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281  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Star sphere - not jewelry, but a beadwoven ornament on: November 07, 2008 11:04:09 AM
I have been dying to make this since I first saw it offered as a class at a bead expo.  I unfortunately was not able to go to the expo, but the designer, Judy Walker, published a book with this pattern in it this year.  This is my first attempt at it, and I am quite happy with it.  I thought they would make an awesome ornament, and wanted to make some for my tree, and for some friends and family.

It was done with seed beads, and not the more exact cylinder beads, so it is not perfect, but for a first attempt, I am very pleased.  I have since bought some delicas so will be making more with them.

282  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Hooking for baby - another afghan done on: November 07, 2008 10:53:14 AM
Another coworker/friend is pregnant and due in a month or so.  What is with the baby boom this year - fertility drugs in the water or what?Huh

Anyways, I started this before we found out the gender of the baby, so it is done in yellow and white.  Too bad, I would have loved to have done it in blue and white.  It's puffy yellow and white daisies in a checkerboard pattern.  I like the border, a simple reverse hdc, but I like how it is simple, and looks like twisted rope.

283  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / absolute cheapest source of Delicas/japanese tube beads? on: October 18, 2008 08:14:28 AM
I usually use Czech round seed beads because the cost is cheaper, but I would like to try some things with the more precise tube beads for some beadweaving projects.  I just bought an order of Delicas off Artbeads.com and their prices seem pretty good, especially with the $1 shipping to Canada.

But I was wondering if anyone else knew of a better source, especially one that ships to, or is in, Canada?

Prices seem to vary so much, I was just at a craft show the other day and one booth was selling 3gm of Delicas for $2.99, and another booth had them for just over $3 for 7.5gm.
284  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Christmas in August party - with Secret Santa gift exchange - pic HEAVY on: August 30, 2008 11:33:27 AM
We had our annual BBQ last week and made it a Christmas in August party because everyone was suffering turkey withdrawal (we do a really great brined BBQ turkey that everyone LOVES and asks for so this was our excuse to make it).  Early on in the year, one of our friends suggested we do a gift exchange/Secret Santa with it.  Another friend upped it a notch and said that it should be one where EVERYONE has to MAKE something for their giftee, and it should be something fun or silly - so long as there is a homemade/handmade component to it.  We did the name picks early - in May, so everone had time to make something for their giftee.  Of course, being people, almost everyone made their gift the weekend before.  But we had fun, and a lot of laughs.

Here are the pics of most of what was there:

The table of gifts Cheesy  Makes me happy to see that - and I even had a little tree decorated on it too.

Our so-called hippy friend got a couple of peace symbol plates - but painted with car paint, so really, I don't think he should eat off them.  Not bad - considering it was my BIL who got him, and he forgot all about it until we reminded him two nights before:

One of my best friends is planning on decorating his spare room in his condo in an "opium den" style, as he refers to it.  His mom got him.  She modified a Trish Stratus towel to look like a belly dancer wall-hanging and made him some floor cushions - I think she did a great job.

Her other son picked her, and made her a cat.  For years she has collected cat - but they had to "have personality".  We interpret that as being "ugly" so for years and years she has been the recipient of some of the quirkiest, ugliest cats imaginable.  Her son made her one - carved the head, put it on a spring so it bobbles, and used old bolts from an old swing from the backyard for it's legs.

One of our friends got my husband, but he failed to make what he wanted to - stymied by problems with materials and time.  So he made festive green rice crispy squares and wreaths.  Hey, he tried!

One of my friends got me, and she had no idea what to make - so she played with Fimo for the first time, and sculpted me a glow-in-the-dark cow (I collect cows) with KISS make-up (DH and I are KISS fans).  I think she's cute!

Another friend is a DJ and made a CD for his giftee of obscure Rock n' Roll driving music for her - photos don't do it justice Cheesy

This I thought was hilarious - here is a friend opening her gift.   I think it says "Mr. Bill's Kitchen Utensil Play-a-long set."  Someone sculpted Mr. Bill from Playdoh, and placed him on top of kitchen gadgets in the box.

For the guy that made the cat - he was really afraid of what someone would make him.  But it was pretty innocuous - he got a gift certificate to the liquor store - framed in a decorated frame:

DH got his brother, and made him a lovely oak picture frame - to hold an enlarged memory from the past - a picture of his brother getting his head smashed into the wall (don't worry, it was paper thin veneer) when we were helping friends renovate their basement 15 years ago.  Ahhh, memories.

My giftee - John - is known for being a bit of a pervert man pig, so I went along that theme.  Coupled with a bedtime theme.  I call it "Goodnight Little Johnny".  I found pin up girl pictures (non-naked, I don't porn surf), and decorated lamps for him for nightlights, and wrote a story/picture book for him.  I tried to find a glass sippy cup, or baby bottle to etch or paint to match, but couldn't - that would have been great to complete the set.  I also know if he got a bottle or cup, he would have used it for his beer too Cheesy.  I used more modern pictures for the lamp, and more classic pictures for the book.  The cover was an old report cover from a project from university - I just decoupaged Japanese paper over it to hide it.

It was all in good fun and silliness, and we had a lot of laughs.  It's something I would be glad to do again.

285  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Candy shot glasses - my first attempt - recipe added on: August 20, 2008 07:24:28 PM
This has been on my to-do list for awhile, and we're having a party this weekend, so I decided to make some today.  I used a lollipop recipe, and used cinnamon extract, and cinnamon candy hearts.  Figured this would go well with Goldschlager, or Fireball.  I would like to do some peppermint extract/candy cane ones for Christmas.  Also things like coffee/expresso beans for Kahlua, black licorice for Sambuca, lemon (those mini fruits) for lemon drops, etc.  If I can get the bubbles out, I thought it would be cute to have things like gummi bears, etc in them too. 

Overall, I was relatively happy with the first attempt - but if anyone can advise on how to diminish the bubbles, I would appreciate it!  The recipe I had only made enough to fill 3 of the 4 molds.

Here they are in the silicone mold

Lollipop recipe:
   1 cup sugar
    cup light corn syrup
    cup water
    tsp extract of your choice (vanilla, mint, cinnamon, coconut, etc)
   Food coloring (optional)
   Lollipop molds and sticks
1. Prepare your molds by spraying them with nonstick cooking spray and inserting lollipop sticks into the molds.
2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Insert the candy thermometer and stir until sugar dissolves.
3. Allow to boil, without stirring, until candy reaches 295 degrees (hard-crack stage).
4. Once the candy reaches 295, remove it from heat. Stir in the extract of your choice, and, if desired, food coloring.
5. Spoon the candy into the mold cavities, making sure to cover the back of the stick.
6. Allow to cool completely and remove once hardened.

286  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / A casket? Would I still call it that??? on: August 15, 2008 07:35:10 AM
Our neighbour passed away recently, a good friend of ours who suffered through his third bout of cancer and did not make it.  His family had a rough time with his illness, and dealing with the funeral.  He was cremated, and they asked DH and his friend to build them something to hold his ashes in.  So they built a small casket for him, out of cedar with a relief of Mary and baby Jesus on it with other woods.  I think he would have liked it - he loved the smell of cedar, and his faith gave him a lot of comfort over the years.

I have no idea why this one is turning out sideways like this, it's not oriented like this on my site!

287  CANADA / Ontario / Anyone need sketchbooks - great sale at Woolfitts right now on: August 15, 2008 07:24:13 AM
Woolfitts, an art supply store on Queen Street West, at Dovercourt, in Toronto.  They have several cases of sketchbooks - 81/2 x 11, hardcover, nice paper - on sale.

They have a minor defect - not affecting the actual paper, it is the paper glued to the inside cover, one of the outer edges has a minor ripple in it, barely noticeable.  As far as I can tell, it may imprint on the paper if you do watercolours, and the paper is dampish, but otherwise, it should be great for other crafts.  They were originally priced at more than $18, and they have them now for about $4.75.
288  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Resin tiles with twigs/leaves?? on: August 02, 2008 12:47:57 PM
We're renovating at work and they showed us some of the new tiles they are using as a backdrop.  It is clear resin tiles, embedded with twigs.  It really is gorgeous.  I will take a pic sometime soon and post it, but it is something I want to try at home too and was wondering if I could make something like this myself, perhaps as an accent.  What I was wondering was if I did something like embed branches with leaves or flowers still on them - like pussy willows, or evergreens, will they still appear nice after the resin sets, or should I just use bare twigs.  Or will the process of the resin curing remove their colour, etc?
289  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / More no knead bread! Brioche pastries... on: June 02, 2008 02:29:43 PM
I loved the no knead dough so much I bought the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day - here is the link to the book, I know others have found it in the library too.  Here is a link to their site - the book just came out last year I think:

Anyways, I made the brioche dough which has flour, water, honey, butter, eggs, and some salt in it.  It was lovely, soft, easy to work with.  Then I made my version of the apricot "sunny side up" pastries from the book too - using peaches as I could not find apricots.  So it is the brioche dough, with fresh made vanilla pastry cream (ooooooooh sooooo good, with real vanilla bean), sliced peaches on top, sugar sprinkled, and glazed with a bit of apricot jelly after baking.

Highly recommend this book so far to anyone else who loves making bread, I am having so much fun with it!

Here's a link to the actual posting of the pastries:
290  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / There is no need to knead! I love this bread! on: April 14, 2008 07:52:28 PM
I got the latest Williams Sonoma catalogue, and found this recipe in and amongst all the kitchen things I covet and I really had to try it.  It was for a No Knead Lemon Rosemary Bread.  It really intrigued me, and appealed to my sort of lazy side and I started the dough yesterday, then made it tonight to go with dinner.  It made a fascinating sticky, bubbly blob of dough that smelled delicious, and baked into a great crusty loaf that was very soft and chewy inside.  Definitely I will make it again, and play with the flavours some.  My house is on the cool side right now, so it could have inhibited some of the yeast growth, even though I put it near the woodstove last night (DH had no clue what the blob in the bowl was when he went to check on the fire this morning).

Anyways, here are the pics to my efforts and the recipe:

I will play with flavours in the future, and perhaps add some potato for a different texture - maybe potato chive, potato dill, potato rosemary, sundried tomato and oregano, olive and fennel, etc.

No Knead Lemon Rosemary Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

1 3/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

2 tsp. chopped lemon zest

Cornmeal as needed

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, rosemary and zest. Add 1 5/8 cups water and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at warm room temperature (about 70F) until the surface is dotted with bubbles, 12 to 18 hours.

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and fold the dough over onto itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel, preferably a flour sack towel (not terry cloth), with cornmeal. Put the dough, seam side down, on the towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise until the dough is more than double in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.

At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready, put a 2 3/4-quart cast-iron pot in the oven and preheat the oven to 450F.

Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over, seam side up, into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake the pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the loaf is browned, 15 to 30 minutes more.

Transfer the pot to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Using oven mitts, turn the pot on its side and gently turn the bread; it will release easily. Makes one 1 1/2-lb. loaf.

Adapted from Sullivan Street Bakery (New York City) and Mark Bittman, "The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work," The New York Times, Nov. 8, 2006.

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