A Crafts Community For Craft Ideas & DIY Projects - Craftster.org
Help | About | Contact | Press | Advertise | Terms | Site Map
Welcome, Guest.
Please login or register.
Random Tip: Join us for fun, contests and discussions on Craftster's Facebook page!
Total Members: 295,083
Currently Running With Scissors:
513 Guests and 6 Users
Home Craftster Community Crafting Articles Craft Tutorials My Craftster Crafting Calendar City Guides Craft Shop

  Show Topics
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4
11  COOKING / Dessert / Earl Gray Lemon Squares *with recipe* on: December 17, 2013 10:43:37 AM
Hi there! I wanted to share with you the most wonderful dessert I recently discovered.

I had found this recipe for Earl Gray Lemon Squares in the June 2012 edition of Cooking Light. Since Acadian Driftwood was coming over to visit and I knew her affinity for lemony goodness, I thought this was a fortuitous time to "Make it so".

With our powers combined, we bring you the most delicious lemon squares to date!:



You know, I'm not even that much into lemon squares normally, and I couldn't stop at just one. The crust was wonderfully crumbly and light, and slightly tea-flavored. The filling was the most wonderful creamy texture, and was SO TASTY. Especially with a cup of tea alongside.

Of course, we had to take a complimentary photo in honor of our favorite Earl Gray consumer.


"Tea. Earl Gray. Hot."

I highly recommend these as a fairly simple and wonderful treat. The next version I'll try for the holidays will be gluten-free so my sister-in-law can enjoy them too; I'll let you know how it works out.

Here's the recipe. Go for it!

http://www.cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder/healthy-dessert-ideas-00412000076052/page24.html

12  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Talk About The Swap Process / Shipping with the US Postal Service: FYI on: December 01, 2013 12:41:00 AM


Happy December everyone! As it is the season for people to be sending one another lots of goodies in the mail, I thought now would be a good time to put up this post. Last winter while I was working for the United States Postal Service, I learned firsthand the dos and donts of packaging. It was always terrible to see someones letters and parcels get stuck in the machine or lost because of simple packing errors, and I decided to share my knowledge with everyone to help those boxes and cards get to where theyre going!  Please read the information I have to share; even postal window clerks usually havent sorted the mail on the big machines, and thus may not know the best way to ship your packages.


One quick disclaimer I cannot say for sure how much of this is applicable for the postal services in countries other than the United States, but I imagine much of it is the same.

Envelopes:



First, lets talk about how these go through the sorting system. The letter sorting machine is a huge, scary, complicated thing that uses computer information to do almost everything.  They process over 30,000 letters an hour, and are run by only two people each, so it is important to make sure your envelope will go through smoothly.

When your envelope is fed into the machine, it gets pinched between two belts that whip it away at an incredibly fast speed, over and around wheels and through narrow sensors and sorting paddles. If anything in your envelope is sticky-outy, like a pen, keychain, coins, scrabble tiles, inchies, seashells, jewelry, etc., theres a good chance it will get stuck somewhere or just get torn in the machine and fall out.  (This is also true of any bits on the outside, like puffy stickers and glitter). Usually the postal workers do a good job of picking out the sticky-outy letters, but they can easily miss some when theyre processing several hundred thousand a night. And even if by chance it makes it through the machine, each letter will have to go through at least four times to get sorted for a mail carrier.  Depending on where theyre going, these letters could get run through the machine 7 or 8 times, maybe more!

So what do I do if I'm sending small items, like inchies?

If your envelope has sticky-outy or stiff bits, I would write please hand cancel on the front of the envelope. This way, it should avoid going through any machines, and will be hand sorted by a person. If its a really fragile item or you want to make sure it makes it to where its going, its best to put it in a padded envelope.

Now, since those envelopes are running through the machine so fast, it really helps if the address is readable. The machine has little cameras that take a picture of the front, and then a computer figures out what city, state and country the letter is going to - all in a fraction of a second. If your envelope is a weir d color, like silver or dark red or green, or if the ink is in a glittery or poorly-contrasted ink, the computer will probably not be able to read it. This isnt the end of the world, though; that just means it gets sent to those hand-sorting people later on, which is fine if you dont mind your letter travelling more slowly. If your handwriting is illegible, the computer and maybe the real person who sorts it later might not be able to read it. We did a pretty good job with some astoundingly bad writing, but its best not to leave that to fate.

 The machine also prints a black and an orange bar code on the envelope, which has to be read by other sorting machines. They cant read it if the envelope is dark, so sometimes they get a little bar code sticker to help. (You see that a lot on post cards).



So what do I do?
Got dark envelopes? Put a white or light-colored label on it. Got weird-colored ink? Use that in the card, and use a real pen for the envelope. Or, if your greetings have to have that exact shade of sparkly fluorescent green, be prepared for the travel time to be longer. And if your three-year-old addressed that letter to Grandma, make sure it actually looks like Grandmas address before you send it.

Sometimes the postal clerk will slap an extra fee on difficult-to-handle envelopes. This usually is done with envelopes that are over-sized, square, rigid or have lumpy things, or if the address is in a weird spot. If you ask for your letter to be hand-canceled, it will probably cost twenty cents extra. This isn't really a big deal, though. The USPS will mail just about anything if it has enough postage; my co-workers and I have seen everything from a shoe to shelacked toast go through, with enough stamps.


Boxes

If there is one thing that should be said about boxes it is this: Please, for the love of whatever deity you may or may not worship, do not use duct tape to seal a box.
Dont get me wrong; duct tape is fantastic for many things. It is very sticky. So much so that if a corner peels up, the tape could stick to other packages. Or the sorting machine. Or the conveyer belts. Or the shipping containers. Or to itself, to get wedged into some important moving part. Get the drift?

Okay. The next important thing is your label. This is the only way anyone has of knowing where this box of stuff is going, so take time to make your label. It always helps if it is legible, and if you print off one of those postage-paid labels like you can for ebay, make sure it prints in a size that a non-superhuman can read without serious effort. It also helps if those labels are on the biggest side of the box. Most of the time the boxes are placed on a conveyer belt that runs them under a scanner; this scans not only the zip code, but all of those handy tracking bar codes as well. If the label is on the narrow end of the box, it would have to stand upright on a surface that quickly moves and stops repeatedly, which usually doesnt work.

Of course, someone can read the label and type in the zip code, but then your tracking bar code doesnt get scanned, and wouldnt you like to know where your package is?

Other helpful things:

Make sure your zip code is correct. Usually the humans involved can figure it out if it isnt, but it might go around in circles for weeks before someone catches it.

Is your package round and roly? Theres a chance it wont travel on the machine like its supposed to. The operators try to pick these out before they get stuck or fall in the wrong shipping container, but theyre busy people that miss things sometimes, and this could add anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to your parcels travel time.

Did you cram one of those it fits, it ships flat-rate boxes with 30 lb of auto parts? It helps to write HEAVY or CAUTION or 30 POUNDS on that sucker. Because those boxes roll down sloped conveyer belts onto peoples fingers, it helps to have some warning. I once sorted a large flat-rate box that was 55 lbs, no joke.  And make sure that box is sealed and padded well; theres not a whole lot anyone can do if the cardboard gets obliterated by the chunk of steel its hiding.




If there is one most important thing to take away from this post
...it is to put a return address on your mail! Even your postcards! Even if youve sent a box to this person like 400 times and you know that their address is correct and the postal clerk knows your sister and WHATEVER. You should still put a return address on there. If you have something you really care about thats going inside of the package, maybe even put an address on that, too.

Because stuff happens. Im sure a lot of you have had packages come in the mail that look like theyve been trampled by elephants. This isnt because of uncaring postal workers (usually). Most of the time its from when stuff gets stuck in the machinery, which is unavoidable. And sometimes the mail gets wet, or gets leaked on from another package, or the label comes un-stuck. Maybe you didnt copy that zip code down exactly. If anything happens to the address and it cant be sent, it will get shipped down to a dead mail facility in Georgia somewhere to be examined for sender info, and then destroyed.  If this happens to you , there is probably an 800 number to call, but that tends to be almost completely useless.

Dont let this happen! Put a return address on EVERYTHING so it can at least go back home if something happens on the other end.


I hope this is at least a little bit helpful. If there is something I didnt explain well or forgot to mention, please let me know! Good luck, and may all of your shipping be swift.
13  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Shipping with the US Postal Service: FYI on: December 01, 2013 12:40:24 AM


Happy December everyone! As it is the season for people to be sending one another lots of goodies in the mail, I thought now would be a good time to put up this post. Last winter while I was working for the United States Postal Service, I learned firsthand the dos and donts of packaging. It was always terrible to see someones letters and parcels get stuck in the machine or lost because of simple packing errors, and I decided to share my knowledge with everyone to help those boxes and cards get to where theyre going!  Please read the information I have to share; even postal window clerks usually havent sorted the mail on the big machines, and thus may not know the best way to ship your packages.


One quick disclaimer I cannot say for sure how much of this is applicable for the postal services in countries other than the United States, but I imagine much of it is the same.

Envelopes:



First, lets talk about how these go through the sorting system. The letter sorting machine is a huge, scary, complicated thing that uses computer information to do almost everything.  They process over 30,000 letters an hour, and are run by only two people each, so it is important to make sure your envelope will go through smoothly.

When your envelope is fed into the machine, it gets pinched between two belts that whip it away at an incredibly fast speed, over and around wheels and through narrow sensors and sorting paddles. If anything in your envelope is sticky-outy, like a pen, keychain, coins, scrabble tiles, inchies, seashells, jewelry, etc., theres a good chance it will get stuck somewhere or just get torn in the machine and fall out.  (This is also true of any bits on the outside, like puffy stickers and glitter). Usually the postal workers do a good job of picking out the sticky-outy letters, but they can easily miss some when theyre processing several hundred thousand a night. And even if by chance it makes it through the machine, each letter will have to go through at least four times to get sorted for a mail carrier.  Depending on where theyre going, these letters could get run through the machine 7 or 8 times, maybe more!

So what do I do if I'm sending small items, like inchies?

If your envelope has sticky-outy or stiff bits, I would write please hand cancel on the front of the envelope. This way, it should avoid going through any machines, and will be hand sorted by a person. If its a really fragile item or you want to make sure it makes it to where its going, its best to put it in a padded envelope.

Now, since those envelopes are running through the machine so fast, it really helps if the address is readable. The machine has little cameras that take a picture of the front, and then a computer figures out what city, state and country the letter is going to - all in a fraction of a second. If your envelope is a weir d color, like silver or dark red or green, or if the ink is in a glittery or poorly-contrasted ink, the computer will probably not be able to read it. This isnt the end of the world, though; that just means it gets sent to those hand-sorting people later on, which is fine if you dont mind your letter travelling more slowly. If your handwriting is illegible, the computer and maybe the real person who sorts it later might not be able to read it. We did a pretty good job with some astoundingly bad writing, but its best not to leave that to fate.

 The machine also prints a black and an orange bar code on the envelope, which has to be read by other sorting machines. They cant read it if the envelope is dark, so sometimes they get a little bar code sticker to help. (You see that a lot on post cards).



So what do I do?
Got dark envelopes? Put a white or light-colored label on it. Got weird-colored ink? Use that in the card, and use a real pen for the envelope. Or, if your greetings have to have that exact shade of sparkly fluorescent green, be prepared for the travel time to be longer. And if your three-year-old addressed that letter to Grandma, make sure it actually looks like Grandmas address before you send it.

Sometimes the postal clerk will slap an extra fee on difficult-to-handle envelopes. This usually is done with envelopes that are over-sized, square, rigid or have lumpy things, or if the address is in a weird spot. If you ask for your letter to be hand-canceled, it will probably cost twenty cents extra. This isn't really a big deal, though. The USPS will mail just about anything if it has enough postage; my co-workers and I have seen everything from a shoe to shelacked toast go through, with enough stamps.


Boxes

If there is one thing that should be said about boxes it is this: Please, for the love of whatever deity you may or may not worship, do not use duct tape to seal a box.
Dont get me wrong; duct tape is fantastic for many things. It is very sticky. So much so that if a corner peels up, the tape could stick to other packages. Or the sorting machine. Or the conveyer belts. Or the shipping containers. Or to itself, to get wedged into some important moving part. Get the drift?

Okay. The next important thing is your label. This is the only way anyone has of knowing where this box of stuff is going, so take time to make your label. It always helps if it is legible, and if you print off one of those postage-paid labels like you can for ebay, make sure it prints in a size that a non-superhuman can read without serious effort. It also helps if those labels are on the biggest side of the box. Most of the time the boxes are placed on a conveyer belt that runs them under a scanner; this scans not only the zip code, but all of those handy tracking bar codes as well. If the label is on the narrow end of the box, it would have to stand upright on a surface that quickly moves and stops repeatedly, which usually doesnt work.

Of course, someone can read the label and type in the zip code, but then your tracking bar code doesnt get scanned, and wouldnt you like to know where your package is?

Other helpful things:

Make sure your zip code is correct. Usually the humans involved can figure it out if it isnt, but it might go around in circles for weeks before someone catches it.

Is your package round and roly? Theres a chance it wont travel on the machine like its supposed to. The operators try to pick these out before they get stuck or fall in the wrong shipping container, but theyre busy people that miss things sometimes, and this could add anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to your parcels travel time.

Did you cram one of those it fits, it ships flat-rate boxes with 30 lb of auto parts? It helps to write HEAVY or CAUTION or 30 POUNDS on that sucker. Because those boxes roll down sloped conveyer belts onto peoples fingers, it helps to have some warning. I once sorted a large flat-rate box that was 55 lbs, no joke.  And make sure that box is sealed and padded well; theres not a whole lot anyone can do if the cardboard gets obliterated by the chunk of steel its hiding.




If there is one most important thing to take away from this post
...it is to put a return address on your mail! Even your postcards! Even if youve sent a box to this person like 400 times and you know that their address is correct and the postal clerk knows your sister and WHATEVER. You should still put a return address on there. If you have something you really care about thats going inside of the package, maybe even put an address on that, too.

Because stuff happens. Im sure a lot of you have had packages come in the mail that look like theyve been trampled by elephants. This isnt because of uncaring postal workers (usually). Most of the time its from when stuff gets stuck in the machinery, which is unavoidable. And sometimes the mail gets wet, or gets leaked on from another package, or the label comes un-stuck. Maybe you didnt copy that zip code down exactly. If anything happens to the address and it cant be sent, it will get shipped down to a dead mail facility in Georgia somewhere to be examined for sender info, and then destroyed.  If this happens to you , there is probably an 800 number to call, but that tends to be almost completely useless.

Dont let this happen! Put a return address on EVERYTHING so it can at least go back home if something happens on the other end.


I hope this is at least a little bit helpful. If there is something I didnt explain well or forgot to mention, please let me know! Good luck, and may all of your shipping be swift.
14  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Fall Wiccan Wreath on: October 22, 2013 06:09:47 PM
Hi there! I made this wreath for a swap. It's my first time making a wreath, and it was a lot easier than I had previously imagined.



I used birch branches to make the hoop and the wiccan star, and they're all connected with florist's wire. Then I tore apart a fall garland I got from A.C. Moore for a few $ and wired the leaves and berries onto the ring of the wreath. I was originally going to make my own leaves out of felt, but I like the way it turned out with silk.

C&C welcome! Thanks for looking!
15  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Triple Moon Tree Hoop on: October 22, 2013 02:22:06 PM
Hi there!
I made this hoop for my partner in a Halloween swap. She likes things with a Wiccan theme, so I decided to mix the tree of life and the triple moon image.



The majority of it is straight-stitched with varying thicknesses of thread. The moons are reverse-appliqued with a piece of lavender fabric that was actually from my prom dress, believe it or not. I used double-sided interfacing to hold it in place, and used running stitch to secure it to the front fabric.

Thanks for looking!
16  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Yoshi and Kermit the Hoop on: October 22, 2013 10:56:26 AM
Hi there! Here's another hoop I made for a swap.



This is my own design that I used back-stitch to outline, and crayon tinting for the color. The words are done with something akin to a stem stitch.

Thanks for looking!
17  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Revamped Dresser on: October 22, 2013 10:41:41 AM
Hi there!
When I was living in Portland, I needed a dresser. I found someone selling one for cheap that "needed a bit of work".



Yeah, I'll say. It had water damage from sitting in the garage, so one side was all warped and the back was stained. I also discovered that the legs on the rear of the dresser were broken, and at different lengths. The seller had managed to prop them up on just the right combination of scrap wood to make it level.

BUT, the inside was nice (and spacious!), and overall the thing was still sound (the water damage was only on a surface layer of thin wood), so I bought it for $15, plus $5 to have it dropped off at my apartment.

I drug it into my room, threw down a drop-cloth, and ripped off the water-damaged wood. I borrowed a saw from my landlord (who, to his credit, didn't even ask me what I needed it for!), and sawed the legs off more or less evenly. Slapped on some new paint, and some scrapbook paper that I found at A.C. Moore. And voila!



I was sad to leave it behind when I moved away from Maine. But now I know it's not too hard to do, so I'm keeping my eye out for new furniture. Wink
Thanks for looking!
18  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Some simple note cards on: October 22, 2013 10:22:05 AM
Hi there!



Here are some note cards and envelopes I made for a swap a little while ago. They're all based on things that my swap partner likes, but I tend to sway towards more natural themes anyway.  Grin  I put a little image on each envelope to go along with the card. (You can't see it, but the one with a luna moth has a caterpillar)
They're all done with a set of markers that I love.











C&C welcome! Thanks for looking!
19  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Felted tree and button hoop on: October 22, 2013 10:00:27 AM
Hi there! Here is yet another button tree, though you may be interested in how I made the trunk.



I had some brown wool yarn hanging around, and so I cut it to appropriate lengths, twisted it up like the bark of a tree, and felted it right onto the fabric. It actually worked way better than I thought it would.

This hoop went off in a swap a while ago, but I just found the picture today.  Roll Eyes

C&C welcome!
20  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Inkjet-printed book pages on: October 22, 2013 09:25:55 AM
Hi there! I made these to try out a new technique for a Halloween swap. My partner liked to do a lot of paper crafting, so I thought she might like these.



I had these pages lying around; I'd cut them out of a book that I had been using for an altered journal, to make space. I've seen similar things online, so I wanted to try printing images on them with my own printer.



I'll tell you what, the hardest part was getting the printer to agree to print on weirdly-sized paper. I think I finally went for a setting that was a bit smaller than the actual page, and it seemed to work okay. Here's some better shots of my favorites:







I didn't realize the weird header that last one had until after I'd successfully printed on it. It makes me wonder what the heck that chapter was about, since I didn't actually read the book before I started cutting it apart.

Anyway, try it out yourself! It's a nifty way to make cool images even cooler.
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4


only results with images
include swap threads
advanced search



your ad could be here!

How-To Videos
Odd Japanese Beauty Products
S1:E5 | Kimberly Whitefield – Divorcé on a Budget | Decoding Style
How to Slim and Contour Your Face Like Kim Kardashian
Get the "Fresh and Naughty" Makeup Look Backstage at Rachel Zoe at NYFW
How to Paint Cupcake Nail Designs
Latest Blog Articles
CrafTATstic Crafty Tattoos: 30th Birthday Tattoo
April 17, 2014 Featured Projects
Spotlight On: Amigurumi

Comparison Shopping




Support Craftster
Become a
Friend of Craftster

Buy Craftster Swag
Buy Craft Supplies
Comparison Shopping

Craftster heartily thanks the following peeps...
Moderators

Follow Craftster...






Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!

Copyright ©2003-2014, Craftster.org an Internet Brands company.