Tag Archive: Project

This week I’ve got a spectacularly done Toothless Plush by nooby-banana.


But, you know what’s better than a Toothless Plush? A Toothless Plush with a DIY Tutorial, that’s what.  I’d totally make one of these if I wasn’t woefully incompetent at sewing.  It’s just flipping adorable.

Work in Progress: Mail-a-Hug Scarf

One thing that I’ve been working on in the crochet world this winter is what I’m calling a “Mail-a-Hug Scarf.” The basic idea behind it is to design a scarf that incorporates bits of amigurumi in order to simulate a hug for a person you can’t hug in person. It’s a project that was born out of a comment by somebody about wanting to email somebody a hug… or something like that.

Anyway, the project has several goals:

1) Simplicity of design: The primary idea behind the scarf is to develop a generalized pattern and method so that a wide variety of people with different skill sets can produce these. In this respect, the general design will be emphasized over any specific pattern (though producing a template pattern is also part of the project).

2) Modularity of design: Making the design separable into component parts is a big part of succeeding in part 1. Specifically, the scarf will consist of three main parts: A base rectangular scarf, two paws, and an amigurumi head. By keeping these separated, it gives more latitude for mixing and matching separate patterns into the general construction.

3) Speed of design: Ideally, it would be nice if one of these scarves could be tossed together in as little as a month, so that a hug can be sent on somewhat short notice.

Basically, the construction will consist of a base rectangular scarf that’s around 5′ long and 5-6″ wide. From there, two paws or hands are designed to attach to either end of the scarf. Finally, an amigurumi or plush head is made to fit in the middle of the scarf. This may be ballasted with a small, external body to add more structure and keep the head from being too floppy.

By keeping the pattern generalized, substitutions can be readily made, such as using knitting or sewing to make the scarf instead of crochet.

So far, my first prototype has rather failed the third metric. I’ve been working on it since mid January and am not even halfway done. Most of the problem is that I picked a stitch that builds up very slowly, so the Mk 2 prototype will likely use an easier and faster building stitch. But, even though it’s kind of a failure, the first prototype looks rather nice.



The scarf is being made with chunky wool roving, which is very soft, really heavy, and quite warm. The whole thing is being crocheted length-wise using front-post half-double crochet, which gives it a look and bulk that I find very pleasing. However, in my next attempt I’m likely going to go with either a front-post double crochet or a front-post treble crochet, which should fill up much faster without significantly affecting the quality and look of the scarf.

I’ll do more updates on this as I get further along with the project.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

Paracord “Survival” Bracelets

Survival bracelets have always been a bit of a sticking point with me. They’re neat, for sure, but the idea that they would really be extremely useful in an actual survival situation seems dubious to me. Most bracelets use around 10 feet of cordage to make, which is not really a lot when you find yourself in desperate need of cord. Honestly, my paracord water bottle holders, which use 100′ of cord, seem like they would be a better companion in a situation where you suddenly and desperately need cordage.

Either way, though, survival bracelets are neat despite their dubious utility.

Last Thursday my parents visited for an extended weekend (the primary reason I missed a lot of posts since last Wednesday) and my father brought a bunch of paracord knotting supplies with him. This included a few buckles and 100 feet of some nice camouflage paracord he found at a sporting goods store. So, on a few of the evenings after we were done with our daily project (something I’ll share next week after I get it finished up this weekend), we experimented a bit with the survival bracelets. Granted, my father was the only one of us who got all the way through making one, and I didn’t think to take a picture of it.

The on he put together was a two-color Solomon Bar bracelet using emerald green and his camouflage.

On my end of things, I played around with a Genoese zipper sinnet bracelet that turned out rather nice. Unfortunately, I used way too much cord in my attempt, so I unraveled the thing instead of completing the bracelet. I plan to go back and re-do it with a more appropriate amount of cordage. Since I’m making it for TacoMa’am, she’s understandably anxious for me to get cracking.

Once I actually get one completed, I’ll take pictures and throw them on the blog for you all.

-Confusion is a state of mind or is it.

A co-worker recently (within the last 6 months) bought himself a smoker to handle all his various smoking needs (Fish, Venison Jerky, Bacon, etc).  He paid just under $300 for it and has been smoking just about everything he can get his hands on with it.  I’m a big fan of smoked foods, so his new smoker has wakened in me the desire to smoke things, things he has yet to smoke (like cheese).  Since I don’t have a smoker myself, I’m living vicariously through his smoker at the moment.  By that, I mean I gave him a load of peppers to smoke for me.

Smoked peppers are awesome, and pretty easy to do.  You smoke peppers for about 8-16 hours, or until they get crispy.  From there you can either keep them as dried peppers, or you can use a spice mill to make your own homemade chili or chipotle powders.

Having another person do it for me is nice and all, but I really need to get my own smoker so I can cater the results to my own exacting standards.  If only there was some cheaper way to get a smoker.

I guess I’m going to need to make some plans to hit the good-will for a spare pan and a clay pot… sometime after I finally get around to finishing that yarn ball winder.  Maybe I can distract the toddler for a few hours by giving him the power drill.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

YOINK! Detergent.

I couldn’t think of anything to post today, so instead I’m stealing somebody else’s post! Well, I’m linking it anyway:

Ghostcat’s homemade laundry detergent tutorial.

Ghostcat is an efriend I met over at YouSuckatCraigslist and is currently part of the Library of the Damned crew. She’s a very crafty soul and has a lot of her projects up on her blog, so check it out while you’re over there.

Her laundry detergent guide is very good and TacoMa’am has attempted to make it twice; once successfully so far. The first time was a disaster because we used hotel soap, but the second time worked great! We used regular Dial the second time. Since Ghostcat recently had an fiasco of her own using hotel soap to try to make detergent, we’ve been cautioning people away from hotel soap. There’s a foaming additive in hotel soap that makes it lather up easier (probably required because hotel water is notoriously the hardest a person is likely to find). When you combine this additive with laundry soda, it foams up like adding vinegar to a box of baking soda. Normal soap (like Dial) doesn’t have this additive, so there is very little foaming action.

Doing a full batch of laundry detergent using Ghostie’s guide produces enough for about a year’s worth of laundry at the TacoHut and costs about $7. A pretty good deal, I think. And, it cleans just as well as any detergent we’ve purchased from the store.

Now if only I could convince her to share her soap recipes.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

A visitor to my blog requested that I post a picture of the new-style car-seat strap I’d made in an earlier post, so while I certainly went back and did that, I figured a whole follow-up post is merited since I really didn’t do a very good job of describing the process.

So, I made another one and took pictures as I put it together:

What you’ll need:
3 sturdy rings*
1 length of sturdy rope or cord (between 3 and 6 feet long.  closer to 3 if doing a single loop, and closer to 6 if doing a double as shown here)

Oh no!

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One of the crafts I’ve practiced the longest is Origami.  I haven’t done much with it in a long time, as I flit from craft to craft like a spastic butterfly at times, but I do dabble with it during the occasional moment of free time when I don’t have much available to entertain me.  Since all you need for Origami is paper, it’s an easy craft for spontaneous entertainment.

One of my all-time favorite origami books is Unit Origami: Multidimensional Transformations by Tomoko Fuse.  It’s a wonderful collection of origami projects based on combining finite units into potentially infinitely expanding systems.  It’s a math geek’s dream book of origami.  I’ve read and used this book more than any other origami book I own, and I own more than a few.  The draw of Unit Origami is that each individual piece is simple to build, but recombination of those units can lend great complexity to the piece.  And certain pieces can be grown almost indefinitely.  The strength of the substrate (paper) being the only real limit to how expansive the structure can be, since at some point the structure will collapse under its own weight if built too large.

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One of the things that we at the TacoHut have found invaluable is the Car-Seat Luggage Strap. It’s a great little invention that allows you to attach a forward facing car-seat onto rolling carry-on luggage.

However, these straps cost upwards of $15 if you buy them, which I thought was a little steep for what amounts to 2′ of nylon webbing and a few D-rings.  So, as a crafty fellow who’s also a cheapskate, I made my own.  And then, recently, I made another.

It’s a pretty easy thing to make.  Really, all you need is a strong loop of material, and 3 attachment points.  For my first one, I really over-thought it.  I was too married to the idea that nylon webbing HAD to be the material.  Even so, the whole project cost less than $6 to put together.  For this version, what you’ll need is about 2 feet of 1″ Nylon webbing, a 1″ double adjustable parachute buckle, and 3 D-rings.  Run the nylon webbing through the parachute buckle so that it forms a loop (run each end of the nylon webbing through each end of the buckle).  Now, put the three D-rings on the loop that you made.  If your D-rings are small, you might have to put them on the loop before securing one of the ends to the buckle.

And boom, you’re done.  You probably will also want to secure your webbing ends so that they don’t run back through the buckle if you hit a big bump.  I used a little masking tape to make sure they stayed at an angle where they wouldn’t slip through the buckle.

Not pretty, but very functional.

To use it, all you need to do is put your car-seat on one side of the luggage, and this on the other side.  Then, you attach each of the anchor hooks of the car-seat to one of the D-rings on the strap. Like so:

Tighten all the anchor straps and you’re good to go!

There IS a toddler in that car-seat, but he’s a ninja.

The strap is plenty strong for holding even with a toddler in the seat.  You may want to make sure your luggage is going to be strong enough to take the extra weight though.  We’ve used this little gizmo for two years now and it’s a big space saver when it comes to traveling.  Since we have to take a car-seat with us anyway (both for on the plane and in the car when we get somewhere) it’s a handy way to avoid having to bring a stroller, which we typically have lined up already at our destination so bringing one is redundant.

Anyway, last weekend TacoMa’am was telling her sister about this handy-dandy strap.  I was volunteered to make another one and I figured that with my new surplus of 550 paracord that I could whip something up for less money than the first one.  So, I took 3 D-rings and slipped them on a 3′ section of paracord then tied the ends together with a triple fisherman’s bend. Really, the triple was over-kill, but I really didn’t want it failing when my sister-in-law loaded the knot down with a child.  For practical purposes, the double fisherman’s bend* is probably sufficient.

I’ll post up a picture of the new “strap” later, as I don’t have it on my computer yet and I’m too lazy to hook the memory card up for transferring it right now.  Comparitively, this paracord version cost about half.  It was roughly $3 for the D-rings, and it used about 15 cents worth of paracord.  Unfortunately the D-rings do not work so well when not using Nylon strap, so next time I’m thinking it would be better to use circular rings.  Or possibly some small carabiners.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

*If you don’t know how to do the double fisherman’s bend, go and learn how to do it right now.  It’s one of the most important knots and you need to know it.  Even if you never use it, you need to know it.

UPDATE: Here’s the picture of the new strap:

As you can see, it’s much as I described it, a circle of cord with three rings.

I posted a step-by-step guide on making a strap out of paracord here.

Somehow, over the past several weeks, I managed to completely forget about this dice bag that I made for myself featuring the Crest of Hyrule from the Legend of Zelda series.

It’s a tapestry crochet piece made with Lion Brand Wool Ease Denim Twist yarn and that Kool-Aid dyed yarn I made. The cinch is a length of camouflage blue 550 paracord since I find that I have a preference for the strength this provides over using braided or chained yarn.

This bag is significantly larger than the Triforce bag I made earlier, roughly 3x the volume. That will fit a LOT of dice. The Triforce bag has already moved on to a new home, so sadly I won’t be featuring a give-away for that dice bag. My apologies for that.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

So, I got off my butt and finally got the third section put together. I’ve wrapped everything up into a set of PDFs and uploaded them to my site. There are updated links on the project page, but I’ll also toss them here:

Cut Diagrams

This is the procedure up through section 3, the crank barrel. I’m sure it’s rife was mistakes, poor spelling, and incorrect grammar. I apologize for that, but I’m my only editor. And the truth is: my editor has no idea what he’s doing.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?