot of it haha.) But Plumbing… I mean, I’m sure I can get it, I just have absolute zero experience with that. At least with electrical I helped re-wire my sister’s kitchen (and hearing my bro bitch about the other construction guys and… well… if I’ve only learned one thing it’s to do the electrical before putting up any drywall! xD)

Pops has the tools, and probably some skills as well. And Bro’s got the skills I don’t so I’m sure he can give me some guidance! Although if any of y’all have any relevant experiences or resources to share I would love to hear what you’ve got to say!

Making Charcloth

Some time ago I had planned my initial project for the weekend was to finish my wallet and maybe practice some watercolor painting. But as I was doing laundry I came across an old pair of pants that, to be frank, was ripped to shit.  But I had loved these pants dearly and decided to let them live on as rags for usage in other applications. (I’ll be needing rags whenever I get around to finishing a woodworking project after all.)   But as I was cutting it to bits, I realized that some swaths of cloth would be too small for usage as a proper rag, and then there were the tiny pockets and the folded hems and all that where there simply wasn’t enough undisturbed cloth to be a good rag.

Hem open hem

I checked the tag to see just what material I was working with here and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was 100% Cotton, and it hit me that I could use these scraps to make charcloth!

For those who don’t know, Charcloth is a very good survival tinder. It catches a spark very easily and burns (from what I’ve read) pretty slowly. It doesn’t make a big flame on it’s own but forms a workable ember you can use in a tinder bundle to make a fire. Great for survival applications and I’ve been wanting to have a bit in my survival bag’s fire kit for a long time.

So! I took some smaller scraps of cloth I’d been cutting and cut them into smaller squares roughly 1-2″

strips

Next I took an empty Altoids tin I had lying around and a nail and popped a little hole in the top of it.

Tin

This is after it went into the fire. But you can see the hole I poked right in the O

I piled in, very loosely mind you, the cloth strips and closed it up nicely. All of this was done that saturday. Now all I needed was a heat source! So back on the weekend when The Artist came over, friday evening we decided to have a fire! Perfect!  We enjoyed marshmallows and had a nice evening until the fire had burned down to embers, I checked that I’d have a method to remove the hot tin, which I had a pair of long tongs, and so then I took the tin, closed it up tight and put it into the hot embers. I don’t have any photos of this part since it was night and fire and well I was having too much fun to remember to take pictures…

But as for the tin, it somewhat unexpectedly caught completely on fire!

In other tutorials I’ve seen and read, they say that if the tin catches on fire, or fire comes out of the hole, too much air is getting in and you’re getting full on combustion not charring and that when you open the tin you’ll have nothing but ash.  So The Artist and I were a bit disappointed but we continued our conversation eventually all of the paint burned off the tin and there were just flames almost shooting out of the edges and the hole in the top.  After a few minutes though, the flames stopped, welp might as well get the failure out of the fire and give it a try again another time right? So I grabbed the tongs and pulled it out setting it on the driveway to cool down.

We went inside and completely forgot about it for a few hours. The Artist remembered it before I did and reminded me to bring it in, so I did and I popped it open over the sink ready to wash it all out when… LO AND BEHOLD! CHAR CLOTH!!!

Charcloth

The cloth bits shrunk substantially from the initial cloth, which I didn’t expect, but it worked! And they aren’t super fragile or anything so I now have a nice pack off charcloth in my fire kit and am one very happy survivalist :3

firekit

My firekit thus far. It has charcloth, a lighter, and the firestraws I made a while back 8D

Media Arcana, my shop!

So I probably should have posted about this much sooner, before the holiday probably would have been best haha;;  but on October 31st I opened up my new witchy shop Media Arcana!

MediaArcana

You can click the image to go to the site! I’ll be selling all kinds of crafts and witchy or pagan things as I make them.

Media Arcana has been a dream of mine for well over a year, initially it was going to be a partnership between myself and another witch known most for her Tarot work. And so we made the name basically as a bit of wordplay. In Tarot there’s the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana.   Well, from there we found the word befitting ‘middle’ being Media and thus Media Arcana was born.  But, the shop wasn’t strictly tarot, and thankfully the phrase can have more than one meaning. Media of course being the plural form of medium which can also refer to various objects and techniques (such as when applied to art) and so on. And Arcana of course referring to mysteries and secrets, and y’know, magical stuff.

And that’s basically what I’ll be selling on Media Arcana,  magical stuff.

Now, right now you’ll notice there’s only a few items and services. I’ll expand the readings as I grow in confidence with more spreads and I’ll expand the charms once they’ve been a little bit more tested. All bindrunes that I sell will be tested and at the very least have worked for me in the past.

For example the favorable-exam bindrune [First one Here]. I used this to help me pass my driver’s test on my 4th time around. That’s when I passed haha.  I also used it when I felt unprepared for a test in a speech course I was in.  I got a 59/50 on that test. Suffice to say I feel confident in this charm and so that’s why I offer it for sale. The other charm, Increased Productivity, has a favorable review from The Artist (in fact she’s requested a permanent one) so I also feel confident enough to offer it for sale.

So anyways, I hope to be making/testing/selling more items soon and if you follow this blog you’ll probably see a lot more in-progress pictures and things than you will at the official Media Arcana tumblr but there and twitter is where you’ll hear about new in-stock items first!

Wallet-Making Take 2

So, I didn’t have enough left of that nice thick dark leather that I was planning to make my billfold wallet out of. But I do have this lighter, thinner leather that I think would make a nice minimalist pocket style wallet.

Something like the Journeyman offered by Tanner Goods [Here] would be ideal.

Seriously go take a look at that fancy shit, it’s beautiful. Now obviously I’m not expecting mine to come out so nicely. After all this is my first time doing any sort of leatherwork really. You can’t expect to paint a masterpiece the first time you pick up a brush :U  In any case I decided to base my design off of this since it looks easy enough, and being mechanically minded as I am I figured how it’s put together pretty easily.

For my wallet, just cut up two pieces and matched them up as best I could but uh… Now I know why the pros use a hydraulic press with a cutting mold, whereas I used a metal straightedge and a box cutter. So the mirror image isn’t exactly there, close enough though.  Next I cut up two more sheets to act as the outside ‘pockets’.  One I accidentally cut horribly short  and while I realized that I could totally flip it and make a sort of sideways pocket, I opted for the lazy/minimalist option and decided that one outside ‘pocket’ was good enough for me P:

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Next came the all important part of puncturing the leather for the needle and thread to get through!

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I pulled out my awl and mowed through the bottom edge of my first big piece, using only the awl and a whack with the palm of my hand. Now I know why the pros also have either strong ass sewing machines or a the very least rawhide mallets. Ow. So then I realized that I had to make sure somehow that these would line up right with the other pieces.

For the first line I just lined up the pieces as well as I could, inside out, and stuck my sewing needle through the holes in my first piece, to lightly puncture the second piece. I would use these little holes as a reference were to place the awl and punch through.

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You can see pretty good the difference in size of the awl holes and the needle marks. The next step was to pin the corners together using some thumbtacks pops had lying around and poke the rest of the holes to match the second piece, and then follow suit with the sides of the pockets that would get stitching.

2013-10-05 15.08.39

The thread I’m using is a durable heavyduty thread in a sort of steely silver that I’ve used in the past to stitch simple book bindings early last year (the books didn’t warrant such a thread but my mother was pretty adamant). And I think it’ll contrast nicely with the color of leather that I have. So after punching through the leather scraps, it was time to sew them together!

I did this by hand as I don’t have any kind of sewing machine at the moment, not to mention i don’t even know you can do this kind of thing with a sewing machine. The stitching may not be perfect but it’s more than strong enough to hold this thing together hopefully for a long time! Or at least long enough for me to purchase more leather and try again =D

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Now, unfortunately when I got to the ends I had no idea how to knot them up properly. So I just tried to wing it. But uh… That proved itself a bad idea pretty quick as one of the knots started coming undone immediately. So I resorted to supergluing the knots into place.  Next time I’ll put more research into that part =w=;;;.

It should hold for a good while though and I can re-stitch it if need be. The only thing I need to figure out now is sealing the outside edges together so they don’t pull up. I noticed when I put them in my pocket one of the layers on the corner likes to catch and pull up so I’ll have to figure out how that’s done.

But, a project  completed and I’m super pleased with the result!

 

Survival How-to: Fire Straws

The other day I was planning to have a little bonfire in the back yard but… nope. The weather was raining off and on all day so, bonfire for entertainment purposes not so good an idea. I was tempted to try anyways but I would be the only one out there and the firepit’s already been set up for family enjoyment. (one of my bros already set up logs and stuff. ) So instead, I did a little crafting inside, I made fire straws!

I first read about these a couple years ago, and it’s a really simple premise!  You take a plastic straw cut to whatever length you want,  melt one end shut, fill it with something, and melt the other end shut!

I’ve seen these used for things like a single dose of neosporin or toothpaste or other things too. But the use that interested me most was the ‘fire straw’ where it’s filled with some type of tinder. So here’s what I did, step-by-step so you can make some too!

You will need:

Plastic Straws
Needlenose Pliers

Cottonballs
Toothpick
Lighter (or other open-flame)

1.  Take your straw and cut it to your desired length mine were roughly an inch.
2.  Pinch one end with your pliers and hold it shut with a little bit overhanging the end of the pliers

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3.  Run your flame under  the overhanging bit to melt it together. While it’s still malleable you can pinch down the seal with your pliers to make it flat.

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4.  Take your cotton ball and pull it apart into more manageable strips of fluff.

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5.  Take the fluff and a toothpick and stuff your straw with the fluff!  Be careful not to use too much pressure or your toothpick could puncture a side, defeating the purpose of keeping your tinder waterproof!

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6.  Fill it up until you have just enough space to pinch down the end with your pliers with a bit of overhang once again.

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7.  Repeat step 3 on this other end and ta-da! You’ve got a fire straw!

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The purpose of firestraws is to keep a bit of tinder dry in your kit (I keep mine in my fire kit which I try to have waterproofed anyways, but they’re so small they can fit just about anywhere you want to stash ’em)  I made a total of 6 of these and have those in my kit right now.  One thing I have read is that some people will dip their cotton in petroleum jelly to make it burn longer and that kind of thing, but I haven’t tried that yet.

 

So why don’t you try and make your own firestraws and tell me how it goes! Or if you’ve made your own before or have other ideas of what to store in these mini-containers leave a comment!

Technical difficulties with analog crafts

So I had some scrap leather I purchased (though if I’d known just how ‘scrap’ it was I never would have paid money for it.) and I recently read this post by artofmanliness.com. So, having some energy and free time this evening I decided to try my hand at it! I printed out the blueprints full size and cut the D piece out of my nicest biggest scrap using a simple box cutter.  I had one of those nice fiskar self-healing cutting mats underneath it too. It started pretty well and my cuts were clean… but then I noticed something…

It was WAY TOO SMALL!

wallet1 wallet2

Now, this piece is supposed to be the outermost layer of the wallet and thus the biggest piece. When I realized that it was roughly the size of a dollar, I also realized i had made a horrible mistake.  Upon rechecking things out I found out that what I printed was pretty much completely off-scale and to top it off, after realizing this, adjusting, and checking it against my scraps again, I didn’t have any solid scraps big enough for that largest piece :T

So suffice to say I’m a bit disappointed, and I’ve added Leather to the list of things I’m going to buy when I get paid haha.

Although I’ll be checking my other pieces to see if I can’t make another type. Maybe a phone pocket slim wallet or something other than a billfold but we’ll see!

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