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11  Carrots, spices, feta cheese... one failure turned success! in Recipes and Cooking Tips by alhrayth on: August 27, 2010 02:37:18 AM




The first image you see is the burning failure of my first experiment: a carrot/feta salad which was waaaaaaay to spicy even for my fire-loving usual taste. Sigh, what disappointment!

The second photo is how I salvaged the un-edible remains of that poor salad, by mixing them with a good portion of boiled wheat to turn this mess in a much milder but still tasty salad.

A little recap of the recipe:

- 4 or 5 not too small carrots, grate 'em but not too finely

- in a pan pour 4-5 tbsp oil, to heat up with 1 clove of garlic, finely minced, and a bunch of spices: cumin, paprika, harissa, fennel, some sugar...

- then add to it 3tbsp lemon juice & a pinch of salt, mix well and pour on the carrots.  add 2tbsp mint, 2tbsp parsley (I was happy to have the fresh herbs growing in my garden), mix some more and set aside to infuse 1 hr

-at the last moment before serving add 100grams of feta cheese, crumbled in pieces

.... I messed upp with the spices, and as I said, it was waaaay to hot. The next day I boiled a serving of wheat, and used the carrot/feta salad as seasoning for the wheat... and it magically worked!

 crunchy carrots + soft wheat + almost creamy feta... a nice salad which I will have to do again!

more photos on my blog, where I added a Google translate button (as the blog is in Italian)... http://lacucinadelgattobianco.blogspot.com/2010/08/carote-spezie-e-feta-in-due-esperimenti.html

I would love to hear some feedback on the recipe and on the blog too... I'm still trying to decide if I want to keep writing it in Italian or not (I tend to read 90% of blogs in English, I find them more interesting)... I'll try to post a few more recent recipes, to see how they come across! Unfortunately my crafting recently is much limited to the kitchen, though I miss experimenti with more stuff, I'm lacking inspiration... sigh!
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12  If you aren't going to the sea... bring the sea upon your cake! in Dessert by alhrayth on: July 29, 2010 05:10:31 AM
So, I got invited to dinner chez some friends last week and I decided to bring a cake (well, it was kind of expected, as I am always the cake maker at our gatherings), but had not much time to plan it. Tackling marshmallow fondant was not on plan, so I decided for a lemon cheesecake with some sugar paste decorations...


The day before I made the sugar paste decorations - made the past, let it cool a few hours, coloured it and shaped the different figurines:



a purple octopus (which got 7 tentacles because I ran out of space)


a couple of little crabs (this one was my favourite)


some stars and seashells


a little fish that I made in two parts, to have the front and the tail separately pop up from the "water"


so the next day I made a lemon cheesecake - it turned out pretty yummy I have to say! - and I let it cool a little, but apparently not long enough before pouring some blue-tinted jelly (so it cracked a lot - but in the end I thought it added to the "sea" effect)...


put it in the fridge to solidify till the very last minute, then I decorated it still in the pan (I had a 45min car ride to get to the party).. some crumbled cookies to make the sand, and all the figurines stuck on with a bit of glucose...


from the close-up taken at the party you can see how the jelly seeped on the sides od the cake and gave a really cute effect... and how the little sugar seaweeds bits melted a little in the jelly which was melting in the heat as well - so that during the car ride the octopus traveled a litle around the surface and the tentacles were a bit re-arranged...


but overall, it was a fun cake made without too much effort, and my friends had fun with it!
I hope you like it too!
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13  My third decorated cake, the first tiered one: IMG OVERLOAD! in Dessert by alhrayth on: May 31, 2010 12:45:42 PM
So, my friends and I had a big BBQ yesterday, and I was in charge of the cake.
Chatting on MSN with a friends in the weeks prior the party, we got to develop this idea of a quite crazy cake that started with the figurines I made for a cake I made during the Olympics (http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=339305.msg3928841#msg3928841 this one), we wante to recycle them because the "guy" of the duo was supposed to come to the BBQ and we wanted to let him see his portrait, LOL.
Then we decided it needed to include the pink stuffed rabbit that is their mascot, and a chicken sitting on a beer can (long story), and a guy selling flowers.... (because one tormented us trying to sell us roses at the last dinner out we had, he kept coming every 5 mins and it turned in a little inside joke).. all as little figurines I made out of a sugar paste.

SO: Overall view - the first tier is green, to mimic a lawn.... the second is lilac only because it's my fave colour, and the beer can is yellow... because I had white and yellow marshmallows and so that's the color that my fondant took, and I didn't change it.



the chicken sitting on top of the beer can, and you can see quite nicely the little sugar paste white and pink daisies I made...


close-up of the guy selling flowers, and you can glimpse the  mascot peeking from behind the beer can


close up uf the mascot


the back of the cake, with the mascot laying down (note its little tail decorated in tiny sugar balls) between the rose-seller and the skaters...


close up of the skaters, with the green lawn, little flowers, and the tiny lilac ballas I used as a border to mask the junction of the two tiers


reaction of my friends


then we took down all the figurines


separated the tiers (the holes are where I inserted plastic drink straws to give a little support to the tier above)


the first tier was a chocolate cake with chocolate/raspberry filling


the second tier was a vanilla cake in three layers, with a cream and strawberry filling


the "beer can" was a chocolate cake (a different recipe from the firts one) with cream cheese/cinnamon filling


the cake was quite a hit with my friends, and after I posted it on facebook I got asked by another friend to make a cake for her birthday party this weekend... and the weekend after that we're planning maybe another party and I hope to recycle these figurines once more.....
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14  Making necklaces at 3am.... in Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General by alhrayth on: May 15, 2010 07:55:17 AM
.. well, actually I started quite a bit earllier than that, but re-made one a few times before being happy with it, and so I ended up playing around with my beads and metal bits for a while (while fighting for space on the bed with my cat, who was not happy at all with this invasion of "his" bed... LOL

First is a cluster bracelet I made AGES ago and possibly wore only once, because as a bracelet it was not as cool as I had planned it in my mind... so I used it as the central part of a necklace, adding a bit more beads to it to hide the chain a little more, and then lengthend it to a wearable size with different size of beads.... I am really happy of having given it a new life because it took me forever to make the original bracelet, making all the 8-shaped hooks by myself because the weird shape of the beads didn't allow me to use simple rings...



it also matches some earrings I previously made with some of the same frosted leaf shaped beads that were in the bracelet...



a random bracelet, green is not my color AT ALL, but I had these beads from a mixed package I once bought...


a simple fake turqouise one, which I strung with some silver beads and spacers, and made earrings to match. I was really looking at it thinking that I would probably not wear such a simple design, when a pendant I had been given at a fair from a vendor as a present after I bought some other stuff, and never wore because the turquoise colored stone didn't match anything I had.... love! Can't wait to wear it!


My mother caught me surrounded by necklaces and beads and stuff and decided to give me a few broken necklaces of her to reconstruct...

These are turquoise colored ceramic beads, and some silver colored beads and spacers... I might have to ask her to lend me this one some times this summer!


The enamelled beads are from Morocco, plus quite a bit of big and small fake-ivory beads... The earrings are not a perfect match but it's a long story how they came together like this, she liked them anyway...


then, back to something I did for me, but with stuff from the stash my mother gave me... more of the tiny fake-ivory beads, and quite a lot of silver (ehmmm let's say silver colored metal) bits also from our Moroccan holidays AGES ago.... this is quite bold for my style but I am liking it a lot!


I have still a lot more beads waiting to be used...  next time that inspiration strikes!
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15  one old mismatched teaspoon - two pendants in Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by alhrayth on: April 28, 2010 04:37:04 AM
I was playing around the other day (after quite a long break from anything crafty, I have to confess!) and started bending a little teaspoon in half... of course it broke, and then with a little more bending I got two different pendants....

The handle part, I left it pretty much alone, I just cleaned it up a little, which took away what was left of the silver plating on the center, revealing a yellowish metal... I quite like it as it is, but I guess I'll figure out a cover-up sooner or later... (I tend to never wear anything gold colored. So if it keeps wearing off the silver, I'll have to fix it somehow to make it wearable for me... ideas?)


With the spoon part, I did two different things. The "back" part ended up pretty yellow as the handle when cleaned up, and I knew I would not wear it that way... so I just added lots of iridescent and silver glitter! It looks pretty nice IRL and I plan on mostly wearing it like this. On the concave side, I was playing around with a little dremel and wrote "write your story" as a reminder for me to keep working on a story I'm writing, ans some random doodles... I'm not really playing to wear it with this side showing, but it's not bad looking either!

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16  A cluster-y necklace in Beads: Completed Projects by alhrayth on: April 28, 2010 04:27:39 AM
I had these cleare beads with a silverish interior forever, and never found a good use for them because they're quite chunky and never seemed to look right in any project I attempted with them. Then on some fashion blog a saw a photo of a necklace made with similar-shaped beads, all in purple... but I immediately thought of these ones!
This is what I came up with:

no close-up photo because my camera was not being really cooperative.
It took forever to make because apparently I run out of suitable chain, so I assembled a series of jum pring to make all the beaded part... but I like the end result, and it looks really fresh... I think I'll use it a lot this summer!
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17  Roll-up makeup brush holder... in Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects by alhrayth on: March 13, 2010 07:17:32 AM
I am going on a trip next week, and it occurred to me that during my last one I really mis-treated my poor makeup brushes, tossed in a random bag getting squashed around... so I decided I needed to make something to store them on the go, and of course I was not going to buy it!
I managed to use a piece of a flower print fabric I love, some leftovers from the dog-bed cover I made for my adopted dog, and even the leftovers of a shirt I was shortening ... the only thing I had to buy was a bit of elastic!





I am not too fond of the lilac ribbon, but it was the only one I had on hand. I'm going to replace it with a better color ASAP, though. And the stitching across the elastic is actually bright pink, not that awful reddish color....

Overall it's a bit wonky because I didn't measure anything, just started sewing and cutting... but it seems it will serve its purpose so I'm pleased!
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18  Two simple beaded rings (because I never finds ones that I like & fit) in Beads: Completed Projects by alhrayth on: March 07, 2010 02:46:25 PM
I like wearing rings, but most of my rings, apart from one I had made to measure altering one I inherited from my grandma and one I wear on my thumb, are large, "cocktail" rings to be worn on the middle finger. I struggle with most sizes and shapes, most of the time they don't look that great on my hand or are uncomfortable or my skin can't stand the metal... so as I was playing around with some beads, I decided to try making  a pair, just for fun.


this is a cluster ring with different purple beads (mostly little stars), with a thin beaded back. it's really comfy and lightweight, and the beads move around quite a bit while wearing it... it's fun!


this one is much more simple but I liked the central bead's color a lot

I stopped there because it was quite late, but I definitely will be trying something else, maybe a little more complicated!
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19  Re: A bunch of different things: hearts, figurines, a robot.... in Polymer Clay: Completed Projects by alhrayth on: March 07, 2010 02:35:33 PM
Hi evryone and thank you for your suggestions! Some were interesting and I'm keeping them for further pieces or for the still homeless one from this bunch. This is my update on what I did with them so far:

With the one made with the first approximate cane, I made a necklace + earring set that went to my mother:
I just had some purple beads that went well with the pendand, so I made a two strands necklace for it, and I improvised a pair of earrings (because I just know that without the accompanying earrings, the pentant had a lot less chances to be used!):


To the robot and little fairy, I added some clasps so that they can be attached to zippper pulls, little bags or phones...


While on the two bigger hearts & the little winged figurine I put some plain rings, to use them as pendants. I toyed with the idea of using the two hearts as earrings, but they're a little too heavy for my taste.


Without the two big hearts, the remaining ones looked a lot better as a bracelet, IMHO:

I just filled it a little with pink glass beads, white glass beads, little pearls and little silver beads. I am liking this one a lot!!
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20  A bunch of different things: hearts, figurines, a robot.... **UPDATE** in Polymer Clay: Completed Projects by alhrayth on: March 07, 2010 05:25:15 AM
Yesterday I was at home, and I felt like doing some more experiments with the bits of FIMO I still had laying around.
Here's a group pic:


First I'll put this little pendant, it's made of my first very random attempt to make a cane, with the little slices attached over a clear glass bead...

I don't hate it nor I love it, but it was an interesting experiment.

Another one to get out of the way:

This is the tiniest one I made, a little fairy with purple roses along her dress...

This little guy I love, it's so cute... another little angel protecting a heart...


The next guy was inpired by me LOVING this post http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=337612.0... No way I am yet able to make something that cute, but I wanted to try my hand at a simple robot:


Here's these first pieces together for size:


Here's a bunch of little hearts:

some details:


Now my dilemma is that I really really don't know what to do with them!! The robot will become a cell phone charm, and possibly the little angel with the heart.. but all the little hearts? I tried putting them all together as a bracelet, but I was afraid of damaging them, and also the single hearts got a little lost in the chaos of all together, and they're cute on their own. I really would like to use them somehow, because I like them a lot, but I really hav eno idea yet... suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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