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21  COOKING / Dessert / Popcorn Balls (or Ice Planets!) on: October 28, 2014 08:18:42 PM

I saw the idea for popcorn ice planets on this blog, and knew I had to make some for a girls Halloween night where the secondary theme was choose-your-own-theme. I used my old (very old! Mostly from my grandma’s cookbook with a little tweaking) recipe for popcorn balls.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/3 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
32 cups of popped popcorn (takes a bit over 2 batches for me to get enough from my air popper. I get it popping while the syrup is cooking.)

Cook the first 3 ingredients in a small pot over medium to medium-high heat. I stir occasionally most of the time, but, really, I’m a ditz and I haven’t figured out a way to screw this recipe up yet.

Put the popped popcorn into lightly greased, shallow containers (don’t include unpopped kernels if you can. They’re no fun.) I use 2 disposable aluminum roasting pans from the grocery store (but I wash ‘em and keep ‘em instead of disposing of ‘em Smiley)

When the syrup reaches softball stage- use a candy thermometer or the ice water trick to tell -quickly stir in the vanilla and salt then pour over the kernels. Stir to coat.

When it’s cool enough for you, grease your hands (butter is tasty!) and get to forming the sweet, corny goodness into balls. If you want to make them into ice planets, form each around a strand of baker’s twine long enough to tie to a bbq skewer or whatever later.

Let cool all the way. If they haven’t been devoured after that, wrap in plastic to keep fresh and/or hold together better (soft ball stage is soft!)

Don’t fear candy making! Popcorn balls are delicious and easy! Ice planets are too, if problematic to eat Wink

22  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Bitty Pumpkin Box on: October 15, 2014 04:16:44 PM
A while ago, I got a little pack of little, round boxes. For a swap, I decided to make this:

It's very much on OTT!

The pumpkin is a wooden bead wrapped with 2 shades of orange embroidery floss and a floral-tape wrapped wire stem.

Only the lid has beads, to help tell it apart from the base. For the top, I strung oodles of seed beads then coiled them into place around the pumpkin- with the help of a toothpick -onto a layer of glue. After wrapping the side with yarn, I stitched on a scattering of the beads with invisible thread.

I had a lot of fun making him!
23  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Scrappy Batik Bunting on: September 28, 2014 09:30:46 AM

To make this bunting I took two batik cottons (one bright, jewel-toned rainbow; the other one in blues/greens/purple/roses) and tore them into 2-3" rectangles.

Next I arranged them on woven fusible stabilizer and ironed them in place.

I took my newly ironed fabric, folded and sewed it in half the hot dog way, flipped it out so the batik showed on both sides and sewed around the edges of the little rectangles on both sides using a variety of threads. Then I cut out my pretty-front-and-back triangles.

(truly terrible couch picture)

The final step was to trim off the rainbow netting from some yarn I had laying around, fold it over the tops (to keep both sides looking all right) and sew it in place using invisible thread. I used the chenille part of the yarn as the hanging string.

It was actually a pretty fun project! My least favorite part was machine sewing back and forth, catching all those rectangle edges, but the rest was entertaining!
24  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Snappy Purses (removable flaps!) on: September 23, 2014 05:03:57 PM
I got on a purse kick.

This one is mine

I tore 2-3 inch rectangles of two different batik-y fabrics, arranged them on woven fusible stabilizer, ironed them then sewed around the edges using various colors.

And this one is now my bud, Stickers:

I used huck fabric and craft thread to make a Mexican-blanket-inspired design then carefully cut and sewed around the edges to keep the threads from getting wonky (when you embroider huck, the threads dont show through to the wrong side.)

I thought I was done with them when an idea popped into my head: make the flaps changeable!

So, whenever I get a little bored, I can make up just a new flap and snap it on! Snap on, snap off Smiley
I tried out the idea on mine first, to make sure the snaps wouldnt make it too heavy. It seemed all right to me so I redid the other too!

The bottoms are wider than the tops.

Theyve got zippers for extra security (and for going flapless.)

Mine (mixed fabrics.)

Sticker's. I found some slightly textured material for the lining and pockets.

Both have two big outside pockets each hiding two small pockets. Inside the zippered part there are four small pockets.

I widened by an inch the pattern I made and used for this purse and this one

Thanks for looking!
25  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Making a Pretty, Paper-Cut Message for the Artistically Challenged on: July 19, 2014 10:28:25 AM

For a while now, I’ve liked to do simple paper cuts on occasion, such this card I made to go on a friend’s wedding gift.

It’s so fun! And it’s about the one type of paper crafting I can do with any confidence, although I’m still not that good. I thought this hid that fact all right!

If you’re at all like me, I have one big suggestion for your paper cut designing adventure:

Graph paper.

Here are some other suggestions:

Write out your message and give it some lines to rest on. I’ve seen paper cuts where the letters are connected only to each other and, perhaps, a background design. It’s amazing! Maybe someday I’ll get to that point and maybe I won’t. I thought this looked pretty good!

As you can see from the finished product, the dots and dashes aren’t connected. They had to be glued onto the white backing separately. I was okay with that.

Scan your message into your computer in case you mess up on the next step. When I did, I just printed out the scan and continued on. Okay, there was some grumbling about messing up but not as much as if I had messed up AND had to start from scratch.

Now, you could leave the design like with just the letters and lines or you could add a background. Leaves or vines or stars? They’re awesome. When I tried, though, they looked like eww. So connecting infinity-like loops it was!


Draw them out in pencil, adjust as needed, then marker over the top of the lines so you have an idea of how wide to leave them when you start cutting. I used a fine tip sharpie.

Next, decide where you want your image’s edges to be. I opted for this look for mine:

Scan it into your computer even if you lived dangerously before and didn’t make a copy because you’re going to flip.


However you want, flip it so it’s mirror image. I took a screen shot, put it in my text editing program and flipped it there.

Print it out and adhere it onto the back of whatever paper you’re using. I knew I was going to glue mine down to the backing paper completely (so the reverse would never be seen) so I used a plain, old glue stick.

Cut away!

Enjoy your work and your finished project!

Hope this helped!
26  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / A completely different purse on: June 13, 2014 07:02:43 PM
For those confused by the antlered ni in the corner of the flap, please refer to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, particularly the knights who say ni Smiley

For the recent TV/Movie swap I made this purse.

The back

has a big pocket hiding little pockets.

Map fabric for the lining with a single, long pocket.

The up-cycled black sheet is made sturdier by fusible fleece. The strap is padded with two lengths of fleece. Its long- 50-60 -but can be made shorter by tying or threading through/clipping to the loops differently.

The tribute I designed (I think. Sometimes ideas seep in without my knowing Roll Eyes by doodling on clear contact paper (the paper backing, not the plastic.) After cutting it out with a knife, I stuck the contact paper (the plastic) on the wrong side of the fabric and painted over it with dark gold fabric paint, making sure it soaked through to get the distressed look.

It was pretty fun to make!
27  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Exploding Needlebox Etui Tutorial - No Sew! Vintage Travel Theme Optional! on: April 28, 2014 04:52:58 PM
Recently Ive gotten back into making fabric boxes. They are so fun, quick, inexpensive and easy to individualize!

I made this one for me!

The inside grommet tape will hold straight pins and needles (sharp and blunt-tipped) and safety pins that I can use to keep things (little bits of ribbon, bias tape, baggies of supplies) in place while toting them around in this box.

Want to make your own exploding box or etui? Read on! No sewing is needed. Perfect gifts for those who dont sew to make friends who do. Want to sew? Go for it! Glueing is much easier, though, and very sturdy!

You will need:
Chipboard, photo matting, cardboard or the like (maybe balsa wood?)
Thin quilt batting (I used cotton)
Glue (white tacky glue is fine)
Cord (silky cord works nicely)

Grommet tape, fabric, ribbon, ? for inside
Stuff to decorate outside (grommet tape, embroidery floss, beads, etc.)

Determine what shape, dimensions, features, whatever you want for your box. Cut the chipboard (or substitute) however you need. My new box is 4 x 6. I cut four 4x6 pieces and two 4x4. Then I cut four 3.75x5.75 pieces and two 3.75x3.75 for the inside.

(not all pieces pictured)

Glue one side of all your pieces to the quilt batting. Cut batting to same size as board.

Cut your fabric so each piece is about a quarter to a half an inch bigger on each side of its board. Dont glue the fabric onto the batting!

Lay chipboard batting side down on the wrong side of the fabric. Glue the corners of the fabric on the back (chipboard side) first then do the same with the edges.

Make sure everything dries securely.

Clothespins work well. So does sticking things under a book or laptop to dry Smiley

To make a hinge cut a strip or cloth as long as the edges youre joining and about 1.5-2 wide. Glue in half so right sides are showing both ways. Make enough for all the pieces you are hinging together.

To keep things nice and tidy trim hinges like so:

Push outside pieces close together (making sure its the layout you want) and glue the hinges on the back. Weigh down and let dry.

Take this opportunity to get interior decorating!
For the pin and needle holders I cut grommet tape to a little longer than the length of the chipboard

centered it onto the piece then glued it down on the back.

Glue down inside pieces. I started with ones that wouldnt have silky cord string attached (the lid underside and the bottom.)

Cut and attach cord. Mine are round 22-23 inches long. Glue to back of front piece then glue back piece on top and help it dry securely.

Cut small pieces of cord for the loops. Glue them down so about a quarter of an inch sticks up past the edge. Thread long strings through and adjust loop size as needed. It should be a snug fit. Glue back piece on top.

Let dry. The waiting is the hardest part Grin

Enjoy your work!
28  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Still more macaroon coin purses: postmark, comic action, pie and a magic 8 ball on: February 08, 2014 05:21:33 PM
I've been busy Grin

I love macaroon coin purses. Have I mentioned that? Here are...(1, 2, 3...) 4 more!

I love vintage travel and one of my favorite places is Pullman, WA. It's a little city on the east side of Washington. I went there several times for sightseeing and- back in high school -FFA competitions (it's home to Washiongton State U, our land grant college.) I have very fond memories of bookstores, farmland, and pizza Smiley

I made this macaroon for a swap a while back. Mine is version 2.0. The air mail stripes and writing are done with fabric pen, no embroidery. It, like all the ones below, are coated with sealer.

This one's a comic action bubble! Inside is a US quarter to give you an idea of size. The outside is about 1.5 inches wide. Heehee. I think it's funny that he's little but so forceful!

This cherry pie one I wasn't too happy with, but my friend did so it's okay! Phew! The back is covered in gray, like an aluminum pie plate.

Oh, Magic 8 Ball, *whisper, whisper, whisper*

He's not very definite, but I thought he was kind of cute! The 8 is written in fabric marker on white fabric and the surrounding black is fabric paint. I painted the back too, to keep the shades and texture the same. The writing gave me fits. I had to use this pretty bulky-tipped fabric paint pen to get the white to show up on the dark blue. I think it was worth it, though.

Sheesh, that was a lot of macaroons! C&C always welcome!
29  FIBER ARTS / Weaving: Completed Projects / Woven scarf - made using a scroll frame for a loom! on: January 30, 2014 12:55:37 PM
Long ago I bought yarn with the idea of semi-recreating an awesome scarf I had once but gave up because I'd grown allergic to it  Cry This scarf is 100% me-safe!

After abandoning the notion of knitting or crocheting (which I admire greatly but actually doing either frustrates the heck out of me), I dug out an embroidery scroll frame, cut oodles of 3-yard-long black strands for the warp and started weaving.

The scroll frame had 2 split dowels that I slid the warp strands through but no pegs to keep the strands spaced. It was also a 6" frame. I had to keep pulling the finished part up through one dowel and manually untangling and spacing the next portion of warp before passing the weft through.

However, 4 days later = done! And I mean just about 4 entire days. I started on Boxing Day and didn't finish until sometime in the afternoon on Dec. 29. I just plopped in front of the TV and wove!

It's about 7 feet long with 10" fringe on either side. The whole thing is secured by machine sewing in black thread all around the edges.

It's warm and when I went back to work with it I got compliments! Not bad for a vacation project! I think I am quite happy with my new scarf.  Smiley
30  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / More macaroons: vintage Montessori globe & TARDIS on: January 05, 2014 02:00:09 PM
More macaroons! I love them. These ones were made for Christmas presents.

For my pal who's a Montessori teacher:

a Montessori-style world map! I traced the continents onto the blue fabric then painted them in with fabric paint according to the color-coding system we learned in teaching school. I went for neutrals with a vintage-y vibe for the rest.

And for a Who-fan:

TARDIS and space. I did the TARDIS side with a blue fabric marker and the space side with white fabric paint. As I didn't entirely trust the fabric marker not to bleed and had to put the paint on pretty thick, I coated both sides with modpodge. I like the finish. I'm going to remember it.

Thank you for looking! They're lots of fun to make. Maybe you'd like to try your hand at them? I'd love to see!
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