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11  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Subway map of Osaka, Japan on: June 21, 2017 04:45:13 PM
roler always inspires me to embroider the most seemingly obscure things that I end up really loving! Last time it was a moray eel, and this time I reproduced the subway map for Osaka. It was sent in the Filled Stitchy swap.

The main lines are all heavy chain stitch, which gave a nice dimensional look. Each stop on the line is represented with a white seed bead. The background blue lines are other railways that aren't the main city ones.

The satin stitch kanji says "Osaka" and is framed in some floral doodles.

Thanks roler for swapping with me - this is one of my favorite pieces ever!

12  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / Ferret Fun House on: June 18, 2017 05:20:24 PM

Our ferrets Lea and Coconut live in a large multi-level cage, but they get a few hours of free-roaming time in the house each day. I created this play house from cardboard with many little tubes going in and out.

First I taped up the boxes, and two of the little tubes, and cut holes where they would all exit.

Then came hot glue mania, where I glued on some stash fabric cut from old sheets and made sure all the tubes still fit.

And still more hot glue for the fabric on each tube, and gluing them all in place. The horizontal exits all got little fabric flaps.  As you can see, it's being thoroughly enjoyed.

Say "bye" Coconut!

13  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Reverse applique t-shirts on: May 29, 2017 05:21:21 PM
So among my first posts here on craftster 9 years ago ( Shocked ) was a reverse applique shirt. I've gone back to that technique a few times since then, because it's pretty fun, and satisfying to watch my design emerge when cutting out the little bits!

I sewed this David Bowie shirt for swap:

An MG logo shirt for my mom:

These pictures are after a year of wear, so I'm very happy with how it's holding up!

And most recently this Captain America / Winter Soldier mashup for the shipping swap:

It was a combination of applique and reverse applique, with careful planning on which colors to layer.

Next up, whenever I can motivate myself to actually do it, will be a Prince t-shirt just for me. Smiley
14  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Birdwatching Photography on: May 27, 2017 10:42:37 AM
In a effort to both improve my photography skills and learn to better ID birds, I've been taking lots of pictures over the past year or so. I mostly bring my camera out instead of binoculars. These photos were only for my own collection, but I wanted to share some I was particularly satisfied with.

So get ready for lots of birds!

Indigo Bunting - two pictures of this cutie, just because they were being so photogenic among the apple blossoms!

Tufted Titmouse - an easy one to identify, but frequent visitors to the feeders, which makes them good to practice on.

American Goldfinch - another easy one, and interesting plumage makes a good contrast.

Barred Owl - I was lucky to spot this one in great lighting, and they stayed so still for me. A+ model, would work with again.

Pileated Woodpecker - this guy was tearing up a stump with the most serious look on his face, it was pretty fun to watch!

Black and White Warbler - my first confirmed sighting of this species, I kind of chased them through the woods for this ID and picture.

Common Merganser - love the "hairdo" on this lady!

Brown Creeper - I don't think the photo is anything special, but it was so hard to get that I'm including it here. This species has been very shy for me.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - I had lots of fun with this one last summer, so here's 4 pics for you. At the Rose-of-Sharon and Tithonia flowers.

OK, well if you made it all the way through, then thanks for letting me share with you!
15  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Mug Rug round 7? on: March 14, 2017 06:24:58 PM

I've made a decent number of mug rugs, and two I even kept for myself, but somehow they both found different jobs around the house. I see we haven't had a mug rug swap in almost 3 years - would anyone be interested if I organized round 7?

I'm thinking participants could choose to have one or two partners. It's a craft that can be kept simple or complicated as you like, and shipping is cheap as a small padded envelope.
16  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Ricotta biscuits with fresh herbs on: February 25, 2017 03:23:39 PM

This is a moist and savory biscuit (slightly modified from this version) that goes fantastically with my breakfasts and soups. I love the punch it gets from all the fresh herbs!

Ingredients in this photo: flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, unsalted butter, fresh parsley, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, scallions, ricotta cheese, milk, egg, sea salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.

In a large bowl, sift together 2 & 1/4 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Grate in 5 tablespoons of frozen unsalted butter (it's very easy to mix in this way) and mix with a fork until combined.

Chop 3 scallions, a good handful of parsley, about a teaspoon of thyme, and half as much rosemary. Mix it in the the bowl with 1 cup of ricotta. Stir in 2/3 cup of milk until just combined.

Turn the bowl out onto a floured cutting surface and knead it a couple times. Press it down to about an inch high, then cut into pieces and transfer to a parchment-lined tray.

Beat 1 egg and brush it liberally onto the biscuits, and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and smoked paprika.

Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 425 degree oven, until the tops are golden. So so good!

17  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Three C's Soup - Carrot, Celery, and Cilantro on: February 25, 2017 07:26:57 AM
A simple soup, and very tasty! No great pictures of this one, but here's one - the recipe made my dinner for the night and 3 lunches for the week.

1 pound carrots, trimmed and peeled
3 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 celery rib, sliced, plus some leafy celery tops
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup milk
salt, pepper, oil

Heat 2 tbsp of the butter and a bit of oil in a large pot and saute the onion for a few minutes until it's softened. Add celery rib (not the tops) and potato, then cook for a couple minutes before adding the carrots. Cook gently for a few minutes while stirring, then reduce the heat and cover the pot.

Let the veggies sweat in the low-heat pot for 10 minutes, and shake it around a few times to make sure they're not sticking to the bottom. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then simmer half-covered for another 10 minutes until everything's good and tender.

While it's simmering, chop some of the leafy celery tops, leaving some out for garnish if you like. Melt the remaining 1 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan and add the ground coriander. Stir it around for a minute or less, then add the chopped celery tops and cilantro and cook for another minute. Remove it from the heat and stir in the milk.

When the carrots and potatoes are done cooking in the main pot, puree the soup with an immersion blender (or very carefully in a regular blender) and add the cilantro milk mixture. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a couple celery leaves on top.
18  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Pussy hat from a beginner knitter on: February 16, 2017 04:55:12 PM
First I want to thank Joy Macdonell for this video tutorial which helped me so much! I've done very few knitting projects in the past, and as a visual learner it was fantastic to be guided through the entire process. I wasn't able to attend the fist women's marches, but I'm planning to be out there a good amount in the near future and I love the pink hat as a visual signifier.

The pattern works up flat and is then sewn up the sides. I used some Jiffy yarn I had sitting in stash, and adjusted the pattern with some grumbling about math.  Wink I ended up casting 40 stitches on to size 10.5 needles, and I think it worked out perfectly.

Cute, warm, and ready to resist.  Cheesy

19  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Scrap fabric rope on: February 05, 2017 03:50:20 PM
I found a neat tutorial for using up long scraps of fabric to make twine. Check it out here with video. You use your fingers to make the twist a little bit at a time. And it's pretty strong too! Doesn't come apart when you give it a good tug.

The first length I made for a swap - about 10 yards I think? I don't remember! It was pretty fun, perfect way to occupy the hands while listening to a podcast.

And the second one I just finished, 16 yards for me to keep. I'm still not sure what I'm going to end up using it for, but I just think it looks neat!

20  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Veggie Hot Pot with baked cheese biscuit topping on: February 04, 2017 06:30:15 PM

I'd been eyeing this recipe from Linda Fraser's vegetarian cookbook for a long time, and can now report that it's everything I thought it would be and more. The biscuit topping is baked right on the stew in the oven. It's not as complicated as it seems, though it does take a while to prepare and cook - I'd say about 2 hours.

Hot Pot Ingredients: for most of the big veggies, I'd say you can substitute others that you like if the volume is roughly the same.

Olive oil for sauteing
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1 pound potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 small celeriac bulb, peeled and chopped
6 big carrots, chopped
10 oz mushrooms, quartered
2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
1/4 cup flour
3 cups vegetable stock
1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp fresh thyme
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
salt + pepper

And for the topping:
1 stick butter (8 tbsp)
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz cheddar cheese, grated
5 tbsp milk, approximately

After everything prepared, you can preheat the oven to 375F.

Make sure the big pot you're using can go in the oven! Or use a fancy casserole thing that I don't have. Smiley

In the big pot, saute the onion and garlic in some olive oil until it just starts to turn brown. Stir in the chili powder and cook for another minute.

Add in your main veggies - potatoes, celeriac, carrots, mushrooms, and leeks. Cook for about 5 minutes, then stir in the 1/4 cup flour.

Add the stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, and thyme. Season generously with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Then cover the pot, and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.

While it's in there, you can make the biscuit topping! Sift the flour and baking powder together, and add the salt and butter. Work the butter into the flour with your fingers, then mix in half of the cheese. Add milk until the dough can hold together enough to shape.

Press the dough down on a cutting board to about an inch high, and cut it into triangles. You can get about a dozen. Brush them with a little milk.

Take the hot pot out of the oven and stir in the beans. Carefully lay out the triangles on top.

Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese with some salt and pepper, and bake (uncovered this time) for about 25 minutes until the topping gets golden and irresistible looking.

Oh my gosh look at that cheesy flaking goodness! It's hard to wait for it to cool down enough to eat!

If you enjoy veggie stews, cheese, and biscuits, you should for sure make this it is wonderful.
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