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1  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: HP droolalong ~ Spring Semester Mar 1-May 31, 2015 ~ JOIN ANYTIME! on: April 01, 2015 11:45:26 AM
Oops Headmistress, I believe you meant the new challenge is supposed to be from April 1st to 30th, not March 1st to 31st? And have the Weasly twins been messing around in your post, or should I call the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and stock up on salt?
2  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: HP Craftalong ~ Spring Semester Mar 1-May 31, 2015 ~ JOIN ANYTIME! on: April 01, 2015 07:20:17 AM
I'm so jealous of people who can really paint! Really pretty elliot_anne Smiley

I first want to add some gratuitous toddler pictures as an add on to my Vanilla-bean project. Here's the knit dress actually being worn (sorry for the bad quality of the picture. :-/ )




Class/Challenge/House Pride: Study of Ancient Runes
House: Slytherin
Project Name: Jutta's Dream Catcher
Brief Description:
Last time I went babysitting, my niece really wanted to make a dream-catcher. Unfortunately, we had no materials at hand! So obviously, when I came around again last week, I was prepared! I'd taken apart two old dream-catchers that had lost their luster, scavenged my (and my mother's) stash and bought some pretty stuff. Now, my niece is turning 5 in a week, so I knew making a dream catcher would be a HARD chore, but decided we would give it a try and see how far we got along, me demonstrating and she imitating. She actually made a good beginning on the webbing, cheered on by auntie, but it really was too hard, so I took over and did most of the crafting following her directions. She insisted the thing hang horizontally instead of vertically, which made the whole set up a bit harder! She tied the knots on the figures (which proved to be quite difficult enough for a preschooler) and added the feathers to the beads. This really turned out to be an anything but typical dream catcher, with a very proud little girl. Smiley

The project reminds me of my own mother, who was the one to teach me how to make dream catchers and who spent many, many patient crafting occasions with me, my siblings and our friends. I kept her same approach of showing how it's done, working together, trying again and encouraging. Kid tells you it's hard, you acknowledge that it is, but cheer them on to try again because that's how they learn (tell them that!). She really did try, and only when I noticed that she was loosing her courage did I take over and gave her some tasks that she could confidently do. Catering to the skill level of little ones ain't no easy job, I appreciate even more how much effort and patience my mother put into our crafts! Cheesy
Project Picture:


3  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: Toddler's tunic & baby's sweater on: April 01, 2015 06:44:43 AM
Update with toddler pictures: (sorry for how grainy they are, taking pictures of a toddler is really hard.)



4  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: HP Craftalong ~ Spring Semester Mar 1-May 31, 2015 ~ JOIN ANYTIME! on: March 15, 2015 01:28:43 PM
Note from the Slytherin Head Of House

Dear students, I wanted to let you know that your common room has been redecorated for the Spring semester. Head on over to the Slytherin Dungeon to see the new surroundings, and to be inspired by the new House Pride prompts.



Thank you all for your kind words and sympathy last week at the passing of my Grandmother. I was fraught with anxiety for a while, but was relieved to find that the funeral remained serene and that I was able to pay my final respects to this lady who has meant so much to me.

@ErinAquaheart: Belated happy birthday to you! I am happy to see you return to Hogwarts, may you celebrate many more holidays here. PS: that brownie looks sublime!
@jenleahlynn: That acceptance prayer flag is so pretty! I totally get you having to buy the fabric even without knowing what it would be used for.
@midkiffsjoy: I just love seeing your family together on craftster. My mum also used to sew a lot for me when I was little (and admittedly, also when I was not so little). And isn't is frustrating with macram that you never quite know how long your lengths of cord will need to be? Lovely necklace. Smiley
@noodlebug: lovely knitting projects! I might totally need to steel that beehive idea. *angelface* And you left washing instructions too! I always forget about that. :-/
@Mistress Jennie: lovely beadwork as usual Headmistress, I love the quote for your friend, and how you dare to experiment with baking recipes. In regular cooking, I dare to make lots of substitutions, but in baking I'm much more cautious and stick more strictly to my recipes. I commend you for working moistness into that cake. My grandmother made great cookies (recipe below) and pies, but her cakes were invariably way too dry. Even at five or six years old, we declined a second slice! I never did get how she managed to be so bad at cakes when she was great at any other baking...



Okay, time for the mini project-dump!

Class/Challenge/House Pride: Herbology
House: Slytherin
Project Name & Link: Newborn sweater
Brief Description:
Taking the "(re)birth" prompt quite literal here. One of my husband's coworkers/friends recently announced her pregnancy (baby of unknown gender expected in September) and babies definitely say rebirth to me. As the baby is born, so is the "woman" reborn into the "mother". Said expecting mother saw me knitting the tunic for my god daughter (below) and fell in love with the colours and how cute those tiny clothes are. Since we don't know yet if it will be a baby boy or girl, I decided to knit up a more gender-neutral sweater rather than a dress.
Project Picture:


Class/Challenge/House Pride: Potions
House: Slytherin
Project Name & Link: Grandma's cookies (coconut & cornflakes cookies)
Brief Description:
As mentioned above, my grandmother was the baking kind and I have many fond memories of helping her bake over the years. These cookies (recipe: see link) have always gone by the name of omakoekjes (grandma cookies) as they were here signature bake. The taste of the raw dough, the smell of the baking cookie and the feel of the crisp break in my mouth immediately transport me back to my childhood and bring back the woman that baked them, as she was before her health and mind started giving out.

These cookies fit the Potions prompt because you have to pay really close attention when baking. The recipe says ~10min in the oven, but my first batch of cookies was overcooked at 8.5 minutes, and the next batch was on the pale side at 7 minutes. They needed about 7.5-8 minutes (depending on how long the oven door had been open).

Side note: one grandma's cookies are here presented in the other grandmother's cookie tin, which is quite the prized possession!
Project Picture:


Class/Challenge/House Pride: Vanilla
House: Slytherin
Project Name: Merel's Spring Tunic
Brief Description:
I love spoiling my little goddaughter (she 1,5 y.o. now) but my brother and SIL don't want their children getting too many presents. They do make an exception for clothes though (because the kids need those anyway, so they're not being spoiled) so that makes a knitty godmother rejoice! For this early spring tunic, I picked out two shades of green and one shade of purple to echo the colour palette of the early crocuses that are becoming ever more abundant now that temperatures are rising (at least in Belgium).  
Project Picture:
5  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Toddler's tunic & baby's sweater on: March 15, 2015 12:57:00 PM
I was out shopping a few weeks back, when I found a great yarn promo: already marked down yarn (from 3.5/ball to 2.5/ball) was buy one, get a second one half price. I picked up four balls (two light green, one dark green and one purple) to knit something for my goddaughter's Easter (she'll be 18 months then).

I used the free Ravelry pattern Maxi top/dress for babies to knit her this tunic:


Two weeks ago, we had some of my husband's coworkers over for dinner, and one inquired about my knitting, so I got the above tunic out while still a WIP. Said coworker thought it was very cute, and was in love with the colours. Later in the evening, she revealed that she's pregnant (due date in September) so I resolved that if I had enough leftover yarn, I would knit her baby a sweater too.   

I knit the Flax sweater (another free Ravelry pattern), but had to make some adjustments because this yarn required 4mm needles. I followed the stitch count for a couple of sizes up, and measured the length according to the right size instead of counting rows. I did make some mistakes - first colour change in the garter stitch panel is dotted, not crisp, in one sleeve I also accidentally did two rows of reverse stockinette instead of garter stitch. Just shows that it's handmade, right? For the reverse stockinette, you really have to be looking closely to notice anyway. I made sure to do the dotted colour change on both sleeves so it wouldn't stand out as much. On the whole, I'm quite pleased. Hoping the newborn doesn't outgrow it too quickly!
6  COOKING / Dessert / Grandma's cookies - Coconut-cornflakes cookies on: March 15, 2015 12:21:26 PM


Nearly two years after my maternal grandmother died, my paternal grandmother passed away in the beginning of this month. I'm quite at peace with her passing, as her last years had her struggling with physical health and dementia.

To honour the woman I knew and loved for so long, I had to do what we did countless times together: bake her signature cookies, that we only know as grandma's cookies.

Ingredints:
- 1 egg
- 100gr granulated sugar
- 75gr light brown caster sugar (her recipe uses a different kind of sugar, cassonade graeffe, but that's very hard to find outside of Belgium)
- 2 bags of vanilla sugar (=16gr)
- 100gr soft, unsalted butter or margarine
- 125gr AP flour
- 1/2tsp baking powder
- 100gr grated coconut
- 50gr of cornflakes (slightly crushed)

Yields: about two tins of cookies, depending on the size of your oven, you'll bake 2 or 3 batches

Prep:
Preheat the oven to 200C

Beat the sugars and the egg to a foamy consistency. Add in the butter until incorporated. Next, sieve and stir in the flour and baking powder. Then add in the grated coconut and finally the crushed cornflakes. If the dough is too dry, you can add a little bit of water.

Press the dough firmly together. Scoop half-teaspoon sized mounds of dough on a NON-greased baking tray, leaving some space in between and the dough runs a bit during baking.


Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, keeping a close eye on them because they are quick to burn. They should be a nice golden brown. (I needed only 7-8 minutes in my oven.)


Remove the baking tray from the oven. If any cookies are sticking together, cut them loose immediately, before cooling. Let the cookies cool for a couple of minutes to harden slightly, and then transfer them to a grid rack to cool further.


Bake remaining cookies. Store in a metal cookie tin.
7  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: HP Craftalong ~ Spring Semester Mar 1-May 31, 2015 ~ JOIN ANYTIME! on: March 04, 2015 05:08:03 PM
Note from Slytherin Head Of House
Our house dungeon is still looking quite derelict. The dreary atmosphere reflects your HoH's mood - sad, angsty and frustrated - and we can't keep either this way. Your input on fixing either situation would be greatly appreciated.

I'd like to gather your ideas of what it really means to be a Slytherin, and why that's awesome. I hope this list will inspire some House Pride projects. Being a Slytherin is about more than just snakes and green and silver, my dears!

You can expect the dungeon redecoration in the course of next week, when your HoH returns from personal leave.


Sorry for the lagging behind. I got news on Friday (just before the semesters swithed over) that my paternal grandmother's health had taken a turn for the worse and that she would likely die in the course of the week and today I was informed that she passed last Sunday. First worries and now grief and anguish have been weighing me down this week. I hope the funeral on Saturday will comfort us and provide closure, and I wish everybody will manage to leave the drama at home. My brothers and I are estranged from our father (hence the only finding about about the death 4 days after the fact) and it's been years since any of us have been denied on our final attempts to mend the relationship. I really don't know how the confrontation will play out, especially since everybody will already be super-emotional, but I'm praying for coolheadedness. I definitely want to go to the service, to pay my respects to my gran, to really say goodbye and also because I really don't want this messed-up relationship to rob me of these closing moments. But yeah, it's going to be a though and angsty couple of days...
8  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: HP Craftalong ~ Spring Semester Mar 1-May 31, 2015 ~ JOIN ANYTIME! on: February 25, 2015 02:20:24 PM

Welcome to the Slytherin Dungeon

Welcome students, to our third Spring semester in the Harry Potter craftalong! I am so happy to welcome you (back) to Slytherin. Know that you are in an amazing house.  Wink One of our pupils explains the meaning of our house like this:

Quote from: Our very own DragonChilde
A few thoughts on what it means to be a Slytherin. We are known for our ambition and cunning and to a certain extent, a willingness to do whatever it takes to get what we want. While these things are true our other qualities are oft forgotten. We protect our own. It might take some time to gain our trust but Merlin protect those that cross the ones we consider 'ours'. Slytherin means doing your best while also taking care of yourself. If that means skiving off charms every once in a while, that's fine. You're housemates will cover for you. Slytherin means knowing silence. Knowing yourself. Sometimes we can seem a little sarcastic or cold but once you get to know us, you'll see when we want to put the effort into a relationship, we do.
(As your HoH, I frown upon simply skiving off classes. If you need a break for self-care, come and see me, and we can probably arrange a scenario that won't get you into trouble with the other professors.)

As Slytherins, we aim for achieving greatness and we'll go to great lengths to reach that goal, borrowing from the other houses where useful. If it takes hard work, we'll toil away like the Hufflepuffs and see that our efforts pay off. If the task requires it, we'll use logical reasoning and intellect as well as any Ravenclaw would. We'll be as audacious and heroic as any Gryffindor to fulfill our goals. What sets us apart is that we weigh our options, we try to recognize our own desires, strengths and limitations, and acknowledge those of others, and aim to put them to the best use. Why struggle for five hours when you can ask for help and get on more easily? Why not outsource chores to someone who is better equipped to tackle them? Why face a conflict head on, when it would make far more sense to use diplomacy to resolve the issue? We question, we divine the possible outcomes and we pick our strategy, thus shaping our own destiny.

I trust each and every one of you to make your house proud. Now go and figure out how you'll do just that. Success!

House pride inspiration

  • Classic Slytherin Pride:
    Show your Slytherin Pride by crafting with our house colours of Green and Silver, or craft with our totem animal, the Serpent.
  • Inspire greatness:
    Acknowledge your talents and pass them on. Do you bake the best cookies in the world? Bring your kids into the kitchen and teach them your recipe! Made a phenomenal storage solution? Post a tutorial and spread the genius!
  • Know your limits:
    We are all faced with challenges like skill levels and time constraints and there's absolutely no shame in that. Ask someone for help to make your project come to life. Moving house? Share those painting duties! Hosting a dinner party and excel at main courses but stink at desserts? Ask your baking savvy grandma to chip in! Sign up for a beginner's workshop and share its results. Want to improve your sketching skills? Find a friend to model for you.
  • Follow your passion:
    Don't let yourself be discouraged by people shooting down your plans, but work towards achieving your passion anyway. If you dream of becoming a professional athlete, you could customize your gym bag. Amped up to be a fashion designer? Sew yourself some amazing clothes. Passionate about being a stay-at-home mother? Make something to celebrate family life. Somebody's raining on your parade and it's getting you down? Craft something to motivate you to keep going. You're a Slytherin, ain't nobody going to tell you what to do but you!

Dear Slytherins, go kick some ass.  Grin
9  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: HP Craftalong ~Winter Semester 2014/2015~ JOIN ANYTIME! on: February 24, 2015 03:00:39 AM
Good question Naantje!  Provided the pages submitted fit the prompt, AND take at least 30 minutes per submission, then official answer: Yes.   

I will say though, that I ask everyone not to abuse this answer.  To always put your best work into the coloring, and if you find that a page took only 15 minutes, then do 2.  This is a way to celebrate alternate crafting and creativity, but should not be a way to instant House Points.  Do your best work! Smiley

Yay! Smiley Thank you headmistress, rest assured that we won't take advantage of your kindness! With how intricate most of the pages in my book are, I definitely don't think they'll ever be under 30 minutes. I spent 2.5-3 hours on my first page yesterday! :O I had to start with the crafty page of course. It doesn't match any prompts, but I wanted to share anyway - it's just so appropriate. Smiley



Edit: Also, as a PS, I'm swatching a new yarn! When I bought the colouring book yesterday, there was yarn on sale that was already marked down from €2.49 a ball to €1.49, and then got added to a buy one, get second one half price sale. So I got two balls of fresh spring green, one ball of darker green to complement, and one ball of purple for contrast. My goddaughter has a hand-knit gift in her future! Cheesy
10  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: HP Craftalong ~Winter Semester 2014/2015~ JOIN ANYTIME! on: February 23, 2015 10:44:20 AM
Headmisstress, I have a question (which could be relevant to others, hence asking publicly): I joined the hype and bought a colouring book for adults today - they're all the rage here - and was wondering if I could enter finished pages as projects in the HPC when they're a good match for a prompt. I'm not really sure they fit the paper crafts board here on craftster, but I do think they might help me relax and find my crafty groove back.
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