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1  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Creative Inspirations swap - anyone interested in inspiring each other? on: Today at 07:29:30 AM

I  have been thinking about making something like this for awhile for myself.  Then I got to thinking that it would be nice as a swap.  Essentially, for those times when you feel that you are itching to make something, but are drawing a bit of a blank on what to make.  

Sometimes an image, a word, a song, a phrase can be a wonderful trigger for inspiration.  The snow falling gently on the scene outside your window.  The sound of the birds at the first light of dawn.  A favourite lyric.  A new technique, or different style.

I was thinking of making tags, cards, a booklet, whatever to act as creative prompts for myself - as a booklet, or in a box, so that when I want to make something, I can pull one out and use that as my prompt for my project.  

Then I thought it may be fun for a group to share their prompts and it could be fun as a swap.

Anyone else interested in inspiring each other?  It could be in the form of tags, cards, ATCs, fabric pieces, felted pieces - but not the container - the recipient would be responsible for their own way of containing, storing, or displaying their inspirational prompts.
2  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies on: June 26, 2016 04:28:17 PM
Another baked treat I made this weekend, for the Saturday workshop day we had for the Craftster Canada Meet Up in Toronto.  These are cookies that I adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe, that my family has quite enjoyed several times.  They seemed pretty popular this time too so I thought I would share in case any of my new friends would like to make more!

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 4 dozen

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 oz (1 1/4 cups) dried cranberries
4-6 oz white chocolate chips
4-6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
(I put 6 oz of each into this batch, it does depend on how much chocolate chips you want, and you can certainly use all milk chocolate, or semi sweet chocolate if you are not a fan of white chocolate chips)

Pre-heat oven to 375F.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with sugars until creamy and fluffy, with mixer.  Add vanilla and eggs and beat until well combined.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt, and mix well.  Gently mix into butter mixture until well combined.  Mix in dried cranberries and chips.

On parchment covered baking sheet, using two tablespoons, drop dough onto sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake in middle of oven until tops are golden brown - about 18 minutes.  Let cool on sheet about 5 minutes and transfer to rack to cool fully.

*** these can be made gluten free by subbing in gluten free oats, and baking soda, and using a gluten free flour mix, but I found that it made for a softer, cakier cookie.
3  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Lemon Berry Tarts - for my new Craftster friends from the Canada meet up! on: June 26, 2016 04:09:41 PM
For my new IRL as well as on Craftster friends - the recipe for the lemon berry tarts I brought to the tea at craftylittlemonkey's.  I loved our weekend together!

These are super easy to make.  I like my lemon tarts really zippy, but if you found them too lemony/tart, then just cut back the zest to maybe 1 lemon.  They are delicious with any berry.  I have made them with raspberries, blueberries, and mulberries from my tree.  They would be delicious with blackberries, or a combination too.

Lemon Berry Tarts
makes about 20-22

2 dozen 3" frozen tart shells
2 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 pint berries
3/4 cup sugar - scant
2 large lemons

Preheat oven to 400F.

Lay tart shells out on a baking sheet, covered with foil or parchment paper.  Place cleaned berries on the bottom of each shell, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and yolks with sugar.  Clean the two lemons and dry.  Zest the lemons and add to egg mixture.  Juice the lemons to make about 1/2 cup of juice and add to egg mixture. Beat mixture with whisk until frothy.

Gently pour mixture into each tart shell until about 1/4 inch below tart edge.  Depending on how full of berries your tart shells are, you should have enough mixture to make about 20-24 tarts.

Bake in center of pre-heated oven until mixture set and cooked.  About 20 minutes.  Let cool on rack. Can be refrigerated up to 2 days.

Tip - to get more juice from ctirus when juicing them, try giving them a bit of a zap in the microwave for maybe 20 - 30 seconds, then rolling the fruit against the counter or cutting board, and the palm of your hand to give a gentle squeeze to release the juice, before cutting and juicing.   

More pics on the blog if anyone interested
4  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Falling Leaves - more resin collage pendents.... on: May 05, 2016 08:13:32 AM
I had an idea to make a Fall themed pendent and made these last week.

They are very similar in vein to the previous collage pendents I have made in the past - using bamboo or other wood tile bases, painting on a background colour, adding some paper die-cut elements. 

A bit of a difference is that for the focal element, I used metal tape that was die cut into the leaf shape and coloured with alcohol inks - the resin overlay really makes the metal leaves shine.

I made many of these, and used maple leaves, with the idea of sharing these with fellow Craftsters, those who are interested anyways, who come to the Canada Meet Up this summer - hope to see you guys there...

If anyone is not aware of it, but is interested, there is a discussion in the general boards here in the Miscellaneous Board...., here in the City Guides...., and here if you are FOC....

Also, more pics and whatnot about this project on my blog if anyone is interested....
5  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Creative Collective... a crafter's fund... on: May 05, 2016 06:53:13 AM

I have a lot of tins waiting to be decorated and reused... in fact, there are people at work who save nice tins just for me to do this with.  I am a crafting hoarder with a lot of enablers.

But I finally got around to decorating one of them last week and this is what came of it.

I had been saving money weekly for my crafting vacation in the Fall - every year for the past several years I go to the Creativ Festival in the Fall, which is a floor show of different craft/hobby venders/makers and also a series of workshops - it is a great way to meet with other crafters from all over the country and the world, learn new skills, meet suppliers, etc - I love it.  But I have been getting the platinum membership for myself and it can be pricey, so saving a bit every week makes it very manageable.

I have been using an old spice tin, but wanted something prettier, so I took an old cocoa tin and made it prettier.

I wrapped the tin with a layer of music note printed craft paper, then layered some acrylic paint washes over it.  While that dried, I die cut some wildflower shapes and embossed the shapes with metallic embossing powder and glued those over the painted surface of the tin.

I then made a ribbon wrap, with some jute and a stamped copper label.  For the lid, I added a riveted leather handle.

I love it so much more - and I especially love what it is filled with - I now have enough for the platinum pass and a bit of spending money.  I plan to keep adding a set amount to it every week, plus any birthday money or whatnot I happen to get, and should have a nice little bundle for spending when it rolls around in October...

More pics and details about this project on my blog if anyone is interested.
6  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Not crafty per se - pine resin... on: March 18, 2016 09:37:51 AM
Anyone know how to get this out of fur, other than cutting chunks of fur out?  Now that Spring is here, Troy is in the mood to roam and dig and go after little furries in the brush, and he is coming back with smears of resin all over him.  We didn't see it under the mud, but after the bath, he still has bits of fur clumped with resin on his head, back, legs, etc.
7  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Wishing everyone a wee bit o' luck.... on: March 12, 2016 06:35:35 AM

I made these little tile pendents lately... St. Patricks is coming up, and I actually picked these little clover dies up months ago with the idea of using the die cuts in a pendent piece, so what better time than just before St Patricks?

The background is gold (for that pot o' gold), but lightened with some pearl paint, and stamped with a subtle swirling flourish pattern.  Then stamped with the "luck/lucky", and with the die cut clovers added, and resin to protect it.

Anyways, more details on how I made them and more pics if you are interested in more details, on my blog...
8  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Fly chickadees, fly... on: March 12, 2016 06:25:32 AM
These are some card sets I made recently, just general note cards, for myself and kbrison.

I just posted about making these stamps over at the Image Reproduction forum - I made two sets of each bird, facing different directions, so mirror images of each other and gave one set to kbrison (the ones nicely mounted on the wood blocks) and kept the other two for myself.

It's just not right to make stamps and not make something with them, so I decided to test the images and make a project from them as well.  I used archival ink to stamp, so I could use watercolours and dye inks to add colour to the cards.

More about the two bird set here, and more
about the single chickadee on a branch here...

I am rather in love with all the birds coming to my new bird feeders, which I can see from my craft room window.  I am very tempted to make a couple of nuthatch stamps next!
9  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / Oh darling Chickadees, how I love you so! on: March 12, 2016 06:14:40 AM
I have been loving the new bird feeders that Jim put in front of the house, including the wine bottle one we made together in the Fall - we gave away about 8 of them, but kept one for ourselves.  We have noticed quite the influx of birds since we put them in the front.  I had him locate them so I can see the birds from my craft room window.  We have had nuthatches, a couple of types of woodpeckers, dark eyed juncos, a few finches, mourning doves, cardinals... but my favourites are the bold little chickadees.  They love to sit on the mulberry tree in front of my front room window and fly to the feeders to get a bit to eat, and back to the tree, so I get a great view of them from both windows.

But I love them so much I was inspired to craft something with them...

I ended up making several chickadee stamps, and it ended up becoming a crafted by the both of us project...

First I made these two chickadees on a branch... it was also a good opportunity for me to try different types of lino materials to see which brand I liked too - I made a couple of goes at this, both facing different directions.  My plan was to keep one for myself and make one for my partner, kbrison, for the IYP swap.

I was going to send just the lino, but then I asked Jim if he would cut a block for me to make a stamp block with.  He came through in spades.... first, he found some remnants of some gorgeous walnut that he had leftover from a house reno.  They had a gorgeous turn of the century house, and they added a lot of walnut features when they redid some part of it.  He cut it down to size, then he compared it to some wood blocks I had, and added the routed edges for gripping.  Then he advised me on how to finish it for greater durability.  So when he was done, I sanded the block for a smoother finish and to take the sharp edges off the routed edge, and printed an image on the top surface.  Then I added about 3 coats of varnish for durability and sealing - probably more - I lost count!

Then I added a layer of foam and the carved lino, with 2 part epoxy resin.  More about this project on my blog if anyone is interested, with more pics....

I then made another chickadee... just a single one on a pine branch - again, two copies, each facing different directions...

More about this bird here on my blog if anyone is interested...

I did the finished pieces on the wood blocks for kbrison - Jim still has to find some more wood to cut the blocks for mine.  We decided since two of them were being made for someone else, she should get the nice wood and the nice finish.  Keeping my fingers crossed that somewhere he finds some more of that nice walnut though!

Finally, it is just not right to make stamps without testing them, so before I mounted them, I made a couple of projects with them...

I made a set for myself and for kbrison, using various shades of blue for the cards, just as general note cards.

More about the two bird set here
, and more about the single bird on a branch cards here...
10  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / A flock of bamboo birds... on: February 20, 2016 02:32:37 AM

I made so many of these recently... but they are fun to make!  These are some bird pendents and an earring set I made recently using some of the bamboo tiles I had freed from a couple of placemats. 

I woke up with this idea in my head and turned it into a set of earrings for my partner for the one tiny winter thing swap.

Then I kind of fell in love with how the red birds popped against that bright background and thought I would make a few pendents.  More about that here on my blog if you want to see.

A few more ended up as 15 pendents...

Which is OK - as I said, they were fun to make, and each one a bit different.  I plan on bringing some to trade when we have the Craftster Canada Meet Up this summer, and a few for underthemountain, for her Difference Makers auctions.

I am going to keep a couple for myself Smiley

But if anyone wants to know how I made them, to make some for yourself, I posted a how-to on my blog as well, with some process pics also.
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