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121  Re: I <3 Gibbous Altered fashions swap(SIGNUPS through to March 25;SENDOUT June 1) in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by Wulf on: May 13, 2010 08:12:10 AM
Congratulations to everyone who's finally finished exams. Believe it or not, it's an even greater relief for your professors when it's finally over!

I'm making pretty good progress. I've got the basic garment cut out and sewn. (I haven't drafted a pattern from scratch since theatre school, and I'd forgotten how much fun it is -- kind of like connect-the-dots!) The first layer of scraps are basted down, and I'm feeling pretty good about how it looks. I'll need to put it on a dress form when I get to my mother's next week to figure out the hem.

Thatbluesea asked for colours -- green, blue, purple, etc. -- and I'm not really very good at mixing intense hues. I'm much more comfortable with faded colours, earth tones, etc. But in a moment of inspiration my eye fell on this postcard, and I knew what to do. So as a sort of teaser, here's the painting that I've taken the colour palette from:

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122  Re: WWP Beltane Swap Round 19 in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: May 11, 2010 04:50:21 PM
Wow, really beautiful stuff in both those packages. The little maypole bag is my favourite!

Finally, here's the fabulous stuff I got from Eeyore_witch. Some of this only makes sense if you know that my partner Ian and I have a patch of woodland outside the city on which we've put a Mongolian yurt as a sort of cottage. Eeyore_witch learned this from my blog and turned that into wonderful yurt-related stuff.

There's a lovely framed photo of our yurt (I've been intending to do some sort of "Home Sweet Yurt" picture all year!), an "I heart My Yurt" t-shirt, a decorated camp blanket poncho (which Ian immediately claimed for himself) and a crocheted witchy hat. I'd asked for a pointed hat in my questionnaire, and this is exactly what I had in mind, though I didn't say so. It's a perfect fit, and so comfortable.

Close-up on Home Sweet Yurt.

And then there was a whole pile of extras, including a candle and painted rawhide candleholder, a tiny LED camp light, and a package of homemade fire starters. Those will come in very handy on rainy days! And chocolate, of course.

We were out in the woods today and took these action shots by the yurt.

Here I am proudly wearing hat and shirt.

And here we are by the fire, with Ian cozy warm in "his" new camp blanket! (Much needed today because it was windy and quite cold.)

Thanks so much for all of this. So much thought went into it!!

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123  Re: Ongoing ATC Swap - April 2010 - Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: May 10, 2010 03:00:02 PM
Sweet, indeed!

I received this lovely card from curiousfae yesterday. It's a tiny pencil drawing of a tiny yurt! Love it! It's been Yurt Week for me, as I got several yurt-related items from eeyore_witch in the WWP swap.

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124  Re: Ongoing ATC Swap - April 2010 - Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: May 03, 2010 02:06:15 PM
To continue the Curiousfae gallery, here's the Omar Khayyam card I received from her today.

The text is Verse VII of Khayyam's Rub'iyt. I love the simplicity and intensity of this, and on the printed card the contrast of the red/orange against the blue is so vivid one's eyes can barely focus on it.

And as a bonus, this Steampunk card:

Thank you for them both! I may have to start calling myself "Professor Ocularo"! Grin

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125  Re: WWP Beltane Swap Round 19 in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: April 27, 2010 08:36:34 PM
Received my card from Spazgirl1981 today. It looks like this is the first card posted!

The flowers are very 3D, with covered buttons as centres. The blue one is fuzzy! Inside there are more flowers, a swallow and a moth. Just lovely, thank you so much!

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126  Re: Ongoing ATC Swap - March 2010 - Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: April 21, 2010 05:13:15 PM
Got my "Insects" card from Calluna today. Is this the last? If so, it was a great way to end off the month, as it's spectacularly wonderful. The title is "Insectarium".

What may not be apparent from the scan is that the "millipedes" are actually hand-spun yarn couched onto the card with black thread, which suggests legs. Luxurious texture. The background is an  interesting metallic copper/green.

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127  It's nettle time! in Recipes and Cooking Tips by Wulf on: April 13, 2010 07:54:45 PM

Of course Spring is eagerly awaited for all the obvious reasons, but I also look forward to  it because I can have fresh nettles again. They're only really good in the spring when the plants are less than a foot (30 cm) tall. But they're at their best right now, and if you've never eaten nettles you're missing a real treat.

Most people have encountered nettles at some point in their lives, usually as kids. One minute you're walking through the empty lot with your friends, the next your skin is on fire and you're running home screaming. Of all the edible wild plants, stinging nettles are certainly the best disguised - eating them is the last thing you'd ever imagine doing!

But the secret that the nettles fight so hard to keep is that they're one of the most delicious and nutritious greens available. Very high in vitamins A and C, as well as protein, their painful sting (inflicted by tiny hairs that are actually hollow glass-like tubes filled with formic acid) is transformed by heat into pure nutrition. The delicious, slightly nutty taste is unlike any other greens.

Nettles can be found in empty lots, along roadways, and at the edges of farmers' fields. They will grow in quite poor soil, but because they contribute more nitrogen to the soil than many commercial fertilizers, nettles are often found in areas of lush undergrowth. There are none growing wild anywhere near my home, so I bought a plant from a herb nursery and planted it in my own yard. I now have a thriving, luxurious patch! A lot of people are reluctant to try eating wild plants because they're not sure of their identification and are afraid of picking the wrong thing. No need to worry with nettles, though. One touch will tell you if you've got the right plant - if it stings instantly, it can't be anything else!

Obviously a plant with such fierce defenses needs to be handled very carefully, but a few simple precautions will make picking painless. Gloves are essential, though ordinary cotton garden gloves usually don't offer enough protection. Choose full-length latex dishwashing gloves for maximum protection. (Even then, a careless brush against an exposed arm or ankle can be agonizing, so keep your legs and arms covered!) Snip the young plants off with scissors or garden shears. Don't worry about harming the plant by over-harvesting; anyone who's tried to eradicate a nettle patch knows cutting them down just makes them grow back more luxuriantly!

Keep the gloves on as you wash and pick over the plants (they need a good wash as those tiny hairs tend to trap dirt) and until they're safely in the cooking pan. A few minutes of heat renders them harmless and delicious.

My family usually likes them best simply tossed in a pan with a bit of oil and some chopped onion or garlic, but they also make delicious soup, casseroles,  omelets, or when dried, a pleasant and nutritious tea. This evening I made a nettle and bacon quiche (because there was bacon in the fridge that needed to be used up!) and it was very, very good. In fact nettles can be used in any cooked dish where you might use spinach or other greens. Pretty much the only way you can't eat nettles is in a salad, for painfully obvious reasons! They're only at their best for a month or so, but they can be frozen and kept all year long.

Be adventurous and try cooking nettles. It may give you another reason to look forward to the end of winter!

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128  Re: Ongoing ATC Swap - March 2010 - Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: April 13, 2010 06:10:55 PM
Glojo, that painting of cars is really beautiful. I'm beginning to see that's the great thing about ATCs - they're not paintings per se, so you can paint them even if, as you insist, you're "not really a painter"!

I received this great "lucky Irish" card from ENGRbyDAY today. She made it with stamps received on a swap package from EdelC in Ireland. I've had to hide it away from my partner Ian, who is a stamp collector and would have those birdies soaked off and into his album in an instant! The photo doesn't show that it's built up of lovely, thick rag paper that's very nice to handle.

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129  Re: Steampunk Circus Swap in The Swap Gallery by Wulf on: March 31, 2010 05:52:57 PM
Well, the time has come to admit that my package to Ralph is truly lost, at least for the foreseeable future. So it's with a heavy heart I post photos of its contents, so at least you can enjoy what might have been.

There was a leather and brass "Airship Pilot's Log Book":

(front) (belt clip on back)

The corset with engraved brass front busk:

It looks like velvet in this photo, but really was dark red canvas, lined with matching silk (no photo of the lining.)

Now I'll never know whether it fit! Cry

The final item (and only circussy thing) was this ATC with a painting of a robot clown and his dog.

I'm sure it'll eventually either reach Ralph in Australia or end up back in my mailbox, but who knows how long that could take now.


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130  Sashiko bread cloth in Quilting: Completed Projects by Wulf on: March 28, 2010 10:59:32 AM

My bread bowl is a little too wide to use an ordinary kitchen towel to cover it, and I've been meaning to make a cloth just for the purpose. I finally dug out a piece of yellow linen from my stash and got to it. It's two layers of linen padded with three layers of old flannel sheet, then quilted through with Japanese sashiko stitching. Sashiko is usually done in a contrasting thread, but I liked the white better (it's heavy crochet cotton). Overall size is about 20" (50 cm) square.

Tried it out this morning and it's just right.

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