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361  Re: Christmas Stocking Swap 5 *-*-GALLERY-*-* in The Swap Gallery by MareMare on: December 02, 2009 07:48:41 PM
Here's my awesomeness from Melvinator!

Cute little box that is painted and a magnetic notepad, I needed a new one, my old one lost its magnet!

Box open...full of fun marble magents made with really strong magnets!

Loose tea goodness! A great mug, a decorated tea strainer, and some loose tea (Cherry something? I am brewing some up right now!) Also some cute decorated Christmas ornaments, and some crochet stitch markers. Or zipper pulls I suppose, but I'm gonna use them as stitch markers!

Super cute penguin hand towels! I really needed some new ones too! Along with a matching penguin ornament, some cute icicle ornaments, and snowman salt and pepper shakers!

My awesome stocking! I love the button detail and the fabric is really fun and rich feeling

An advent calendar! I wanted to make her one but couldn't think of a good method, so sent a store bought one. This one is way better, she hand painted each day and it's so cute! I already had to take it away from my nephews, apparently I'm a big meanie because I don't like when they break my stuff.

And my amazing tree skirt! This gave her sewing machine fits but I'm glad she powered through! I love it and look forward to using it for years to come!

Cute covered button detail!

She also sent a really cute wreath made out of ornaments that the post office beat up a bit. None of the balls broke, so I just need to glue it back together. Yay, an excuse to play with the glue gun! I'll post pics when I get it patched up!

Thanks Melvinator!  Grin
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362  Re: Mini Art Quilt Swap 2 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MareMare on: November 24, 2009 10:59:56 PM
I got the most fabulous quilt from playswithneedles today! Seriously, so awesome! She picked my dress form theme, which I also received in the first MAQ so I have the beginnings of an amazing collection now! Check out the presentation, with the ribbon and cool wooden hanger:

A shot of the back to see all the stitching outlines she did

And a couple close-ups! I love the bright colors

And! She sent along the extra fabric. After I saw this I realized that she had added the colored fabric to the dress forms, I thought it had already been colored and she had added outlining!

She said this was her first quilt! And, she didn't think she did a good job with the binding, but I thought it was great and had actually pointed out how good the binding looked to my mom before I read her note!

THank you so much, I really really love this and have to think of an awesome place to put it so I can see it often Cheesy
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363  Bath and Beauty Featured Member--smittenheart! in Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects by MareMare on: November 10, 2009 09:56:29 PM
The next Craftster member to be featured in Bath and Body is ~ the always fabulous smittenheart!

She has been a member of Craftster since January of 2008, and is a frequent poster on the Bath & Beauty Boards.  She posts great projects on the completed projects board and is always one of the first ones to offer help and advice on the discussions and questions board.

These are some of my personal favorite projects of hers:

Paprika Colored Soap

Vanilla Milk Bath

tis the season for layering

Felted sweater owl bag

And, of course, she is the one who brought out the dirty underworld of soaping into the publics eye: soap licking!

Heres a little bit about smittenheart, in her own words:
 I am a mama to two boys - Ryan 11yo and Shane 5yo.I am originally from Hawaii and currently live in Washington DC.I have been crafting since I was 6yo - tearing up old t-shirts to make handbags or wrist cuffs. I have a studio in my basement that serves as an inspiration point for my jewelry making, knitting and soaping endeavors.
  I found craftster.org by chance. My sister in law gave me the link, explained to me what exactly swapping was and I was HOOKED. Craftster has served as an excellent inspirational point for me. I have taken up working with polymer clay and resin because of the AWESOME projects that fellow craftsters have postedsuch a talented group of people!

Q: Why (and when) did you begin making Bath and Body items?

A: I started making B&B things when I was pregnant with my oldest son. I was worried about getting stretch marks and I have always had an interest in balms and salves. I went to a bookstore and found a book about soaps, lotions, salves and balms. In the book there was a recipe for making a stretch mark oil. I went to various health food stores for my ingredients went home whipped up a batch and I WAS HOOKED. I WANTED to learn EVERYTHING I could about oil properties and what they could do to my skin.

Q: What is your B&B philosophy (as far as all-natural, animal products, etc)?

A: I dont think I have a philosophy about WHAT are absolutes to use and NOT use. I do believe that you should use what is as easily accessible to you as possible and to NOT get caught up in using something that is unattainable to you. If you can t find that HARD to find oil or butter than use what you can find.

Q: Besides soap, what other B&B items do you make?

A: I also make balms, salves and just recently I have been toying with making body butter.

Q: How did your first soap making project go for you?

A: I cant say that my first of ANYTHING went very well. When I made my first CP soap my hand was trembling so hard I was nervous about any lye getting on me. Even though I had ALL of the precautions I was soo nervous. The soap ended up being usable but I couldnt imagine the process being ANY fun since I was soo nervous. I made my next batch a few days later and that was it. I had found yet another obsession.

Q: What other crafts do you do besides Bath & Beauty? What's your favorite? What do you consider your best craft?

A: ohh..favorite..that s a hard one..lets see probably knitting..it amazes me how you can take a ball of yarn and turn it into something wearable and something that can tailor to your own style..

Q: What are your favorite (and/or least favorite) techniques (oven processing, hmmmm?)

A: favorite techniques..in soaping CP..overall I like making resin jewelry..and yes..least HAS to be by far CPOP..I havent figured that little booger out

Q: You seem to have a bit of an obsession with vanilla. Should we stage an intervention?

A: YES!I seriously CAN NOT help it. Even scents that I dont  think have vanilla in it- do. I am trying to give other scents a try and to expand my horizons

Q: What is your favorite B&B project on Craftster that you posted?

A:  Because I had read and read that adding sugar to soap was a BAD idea since it may make your soap sticky and it would NEVER set. This soap ended up being my favorite. It cured well and it is both a soap and scrub.

Red Current and Thyme Tea Sugar Soap

Q: What is your favorite B&B project on Craftster that someone else has posted?  

A: I think that this project has helped soo many people overcome the fear of making soap. Its detailed and the photos are great for people that are visual learners. Seeing how many people have made soap because of the tutorial makes me soo happy and just reinforces the giving and sharing nature of Craftster.

Soap Making Tutorial  by OhHappyDay


Q: What is your favorite non-B&B project on Craftster that you have posted?  

A: It was one of the first projects that I did using resin and photos. This was a present for a friend and she was totally surprised by it. The picture was the inspiration for me to try out using resin and I had soo much fun.

Resin Photo Necklace and Bracelet


Q: What is your favorite non-B&B project on Craftster that someone else has posted?  And why (with link to project)

A: NEED I SAY MORE! This bag is amazing. I have been obsessed with this bag since I first came across it and though I make felted items I could NEVER attempt making this bag,its too AWESOME!

Shrimp Sushi Bag by ax174


Thanks so much for sharing a little about yourself! And thanks for being a wonderful part of the Craftster community!

If you see someone that you would like to see featured on this board, please feel free to send a pm to myself or Nymeria.
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364  November 2009 Jewelry and Trinkets Featured Member~ CohesiveChaos! in Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions by MareMare on: November 05, 2009 04:34:25 PM
The next Jewelry and Trinkets member to be featured is ~ CohesiveChaos! She has been a member of Craftster since January of 2007, and is a frequent poster on the various Jewelry and Trinket boards. You can find her all over Crafster though, from quilting and sewing to fiber and crochet! I was actually familiar with her fabulous work as a quilter and didnt realize that she made jewelry!

These are a few of my personal favorite projects of hers:

Gnarly Pink Tree of Life

Chainmaille and Glass Bracelets

A few multi media pieces

Necklace Inspired by Lifesavers

My very first handspun

A teeny tiny purse

Heres what CohesiveChaos has to say about herself:

Im April or CohesiveChaos, a 32 year old mother of 2 and have been married to the love of my life for almost 13 years.  I was very fortunate to be raised in a family of insanely talented and industriously artistic individuals who have always been encouraging and amazing in their desire to teach and share their work.  For me, creating has always been a passion, not something that I am driven to do, but something that drives me.  There is nothing more rewarding in my eyes than to bring something to life from raw materials. Creating is a state of being, and I am constantly creating something.  I go stir crazy if I dont have something constructive for my hands to do.  I remember as a little girl my grandma would say that idle hands are the devils playground, and I think it has stuck with me throughout my life because my hands are always busy.  If I were to post every project I have lying around finished, I would never have any time to create more lol.  I guess you could say Im in it for the experience more than any other reward/purpose.

My User name here on Craftster is exactly what it means organized disarray Which I think is the perfect way to describe any sort of art (or even just life in general).  I have been creating something for as long as I can remember.  

Q: Why (and when) did you begin making Jewelry?

A:  I first started making jewelry when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, remember friendship bracelets? I made them for all my friends, my mom taught me how to do all the cool designs in them with the different knots, chevron, adding beads, how to put names in them, it was my consuming force.  I think I probably made 100 of them in the first few months and it didnt take very long before I wanted to know how to make every imaginable type of jewelry I could though at 9 years old; I didnt have the budget for it that I do now.  

Q: What are your favorite materials to work with? Favorite tools?

A:  I adore working with resin and with clay.  Both offer such great potential for personal interpretation, and limitless possibilities in what can be created from them.  And when the two are combined (either to create molds or to incorporate together) the results are astounding.   I also have an innate love for wire and beautiful beads, beads may be my weakness, and living in the Pacific Northwest, so close to some of the most wonderful bead stores in the world, is a dangerous thing, for my wallet at least, lol.  My favorite tools are probably so basic they seem silly toothpicks, my fingers and Popsicle sticks, I can find a million uses for them in everything I do.

Q: Besides lovely pendants, what other kinds of jewelry/trinkets do you make?

A:  I love working with any material I can get my hands on, I enjoy making chainmail pieces, and beaded pieces that incorporate different styles of chain and beads one wouldnt expect to see together.  I love to make earrings, they are great busy work that I can make while I am watching TV with the family, and most recently Ive been experimenting with ways to make interesting pins and brooches.  

Q: How did your first jewelry making project go for you?

A:  Ive been very lucky with my first attempts at most things.  I made my first beaded jewelry when I was about 13, I bought a spool of fine wire and a bag of seed and bugle beads, I made this extremely intricate necklace, it was a choker done in peyote stitch (though at the time I had no idea what it was called, or even that other people did it) and it had waterfall details in the front.  I entered it in the county fair and took home the blue ribbon.  I wish I still had the piece, it probably attributes to my love of waterfall necklaces.  I really had no clue what I was doing, but was determined not to give up until Id made something I felt was impressive, lol.  

Q: Do you have any Craftster Crushes on other jewelry makers on the board? Who are they?

A:  There is so much talent here on Craftster, its hard to pick just a few.  I admire UntamedMenagerie, she makes me wish I had a nicer scroll saw and a steadier hand.  Japaya is also a big crush for me, her outlook on life, and the vibrancy of color in her pieces fascinates me greatly.  Petalmixer for her fabric flowers.

Q: Do you have any favorite techniques?

A:  My favorite technique is to experiment, at least I think we can call it a technique, lol.  I love to combine different techniques, and see what happens.  The experimentation sometimes leads to very unexpected results, and enjoy it most when the unexpected result leads to something that catches me off guard.  

Q: Are there any kinds of jewelry or techniques that you want to learn?

A:  I would love to learn to work with glass (hot and warm).  But I have 1 promise to my husband and that is that I would avoid things that require fire.  Im a leftie and slightly accident prone so he worries Id either catch myself on fire, or burn down the house.  I would also love to learn to work with metal grains and cast rings and pendants, but again, that leads to working with fire so until I convince the husband otherwise, these things will have to wait.

Q: You say youre accident prone; have you had any injuries related to jewelry making?

A:  Yes, I have lol, probably more than I should mention. Most recently, I had to make a jewelry set to wear to a formal event, so I wanted to use these oversized resin rhinestones as dangles, and I had to  grind the tips off of them and drill holes for the bails.  As I was drilling the stones (stupidly holding them in my hands as I did it) I felt my hands were slightly numb and didnt take a break like I should have, and I ended up drilling a hole through my finger with a tiny, tiny drill bit.  I tried to hide it, because I didnt want my husband to know what I had done, and the ball was the next night.  But ended up having to go to the ER for X-rays (I hit the bone and did nerve damage) and they had to catheterize the wound to clean out the resin.  Its amazing the damage such a tiny hole created.  I had to wear bandaids on my hand with a ball gown, but made the best of it by explaining it was a wound from the battle of looking fabulous, lol.

Q: Where do you get inspiration for your projects?

A:  Inspiration can be found everywhere: from the simplest things like the view out the back door, to the vibrancy of a good friends personality or even an outfit you see in a shop window; nothing is off limits.  More often than not, my problem is too much inspiration, I am often overwhelmed by the beauty around me, and I can see the beauty even in things that wouldnt be considered classically beautiful.   I really feel like jewelry should say something about the wearer, as much as it should about the creator.   And much like any piece of art, I think they should say something different to everyone that views them.  I think my best work occurs when I sit down and have nothing in mind other than a desire to make something, and I get to see something come to life that even I didnt expect.  

Q: What other crafts do you do?

A:  I tend to throw my hands into every crafting pool that I can afford to dip my feet in.  My Grandma taught me to sew from a very young age, and clothing design and fashion are probably my strongest suit in crafting, though I dont show much of what I do in that world.  I sculpt, paint, draw, etch glass, quilt, knit, crochet, spin, needle felt, and most recently screen printing.  

Q: What is your favorite J &T project on Craftster that you posted?

A:  Because I think everyone has experienced the pain of having a broken heart, and as we heal, the scars dont make us less perfect, they just add some wabi-sabi (or the perfection of imperfection).  Its our experiences that make us who we are, and we would all do better if we learned to embrace that.

Resin Pendants

Q: What is your favorite J&T project on Craftster that someone else has posted?  

A:  This is by far and away one of the coolest projects Ive ever seen, and the best use of available materials.  Too fascinating for words! Though I could say the same about any of her jewelry projects, I truly admire this piece.

Lets Recycle by Japaya

Q: What is your favorite non-J&T project on Craftster that you have posted?  

A: I love my little Octopus lamp.  I really had no goal when I started this other than to make something, and watching this piece come to life in front of my eyes absolutely fascinated me from start to finish, he isnt perfect but he is a masterpiece in my eyes.

Tiny Octopus Lamp

Q: What is your favorite non-J&T project on Craftster that someone else has posted?  

A:  This corset is absolutely stunning: a beautiful balance of mixed materials and techniques and finishing styles.  I love that it encompasses everything beautiful about nature, including the flaws.  Ive been enamored by it from the day it was posted.

Bird Tree Corset by Smicksy

Q: If you could offer any advice to beginning Jewelry Craftsters out there, what would that be?

A:  Advice is my favorite thing! I have a few things Id say:
Keep at it.  Even if youre not perfect the first go around, anything worth doing gets better with practice, and has a learning curve.
Experiment, part of the fun of anything is the ability to make it your own.  And the only way to learn new things is to go for it and try them out.  There is no such thing as failure, only learning experiences.
Take notes, if youre not good with memory, keep notes in a binder or spiral, it doesnt have to be fancy, but it can be difficult to remember what worked and what didnt, so keeping notes as you work is the best way to ensure that you will get consistent results. And having notes will keep you from repeating an experiment that didnt work the first time (and will give you a road map for figuring out what might work the 2nd or 3rd).  

Q:  What is your proudest accomplishment with your jewelry making?

A: Aside from being featured here?  Honestly, I guess it would be actually finishing my book on Resin.  Albeit, the publisher went under a short bit before it was done, I still stuck with it and finished it.  I typically dont have the concentration or attention span to stop for photos as I work on anything, so it was a real learning experience for me, and really taught me a lot about not only the processes I follow, but the reasons that I create things.  

Thank you so much April, for answering my questions and sharing about yourself with the Crafster community. And thanks for all the wonderful projects you post!

If you have a Jewelry/Trinket member you would like to learn more about, please shoot me a pm with your nomination.
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365  Homemade Robin in Halloween Costumes by MareMare on: November 02, 2009 10:00:35 PM
My nephews really really wanted to be Batman and Robin this year. They found a Batman costume pretty easily, but a Robin costume that fit the 4 year old was nowhere to be found. Enter me.

I was mostly concerned with keeping the little booger warm, so everything is fleece--pants, vest, and cape. (and belt). The shirt was a store bought turtleneck, add in a facemask, some arm shields and some accessories for his belt, and he was a happy little guy. And I spent $9 total!

Here's the $20 inspiration...I didn't do too badly, right?   Grin

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366  Re: Book Club and Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MareMare on: November 02, 2009 09:43:10 PM
I added some more picsof the quilt to my above post so you all could see some close-ups. I was too excited before to get it posted to take enough pics!

I actually got my other package today too! I received from luckdragon today! We were in the short story group, and she managed to tie every item into the book. Very tricky lady lol!   Cool

The short stories were set in Canada in...wow I'm bad with years...the 1920s to 1940's...ish? Someone correct me, I'm sure that's not accurate.

She made me an awesome knit drop stitch (is that the name?) scarf in colors I love! I had something similar on my wist! Resting on top of it is a great clutch. I am obsessed with clutches and this one is super cute, with a rose on it and pretty lining!

And, and! A journal with a Canadian map on it and a moose! I can never have enough journals. never. AND! an amazing check book cover in fabric that I love, with a pen holder on the outside! I've wanted a pretty checkbook holder for so long and I love it!

And, to top it off with, some great knitting books! There are some great projects in here!

Thank you so much hon!
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367  Re: Book Club and Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MareMare on: November 02, 2009 03:39:33 PM
So cute! I love the embroidery, those old drawings are great!

Ok, get ready to have your minds blown! I got totally spoiled by Feast Your Eyes, my partner in the sci-fi group! I need to make a couple extra things for her box before I send it out, she obviously spent so much time and effor on this, and I freakin' love it!

I present~ an awesome mini quilt! I am definitely going to hang it, although I thought it might make a good table runner too! Our book was set in the future, about a "historian" who went back in time to study the time about forty years before the Black Death. But she was accidentally sent to the time of the plague, and the story bounces back and forth between the people trying to get her back to her present time, and her story during the plague. Both time periods are around Christmas, and this scene (I believe) is about when they go to Mass on Christmas Eve (in plague-time). I'll try to get a better pic when I get it hung up in my craft room!

She also sent another book by the same author that I have been wanting to read, and an awesome bracelet! It is gorgeous and has bell,  clock, and  saint(?) dangles. Plus a bookmark with a book quote, and a cute little pouch that the bracelet came in.

Thanks so much hon! I love it, and I have to say, you did a much better job of crafting according to the book than I did!
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368  Buried Skulls! in Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects by MareMare on: October 30, 2009 10:44:07 PM
Ok, they're embedded, but buried sounds spookier, right? I had to scoop up some of the skull molds that have been ever so popular around here lately!  I only buy ultra clear mp, so when I want opaque I just add some titanium dioxide. I may have added a little too much, but it created a cool, almost silvery/sparkly look, so let's just pretend I did that on purpose, kay?

For this one I channeled my toy ducks embedded in blue water. White skulls in red....something...is similar, right? I wish I had a dark enough red to look more blood-like, but I think it turned out ok. I love the lil spooky skull sticking out the top!

I usually embed with plastic toys, so didn't take too many precautions with embedding soap in soap. Oops. Next time I think I'll freeze my embed first and pour the rest at the lowest possible temp...I give you~ Partially melted buried skull!

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369  Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting in Dessert by MareMare on: October 30, 2009 10:34:58 PM
These are soooo yummy, and I'm the kind of girl who usually doesn't even bother with a dessert unless it contains chocolate. So the fact that I like these actually says something lol! And I usually don't care for icing/frosting very much, but this rocks!

Here is the recipe!

The changes I made include subbing 3 Tbs. of pumpkin pie spice for her spices, and I just used a whole can of pumpkin instead of measuring 3 cups....so I think I did closer to 4. Oops. Turned out fine! I didn't bother with piping the cookie batter or the frosting, my family is the type to wolf cookies down without really looking at it, so it would just be wasted effort on my part! Also mine were probably bigger than they should have been, so I didn't turn them into sandwiches...I'm sure you get more frosting this way!   Grin  And I added about a cup of finely chopped walnuts, I have to have crunchy texture.

FYI: this recipe makes a ton of cookies, but they don't spread out very much so you can put them really close together on the cookie sheet!

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370  Baby it's cold outside...winter dinner in Recipes and Cooking Tips by MareMare on: October 27, 2009 10:27:28 PM
I could not get warmed up today for anything! So I decided on creamy warm risotto. Yum. After a quick trip to Trader Joe's for some white wine (why, thank you three buck Chuck!), mushrooms, and canned crab, I was good to go.

My mom thought we should make crab cakes instead of putting the crab into the risotto, and since I freakin love crab cakes I was thrilled. I roasted some acorn squash with garlic and parsley. The risotto I started with 2 slices of diced bacon and has a bit of veggie mix leftover from last night's dinner (green onion, broccoli, button mushrooms) and I added cremini mushrooms, walla walla onions, and spinach. I used Sauvignon Blanc and chicken broth to make it and parmesan to finish it.

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