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11  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / homemade paper with flower seeds? on: August 10, 2004 02:37:28 PM
I've seen pretty homemade paper (in various places --- e.g. http://www.plantamemory.com/scard/plantseed.html) that has various flower seeds imbedded right in it. It's generally marketed either AS greeting cards or as inserts FOR greeting cards. I've been considering giving packets of seeds as wedding favours (my wedding is about a year away) but I think that this might be a nice alternative. I could emboss our monogram into it, or cut it into appropriate shapes, or...?

Has anyone made paper like this before? I've made paper a number of times, but never with the seeds in it. I assume the seeds have to go in after the pulp has been blended, so they don't get chopped up --- but are there any other special instructions?

Also, has anyone ever actually planted any of this paper? How successfully did the seeds germinate?
12  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / kimono/robe? on: August 05, 2004 08:51:59 AM
So I've been invited to a bridal shower for the fiancee of the cousin of my fiance, and I've never met her. It's supposed to be a lingerie shower, which is awkward enough with people you know --- how icky/awkward to go buying undergarments for a person you can't even describe! I'm thinking that I'll either buy or make her a kimono-style robe. I'd prefer to make it, but I'm not sure I can find suitable fabric anywhere locally (either silky/satiny or fluffy/terry-cloth). Does anyone have any experience making this sort of thing? Any patterns or resources to suggest?
13  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / On-line sewing instruction book from 1926 --- great resource! on: July 25, 2004 09:50:11 AM
A link to this site was sent out on a listserve that I belong to, and I thought I'd pass it on.

http://www.vintagesewing.info/1920s/26-fcm/fcm-toc.html

This is a book from 1926 that covers all sorts of sewing instructions, with details about different types of seams and hems, embroidery, fabric types (though obviously without today's synthetics --- but good descriptions that could help you find modern equivalents for historic fabrics), and all kinds of other great information. The chapters are each set up as lessons, with quiz questions at the end of each. There are sections on how to design and adapt patterns, and even a section on how to run your own dressmaker's shop.

The writing's a little antiquated in tone, but it's kind of fun to read, just for the window on the past --- of course, I also collect antique cookbooks, so I would get a kick out of this.  Cheesy
14  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Corn dollies... Anyone ever heard of them? on: July 23, 2004 01:13:09 PM
When I lived in England, about 10-11 years ago, I was introduced to the art of making corn dollies. For those not familiar with them, they're little 3-dimensional figures (not necessarily humanoid in shape --- mostly fans and bells and sort of spirally cones) made by folding lengths of straw ("corn" meaning wheat in England) together in intricate designs. They were traditionally made with the last wheat cut in the field, and were thought to contain the spirit of the harvest. (There are some pictures at http://www.wicstun.com/corndolly/corndollies.html, and more pics and explanation at http://www.corndollies.co.uk/ which might help explain what I'm talking about.)

Anyway, I made a number while I lived there, and I loved them. But they don't travel too well, and are a little brittle to keep after a while, so I started thinking that I'd like to make some again. But I have no idea where to go to find the straw... I recall that it has to have a hollow shaft to fold properly; beyond that, I don't know if there is anything special required. Does anyone know where to find such straw, or maybe have ideas for alternatives?
15  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Help! Altering a bathing suit... on: July 20, 2004 01:01:22 PM
I bought a tankini last summer, in anticipation of a trip to the Dominican Republic that never quite panned out, and I've never had a chance to wear it. This weekend, though, my friends are all getting together for a pool party, so I hauled the tankini out of the dresser and tried it on. I've apparently lost weight! So now I need to alter it...

I have questions! I'd normally phone my mother, but she's away, and won't be back until after the pool party.

So here are my problems:

<<removed link to broken image>>

And what I see as my options:

<<removed link to broken image>>

Please help me out!
16  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / inspiration for t-shirts surgeries on: June 27, 2004 01:19:48 PM
Just drooling over some of the shirts at Anthropologie.com --- there were a couple there that I thought would be pretty simple to make myself.

http://www.anthropologie.com/jump.jsp?itemType=PRODUCT&itemID=2268&iSubCat=9&iMainCat=4&pid=2268
This one's a simple white t-shirt with a little circle gathered with a ribbon to make a flower effect --- pretty, and so easy!

http://www.anthropologie.com/jump.jsp?itemType=PRODUCT&itemID=2086&iSubCat=9&iMainCat=4&pid=2086
And this one looks like it's basically a v-neck t-shirt with a little slit cut down from the point of the V, and then tied back together with a ribbon. Again, how simple is that? But it's cute! (Note: for some reason, the main image on this page seems to have a broken link, so it won't load, at least for me. But if you click on 'additional views' you can see the shirt...)
17  COOKING / Dessert / What's your favourite thing to do with strawberries? on: June 25, 2004 08:00:06 PM
I spent a few hours this morning picking berries, and now I've got a fridgeful that I need to DO something with. We'll eat some tomorrow, along with my lemon cake (that's a whole other post), but we'll not get through all of them...

When I was a kid, we'd get a little bowl of sour cream and a little bowl of brown sugar, and dip the strawberries first in the sour cream and then the sugar --- great combination of flavours!

I like putting sliced strawberries in salads, fir a summery taste.

And I love making homemade jam, but I don't have anough jars around at the moment, and the store was sold out.

So... Ideas? What do you do with your berries?
18  COOKING / Dessert / Mmmmm... lemony... *pucker* on: June 25, 2004 07:54:55 PM
I've spent the evening baking and decorating a cake for my fiance's father, and I can't resist sharing. It's the first one I've done like this...



It's a lemon cake, with red currant jelly between the layers (I thought the tartness would go well with the lemon flavour), and lemon buttercream frosting. I decorated the rim with candied lemon rind that I made this evening --- experimental, but more or less successful. (It seems to take a lot less rind and a lot more sugar to get the result I wanted than my cookbook claimed... oh well!)
19  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Painted garden stones on: June 20, 2004 04:07:40 PM
Over the past few years I've run a (very) small business called Painted Trillium (after a local variation of the trillium flower) where I paint and sell slabs of stone for the home and garden. Well, the profit margin was great when I had time to deal with it, but I've had to let things fizzle for a while. Since I don't think my 'business secret' is in any danger from competition on this site (no one lives in my area, from what I can tell!) I thought I'd share my technique, and see if anyone else gets inspired from it.

http://www3.sympatico.ca/anne.whitcombe/ladyslip.jpg

I bought slabs of stone from the local garden/landscaping centre --- they gave me great deals on pieces that had broken off of larger tiles, so I could usually get about a dozen stones for about $15. Limestone's the easiest to work with, because it's smoothest; sandstone's not bad either; but granite and quartz are very rough to work with. I took them home, laid them out in the driveway and hosed them off (really dirty ones got scrubbed with TSP and rinsed off again), and let them dry.

Then, using a dark drawing pencil (6B or so, to really show up on the rocks), I sketched out my drawings. I gathered images from field guides --- my focus was local flowers, leaves, and butterflies, for the most part. I realle enjoyed finding the best place on the stone to put the picture, using the natural layers of the rock to add depth and interest.

http://www3.sympatico.ca/anne.whitcombe/dogwood.jpg

Once the image was plotted out, I used plain acrylic craft paints and cheapo (but fine-tipped) nylon brushes to paint the picture. (Painting on stone is hard on the bristles --- go figure!) To make the image really "pop", I used some diluant (a thinning medium for acrylics) and a little bit of black paint to make a transparent shadow effect around the edge of the image, so it looks like it's hovering a bit above the stone.

Finally, I sealed the whole thing with concrete sealer, which comes in big jugs for a few bucks at the hardware store. This not only protects the paint (if water seeps underneath it, it would peel), but also gives a nice glossy shine to the painted areas. The rock itself doesn't turn shiny, don't worry.

http://www3.sympatico.ca/anne.whitcombe/daisy.jpg

We've had a number of these stones sitting out in the garden at home (even during brutal Canadian winters) for about 5 years now, and they're only just showing signs of beginning to fade. I suppose you could use outdoor acrylic paints, which might last a little longer, but I can't see the need...

http://www3.sympatico.ca/anne.whitcombe/monarch.jpg
20  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / paper purse, with tutorial on: June 20, 2004 03:49:58 PM
Ok, so I got inspired by the magazine purse thread (http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=6530.0), but was unable to find iron-on vinyl anywhere nearby. I mused aloud in that thread about mac-tac (self-adhesive plastic) and wondered if it might make a purse strong enough to use... Well, I figured there's no better way to find out than by trying one myself, so here's my experiment. You can see that I used a different technique to make the bag itself, something more akin to a paper lunchbag than a sewn purse --- I'm pretty sure that the plastic wouldn't hold too well if I tried to sew through it.



You'll need:
paper (I used kraft mailing paper, because it was cheap and this was an experiment --- but you can get gorgeous wrapping paper by the sheet at stationery stores)
mac-tac, or other clear self-adhesive plastic
scissors
a box (or book or other rectangular object) about the size you want your finished project to be



Cut two sheets of mac-tac and one sheet of paper to size. To figure out what "to size" ought to be, lay your box out on the paper along one edge, then turn it over until you've measured out how much you'll need to cover all four sides, then add a couple of inches extra for overlap. Then, to the height of the box, add about an inch at the top (thnk seam allowance), and enough at the bottom to ALMOST cover the width of box.



Carefully, cover first one side and then the other of the paper with the two sheets of mac-tac. (Peel back the lining paper just a bit, align the mac-tac with the top edge of the paper, and then gently peel back a bit at a time while smoothing out any wrinkles...



With the right side facing down, fold over about an inch to make what will be the top edge of the bag. (Paper obviously won't fray like fabric, but the double thickness will give it added strength and rigidity.) Cut a strip of mac-tac to use as tape to hold this down. (You could just use tape, but the mac-tac sticks well to itself and is more durable than the scotch tape I had on hand!)



Wrap the paper around the box, so that there will be enough overhang at the bottom to cover.



Seal the joining with another strip of mac-tac "tape". (I like the brown kraft-paper look, and I think it'd be cute to make this look like a lunchbag by trimming the paper at this join with pinking shears, but I didn't have any on hand.) Cut the "tape" long enough to wrap an inch or so around to the inside of the bag, for extra strength.



Now, turn the box on end, and cover the bottom of the box as though you were wrapping a present: push the short sides in first, and crease the folds neatly, then fold one long side in, and then the other.



Cover the entire bottom of the box with another strip of mac-tac, cut to size (basically, a wider strip of the "tape" you've been using all along). Slide the box out, and crease all the folds by pinching then between your fingernails, so they have a nice sharp edge.



To make the handle, cut a strip of paper and a matching strip of mac-tac to twice the width you want the handle to be. Cover the paper with the mac-tac, and then fold the edges into the middle (right side out) so there's a seam running up the middle of the handle. With more "tape", securely cover the seam on the handle, so your fingers won't get pinched by the paper while you're carrying it.



Slide one end of the handle into the bag, and secure with strips of "tape" on both the inside and the outside of the bag.



Adjust the handle to the length you want it, and secure the other end the same way you did the first.



Ta-da!

I've been carrying little things around the house in this all day, to test for strength; so far, the mac-tac has held well. I'll report back if there are any major issues once I've been using it for a while! I know that the paper/mac-tac combination will be prone to wrinkling, but I think that might add more character over time.

Let me know what you think of my little experiment!
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