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1  Craftsters Canada Meetup 2016 June 24-26 2016 in Discussion and Questions by Onyxnox on: February 10, 2016 02:58:52 PM
This is a discussion that a bunch of us have been having in the Friends of Craftser forum, and we wanted to bring it out to the rest of Craftster in case members with non-Friends status also wanted to join in on the fun...  I know I am very excited about this myself!

Underthemountain started this, and I am cutting and pasting the proposed plan...


ETA: we've got a date! - June 24-26  2016 and a place Hamilton
Many of us are staying at this hotel: Hamilton Sheraton Hotel,116 King St W, Hamilton, ON, L8P4V3 Canada.  You can try tripadvisor.com to get a good rate.

Information spreadsheet (Workshops/Transportation/Hotels/Places to Visit)

Friday 6/24
- People already in town/arriving
- Afternoon meet up in hotel lobby?
- Group dinner at local pub (plan this ahead/reservations) - any crafting or just socializing? Exchange meet up gifts.

Saturday 6/25
- Morning breakfast social hour (plan this ahead/reservations)
- Visit Wulf's workshop in Toronto - shibori and other messy craft workshops? for those interested (or we can stay local in Hamilton and find someplace for workshops there?)
- Afternoon sightseeing at stores/locations in Toronto/Hamilton
- Group dinner at local pub (plan this ahead/reservations)

Sunday 6/26
- Morning breakfast social hour (plan this ahead/reservations)
- Open for whatever, last minute sight seeing, etc
- Departure from Hamilton and general area...

Definitely coming!

Come and join in the fun!
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2  Re: One Tiny Bird Thing Round Two GALLERY in The Swap Gallery by Onyxnox on: February 05, 2016 03:16:20 PM
Wow - love the gallery so far!  The owls are wonderful and I already was in love with the raven and Ludi's piece from their posts.

I received from pinkmichk today - she made me a sweet pheonix hoop and I can't wait to hang it up on my hoopla wall!

I love hooplas and I especially love tiny ones!

I sent today too - I hope she likes what I made her!
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3  One Tiny Winter Thing 2016 swap - send outs Feb 14 in The Swap Gallery by Onyxnox on: February 05, 2016 01:40:04 PM

Post them as you get them people!

Please remember to PM myself and your partner when you send and receive!

Original discussion posts here


lindyv321 (sent 02/06/ rec. 02/08) <-----> blupaisan (sent 02/05)
cmarion3 (sent Feb 9) <-----> Wulf
aisy <-----> BigBangMomma (sent 02/10)
Onyxnox <-----> astrangeone
bec99 (sent Feb 13) <-----> AnnChen

feedback given
late with communication
no communication/contact organizer
negative feedback given

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4  Lemon Blueberry cake - gluten free and yummy in Recipes and Cooking Tips by Onyxnox on: January 18, 2016 02:22:05 AM
We went over to visit some friends this weekend.  I know that they loved fresh baked goods, and especially blueberry and lemon anything.  They used to be our neighbours, but I had not seen them in a long time (our work schedules tend to be opposite unfortunately).  I was going to make a couple of old favourites, but with Jim being diagnosed in the last year as Celiacs I did not want to exclude him, so I modified a couple of recipes to make everyone happy. 

This is a coffee cake I made and it turned out to be quite nice!

A lemony streusel topping can be added or lemon-sugar crust, but it really wasn't necessary.

Lemon Blueberry Cake

(modified from Cybele Pascal's Blueberry Boyfriend Bait)

makes 16 servings (in an 8x8 pan, I cut them into 2x2" pieces)

2 C Gluten Free flour blend (I used Cybele Pascal's basic flour blend)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (if the flour blend doesn't have gum already added)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temp
finely grated rind of one lemon
juice of one lemon
milk (I gave no measure for a reason - see in recipe)
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen, tossed with 1 tbsp flour blend

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare a 8x8 inch pan by greasing, and dusting with gluten free flour, tapping out excess (don't skip this step, the cake will stick more without both steps, or lining with parchment paper).

Whisk together flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine juice of lemon and milk to make 3/4 cup in total, mix well, set aside.  Tip, if you roll the lemon firmly before grating, pressing hard, then after grating, microwave it for 15-30 seconds, you will get more juice out of the lemon!

In mixer bowl, combine butter and sugars, and mix on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix on medium to blend well, scraping down the sides as needed. Add vanilla and finely grated lemon rind and mix well.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on medium for about 15 seconds.

Add half of the milk mixture and mix for 20 seconds.

Add half of the remaining flour and mix, then the remaining milk mixture , mix, then the remaining flour, and mix, scraping down the sides as needed.

Pour 1/3-1/2 of batter into prepared pan.  Gently fold the blueberries into remaining batter and pour into pan.

Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, or until the top is golden.  Double check with a toothpick inserted in center of pan and making sure it comes out clean.  Remember, it can be harder to tell with gluten free baked goods as they are more moist.

Cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before lifting out with parchment paper.  Do not try to remove paper until fully cooled, unless you turned it out upside down.  Gluten free cakes seem to be more moist, less elastic, and more delicate than wheat flour based cakes!  Serve warm or at room temperature.

A bit more on my blog if interested - it also has the links to the original recipes and flour blend
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5  One Tiny Winter Thing 2016 swap - sign ups January 08-23, send outs Feb 14 in ACTIVE SWAPS WHERE SIGN-UP PERIOD HAS CLOSED by Onyxnox on: January 08, 2016 09:05:38 AM


Swap name:  One Tiny Winter Thing 2016
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: Onyxnox
Sign-up date range: January 08, 2016 - January 23, 2016
Date to send item by:  February 14, 2016

Limited to a certain number of people? (optional): 12

Restricted to people who all live in the same country? YES/NO - no
If so, which country? Not applicable

Additional Age requirement? no
Swap Organizer himself/herself meets these conditions:
- Has fully read the Swap Info Guide: YES
- Has successfully completed two swaps as a participant: YES
- Is not organizing more than three swaps right now: YES
- Will recruit a co-organizer or give all details to a Swap Moderator if this swap has more than 25 participants: not applicable
- Is at least 18 years old: Sadly, yes

Swap Organizer will check each participant to make sure they meet these conditions:
- Has been a member for at least one month: YES
- Has posted at least 15 times: YES
- Has completed one swap successfully before signing up for multiple swaps at a time: YES
- Is not currently signed up for more than five swaps: YES
- Does not have any negative feedback: YES
- Participant has agreed that he/she is at least 16 years old: YES
- If within the US, understands that Delivery Confirmation number is required for this swap: YES
- If outside the US, understands that a mailing receipt copy is required for this swap: YES

Details of swap:
This will be a One Tiny Thing Swap with a winter theme.  That means a physically small item made with large degrees of creativity, artistry, skill, and/or effort.  We are all going to try to cram our love of creating and winter into an area no larger than 4"x4"x4" (maximum, if you can create beautifully smaller than that, go for it!).

The medium for each person's creativity is unlimited - if you want to make jewelry, go for it.  If you want to make a miniature scene in an expresso cup, go for it, knit a teeny tiny snowman, go for it - it can be fabric, fiber, polymer clay, glass, paper, whatever one desires.  Just keep in mind the spirit of the swap - maximum artistry and effort in a small item, and communicate/stalk your partner.

There will be no extras in this swap, it is just for the one item.  The secret phrase is Jack Frost is a nippy little bugger.

A gallery will be posted after send-outs, and while photos are not mandatory, I will expect good communication, which to me means a minimum of communicating when you send and receive as PMs to myself and your partner, and an acknowledgement post about the item received in the gallery.  

If there is no communication about sending by the two week point after the send out date, a temporary negative feedback will be given to the sender.  This can be reversed with evidence of sending (a viable tracking number, or postage receipt, re-sending package, or partner receiving would be examples).

If you want to participate, information to send to organizer:

Name of swap:  One Tiny Winter Thing 2016
Craftster username:
Email address:
Your real name:
Mailing address including the country:
Would you be willing to ship to an address outside your own country?
Confirm that are at least 16 years old: (YES/NO)

1.  List some favourite winter things you like (snow, icicles, winter nights, Christmas, winter Solstice, wooly sweaters, snowmen, yellow snow, whatever)...

2.  List some of your favourite winter activities (skiing, skating, apre ski, cuddling up by a warm fire with cocoa and a book, making snow angels, etc)...

3.  List what kind of crafted item are you hoping for (eg: ornament, jewelry, mini hoopla, altered tin, etc)...

4.  What is the secret phrase?

5.  What kind of crafted items can you make/would like to make?

6.  List any links for stalking, like Pinterest, blogs, etc.

7.  Is there anything else you want your partner to know (including allergies, aversions, if you want something crafted for a specific occasion, random tidbits, etc)?

*** You must communicate via PM with myself and your partner when you send your package or receive ***

Also, remember to read the Swap Info Guide to find other rules about participating in a swap.

Swap members...

1.  Onyxnox (organizer)
2.  astrangeone
3.  BigBangMomma
4.  Wulf
5.  aisy
6.  blupaisan
7.  cmarion3
8.  bec99
9.  Annchen
10.  lindyv321


lindyv321 (sent 02/06/ rec. 02/08) <-----> blupaisan (sent 02/05)
cmarion3 (sent Feb 9) <-----> Wulf
aisy <-----> BigBangMomma (sent 02/10)
Onyxnox <-----> astrangeone
bec99 (sent Feb 13) <-----> AnnChen

feedback given
late with communication
no communication/contact organizer
negative feedback given

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6  We love our bird brined and BBQ'd... in Cooking: Challenge Entries by Onyxnox on: January 03, 2016 06:08:08 PM
Sorry for the crappy pics - I think to take some before and after, but when it is whole, golden, and about to carved up, my mind in occupied by the carving and trying to keep people and a couple of dogs from stealing chunks as I carve, as well as not (purposefully) stabbing them.  No hands free for pics!

Anyways, we used to do a pot luck for our annual gathering with friends and family... and about 15 years ago, I decided I would try making a brined and BBQ'd turkey.  A number of people were rather lackluster about that, not being lovers of turkey.  We actually were kind of full from other things that other people brought when the turkey was done, and Jim pretty much bullied everyone into trying some to make me happy...

Well the end result was that everyone ate a bit of turkey, and then kept eating the turkey until there was nothing left... and I have not been allowed to make anything else but the turkey since then.  No, not true... I am allowed to make whatever I want, so long as I make it AND the turkey.  It's so loved by my family and friends and MIL had me make the brined turkey a few times for Thanksgiving and Christmas and I finally had to give her and a few aunts the recipe, and it has become an addition to our big summer BBQ, and a few New Years.

Even the dogs get excited when I start preparing the brine a day or two before the actual cooking.  Toby used to just sit at the front of the stove and just wag the entire time I am making it while staring at the pot.

Another added bonus is, if this is done on the BBQ, the oven and stove are free for making all the other yummy fixin's.  It seems like a lot of time and fuss.  The standing out in the cold babying the BBQ is no fun either (but that's Jim's job now... and he actually quite likes it because he loves the smell of the birds cooking).  But the end product is a lovely incredibly moist, flavourful turkey.

Apple-Brined Whole Turkey

The original bare bones recipe

1 12-14 pound turkey, fresh, or defrosted - NOT frozen!!!!
2 quarts apple juice
16 ounces brown sugar
1 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
3 quarts water
3 oranges, quartered
4 ounces fresh ginger, sliced thin
15 whole cloves
6 bay leaves
6 large garlic cloves, crushed
vegetable oil or melted, unsalted butter
(Substitute 3/4 cup Morton Kosher Salt or 1/2 cup table salt for Diamond Crystal)

Combine apple juice, brown sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve. Boil for one minute, remove from heat, let mixture come to room temperature, then refrigerate to 40F.

In a large non-reactive container, combine the apple juice mixture with the other ingredients and stir. Place rinsed, drained whole turkey into the brine.  Remove and set aside the neck and giblets for separate use.  Use a heavy weight to keep the bird submerged, if necessary. Refrigerate for 24 hours.   We use one of those huge plastic, air tight containers used for mixing materials from Home Depot - clean it and keep it just for this (please don't reuse something that someone used for mixing drywall compound or whatnot in!).

Remove turkey from brine and pat dry. Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil or melted butter before cooking.  Let rest and come to room temperature before cooking.

... and because I love you guys here, I am sharing the things that make the recipe mine.  I am that mean so and so that will give a recipe, but will not include the things that make the recipe really special.  No, I don't leave out vital things, but for the MIL and aunts, they never got my special notes Wink

My changes (some of the bling that makes the turkey sing!  From over a decade of cooking this!):
Combine all ingredients together when bringing to boil.  Add the following (unmeasured, to taste, approximately 2-3 tablespoons) whole peppercorns, whole allspice berries, a couple of cinnamon sticks broken up, some star anise  Also two onions, quartered.  I also am more generous with the garlic, cloves, and ginger.   

When cooking the turkey, if done on the BBQ, I stuff with more quartered oranges, garlic, onion, ginger (you can drain the solids from the brine and in the bottom of the pan and put some in the cavity), and may try to stuff some of garlic under the skin if I can stand touching the bird for that long.  I use a disposable pan and we try to cook on indirect heat, at approximately 350-375F.  Keep in mind if it is cold, then you will have to frequently check the BBQ to ensure even heating.  Also, the skin may brown fast, so we cover with foil and uncover near the end.  For safety's sake, use a meat thermometer to judge doneness.

If baking in the oven, make sure that all the brine is drained off as much as possible before putting into a roaster, as a lot of juice may be released as it roasts and can overflow the pan this happened to me once.

Here it is, roasting away...

If BBQing, it cannot be stuffed with dressing/stuffing because of the risk of the stuffing not getting warm enough in the centre and causing food poisoning.  Preheat BBQ on high.  If if is a 3 burner, turn off the centre burner and roast, covered over the centre burner, adjusting the temp to medium about 350F - 375F after about an hour.  Check frequently as the temperature can fluctuate.  Check for doneness safely with a meat thermometer (170F in breast, 180F in thigh).  It does seem to cook faster on the BBQ.

Because it is a brine, the drippings are quite salty, so a gravy made from it will be VERY salty. Use the reserved neck and  giblets to make gravy, or make it separately some other way.  But this bird will be juicy enough to not need gravy - so use it for the dressing or the mashed 'taters!

Also, use an aluminum roasting pan on the BBQ, and use a firmer surface, such as a thick cookie sheet when transferring the pan with turkey back and forth (with a good pair of oven mitts).

For large gatherings, we often will buy two smaller birds and cook them in two pans.  I will put both birds in the brining bucket, and make 1 and a half recipes of brine.  If it doesn't cover both birds, you can either brine them and flip the birds, or make more brine to cover to the top of the birds.

Sadly, the only picture I have of the cooked bird is when we took some leftovers and added it to the dogs dinner after we all ate Sad

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7  Re: One Tiny Bird Thing Round Two (SIGNUP 12/31/15-01/10/16 ; MAIL BY 02/10/16). in ACTIVE SWAPS WHERE SIGN-UP PERIOD HAS CLOSED by Onyxnox on: January 01, 2016 05:46:29 PM
I generally just love birds.  I would be tempted to say artist's choice because I love to see what other people come up with, and take inspiration from that.  Also, I like fantasy birds as much as real.

But if I were to be cornered, I am rather enamoured of loons - their call at night is just beautiful.  It is so fun when you see a group of them playing, and I love some of the native art of them - this is one print that we have that I love, by Rick Beaver...

Now that I think about it, we do have quite a number of loon art pieces in the house, that we have collected over the years.
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8  Textured mixed media canvases... in Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General by Onyxnox on: December 27, 2015 05:24:52 AM
I made this for bunny1kenobi for the mini 12 days of Christmas swap which is wrapping up (hahaha) right now.  It is a mixed media canvas I made inspired by a pin she had.  I loved the phrase, and connected to it also.

I made a more narrow, tall canvas initially for B1K - I loved this size and will have to get another one for another project - I think it was something like a 6x10 or something like that.

I used a homemade texture paste, the same one I used for the altered journal/sketchbook.  It is great for stamping texture into and so colourful.  I posted a tutorial for how I did it in the blog post too, if anyone is interested..  I collaged die cut letters to do the lettering.  I used sheet music I coloured with a dark wash, because I liked the texture that added too.

Then I kind of fell in love  with the canvas and had a selfish moment where I wanted to keep it... so I decided to make another version for myself...
 I used a larger dollar store canvas for it, and while I am happy how it turned out, I really like the unusual size of the one I made bunny1kenobi.  Also, I did this one with a slightly lighter wash of colour.  Right now, mine is sitting on the shelves going up the bedroom stairs... ironic as I am not allowed to use those shelves for books...

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9  Altered journal/sketchbook covers... in Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by Onyxnox on: December 25, 2015 06:59:13 AM

I made a couple of these journals/sketchbooks lately.  One is for Bunny1kenobi for the 12 days of Christmas swap, and one for me, because I wanted to keep the one I made her, but could not bring myself to be that selfish!

This first one is in browns and bronze and the one I gave away.  I went with a bit more of a Steampunkish look for it.

This one I kept for myself, and just went with a more black/gray, and kept it a bit simpler.

I really like how the texturing turned out and how it feels like a nice plaster to the touch.

I did a set of tutorials of the different stages.  There are a ton more pictures and details about how I did it at the various blog links, if anyone else is interested in trying it out.

Part 1 - texturing the covers...

Part 2 - initial layering of colour

Part 3 shows some highlighting details...

and the final embellishment

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10  Sleigh Ride Frame ornaments.... in Winter Holidays by Onyxnox on: December 23, 2015 04:45:41 AM

These were some ornaments I made earlier this month.  Too late for me to make as this years ornament, but I like how they turned out, so maybe for next year.

I had the idea in my head and made this one first, but came upon some issues with the first iteration and my technique, so I tried a different take, leading to the making of this one...

I took pictures of the process to make a tutorial, as a reminder to myself on how it is made, if I end up making this for next year.  But I do  like how the glittered frames turn out.  I may give it another go with thicker inner frames and better gluing, to see if I can turn them into shaker ornaments and put some glitter or sequins in them for moving snow.

But they are also a great way to use reuse flat clear packaging and reuse cardboard boxes, as that is what I used.

You can click on the pictures to my blog posts if you are interested in more pictures.  The first one is a link to the tutorial I made after the second one, if anyone else is interested in giving it a go.
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