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1  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Harry Potter Character Ornaments on: December 02, 2014 10:24:46 AM
For the Harry Potter Holidays swap, all of my partners had listed their favorite character in their sign-up sheet.  What I came up with was an altered tin ornament featuring a photo of everyone's fave.  My daughter helped me with the name banners, I am just terrible with that sort of thing.  I was enchanted and inspired by Knickertwist's Hogwarts House Cards - http://blog.pixiehill.com/2014/09/hogwarts-house-cards.html

These were super fun to make!  Close-ups below of each one.  









2   / SEWING IN GENERAL / 2H2014 Featured Machine Embroidery Projects on: November 22, 2014 01:36:41 PM
Featured Machine Embroidery Projects

Walking Dead Felt Coasters by Bobbysgirl   


Snarky free motion pillow by thisbirdsabsurd   


Cthulu Wall Hanging by suereal   






3  COOKING / Dessert / Super Easy Peppermint Bark on: November 18, 2014 08:41:50 AM
I make peppermint bark this time of year, it's great to have on hand when company comes to visit and my family always asks for it.  If you buy it already made, it's crazy expensive.  Why not make some yourself?  It only has four ingredients:

Bag of chocolate chips (milk, dark, whatever you like)
Bat of white chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon of peppermint flavoring
6 candy canes, crushed

I start by melting the chocolate in the microwave.  You can also do this over a double boiler but I find the microwave works just fine if you do it in 15 second intervals and keep it stirred.  This gets poured into an 8 by 8 inch pan that's lined with parchment paper.

I only let this set up for about 5 minutes before melting the white chocolate chips the same way.  Once the white chocolate is melted, I stir in the peppermint flavoring and then drop it by spoonfuls on top of the melted chocolate then swirl it all together.  The reason I do it this way is I've found in the past if I wait until the first layer has set up, the bark has a tendency to separate between the two chocolate layers.

The last step is to sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top and push them in gently with your fingers to make sure they set.  Here's a secret... I buy candy canes after Christmas at super sale prices and just keep them in a cabinet until the following year.  They keep really well.  *shhhhh*   Wink

Once the entire pan has solidified, lift the parchment paper out, cut the bark and package for gifts.  Or just eat it.   Cheesy

4  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Completed Projects / Halloween Kiitchen Towels on: October 27, 2014 01:07:41 PM
Two Halloween-themed kitchen towels using awesome Urban Threads designs.  Moonlit Manor and Ghostly Graveyard.  I added the sentiments.   Smiley



5  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Zombie Tote on: October 27, 2014 10:02:05 AM
I fell in love with this zombie fabric from Riley Blake and knew I had to make something for coocoosnest with it.  She told me she needed a bag of certain dimensions to carry sheet music to a festival she attends every year so I winged it.  The lining is black spiderweb fabric.

6  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Completed Projects / Poisonous Napkins on: October 27, 2014 09:55:42 AM
I made these for Knickertwist in the most recent IYP swap.  The pretty poison embroidery files came from Urban Threads (love them!).  I couldn't resist putting poisonous plants on dinner napkins.  The designs include Bloodroot, Deadly Nightshade, Poison Ivy, Hemlock, Hellebore and Wolfsbane. 

Wiping your mouth with this one might cause itching.   Cheesy
7  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 102 ENTRIES / Wonky Gorey Quilt on: September 06, 2014 07:16:23 AM
When the fantastic Knickertwist agreed to be my partner for the current Invite Your Partner swap my first emotion was panic, as in what on earth am I going to make her?  Then I remembered she hosted the Edward Gorey swap and I had some Alexander Henry Ghastlies fabric in my stash that is so very Gorey-esque and know that she has pinned a quilt or two in the past so decided on a lap quilt for her. This was my first try at a wonky quilt, I found it lots of fun to do!



Here's a closeup of one of my favorite squares.


And another. 
8  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Halloween Placemats on: July 01, 2014 02:14:53 PM
I made these placemats for quaggy in the Halloween in June swap.  She had mentioned in her questionnaire that she'd enjoy a set of them.  They are all the same except for the central images, which all are inspired by vintage monster movies. 


Here is an 'action shot' from quaggy because I didn't think to get a photo of them in place on my table before I sent them (duh!)   Cheesy
9  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Living Off The Land on: June 19, 2014 10:06:30 AM
My husband and I have been feeding ourselves for a few years now and have learned so much in the process!  A few years before we began this adventure, we stocked up on how-to books so had some good book learning and reference materials on hand.  I've been putting food by and making soap for many years and have always had an herb garden so had a tiny bit of a background but no clue what we were getting ourselves into.  It's probably a good thing!  Our farm had two horses and a donkey with a very poor fence and small barn when we bought it.  Good fencing was one of our first expenditures, followed by a big barn built to our specifications (hay storage, feed room, tractor bay and lots of shelter space) a few years later.  

As far as farm animals go, we thought we'd start with chickens but actually found ourselves with two guardian dogs and three sheep one fine afternoon.  Two tiny goat kids came along a few months later.  Here are a few of our breeding stock.  


Our border collie Jack helps work our sheep.  He's trained to both voice and whistle commands.  He's amazing.  See the fading orange dots on the sheep's foreheads?  They all got vaccinations, hoof trims and health checks last week.  We corral them all together then mark them with stock markers as each is done to make sure no one was missed.  Having large animals means you have to learn to do a lot of things yourselves, it's not easy to get them to the vet.  My husband and I were both EMTs so have been comfortable splinting broken bones, administering shots and assisting with deliveries as needed.


We recently got a great pyrenees puppy Lizzy, who will grow up to be about 120 pounds and will guard our animals some day.  Right now, she's just a ball of energy.


We keep a few dairy goats that I milk and make cheese from.  My husband built my milking stand. Before we started this adventure, I took a three day farmstead cheesemaking course at NC State U and I learned a lot about cheesemaking from just reading books.  I also purchase milk from the grocery store for making cow's milk cheeses.  Not having a dairy breed of sheep hasn't kept us from trying to get sheeps milk, but it took three of us a half hour to get about a quart so it's only been attempted once.   Cheesy


Here's a long range view of our garden.  We're up to 14 raised beds now plus 4 inside the greenhouse.  We try to grow just enough of each thing for ourselves, and also try to keep all of the beds planted Spring through Fall.  The garden is surrounded by a fishing wire fence to help keep deer out.  We also have a separate in-ground area for potatoes and asparagus.  We save a lot of things to replant every year, like garlic, shallots, potatoes and vegetable seeds.  We also have an orchard with apple, peach, cherry, apricot and pear trees but have yet to get one piece of fruit out of it so have kind of given up.  Stoopid deer!


The greenhouse is used as a season extender. We're able to start tomato and pepper seeds indoors in January because we know we'll have the greenhouse available in April to move the plants into.  We've also overwintered cool crop vegetables such as carrots and kohlrabi with great results.  


Here's a view of a typical daily harvest from last Summer.  Tomatoes, hot peppers and shiitake mushrooms which we grow on logs.


This is what I harvested this morning.  A half a bed of shallots and some pickling cucumbers.


We also grow microgreens year round inside the house. We've dedicated a room just for that adventure.  This is our fifth year for those.  Of everything we do here, it's the microgreens that keep us at home for the most part.  They have to be watered twice a day.


We have two hives but lost our bees over the winter.  We plan to order more in December so should be back in business with honey next Spring.  Picking up bees is a pretty exciting day!  You drive ever so slowly with tens of thousands of bees in the back seat of your car.  


As you can see, we did eventually get chickens.  They arrive in the mail as 2-3 day old chicks and get moved into a brooder under lights until they have enough feathers to stay warm.  It's a pretty exciting phone call from the P.O. when chicks arrive.


My husband built a chicken tractor to raise chicks on pasture.  The goats think it's a toy.


If anyone would like advice on anything we do, feel free to shoot me a PM.  Or if you would like to know of a good book on a particular topic.  We still have that extensive library and refer to it often.   Smiley
10  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Alice In Wonderland Spool on: June 15, 2014 04:10:11 AM
I made this for PerfectlyBohemian in the Altered Spool Swap.  Alice in Wonderland was near the top of her list of themes.  I started poking around in my stash and realized I had a good start on some Alice related embellishments but couldn't figure out where to find a spool just the right size for what I envisioned.  I noticed some clearance polyester cord on clearance at WalMart and talked the salesperson into letting me have the spool if I bought the last of the cord, so for 90 cents I was all set!


I appliqued some butterflies on a bit of embellished dot fabric and that became the base background.  I added a white rabbit and 'drink me' potion.


There are also Alice playing cards in the garden.


And a lock and key amongst the flowers, butterflies and ladybugs.


I made the tables for the top, using a real pocketwatch face for one of them.  I made the macaroons and glazed cake out of polymer clay.  It's a little hard to see, but there's a mad hatter's hat under one of the tables.


A nice touch, the 'Curiouser and Curioser' locket on top of the spool opens to images of the White Rabbit and Cheshire Cat.  


Alice sits on another spool wrapped with fancy trim and beads.  
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