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51  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / One Tiny Winter Thing 2016 swap - sign ups January 08-23, send outs Feb 16 on: January 08, 2016 09:05:38 AM


Swap name:  One Tiny Winter Thing 2016
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: Onyxnox
Sign-up date range: January 08, 2016 - January 23, 2016
Date to send item by:  February 14 16, 2016

Limited to a certain number of people? (optional): 12

Restricted to people who all live in the same country? YES/NO - no
If so, which country? Not applicable

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: not applicable
- Is at least 18 years old: Sadly, 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 swap:
This will be a One Tiny Thing Swap with a winter theme.  That means a physically small item made with large degrees of creativity, artistry, skill, and/or effort.  We are all going to try to cram our love of creating and winter into an area no larger than 4"x4"x4" (maximum, if you can create beautifully smaller than that, go for it!).

The medium for each person's creativity is unlimited - if you want to make jewelry, go for it.  If you want to make a miniature scene in an expresso cup, go for it, knit a teeny tiny snowman, go for it - it can be fabric, fiber, polymer clay, glass, paper, whatever one desires.  Just keep in mind the spirit of the swap - maximum artistry and effort in a small item, and communicate/stalk your partner.

There will be no extras in this swap, it is just for the one item.  The secret phrase is Jack Frost is a nippy little bugger.

A gallery will be posted after send-outs, and while photos are not mandatory, I will expect good communication, which to me means a minimum of communicating when you send and receive as PMs to myself and your partner, and an acknowledgement post about the item received in the gallery.  

If there is no communication about sending by the two week point after the send out date, a temporary negative feedback will be given to the sender.  This can be reversed with evidence of sending (a viable tracking number, or postage receipt, re-sending package, or partner receiving would be examples).

If you want to participate, information to send to organizer:

Name of swap:  One Tiny Winter Thing 2016
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: (YES/NO)

1.  List some favourite winter things you like (snow, icicles, winter nights, Christmas, winter Solstice, wooly sweaters, snowmen, yellow snow, whatever)...

2.  List some of your favourite winter activities (skiing, skating, apre ski, cuddling up by a warm fire with cocoa and a book, making snow angels, etc)...

3.  List what kind of crafted item are you hoping for (eg: ornament, jewelry, mini hoopla, altered tin, etc)...

4.  What is the secret phrase?

5.  What kind of crafted items can you make/would like to make?

6.  List any links for stalking, like Pinterest, blogs, etc.

7.  Is there anything else you want your partner to know (including allergies, aversions, if you want something crafted for a specific occasion, random tidbits, etc)?

*** You must communicate via PM with myself and your partner when you send your package or receive ***

Also, remember to read the Swap Info Guide to find other rules about participating in a swap.

Swap members...

1.  Onyxnox (organizer)
2.  astrangeone
3.  BigBangMomma
4.  Wulf
5.  aisy
6.  blupaisan
7.  cmarion3
8.  bec99
9.  Annchen
10.  lindyv321


lindyv321 (sent 02/06/ rec. 02/08)
<-----> blupaisan (sent 02/05/rec. 02/10)
cmarion3 (sent 02/09) <-----> Wulf (sent 02/15)
aisy (rec. 02/13)<-----> BigBangMomma (sent 02/10)
Onyxnox (sent 02/14) <-----> astrangeone (sent 02/14)
bec99 (sent 02/13) <-----> AnnChen (sent 02/16)

feedback given
late with communication
no communication/contact organizer
negative feedback given

52  Category Challenges / Cooking: Challenge Entries / We love our bird brined and BBQ'd... on: January 03, 2016 06:08:08 PM
Sorry for the crappy pics - I think to take some before and after, but when it is whole, golden, and about to carved up, my mind in occupied by the carving and trying to keep people and a couple of dogs from stealing chunks as I carve, as well as not (purposefully) stabbing them.  No hands free for pics!

Anyways, we used to do a pot luck for our annual gathering with friends and family... and about 15 years ago, I decided I would try making a brined and BBQ'd turkey.  A number of people were rather lackluster about that, not being lovers of turkey.  We actually were kind of full from other things that other people brought when the turkey was done, and Jim pretty much bullied everyone into trying some to make me happy...

Well the end result was that everyone ate a bit of turkey, and then kept eating the turkey until there was nothing left... and I have not been allowed to make anything else but the turkey since then.  No, not true... I am allowed to make whatever I want, so long as I make it AND the turkey.  It's so loved by my family and friends and MIL had me make the brined turkey a few times for Thanksgiving and Christmas and I finally had to give her and a few aunts the recipe, and it has become an addition to our big summer BBQ, and a few New Years.

Even the dogs get excited when I start preparing the brine a day or two before the actual cooking.  Toby used to just sit at the front of the stove and just wag the entire time I am making it while staring at the pot.

Another added bonus is, if this is done on the BBQ, the oven and stove are free for making all the other yummy fixin's.  It seems like a lot of time and fuss.  The standing out in the cold babying the BBQ is no fun either (but that's Jim's job now... and he actually quite likes it because he loves the smell of the birds cooking).  But the end product is a lovely incredibly moist, flavourful turkey.

Apple-Brined Whole Turkey

The original bare bones recipe

1 12-14 pound turkey, fresh, or defrosted - NOT frozen!!!!
2 quarts apple juice
16 ounces brown sugar
1 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
3 quarts water
3 oranges, quartered
4 ounces fresh ginger, sliced thin
15 whole cloves
6 bay leaves
6 large garlic cloves, crushed
vegetable oil or melted, unsalted butter
(Substitute 3/4 cup Morton Kosher Salt or 1/2 cup table salt for Diamond Crystal)

Combine apple juice, brown sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve. Boil for one minute, remove from heat, let mixture come to room temperature, then refrigerate to 40F.

In a large non-reactive container, combine the apple juice mixture with the other ingredients and stir. Place rinsed, drained whole turkey into the brine.  Remove and set aside the neck and giblets for separate use.  Use a heavy weight to keep the bird submerged, if necessary. Refrigerate for 24 hours.   We use one of those huge plastic, air tight containers used for mixing materials from Home Depot - clean it and keep it just for this (please don't reuse something that someone used for mixing drywall compound or whatnot in!).

Remove turkey from brine and pat dry. Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil or melted butter before cooking.  Let rest and come to room temperature before cooking.

... and because I love you guys here, I am sharing the things that make the recipe mine.  I am that mean so and so that will give a recipe, but will not include the things that make the recipe really special.  No, I don't leave out vital things, but for the MIL and aunts, they never got my special notes Wink

My changes (some of the bling that makes the turkey sing!  From over a decade of cooking this!):
Combine all ingredients together when bringing to boil.  Add the following (unmeasured, to taste, approximately 2-3 tablespoons) whole peppercorns, whole allspice berries, a couple of cinnamon sticks broken up, some star anise  Also two onions, quartered.  I also am more generous with the garlic, cloves, and ginger.   

When cooking the turkey, if done on the BBQ, I stuff with more quartered oranges, garlic, onion, ginger (you can drain the solids from the brine and in the bottom of the pan and put some in the cavity), and may try to stuff some of garlic under the skin if I can stand touching the bird for that long.  I use a disposable pan and we try to cook on indirect heat, at approximately 350-375F.  Keep in mind if it is cold, then you will have to frequently check the BBQ to ensure even heating.  Also, the skin may brown fast, so we cover with foil and uncover near the end.  For safety's sake, use a meat thermometer to judge doneness.

If baking in the oven, make sure that all the brine is drained off as much as possible before putting into a roaster, as a lot of juice may be released as it roasts and can overflow the pan this happened to me once.

Here it is, roasting away...

If BBQing, it cannot be stuffed with dressing/stuffing because of the risk of the stuffing not getting warm enough in the centre and causing food poisoning.  Preheat BBQ on high.  If if is a 3 burner, turn off the centre burner and roast, covered over the centre burner, adjusting the temp to medium about 350F - 375F after about an hour.  Check frequently as the temperature can fluctuate.  Check for doneness safely with a meat thermometer (170F in breast, 180F in thigh).  It does seem to cook faster on the BBQ.

Because it is a brine, the drippings are quite salty, so a gravy made from it will be VERY salty. Use the reserved neck and  giblets to make gravy, or make it separately some other way.  But this bird will be juicy enough to not need gravy - so use it for the dressing or the mashed 'taters!

Also, use an aluminum roasting pan on the BBQ, and use a firmer surface, such as a thick cookie sheet when transferring the pan with turkey back and forth (with a good pair of oven mitts).

For large gatherings, we often will buy two smaller birds and cook them in two pans.  I will put both birds in the brining bucket, and make 1 and a half recipes of brine.  If it doesn't cover both birds, you can either brine them and flip the birds, or make more brine to cover to the top of the birds.

Sadly, the only picture I have of the cooked bird is when we took some leftovers and added it to the dogs dinner after we all ate Sad

53  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Textured mixed media canvases... on: December 27, 2015 05:24:52 AM
I made this for bunny1kenobi for the mini 12 days of Christmas swap which is wrapping up (hahaha) right now.  It is a mixed media canvas I made inspired by a pin she had.  I loved the phrase, and connected to it also.

I made a more narrow, tall canvas initially for B1K - I loved this size and will have to get another one for another project - I think it was something like a 6x10 or something like that.

I used a homemade texture paste, the same one I used for the altered journal/sketchbook.  It is great for stamping texture into and so colourful.  I posted a tutorial for how I did it in the blog post too, if anyone is interested..  I collaged die cut letters to do the lettering.  I used sheet music I coloured with a dark wash, because I liked the texture that added too.

Then I kind of fell in love  with the canvas and had a selfish moment where I wanted to keep it... so I decided to make another version for myself...
 I used a larger dollar store canvas for it, and while I am happy how it turned out, I really like the unusual size of the one I made bunny1kenobi.  Also, I did this one with a slightly lighter wash of colour.  Right now, mine is sitting on the shelves going up the bedroom stairs... ironic as I am not allowed to use those shelves for books...

54  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Altered journal/sketchbook covers... on: December 25, 2015 06:59:13 AM

I made a couple of these journals/sketchbooks lately.  One is for Bunny1kenobi for the 12 days of Christmas swap, and one for me, because I wanted to keep the one I made her, but could not bring myself to be that selfish!

This first one is in browns and bronze and the one I gave away.  I went with a bit more of a Steampunkish look for it.

This one I kept for myself, and just went with a more black/gray, and kept it a bit simpler.

I really like how the texturing turned out and how it feels like a nice plaster to the touch.

I did a set of tutorials of the different stages.  There are a ton more pictures and details about how I did it at the various blog links, if anyone else is interested in trying it out.

Part 1 - texturing the covers...

Part 2 - initial layering of colour

Part 3 shows some highlighting details...

and the final embellishment

55  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Sleigh Ride Frame ornaments.... on: December 23, 2015 04:45:41 AM

These were some ornaments I made earlier this month.  Too late for me to make as this years ornament, but I like how they turned out, so maybe for next year.

I had the idea in my head and made this one first, but came upon some issues with the first iteration and my technique, so I tried a different take, leading to the making of this one...

I took pictures of the process to make a tutorial, as a reminder to myself on how it is made, if I end up making this for next year.  But I do  like how the glittered frames turn out.  I may give it another go with thicker inner frames and better gluing, to see if I can turn them into shaker ornaments and put some glitter or sequins in them for moving snow.

But they are also a great way to use reuse flat clear packaging and reuse cardboard boxes, as that is what I used.

You can click on the pictures to my blog posts if you are interested in more pictures.  The first one is a link to the tutorial I made after the second one, if anyone else is interested in giving it a go.
56  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Lumps of coal for the naughty... on: December 05, 2015 08:41:58 AM
This was a last minute gift I came up with yesterday.  We are having our annual potluck tonight, and this was what I made up as a surprise treat for everyone coming...

Well, sort of a gift - everyone has been a bit naughty and cheeky this year in some way shape or form, so everyone is getting lumps of coal...

This was a great way to get rid of patterns of seasonal paper I really did not love.  The treat box die I used is the perfect size for the lumps of coal, and I added a little ornament or jingle bell to the ties when I wrapped them up too.

... and in case you were wondering what the lumps of coal are, they are these...

Two different types of peanut butter melty cups.  Jim is now saying to me that he has no motivation to be good if these are the lumps of coal he is being punished with!

More pics and the recipe on my blog if anyone is interested.
57  COOKING / Dessert / Nutella Meringue Mousse cake - gluten free too! on: November 28, 2015 05:08:35 PM
I made this the other day for a dinner we were having.  Our friend just had his birthday this week and I also wanted to make a cake dessert that Jim could have, that we could all share, since Jim is Celiacs.

I had an idea of making something with meringue layers, like I had done with a frozen lemon meringue torte, which is a well loved summer dessert, a chocolate mousse, and a brownie base, and this is what I came up with!

It has a flourless brownie base, and two layers of chocolate meringue, between thin layers of Nutella mousse, with a bit of meringue crumbled on top.   I may have to tweak it a bit, but we were all pretty happy with it, and it goes GREAT with coffee.  I found it a bit sweet, but the other three said they loved it as it... but then again, they could have been just trying to make me feel good...

I posted the recipe on my blog.  Again, I may tweak it a bit.  I think I would like to try a mocha version of it next time. 
58  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / A wee little art journal... on: November 19, 2015 07:12:32 AM

This is a little journal I made recently, a little mini-journal.  The covers are made with etched brass, riveted to a leather spine.

It is a small little thing, about 1.5" roughly, so it can worn as a pendent.

It has several inked pages within.  Many are blank for future random thoughts and whimsies...

and some are already decorated with some creative encouragements, and statements...

More pics on my blog if anyone else is interested...  I think I will be making more in this style.  I like the inked pages especially.
59  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Nourishing Nature - Bird Feeders gifts for family and friends on: November 13, 2015 11:26:35 AM

This is another project that Jim and I did together this year.  I am so happy when we actually plan on and work on projects together. 

Anyways, I was inspired when I saw the project posted by CarlieJoe a few months ago.  Jim made it from scrap wood in his shop and we had a number of bottles in stock, as his uncle had a wine making shop, so we often get gifted wine, and keep bottles to return to him.

Jim made the frames.  I cleaned and etched the bottles.  We did clear ones too, but they did not turn out as nice, so we did them all with the green bottles - the etching turned up much nicer on them.  Then, when Jim as done putting the frames together, I wood burned the leaf motifs onto the backer.

So far, we have nine made - hopefully that is all we need.  They are not quite finished yet - Jim is putting on the last coat of varnish on them now.  Then I just have to fill the bottles with seed and cork them for gifting.

There is more pictures (waaaaaaaaaay more; too many!) and more about the project on my blog if anyone is interested.
60  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / This note's for you.... on: November 12, 2015 11:18:22 AM
I made these pendents recently, from bamboo tiles.  They are paper, ink, paint, decoupage medium, and resin. 

After altering the bamboo tiles, I sealed them with a thin layer of glossy, jewelry grade resin, and when that cured, I used 24 gauge wire to wire the dangles.  Some are Swarovski Elements that I had picked up over the years at different workshops.  They add a bit of bling and movement. 

This is one of my favourites.

More pics of the other pendents and some more details on my blog if you are interested in reading further.
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