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1  Re: ~*HP Craftalong - Midsummer Semester 2016*~ in Craftalongs by Mistress Jennie on: July 24, 2016 05:38:55 PM
Challenge: Quidditch - Tea & Toast & Potions
House: Gryffindor!
Project Name: Sausage, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quiche

Brief Description: To tempt Ron into eating, I made a delicious quiche for dinner! 
Project Picture:

Sausage, Spinach & Goat Cheese Quiche
1 refrigerated pie crust
6 eggs
3/4 cup milk of choice (I used cashew milk)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
6-8 ounces mild Italian sausage
1/2 onion, sliced
sprinkle of brown sugar
box of baby spinach
1 log of herbed  goat cheese
dash of garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Take the pie crust out to thaw while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

In a skillet brown the sausage over medium heat.  After the sausage is done, remove it to a bowl to cool slightly.  Add the sliced onion, and cook over low, stirring frequently for about 10-20 minutes, until golden.  If the pan gets too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water or white wine to prevent sticking.  As the onions darken, sprinkle a very light amount of brown sugar over them, to help caramelization. Once cooked, remove from pan to cool.

Add a dash of olive oil to the pan, and lightly saut the spinach over very low heat, for 2-3 minutes, until just wilted.

Crack the eggs into a bowl, and add the milk and shredded cheese.  Add salt, pepper & a dash of garlic powder, then whisk until well mixed.

By now the pie crust should be thawed.  Unroll and place it in a pie pan.  Sprinkle with the cooked sausage, then the caramelized onions, and finally the spinach.  Pour the egg mixture over it. 

Slice the goat cheese (and if you happen to have some, a few grape tomatoes!).  Place the goat cheese on top of the egg mixture in some sort of pretty pattern.  (Add the tomatoes too if you have some.)  Bake for 40 minutes, or until cooked through in the center.  Serve with some crusty bread.  Smiley
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2  Re: ~*HP Craftalong - Midsummer Semester 2016*~ in Craftalongs by Mistress Jennie on: July 24, 2016 01:08:20 PM

Check out the Events over at the Quidditch Pitch
"Now I want a nice, clean game.  From everyone."

Meanwhile the Tea & Toast & Potions Challenge closes tomorrow night, at midnight Headmistress time! (Central Standard Time.  Seriously, Google it if you don't know what that means compared to your timezone.)
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3  Re: ~*HP Craftalong - Midsummer Semester 2016*~ in Craftalongs by Mistress Jennie on: July 22, 2016 03:23:10 PM
Challenge: Floo Powder - Zoo
House: Gryffindor
Project Name: Progress Chart
Brief Description: This is not exactly in my wheelhouse craft wise.  I can use photoshop, but I just *don't* use it as a craft medium, outside of making badges.  But when I joined the HPA's Road to Hogwarts 2 virtual race this year, I discovered that they changed online hosts, and there's no way to track my progress online anymore.  So, I needed some sort of chart to track it.  The race is 50 miles, and this has 55 spaces, so I'm challenging myself to go just a bit further.  Every 10 miles I've given myself a destination, like Madam Malkins or Ollivander's.  I get to King's Cross at 50, and 55 gets me to the Common Room!
Project Picture:

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4  Re: ~*HP Craftalong - Midsummer Semester 2016*~ in Craftalongs by Mistress Jennie on: July 18, 2016 02:39:44 PM
Note from the Headmistress...

The third Quidditch Challenge of the Midsummer Term has been posted!  And this one is a SHORT challenge, just 1 week long.  This is the last one before the Big Game itself, which will run 7 weeks longs this year.  (Huzzah for longer terms!)  The Big Game will run from July 24th through September 11th.  Please note that the challenges leading up to the Game will each have a start and END date.  You may not post them after that date.  Quidditch challenges within the 7 week game may be posted in any order, at any time within those 7 weeks.  So what's next?

Tea & Toast & Potions Challenge
July 18-25th

Ron has always had a terrible case of nerves being in front of a crowd.  Now that he's made the team, he's starting to worry about the upcoming match.  Since you've been playing Quidditch on the house team longer, and have endured more of the opposing team's taunts, you're going to have to help your teammate through this next week, as he prepares the game.  It's gotten so bad that he's even gone off his food!  It might be time for desperate measures...  For this challenge, you can craft something to bring a friend good luck, OR is something edible.

Please note that this challenge can also be found listed on the Quidditch Pitch.
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5  Re: ~*HP Craftalong - Midsummer Semester 2016*~ in Craftalongs by Mistress Jennie on: July 16, 2016 12:45:47 PM
Class: Astronomy
House: Roar, Roar, Gryffindor!
Project Name & Link: Jar of Bluebell Flames

Brief Description: For my Astronomy homework, I created a light for sheepBlue's patio.  The jar was from some store-bought food, that I washed the label off of.  The neck just happened to be the same size as a mason jar, so I was able to use a hanging jar lid I found at Michaels.  I painted it in layers, of various opacities of enamel and metallic paints, both inside and outside the jar, and then added a layer of shimmery mod podge, so that the clear portions would be semi-opaque to better hide the light source.  For the illumination I included a batter powered tea light, as well as a short strand of led wire lights, so that sheep could decide which look she liked better.
Project Picture:

Class: DADA
House: Roar, Roar, Gryffindor!
Project Name & Link: Stenciled Turquoise Coffee Table

Brief Description: Grindylows live in aquatic enviornments, so I was inspired to use bright aquatic turquoise blue for the new coffee table for my porch.  (Details about the inspiration, painting, and stenciling in the link above.)
Project Picture:

Challenge: Detention - June
House: Roar, Roar, Gryffindor!
Project Name & Link: Time Turner Dreamcatcher

Brief Description: While practicing the Leviosa charm, I was inspired to create something light and airy...  a Time Turner Dreamcatcher for sheepBlue in the I Want to Live in the Burrow Swap. 
Project Picture:

Challenge: Detention - July WIP
House: Roar, Roar, Gryffindor!
Project Name & Link: Mad Eye Moody Dishcloth

Brief Description: Also for sheepBlue!  I had started this dishcloth in March, but I ran out of red yarn, and it sat around for months waiting to be finished.  After finally unpacking the last of my yarn, I was able to finish it with a black border.  I like how the contrasting color looks around the edge.
Project Picture:

Challenge: Quidditch #2 - QUIDDITCH CAPTAIN
House: Roar, Roar, Gryffindor!
Project Name & Link: HUGE Mrs. Weasley Inspired Burrow Afghan

Brief Description: This was the large project that I created for sheepBlue in the Burrow Swap.  She mentioned loving Mrs. Weasley's scrappy aesthetic, and cozy blankets to snuggle under.  While it might look like I just winged it, the planning that went into this project was huge.  I used nearly all stashed yarn, and actually spent a few hours doing test swatches, ripping the stitches back out, arranging and rearranging the colors of yarn to find just the right progression, and making myself lists and charts to follow as I went along.  I still had to alter a few rows from what I planned, but all in all, my several pages of planning notes & lists were priceless while making this project.
Project Picture:

House Pride: House Pride - Gryffindor
House: Roar, Roar, Gryffindor!
Project Name & Link: Preserved Boozy Cherries 

Brief Description: I'm trying do some canning 'earlier' in the season this year, since last year I didn't do any till late October.  Since it's cherry season, I created a batch of boozy preserved cherries to put away for friends as Christmas presents.  They are bold Gryffindor red because I swapped out the water for organic cherry juice, and each jar contains about 1.5 ounces of Kentucky bourbon.
Project Picture:

House Pride: House Unity (Hufflepuff)
House: Roar, Roar, Gryffindor!
Project Name & Link: Gerri's Hufflepuff Bracelet

Brief Description: An old friend from college contacted me a few weeks ago, and asked me to create a custom charm bracelet for a friend of hers.  She wanted all her friend's favorite things from the world of Harry Potter represented, including the Hufflepuff yellow & black color scheme.  I just sent it off, so I hope her friend gets it in time for her upcoming birthday. 
Project Picture:

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6  Time Turner Dreamcatcher in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General by Mistress Jennie on: July 16, 2016 11:46:51 AM
I was packing up my box for sheepBlue in the I Want to Live in the Burrow Swap, when I bumped into a ring I had wrapped in leather to create a giraffe dreamcatcher for a friend about a year ago.  Somehow the project never got completed, and when I bumped into the leather wrapped golden ring, I had one of those moments of inspiration, where I knew exactly what I had to do with it.  I had to turn it into a Time Turner Dreamcatcher for sheepBlue!

The ring is 6", wrapped with soft yellow leather.  The web was made black embroidery floss, and contains a row of alternating Swarovski crystals and antiqued bronze glass beads .  The fringe is a mix of golds and creams made from eyelash yarn, homespun yarn, metallic ribbon yarn, mohair yarn, and ribbon.

I had planned to use a gold Time Turner somewhere on the web, but when I was done with the stringing and the fringe, I felt like there was too much gold, and adding another gold element would only serve to "lose" the Time Turner in the mix, so I opted to use a bright silver one instead.  It's on a clasp so that sheepBlue can move it around the web to where she'd like it, or it can be removed if she wants a more subtle piece.

There are charms hidden throughout the fringe, including stars, owls, keys, a wand, and other bits and bobs.
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7  Stenciled Turquoise Coffee Table (for covered porch) in Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects by Mistress Jennie on: July 16, 2016 11:10:53 AM
My husband and I just bought our first house at the end of May.  Smiley  We've been slowly working on setting up our space, and one of the spaces both of us have loved working on is the porch.  The previous owner had a roof put up and installed a ceiling fan to help with the southern heat, and even put up a shade on one side to battle the glare of the setting sun in the evenings.  I wanted to make the space one that we could have friends over to enjoy, but not spend too much money on it.  We got a great loveseat from Target on sale over Memorial Day, and I've been slowly picking up throw pillows and lanterns and such on sale.  But I had the hardest time finding a coffee table I liked.

With the very sedate white banister, brown deck, and brown wicker furniture, there just wasn't much color going on out there, so I looked high and low for a brighter coffee table.  The ones I liked best were all things like distressed trunks from India, for $300+.  Something I just wasn't willing to pay, especially for an item that will be exposed to the elements.  While searching I bumped into a great stenciled bench tutorial on Cut Out + Keep.  I loved her use of bright colors and the fun of the stencils.  So, I looked for a plain, unfinished pine table on Amazon for $80, with free shipping.  

Then I picked up a bright turquoise water based paint for $9, and a mandala stencil for $5, plus a sanding block and some polyurathane for $10, all from Home Depot. Here it is in its new home.

I used the whole mandala stencil in the middle, and a portion of the stencil on each side, simply taping off the areas I wished to avoid.  If anyone wants more details on how to do it, I suggest checking the tutorial I linked to above, on Cut Out + Keep.  All in all I spent about $110 on the project, including the table and all the materials, and I'm thrilled with the results.

And here's a close up of the center stencil.

Thanks for looking!
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8  Mrs. Weasley Inspired Burrow Afghan (with mini tutorial/pattern) in Crochet: Completed Projects by Mistress Jennie on: July 16, 2016 11:10:27 AM
I recently organized & participated in the I Want to Live in the Burrow Swap, which was a housewares swap, inspired by the world of Harry Potter.  Participants could make HP themed houseware items, or items that felt like they could be found in the Burrow, the house the Weasley family lives in.  I had the good fortune to be partnered up with sheepBlue, one of my Craftster Crushes.  She mentioned enjoying blankets to snuggle up with in the winter, and loving Mrs. Weasley's scrappy style, so I clearly had to make her a Weasley Afghan!  

I dug through my stash and found that I had a lot of miscellaneous skeins of lion brand homespun yarn in a mix of colors.  And though I searched through many patterns trying to find a scrappy way to use the mixed up colors, I just couldn't find anything that worked with the varying amounts I had of each.  Many of the colors have been discontinued I couldn't buy more of them, even if I wanted to.  In the end I decided to try combining elements of a few different patterns I had seen, to try to make something work with what I had on hand.  The two main patterns I was inspired by were the Lazy Girl Crochet Blanket, which used 2 strands of super bulky yarn crocheted together in a V Stitch, and the Fast and Easy Crochet Throw, which used 4 strands of worsted weight yarn that changed out one strand color at a time to get an ombre effect.

I used 2 strands of bulky weight (not super bulky), held together and crocheted in the V Stitch.  I used approximately 14-15 skeins, 9.5 of which were from my stash.  I bought 2 brand new skeins of yarn in barley, and 4 partial skeins of various colors on ebay for about .80 cents each.  Each partial skein was somewhere between 1/2 and 7/8 of a full skein.  To create the ombre effect, you'll have to think about what colors you have, how much you have of each, and how you'd like them to progress.  I started by laying them all out and creating a "rainbow" or color wheel.  Then I made myself a vague chart, based on the number of rows I planned to do, and how I wanted the shades of color to blend.  I've included it below, but if you do this on your own, yours will vary based on what colors and amounts you have on hand.

Here's a close up of the ombre effect created by swapping out 1 strand of yarn at a time.  

If you want to try this yourself, here's the basic directions for making a V Stitch Afghan.  My "afghan" is actually big enough to cover the top of a queen sized bed!  Somewhere in the vicinity of 60"x80"   You can size yours up or down from mine, simply by increasing or decreasing your initial chain by multiples of 6.  

1. Chain 72  (You can do this with any foundation chain that is a multiple of 6)
2. 2 dc in 4th chain from hook. (This is the V-stitch).
3. Skip 1, 2 dc in next ch.
4. Repeat #3 until there are two chains left.
5. Sk 1, dc in last ch. This completes your first row of V-stitches bordered by 1 dc on either end of the row.
6. Now you're ready to start your next row, so turn the work and ch 3 for you first dc of the new row.
7. Skip 2, 2 dc in the space between the two dc that make the V from the row below.
8. Repeat Step 7 across the V-stitches of the row below.
9. Skip 1, dc in last ch.
10. Repeat #6 - #9 until the project is the length you desire. Finish off and weave in ends.

I added fringe by using the 'book' method of measuring.  You can find a good tutorial for it HERE.

Finally, in case anyone wants to know the yarns & progression I used, I've outlined them both below.
3 skeins Tumbleweed
2 skeins Light Blue?  (Cannot find the name)
1.5 skeins Russet
1 skein Wildfire
7/8 skein Prairie
1 skein Adirondack
7/8 skein Light Purple
1 skein Barrington
3/4 skein Khaki
2 skeins Barley
1/2 skein Tan?  (Cannot find the name)

Progression of Colors
Rows 1-4 Tumbleweed & light blue
Row 5 Tumbleweed & Tumbleweed
Row 6-7 Tumbleweed & Russet
Row 8-10 Tumbleweed & Wildfire
Row 11-12 Wildfire & Russet
Row 13-14 Tumbleweed & Wildfire
Row 15-16 Tumbleweed & Russet
Row 17 Tumbleweed & Tumbleweed
Row 18 Tumbleweed & light blue
Row 19-20 light blue & Prairie
Row 21 light blue & Tumbleweed
Row 22-23 light blue & Adirondack
Row 24-26 light blue & Light Purple
Row 27-28 Light Purple & Barrington
Row 29-31 Light Purple & light blue
Row 32-34 light blue & Adirondack
Row 35-36 Adirondack & Prairie
Row 37-38 Prarie & Khaki
Row 39-40 Adirondack & Khaki
Row 41 Khaki & Tumbleweed
Row 42 Tumbleweed & Barley
Row 42-43 Barley & Russet
Row 44-46 Barley & Wildfire
Row 46-49 Wildfire & Russet
Row 50-51 Barley & Wildfire
Row 52-54 Barley & Russet
Row 55-58 Barley & Light Blue
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9  Re: ~*HP Craftalong - Midsummer Semester 2016*~ in Craftalongs by Mistress Jennie on: July 11, 2016 06:32:47 PM
Class/Challenge/House Pride: Apparition
House: Gryffindor!
Project Name & Link: Empanadas & Cucumber Salad

Brief Description: For two items that go together, I created two delicious dishes.  The empanadas are filled with beef, green onions, and tomatoes, and the simple salad is made of cucumbers and tomatoes dressed with lime.  Smiley
Project Picture:

Class: Arithmancy
House: Gryffindor!
Project Name: Custom Tea Bracelet

Brief Description: I'm not sure I have one favorite craft.  Jewelry, crochet, quilting and cooking all hold equal places in my heart.  But I do admit that when I need to make something quickly, I jump to jewelry, probably because my work desk is always there set up and waiting for me.  It's also easy to feel accomplished, which I love.  This was created for a friend, who wanted a teatime bracelet in shades of purple and cream.  I love how it came out.
Project Picture:

Class: Charms
House: Gryffindor!
Project Name: Tea Bookmark

Brief Description: What creates a better boundary than a bookmark?  It clearly divides that which you've already read, and all that you're yet to discover.  This was created for the same friend as the tea bracelet above.  Smiley
Project Picture:

Challenge: Headmistress Challenge - July
House: Gryffindor!
Project Name: Summer Berry Sangria & Lavender Bath Salts

Brief Description: Everyone probably knows that we moved a month ago, and our new house has a huge bathtub.  Since I've spent the last few months working to buy the house, packing, moving, unpacking, and decorating, I was excited to make something for me to enjoy.  So I whipped up a batch of lavender bath salts to enjoy with my new tub.  But...  since that only took about 15 minutes, I decided to make myself a second treat.  Summer berry sangria!  Links to BOTH recipes are listed above.
Project Picture:

Class & Challenge: Flying & Iron Chef Hogwarts
House: Gryffindor!
Project Name: Strawberry Balsamic Jam

Project Page Link:
Brief Description: When Abbeeroad posted the new Iron Chef Hogwarts challenge, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. This Strawberry Jam is highlighted with balsamic vinegar.  It has a greater depth of flavor than plain strawberry jam.  The recipe made 8 full half-pint jars and an extra freezer-jar full that I started in on last night.  I do love the flavor of the jam, but I admit that it's a bit heavy on the sugar.  (5 cups strawberries to 7 cups of sugar) I definitely had a sugar rush after breakfast this morning!  To fit the category it is BOTH red and requires precision to create.  
Project Picture:

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10  Re: Harry Potter - I Want to Live in the Burrow Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Mistress Jennie on: July 09, 2016 02:26:53 PM
Well you might have been first to ship dinkime, but I get the honor of posting my goodies first!  Wink

I received the most beautiful package from sheepBlue today.  I have to say that after all horrible tragedies and news of the week, I really needed something bright and shining and beautiful today, and this was all of those things.  I was so overwhelmed opening the box, and kept making so many squeeing sounds that I woke up my dog, who came running to investigate.  

First off some adorable little extras...  The two cutest salt & pepper shakers ever, and some awesome TAZO Calm tea.  I can't remember if I told you this or not sheep, but I drink this stuff all summer, iced.  I actually don't even like it hot, but iced it's fantastic.  Especially mixed with a little seltzer!

The little owls are already in their new home, on the tray of oils & vinegars beside my stove.

Next I unwrapped the most awesome scrappy coasters!  They're so bright and scrappy and very Weasley-esque.  I love them!  Seriously, I took the pictures, then went straight to my living room to take out the coasters on the coffee table and replace them with these immediately.  

All of my goodies were wrapped up in sheepBlue's beautiful printed fabrics.  I already have plans for the glasses & lightning bolt print, and I'm hoping to use the Hogwarts crest print in a future child's room whenever DH & I get around to having kids.

Finally, I unwrapped the most stunning piece of all.  A beautiful mosaic lazy-susan.  I had mentioned wanting one for my kitchen (actually to hold the oils & vinegars seen above), but this is just so stunning that I can't bear to cover it up.  It's embedded with broken dishes, iridescent glass, tiles, jewelry findings, buttons, coins and antique keys.

Here are a few detail shots so you can see the keys in between the shards of white & blue china and the filigree finding in the center of the star:

And some detail of the coins and glass:

Here's a final shot from directly above.  I tried to get the best shots I could and to clean them up in Photoshop, but they are just NOT doing this piece justice.  The colors and shimmer are so much brighter in person.  sheep mentioned that if I didn't want to use it as a lazy-susan, I could also hang it on a wall, which is exactly what I'm going to do.  The walls in the dining area just off my kitchen are an olive green that I think will really make the black, white, purple & iridescent teal pop, plus there's a boring wall there that is the *perfect* size to show it off.  I can't stress enough how my pictures aren't doing it justice.  I've received so many very lovely and beautiful handmade items in swaps here on Craftster, but this might just be the most stunning piece I've ever received.

Thank you SO SO SO much sheepBlue.  Each and every piece will be treasured, and I'm going to start pestering DH to hang my mosaic as soon as he gets home tonight.  I can't wait to show it off to friends and neighbors who visit our new home!  I truly love it.  Kiss Kiss Kiss
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