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241  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Elder Wand Pendants on: June 08, 2011 03:49:16 PM
I've got Harry Potter on the brain.  I can't help it.  It's a chronic condition.  Doctors are holding out very little hope for a recovery. 

In the mean time, I've been making pendants in preparation for the upcoming release of Deathly Hallows Part II.

Gryffindor


Ravenclaw


Hufflepuff


Slytherin


And a close up:


I hope some of you are as anxious as I am!
242  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Deathly Hallows Bracelet for Krafty_Karasu on: June 07, 2011 08:08:17 AM
Fellow Craftster Krafty_Karasu recently asked me to create a Harry Potter charm bracelet for her.  Unlike my usual House themed ones, she asked for one designed specifically around the events that take place in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  I have to say I was so very very excited to make this one.  It really sparked my imagination in a way that hasn't been happening as much recently, and it felt really nice to just let loose and create.  It did take a few weeks to order some of the ones I didn't have on hand, and it took even longer for me to get the resin-cast charms right, but all in all, I'm thrilled with how it turned out.

The beads are a mix of glass, foil lined glass, freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals in shades of scarlet, gold and black.  The color scheme for me actually represents the warm tones used on the cover of the US edition of the novel, and the black helped create a feeling of seriousness that I think is missing in my strictly red & gold Gryffindor bracelets.  I managed to get 19 charms on there!  The include:
Mad Eye's glass eye, the Tales of Beadle the Bard, the Sorting Hat, the spade Harry used to dig Dobby's grave, Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, vial of Snape's memories (resin filled glass bottle), the Silver Doe that led Harry to the Sword of Gryffindor, Nagini, the Elder Wand, the Deathly Hallows symbol, made from a silver bezel filled with resin, lighting bolt for Harry, a phoenix for the Order of the Phoenix who fought at the Battle of Hogwarts, Hogwarts Castle, Slytherin's locket, a thestral, a broom, the dragon the Trio released from Gringotts, vial of Polyjuice Potion used to create the 7 Potters (resin filled glass vial), the Snitch from Harry's first Quidditch match, which opened to reveal the Resurrection Stone

Now I just have to cross my fingers and hope it arrives safely, and that Krafty likes it as much as I do!


UPDATE 6/12/11: After making Krafty's bracelet, I couldn't quite stop...  So here is version 2.0.

The beads are a mix of Druk glass, fire polished Czech glass, and Swarovski crystal beads, river shell bead frames, and freshwater pearls.  Charms include: Harry's rucksack, Deathly Hallows symbol, (handmade charm - image sealed in resin), Hufflepuff's Cup, the Tent that Harry, Ron & Hermione camp in while on the run, Vial of Snape's Memories (handmade charm - resin sealed in a glass bottle)

gate from the cemetery at Godric's Hollow, Tales of Beadle the Bard, Nagini, the Silver Doe, the Elder Wand, a crystal from the chandelier at Malfoy Manor, dragon released from Gringotts, lightning bolt

spade that Harry used to dig Dobby's grave, Slytherin's locket, Diadem of Ravenclaw, Moody's magic eye, Hogwart's Castle, Golden Snitch from Harry's first quidditch match, the Sorting Hat
243  COOKING / Dessert / Butterbeer Fudge - 3 Variations & Printable Recipe Cards on: June 04, 2011 02:59:13 PM
Ever since I saw a listing for Butterbeer Fudge on Etsy, I knew I had to try making some myself.  In an effort to "get it right the first time", I decided to do several different variations all at once, then have friends taste test them all and report back on the findings.  Below is each of the recipes, and some opinions on flavors.  

Meanwhile....  I also thought it would be a great opportunity to try out Craftster's awesome new attachments feature.  So, at the end of this post you will also find a PDF of pretty printable recipe cards for each of the three variations.



Batch #1
Prof. Pinkleo's Butterbeeriest Fudge

Ingredients
1-3/4 cups sugar
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1  cups butterscotch Chips
cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
 teaspoon vanilla nut & butter extract
teaspoon rum extract

Directions
1. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan.

2. Combine sugar, marshmallow creme, evaporated milk and butter in heavy 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to full boil; boil and stir 5 minutes.

3. Remove from heat; gradually add the butterscotch and white chocolate chips, cup at a time, stirring until the chips are completely melted. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan; cool.

4. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours. Remove from pan; place on cutting board. Peel off foil. Cut into squares. Store tightly covered in refrigerator. About 5 dozen pieces or about 2-1/4 pounds candy.

Verdict: This fudge has the most intense butterscotch flavor, and is definitely the softest of the 3 batches.  I personally found the butterscotch flavor a bit too strong when I first tried the fudge.  (I've always pictured Butterbeer as being essentially an ale, with a butterscotch note to it, rather than reminiscent of sundae topping syrup.)  After sitting in the fridge for a few days however, I found the flavor had mellowed considerably.  This was the hands down favorite amongst Pinkleo and her kiddos, and has therefore been named in her honor.  Also important to note that this one melted the most in transit.  So if you are planning on shipping some to a friend, I recommend using one of the next two recipes.


Batch #2
Jennie's Favorite Butterbeer Fudge

Ingredients
1-3/4 cups sugar
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch Chips
1 cup chopped macadamia suts
teaspoon vanilla nut butter extract
teaspoon rum extract

Directions
1. Line 8-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan.

2. Combine sugar, marshmallow creme, evaporated milk and butter in heavy 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil; boil and stir 5 minutes.

3. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in white chocolate and butterscotch chips, cup at a time, stirring until the chips are completely melted.  Stir in the macadamia nuts. Stir in the vanilla nut butter and rum extracts. Pour into prepared pan; cool until set.

4. Remove from pan; place on cutting board. Peel off foil. Cut into squares. Store tightly covered in cool, dry place. About 5 dozen pieces or 2-1/4 pounds candy.

Verdict: This is my personal favorite of the three recipes, as well as Ex_Gratia and her family's.  It has a milder butterscotch flavor than batch one, due to the inclusion of a higher ratio of white chocolate chips.  It is sweet and mild, with a vanilla-nut-butter topnote, and a butterscotch finish.  This is also a firmer fudge, which feels almost "al dente" when you bite into it.  The macadamia nuts are definitely great in this.  Their mild flavor doesn't compete with the butterscotch the same way the walnuts did in batch #1, but their crunch is lovely.  It held it's shape better in shipping than batch #1, but if you are thinking of mailing it, I'd either wait till cooler weather or go for batch #3.


Batch #3
Gratia's Grownup Butterbeer Fudge

Ingredients
Fudge
1 cup Butterscotch Chips
1 cup  White Chocolate Chips
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1 cup chopped walnuts
teaspoon vanilla nut butter extract
tsp rum extract
Topping
1 cup White Chocolate Chips
⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk
tsp vanilla nut butter extract

Directions
1. Line 8-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan.

2. Melt white chocolate and butterscotch chips with sweetened condensed milk in medium saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth.  (If doing this with children, you can also do this step in the microwave.  Set it to medium and start with a 30 second heating.  Then do 10 or 15 second bursts, stopping to stir each time.)

3. Remove from heat. Stir in walnuts, as well as vanilla nut butter & rum extracts. Spread into prepared pan.

4. Meanwhile, place 1 cup white chocolate chips and ⅓ cup condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on MEDIUM for 30 seconds, stir.  Continue microwaving at 10 second intervals, stirring between each, until chips are completely melted. Stir in vanilla nut butter extract.

5. Pour mixture over fudge, in light ribbons, trying to spread it out as evenly as possible.  You want a thin and even top layer that covers the whole pan.

6. Cover; refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Use foil to lift fudge out of pan; peel off foil. Cut fudge into squares. About 3 dozen pieces or 1-1/2 pounds fudge.

Verdict: This batch is the firmest of the three, and held it's shape in shipment surprisingly well. The top layer of white chocolate looks like the foamy head on the top of a glass of freshly poured butterbeer, which is a definite plus.  It also has the added benefit of being able to be made totally in the microwave, and therefore safer for kids & teens to make on their own.  The cute top layer however made this batch a little to heavily vanilla for me.  If I were to repeat this recipe, I would probably tweak it so as to add more butterscotch chips and less vanilla in the main portion of the fudge (maybe 1 1/2 cups butterscotch & 1/2 cup white chocolate) so that the vanilla on top would be more of a contrast.  That however, would probably also make the fudge itself softer, and more melty when shipping.  

Finally a note about the name:  Good friend, former student, and swap co-organizer Ex_Gratia has just graduated and gotten her first full-time professional job working at Louisville Ballet!  Since the top layer of the fudge made it resemble a real beer, I thought it appropriate to name it after my now "grownup" friend.

NOTE: For best results, do not double ANY of these recipes.

Remember, click below to download all three recipes on beautiful 4'x6" recipe cards!
244  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Everyday Inspiration Bracelet on: June 03, 2011 08:36:15 AM
While making several Doctor's Companion Bracelets lately, I've been ordering and using a great many of these Muse Tokens, by Tim Holtz.  All the tokens are lovely, but I've only been using the "Wonderful" tokens in my companion charm bracelets.  Problem is that each package only contains one of the "Wonderful" tokens that I need, leaving me with 11 other tokens to find uses for.  The other tokens included in the mix are Significant, Thoughts, Moments, Unique, Excellence, Courageous, Genuine, Knowledge, Lifetime, Forevermore, and Journey.  For the past few weeks I've been trying to find ways to use them up.  (See the Doctor Who, Gryffindor & Ravenclaw results here.)

Finally, I decided that I needed a way to use up several of the remaining tokens at once.  I liked the idea of doing something that mixed up the metallics, instead of sticking to one color.  Out of all the tokens, the ones I had been able to come up with the least uses for were the antiqued copper Significant, Thoughts, Moments, and Unique, and the antique bronze Excellence and Genuine. This bracelet was an attempt to get as many of them together as possible, and is based on the idea that all of us need a little extra inspiration sometimes.



Aside from the Muse tokens, the bracelet also features a silver feather, a copper quatrefoil, an antique brass angel, a gunmetal scrolly bit, a coppery flower, and a brass key, all mixed in with chunky deep purple Czech glass beads.  Now I just have about 6 more copies of each of those copper tokens to come up with uses for...
245  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Doctor Who, Ravenclaw & Grffindor Bracelet & Earring Sets on: June 03, 2011 08:27:12 AM
While making several Doctor's Companion Bracelets lately, I've been ordering and using a great many of these Muse Tokens, by Tim Holtz.  All the tokens are lovely, but I've only been using the "Wonderful" tokens in my companion charm bracelets.  Problem is that each package only contains one of the "Wonderful" tokens that I need, leaving me with 11 other tokens to find uses for.  The other tokens included in the mix are Significant, Thoughts, Moments, Unique, Excellence, Courageous, Genuine, Knowledge, Lifetime, Forevermore, and Journey.  

Earlier this week, I created some more Doctor Who related sets with them.  Using the Journey token and some TARDIS blue beads I made these two sets of Journey Bracelets & I Love the Doctor Earrings.  The first is made of opaque blue glass, and the second is blueberry quartz.



Blueberry Quartz


Last night I continued on that same theme, but focused on some Harry Potter goodies.  I created a Gryffindor themed Courageous Bracelet and Brave at Heart Earrings set out of deep red glass and amber fire-polished Czech glass beads.  The earrings are made from red glass hearts and Swarovski crystal bicones.  


While I was at it, I did a Ravenclaw themed set too.  Knowledge Bracelet and Wise Owl Earrings.  And yes, I know the colors of Ravenclaw house are blue and bronze in the book, but as I had silver Knowledge tokens to use up, I went with the movie color scheme of blue and silver instead.  And they really do look rather pretty together, if I do say so myself.
246  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Woodland Friends Charm Bracelet on: May 08, 2011 03:00:42 PM
I've been on a charm bracelet making kick again.  This one I had been meaning to make for a while, but hadn't gotten around to until recently.  I wanted it to evoke a quiet walk in the woods on a sunny afternoon.  The leaves are a beautiful frosted glass in shades of brown and green.  The beads are a mixture of cut glass , Czech glass, and seed beads in emerald, chocolate, and smoky topaz.



Charms include:
4 tiny acorns
maple leaf
fox
pine cone



stag
mushroom
owl
tree



squirrel
strawberry
doe
large acorn
bunny
pear leaf



And the whole thing is finished with a flower and leaf toggle clasp.



Enjoy!

247  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Hermoine's Gryffindor Charm Bracelet on: May 08, 2011 02:49:02 PM
I've been making lots of loaded charm bracelets for a while now, and a great many of them have been inspired by my love of Harry Potter.  Oddly though, I've made a few Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin bracelets for various people, and I never managed to get around to making a Gryffindor one!  

This bracelet was inspired by the character of Hermoine Granger, one of my favorite characters in the series.  She exemplifies so many of the qualities of Gryffindor House. Courage in the face of danger, unwavering loyalty to her friends, and the willingness taking a stand for what is right, no matter what others think, and no matter the cost.

The charms include:
~a red glass evil eye, for protection from evil
~a goblet for the Goblet of Fire
~a unicorn from the Forbidden Forest



~the golden snitch from Harry's first Quidditch match
~a stag, for her friend Harry's Patronus, which saves them in Prisoner of Azkaban
~Hogwart's castle
~Hedwig
~a lightning bolt for her friend Harry



~a lion for Gryffindor House
~a wand from Ollivander's
~Fawkes, symbol of the Order of the Phoenix
~a shining star
~the Silver Doe which led them to the Sword of Gryffindor
~a quill & inkwell for taking copious notes in class



~a Hungarian Horntail Dragon
~a Celtic hearts, for only through a stout heart and true friendship can we overcome evil
~a potion bottle for Hermoine's adeptness at brewing Polyjuice Potion





248  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Resin Bottle Cap Pendants - Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Skull, Heart on: May 08, 2011 02:37:31 PM
I made a ton of resin filled bottle caps a while back, and then promptly forgot to do anything else with them.   Roll Eyes  So I pulled some of them back out this weekend to turn into necklaces.  I think they came out pretty cute.  I am going to have to make more of them soon....

Gryffindor


Hufflepuff


Slytherin


Skull


Anatomical Heart


Enjoy!
249  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Decked Out for Deathly Hallows Part II (Signups CLOSED; Sendouts 7/1) on: May 05, 2011 11:06:09 AM
GALLERY!

~*Decked Out for Deathly Hallows Part II*~

Swap name: Decked Out for Deathly Hallows Part II
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: jennieingram
Co-organizers: Ex_Gratia & pinkleo
Sign-up date range: May 5th-May 15th, 2011
Date to send item by: July 1st, 2011

Limited to a certain number of people?: NO
Restricted to people who all live in the same country? NO
Additional Age requirement? NO

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: YES
- 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 the Swap:

Many of us are eagerly awaiting the release of Part 2 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Sometimes it seems that July 15th will never get here.  Well never fear my crafty friends because this swap will help you get through the waiting period!  Unlike a normal Harry Potter swap, this swap is designed specifically to prepare your partner to go see the film (theoretically on opening night, if they so desire).  This does NOT mean that craft items have to be based on the movie.  The goal is to create items that your partner can enjoy AT the film, and while waiting for hours in line.

Each participant will be crafting 3 items:

1 wearable item (like a tee, House tie or scarf, piece of jewelry, etc.)
1 accessory, toy, or game (like a wand, a stuffie/doll, or game of Exploding Snap!)
1 edible snack or treat***  (Can be sweet, savory, salty, or even "swalty"!)
           ***For notes on the snack/treat component, see below.

Package will include 1 Large, 1 Medium, and 1 Small item.  (Or if you prefer the points counting system, one 3 point item, one 2 point item, and one 1 point item.  For more info on size guidelines, see HERE)   You may choose which category items to create for which size.  For example:
You could make a "Large" stenciled hoodie, a "Medium" wooden wand, and a "Small" jar of Lemon Drops from Honeyduke's.  
OR
You could make a "Large" Skiving Snackbox full of tons of different types of homemade candy treats, a "Medium" crocheted toy Pygmy Puff, and a "Small" house themed bracelet.

These choices are left up to you, but make sure you take into account your partners interests and information from their questionnaire when deciding what to craft.  If they are going to the movie alone, a giant box of candy might be too much, while if they were going with a large group, it might be more appropriate.  Please be sure to check the original interest thread for a large list of links to HP themed craft projects: Decked Out for Deathly Hallows Part II Interest Thread, including inspirational crafts!  And while you're at it, you can check out the GALLERY from Round 1!

This swap has a long crafting period, nearly 7 weeks.  Please make sure you keep in touch during that time, both with your partner and your organizer.  Check in on the thread at least once a week, and if you plan to go out of town for a while, please let your partner and organizer know, so we dont worry about you!   Smiley  This swap is expected to be very large, and we have 3 organizers.  You will be assigned to a specific organizers House, and you should send all your communication to THAT person.  When you send, and when you receive you must PM your specific organizer and your partner to tell them so.  Please make the subject line of your PM; Decked Out for Deathly Hallows: Sent, or  Decked Out for Deathly Hallows: Received to help us stay organized.

Please note that all official Craftster Swap rules will be observed in this swap.  New swappers (and even old swappers) should be sure to review the Swap Info Guide as well as Swap FAQs, and the Information and Tips for Swappers pages.   If you do not see an answer to your question, you are also ALWAYS welcome to talk to any of your organizers via PM.  

This swap is designed around an event with fixed time frame. The film opens on July 15th (or the 14th at midnight), and many, if not most of the people in this swap plan to attend that day.  If you send your package late, you risk your partner not receiving it in time to enjoy at the film. Please weigh that, against the size requirements, and your own time commitments when deciding whether or not to join this swap.

***Notes on the Snack/Treat Requirement: Including a snack or treat is an intrinsic part of this swap and is not up to negotiation, HOWEVER... If you fear your kitchen-spells are not on par with Mrs. Weasley's, you can send store bought snacks provided they have a crafty component.  A "crafty component" could be to decorate a pretty jar to put "Lemon Drops from Honeyduke's" in.  Be sure to note in your questionnaire that you are not a great cook, and I'll partner accordingly.

If you have special dietary concerns, be sure to mention them in your questionnaire, AND be sure to mention some good alternative snacks for your partner.  For example, perhaps you can't have sugar, but pretzels or a tin of fancy tea are good alternative for you.  If you are a GREAT cook, and want to make lots of homemade snacks, note that too, and I will attempt to find you a partner who has lots of friends to feed!  Finally, remember that the goal in crafting & swapping is to BE CREATIVE.  If you're having trouble with this component, try to think outside the box.  Ask questions in the thread, PM your partner or organizer, go through the Round 1 Gallery, and most importantly BE CREATIVE!


If you want to participate, information to send to organizer:
QUESTIONNAIRE TO ANSWER:
Name of swap: Decked Out for Deathly Hallows Part II
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 16 years old or, if not, that you have moderator approval(YES/NO)

Please confirm that you understand that DC#s are required on all packages sent within the US, and that a picture or scan of a mailing receipt are required for shipments outside the US. (YES/NO)

What is your favorite Harry Potter book?
Your favorite movie so far?
Favorite character?
Favorite quote?
What house do you belong to/support?
What class would you be most interested in taking at Hogwarts?

Do you have a favorite magical item or motif from the books? (The Marauder's Map, Monster Book of Monsters, Golden Snitch, etc?)
Do you have a favorite Weasley's Wizard Wheezes product?
Do you have a favorite spell/charm/curse?
Favorite magical creature?

Do you enjoy the Potter Puppet Pals?
Do you enjoy A Very Potter Musical?

Do you usually go to the movies dressed up?
Are you planning to go to the movie as a specific character, or general Potter-ish attire?
What is your tee shirt size?

What (if any) wearable items do you already own? (Butterbeer necklaces, House Scarves?)
Is there a wearable something you'd really like to receive, such as a purse, scarf, hat, etc?
Do you wear jewelry?  
If so, what kinds? (earrings, bracelets?  silver, gold?)

What (if any) games, toys, or accessories do you already own?  (Wands, Pygmy Puffs, dolls?)
Is there a game, toy, or accessory that youd especially love to receive?

What are your BEST crafts, or what do you love to make the most?  (Are you an amazing scarf knitter or a master wand maker?)
What is your age (or age range)?  (This is not here as a judgment!  There are HP lovers of all ages and we embrace them all!  But sometimes people request to swap with others close to their age range.)

What are your favorite kinds of snack treats? (Chocolate, candy, salty, crunchy?)
Do you have a favorite or most intriguing type of candy from the books?
What are your LEAST favorite kinds of snack treats?
What are your favorite AND least favorite flavors? (Love pumpkin?  Hate peppermint?)
Do you have any dietary concerns your partner and organizer should know?

Are you planning on going to the film with a small or a large group of people?

Do you have any allergies to fabrics, foods, or animals?
Do you have any pets or other allergens in your home?
Do you or anyone else in your home smoke?

Is there anything else youd like your partner to know?

Finally...
Hallows or Horcruxes?


IF YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE, REMEMBER TO SEND YOUR INFO TO ORGANIZER VIA PRIVATE MESSAGE AND NOT TO REPLY WITH IT HERE.

Also, remember to read the Swap Info Guide to find other rules about participating in a swap.
250  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Completed Projects / Doctor Who TARDIS Tote Bag - Reverse Stencil Mini-Tutorial (Pic Heavy) on: May 02, 2011 08:50:50 AM
I recently Angeled in Round 5 of the Doctor Who Swap.  Since my partner had already waited so long for a package, only to be flaked on, I wanted to make her Angel package as quickly as possible, but with maximum adorability.  I decided to make her a stenciled tote bag with the TARDIS traveling through the Vortex on it.  

But instead of stenciling the TARDIS itself onto the bag in blue paint, I decided to instead get a blue tote bag and stencil & paint AROUND the TARDIS.  Here's a mini-tutorial of how I did it.

Start by finding a stencil shape that you like.  You will want to make sure that it has some details to cut from inside it to give the image some definition, and that it has a clearly defined outline.  I cannot seem to find the source for the exact stencil I used, but if I do, I will add a link here.

Next you will need a sturdy canvas tote.  I found this one at Hobby Lobby for just a few dollars.  They come folded up, so be sure to give it a good press with your iron, and don't be afraid to use some steam.  You really need to flatten out those fold lines or you won't get your stencil to stick as well as you would like.  Also, don't be afraid to iron it a few times, letting it sit for a few moments between pressings.  Wrinkles and fold lines in cotton can be tricky!  If you really can't get them out, then try this trick used by costumers:  Put equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a small spray bottle, and give it a shake.  Spritz onto your problem wrinkles, then iron.  The vinegar helps relax the fibers, allowing them to press flat.  As for the vinegar smell, don't worry.  It will fade and disappear in no time.  Allow the bag to sit a few minutes to cool and dry out from any vinegar and steam.



Figure out where you would like your TARDIS (or any other object you wish to stencil!) to be.  Be sure to remember that when you fill the tote bag with stuff, the bottom will be bulging, so those bottom few inches of fabric will actually be on the bottom of the bag, rather than the sides!



Once you have your placement, go ahead and iron down your stencil.  Make sure to get into all the tiny corners and edges.  If they are not ironed down securely then you will have color bleeding around your image.



Now we're ready to do our first color of paint.  I chose to start with the windows and the light spilling out from the open door.  Give them a coat of white fabric paint.  If you don't have fabric paint, you can use craft paint, mixed with Fabric Medium.  (Which is found near craft paint in your local craft store.  Mix according to package directions.)  Depending on how dark your base fabric is, you may need to give lighter colors of paint more than one coat for good coverage.



Second color of paint!  Instead of a stark black, I chose to go with a very dark purple-black for the recessed areas of the TARDIS, as well as the Police Box sign.  With darker colors you generally only need one or two coats of paint for nice even coverage.



Now, while you've got the dark purple paint out, let's start the shadowy parts of the Vortex.  Use a piece of natural sea sponge to get irregular and organic shapes.  You may need to test this out a few times, and blot some of the excess paint off of your sponge before moving onto the fabric.  I recommend testing it on some brown paper.  I went with concentric circles of color, to show the twisting and turning of the Vortex, and left some space blank.



During all of this, be sure to be careful not to drip paint onto the white areas of your stencil!

Next, it's time to add some highlight to the Vortex.  I mixed up a light blue paint, and again added concentric rings, filling in the space I left last time.I went light on this coat, so that I could add in some metallic paint in the next step.



To give the tote more dimension and depth, I added a layer of metallic silver.  Instead of using a metallic paint however, I used the same light blue highlight paint, and added in Jacquard PearlEx Metallic Powder.  Go lightly over the highlighted areas, and blend some gently into the darker shadowy areas as well.  You want the colors to be layered and blended, not sitting in neat rows beside one another.



After a first light coat of silver paint, give it a few minutes to dry.  When the shine of the wet paint begins to dry, you will be able to see just how much of your metallic pigment is visible.  After letting it dry for a little while, be sure to turn the project, as the silver can look more or less heavy depending on how it catches the light.  If necessary, add another coat of metallic pigments.  Remember, you can always do a second coat, but you can't take off a coat that was too heavily applied.



Check pack once you think you are done, and note any areas that might need touching up.  Once you are happy with your paint job, go ahead and let it dry completely.  After it is dry you can peel back the stencil.  It will likely rip into pieces, and this is normal.  You will not be able to re-use the freezer paper stencil.



Now, stand back and admire your new tote bag!
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