SMP Craft
12 Nov

NO-SEW COSPLAY CREATION: Spider-Woman!

I’ve yet to meet a Nerddom hobbyist who doesn’t make really cool stuff. There must be some scientific explanation for it.

Desirae May Friesen, Tor & Forge Books Associate Publicist, whose special guest post you’re about to read, is no exception.

Inspired by the visuals at New York Comic Con and compelled to cosplay, yet faced with the challenge of not being able to sew, she designed an amazing sewing-free painted costume!

TAKE IT AWAY, DESIRAE!

New York Comic Con: the largest gathering of creators and fans of all forms of nerdy entertainment on the East Coast. I attended this last fall and quickly realized the highlight of the convention is all of the amazing and creative costumes–or “cosplay.”

Anachronistic Black Widow and Winter Soldier (WOW). Flickr Image by Steven Leung via io9.com

I was awed–and inspired. Here was something that could unite two of my biggest hobbies: nerddom and crafts!

And I immediately knew what costume I wanted to start with. Spider-Man has always been my favorite superhero. Recently Marvel created an alternate universe where Peter Parker’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, is the one who gets bit by the spider, gets powers–and becomes Spider-Woman (aka Spider-Gwen).

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Lowe, Hine & Latour Take Readers to the ‘Edge of Spider-Verse’: Dave Richards via Comicbookresources.com

Now the question was, how? See, there’s one problem: I don’t know how to sew. I can sew on a button, but despite my mother’s patient tutelage (she’s a professional seamstress) I never really managed to finish any projects. But I would not be stopped!

I already had black leggings and I found a plain white hoodie for the top.

This is where it got tricky. Since cutting out the design and sewing it together was beyond my meager skills I decided to try creating the design with fabric paint. I have no experience with fabric paint. But I am nothing if not daring.

I outlined the pattern with masking tape, checking first that it would stick to the fabric and come off easily without leaving a mark. So far so good.

I read the directions for the paint and then used the entire bottle of black paint for the front. I started out using spray paint, which clearly worked better as a splatter design–it was challenging to get a thick, even layer. So for the rest of the design I switched to liquid fabric paint and painted it on with a foam brush, again outlining it with the masking tape to get the clean lines of the costume design.

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Use LIQUID Fabric Paint

Once the black paint dried completely, I painted the inside of the hood with red paint. The red paint bled through the thin white fabric so I improvised a fix by buying a bottle of white paint to coat the outside of the hood (and fix a few mistakes in other places).

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WHITE Fabric Paint Touch-Up

Now I had to figure out how to do the design on the inside of the hood. Once the red paint had dried, I used glow-in-the-dark blue raised paint to make the web pattern.

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Use GLOW-IN-THE-DARK BLUE RAISED Paint for the webbing

I don’t recommend making a project up as you go along. It is definitely easier to do your research ahead of time and plan out your steps. But I DO encourage you to try out a project even if you’ve never done something like it before.

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DESIRAE MAY FRIESEN: Marvel’s SPIDER-WOMAN aka SPIDER-GWEN

Figuring out how to create something new was a lot of fun, even if it didn’t always turn out the way I expected. And even if I have the worst costume at the next convention I go to, I know that I will have as much fun wearing it as I did making it!

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14 Feb

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY: Nothing says “I love you” like crafts, cats, and classic rap.

Today’s guest post is written by St. Martin’s Press Assistant Editor, Caitlin Dareff.

In honor of Valentine’s Day and all those star-crossed lovers and friends out there, here’s a little story about showing love through cross stitch.

This one goes out to you, Linnie…

My best friend and soul sister, Linnie, recently moved to Oakland, putting thousands of miles between us, as well as temporarily between her and her three beloved cats and husband, who would be following her out there later in the year. I knew she was missing home and her cat-children, and that she and Mike would eventually have a California residence that needed to be decorated. So I decided that the only thing to do, as is often the case, is cross stitch.

Inspired by a Facebook post Linnie had shared weeks before her move (we Facebook stalk the ones we love, right?), I decided to stitch for her a cat-tastic take on the Wu Tang Clan song, “C.R.E.A.M” (“Cash Rules Everything Around Me”). Because, after all, nothing says “I love you” like crafts, cats, and classic rap. Upon further research, I discovered that I would not be the first person to cross stitch this ode to Wu Tang and cats, but I went with my own take on it.

I chose a combination of all caps block lettering and all caps cursive to provide a balance of hard and soft. As I always do when starting a new project, I mapped it out on graph paper beforehand to determine spacing. I waited until I had finished stitching the lettering to decide what kind of cat pattern would best complement it. In my experience, when cross stitching a simple cat pattern, orange tabby and black come out best, so for this project I went with the tabbies for a pop of color.

One week later and I was ready to send Linnie her first housewarming present for her first west coast home, stitched with love.

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HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Check out our new February and March books!

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2 Dec

Knitting and Gilmore Girls by Kelsey Albertson

This week’s SMP Craft guest blogger is prolific knitter, Kelsey Albertson, who works in Macmillan’s Premium and Corporate Sales department.

You know those weeks that just make you shout “Oy with the poodles already!”? We all have them, and they are not fun. My favorite way to deal with these weeks is both lazy and productive.  Gilmore Girls marathon and knitting.

gilmoreknittingLorelai Gilmore is my hero, and listening to her sage advice (she is who taught me not to throw my life away for a guy unless he has a motorcycle, after all) while mindlessly knitting a scarf or two, is the single most comforting way to spend a day.

gilmoreknitting2I know that when most people marathon a tv show, they stick with the prescribed order of watching, but that is not the Gilmore way. I decided to skip season 1 entirely, since I’ve seen that the most, and jumped around between seasons 2, 4, and 5.  This is so much easier to do now that I don’t have to fumble with the DVDs and can just jump around on Netflix.   Once I had everything set up, I grabbed my yarn and my giant knitting needles (I like to use a size 15), and set to work. 6 cups of coffee, 4 episodes, and 2 skeins of yarn later, I had a couple of scarves ready to go.

BooksandYarn2Cheers to the perfect, absent-minded, zombie crafting afternoon.

New in December & January!

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17 Nov

Burlap Wreath by Heather Moscola

Today’s SMP Craft piece is written by Heather Moscola, executive assistant at Macmillan by day, closeted DIY-extraordinaire by night. She’s been married for five years with a partner she describes as “the most patient, loving, décor oblivious (thank gosh!!) man ever, Joe.” HeatherMoscolaThey share their home with two furry friends–Maxwell, a feisty little Maltese Chihuahua mix, and Milo, a curious Border Collie with a hint of Corgi.

PoochiesI’ve always loved the smell of burlap. Let’s blame it on a burlap Christmas sack as I had a child that was always full of little gifts from Santa on Christmas morning. Anyways, when burlap wreaths started to become a thing, I knew I had to have one. (We won’t discuss the fact that I still had a grapevine wreath sporting silk tulips in bright pinks and lush purples on the front door; or the fact that it had hung there for the last … 5 months). And so began my Etsy.com search.

burlapwreatheWell, let me tell you, there are some GORGEOUS wreaths out there. But, unfortunately, the majority of them have some not so stellar prices. So I sat back for a minute and said, “What if I just make my own?” I could completely customize it and maybe even switch it up for each season. So I looked up a few tutorials, headed to the craft store for some supplies and then got down to work.

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You will need a wire wreath form, burlap ribbon or a sheet of burlap cut into 4” strips, floral wire, wire cutters, and whatever seasonal decorations you love. I made my wreath for fall, so I grabbed a bunch of burgundy, orange and yellow silk flowers. Start by attaching the burlap to the innermost ring of the wreath with the wire. Next, push loops of burlap through each of the wire rings from behind.

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Then twist the burlap and scrunch it together to make it look ruffle-y and full. Repeat these steps all the way around until the wire form is full. Use the floral wire again to attach the end of the burlap to the form.

Now comes the real fun part – decorating it. Since I bought flowers, they all had long stems which I was able to just poke through the burlap and weave around the wire form in the back. If you’re using something smaller, i.e., Christmas balls or pinecones, use the floral wire to attach them to the wire form.

To hang the wreath, you can use a ribbon, or just place the wire form on a hook. Don’t forget, if you grow tired of the decorations, or just want to swap them out for the change of season, it’s easy to remove them and replace with something new.

ArrangingFor more Heather Moscola crafts, DIY tips and decorating mishaps, check out her blog SunsetHillCottage.

Check out our newest November title!

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30 Oct

Kwik Sew Harley Quinn Halloween Costume by Angela Craft

Today’s SMP Craft piece is written by special guest blogger Digital Marketing Manager Angela Craft AKA Batman villain Harley Quinn!

It’s been an exciting fall for comic book fans! Between new superhero shows like The Flash and Constantine and the huge Marvel Phase 3 announcements, there’s never been a better time to love comics and media. To celebrate the superhero spirit, as well as Halloween, this year I’m dressing up as Batman villain Harley Quinn, and making the costume from scratch.

Harley Quinn has many incarnations, so for this costume I drew my inspiration from the animated DC film Assault on Arkham, creating a Harley costume that wouldn’t leave me freezing in New York City in late October. The base costume is from two Kwik Sew patterns, meaning that from start to finish assembling the costume can be done in just a few hours. The top is Kwik Sew KP-3497 (view C), and the leggings are Kwik Sew KP-3636 (view A – stirrup pants may be passé but I want to keep the pants effortlessly tucked into my boots all night!). I used stretch jersey knit in burgundy and black, about a yard total of each.

Harley-Quin-ArkhamACHarleyQuinnHarley Quinn suppliesThe trickiest part of the costume is putting together the patchwork effect of the top. The trick is to sew your two colors of fabric together before making the first cut. Fold your fabric along the seam, and place the edge of the pattern on that fold just like you would normally. The leggings were easier, as each leg is one piece of fabric, so I could cut one of each color.

The final details are the collar and arm warmers. The collar is cut from a square of fabric as wide as my shoulders, with a triangle pattern cut into it. I’ve bulked it up a little bit with peel-and-stick felt. And while patterns for arm warmers exist, I simply sewed two tubes of fabric and cut holes for my thumbs.

Accessorize with a blonde pigtail wig (not pictured) and a maniacal smile!

Happy Geeky Halloween!

Check out our October and November titles!

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CAUGHT CRAFTING: SMPCraft’s Spotlight on NYC Crafting

SMPCRAFT #CAUGHTCRAFTING Thursday morning, Astoria, Queens. Accessorizing with a lovely temporary floral tattoo she learned to make from DIY Temporary Tattoos: Draw It, Print It, Ink It by Pepper Baldwin!

PROJECT OF THE MONTH: JUNE DIY Father’s Day Gifts to MAKE NOW

PROJECT OF THE MONTH: JUNE DIY Father’s Day Gifts to MAKE NOW

Father's Day is less than three weeks away -- Sunday, June 19th in the U.S. -- just enough time to start prepping for what would make dear old pops feel loved....What dad, what MAN, wouldn't want to get a bright red tool box full of homemade BBQ, bacon, and chili flavored chocolate? Or a handmade Paracord hammock? Does he play golf?--hand dipped tees? Does he like to hike? Enjoy nature and the great outdoors? How about homemade beef jerky? Or does he enjoy watching sports--Remote Control Cookie? What about beer? One of the coolest new items coming out of Japan is a Frozen Beer Slushy Maker by Kirin Ichiban that perfectly pairs with the DIY black and tan soap! Scroll and click for more homemade DIY Father's Day gift ideas sure to make pappy happy! Hashtag #SMPCRAFT #DIYFATHERSDAY!

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