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111  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Gardening in the Dead of Winter on: January 28, 2012 07:38:09 AM
Hey everyone, I thought I'd share what we've learned about greenhouse gardening over the past few years.  It's the end of January, 26 degrees out and this is today's harvest(!)  Hot peppers, baby carrots and golden beets, a huge radish.  At dinnertime tonight I'll also pick spinach, lettuce and mesclun for a salad.  The hot peppers are going in the dehydrator this afternoon.  The peppers are in pots that we moved from our back deck when the weather turned cold.  Everything else is growing in indoor raised beds. 

Two years ago we were trying to keep the indoor temp high enough to sustain potted summer vegetables, tropicals and herbs.  A power failure on a sub zero night killed everything, including my precious saffron.   Sad  Last year my husband put in an indoor raised bed and we didn't use the heater at all.  We enjoyed lettuce all Winter. This year, he added 3 more indoor raised beds and we have the heater set just at freezing.  It rarely comes on and we've got some beautiful things growing in there!

I'm hoping we'll have peas to harvest in a week or two.

Red and gold beets.

An entire bed of potatoes.  When they flower we'll know there are harvestable potatoes inside.

We've even got a few limes growing, despite the cool temps.  Our citrus lives in pots. 

We use a few black rain barrels to hold water, and water the beds by hand.  They also help keep the interior warm by acting as a thermal mass. 

Here's the exterior.  We keep the shadecloth on year round and close it up during the Summer.  It's too hot in there to be of any use.  My husband built it from a kit (he's a genius).  Any questions, just let me know.   Smiley

112  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Skirt Steak Tacos on: January 27, 2012 12:45:26 PM
One of our refrigerators cut out on us this week.  Since we stock our beef by the half cow, I found myself with a freezer full of defrosting meat.  Luckily, it was the one that holds our stew beef and such (not the ribeyes or filet).  I set out to make a huge batch of stew and a big pot of chili.  By the time I was done with pot pie filling I was pooped and still had a package of skirt steak staring at me.  What to do?  Marinate it for tacos the next night!  Skirt steak isn't known for its tenderness but I figured an overnight bath in a marinade would soften it up and I was right.  I used what I had on hand:

1/4 cup of olive oil
Juice of three limes
Splash of tequila
Splash of the juice from a jar of pickled jalapenos
4 cloves of crushed garlic
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. of oregano
Salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes

The next evening we grilled the steaks, let them rest then sliced them against the grain.

I pan fried a half of a red pepper and a handful of jalapeno slices in a little bit of olive oil.

They were served with warm flour soft flour tacos, sliced avocado, fresh tomatoes and some of my homemade salsa.  There are scores of other things you could serve these with, like cheese, sour cream, lettuce, onion, guacamole, etc.  We (of course) have leftovers.  Beef.  It's what's for dinner.

113  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects / Fish Platter and Friends on: January 20, 2012 03:44:04 AM
My adventures in pottery continue...  I made a few serving pieces in class last month.  I'm having fun learning different techniques and playing with glazes.  First up is a platter that I'm giving my Mom for her birthday.  They live on a river and eat lots of fish that my Dad catches. 

I'm planning to use this to serve veggies and dip tonight when friends come for drinks and appetizers.

I really like how the glazes mixed together on this bowl.

114  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Valentine's Day / Matchbox Valentines on: January 17, 2012 10:02:28 AM
I was inspired by something I saw on Martha Stewart's website.  It was a kid's craft for altering matchbooks and filling them with candy.  I kind of got carried away...  The heart on the top is made of stamped polymer clay with a sparkly doo dad.  Inside of each there's a tiny traditional valentine's day image.  And M&Ms! 

115  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Star Wars Magnets on: December 24, 2011 08:22:58 AM
As a last minute Christmas gift for my Star Wars loving daughter, I crafted some magnets for her out of poly clay.  I used a round cutter for the base of each one so they are a standard size.  There are so many options to further expand her collection, I'm planning to add to it next year.

116  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Meet Our 4Q2011 Home Sweet Home Featured Member - Jenxx! on: December 19, 2011 04:17:57 PM
We've enjoyed her giant cheeseburger pillow and carousel horse constructed from a child's toy posts.  We're pleased to announce the 4Q2011 Home Sweet Home featured member is Jenxx!

Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a retired snowbird who spends the summers in Illinois & winters in Florida.  I've always had a passion for creating & spend more time at it than is good for me.   I'm willing to use just about any medium available...my latest is clay classes.  I'm loving those altho they're limited to summer.  I've learned that I'm something of a maverick who doesn't follow directions well &, while I love hunting the internet for inspiration,  prefer to create my own patterns.

Your 28" cheeseburger seemed to be well received!  Do you have any plans for additional giant food pillows?
My cheeseburger began as an entry in a contest to "Create a Pillow".  I spent several weeks in the thinking stage before doing anything tangible....this is my usual approach to a project.  It actually took me only a day or two to complete it.  It's quite simply made with mostly circles.  People have suggested I follow it up with a hot dog, fries & a coke.  I've figured out how I would proceed but haven't found the time yet.

Your carousel horse is stunning.  What was your inspiration and what was the hardest thing about the project?
My carousel horse is one of my favorite creations.  I had seen them several times & hunted flea markets for a child's toy to buy at a reasonable price.  When I finally found it for $10, I enlisted Hubby to strip it from the frame & mount it on a closet rod.  That was easy for him but would have stymied me.  I guess he really IS worth keeping around.  The rest was time consuming but not difficult.  I had to repaint part of the saddle because the paint didn't match but it went pretty smoothly otherwise.   

On what other Craftster boards will people find projects you've posted?
I've posted a number of crafts on other topics---all listed in my photo gallery.  My most industrious is probably my life size old world Santas.

What's your favorite item on Craftster created by someone else?
I've found so many fantastic art & craft projects on this site that it would be difficult to choose a favorite.  I've found tho, that I tend to love the ones that go beyond patterns & instructions to explore a new direction.  These are the most inspiring & I really appreciate that the Craftster community provides a venue where everyone can showcase their creations so they will inspire others.

117  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Home Sweet Home Featured Projects 4th Quarter 2011 on: December 19, 2011 06:34:09 AM
Home Sweet Home Featured Projects 4th Quarter 2011

Crafty Housewares: General

Bead Curtain of Craftster Love *pic heavy* by Abbeeroad

Whopper Cheeseburger---28" in diameter! by Jenxx

New side table! by K3lly

Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed

Jean Couch by Autodidact

Headboard Made of Pallets by mcmakeit

Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects

Extreme Bird Mansion ! by cranbrook2

118  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects / My First Attempt at Pottery on: December 07, 2011 10:30:35 AM
My husband recently decided he hates all of his hobbies so wanted to try something fun and different and picked pottery.  How cool is that?  We found an art studio about a 90 minute drive from here and have been going every week.  I'm pretty happy that I'm able to produce pots but they are all pretty small (my largest is about 5 inches across).  Baby steps, right?  We're both really enjoying it and he's been making some noise about having our own studio some day.  Is there anyone out there with a home studio I could PM for some advice if/when the time comes?  Here are a few examples of my first pots.

119  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Meet Our 3Q2011 Home Sweet Home Featured Member - Chocolate_Jo! on: November 04, 2011 04:44:49 AM
This quarter's featured member is from Alabama. We love the bedroom makeover she shared with us and want to hear more about it.  We're pleased to announce this quarter's featured member is Chocolate_Jo!

Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I'm 19 years old (but oh so close to being 20!) and I live in North Alabama,
I am the only girl in a family of 6 (scary),
I am leaving for US Navy Boot Camp in about 4 months, and I'm so excited about it!
I throw away NOTHING. EVER. Furniture, paper, ribbons, and crafty things take up more space in my room than clothing.
I would consider myself halfway decent at a lot of things as opposed to very skilled in a select few areas. (i.e. I can knit, but only a square scarf, etc  Wink )
I was homeschooled and loved it  Smiley

What was the inspiration for your bedroom makeover?
Ironically the inspiration for my new bedroom was the lack of inspiration in my old. It was really only a jumble of my various things squished together, with no real theme. One day I ran across the fabric I used for my headboard, and loved the color scheme so much that I used it for the rest of the room.

What was the most challenging project you undertook?
Painting around all of my stuff!! Haha! I (honestly) was unaware of how much stuff I had laying around! But as far as 'challenging', probably my decoupaged dresser, because the drawer fronts were uneven and I had a had time lining up the fabric on the fronts. And waiting for paint to dry  Smiley

Do you have any tips for someone wanting to completely redo a room?

I'd say just do it! Although it would probably be much easier if you had all of your materials and projects lined up so as to get it done in one fell swoop. I spread all of mine out and it took me about 4 months. Also, if you are hurting for a color scheme, find a delightful fabric you like, and pull from that; less stress  Smiley

What's your favorite item on Craftster created by someone else?
I have to pick *one*?! That is so hard!! Everyone on here is so unbelievably talented, no lie, I continue to stay in awe of the awesomeness that comes through here. BUT if I had to pick just one project, I'd have to go with the first one I saw on this website. It was http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=253743.msg2827704;topicseen#msg2827704 by kitten59. I stumbled across that by chance and was completely blown away. I stared at the little pieces for FOREVER, having a hard time getting my mind around that someone had actually made those! Stunning work.

You can see Chocolate_Jo's room entire bedroom makeover post at http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=390117.msg4618490#4618490, and, for fun, check out her clown colored prom dress at http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=344571.msg4008173#msg4008173
120  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Teeny Tiny Vampire Hunter's Kit on: October 13, 2011 11:00:02 AM
Last year for Christmas, I made my son-in-law a zombie tin and magnet set (http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=366989.0).  I had an opportunity to see his work space a few months ago and it was the only personal thing he had by his computer.   Smiley    Obviously, I need to up my game this year.  I came up with a miniature vampire hunter's kit.

It's got a cross, bible, wooden stakes, mirror, bat illustration, a vampire skull sitting on top of a spool of silver chain, a revolver with wooden bullets, vials of holy water and blood sealed with red wax and a garlic braid (which cackle helped me with). 

Here are some of the items separate from the case, so you can see them better.

I covered the outside of the case in brown alligator, it's an altoid tin.  Very unassuming, eh? 

Before I finish glueing everything in, any suggestions for something I may have missed?   
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