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101  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Patchwork Drawstring Bag Tutorial on: October 04, 2012 07:44:19 AM
I hoard love Halloween fabric!  When I got partnered with cackle for the Mini 13 Days of Halloween, I decided to make a patchwork bag as her container.  I've received some Halloween fabric in swaps over the past few years and my quilt shop sells their bolt ends for 20 cents an inch so I'm always digging in their bins and have never passed up a spooky print. I took some in-process photos, here's how I made it.

The first thing I did was cut out 48 2.5 by 2.5 inch squares, then laid them out how I thought they looked best.  See those word squares at the bottom?  They were from a pair of PJ pants I found at WalMart after Halloween on sale for $5.  They didn't have my size but I bought a pair anyways to craft with some day.  The best part?  They glow in the dark (oh yeah!)   Cheesy

Being careful of the fabrics that had a 'this end up', I started sewing the squares together in rows of four with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Once the row was completed, I ironed the seams flat set it aside, and went on to the next row.
When I had all the rows completed, I started sewing them together with the same 1/4 inch seam allowance.

It came together pretty fast!

I chose linen for my accent fabric at the bottom of my bag, but you could use most anything.  I cut a piece of linen 3 1/2 by 24 1/2 inches and pinned it to the bottom of my patchwork piece.  It would be really easy to pin it to the wrong edge of the patchwork, so make sure you notice which end is up.

Another 1/4 inch seam and it's attached.

I gave it a hand embroidered detail by doing a large running stitch with six strands of orange embroidery floss right along the seam I just sewed. 

Now it's time to turn your large rectangular piece into a tube which will form the sides of the bag.  Just fold it in half with right sides together and sew and 1/4 inch seam up the edges.  Press the seam open when you're done.  Do not turn it right side out, leave it as-is for the next step.

Using a compass, draw a 7 3/4 inch diameter circle on a piece of paper then cut it out.  This will be your template for the bottom of your bag.  Cut the linen circle and pin it to the bottom of the tube.

Sew the round bottom to the sides of the bag with a 1/4 inch seam.

Clip the curve about every half inch with sharp scissors.

The lining is really similar to the process you just did to make the exterior of your bag.  Cut a piece of fabric 11 by 24 1/2 inches and sew it up the short side into a tube.  Cut another 7 3/4 inch circle, pin it right side together to the bottom of your tube and sew a 1/4 inch seam.  Clip the curve. 

For the drawstring case, cut a piece of fabric 2.5 by 25.5 inches and iron a 1/4 inch seam along one of the long edges.  Turn both of the short ends over 1/4 inch, then another 1/4 inch run a seam down the middle to give the drawstring opening a finished edge.  NOTE: the drawstring used in this project was actually 1.5 by 24.5 inches and I decided for future projects, I would increase the width in order to make it easier to sew.

Place the lining inside the exterior bag.  The wrong side of your lining should be touching the wrong side of your patchwork piece.  Now it's time to attach the drawstring case along the top of the patchwork piece.  With right sides together, pin the un-ironed edge of your drawstring case to the outside of your bag.

Remove the Bernina's sliding table and sew the drawstring case on using a 1/4 inch seam.

The final thing you need to do is to fold the drawstring case over and hand stitch the ironed edge to the lining.

Thread a drawstring and you're done!

102  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / It's time to vote for our cooking challenge winner - Bento Lunch! on: October 02, 2012 03:56:34 AM
It's time to choose our cooking challenge winner, voting is open thru October 10th.
103  CRAFTSTER CRAFT CHALLENGES / Craftster Craft Challenge Theme Ideas, Etc. / Hang A Movie On Your Tree on: September 14, 2012 03:15:24 AM
The idea is to make a Christmas tree ornament based on a favorite movie.  Endless fun possibilities.   Smiley
104  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Previous Featured Members on: September 12, 2012 06:06:52 AM
We're pleased to announce the current More Art, Less Craft featured member is FoxyBlue!

Here are some of our favourite projects that FoxyBlue has posted on Craftster, we encourage you to take a look through her huge body of work on here!
Painting for my son
A Charmed Life
Without Darkness, There is No Light
La Peche
Untitled on watercolour paper
Gnome drawing
Sir Dydimus
Zombie Guitar straps

FoxyBlue was also featured in the Best of Craftster 2010 and Best of Craftster 2011  Now on to the interview!

Your mixed media pieces are stunning, when did you start using those techniques?

Thank you! It's only been around 5 years that I've been working with so much texture. A friend of mine inspired me by using drywall compound in her paintings to create texture and I absolutely loved it. I really REALLY love texture. I'm very tactile and I have to touch everything. I guess it was a fairly natural transition! Since then, I've incorporated all sorts of goodies to create the look I want. I want people to 'reach out and touch' my art...not just look at it!

What medium to you most like to work with?

My favourite medium. That's a toughie. Um, well in terms of paintings and wall art, I love to work on canvas so, acrylics, watercolour pencils, paint pens, spray paint, pastels, fabric 'puffy' paint...and whatever else I can get my hands on! I am also madly in love with papier mache . I love its versatility. You really can create just about anything with it! Soooo....I guess in short, there isn't  just one medium. I really do love it all!

Tell us what inspires you

Another toughie. I'm so easily inspired. It could be anything at all. But my favourite subject (and it's been this way since I was a little girl doing my fashion drawings) is women. I've always loved to draw and paint women because you can have so much fun with them. You can just go wild with the hair, faces, clothing and colours. I love goddesses, too. I love art that sends positive messages. I like to be 'lifted' by art. I want it to make me feel good.

Do you have any formal art training?

No. No formal art training. I took art all throughout high school, of course, but for post-secondary, I went to film school. I lament that often. Going back to school for fine arts is something I often consider.

Any tips for aspiring artists?

Well when I started to really take painting seriously, my confidence was somewhat lacking. I would get frustrated when I couldn't achieve the look I wanted. But I taught myself that, no matter what, keep on truckin' because it will turn out in the end. And it always did. Always. I really learned to believe in myself throughout this whole process. So, in short, trust in your abilities and your vision. Don't give up. Sometimes the most beautiful creations come from happy mistakes!

What is your favourite piece of your own artwork?

My favourite piece of art that I've created...well, I've done some custom pieces that I absolutely adore. And I love that the recipients loved them as well. Two of my favourites are these ones:



On what other Craftster boards can we find items that you've posted?

Knitting, crochet, polymer clay, ATC, home sweet home, cooking, clothing, toys dolls and playthings, Purses bags and wallets, quilts, occasion and holidays

Here are a few different things I've done:

Polymer clay works:


Fondant cake:


Interior Decorating:


Toys, dolls and playthings:






What is one of your favourite items on Craftster posted by someone else?

Oh boy! That's a can of worms! I am constantly inspired and blown away on this site. It's so hard to narrow it down, but I will if I must!

I ADORE Phizzychick's work. I've loved this piece from the moment I laid eyes on it!


There's also this amazing fairy that I am fortunate enough to own thanks to an organized swap on this awesome site. Bobbiemay has seriously mad skills and I'm so proud to own this!


There's so much more that amazes me here. So much talent that I don't know where to begin. I wish I could include everyone's pieces that I love, but alas, there's just not enough room!

105  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Halloween Bird House on: September 08, 2012 10:19:21 AM
I've had this bird house I got from Hobby Lobby for years, intending to deck it out for Halloween.  I got the crafting bug this morning, and here's what I came up with.  I used a mixture of Martha Stewart and Graphic45 papers.  And a giant raven!

106  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Cooking Challenge - Bento Lunch! Open for entries through September 30, 2012 on: September 04, 2012 05:42:35 AM

photo credit - http://sonomabento.blogspot

All of you fabulous cute food fans, it's time for a cooking challenge perfect for back to school!  The subject is Bento Lunch, or a single portion home-packed meal.  You can submit a character bento, picture bento, or just a nutritious balanced lunch arranged in a box.  If there is a cooked element to your lunch, please include the recipe.  If not, please describe the process you used to assemble your masterpiece.

The Rules:

-This challenge is open to all Craftster members.

-Each participant may enter just once, and it can't be something you've previously posted.

-This contest is open for entries through midnight Sunday, September 30th.  Select NEW TOPIC in the upper right of this page.  Send TroubleT or MissingWillow a PM if you have any questions or difficulties posting.

-Voting will be open from October 1-10, 2012

The prize!
An apron with the Japanese kanji for umami!  Umami is a pleasant savory taste.  It's one of the five basic tastes, together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. The kanji 旨味 are used to describe a food as delicious.  This prize was donated by the fabulous TroubleT.  http://thetroublewithcrafting.blogspot.com/.

107  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Harry Potter Advent Calendar on: August 08, 2012 09:56:21 AM
Earlier this year, I made a Zombie Apocalypse Countdown Calendar for my daughter Tracy.  I have two daughters, and couldn't justify making something awesome for one and not the other.  Claire is obsessed with Harry Potter, so I knew that would be the theme of hers.  Here's what I came up with... the drawers have images of some of her favorite elements of the series and the center section has some festive holiday decorations.  That's an image of the Hogwarts Great Hall decorated for Christmas, along with a snitch in the upper left hand corner.

Harry's emerging from a fireplace holding a jar of floo powder.  I received the tiny fireplace from Loves2Experiment in an IYP swap, this was the perfect place to use it!  I used 3 kinds of green glitter paint to decorate it.  It glows really nicely in person, the camera doesn't capture it very well.  Harry's came with the little potions table in a Lego minifig kit I found at Target.

Here's a close-up of a few drawers.

Ron is her favorite character and Goblet of Fire is her favorite book.

But wait.. there's more.   Smiley  I'm going to have her open this black potions cabinet on the first day as well.

Inside each drawer is something to add to the potions cabinet every day, along with a description of what each item is.  There will also be a piece of candy or other small treat in each drawer.

Here's another example.  The tiny jar contains honey from our bees.

And here's the cabinet completely loaded!  I'm pretty sure both of my girls will be thrilled with what Mom made them.   Grin
108  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Blue Ribbon Sandwich Dill Pickles on: August 02, 2012 05:42:43 AM
I make my own pickles every year, and win bunches of ribbons at the county fair for them. Sandwich dill slices are my family's favorite.  Making and canning pickles isn't hard and doesn't require a bunch of fancy equipment. 

We grow our own cucumbers for pickling.  After trying a bunch of different varieties, the kind I like best is called Snow's Fancy Pickling Cucumbers if you are so inclined to grow your own next year.  You can get pickling cucumbers at the grocery store, as well as all the other ingredients. 

Here's everything you'll need; white vinegar, sugar, pickling salt, pickling spices, dill seed, mustard seed, hot peppers, garlic and bay leaves.  That's our bay laurel in the planter.  Besides the cucumbers and bay leaves, we also grow our own hot peppers, garlic and dill seed for this recipe. 

The first thing I do is sterilize my pint jars, bands and lids.  That's my pasta pot.  I put enough water in the pot for my jars to stand upright plus an inch or two and boil everything for 10 minutes.  You can reuse jars and bands, but it's important to use a new lid every time you can.

For the brine, I start with 1.5 tsp. of pickling spice tied up in a piece of cheesecloth.  That little bundle goes in a saucepan containing 2 cups of white vinegar, 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of pickling salt.  You can use regular table salt if you want, but pickling salt makes the brine really clear (not cloudy). 

Simmer for 15 minutes.

While the brine is simmering, I take a spare pint jar and use it to measure where to cut the tops off of my cucumbers to make sure they will fit.  From here I will cut them into nice thick slices.

After the jars have sterilized for at least 10 minutes and the brine has simmered for at least 15 minutes, I fish a hot jar out of the pot with kitchen tongs and fill each one with a bay leaf, a fresh hot pepper, a peeled garlic clove, 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds and 1/4 tsp. of dill seeds.

I shove as many cucumber slices as I possibly can fit into each jar (they shrink a little during processing) then pour hot brine to fill the jar within 1/4 inch of the top.  For cucumbers of this size, I can fit approx. 2.5 into each jar.  If I've gotten brine on the very top of the jar I use a paper towel to wipe it off then top it with a sterile lid and band. 

Once all of my jars are ready to go, I put them back into the boiling water.  It's important that they are submerged with a least an inch of water over the tops of the jars.

They get processed for 10 minutes, then removed from the boiling water.  After 20 or 30 minutes, you'll hear the lids 'pop'.  As long as the lids pop, they are safe to store outside of the fridge until the jar is opened.  If for some reason one doesn't, just pop that jar in the fridge.  It takes about 2 weeks for the flavors to develop.

Here's an action shot!  I use this same recipe to make my own whole pickles and pickle relish.  If I have leftover brine, I store it in the fridge and heat it up the next time I have enough cucumbers to pickle.  Making pickles isn't difficult, I hope you'll give it a try!

109  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Half Bath Renovation (Yay!) on: July 28, 2012 03:44:29 PM
My very first post on Craftster two years ago was our master bathroom renovation.  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=351200  We had always intended to update our guest half bath 'some day'.  It actually made it onto my list of 50 projects for 2012.  My husband got curious about whether there was hardwood floor under the ugly linoleum tile squares so he peeled the corner of one up and there sure was.  We got excited and pulled all the remaining tiles up then were not able to get the sticky linoleum glue residue up despite our best efforts.  'Some day' came early this year. 

After doing some research and speaking to a few wallpaper suppliers, we decided to paint over the country floral wallpaper.  We used an oil based primer then followed with a neutral gray paint/primer combo.  We opted for crown molding and wainscoting.  The flooring is a laminate.   

Here's the before

And here's how it looked on our first day of renovation.  The entire process took us just 9 days(!)  Unlike our master bath renovation, we did this one entirely by ourselves.  Tomorrow is construction clean up day, it will be nice to have our house back to normal. 

The only thing left is to decorate it with all the crafty artwork I've accumulated through Craftster swapping.  You know, the fun stuff!

110  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Roasted Cherry Peppers Stuffed With Goat Cheese And Basil on: July 18, 2012 05:58:30 PM
I'm always looking for ways to use our fresh goat cheese, and grew these peppers specifically to try something new.  They are called Alma Paprika peppers, not spicy at all.  It's the one on the left.  The ones on the right are incredibly spicy!  Any thick skinned cherry pepper you can find would do nicely for this recipe. 

I cut off the top and scooped out the seeds, then placed them in a baking pan.  I lined the inside of each pepper with a large fresh basil leaf then filled it with goat cheese.  You could definitely experiment with other cheeses.  I've also tried this with a chunk of parmesean and some fresh marjoram.

The last step is to drizzle the tops with olive oil then hit them with salt and pepper. 

Pop them into a 350 degree oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  They are creamy and just plain yummy.  I serve them warm from the oven and the leftovers cold from the fridge. 

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