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1  Re: Crafty But Stupid: YOUR CRAFT RELATED INJURIES HERE! in Stitch And BOTCH by Amazon_warrior on: May 15, 2017 09:58:37 AM
Ha!  This thread just reminded me of the time I almost removed a fingertip with a rotary cutter!  Luckily, other than accidentally having the rotary blade on the quilting ruler, I'd followed all the other "rotary cutting best practices" of having my fingers pointing in the direction of cutting and not right next to the edge, so it was only a tiny sliver of finger I lost.

Half-healed, under mature wraps in case anyone's squeamish:
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2  The Rainbow Sloth - LOTSA pics! in Quilting: Completed Projects by Amazon_warrior on: May 10, 2017 03:45:20 PM
Here's a bit o' background on the mini art quilt I made for dfabbric in MAQ Swap 8.  Smiley

"Bright rainbow colours" and "sloths" were two things that jumped out when I read dfabbric's list of themes.  Who doesn't love a sloth?  Smiley  I looked up a bunch of sloth pictures on Google, found a pose I liked and did a sketch.  I've wanted to try doing a ticker-tape quilt since I saw sheepBlue's versions, so I filled in my sloth doodle with random ticker-tape shapes and then coloured them in like a rainbow:

dfabbric also mentioned an interest in a non-standard quilt shape, so I decided to make the quilt circular.  Initially I was hoping to dye some fabric for the background, but that didn't work out so I used some dark blue fabric with glow-in-the-dark stars on it because I've been itching to use it since I got it!  I scanned my doodle into Inkscape, tidied it up a bit and printed out a template onto card, then used it to cut out the basic sloth shape in Kona Graphite and to mark out the future placement of the branch:

Then I got completely distracted by leaves, lol!  I free-hand drew a bunch of leaf shapes on more card, then used the templates to cut out green leaf shapes and also brightly coloured backing fabrics for reverse applique:

After I'd created the reverse applique leaf markings, I used a couple of layers of interfacing to create a "faux-punto" effect under the coloured areas and the leaf mid-vein, and held it in place by couching green rayon embroidery floss on the top of the leaves:

I clipped the excess interfacing away from the coloured markings, then backed all the leaves with a different green fabric, turned them through, topstitched all the way around to close the gap, and did FMQ veins on each leaf:

Then I went back to the main body of the quilt and started by couching a variegated brown/gold rayon floss as the outline of the branch, then I filled the space with ticker-tape bits in "tree" colours:

(The leaves weren't actually attached until *much* later - I was playing with possible layouts!)

The branch got an extra layer of batting for more faux-punto, too.  Once it was all sewn down and zuzhed up a bit with some viney decorative stitches and more couched floss, I positioned slothy and secured him down with couched glow-in-the-dark embroidery floss and glow-in-the-dark polyester thread, and with his own layer of faux-punto wadding.  That done, I started filling in the sloth shape with a rainbow of scraps:

All the ticker-tape bits were first sewn down by stitching around each shape, then I added texture (and even more security!) by doing FMQ over the surface - a sort of wood-grain effect on the branch and a more "furry" texture on the sloth, matching the thread colour to each area I was quilting:

The face was a little tricky - I really wanted to show the distinctive sloth face markings but I didn't want it to look like a skull!  In the end I relied on more quilting to make it look "fuzzier".  For this, I used more of the glowy polyester thread, which proved to be really nice to quilt with, and it looks really cool in the dark!

Sloth's eyes, nose and claws were done with a slightly metallic-looking brown pleather:

The background was stipple-quilted very minimally with black rayon - mostly I tried to avoid crossing over any of the larger stars.  Then I decided there needed to be even MORE GLOW and covered the leaves with French knots in the glowy embroidery floss.  After some thought, I attached the leaves by sewing part-way up either side of the mid-vein, just enough to hold the leaf on but still allow it to show its shape and be folded back to see details underneath.

The binding is a pretty navy-blue bias binding I picked up 'specially and attached with a decorative leafy vine stitch pre-programmed in my sewing machine:

The hanging sleeve gave me a bit to think about - no corners! No corner pockets! So I made a sort of tube out of more starry fabric that followed the outer edge of the quilt and inserted a couple of very long buttonholes to allow the insertion of a hanging pole:

One of my favourite bits is actually the back - I made sure to match the colours of the top and bottom threads, so... Ghost Sloth is made of rainbows and stars!  Cheesy

This was tons of fun to make and I learned loads.  Thanks for looking!  Smiley
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3  Re: 2017 QuiltAlong in Quilting: Discussion and Questions by Amazon_warrior on: May 08, 2017 04:09:43 AM
I'm still eyeball-deep in making Honey Pot Bee blocks - these are what I have to date:

Closer view of the Starry Sky block:

And now I gotta go sweep up ALL the scraps of paper off my craft-room floor before I can make anything else.   Tongue
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4  Croissant "bread" pudding w/ orange and cardamom in Dessert by Amazon_warrior on: May 07, 2017 02:55:15 PM

This is a yummy thing to make if you've got some croissants that have got a lil tired (or you found them in the Whoops! section at the supermarket!)  The recipe as written doesn't come out too sweet, so it's lighter and more refreshing than might be expected.  It's also fairly flexible because the custard can be made ahead of time if necessary.

4 normal croissants
300 mL double cream, plus enough milk to make up to 1-1/4 pints
5 large eggs
10-12 cardamom pods, slightly crushed (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one orange
1-1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
Orange marmalade (home-made for preference, tends to be less sweet and more orange-y)
Brown sugar (for dusting)
Handful of flaked almonds
Butter for greasing

First, make a custard.  Start by gently heating the milk and cream with the cardamom pods in a heavy saucepan.  Keep an eye on it and stir regularly - no one likes burned milk all over the stove!  Meanwhile, separate the eggs (save the whites for another dish) and beat the yolks in a large bowl with the caster sugar, vanilla extract and orange zest until fluffy, pale and thickened.  When the milk and cream just reaches simmering point, remove from the heat, allow to cool for a couple of minutes and then pour into the egg yolk mixture with plenty of stirring to combine.  Transfer the custard mixture back to the pan and heat gently over a low heat to thicken - it will need frequent stirring to stop it catching on the bottom or curdling.  Once the custard has thickened, strain into a jug and set aside until needed (refrigerate if necessary).

About 1-2 hours before you want to bake it, grease a deep oven dish well and slice the croissants into angled rounds about 1/2" thick.  Spread half the rounds in the bottom of the dish and use a teaspoon to dollop blobs of marmalade over the croissants.  Be as generous as you like!  Add the rest of the rounds in a covering layer, then pour over the prepared custard and allow to soak for at least an hour or two before baking.

To bake, preheat the oven to 180oC.  Sprinkle the top of the pudding with the brown sugar and flaked almonds and bake on the lowest rung of the oven for 30 mins (check after 20 mins) until nicely browned and bubbling.

You could serve it with cream, ice cream, yoghurt, etc. if you wanted, but it tastes good all by itself too.  Smiley
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5  Re: Mini Art Quilt Swap 8 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Amazon_warrior on: May 04, 2017 04:19:39 AM
Finally, pics of the quilt I received!

Love the green compass point and the background fabric is a particular favourite of mine, I ADORE map fabric!  Cheesy  The embroidery is very cool, too.

And look at the lil camel!

So cute!  Thanks, dfabbric!  Smiley
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6  Re: 2017 QuiltAlong in Quilting: Discussion and Questions by Amazon_warrior on: April 28, 2017 02:43:50 PM
I don't really understand bias binding, why it's pre-folded or why use it at all. If I am using it I have to unfold and iron it in half to get those extra creases out but usual I just cut strips of fabric, fold and press in half, sew the raw edges to one edge, fold over and hand stitch the other side in place. Unless it's a curvy shape the bias stretch is really not needed so what gives?

I think it makes more sense if you have a "proper" binding foot for your sewing machine - you thread the binding in, slot your fabric snugly into the fold and sew - no having sew, to fold the binding around the edge and sew again.  I do use it sometimes if I have something curvy and I want to use satin bias binding on it, like this:

I don't have a bias binding foot, but I "pretended" like I did by folding the binding around the edge, clipping it in place with wonder clips and then stitching it down with a decorative stitch.

Otherwise, if all the edges of my quilt are square, I make and use straight-of-grain binding the same way you do.  I kind of like the last bit being hand-sewing - as long as I'm not on the clock!  XD
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7  Re: Mini Art Quilt Swap 8 (Sign-ups CLOSED, Sendouts 4/24) in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by Amazon_warrior on: April 24, 2017 06:01:25 AM
Posted!  Was waiting for mum to get back so she could see the final version before I wrapped it all up.  Smiley


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8  Re: Leftover Duck Ramen in Recipes and Cooking Tips by Amazon_warrior on: April 22, 2017 02:19:51 PM
The chicken version:

This time I added some thin strips of carrot to up the veg quotient and because I like it.  Smiley  The strange brown things in the dish are the shii-take mushrooms still soaking.

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9  Re: 2017 QuiltAlong in Quilting: Discussion and Questions by Amazon_warrior on: April 08, 2017 07:35:14 AM
Heya, I'm Heulwen and I'm a freelancer copyeditor.  Smiley  Quilting has become a major hobby for me in the last four years - I've even done a couple of commission quilts.  It has to fit around the "day job", though!

This year, I'm hoping to get rid of some WIPs that have been loitering around for too long.  It's quite a list so I'll just add the more "urgent" (or likely to get done!) ones for now.

1. Mini Art Quilt for a swap (almost done)
2. Two lil Project Linus quilts (made the tops, need to pick backing fabric, quilt & bind)
3. Sister's wedding quilt - needs quilting (ideally before their 6th anniversary in June! Shocked )
4. Paper Cranes quilt - most of the blocks are from a Craftster block swap, I started making a few more just last week, will by QAYG
5. Scrappy Irish Chain - needs a border, then I can get on w/ quilting 'cos I already have a Plan

Challenge #1

I didn't think I'd been that busy last year, but apparently I was!  There were quite a few non-quilty projects, too, but obviously I didn't add those.  Smiley
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10  Sticky Rice Lotus Leaf Wraps in Recipes and Cooking Tips by Amazon_warrior on: April 08, 2017 05:31:22 AM
First time I've posted a foody thing, but I'm ridiculously proud of making these!  Smiley

I (broadly) followed the recipe here and was very happy with the results.  I did make the effort to source some of the more authentic ingredients (had to order them online because there just aren't ANY Asian supermarkets 'round here), used five chicken thighs (mostly because there were five in the pack and I didn't want to leave one lonely!), left out the five-spice because it turned out we didn't have any and couldn't find any at the time, replaced ~half the scallions w/ baby leeks and a stick of celery (because otherwise we didn't have enough!), and used a mixture of chestnut, oyster, shii-take, and king trumpet mushrooms ('bout half chestnut mushies, other half was a mixed pack because they were literally the only "exotic" mushrooms my local supermarket had!  Days like that, I really miss the amazing mushroom stand at the supermarket in Ebina when I lived in Japan...).  Other than some Very British Grumbling about US cup measurements (sorry, I really can't get my head around it - certainly not for something like mushrooms!), it was super easy to make.  You do need to plan a bit in advance because they do take time to make, but most of that is soaking/marinading/steaming time - the actual amount of "doing stuff" is pretty minimal.

My mum was extremely impressed with them (especially with the flavour from the lotus leaves).  She helped out with the wrapping part and it gave her a bit of a lift after some really bad news she had a couple of days ago.  I'd been meaning to do these for a while anyway and I'm very glad that completely by chance I managed to get everything together to make them last night.  We still have half of them left so I'm going to put them in the freezer for another day - soon, I think!  Smiley
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