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21  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Unbirthday/Stuff You Want/Shopaholic Swap (Sign up until Jan 17, Send by Feb 10) on: January 12, 2009 07:50:49 AM
Like getting packages? Like getting presents?! Like shopping (especially for other people)? Well, read on, then!

Swap name: Unbirthday/Stuff You Want Swap
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: SciFunk
Sign-up date range: January 12 through January 17
Date to send item by: February 10

Limited to a certain number of people? 25

Restricted to people who all live in the same country? Nope.
Age requirement? Nope.

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

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 13 years old: YES
- Participant lives in the United States: YES
   - If yes, understands that Delivery Confirmation number is required for this swap: YES
   - If no, understands that a mailing receipt copy is required for this swap: YES

Details of swap:

This swap is for everyone who has a short wishlist of things they really want, but don't want to buy for themselves (or are far away from a craft store). It's also for everyone who has a big long wishlist, but only certain stuff gets chosen and there are a few specific things you really really really want. Heck, it's also for everyone who likes giving and getting presents!

So here's the deal. This is definitely not a stash buster swap. You will get a list of at least five distinctly different things your partner wants. It is your mission (should you choose to accept it) to create a kickin' rad package for your partner. Chances are you will not have everything your partner wants. You will almost certainly need to purchase things, which is why this swap is perfect for people who love shopping (especially for others). Since this could get costly, you will be paired up with another person based on the amount of points you want to trade. Some recommended point values are 3, 5, and 8 points. However, you can feel free to give ranges (like 3-5 or 8-10 points). It is recommended that most of your items are craft supplies, since you will be paired up based on points and not crafts you know (so, for example, if you have a knitted hat on your list and your partner doesn't know how to knit, you're out of luck). However, kits (like resin kits or beading kits) are perfectly acceptable because (with a limited amount of research) your partner can make you a kit even if it's not a craft they usually do.

Even though you probably won't be crafting anything (just picking up supplies for your partner), the send-out date is far away in case you need to order things off the internet.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up, and get ready to spoil (and be spoiled)!

For reference:
3 pts = large
2 pts = medium
1 pt = small

Here are the Craftster guidelines for item sizes:
LARGE:  3 or more hours, $30 or more (a shawl, a shirt, a skirt, a set of jewelry with four to five items, a purse)
MEDIUM  = 2 to 3 hours, $10-$30 (a scarf, a simple bag)
SMALL  = less than 2 hours, less than $10 (earrings, a wallet)

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

PLEASE title your message with "Unbirthday/Stuff You Want Swap"! Thanks!

Name of swap
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 13 years old (yes/no)
How many points do you want to swap?
Give a wishlist containing mostly (or all) craft supplies. There must be at least five, but more is recommended, especially if you want to trade 6 points or more.


Also remember to read the Swap Info Guide to find out how to ship your item and other details about participating in a swap.

1. SciFunk
2. tattooedcrafter
3. Deannalynn06
22  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Deadliest Catch Plush Stuffed Thing on: January 07, 2009 08:39:41 PM
I don't really make plushie things, and this was my very first one. I was heavily inspired by this post because it seemed like a nice simple way to ease into things (especially for someone with a lack of artistic talent). I did it for round 2 of the pick and choose theme swap, and it went over ten times better than I had expected. One of my partner's themes was Deadliest Catch, and her favorite character was Edgar, so I decided to make here a little stuffed thing of him. Everyone I showed it to thought it was the best thing in the package. I have to admit, I love the little crab, and keep meaning to make myself one.

The best thing about it is the crab and Edgar's hand both have magnets in them, so the crab is removable! Grin

23  COOKING / Dessert / Cupcakes for Every Holiday! on: January 07, 2009 08:30:21 PM
Okay, not all in one post. But I made these for Halloween, and I thought, "You know, this is a simple and delicious way to make cupcakes for every holiday." For Valentine's, just make white cupcakes with red frosting, for Fourth of July make white cupcakes with red and blue, for Easter do pastels, for Christmas do red and green.. this is definitely my plan for simple holiday deliciousness.

Plus I love sharing this frosting recipe because ohmygod it's so frigging good. It's here, just scroll down to the bottom. Even the people I know that don't like frosting eat this stuff like there's no tomorrow.

Oh, and of course, here's the picture of the Halloween cupcakes:

Nom nom nom!
24  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / Hot Hugs plushies/stuffed animals? on: January 05, 2009 06:35:23 PM
Have you heard of Hot Hugs plushies? If not, here's a link. They're these nifty little things that have a microwavable sachet inside, so you can have a warm cuddly stuffed animal.

I have a friend that really wants one, so I would like to make her something similar. I don't really have much experience in the plushie department, so I was hoping someone could point me in the direction of.. something. I could probably work out a way to put velcro in the back. I have a pretty okay amount of sewing experience, I just normally work with clothes, so this is a little out of my league.

Also, while I'm at it, does anyone have any ideas for a sachet that doesn't have to be microwaved? Maybe something that can be heated in a pot of boiling water?

Thanks so much, and hopefully my friend doesn't check on my posts and read this. Wink
25  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Carved gamer pumpkins! on: October 20, 2008 09:21:55 PM
First off: I did not do these! Well, not technically. My mother is a brilliant artist, but getting her to actually do something takes an incredible amount of poking and prodding and bothering, so these wouldn't have happened without me doing all that. Tongue The idea for the Rollerbeetle (the second one) was my boyfriend's, and the picture for the first one was mostly thought of by my mom and me, but pretty much all the carving/drawing was done by my mom.

The designs are from a game I play called Guild Wars. Anyway, without further ado, here are the pumpkins!

26  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Discussion and Questions / Good way to show multiple photos? (Photoshop) on: October 20, 2008 12:14:13 PM
I'm entering a (completely unrelated to Craftster) contest, and they only allow one picture per entrant. However, I'd like to include multiple (maybe two - four) pictures, so I'd like a way to display them all in one .jpeg in a pleasing manner. I have absatively no skills with graphic design, so I was hoping someone could point me in the direction of a website that might have templates. I'm passable with Photoshop, so I think I could figure it out from there, I just have no idea what I would Google to find this sort of thing.

Thanks! Grin
27  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Completed Projects / We lost our stenciling virginity! on: September 22, 2008 11:26:48 PM
queenofthieves and I had a Heroes pre-party and decided to stencil some shirts (don't get your hopes up, they actually have nothing to do with heroes). We had never done anything like this before, but we went to Joann's, picked up some supplies, and hurried home to get everything done before Heroes started. Here's a picture of the two shirts on the table:

Yes, we only finished them a couple hours before, so they're not technically dry. That's okay, we put them on anyway!
Here's queenofthieves wearing a pirate hat and holding knitting needles (Note the similarity to the shirt. We're very clever.)

And here's one of the two of us. My shirt has the symbol for a Guild Wars Elementalist on it, and I guess pirates hate those guys, so she decided to attack me.

28  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Discussion and Questions / Simple Bead Weaving Question on: August 09, 2008 02:34:38 AM
I've just recently gotten into bead weaving, and unfortunately I don't know anyone else who is an experienced bead weaver. My question is this: What's the deal with the thread? I mean, do you cut an incredibly long length of thread and then have to deal with it getting tangled as you go along? For instance, say I want to make this necklace. Do I just cut a length of thread 500 feet long and then go at it?

I'm sure this is an incredibly silly question with a very easy answer, but I simply cannot figure it out.  Roll Eyes

Edit: While I'm at it, anyone know of a good tutorial on how to figure out pattern numberings? For instance, when they say "Now run your thread back through bead 7a and pick up bead 9B, then go back through bead 348HH...", what in the world are they talking about?
29  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions / Finishing Bracelets on: June 27, 2008 11:30:57 AM
I've been making charm bracelets like a mad fiend (there's a tutorial here to give you an idea of exactly what I'm talking about). However, almost none of them are completely finished! I run into problems when I need to attach my toggle clasp--I buy lengths of sterling silver chain from my local bead store that don't come with clasps on them. I figured that you'd just attach whatever clasp you wanted with a jump ring, but that doesn't seem secure. When I pull on it, the jump ring bends out of shape and sometimes the clasp just comes off. I was thinking that maybe I could solder the rings closed, but that seems like a ton of work, and I'd like to know what the "professional" way to do it is. Any help is greatly appreciated!
30  COOKING / Dessert / First fondant attempt (with pictures and some things I learned) on: June 18, 2008 07:34:34 PM
Woohoo! I got so many compliments on my last batch of cupcakes that I worked up the courage to try my hand at fondant. I've been stockpiling cutters and glitter and color and all sorts of fun and exciting tools, but I was too afraid to actually make the fondant and use them. I used a box strawberry cake mix and these two frosting recipes:
1. This buttercream frosting with butter instead of shortening. It was the first time I had made buttercream and the first time I can remember eating it, and it was much better than I expected.
2. This marshmallow fondant tutorial. I found that I only needed to use about 3/4 of the two pound bag of confectioner's sugar, and the fondant was very workable.

Without further ado, here are the pictures!

It didn't turn out as smooth and nice as I would have hoped, but I think it's pretty okay for a first try. Here are some things that I want to remember for next time (and that might be helpful to others). If you have any input on the problems I encountered, please let me know!

1. On cake flattening: I flopped the cakes upside down onto a sheet of wax paper after they came out of the oven and put cookie sheets on top to help flatten their puffy tops. It worked pretty well, but there was a bit of puffiness left. The 1/4" thick coating of buttercream helped a little.

2. On frosting: As you can see from the last picture, the slices were not very picturesque when cut because there wasn't too much frosting in the middle. I was trying to cut down on frosting content (because a middle layer of frosting, a layer of buttercream and a layer of fondant seemed like a frosting overload), but I think I will put more frosting in the middle layer next time to make it prettier. To me, fondant is used for occasions where the cake has to be super pretty, and I don't think it wound up so sweet that a little extra frosting in the middle will hurt too much.

3. On glitter: You might not be able to see it in the pictures, but I tried to spread on some white frosting glitter. The marshmallow fondant was extremely easy to work with and I managed to get it on the cake with very few problems. I had one of those fondant smoothers that I used to smooth it out until it looked pretty nice. Then I tried to spread on some of the glitter, and boy did it not work. I used a soft artist's brush (like it recommends on the package), but it left all these streaks of sparkle on the cake. I spent a ridiculously long time trying to spread more and more sparkle on so that it would not be so streaky, but it still looked pretty bad, and the surface of the cake got more and more messed up. I spread it around a little with the fondant smoother and my hand, which helped a little, but by then the surface of the fondant was pretty messed up and the smoothing didn't really help. I figured it was already messed up enough that I would try the other method of glitter application--I poured out a little bit of lemon juice and sprinkled some glitter in. That brushed on pretty okay (though I'm not sure how it would look without the "base coat" of dry glitter I put on). I don't think I'm going to use glitter again, but if I need/really want to, I think I'll put it in a small amount of lemon juice first (about 1 tablespoon should be plenty).

4. On shapes: Toward the end of it I was getting tired of the whole ordeal, so I kind of rushed the stars/ribbon. I would like to figure out how to remove the seams from applying the ribbon (look at the last picture, to the left of where the slice was taken out). I tried rubbing it with a little water, but that didn't seem to do much, and I was too tired to try much else. The stars are slightly misshapen too, but I think that could easily be corrected by being more careful--I just wanted to be done. I think I'll roll the fondant out much thinner for the decorations, maybe 1/8".

5. On time: It took forever, definitely an all-day project. Maybe it gets quicker when you're more used to it, but it took me quite a while. I was getting careless at the end (with the decorations, which is arguably the most important part), and the green fondant shapes didn't come out as nice as I was hoping. I was bored and tired with the whole thing, so I think next time I'll just space it out more. Start the cakes in the morning, make the frosting, let it sit until I really feel like working on it. Maybe space it out over a second day. I definitely recommend cutting shapes and doing the actual decorated when you've taken a long enough break that you're excited about making it look nice.

Gah! I can't believe I typed all that. I need to go collapse somewhere. Tongue
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