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21  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Round Blue House Winter Shrine on: March 05, 2016 06:13:18 AM
One tiny winter thing swaps are fun. Honoring winter and all it's beautiful glory is so much better than actually scooping snow!

Inspired by a picture my partner pinned on Pinterest, I put together this little shrine. The northern lights hang over a little round blue house, tucked in next to a hot spring. Everything came from my stash...except the dowel used for the house. I had to purchase that...just to cut a bit off the end. Anyone need some 3/4" dowel?

The snow was the tricky part, I was afraid to ruin the whole thing. I found a recipe for corn starch and white glue that worked out very well. You just mix white glue into corn starch a bit at a time until you get the consistency you want. It's easy to add more of one or the other to control it. Add a bit of sparkle if you want.

Thank you Wulf for some great pics I borrowed below:

22  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Strong Women: Typography wall art on: March 04, 2016 09:46:53 AM
In a recent typography swap, we had to play with type/words/fonts....all fun stuff. I knew the quote I wanted to use, but struggled with the execution, untill a lucky find at the craft store of 8 x 10 canvases (on sale and cheap).

I planned it all out in Illustrator, layout, possible fonts, etc. and ended up with two canvases to handle the whole quote. I used paint, machine stitching on paper, paper, scrabble tiles, punch out letters...anything I could find in my stash. And lots of layers of gloss medium or mod podge.

The background was painted a tan color, I then glued torn pictures of women, added swipes of bright paint, added more browns over, stamped over that, etc. I designed the drumming and dancing women years ago and they keep showing up in my art! They are stitched on paper, then cut out and glued down. I hand cut some letters out of a background paper, found punch out letters, printed some, painted some, and of course, used a few scrabble tiles. One technique was to letter on tracing paper, then glue down...the paper almost disappears.

Strong Women
May we know them
May we raise them
May we be them
~ Anonymous

23  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Browns and blues for winter warming. Now t on: February 22, 2016 11:43:20 AM
I now work at home and I set up my office in the coldest corner of the house. Well, it was the only possible corner and even though I have a warming panel under my desk, I love a warm lap quilt. I have a store-bought one that is getting a little thread bare, so I'm making a new one to warm me up.

I just have the top done and I am so pleased. It's about 32" right now, and there are additional strips hanging on the right that will be on the top and bottom of the center. I'll finish with more brown and blue borders. I used a charm pack called 'Sticks and Stones", stash fabric, and some additional purchased pieces.

But for now, I am just admiring my work. I'm still a novice at quilting and just cannot get my corners to match up consistently. But who cares? Once it is done and wrapped around me, you'll never notice.

It's finished! See page 2 of this topic!

24  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Aye-Ayes defying extinction on: February 13, 2016 05:53:10 PM
The odd looking aye-aye comes from Madagascar and is endangered, due mainly to the belief that they are evil or bringers of bad luck. They are a bit odd looking, coming from the lemur family with long middle fingers and ever-growing teeth to help them dig grubs and insects out of trees.

I made these for a Junker Jane style doll swap. To me, these little guys look like they've grown up on the streets and are a little worse for the wear. The first one took off to a new home....the ungrateful little imp. The second one was a proto-type that I ended up finishing for me. They do kinda grow on you.

25  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Raven, raven, raven, free. Raven won't you see for me. on: February 03, 2016 12:49:44 PM
In the one tiny bird swap, my tiny bird became a rather large bird. I think I am forgiven.

I started with a purchased doll body from Dharma Trading. They are very cheap, wired, but the heads are creepy and formless. I added a raven head, chopped off the feet and wired in new ones. I wrapped the legs wit floss and painted the whole thing with a layer of gesso, sanded her, then two coats of black with a sanding between coats. The gesso and the sanding make a really nice finish.

Her hood, wings and tail are two layers of a cobweb printed netting and black silk scraps, machine stitched and trimmed close to the stitching. Then I tacked it onto her. Her dress is just cut out and embellished. Jewel eyes, a bit of fluff and she is ready to go.

She's too big for the swap...so here she is trying to fit into a less than 5" space.

26  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 111 ENTRIES / KIng Kong was Cookie Monster's Great Great Grandpa on: January 10, 2016 10:12:36 AM
Yes, this is a little known fact, "KIng Kong was Cookie Monster's Great Great Grandpa". He wasn't going for the girl, she just got in the way...or he hoped she could bake. I made this for the holidays, and the kids loved it. It didn't last very long, we had to do a contest for who got to eat the plane and the King himself. So these are the best pics I got. BTW, it was very warm here in Connecticut on Christmas day, looked and felt more like early October.

So here he is, eating his way up the Empire State Building, which is sticking out of the clouds.

27  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Glow in the Dark Moon Jellyfish - pic heavy on: January 09, 2016 06:06:46 PM
Last fall we took a family cruise in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. One morning we woke to what at first we thought was rain, but was really thousands of moon jellyfish feeding in this lovely harbor we were moored in. Big ones, little ones, all just floating serenely in the cold water. End of September the sea is probably 40-45 degrees....brrr.
It was simply fascinating.

So in the Dec. Dotee swap, I made my partner (she loves the sea) a moon jellyfish.

Layers of tissue paper over a frame of white florist wire shaped around a plastic bag covered styrofoam ball, some glow in the dark yarn, and lots of mod podge. A bit of fine glitter found it's way in from a Christmas ornament that would not stop shedding. The trailing stingers are ribbon and more glow yarn. I formed the plastic yarn by winding around knitting needles and heating with a heat gun. After cooling, it stayed cool. Same for the little loops on the top.

Very pretty hanging in a window.

28  Category Challenges / Cooking: Challenge Entries / No Fail Fudge - No Holiday Can Happen Without It! on: January 08, 2016 08:34:15 AM

My mom used to make this, straight from the recipe, but I've changed, mangled and modified over the years to my taste. It's addictive and my go to (along with Christmas Crack) for food gifts, party offerings and just plain ruining people's diets.

No Fail Five Minute Fudge
Note: Adjust the ratio of semi-sweet to dark chocolate chips to your taste. I like 1c. dark to 1/2 cup semi-sweet. Just make sure you have 1 ½ c. chips. You can also make this with Nestles semi-sweet chips…but why would you?

2 tbsp. butter (leave out if you want a harder fudge)
2/3 c. undiluted condensed milk (small can)
1 c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
Dash Cayenne Pepper

Heat to boiling over med to low heat. Cook for 5 min. stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add:

2 c. small marshmallows
¾ c. Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
¾ c. Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1 t. vanilla (don't forget this or it will taste like chocolate chips)
½ c. chopped pecans or walnuts (opt.)
Coarse salt to sprinkle on top

Stir, stir, stir until all ingredients are melted. Pour into a 9” square buttered pan. Or line the pan with waxed paper only, it's easier to remove from the pan and cut. Sprinkle coarse salt on top. Cool. Cut and eat. Betcha can't eat just one. Pan that is.
29  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Musical Ornament - with Tut on: December 13, 2015 04:10:51 PM
I recently posted music based ornaments here: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=442142.0

Now the tut! These were quite easy and I really am pleased with the results. I've gotten very nice feedback from friends and craftsters.

You can probably make these ornaments from supplies on hand. Using different lace and embellishments will give them a different look. These would make lovely Valentines Day decorations with pink and red lace, 4th of July with red, white and blue bunting rosettes or a wonderful birthday card with someones favorite music or a page from a favorite book.

You will need:
- Sheet music, or scanned and printed copies - copy paper is fine. You could also use old novels, old advertisements, dictionary pages, old newspaper, or hand write a love letter. The music I used was very fragile, very old, so I scanned and printed copies.
- Decorative paper, wrapping paper, or make them with music on both sides. (If the paper is thin, add an additional sheet of copy paper between the layers.)
- Glue - I used spray glue and tacky glue
- Paper cutter or exacto knife
- Scissors
- Hole punch
- Embroidery floss, ribbon, or string
- Lace
- Embellishments buttons, medallions, beads, cut paper circles, painted bottle caps.

The ornaments are 4 inches in diameter. You can make any size, just  make sure that the paper strip is 2 times longer than the widthif you dont, it wont make a complete circle. trust me, I tested it, you can skimp by about inch,  but not much more.
Cut the sheet music to 4 x 8. I like the music running horizontally along the longer edge.

Cut a strip of decorative paper the same size. Glue the music to the decorative paper, music on one side, decorative print on the other. I used spray glue to get a good bond. Distress the edges if you like.

Score the paper across the short width at inch intervals. I used a scoring board, but you could fold by hand. Then fold the paper like a paper fan.

Locate the middle of the folded paper and punch holes through the center. Try to punch in the exact center so your ends meet up. Thread floss through the holes and tie securely.

Fan out the paper with each side making a half circle. Run a bead of tacky glue down the edges where they meet and clamp together until dry.

While the glue is drying, take a piece of lace and paint it with slightly diluted gold craft paint. Painting the lace makes it a bit stiffer, but that actually makes the ornament sturdier.  If the lace is not gathered, use about a 14 to 16 piece. If it is already gathered, use about 8.  Let the lace dry.

Once everything is dry, sew the ends of the lace together and gather into a rosette. You can attach to the center of the ornament by sewing through the paper. Then sew a button or other embellishment to the center. Add tacky glue under the lace or button if it seems a bit loose.

Punch a hole in the ornament at the edge where you glued two sides together and thread a length of floss through and tie. Lovely.
30  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Musical holiday ornaments - now with link to tut on: December 12, 2015 02:54:33 PM
I like to send my kids and grandkids ornaments for Christmas. We don't really exchange gifts anymore, I just send fudge, Christmas crack, chex mix, pajamas (family tradition, everyone needs new pjs for Christmas morning!) and an ornament. But the selections this year were just not making me happy. Too commercial or too ordinary. So I made a few. These are for the grownups in the family. And it's been so warm here in Connecticut, it's not even feeling like Christmas.

They are 4" in diameter, Chirstmas music glued to a stiffer patterned backing with 1/2 inch fan folds. I distressed the paper before and after folding. I painted some lace gold, gathered it and added button embellishments. Simple and sweet. See tut here: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=442162.0

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