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271  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Completed Projects / It's Ozzy! on: June 27, 2009 11:05:55 AM
I don't stencil very often.  In fact, I don't remember doing since school.  But I was motivated to make this apron and just finished it today.  It's an Ozzy Osbourned apron for a swap I'm doing, and DH really likes it.  To the point where he said that he would consider wearing an apron if it had Ozzy on it, and suggested I also make one for a friend who has a birthday coming up.  I really enjoyed doing it, and may make a few more in the future.

Here is the original picture, in black and white, and the stencil after I cut it out


OZZY!!!!


Some extra embellishment


After adding a bit of shading with a different shade of black with a bit of shimmer to add some dimension, here it is finished


Here it is in comparison to the original again


BTW - the highlighting is not that stark in reality - the paint is another shade of black/blue with shimmer in it, and the shimmer really caught the flash of the camera.

272  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Shrinky experimentation - learned a few things on: June 25, 2009 08:53:54 AM
I was playing around with shrink plastic, some stamps, and this was what I got.  I learned a number of things in this experimentation that will hopefully lead to greater success in the future.

First - the stamping ink I have, go lightly on, and it will not dry completely and will smear, even after shrinking.  Solution, fuse the ink-stamped side to a plain peice of shrink plastic after shrinking both once. 

Secondly - do not leave the two pieces fusing for too long - plastic takes on a yellowy tinge, the image warps a bit - two things I can live with.  What I cannot live with - the hole punched through melts and fuses shut. 

Thirdly - do not underfuse - then the little pieces come off with gentle pressure

Fourth - you CAN shape fused shrinkies into a ring!  Yes, it is molten plastic.  Yes, it is hot.  BUT if you lift it up by the paper you are shrinking on, and manipulate the paper to shape it around the ring mandrel, you are less likely to hurt yourself.  It's still hot- but manageable.

Fifth - while you can do it, it makes for a bulky ring.   Not uncomfortable, because the edges rounded in the fusing process and it is very light, but it is bulky in thickness.  But it does show that I can make a nametag for my stethoscope that I can shape around the earpiece so noone can slip it off, and that I can fuse the lettering between two pieces of plastic so it should be safe from the antibacterial wipes I use to clean it with.  Alwo, it may make a pretty good cuff.

Sixth - I need tweezers

Seventh - next time, stamp on clear plastic, and fuse same onto opaque background - may turn out better.

Finally - watch the dog fur.  I got some fused between some of the fused plastic pieces.

All in all, I am pleased.  Not necessarily with the finished products, but with what I learned in the process of making them.  Also, it's just fun watching the darn things shrink!


This one probably turned out to be one of the best - clearish picture, fused well, not too much warping, and the holes were still patent.


all of them together


My saddest one - I loved the three owls, but it melted too much and no hole


The rings - so you can see the bulkiness







273  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Shrink plastic questions on: June 11, 2009 03:24:09 PM
I was wondering if anyone has tried shaping fused shrink plastic?  For example, I want to make a name tag for my stethoscope, but have it wrapped around the two earpieces where they connect at the base, so that the tag cannot slip off.  I would like it fused so that hopefully the bacteriocidal wipes we use could not wipe off pigment I use for the name - does that make sense?  I was just wondering because I would like to try it, but at what point after fusing could I handle the piece without burning myself, but still have it pliable enough to bend?
274  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Orange creme and vanilla creme bath teas on: June 04, 2009 09:36:57 AM
In no way does this compare with some of the sophisticated stuff I have seen in here, but I was pretty happy with how this turned out.  I made these up to be part of a package for a swap recently.  It was a tea/coffee swap, and I wanted to add something that was tea/coffee related, but not, kwim?



So I thought a bath tea would be fun.  I was originally going to make just a floral or herbal bath tea, but my swap partner preferred citrus or vanilla scents.  So out the window goes my dried flowers, lavender, etc.

But I did come up with this

Materials:
Large tea bag filters (or make your own bags using cotton cheesecloth or muslin - make a pouch big enough to hold a 1/4-1/2 cup bath mix)
a large bowl
spoon to stir
measuring cups/spoons
som way to secure tops of bags - I was going to sew the tops shut, but ended up being lazy and stapling it.
ribbon, labels
1/2 cup Epsom salts (or coarse sea salt)
1 1/2 cups Skim milk powder
1/8 cup baking soda
1/8 cup corn starch
Scenting agents - both dry and essential oils

Mix the salts, milk powder, baking soda, and corn starch in a bowl - this is your basic milk bath recipe and you can add what you want to make it at this point.

For the Citrus/Orange Creme - I took thin strips of the rind (no pith) off a large organic orange and lemon, and roasted them in a thin layer at a lowish temp - about 250F, until dry.  Then I broke up the pieces and added it to the bath mix.  With a spoon, I mixed it in well, and while mixing, added drops of sweet orange essential oil until I was happy with the scent.  It smelled like an Orange Julius.  I was seriously craving Orange Julius, or creamsicles for days after making these.


For the Vanilla Creme - I actually slit and scraped vanilla seeds into the bath mix, then cut up the bean husks and added those, as well as vanilla essential oil.  I think I added about 5-6 small beans (I buy bulk from e-bay for cooking, making vanilla extract, etc).

Don't go overboard with the scents - they develop and become stronger as the mixture sits for awhile.

After mixing well so that everything is evenly distributed, you can scoop it into the bags, fold the tops, adding ribbon or string to hold the bags by, and secure the tops how you want.  Can be kept in an air tight container.  You may choose not to use a bag - but I don't like the additives going down the drain and clogging pipes up eventually.  My hair is bad enough.

To use - hang the bag over the faucet by the ribbon and run bath water over it, then float the bag in the bath water.  Or boil a pot of water, steep the bag in for 20 minutes, then add the contents to the hot bath water.

1 batch makes about 6-8 large tea bags full.
275  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Some lampwork/chainmaille doodads on: May 25, 2009 12:59:57 AM
I made these as part of a recent swap I did for the I <3 coffee/tea swap this past month.  I found some cute lampwork glass beads at the last bead fair I went to, and combined it with some chainmaille mobius flower to make a bracelet, and to decorate a teaball and spoon.







I drilled a hole at the top of the spoon to bead it - too bad I could not have made the hole closer to edge, but there was a curve in it that worried me.  It is a longer iced tea spoon, perfect for stirring in a travel mug or flask.
276  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Has anyone else seen these Swarovski crystals??? I covet! on: April 26, 2009 08:58:41 PM
I just was perusing my favourite local bead store's site and saw these.  I do not remember seeing them before, but I absolutely love them.  They are the three branch coral crystals, and are beautiful.  I am posting a link with a pic to the new colour, Red Magma too - love that colour as well.  I just wish they were not so pricy, because I would love necklaces with several of the colours.  Or if they made them smaller than 30 mm, then some with several of the coral branches.
http://www.beadfx.com/images/34767901034001.jpg
277  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Been in a flower making mood for Spring on: April 26, 2009 07:52:46 PM
Saw these in a beading mag recently and I have been in a frenzy making dozens of these.  I thought they would be nice to add to hair pins/barrettes, jewelry, and I could incorporate them into my Christmas ornaments this year too.  I like their sparkle.





278  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Sharing another bread recipe - homemade pumpernickel on: February 08, 2009 10:18:45 AM
I just made a few loaves of these and it was quite easy to make.  Far easier than I expected.
http://www.robertsplace.ca/recipes/pumpernickel.htm



I will admit to cheating and using my breadmaker to mix the dough, and let it go to two rises.  Also, to give the bread better structure and lightness, I added about 2 tbsp gluten flour.  I have found that it makes a big difference in things like my pizza dough, etc, so I am resolved to add an extra tbsp or two of gluten to all my bread dough projects from now on.  If you don't have instant coffee, you can always replace the water with an equivalent amount of brewed coffee too.

Also, do NOT make the mistake I did - it is a rather wet and sticky dough - DON'T cover the rising dough, when in the loaf pan, with a tea towel :C  I just wanted some moisture in the oven when I let it sit for the last rise, and did not think :C

Just don't.  Before I did that, they had beautiful full, rounded, domed tops.  After.  Well, let's not speak of after.  Let's just say they were not even half as pretty after - tasty, but not pretty :C  You can see the difference in the middle - it's the pathetic dwarfed middle loaf.



They are for DH's sandwiches for the week (trying to sneak more fibre into him).  But next time I will make it in a round pan, or freeform on my pizza stone so I can do the traditional spinach dip bread bowl thing - yum!

279  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Other No Knead bread fans - multigrain options..... on: February 02, 2009 07:25:30 PM
I know that there are others of you out there, I remember the posts from last year.  Anyways, I am a big fan of no-knead bread doughs since I made my first loaf last year.  Eating Well magazine published and article and several recipes in the past issue about no-knead breads, specifically with several recipes that contained various whole grains and I thought I would pass them along:

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/healthy_hurry/easy_bake_breads.html


Here is the article and recipes - there is a multigrain boule, foccacia, a basic whole wheat, a fruit bread, and a corn/millet bread.

Here is another site with a a couple of more no-knead recipes too by Canadian chef Michael Smith from the show Chef at Home - he had no knead bread on one of his shows recently too.  The plain white bread he calls "City Bread" and the multigrain version he calls "Country Bread":
http://www.foodtv.ca/recipes/recipedetails.aspx?dishid=9530

I haven't given any of them a try yet - it's been too darn cold for me to get up the incentive to walk to the bulk store for some of the grains.  But I think I will give them a try when I have a few days off from work.
280  COOKING / Dessert / OK this makes me ridiculously happy on: January 21, 2009 04:04:53 PM
I made a b-day cake for a friend and I managed to write on the cake relatively successfully, and legibly and it did not look horrible!!!!!!  Not bad for a cake-letter virgin!!!

It's a lemon cake with lemony butter icing, decorated with silver dragees (which literally I stood back a few feet from and threw on the cake one at a time, to stick them on - hey it was a fun few minutes).  I wanted it to look more birthday-y and I had some leftover blue tinted royal icing so I added the lettering on top.  My BFF was suitably impressed - and she loves that particular cake too.  Very zippy!





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