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1  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Mothra power! on: April 10, 2012 01:55:20 PM
The boyfriend is a massive fan of Godzilla and everything related, and particularly Mothra. I wanted to buy him a Mothra plushie for Christmas (something like this one: http://www.toyvault.com/Godzilla/Mothra%20-%20Large.jpg) but they are no longer being made, and if you come across one online it's a collector's items and thus stupidly expensive. So I thought, sure, I can make that. It was meant to be a belated Christmas present, as in I meant to make it during my holidays between Christmas and New Years. Now, more than three months later, please behold: Mothra!



I based the shape of the wings on some images of butterflies I found online that were roughly the right shape. The body is a based on a ball pattern (six leaf shaped segments), times six.

I drew the patterns with watercolour pens, scanned them and printed them on printable fabric. The wings have a layer of felt in the middle, plus wire around the edges to give some stand. The feelers and legs are wire tightly wrapped in wool.

There was quite a lot of trial and error (mostly error) involved in the making of Mothra and I ended up hand sewing most of it, because it's much too fine and fiddly for the machine, plus I didn't want to ruin my machine on all that wire. I was close to giving up a few times, but now I'm glad I didn't.

Some more pictures, hope you like!





And because Mothra is a little bit vain...



The boyfriend is quite pleased with his present I think. He is in the other room but from time to time I hear him should "Mothraaaa!"  Smiley


2  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Re: Who knows what my kids were eating? on: January 24, 2012 03:00:09 PM
I've never made any of my own cosmetics, but this looks so good, I might just give it a try!  Smiley
3  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Lasagna Cupcakes on: January 24, 2012 02:45:32 PM
These look amazing!

Bookmarked for the next party (and note to self: must buy cupcake tray!)
4  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: Bike tube wallets on: January 24, 2012 02:00:30 PM
Thanks, Craftster, for this award!

Jillinamillion: You should try - it's so easy and fun to sew, nothing like any other rubber / vinyl type materials I've ever used.

 Smiley
5  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Re: Yummy muesli bars (with tutorial / recipe) PIC heavy! on: January 24, 2012 04:12:33 AM
Hi Craftsters,

Wow, I'm well chuffed to have been picked for the Best of 2011! Thanks!

I've been making those muesli bars for about a year now and have learned a lot since... I'll update the original post now.

 Cheesy
6  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: Bike Tube wallet on: March 28, 2011 01:11:31 PM
I think it's really cool. Liking the rubber and flannel combo!

I'm surprised you found it tough to sew through several layers, when I do stuff with bike tubes, I find it goes through the rubber like butter, even where I have lots of layers.
I wonder if it's the rubber and fabric combination the machine doesn't like...
7  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: Bike tube wallets on: March 06, 2011 11:42:39 AM
Oops, I just noticed there are more questions here... Sorry! I thought that thread had long disappeared into the depths of the Craftster archive and never checked back Shocked

Did you have trouble sewign through the tubes at all?  What type of sewing machine needle did you use?

I just used the sewing machine standard needle. An 80 strength I think. It goes through the rubber like butter, it's a real joy to sew! No problem with the transport mechanism of the machine either, for the first couple of seams I used thin paper underneath and above (as with vinyl for example), than noticed that it's absolutely not necessary.


By the way, the boyfriend has been using his wallet for three months now and it's still going strong!  Smiley
8  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 59 ENTRIES / Re: Sweater Love (huge sweater to cute dress) on: February 05, 2011 06:47:13 AM
This is really cool (ahem, not literally, obviously!) and I totally want one! Sadly winter seems to be over here. Actually, that's not really that sad, thinking about it. Anyway, nice work!  Smiley
9  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Re: Yummy muesli bars (with tutorial / recipe) PIC heavy! on: January 30, 2011 02:43:22 PM
Thanks for all the comments  Cheesy

Out of curiosity, how long do they last before going bad?

I usually make them on Saturday or Sunday and they last until Friday. Not because they go off but because they get eaten.
I imagine if you keep them dry and cool, they could be stored longer, nothing really in there that goes bad quickly.

Could you substitute molasses or a simple syrup for the honey?

I would imagine so. The honey kind of gets a bit thicker when it caramelizes and that makes it glue together without being too sticky to hands or to each other.
I would just give it a shot, worst thing that can happen is it doesn't stick but then you can still use it as muesli!

Let me know how it works out if you try it!
10  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Yummy muesli bars (with tutorial / recipe) PIC heavy! on: January 30, 2011 11:34:35 AM
The boyfriend and I eat a lot of muesli bars, they are just such a good little snack to have in the office. But the nice ones are also quite expensive. And we have this New Year's resolution to produce less rubbish, and of course purchased muesli bars are all individually wrapped, so no good!

So I decided to try and make my own.



I googled a lot of recipes and tried a few different ways, and in the end combined everything into a recipe that works for us. Basic ingredients are oats and honey and then I add nuts and dried fruit and other yummy stuff.

And this is how they're made.

Ingredients (I'm German, so I'm using grams):



50 g butter or spread. I use soya spread but I've tried butter and it works just as well.
250 g oats. Mine are sort of medium fine but I guess you could mix fine ones and big ones.
50 g sugar
150 g nuts and seeds. For this batch I used chopped mixed nuts, sunflower seeds and linseed, but of course anything goes. If using linseed or sesame seed or anything similarly small, I would not use more than 30 g, otherwise the finished bars get quite crumbly.
50 g dried fruit - I like cranberries. I have also substituted the fruit and some of the nuts with a sort of tropical nibble mix - dried banana and pineapple chunks, coconut flakes and brazil nuts I think. Also nice!
150 g clear honey
Not pictured: 2 handful of puffed rice - adds a bit a volume to the mix
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp lime juice (or lemon)

Melt the butter / spread. Add the oats and stir until all the spread has been soaked up. Then add sugar.



Stir continuously. The sugar will start melting in the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring.

Add nuts, seeds, fruit and puffed rice. Stir.

When all the sugar is melted, add the honey. No picture of that as when I tried taking it, the oats started burning and then the honey spilled everywhere and it got a bit messy  Shocked

Stir until all the mix is evenly covered with honey. Add cinnamon and lime juice and stir that in as well.

The mixture will quickly start getting brown when the honey caramelizes. Don't let it burn! But don't take it off the heat too soon as it needs to caramelize for the bars to stick. Low heat and a lot of stirring (sorry, I keep repeating myself!) is the key.

When you've reached a good caramel-ish colour, pour the mixture on baking paper.



Now the tricky part starts. You want to compact the mix as much as possible to make the bars stick together - otherwise you're producing fancy muesli (not that that's not nice too  Cheesy ).

Put another layer of baking paper on top.

Squash the mix with both hands by putting lots of weight on. Careful, it's quite hot. I use an oven glove on one hand, though that makes it a bit harder to bring it into shape.


(The boyfriend took those.)

Next step you want to make sure the edges don't crumble away, so you sort of squeeze from the sides. Don't fold the mixture like you would do with cookie dough, that WILL make it crumble. Just press from the sides. I hope the photo shows it, it's a bit hard to explain...


(Looks like I have really stubby fingers in this one!)

Squash from top and squeeze from sides until you have a nice solid flat thing. Try and get the mix the same thickness in the middle and one the sides - around 1-1.5 cm, not less or it will be too fragile.



Now the patience bit. You have to let it cool completely before you cut it or it will break.

Usually the corners do crumble a bit, but after a bit of practice not so much any more. And it gives me an excuse to eat the broken bits straight away  Wink



Hope you enjoy. If anybody tries to do this, or has made muesli bars a different way, I'd like to hear your comments Smiley


Update January 2012:

Thanks Craftster for choosing my muesli bars for Best of 2011!

Ive been making those for a year now and I thought Id share my experiences.

- I now use a 28 cm non stick slightly buttered baking tray instead of just a sheet of baking paper makes a nice square shape, which is much easier to cut into bars.

- I then put the whole thing in the oven for about 20 minutes at a low heat (gas mark 2-3, maybe 150 degrees Celsius). Or I make lasagne for dinner and just put it in when the oven cools down it doesnt need to be precise.
This helps glue it all together better, I havent had any crumble away since.

Varieties:

- I have tried a few vegan batches with treacle instead of honey, it works just as well though I find I prefer the honey taste, treacle makes it very malty.

- I have done a nut free version too (because I forgot to buy any). I just used more oats.

- To make a less crunchy version I added some creamed coconut (this stuff: http://www.bluedragon.com/products/ingredients/creamed-coconut-block.aspx, though I buy the non branded verison in the asia shop - exactly the same, but much cheaper!). 200 gram (one pack) dissolved in 400 ml of boiling water, and then I use about a quarter of that. I add it after the honey / treacle. The rest can either be frozen in portions or used for curries. Only lasts a day or two in the fridge, even though it gets solid again.

This makes them much chewier, but obviously adds some calories. Nice though!  

- Chocolaty variety: Add a good table spoon of cocoa instead of the lime juice. Mmmh.

- Christmas variety: Cocoa and cinnamon or Christmas spices...



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