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1  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Pesto made in a pestle and mortar and jetlag...and a bit of mindful creating on: September 01, 2015 02:06:02 PM
It was a number of years ago when i arrived back from Australia, via Bangkok, about 20 hours in transit in total, I was very very jetlagged.

the kind of jetlag that you don't know your name. Anyway for some reason, in a fit of insanity I had ordered a huge bag of fresh basil from a local farm, for when I got back.

So what else could I do but have friends around for some wine and make some pesto. I decided to see if there was a difference in taste between pesto made in a pestle and mortar, or in a food processor. I made both and it turns out that the pestle and morter one is better, but the difference is very slight. So use the food processor if you have a big bunch of basil.

Fast forward to today, I had a small bunch of basil and some roasted garlic sourdough and it was pesto time.


clove garlic
1-2 tbl sp olive oil
1-2 tbl sp fresh, finely grated parmesan
1 tbl sp fresh squeezed lemon juice
large handful of basil leaves.

1-Take a pinch of salt and pound a generous clove of garlic, or two.

2-Add a large handful of fresh basil leaves and pound until you get a green paste.

3-Add a tablespoon of pine nuts (these are better if toasted in a dry pan first, I didn't bother) pound, but leave them a little chunky

4-Add 1-2 table spoons of fresh, finely grated parmesan cheese and 1 tsp fresh lemon juice. Mix together with 1-2 tablespoons of good olive oil. Taste and see if you want more garlic, cheese or salt, make it exactly as you want it

You will end up with a vivid green, incredible paste. Eat it just as it is on good bread, or added to cooked pasta.

Even if you buy bottled pesto, it is worth trying this out, there is a world of difference.

2  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Completed Projects / using up cutouts from freezer paper stencilling tutorial on: September 01, 2015 01:31:48 PM
So my DD said to me, from the sofa, make me something...she is my stencil cutter in chief and so she does deserve to get something occasionally. I had saved this jack cutout, from a stencil that she had cut for me. This had come out in one piece and so I thought it could be used. And this tute was inspired by the fall nerd battles..I have never done them before, until now!

but how to use it, you can use this kind of thing with a bleach spray, as this gives a nice effect, but I wanted something more contained. So I thought I would use the cutout within a frame, but the colour of the tee shirt needed to be taken into account.

I wanted Jack to be white, so the background needed to be white. but I didn't want to waste paint and didn't want to have too thick layers of paint.

step 1, lay down the cutout--NB DO NOT IRON YET. Using masking tape make a border all around the cutout, getting quite close to it, remember we are trying to not use too much paint.

2, remove the cutout,

3 fill in the shape with the colour that you want the cutout to eventually be on your teeshirt. This will be the main colour

4 allow to dry,

5, fully dry, remove the masking tape

6 Iron on the cutout, in mine, this didn't stick as well to the paint layer as it does to the fabric, so you have to be careful with applying paint over this, use a dabbing rather than a brushing motion with your brush.

7 make another border outside of the cutout, This will be the final border around the design, so it needs to be regular and centered. I choose a square, but you could use any shape.

8. Paint your background colour, this goes over the cutout, and within the final border. In this design I wanted the eyes etc to be the same as the background colour. But it would be possible to mask off areas with more masking tape, and add a third colour.

9. peel off the cutout and take off the masking tape and enjoy!
3  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / patronus (harry potter) from a painting on pinterest on: August 22, 2015 10:27:24 AM
I recently did a personal swap with the fabulous lindyV321. She had this painting on pinterest and I painted a copy of it, my version is not exactly the same as I modified the antlers a tiny bit. Unfortunately I cannot find the name of the original artist to credit her/him here. This is the pinterest link

this is my version

4  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / Crows (corvids) new lino cut, fruits of a wonderfully crafty day alone on: August 04, 2015 10:10:27 AM
For the first time in ages I had the day alone, at home, no DD no SO, no work! And I got to print these lino cuts. I have been cutting them at odd moments over the last week and so I had a bash. I quite like how they turned out.

Corvids is the general family of crows, ravens, magpies etc. Did you know that their intelligence is equated to that of a 7 year old?

This fabric is an ikea one, with green and white banding, that is not a shadow along the bottom, it is a wash of darkish green..thought it might be interesting for this print.

They live in large social, hierarchical  groups, the babies, get to be babies for a while and play all sorts of games to learn to use their huge (relatively) brain. Pairs often mate for years.

They make and use tools. They have excellent facial recognition and pass on information about friendly and not friendly humans to other corvids. Some researchers believe they have a theory of mind.

another IKEA fabric, red and white this time, crying out for some printing.

Comments and advice welcome.
5  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / how to cheat at quilting, aka turn a thrift store find into a quick stripy quilt on: July 28, 2015 02:37:39 PM
 I received a bundle of 5 FQ in a swap, they were all US flag themed fabrics. I have an american friend who lives nearby who will be returning from a holiday in the US soon, leaving her siblings behind and so she'll be homesick.

these two things were meant to be together. It is about a double bed size and lovely and soft.

I also scored this very good condition quilt-store bought, not handmade- in a thrift shop for 5euro,  appliques of sporting motifs are not my style, or that of anyone else I know. It got a good wash and line dry, so it smells glorious.

5FQ are not a lot of fabric, but I chopped them up into rectangles all of the rectangles were the same size, I basically trimmed all the fq so they were the same size and got the largest rectangles I could, 8 from each. plus a few from a smaller bit of fabric I had. I went for reasonable precision, without doing my nut over each millimeter

Sewed them together with some white banding, this was to echo the actual stars and stripes and because I didn't have enough fabric. I wanted to cover the original motifs, but leave the edge of each block, so it would look pieced. This was what I came up with

safety pinned it down, so it was all square. And did some quick quilting, across each set of blocks and in the ditch on the long sides, turning under the raw edges. Of course as these things inevitably go, they started square and ended up all askew. As you can see in this one.

There was no way I was ripping it off and starting again, because without tacking the whole lot down, it was only going to move again-the quilt underneath is not perfectly flat, so it was never going to be pucker free. Instead I embraced the chaos with a couple of appliqued hearts on the corners, to hopefully distract the eye from the lack of alignment!

all done..all in all it took about 4 hours. Including this..

don't do this my friends, it really doesn't help the progress

Comments and criticism most welcome
6  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / lino cut on fabric, all over repeat mushrooms.. on: July 13, 2015 12:54:01 PM
So it was time for another lino cutting session, I have done a bit of research and worked out how to plan an all over repeat, one that continues on all side of the block. I know how to do it, but the execution needs a little practice. However I am happy with how it turned out.

Normal people choose a simple design to workout the bugs. Nah..I choose a ridiculously complicated one and eyeballed the registration,

still I like it

The first one in plain black

the second was the mix of red and black above, with a little hand colouring of the tops of the mushrooms

the final one was just using up red ink, hence the fade out at the bottom corner.

These are speedball screen printing fabric paints on an old thrift store cotton sheet.

close up of the design

No idea what I will do with the fabric now.
7  CLOTHING / Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects / quick and dirty, make a new dress out of two small (thrift shop) ones-Tute on: June 19, 2015 07:30:49 AM
I have these two dresses in my stash, both I really like, neither of them fit, I knew they weren't going to fit when I bought them, I got them in a thrift shop for about a total of $10. So today I pulled out my stash of burda magazines as I had decided that I needed a new dress, but none of the patterns were exactly right. But I was going to modify one, then I spotted these and thought, *feck making a new one* do something with these.

so I did. I made this and while I was making it, I did a tutorial.

A few things to pay attention to while doing this, and it can be done for most dresses.
1-Make sure the fabrics are similar weights and similar stretchiness, for bonus points, similar fibre types.
2-If possible choose two dresses that have the same length side seam, this is not essential, but makes things go a lot faster.
3-you don't have to match patterns or colours exactly, if you use a dark solid colour, it will give the illusion of being slimmer, if that is what you want.

Steps to merge two dresses.
A-Decide which is going to be the main dress, which the sacrificial one. I love a wrap dress and the swirly one (great pattern for lumps and bumps) was my main one. I also like the blue one, but it was clearly made for a waif, so the amount of fabric I would have to put into the side seams would look odd.

B- cut off the side seams of the sacrificial dress (giving a nice clean edge to sew with) With this dress, there were a few darts, so pin them, to stop them opening up before you sew the side seams again.

C-You need to measure you and measure the main dress, to decide how much of the side of the sacrificial dress to add in. I matched the armholes and the hem and angled it out a bit (the tape measure shows the side seam on the blue dress), this meant that I didn't have to redo either (quick and dirty!) plus this is a stretch fabric, so very forgiving, you will have to measure more carefully in a non stretch fabric.

D. Cut the required piece out of the sacrificial dress, This can be a wedge as in my pix, as I wanted a fuller skirt, or it can be pretty much a rectangle, or even an hourglass shape, depending on your shape, measure bust, waist and hips of the main dress and you. I am lazy so I eyeballed it and cut down the side of the sacrificial dress (jersey is forgiving!) I Folded that piece over on itself and cut a second time, to give a wedge shaped piece. The blue dress that I sacrificed had a brown band, so I kept that in to define the waistline

E Pin and sew into the main dress.

Some things to remember as you sew

-if your sacrifical dress is shorter than the main dress, you will have to cut a panel from the back of the dress, remember to add half an inch or so to turn over at the armhole and the hem.

-Modern sewing machines wil stretch stitch on my machine, it means that the seams when sewn also have stretch, when you are sewing them, it helps to have a walking foot, But do not stretch the fabric as you are sewing, I push the fabric towards the needle so there is a little hill before it hits the needle. If you stretch as you sew, the seams will be distorted.

-The weight of the fabric off the table before it hits the needle can also distort the seams, so it helps to pin the sides together along the length and support as much of the fabric on the sewing table as possible.
8  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / how can I make bath bombs that equal lush in scent &power-mine are weak on: June 19, 2015 04:31:13 AM
Like many I am addicted to Lush..mostly when I am near a shop, I go in, use the testers and recoil in horror at the prices.

Last january, I was in their shop in Dublin and they had a huge box of bath bombs for half price. I talked myself into it and brought them home with glee. I adore a long hot bath at the end of the week, I stored the box outside of the bathroom because I was worried about humidity and the box was pretty, the hallway smelled glorious for months. I cut some in half to make them last longer, I divided the bubble bars in 3.

But now they are all gone. Sad

I have made bath bombs before, I have citric acid etc in the  house and a ton of essential oils. But I have never succeeded in making them smell as strongly as Lush, or colour the water as much (although that is less of an issue)

Has anyone succeeded, is the trick to use perfume oils as well as essential oils? I did a lot of experimentation trying to replicate their Karma soap blend a few years ago (recipe is on here somewhere) I made an amazing blend, but it still wasn't the same, then I looked closer at the package and saw 'perfume' . So is the answer to add some lush clone perfumes to my bath bombs? If so, where is a good supplier. I am Ireland and not everwhere delivers over here.
9  CLOTHING / Shoes: Completed Projects / How to make a cheap pair of flipflops look pretty with beads..Tutorial on: June 18, 2015 03:59:27 PM
I was shopping today and saw very pretty beaded flipflops in Monsoon, for about 50euro (about $50) so I went to a cheap shoe shop and bought a pair of plain ones for 5..that and a handful of beads and about half an hour to make these.

this is how they looked to start. Just make sure that as well as cheap. they are comfortable!

So how to do it. Use dental floss, strong, cheap, no special trip to the craft store and you can knot it properly. First thing to do is take about a yard or so, double it up and thread both ends through a standard sewing needle-my flip flops had a softish rubber 'straps' so a regular sewing needle was fine, you might need something sturdier.

start at the end of one strap, working from the top, push the needle through, this will leave the double end of the thread at the top, bring the needle back up through the strap and pass it through the loop of the dental floss, pull tight. This will secure it without any knots.

then thread some beads on. Once you have beaded an inch or so, secure it by pushing the needle through the strap and back up again.
When you come back to the topside of the strap, pass the floss a second time through a bead that is already threaded, this will make it extra secure. Continue beading all around the band, use a nice big pretty bead at the aapex (ie at the bit that goes through your toes). Secure the beads every inch or so by stitching through the band.

Remember in general to use beads going from smaller at the sides to larger at the apex.

I added a second string of beads at the apex, as there was already a shiny plastic bead there and it needed something more, I also added a dangly charm.

When you have worked your way from the apex to the end of the strap, secure the last bead by going through the strap and back up again. Then take one of the threads out of the needle, bring that through either the band again, or a bead and tie a secure double knot with the other piece of floss. Cut the ends to about an inch, thread them through the beads to neaten.

I used a piece of sandpaper to rub off the printed size..Taking these to France with me Smiley

wear and enjoy
10  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Terry Pratchett tribute swap GALLERY on: May 30, 2015 01:22:54 PM
Post your goodies here...

link to original thread. http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=438988.0
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