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51  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / OMG - I need a drink swap GALLERY (send outs July 10) on: June 19, 2015 04:19:38 AM
Original Discussion Thread

Post 'em as you get 'em and let's all admire our own and each others creativity and cleverness with a cocktail or two - SALUD!


holistic knitter (07/10) [temporary negative reversed] <--->edelC (06/18)
Ludi (07/10) <---> rantyhippie (July 10)
Audania1(07/03) <---> legtostroke (07/07)
Megz1027 (06/26) <---> texscrapper (07/11)
fluffypants (07/06) <---> SheridanLA (sent 07/13)
spazgirl1981 (07/14) <---> Wulf (07/14)
emilywilde (06/30) <---> Onyxnox (07/09)

sent and received
sending late with communication
feedback given (on both sending/receiving)
contact organizer immediately (if not contact/proof of shipping within 2 weeks from the deadline, negative feedback will be provided, but it can be reversed pending valid proof of shipment or receipt of package by recipient.

As per swap rules:

10. At two weeks past the swap deadline all participants must have either positive or Negative Feedback, unless their package is in transit.

If someone failed to fulfill their swap obligation and has not been in communication with you, give them Negative Feedback.
If a participant has communicated that they are going to be late but has not shipped, they should still receive Negative Feedback two weeks after the swap deadline if their package has not been received. If they have been in communication and you feel that they will send soon, leave a comment such as: "has not sent, but is in good communication." This feedback is easily reversible once the package arrives. It is only used to insure that the participant focuses on the swaps they are already involved in before they sign up for others. Participants who have provided proof of shipment can remain In Progress until their package is received.
If the swapper has sent his/her item to the partner and the package meets the size requirements of the swap, they get a positive, whether or not they communicated or failed to send a DC# to you, etc. These issues should be noted in the comment section of the feedback.
52  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / and the new day was a great big fish... on: June 08, 2015 06:40:58 AM
This was the quote that roler gave me for inspiration for the recent Terry Pratchett swap.  It made me think of cosmic fish - that the fish was dawning like the sun... after all, if Discworld is resting on the backs of 4 elephants, who ride on the back of the Great A'Tuin, why can't there be cosmic koi in the pond of the universe?

Anyways, that inspired me to make an altered tin based on that quote and this is what I came up with...

I removed the lid, and decoupaged the outside with a decorated Japanese paper that made me think of a star speckled sky roughly, and the inside was decoupaged with black on the edges, and a swirled gelli printed paper on the background.

I made some polymer clay koi fish to set inside the tin.  Was pretty happy how they turned out.  Then I layered them, some rhinestones and stars, and the banner with the quote, slowly, in about 5 separate layers of resin.  Patience was needed - and it took a lot of effort to sit and wait until the next laying of elements and pouring of resin...

I added a bit of mica powder for some sparkle to one layer of resin.  I was hoping it would keep a distinct swirl, but I also added some heat, which made it a bit more liquid and mixed the mica powder in more than I would have liked.

I added about 5 layers of matte decoupage glaze to the paper layer on the outside, so it had a nice texture to it, and made a little easel to help display it.  I was very happy, generally, how it turned out.

A bit more about it on my blog if you are interested.

Comments and constructive criticism always welcome...
53  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Puffin Chunky... on: June 06, 2015 07:16:07 AM
I made this recently for the OTT Bird Swap recently.  I swapped with HSG, and she listed puffins in her list of birds.

I was playing around with sketching out some puffin images with water colours/water colour pencils.  I was happy how they turned out, and wanted to incorporate them into one project.  Oddly enough, that was not even the project I had in mind, I was just playing around to see what would happen.

I had a couple of chunky 4x4 canvases, and I decided to make a little chunky piece.  I love the chunky canvases because you can decorate all sides, and they can be stood on a surface or hung up.  I figured I could use both the back and the front for the two puffin pieces and have the short sides to add some more decorations.

Here is the front of my canvas.  I prepped the canvas with acrylics in blues, whites, and a touch of gray, and a bit of stenciling.  I tore the water colour paper and adhered it on with gel medium.  I love the walk of the puffin - it's awkward, yet adorable.

Here is the back - I cut the image to cover the opening in the back, glued and tacked it on.  I  have this thing about unfinished backs - for some reason, I can't stand them and often will finish them somehow.  Often with a placard, but this was a good way to use the second image I had done.

I found a wee image and note about puffins in a vintage dictionary I had, so added that, and a wee quote on the side.

Here is a bit more about it on my blog
54  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / OMG - I need a drink swap (Sign ups May 23 - June 11, send outs July 10) on: May 23, 2015 02:09:43 PM

Swap name: OMG - I need a drink swap
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: Onyxnox
Sign-up date range: May 23 - June 11
Date to send item by: July 10

Limited to a certain number of people? (optional):24

Restricted to people who all live in the same country? NO
If so, which country? N/A

Additional Age requirement? 18 and older

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: N/A
- 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 within the US, understands that Delivery Confirmation number is required for this swap: YES
- If outside the US, understands that a mailing receipt copy is required for this swap: YES

Details of swap:

Ever have one of those moments... days... weeks... lifetimes... where you feel that you need a firm grasp on things to get control?  By things, I mean the stem of a martini glass, the handle of a stein of ale, the neck of a gallon of wine... the switch to the bar tap, what have you...

This swap is not meant to encourage drinking alcohol to excess, but as a fun ode to those moments in time when a good drink does help - at the least to refresh the palate, if not the soul and nerves.  So craft an ode to Bacchus, Dionysus, Dom Perignon, Methe, the mighty grape, a favourite cocktail, a favourite famed drunk (NORM!... Barney... ), your local favourite watering hole, or what other boozy delight comes to mind.

* my favourite drink du jour is a Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic with a double lime squeeze *

This is a 3-point swap, so one large item, or 1 small+1 medium item.  Also, include a couple of your favourite drinks recipes presented creatively/prettily, so that we can all eventually toast each other when we post in the gallery, and share a drink, so to speak.  Extras are not needed or encouraged, but allowed if agreed upon by the partnered swappers, so please communicate well with each other.  Also, please remember to look up the rules of shipping through what service you use - if anyone is thinking of sending ingredients, there are strict laws about things like shipping fluids, foods, booze, etc, so know your postal rules before sending items like that!

Size definitions as per Craftster Swap FAQ

By Time
-Large = 3 or more hours
-Medium = 2 or more hours
-Small = 2 or less hours

By Size
-Large = A shawl, a shirt, a skirt, a set of jewelry with four to five items, a purse
-Medium = one single necklace or bracelet, a scarf
-Small = Earrings, stickers, wallets, pouches, bookmarks

By Price
-Large = $30 or more
-Medium = $10-$30 dollars
-Small = $10 or less

A bit more business...

Please remember to post in this thread before sending me a PM with your questionnaire.

Please remember to PM myself and your partner when sending and receiving, with tracking information if possible, if not, then remember to take pictures of the receipts for verification.

Please maintain good communication - PM as above, and communicate with your partners, and in this thread.

... and stay safe - if you drink while crafting, then you are drinking and crafting at your own risk!  Remember - needles are sharp, heat guns get hot, scissors can cut, vodka/gin/rum is flammable, etc, etc!

Update:  It was brought to my attention to ensure that everyone is aware that as per Craftster swap rules (and undoubtedly some POs rules and customs rules too) that there is to be no alcohol to be sent in the packages - it is prohibited.  So please, no samples of actual booze, or anything containing booze...

Recipes, some mix ingredients, and boozy crafts/art yes, but no booze itself, please!

If you want to participate, information to send to organizer:

Name of swap - OMG - I need a drink swap
Craftster username
Email address
Your real name
Mailing address including the country
Would you be willing to ship to an address outside your own country?
Confirm that are at least 18 years old: (YES/NO)

1.  What are your favourite drinks/cocktails?

2.  What are your favourite colours/combinations/patterns?

3.  What colours/patterns/things do you hate/not want to receive?

4.  Any favourite drinks/cocktail themed quotes/scenarios?

5.  Any allergens in your home?

6.  Any allergens or aversions you have?

7.  What kind of crafted item(s) would you really like to receive?

8.  What kind of crafted items can you make?

9.  What is my favourite drink du jour (do you need to answer this?  Yes, that way I know you read the details)?


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

Swap members:

1.  Onyxnox (Canada)
2.  Audania1 (USA)
3.  Ludi (USA)
4.  rantyhippie (USA)
5.  edelC (Ireland)
6.  fluffypants (Canada)
7.  emilywilde (USA)
8.  Wulf (Canada)
9.  texscrapper (USA)
10. legatostroke (USA)
11. SheridanLA (USA)
12. Megz1027
13. spazgirl1981
17. holistic knitter


holistic knitter <--->edelC
Ludi <--->rantyhippie
Audania1 <---> legtostroke
Megz1027 <--->texscrapper
fluffypants <---> SheridanLA
spazgirl1981 <---> Wulf
emilywilde <---> Onyxnox

As per swap rules:

10. At two weeks past the swap deadline all participants must have either positive or Negative Feedback, unless their package is in transit.

If someone failed to fulfill their swap obligation and has not been in communication with you, give them Negative Feedback.
If a participant has communicated that they are going to be late but has not shipped, they should still receive Negative Feedback two weeks after the swap deadline if their package has not been received. If they have been in communication and you feel that they will send soon, leave a comment such as: "has not sent, but is in good communication." This feedback is easily reversible once the package arrives. It is only used to insure that the participant focuses on the swaps they are already involved in before they sign up for others. Participants who have provided proof of shipment can remain In Progress until their package is received.
If the swapper has sent his/her item to the partner and the package meets the size requirements of the swap, they get a positive, whether or not they communicated or failed to send a DC# to you, etc. These issues should be noted in the comment section of the feedback.

55  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Mother's Day / Mother's Day cards x2 on: May 21, 2015 04:13:50 AM
These were the cards I made for our mothers this year.  I made the rose bouquets last year, but did not order the jumbo crepe paper in time to make the jumbo ones this year.  Also, because I went out and bought my mother new carbon monoxide detectors earlier this year and would not let her or Dad pay me back for them - they demanded that I not get them anything further for Mothers/Fathers day (they are not big on gifts).  Still, they got flowers and a card...

This one is for Jim's mom - she likes pinks and purples more...

and this one for my mom...

I made A2 sized cards, and used water colour paper, and washes of metallic water colour paint to make the pastel skies, and a cherry blossom/branch die to cut the flower detail out.  I added some more pics and details in the links above for each card.

I really do have to try to order that jumbo crepe to make the roses for next year.  I know my mom would get a kick out of them.
56  COOKING / Dessert / Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies... on: May 21, 2015 03:46:23 AM
Peanut butter and chocolate is Jim's favourite flavour combination, and traditionally I made bags and bags of cookies for him to take away with him to the hunt camp in the Fall as a treat to share with his friends and family up there, so when he found out he had Celiacs disease, I had to revamp how I cook/bake.  He already said that no matter what, even if he doesn't eat them, I still had to make cookies for his trip because they were loved by a number of guys at the camp.  But I know him - if the others are eating them, he would just not think about it one day and grab a few to munch on - and regret it later on...

That's not to say it won't happen anyways - with the dinner rolls, the bread, the treats the other wives send up, someone handing him a beer, whatever....

But I was determined to try to find some GF stuff that I could make either just for him, or that he could share and others would like too.

I made these the other day, when two of our friends were here.  They are both very familiar with my normal baking and regular cookies I make, and on having these, they gave full approval. 

The texture is a bit grainier, but tender, with nice light peanut butter flavour, and good chocolate flavour.  The grainy texture will also depend on the type/brand of GF flour you use, and how finely it is milled.  I used a commercial blend by Robin Hood (a Canadian brand), for convenience.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup gluten free flour blend (Robin Hood was used)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F

Combine gluten free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg if using in a bowl until blended well, and set aside.

Cream sugar, butter and peanut butter together in a bowl with a mixer, until well blended, and creamy.

Add egg and vanilla, and mix until well blended.

Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined well.  Mix in chocolate chips.

Roll into 1 inch balls and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Flatten with fork slightly.

Bake in center of oven for 8-11 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges. 

Remove baking sheet, let cool on baking sheet for a couple of minutes, then remove with spatula and cool fully on rack.

The nutmeg is optional - sometimes I just like that little bit of spice flavour with my PB or chocolate recipes.

Here they are on a dessert tray I made with the flourless brownies I made the other day.

A bit more about it on my blog if anyone is interested...
57  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Blueberry Boyfriend Bait - gluten free blueberry coffee cake on: May 20, 2015 03:28:33 AM
A friend loaned me an allergen free cookbook by Cybele Pascale that had a blueberry cake recipe in it.  Since I am now trying to bake gluten free for Jim, I made this to see how it would turn out.  We had friends over for dinner one night and I wanted to see if there was a gluten free dessert they would like as well.  I made this and the flourless brownies I just posted about, and they all stated they quite liked it, so at least there are two desserts I can make that Jim can have with friends!

The gluten free flour blend is not as fine as the wheat flour, but the cake is quite buttery and moist, so that helps to disguise it.  Next time I may not use as much of the sugar blend myself, on top of the cake, as we do not have as much of a sweet tooth. 

Also, we are not lactose/dairy, or egg-free, so I adapted the recipe to add back in the butter, egg, etc.  But I also liked this and am interested in enough of the other recipes to pick up a copy of the book myself to see what else we can make at home that Jim will be able to eat and like.

Blueberry Boyfriend Bait
(modified from Cybele Pascal's The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook)

makes 16 servings

2 C Gluten Free flour blend (I used Robin Hood Gluten Free)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen, tossed with 1 tbsp flour blend
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, combined with 2 tbsp granulated sugar.

<note - I found this a bit sweet so maybe next time I will leave out 1/4 cup of the sugar>

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare a 9x9 inch pan by greasing, and dusting with gluten free flour, tapping out excess <don't skip this step, the cake will still more without both steps, or lining with parchment paper>

Whisk together flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

In mixer bowl, combine butters and sugars, and mix on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix on medium to blend well, scraping down the sides as needed. Add vanilla and mix well.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on medium for about 15 seconds.

Add half of the milk and mix for 20 seconds.

Add half of the remaining flour and mix, then the remaining milk, mix, then the remaining flour, and mix, scraping down the sides as needed.

Add half of the batter to the pan, using a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle with half the blueberries.  Top with the remaining batter, and spread as evenly as possible.  Top with remaining blueberries and sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture.

Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, or until the cinnamon mixture caramelizes, and the top is golden.  Cool in pan for 30 minutes before turning out.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Make the day before, as it gets better the next day!

More about it on my blog if you're interested

Here is the original recipe from the book/her site if someone is interested in the more allergen-free and vegan version, and she has many other allergen-free recipes on her site too.
58  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Flourless brownies - exploring potentially gluten free recipes... on: May 20, 2015 03:16:35 AM
Jim was recently diagnosed as having Celiacs Disease and has been trying to maintain a gluten free diet - hard for a man who starts his day with a bagel, has a white bread sandwich for lunch, loves his beer, etc...

A bit hard for me too, as I love baking, and now it's like starting from scratch learning to bake again.

Anyways, I had a go to flour brownie recipe for years that is much loved by him, friends, and family, which is now tossed out the window, and I found a flourless brownie recipe to try.  I have made it twice now, and we both love it - it is dense and very chocolaty - very truffle like to me.  Even our friends like it, so I thought I would share...

Flourless Double Chocolate Brownies

Makes 16

6 tbsp butter
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare 8x8 baking pan by lining it with a sheet of foil, allowing a few inches of overhang on each side.  Grease the foil and set aside.

Add the butter and chocolate chips to a small saucepan and melt, stirring frequently, on low heat.  Stir will to combine, and set aside to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa, cornstarch, and salt, until well combined and lumps broken down, set aside.

In a medium bowl and a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and pale, about 2 minutes.  Add the chocolate mixture and mix until well combined.

Reduce speed to low and mix in cocoa mixture until batter is smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

Pour batter into prepared pan spreading it out evening.  Placed in center of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the center is set.  Remove, and let cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing, in the foil, and cooling completely on rack.  Cut into 16 squares.

A bit more about it on my blog if interested...
59  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Mad as a Hatter.... on: April 17, 2015 03:53:56 AM
I love making Alice in Wonderland crafts - some of you may already know that, so I made up an excuse to do more this year by having an OTT Alice swap - the gallery is still ongoing if anyone wants to see some of the other wonderful crafts.

Anyways, for this swap, I decided to make a pincushion or a needlebook... I was wiffle waffling on how and the theme, when I remembered I had done a mad hatter matchbox awhile back and maybe I could take that and convert it into a pin cushion.

So I did - I made the hat out of a TP roll and some some thicker card stock for the brim, with some tape, and many many layers of tissue so that it would be pretty stiff and firm.  I mean MANY layers.  I bent and formed it as I went along.  I left the top off for the pin cushion part of it. 

After I was happy with the shaping, I painted and decorated it.  I went for a purply/black distressed look with some stampings for a bit of texture and interest.  I was thinking of flocking or molding paste with a damask print, but it was not working out when I tried - too much curvature, too small a space.

After the outer layers of paint and ink dried, I added a felt top.  I added some paint to make it match the sides more.  Inside, I stuffed a layer of steel wool and batting.  The steel wool to help sharpen the pins as they are used.  I then added cardboard and tissue to the bottom to seal it in, and painted it to match.  But I was not happy with how it looked then - it just didn't look right to me for some reason. 

So in the end, I did add a matching matchbox to the base - it looks better with the hat on  platform anyways, and now there is a small bit of storage beneath for pins, or bobbins, or what not.  I thought about adding a bit of a pedestal or feet, but then thought that it may not stand up to having pins poked in and out regularly without being squished too much or toppling over.  I decorated the hat with a bit of satin ribbon, a decorative brad, die cut leather feathers, and a bit of card decorated to look like the Mad Hatter's sale sign.

Oh yes, and I made a set of pins with the card suits to go with the hat.

I posted a bit more about it on my blog if you want to see a few more pictures, etc

I also don't think I ever posted my original Hatter matchbox.  This one was similar, except I did add top to the hat, and decoupaged it with purple tissue - I liked how the tissue looked, so left it like that, with a glossy topcoat, and added black flocking detail to fancy it up.  I was thinking of it as a hat displayed for sale, so I added wood veneer to the matchbox, and flocking too to make it look like a stand. I used a commercial matchbox, so I think that this one was about 2/3rds the size of the above hat pin cushion

60  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Have an apple or two... on: April 09, 2015 05:57:56 AM
I made this set of apple cards lately for gala_apples for the Use What You Have swap.  I carved an apple stamp for her,which I posted about here, and decided that I had to make something with it an a bonus, before including them all in the package I sent her.  I really liked how the apple stamp turned out and thought it would great with some water colours.

I cut out squares of water colour paper, and stamped the images on with black Versafine ink.

When the black ink dried, it was waterproof, and perfect for painting on with pearlescent water colour paint.  I am kind of in love with pearlescent paint lately.  You can't really see in the pictures, but they do have a nice little bit of shimmer to them.

I did a set of green and red apples.  I think I made a dozen cards in total.  They were really fun to do and it was quite therapeutic painting them.

I made them as a tall thin card, or a long horizontal card.  They are about 3x6".  I also inked the edges of the water colour paper after painting the apples, to add a bit more dimension to them.

A bit more about the green apples on my blog.

and about the red apples too.
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