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11  Hookers Only Swap - Round 2? in New Swap Theme Ideas by Mistress Jennie on: October 26, 2017 12:04:28 PM

Would anyone be interested in a round 2 of the Hookers Only Swap that happened back in 2008?  It looks like the previous organizer hasn't been on Craftster in a few years, but I'd be willing to organize.  The idea is to create items for crocheters (rather than crocheted items), and maybe include some extras like hooks, patterns, pattern books, yarn, etc.

Ideas for Non-Crocheted Items:
Hook Rolls
Stitch Markers
WIP tote bags or baskets
crochet themed tee shirt

The original was for 1 Medium crafted item, and 5-10 Smalls that could be a combination of crafted or purchased.  I'm open to either trying that as a base, or to altering that requirement based on interest from participants.  

Currently thinking doing this right after the holidays, as a gift to ourselves.  We all craft so much for friends and family, especially during the holidays, that sometimes it's nice afterward to work on something for us!
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12  Dragon Egg Bag in Crochet: Completed Projects by Mistress Jennie on: October 11, 2017 08:09:22 AM

I recently made this for the Back to Hogwarts Swap with patty_o_furniture.  I was inspired by her awesome Harry Potter themed family movie room, and all the geeky little handmade HP goodies she has decorated the room with.  I just happened to have a bunch of scale maile supplies in my jewelry stash, that I bought last year to experiment with, so I dug through my yarn stash and found a good color match of yarn.  I finished it with some leather drawstrings, and handmade glass pony beads leftover from making some dreamcatchers.  The pattern came from Etsy.  The yarn is Caron Simply Soft in garnet, and the scales are a pattern of dark red, light red, copper, gold, and black, and came from a combination of the Ring Lord and Fire Mountain Gems.  The pattern was easy to follow, and I would totally recommend it.  Just be sure to keep your stitches tight so nothing falls out of the bag!  Cheesy
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13  Creamy Spinach & Potato Baked Eggs (for two) - Vegetarian in Vegetarian / Vegan by Mistress Jennie on: October 11, 2017 07:47:21 AM
I've been getting Blue Apron boxes for a while, and I like that I'm able to mix vegetarian and carnivore recipes now.  But sometimes a tasty sounding recipe comes up for the 4 person plan, that I can't order because my husband and I are on the 2 person plan.  The other problem for me is that a lot of the vegetarian recipes contain tons of dairy that I'm not able to eat because I'm lactose intolerant.  So when a recipe for creamy spinach and potato baked eggs came up, I stared at it longingly, and decided I needed to find a way to alter and adapt the recipe for myself.  I started by replacing the softer (full of lactose) cheeses with hard aged cheeses (that are naturally lactose-free!), and the milk with a dairy-free alternative.  Then since I have a big strapping Midwestern husband, I upped the egg content to 2 per person, and served it with a loaf of crusty bread.  DH, who gladly eats whatever I put in front of him, but doesn't always *love* all my vegetarian creations, actually demolished his portion, sopping up every bit of creamy goodness with his bread, and then finished mine when I was too stuffed to eat anymore!  When I make it again, I might use a few less tiny potatoes, and just one egg for me.  It was warm and creamy and delicious, and perfect for a fall evening.  The texture of the spinach, onions, and sauce over the bread reminded me a lot of spinach and artichoke dip, something else I'm not able to eat anymore due to the presence of evil lactose in it. 

Creamy Spinach & Potato Baked Eggs

2-4 eggs (1-2 per person, depending on how hungry you are!)
1/3 cup shredded white cheddar
3 oz. milk of choice (I used cashew, but you can use soy, almond or dairy too)
1 tsp minced garlic
8 oz fresh spinach
1 sweet yellow onion, halved, then sliced thin
1/2 lb gold peewee or fingerling potatoes, sliced into 1/4" rounds
1.5 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
fresh thyme and chives (optional)
olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 450.

In a high sided pan or short stock pot, saut the spinach with a little olive oil, over medium heat, until wilted.  Transfer the cooked spinach to a mesh strainer and press out as much liquid as possible with the back of a wooden spoon.  Transfer to a cutting board and allow to cool slightly.

Rinse the pan, then add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Add the potatoes, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook them 5 to 6 minutes, until lightly browned.  Add the sliced onion, and cook 3-4 more minutes, until the onion is softened.  Add the minced garlic, and fresh thyme. 

Sprinkle on the flour, and 1/2-1 Tablespoon of olive oil.  Cook stirring frequently, for a few minutes, until the flour is lightly browned.

Add the milk and 1/2 cup water.  Cook 2 or 3 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is slightly thickened.  Add in the shredded cheddar, and the chopped spinach, stirring until everything is well combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Pour the filling into a baking dish.  (A pie plate or 8"-9" square baking pan will do fine.)  Use a spoon, or 1/3 cup measuring cup to create wells for the eggs to bake in.  Carefully crack the eggs, and pour them into the wells.  Season the eggs lightly with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the parmesan on top, sticking mainly to the filling, with just a little on the whites of the eggs.  Bake 13-15 minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks are cooked to your desired degree of doneness.

Serve with slices of crusty bread. 
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14  Re: ~*Harry Potter Craftalong - Yule Term 2017/18*~ Join anytime! in Craftalongs by Mistress Jennie on: October 08, 2017 12:35:37 PM
Class: CoMC
House: Gryffindor!
Project Name & Recipe Link: Caramelized Maple Onion Jam

Brief Description: Every year my friend Amber and I do a giant canning adventure where we make a bunch of recipes to give as Christmas presents.  We've been doing an onion jam recipe for a few years now that takes 3+ hours, and only makes about four 4oz jars.  This year we decided to try an alternate recipe, in the hopes we'd find one that took less time, but made more gifts.  This awesome recipe made nine 4oz jars, plus one extra 4oz jar as leftovers for my canning buddy & I to share the next day.  It's slightly more tart than our previous recipe, with the addition of apple cider vinegar, but absolutely delicious.
Project Picture:

Challenge: Detention October
House: Gryffindor!
Project Name & Recipe Link: Wine & Herb Jelly

Brief Description:  Sometimes our annual canning adventures can get expensive, especially if we decide on recipes that are made from out-of-season produce.  This year I decided to see what we could make with what we had on hand, to save some money.  I went through through my Pinterest board, where I found a recipe for wine & herb jelly, made from a bottle of white wine and fresh herbs.  Good thing I have a bountiful herb garden full of fresh parsley, thyme and chives, and a bottle of white wine a friend left here a few weeks ago!  I even had the pectin in my cupboard, and Amber had the jars, so this entire project was made from stash.
Project Picture:

Class: Flying
House: Gryffindor!
S.P.E.W.: The Welcome Blanket Project
Project Name & Page Link: Welcome Blanket

Brief Description: I created a giant granny square afghan for the Blanket Project, which will be given to an immigrant family to welcome them to the US.  It was very cathartic to work on something that will hopefully help them enjoy their new hearth and home.
Project Picture:

Challenge: Headmistress October - Pumpkin Juice
House: Gryffindor!
Project Name & Recipe Link: Confetti Pepper Jelly 2

Brief Description: I asked several friends what kind of homemade recipes they might like for Christmas, and a few mentioned loving pepper jelly.  I looked through a bunch of recipes and settled on this one because it was so bright and colorful, looking like red, orange, yellow and green confetti suspended in a golden honey jelly.  Pepper Jelly is something I did not grow up eating and had to ask people what to do with.  Everyone said to serve it poured over a block of cream cheese, with crackers during a party.  Hopefully it will perk up many a Christmas celebration.
Project Picture:

Class: History of Magic
House: Gryffindor!
Project Name: Pepper Jelly Round 1

Brief Description:  This is the exact same recipe as the one above.  There was just one little difference...  We screwed it up the first time around!  We got it all cooked, poured into jars, and then processed in the water bath...  before realizing that we had forgotten the pectin!  We googled a bit, and ended up cracking the jars back open, reheating it, adding the pectin in, re-sterilizing the jars, and re-processing them all.  It came out a bit darker than the second round, but did jell up just fine.  Very glad we were able to fix our own mistake.
Project Picture:

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15  Welcome Blanket - Giant Granny Square for the Blanket Project (with tutorial) in CHALLENGE 120 ENTRIES by Mistress Jennie on: October 08, 2017 10:40:35 AM

Lately I've been feeling like the world is going off the rails.  With mass shootings, neo-Nazis marching in the streets, the threat of a possible nuclear war, and the very deep political divides in our country, it has been hard to find hope.  As social media brings us a constant stream of the worst news the world has to offer, it has been difficult not to feel powerless and alone.  So in a conscious effort to put some more love and goodness into the world, I decided to participate in the Welcome Blanket Project and create a Welcome Blanket as a gift for an immigrant family as they arrive in America.  In case you are unfamiliar with the project, here is an explanation from their own website:

The proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico is almost 2000 miles long. Imagine if the massive distance of this wall was re-conceptualized and re-contextualized not to divide, but to include. Instead of wall, a concrete line, to keep people out, what if lines of yarn became 3,500,640 yards of blankets to welcome people in?

A welcome blanket is traditionally created to lovingly mark the arrival of a new person into the world. In the Welcome Blanket project, each handmade blanket is a physical manifestation of this celebration of new refugees and other immigrants: Welcome to the United States and your new life here! We are so glad you have arrived.

Their mission of inclusivity, hope, and love in the face of racism and islamophobia truly touched my heart, and I couldn't think of a better way to pour some more love into the world than to make a special gift for a stranger whom I'll probably never meet.  So I dug through my yarn stash, grabbed a crochet hook, and started in on a thick, squishy, warm, cuddly blanket, and tried to work my love and my hope for a better life for the person who receives it, into each stitch.  And since this challenge is about sharing more love, I've also included that pattern/tutorial for making a giant granny square afghan of your own, either to donate to the Welcome Blanket Project, or for friends and family in your own lives.

Much like my Mrs. Weasley Burrow Afghan and Nebula Afghan, this afghan is made by holding 2 strands of bulky weight (Lion Brand Homespun) yarn together, and was crocheted with a 12mm hook.  This results in a very thick blanket, that works up quickly, but you can also use the same method with thinner yarn and a smaller hook.  It will simply take more rounds to get a big enough blanket.  The ombre effect was created by swapping out 1 strand of yarn at a time, while leaving the other strand, so that the colors blend into one another.  It took 14.5 skeins of Homespun, 10.5 of which came from my stash!

Giant Granny Square Afghan

Suggested Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun
Hook: 12mm

Colors Used:
A. 2 skeins Opal (Bright Teal)
B. 1.5 skeins Waterfall (Light Blue)
C. 2.5 skeins Deco (Ivory)
D. 2 skeins Lagoon (Dark Teal-Green)
E. 1 skein Windsor (Grey Blue)
F. 1.5 skeins Edwardian (Grey)
G. 2 skeins Black
H. 2 skeins Tourmaline (Slate)

Create a slip knot.  With colors A & B held as one, chain 4; join with slip stitch in first chain to form a ring.

Round 1: Chain 3, 2 double crochet in ring, *chain 2, 3 double crochet in ring; repeat from * twice more, chain 2; join with slip stitch in top of beginning chain.

Round 2: Slip stitch in next 2 double crochet, slip stitch in first chain-2 space, chain 3, (2 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet) in same chain-2 space, *chain 1, (3 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet) in next chain-2 space; repeat from * twice more, chain 1; join with slip stitch in top of beginning chain. Slip stitch in next 2 double crochet.  Drop color A (Opal), and add in color C (Deco).

Round 3: Slip stitch in chain-2 space, chain 3, (2 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet) in same chain-2 space, *chain 1, 3 double crochet in next chain-1 space, chain 1, (3 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet) in next chain-2 space; repeat from * twice more, 3 double crochet in next ch -1 space, chain 1; join with slip stitch in top of beginning chain. Slip stitch in next 2 double crochet. Drop color B (Waterfall), and add in color D (Lagoon).

Round 4: Slip stitch in chain-2 space, chain 3, (2 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet) in same chain-2 space, *(chain 1, 3 double crochet in next chain-1 space) across to next chain-2 space, chain 1, (3 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet) in next chain -2 space; repeat from * twice more, (chain 1, 3 double crochet in next chain-1 space) across to first chain-2 space, chain 1; join with slip stitch in top of beginning chain. Slip stitch in next 2 double crochet. Drop color C, and add in color E (Windsor).

Round 5: Slip stitch in chain-2 space, chain 3, (2 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet) in same chain-2 space, *(chain 1, 3 double crochet in next chain-1 space) across to next chain-2 space, chain 1, (3 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet) in next chain -2 space; repeat from * twice more, (chain 1, 3 double crochet in next chain-1 space) across to first chain-2 space, chain 1; join with slip stitch in top of beginning chain. Slip stitch in next 2 double crochet. Drop color D, and add in color F (Edwardian).

Repeat Round 5, following Color Sequence, with 1 more 3-double crochet group on each side every round until afghan measures 50 in. square, or your desired size. If desired, add a row of single crochet along the outside edge to give a finished look, placing a single crochet stitch in each double crochet and each chain 1 space, and 3 single crochet stitches in each corner.  Fasten off.  Weave in ends.

Color Sequence:
Row 1: Opal and Waterfall
Row 2: Opal and Waterfall
Row 3: Waterfall and Deco
Row 4: Deco and Lagoon  
Row 5: Lagoon and Windsor  
Row 6: Windsor and Edwardian
Row 7: Edwardian and Lagoon
Row 8: Lagoon and Black
Row 9: Lagoon and Tourmaline  
Row 10: Tourmaline and Deco
Row 11: Deco and Waterfall
Row 12: Waterfall and Opal
Row 13: Opal and Edwadian
Row 14: Edwardian and Lagoon
Row 15: Lagoon and Black
Row 16: Black and Tourmaline
Row 17: Tourmaline and Edwardian
Row 18: Tourmaline and Opal
Row 19: Tourmaline and Waterfall
Row 20: Waterfall and Deco
Row 21: Deco and Deco
Row 22: Deco (Finishing row of single crochet)

Naturally, as soon as I had the blanket laid out nice and straight to take a picture of, my dog came running in and plopped herself down on top of it, because all blankets on the planet belong to her.  The face she is making came right after being told to get off of mum's newest creation.  
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16  Gilmore Girls Charm Bracelet in Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General by Mistress Jennie on: October 06, 2017 11:53:43 AM
Recently a friend asked me to make her a Gilmore Girls inspired bracelet.  I've only ever caught a few episodes of the show, so she chose the charms herself, and we worked out a color scheme based on a few iconic images from the show, the Luke's sign, the Dragonfly Inn sign, and a deep sky blue from many of the title cards of the show.  I really like how this one came together color-wise, and she seems to be thrilled with it.  Cheesy

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17  Re: ~*Harry Potter Craftalong - Midsummer Term 2017*~ CLOSED in Craftalongs by Mistress Jennie on: October 06, 2017 07:57:53 AM
~*End of Term Awards*~
There are a few honors to bestow.  Each term we give special awards to those who have proven their mastery of crafty magic by giving out the Hermione Award and announcing the newest members of the Slug Club. 

*Hermione Award*
The first is the Hermione Award, which is given to all of those who engage in charity crafting on behalf of S.P.E.W. 
Congratulations to rockmygypsysoul, PlaidPineapple, Inselaeffchen, jellybean89, & noodle-bug!

*Slug Club*
Next we honor those who made it into the Slug Club this term by crafting 25 or more projects! 
Congratulations to Moonflame, patty_o_furniture, Tiamatfire, ErinAquaheart, gaudiknight, edelC, noodle-bug, & Mistress Jennie!

(If you belong on this list and were accidentally left off, please PM Mistress Jennie so she may rectify the situation.)
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18  Re: ~*Harry Potter Craftalong - Yule Term 2017/18*~ Join anytime! in Craftalongs by Mistress Jennie on: October 04, 2017 12:32:27 PM
Note from the Headmistress....

In case some of you missed it, this month's site-wide Craftster Challenge is What the World Needs Now.  The challenge is "to craft something to gift or donate to someone else.  Maybe you will craft a gift for a friend or loved one?  Maybe will you craft something to donate to someone in need?  Maybe you'll just craft something to drop anonymously somewhere (painted rock, random act of kindness, etc.)?"  Entries must be posted by Oct 8, 11:59:59 Pacific Time, 2017. 

While this might be short notice to start a new project, I know that most everyone in our craftalong is always working on something for a loved one or for charity.  Since we really could all do with seeing some more love in the world around us, if you are working on something, I highly encourage you to post it in the challenge.   Kiss

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19  Re: ~*Harry Potter Craftalong - Yule Term 2017/18*~ Join anytime! in Craftalongs by Mistress Jennie on: October 02, 2017 02:06:44 PM
A new Detention Challenge has been posted!

As Libatius Borage repeatedly makes clear in Advanced Potion Making, good potioner always has a store cupboard full ingredients, so that they can whip up any necessary potion when an unexpected need arises.  As crafters, we also know that having a stash of supplies to work from means that we can often create a new project, simply with what we have on hand.  For this challenge please craft something entirely from stash, and when you post, be sure to tell us where some of the supplies came from. A zippered pouch made from the leftover cloth you used to make a wedding quilt you made for your sister?  Slippers made from the leftover yarn you used to make a hat and scarf for your neighbor? Bust that stash to make something amazing!

Remember, you can do any, all, or none of the Detention Challenges as they come up each month.  The goal here is always to be excited about our crafting!  Also please remember that you can submit ANY of the Detention Challenges at ANY time during the semester.  For example, you may turn in the October, November, or December's challenges in January.  Smiley
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20  Re: ~*Harry Potter Craftalong - Yule Term 2017/18*~ Join anytime! in Craftalongs by Mistress Jennie on: October 02, 2017 02:02:55 PM
Pumpkin Juice Challenge
October 1st-31st

Pumpkin juice is a beverage made from pumpkins that is popular throughout the Wizarding World.  It has been manufactured commercially since 1837, and is served in Wizard homes throughout the day at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well at special events such as the Halloween Feast and the Yule Ball.  The beverage is popular at Hogwarts and sisters Tina & Queenie Goldstein enjoyed pumpkin juice in their New York apartment in 1926. For this challenge please craft something to enjoy during your own Halloween celebrations such as a treat or a costume; something that can be enjoyed at anytime of day or night; something to bring to a celebration; or something inspired by the humble pumpkin.
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