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61  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Virgin Soda Syrups...with recipes! on: September 18, 2012 01:11:23 PM
I love Italian sodas and was deeply saddened when I developed an allergy to the one flavor of syrup I liked and was sold nearby. Fortunately I ran across this site (ETS: I had a link there but it's broken Sad )and used a lot of the tips to make a batch of my own, safe-for-me strawberry-lemon syrup. Delicious! And it lasted for 2 months until I ran out yesterday. Right away I made a batch of raspberry-lime. Also delicious!


Isn't it pretty? I opted for no ice, milk or whipped cream. Just sparkling water and syrup. It's that good!

For both batches I used the site's tip and added 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid (often used for canning) to help it keep.

Here's the strawberry-lemon recipe I came up with:
1 bag of frozen strawberries
Peeled zest of 1 lemon (just take a veggie peeler to it. Try not to get the white under layer! It's bitter.)
2 cups of sugar (the site said to reduce the amount of sugar based on the sweetness of the fruit. I think strawberries are pretty sweet so I started with a cup and half. It tasted like jam.)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon citric acid
the lemon's juice

For the raspberry-lime:
1 bag frozen raspberries
peeled zest of 2 limes (Mine were small. Adjust to taste.)
2 cups of sugar
11/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon citric acid
Juice of 1 of the limes

For both I brought all the ingredients except the juice to a boil then let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Next I put it through a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a glass bowl, mashing the simmered-mixture with the back of a spoon to help the juices leak through the sieve into the bowl. Once the syrup cooled a bit it was into a bottle with the juice then into the fridge. Easy-peasy and yummy! Different than store-bought, but excellent nonetheless. And it makes a lot:


I've already used about an inch and that's a 33 ounce (I think) bottle.

These are so quick, easy and, as far as I can tell, pretty much fool-proof just like the link says. Make up your own, check the link for more recipes and tips and feel free to use mine too. Cheers!
62  Calls for Swap Angels / Swap Angel Archive / Bento swap r5--Found! 1 angel on: September 15, 2012 08:04:49 AM
Puamelia is angeling. Thank you!

Winter83 is located in the US. This swap was for 3 points worth of crafted, bento-themed goods (see first 2 posts in the discussion thread for more info and helpful links) PLUS at least 2 store-bought bento items. The amount to be spent was to be decided with partners. Here is what winter83 sent her partner: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=412895.msg4891389#msg4891389
I would like an angel who could send within 2 weeks. Winter has waited a long time!


Discussion thread: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=411456.0

Gallery: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=412895.0


From questionnaire:

What bento supplies to you currently own? (boxes, sauce containers, bag, etc. List any details you feel your partner might've need to know.) None I am a Bento noob

What bento supplies would you like to receive? (boxes, sauce containers, bags, etc. List any details you feel your partner might need to know.) I could use beginner stuff! Also I'm really big on my food not touching and keep flavors separated so little containers for that would be awesome.  

Anything you would rather not receive?

What is your bento style? (detailed landscapes, plopping things in, it depends on the day...) Will be simple things I make for myself.

What colors, patterns and themes do you like? Purple! Purple and green together. Paisley patterns, jewel tones, and patterns and things that lots of people think are gaudy.
And shiny things.
Any colors, patterns and themes you really dont like? Yellow

Do you have a wist, pinterest or similar? http://pinterest.com/jenbrown1983/   http://www.wists.com/winter83/
Lots of other places for stalking see profile

Anything else youd like your partner to know?
I like Tare Panda and Hello Kitty stuff.

I would like to know what kind of characters do you like or do you prefer a more grown up classy bento.
63  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Macaroon Coin Purses: Baseball, Olympics, FMA on: September 07, 2012 07:01:10 PM


I used this tutorial with a few minor adjustments. They're great fun to personalize!



My 1st one, made for a swap partner.
Some London themed fabric, beaded rings and embroidered lettering then stitched up!



For a friend's birthday.
There's this series (Fullmetal Alchemist) she introduced me to where some important pocket watches have this design. I printed it out and traced it onto the gray fabric with a fabric marker. Now she has her own state alchemist "pocket watch"  Smiley



My personal favorite, also for a swap.
I may have to make one of these for myself!


C&C always welcome.
64  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Bento Swap Round 5 Gallery! on: August 15, 2012 03:40:11 PM
I'm looking forward to seeing all the yummy packages!


Photo used with permission from Ohayo Bento: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ohayobento/with/7456315664/#photo_7456315664

sent
partner has received (Why orange? Because I like orange!  Grin )
late with communication
contact organizer ASAP
feedback left

mom2em <-> *Eclectic Dreamer
Fullmoon <-> winter83 puamelia angeled
arcadian green <-> Calabaza
*ShannonMN<-> Calabaza

Odd number of swappers = Organizer takes 2  Smiley

Discussion thread: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=411456.0
65  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / "We'll eat in about an hour" Potato and Veggie Chowder on: August 01, 2012 01:40:12 PM
I was super excited when this challenge came up. I love to cook! Since it's summer, my first thoughts were of cold treats, quick dinners so the kitchen doesn’t heat up the house and various other yummy, hot-weather thoughts. But, since I live in an often cool and cloudy part of the world, I made a batch of warm and hearty potato and vegetable chowder!


I looked at several definitions of soup and stew terms and think this recipe is closest to a chowder, but I'm open to suggestions! I made up this recipe all by myself about 5 years ago, I think, and it was my first success at doing so Grin 

I’d never written down what amounts of everything to use, but now I have! It's good now that I don't have to rely on memory  Tongue

3 Yukon gold potatoes (they were a little bigger than my fist closed loosely. You can use russets or whatever too. This isn’t rocket science Smiley )
5 celery ribs
1/2 of a sweet onion (yellow or white is good too)
water
1 head broccoli
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon paprika
salt
pepper

Wash, peel and dice (as needed) the first 3 ingredients.


Put them in a medium-sized pot and fill with just enough water to cover them. Stick it on the stove and boil until you can easily stab and break apart the potatoes with a fork. From starting to wash to this point took about 40 minutes for me.


Place a colander over a bowl. Pour veggies into the colander so the liquid drains into the bowl. That liquid is veggie broth, baby! Liquid gold in my book.


Put the veggies in a big pot and give them a once-over with a potato masher. There should be whole dices left but mostly broken up or mashed.


Pour 1 1/2 cups veggie broth back in with the veggies plus 1 1/2 cups milk. Sift the 1/4 cup flour and 1/8 teaspoon paprika over this and stir in so clumps don’t form (if they do, mash them). Put it on the stove over medium-low heat. The mashing and flour will thicken the soup!

Wash the broccoli- Don’t dry! -and cut the flowers off into a bowl. Cover it with a paper towel and steam it in the microwave. I used the “cook soft veggies” setting on mine.

Do you like the sign?

Stir the soup frequently, mashing the veggies a bit more with the back of the spoon every once in a while if you want. Also every once in a while take out a spoonful and blow on it. Does it part where you blow then slowly come together again? Once it does and you feel like Moses parting the Red Sea, stir in the steamed broccoli and remove from heat.

Now dish it up! Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

This is great reheated; I think even better. And, as you may guessed from the title, from start to finish this soup only takes about 60 minutes! Bon appetit!
66  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Bento Swap Round 5 (SIGNUP 7/13/12-7/25/12 ; MAIL BY 8/25/12) on: July 15, 2012 03:59:33 PM
Gallery: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=412895.0

Swap name:  Bento Swap Round 5
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: Calabaza
Sign-up date range:  July 15, 2012 July 25, 2012
Date to send item by: August 25, 2012

Limited to a certain number of people? (optional): 25 including me unless someone volunteers to co-organize

Restricted to people who all live in the same country? No

Additional Age requirement? No

Swap Organizer himself/herself meets these conditions:
- Has fully read the Swap Info Guide: Yes
- Has successfully completed two swaps as a participant: Yes
- Is not organizing more than three swaps right now: Yes
- Will recruit a co-organizer or give all details to a Swap Moderator if this swap has more than 25 participants: Yes
- Is at least 18 years old: Yes

Swap Organizer will check each participant to make sure they meet these conditions:
- Has been a member for at least one month: Yes
- Has posted at least 15 times: Yes
- Has completed one swap successfully before signing up for multiple swaps at a time: Yes
- Is not currently signed up for more than five swaps: Yes
- Does not have any negative feedback: Yes
- Participant has agreed that he/she is at least 16 years old: Yes
- If yes, understands that Delivery Confirmation number is required for this swap: Yes
- If no, understands that a mailing receipt copy is required for this swap: Yes
I reserve the right to not accept a participant due to poor feedback.  


Photo used with permission from Ohayo Bento: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ohayobento/with/7456315664/#photo_7456315664

Details of swap:
Whether you want to save money by bringing lunch from home, appreciate the practicality or eco-friendliness of reusable containers, are a hard-core traditionalist or want your kids to eat healthy and well at school and use up leftovers this swap is for you!

You do not have to make a gorgeous bento every day or spend hours carving cute carrot shapes to join this swap but thats great if you do! Im in it mostly for the easy-to-use containers and accessories Smiley Everyone is welcome!

This swap is for 3 points worth of crafted items plus 2 purchased items. Nice and easy for the summer. Youll decide how much to spend with your partner for the purchased ones. There is a question in the questionnaire about amounts and I will try to match according to the answers, but it might not work out perfectly. Be prepared to go lower Smiley

Herere some links I find helpful to jump off from:
http://justbento.com/handbook/bento-basics
http://lunchinabox.net/faq/
http://www.ohayobento.com/ Tons of great ideas!
http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/2011/09/16/project-lunch-box-30-day-challenge/ 30 days of packed lunches.
http://pinterest.com/theladybug/i-heart-bento/ Lots of cute and practical pins.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/50806695@N04/sets/72157627560920125/with/6411051323/ Simple and easy-cute. Lots of breakfast ones too! Blog: http://www.meetthedubiens.com/search/label/bento%20boxes
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mslil65/sets/72157601755804789/with/1541532855/ Lunches made for a kindergarten/first grader. Click on the photos and roll over the food to see what it is! Heres one of my favorites making use of leftovers: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mslil65/1541532855/in/set-72157601755804789/
http://www.flickr.com/groups/1008228@N25/pool/ The cuteness factor is high here.
http://www.flickr.com/groups/367772@N22/pool/ Lots of different kinds of bento!
http://www.flickr.com/groups/627127@N25/pool/ Lots of variety here too.
And...
Round 1 sign-up: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=209059.0
Round 1 gallery: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=218357.0
Round 2 sign-up: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=248414.0
Round 2 gallery: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=252121.0
Round 3 sign-up: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=334184.0
Round 3 gallery: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=337665.0
Round 4 sign-ups: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=345128.0
Round 4 gallery: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=349017.0


Helpful size-guide:
By points:
Large - 3 points
Medium - 2 points
Small - 1 point
 
By Time:
Large - 3 or more hours
Medium - 2 or more hours
Small - less than 2 hours

By Size:
Large - shawl, skirt, set of jewelry 4-5 pieces, purse
Medium - single necklace or bracelet, scarf
Small - earrings, stickers, wallet, pouches, bookmarks

By Price:
Large - $30 or more
Medium - $10 - $30
Small - less than $10

Because its always good to stay in touch, remember to post in this thread or the gallery (once its up) 1x per week and, as always, pm your partner and the organizer when you send and when you receive. Im not scary, I just want to make it a happy swap experience for everyone Smiley

Thanks to the previous organizers for the majority of the above and the questionnaire below!

If you want to participate, please PM the following questionnaire:

QUESTIONNAIRE TO ANSWER:
Name of swap: Bento Swap Round 5
Craftster username:
Email address:
Your real name:
Confirm that are at least 16 years old or, if not, that you have moderator approval(YES/NO):
Mailing address including the country (as would need to appear for mailing):

Would you be willing to ship to an address outside your own country?

Do you have any allergies?
Do you have any allergens in your home (cats, smoke, etc)?

What bento supplies to you currently own? (boxes, sauce containers, bag, etc. List any details you feel your partner might need to know.)

What bento supplies would you like to receive? (boxes, sauce containers, bags, etc. List any details you feel your partner might need to know.)
Anything you would rather not receive?

What is your bento style? (detailed landscapes, plopping things in, it depends on the day...)
What kinds of food do you pack in your bento?

Approximately how much are you willing to spend on the 2 required purchased items?

What crafts do you do?
Are there any crafted items you would you really like to receive?
Anything you would rather not receive?

What colors, patterns and themes do you like?
Any colors, patterns and themes you really dont like?

Do you have a wist, pinterest or similar?
Anything else youd like your partner to know?


IF YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE, REMEMBER TO SEND YOUR INFO TO ORGANIZER VIA PRIVATE MESSAGE AND NOT TO REPLY WITH IT HERE.

Also, remember to read the Swap Info Guide to find other rules about participating in a swap.

Swap info guide: http://www.craftster.org/swapsinfo.html
67  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Edwardian-styled beaded frame purse on: July 11, 2012 04:14:00 PM
This is my first "big" beading project, although I know it's not nearly as big as most! I debated putting this in with purses, bags and wallets but thought it might fit better here.


It's a frame purse, styled after Edwardian-era reticules and bags for my partner in the vintage swap. I studied old Sears and Roebuck reprint catalogs from 1900 (okay, so this year is technically Victorian), 1902 and 1908 along with several internet resources for the info I needed to make it. I ended up using mostly the 1908 catalog and the latter half of the 1900 decade for inspiration. It's about 5"x7", if I remember right, so "shopping bag" sized according to the Sears catalogs.


The back is beaded as well. Beaded bags were popular in this time period. A lot of them were made out of nothing but beads and thread but I'm not that daring. Not yet, anyway Wink I free-handed the design on the front after looking at tons of art nouveau motifs to get a better idea of the "feel" and added the scattered beads to fill in. I wish I'd found a way to transfer a design to the faux-suede but I didn't. Does anyone have any tips on that?


This picture shows the color a little better. The beads are sewn onto the fabric which is a mossy green. I mixed 4 different glass seed beads: a tarnished gold, a transparent gold, a creamer less transparent gold and cream.

For anyone interested in the making of it, I used a sew-on clasp frame- also a tarnished gold -and added ribbon for the strap which can be tucked inside. It's lined with a cream lining fabric.

C&C and tips for beading newbies always welcome!
68  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Flat in the front, shirred in the back lined skirt (plus bonus bracelet!) on: June 24, 2012 09:31:16 AM
I made this number for my fab partner in the IYP swap:


A breeze came along at just the right time for this picture! This skirt is hemmed with hem lace and lined with the cream you can just see underneath. It's cut less full than the purple to avoid indecent exposure charges on windy days Smiley The purple was cut a little less than 2x my partner's hip measurement. I topstitched the hem lace in place to keep with the kind of rustic feel.

Both fabrics were thrift store sheets but since I only used the narrow hem of the cream to avoid having to sew my own, I thought they'd fit in better here with the general completed projects. I unpicked the ends of the narrow hemmed sections so I could sew the side seam then closed it back up, folding the fabric over the seam so it looked like I did the whole thing myself  Grin


Shirred back with 1/2" (hmm, I think it was 1/2") elastic up top.


It's got pockets!


Another shot of a pocket with the bracelet I sent too. The beads are white, black and gray but the gray really picks up the purple in the skirt which I didn't notice until later and made me very happy Smiley The bead colors stand for dots, dashes and spaces which spell out "may the force be with you" in Morse code!

If you want to make your own skirt like this, do it! It was a super-fun project.
Thanks for looking!
69  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Field-ready Messenger Bag on: June 21, 2012 08:02:08 AM
I made this military-inspired messenger bag for my partner in the dieselpunk swap. It was my first time using grommet tape and I just ordered a bunch more yards of it Smiley  I don't know if I got the dieselpunk vibe or not, but I'm pretty please with how it turned out.




The back pocket, topped with grommet tape.


The grommet tape is sewn all the way down the sides and into the bottom seam. The pockets pleats are sewn at the bottom and pressed all the way up. This fabric holds a crease really well.


The extra tape from the adjustable strap part can hide out in one of the pockets.


I used a buckle and a vest-tie-buckle-thing for the adjusting hardware. The grommet tape that went all the way down the sides goes all the way past the top of the bag to become the strap.


The inside is lined with muslin and has a pocket with brown grommet tape trim.


Oh, and there's grommet tape running all the way up the center front under the flap as well! I love this stuff. It should come in every color of the rainbow plus patterns and different widths. I got mine from MajikCraft on Etsy. I only saw black at JoAnns.

Thanks for looking! I'd love to hear what you think. Is it dieselpunky? Do you know of other places to buy grommet tape? C&C welcome. Smiley
70  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Talk About The Swap Process / Help desk taking longer than usual? on: June 21, 2012 07:20:43 AM
Has the help desk been flooded with tickets? Usually it's lightning-fast but this time it's been over 48 hours since I submitted one and there's still no response. I know the message says "usually within 48 hours" but it's never been that long before... Huh

ETS: Just heard back! Thanks so much, all of you mods who man the desk!
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