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1  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Ferret toys on: June 15, 2010 07:40:33 AM
My partner in the recent Monster Swap has ferrets, so I made her some toys for them...

A little Yeti thing. Made from fur from an old costume, the face is felt. It rattles; the rattler is actually two soda bottle caps glued together, with a jingle bell inside.

And a little dragon! The shiny fabric is also from the same old costume; the wings are glittery felt. It's crinkly -- I washed a snack food bag, shredded it and stuffed it with the shreds. It worked out pretty well.  Grin

Both are all handsewn, no patterns - just freehand.
2  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Lycania the Werewolf (IMG OBESE!!) on: June 15, 2010 07:35:18 AM
Ladies n' gents, meet Lycania...

She was created for Zombina Skeleton for the recent Monster swap; she named her Lycania  Smiley

Front view... that silver-black fur is super soft.

Some face shots:

The face is sculpted from polymer clay, with some details painted in acrylic clay. Her eyes are glass marbles backed with glow in the dark clay - and yes, the eyes glow too!! All the piercings are jump rings with tiny silver beads glued on to represent CBRs. It's both sewn & glued onto the neck.
The mohawk is white fur I coloured with permanent pink ink, I think it glows under a UV light? I didn't have a good one on hand to really check..

Back shot to show off the tail...

Paws!! Pawpads are fleece (so are the insides of the ears), with needlesculpted toes. The claws on the hands are rubber clay, I wanted them a little flexible so they're less apt to break. Painted with acrylic, then both sewn & glued on.

She's 100% handsewn, and the pattern is all made from scratch. It could use a few improvements, like the crooked arms.. Undecided d'oh. But my partner loves her, and that's what matters!!

Here's how big she was... bye for now!
3  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / One Tiny Anime Thing on: June 01, 2010 06:35:52 PM
I can't wait for the next anime/manga swap, so maybe a OTT for anime & manga will tide me over...?

I can't organize though, someone else would have to step up to the plate for me  Tongue
4  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Exotic Pets swap on: February 24, 2010 01:34:10 PM
I couldn't organize, just throwing this idea out... perhaps an Exotic Pets swap?
Would anyone define "exotic" as non-domesticated (meaning ferrets, rabbits, etc are out)?

I'd pretty much count it to be all those "weird" critters, like reptiles, amphibians, toucans, invertebrates, spiny mice, possums, crows, foxes, wild cats (or hybrids), wolf hybrids, skunks, raccoons, degus, kinkajous, wallabies, llamas, monkeys, sugar gliders, arowanas ... maybe even chinchillas, saltwater fish, falconers or wild livestock like burros or mustangs?

My scaly kids could use some more love! And someday I'd love to keep a genet, a Savannah cat or a crow...
5  COOKING / Dessert / Pear Cake with Sea Salt Caramel sauce on: February 24, 2010 01:01:06 PM
Free recipe taken from Lund's grocery store, which I modified a bit to my own tastes.

1 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1 tsp cinnamon OR nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups raw cane sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 TBSP brandy (may use pear brandy)
1/3 cup milk
Ripe pear: peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1/3 inch chunks (I use half of a large Asian pear, or 3 Seckel pears)
1/2 cup wolfberries*

3/4 c raw cane sugar
1/2 c water
1/2 cup & 2 TBSP heavy cream
5 TBSP unsalted butter
1 tsp good quality sea salt (like fleur de sel)

*=wolfberries are also known as goji berries. they can be found, dried, at any Asian market with Chinese herbal ingredients. you could realistically substitute any other small dried berry - raisins, blueberries, cranberries - but I prefer wolfberries for their herbal value and tart flavour. Also note that unlike raisins & such, wolfberries have to be reconstituted; if substituting other dried fruit, skip the soaking step in the recipe below.
and YES, cane sugar is important (at least to me!) - I try to avoid beet sugar in my cooking.

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 9-inch round cake pan, and dust with smattering of flour. Mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a biggish mixing bowl. Set the wolfberries in a small bowl with 2 1/2 TBSP brandy to soak for at least 10 minutes.
2. Mix butter and sugar in a big mixing bowl and cream (easiest to use electric mixer on medium) until fluffy, about 3 minutes for a mixer.
3. with the mixer on low, beat the eggs in, one at a time. Scrape the edges of the bowl after each. Stir in 1 1/2 TBSP brandy. Stir in a third of the flour mix until incorporated, then add half the milk. Repeat, ending with the last bit of flour, and mix until it's just combined.
4. Drain the wolfberries and gently pat them dry with a paper towel. Add the berries and pear chunks to the batter and stir.
5. Scrape the batter into the cake pan and smooth the top out with a spatula. Bake until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out just barely clean, about 40-50 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then invert it. Gently flip it right-side-up to cool on a wire rack for at least one hour.

1. Mix sugar and water in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to boil. No, get that candy thermometer out of there, just watch it. Continue to let it boil until it turns amber-brown. Don't stir it. Resist. If some is turning darker before the rest (burning), just tilt the pan to move it about.
2. When the syrup is all amber & syrupy, turn the stove off and stir in the cream with a long wood spoon. When the bubbling has subsided, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter and salt until the butter is all mixed in. Transfer to a big heatproof pitcher (like a big Pyrex measuring cup) and let cool to "warm" before using. This well let the sauce thicken a bit as well.

1. Cut cake into wedges, and drizzle the caramel sauce over it. You can use a bunch if you want. You may also lick the plate. It's okay. I do. If you really want to get fancy, serve it with ice cream made with vanilla bean (the kind with black flecks!) - drizzle ice cream with caramel too.
2. If there's any leftovers, put the cake in a sealed container, or tightly wrap in plastic wrap, and store at room temperature. Keeps for about 3 days. The sauce can be left in its pitcher, cover in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge. Microwave to reheat.

(ps I also found it really delicious with ginger ice cream too)
6  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / Free Patterns: Dinosaurs, Werebeasts, etc on: February 24, 2010 12:07:55 PM
Don't know if these have been shared before, but didn't see them on the pattern list.

IsisMasshiro @ deviantART has shared a few free patterns:
Cat, 'Raptor, Tarbosaurus - I'm sure Tarbosaurus could make a T-rex too... includes links to finished patterns.
Slinky snake/lizard critter

and a few by Jarahamee @ deviantART, a bit rougher.
anthro/were-Vampire bat
7  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Little fat black cat on: February 15, 2010 11:55:39 AM

This little cat was my first practice run with Runo Dollmaker's ragdoll kitten pattern. The pattern makes the kitty's head jointed, but I left it static and just sewed it right onto the body. He's about 9" tall, the size of a real kitten...

blech, black things do NOT like camera flash!
He's made of fleece, with embroided toes & nose. I didn't have any safety eyes on hand, so his eyes are yellow craft foam with embroided pupils. I added eyelids too.

(excuse the junk in the background...)

Sorry for the blurriness, but I wanted to show off the seams... I'm really proud of how evenly they are lined up! even if his hind feet are a little deformed...  Lips sealed
This guy was also completely handsewn, took about 4 days of on & off work. I gave him to my friends that own a real fat black cat!
8  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / Problem with attaching limbs on: July 27, 2009 12:52:12 PM
I'm making a toy for a friend of one of her creations, and I want it to have jointed arms & legs. it's fairly small so I'm just putting buttons in the limbs to use as an "anchor" for thread to attach them. the material is felt.

but I'm having a helluva time getting the !&*(@)in' limbs attached tightly enough!! I've tied & retied them on about 3 or 4 times now. I'm squeezing the hips as hard as I can and pulling as tightly as I can on the leg-threads, and they fight tightly against the body.... then I go to knot them and they are loose and floppy suddenly.

to entice you to help, here's a picture:

she still needs arms, eyes and ears!
9  UNITED STATES / Nevada / Doll eyes? on: June 09, 2008 08:51:51 PM
Because Michael's and Jo-ann's have pretty poor selections... :/ is there any other place to get some decent doll/plush eyes, or at least a decent selection? i'm looking for eyes for poppets, plushies/stuffies and the like, and pretty new to Vegas, so still learning where everything is.

thanks in advance!
10  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Fleece ear hat on: May 25, 2008 04:26:59 PM
whoo, first post!
something i just recently completed for a snail mail/craft exchange community on LiveJournal. this is based off the person's cute griffin character, which has feather-fluff in the middle of her ears!

i couldn't find a pattern when i started, so it's all just free-hand, and 100% handsewn. i usually don't sew anything when avoidable, much less this much stitching hand-sewn; i'm not sure how long it took, i would pick it up and work on it for a few hours a day and then set it aside for a week.
the hem at the bottom is pretty uneven because i did that last, and i got kind of sloppy and rushed it. Tongue

anyway, here's the link:

i think it came out pretty good for my first hat, no pattern, and also the first project in years i've done that much handsewing on...

i'd never do it by hand again, though! :x
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