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231  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Glass pendents - the black and white series on: January 03, 2010 10:18:47 PM
Made some of these today.  Backs are covered with japanese papers, and sealed.

Here is a cherry blossom one I am giving away in a swap

Here are the other ones.  The lighter gray ones are 2 of a series of 4, sort or representing the seasons - Winter and Spring are here.  Summer and Fall got screwed up - but they were very pretty together, so I will try them again.

232  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Monty Python swap? on: January 03, 2010 12:03:04 AM

Who doesn't want a holy hand grenade of Antioch of their own?  Or a nice shrubbery?  Who doesn't appreciate a nice entree of spam, spam, spam, and baked beans?  Or want to be tortured by being forced to sit until lunch in the <gasp> COMFY CHAIR?Huh  Or value the importance of a silly walk??  Or just want a nice snack of cheese once in awhile?

For those who do appreciate these silly, funny Brits as much as I do, who would be interested in a swap?
233  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / HOW DID IT GO???? Were crafty gifts received well?? on: December 25, 2009 10:11:36 PM
I did not get a chance to see how my neices and nephews liked their gifts because it was chaotic at my parents (a mini family reunion was happening with my aunts/uncles, great uncle, etc) and we could only stay an hour because we had to run around.  I hope they liked them (made mittens, stencilled shirts, and glass tile pendents for the girls).

We had our annual Christmas party a couple of weeks ago (most of us had known each other since childhood or highschool).  I did a few gag gift stencilled shirts and they got a good reception.  I did a zombie survival kit with a stencilled shirt for my best friend, and a tote to carry his "survival necessities" in and he loved it.  I gave glass tile pendents to all the ladies at the party and the knit bella mittens for my best (guy) friend's mom and my best (girl) friend and they appeared to like them.  Everyone who has a tree got a needlefelted snowman ornament.

The neighbours and DH's aunts seemed to love their food baskets - home baked goodies, the neighbours also got poppyseed loaf wreaths (fresh and hot out of the oven!), and some fruit or lavender jelly, pepper jelly, and peach/pepper relish, packaged in stencilled totes, with snowmen ornaments.  It is gratifying to see that they also had the ornaments I had made preceding years on the trees too (those who had trees).  I sent pendents for his aunts too - his one aunt seemed to like things (I was not there - working, and other aunt wasn't there either).

I did some stencilled T's for DH - Two each of William Shatner and Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry, and the man with no name) -he's a trekkie and Eastwood fan.  He loved them and wore the Dirty Harry one today, and was telling everyone I made it for him.

MIL really loved her snowmen ornaments, and I added them to her gifts.  She was also requesting more of the beaded ornaments I have done in the past.  Also her granddaughter, my other neice, requested my beaded ornaments for her home tree too since they had none.  Her mom - DH's sister, seemed to like her mittens - and they both (MIL and SIL) got a knit gnome that I made and they both seemed to like them too - they did not realise that I had knit them myself.  They really did look cute with their toque covered heads poking out of the stencilled bags I had them in too.

So overall, pretty good reception!

Now the question is what to make for next year??
234  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / For those on the naughty list.... on: December 22, 2009 07:50:18 PM
I made lumps of coal cookies today (along with so so so many more cookies - I went through almost 2 dozen eggs and 6 lbs of butter, etc etc.....)

I took a ginger/nut snowball cookie, and added black colouring paste to the egg/sugar mixture before adding the flour mixture, then pressed in black decorative sugar before baking.  

Edited to add recipe:
Nope - they did not colour my teeth - though I only had one.  When I rolled the cookies, I was pretty impressed that they barely tinted my hands, and the colour washed out right away.  It was made with the Wilton colour gel which comes in black.  I just used a ginger nut snowball recipe because I thought the chopped ginger and nuts would add a bit of coal-like texture and sparkle when bit open - but any cookie that maintains a rounded shape would do.  I contemplated doing it with a pfeffernusse recipe too - since it has anise flavouring, but it did not have the nut/chopped ginger texture to it (though it could if I played with it).

Here is the recipe:
1 cup room temp butter
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup ground nuts (walnut, almond, or pecan)
1/3 cup finely chopped candied ginger
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and beat in to blend well.  At this point I added the black colouring - I estimate that it was probably about 1/8th of a tsp of the gel paste, perhaps a bit more.  Sift together 1 1/2 cup flour, the spices, nuts, and ground ginger.  Add to sugar mixture and mix to blend, adding in remaining flour.  Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Roll into balls (after rolling in black sugar) and place on lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and bake for 12 minutes.  If treating as traditional snowballs, rolling powdered sugar and cool on rack.  
235  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / I think I found a winning bagel recipe on: November 23, 2009 07:33:07 AM
I have tried bagel making on and off for the past year and I think I finally stumbled upon a recipe and technique that work for me!!!!!

It has a nice chewy skin, that is not too tough.  The inside is soft - but not too bread-like.  It is also not so bland and dense that I have to masticate like a cow chewing her cud to get it to go down.  It bakes up nice and smooth, not lumpy like my first few attempts.  It keeps well, and toasts nicely!  I am very happy with it.

Here is the link to the recipe with my changes to it, and the technique I used:

236  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / The great snowman slaughter of 2009! First attempts needle felting on: November 19, 2009 03:40:13 PM
The evil overlord of the North Pole, Santa Claus, has been displeased with his snowmen army for some time.  Recently he has been fearful that they are about to lead a revolt against him, for his ill treatment of his toy making elven minions.  As an example, he has made examples of many of them, beheading masses of them to make an example to the others and cow them into subservience.  Afterall, snowmen minions are not hard to replace - not for the mighty Santa Claus!

To display his control, power, and ruthlessness, he has amassed their heads and placed them on gory display near his sweatshop (oops, um, workshop) to show the others what will happen to those who dare stand up against the Great Lord Claus. 

This is his great Tree of Holiday Doom!!!!!!!!!!!!   

OK, really, they are snowmen ornaments and my first attempt at needlefelting with roving wool.  It just kind of looks creepy, seeing a bunch of beheaded snowmen in a pile Cheesy

I even gave them dimples and a glint in their eyes.

237  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Completed Projects / A lot of shirts - preparing for some Xmas gifts, etc - pic heavy on: November 19, 2009 03:22:33 PM
I feel like my eyes are crossed from all the cutting of stencils lately, between these, and the Hello Kitty/pin up girls housewarming present(http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=328579.0).  

First off I did a couple of William Shatner and Clint Eastwood shirts for DH.  Three are unfinished maybe because I still have to add some quotes to them (maybe)

Then I finished off this shirt for a friend whom I am making a zombie apocalypse survival kit for.



which will be gifted in one of these totes:

and finally, a kid's shirt and hoodie I did featuring Handy Manny, for a personal swap with Slingmomma:

Blue hoody with Manny on the back, and two of the tools on the front pockets:

Gray shirt with Manny on the front and two other tools on the sleeves:

238  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Completed Projects / Hello Kitty and Pin Up Girls - a housewarming gift on: November 19, 2009 03:04:41 PM
a couple of friends of mine recently bought their first home, and will be moving early December.  They also just got engaged.  He is a big fan of girls, and she of Hello Kitty, so as part of their housewarming present, a kitchen themed package with mixing bowls, measures, dishcloths, etc, I am adding stenciled aprons and flour cloth towels for them.

For John, pin up girls done in a coppery tone

For Dana, Hello Kitty in different metallic tones

Hello Kitty is easy to do, so I was much more proud of the girls, especially all the work in finding the right images, cleaning them up, and making them into stencils.  I hope Dana doesn't kill me for them....

239  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Dimensional present box card on: November 05, 2009 06:38:07 PM
This is actually the first time I did a card in a loooooooooooooooong time, and I don't do cards often.  But I am organizing a Secret Santa on another forum I belong to, and the owner of the forum added a little rule to it that any present we send to each other has to be accompanied by a homemade card.  I was making my card this morning and thought that the items I am sending my partner are small enough to be incorporated in the card.  Since the card had a pop up Christmas tree, I was decorating it with little cut outs that were to be presents.  I thought it would be cute to make some of them actually function as present boxes for the items I was sending her (snowflake ornaments and a tile necklace).

So I did a largish one for the front of the card to hold the ornaments, and a smallish one inside (not shown), under the tree, to hold the necklace.  I also did a tutorial on my blog in case anyone wants to do it too, because I thought it would be a cute way to present small gifts, or gift cards.  I kept mine plain, but obviously patterned paper could be used, stickers, stencils, scalloped edged scissors, etc.


240  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Floral vine scarf, and link to my first crochet pattern if anyone cares on: October 23, 2009 03:00:57 PM
I made this about a week ago for my swap partner in the most recent Random Swap and she just got the package today so I can post this now.  It is inspired by a pic off of her wist for a leafy scarf/lariat.  I used some leftover cotton yarn, and silk yarn I had to make leaves, and I thought it would be nice to make flowers for it, so I did a simple 5 petal flower, and embellished the centres with some green iridescent beads I had.

If anyone wants the pattern, it is posted on my blog.  I would appreciate any feedback about it if anyone does try it, since it is my first time writing up a crochet pattern.

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