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1  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / SETTING UP the Harry Potter Craftalong ~ Yule Term 2018/19 - DO NOT POST on: September 16, 2018 11:52:48 AM

~*Yule Term HPC Staff*~
Headmistress Mistress Jennie*
Deputy Headmistress noodle-bug*

Gryffindor Head of House WhistleFish*
Hufflepuff Head of House Gaudiknight*
Ravenclaw Head of House FiberAlchemist*
Slytherin Head of House ErinAquaheart*

Alchemy Professor seeuudee*
Apparition Professor noodle-bug*
Arithmancy Professor  noodle-bug*
Astronomy Professor Inselaeffchen*
Care of Magical Creatures  ErinAquaheart*
Charms Professor Inselaeffchen*
Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor noodle-bug*
Divination Professor  FiberAlchemist*
Flying Professor  gaudiknight*
Herbology Professor  Moonflame
History of Magic  jenleahlynn*
Muggle Studies Professor  noodle-bug*
Potions Professor  Inselaeffchen*
Study of Ancient Runes  jenleahlynn*
Transfiguration Professor  ErinAquaheart*

Kitchen Elf Abbeeroad*
Pinterest Pixie seeuudee*
OWL/NEWT Examiner Abbeeroad*   
Witch Weekly Editor FiberAlchemist
2  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Life is Berry Sweet - Strawberry Swap Gallery on: September 13, 2018 08:33:56 AM

~*~Life is Berry Sweet - Strawberry Swap Gallery ~*~

~*~Berry Sweet Swap Partners ~*~

Mistress Jennie (est send 9/25) ---> kittykill
kittykill ---> Mistress Jennie

jemimah ---> gala_apples
gala_apples ---> jemimah

craftADDchick (est send 10/1)---> bethntim
bethntim ---> craftADDchick

thanate ---> craftylittlemonkey
craftylittlemonkey ---> thanate

Acadian Driftwood (est send 9/28) ---> SonjaBoo
SonjaBoo (est send 9/28) ---> Acadian Driftwood

Status Colors
Green = Sent
Orange = Sending Late with Communication

Magenta = Missing Package
Blue = Received (but haven't POSTED pictures yet)
Purple = Received & Posted Pictures

Strikethrough = Feedback Given
3  Craft Swaps / ACTIVE SWAPS WHERE SIGN-UP PERIOD HAS CLOSED / 'Life is Berry Sweet' Strawberry Swap (Signup CLOSED; Sendouts 9/24/18) on: August 25, 2018 02:36:07 PM

~*~Life is Berry Sweet - Strawberry Swap ~*~

Swap Gallery

Swap name: Life is Berry Sweet - Strawberry Swap
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: Mistress Jennie
Sign-up date range: August 25-31, 2018
Date to send item by: September 24, 2018

Limited to a certain number of people? (optional): No

Restricted to people who all live in the same country? NO

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: YES
- Is at least 18 years old: 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~*~
Life in 2018 can be frantic and hectic, but as Strawberry Shortcake so often reminded us in the 80's, life can be 'Berry Sweet' too.  This happy little swap will consist of 1 medium & 1 small crafted item, along with 1 purchased extra, all themed around the ever bright and cheerful little strawberry.  You may craft in any medium(s) you wish, taking your partners preferences into account.

~*~Wondering what you might make?~*~  
There are tons of strawberry crafts out and about on the web, but here's a few of my favorites right here on Craftster: pottermouth's Berry Gathering Apron , lindyv321's Tiny Stitched Strawberry, Acadian Driftwood's Strawberry Jam & Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate, smittenheart's Strawberry Soap, derscroot's Stenciled Strawberry Shoes, or my Summery Strawberry Dishcloths.  And because it's too cute not to share, how about the cute zippered pouch and the strawberry pillow from this post over on sewdelicious.com.au, or the adorable strawberry mini quilt she received in return?  

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


Name of swap: Life is Berry Sweet - Strawberry 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 16 years old: (YES/NO)

What are your favorite crafts to make?
What are your favorite crafts to receive?
What are your favorite hobbies outside of crafting?

What is your style? (Hippy, Shabby Chic, Boho, Modern, etc.)

Do you have any favorite berries besides strawberries?

Are you a fan of Strawberry Shortcake?  (the character)

Are you a fan of puns?  (Things like 'Life is berry sweet')

Is there anything you are especially in need of or would really love?  

Is there anything you would NOT like to receive?

Tee shirt size?

Do you wear jewelry?

Do you enjoy scented items, such as candles, soaps, etc.?

Do you like strawberry flavored things?

Since this swap is inspired by an edible item, any food allergies or intolerances?



Do you or anyone in your home smoke?
Do you have any pets or allergens in your home?
Do you have any allergies?

Do you have a Pinterest?


Also, remember to read the Swap Info Guide to find other rules about participating in a swap.
4  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Strawberry or 'Life is Berry Sweet' Swap? on: August 20, 2018 11:19:13 AM

I was scrolling through Instagram the other day, and noticed that BigBangMomma mentioned joining a Strawberry themed swap on another craft platform.  All I could think was 'Why aren't I in that?!?!'  I've always loved strawberries, not only to eat, but as a motif in crafting too.  And having been a red headed child in the 1980's, I'm a fan of old-school Strawberry Shortcake, with her happy dessert-filled world, and sweet sentiments like "Life is berry sweet". 

Life might not always be as perky and carefree as those old cartoons, but I think we could use a bit of that happiness and joy in our lives these days, so I propose a Strawberry Swap of our own.   I'm thinking a sweet and simple swap of 1 medium & 1 small crafted item, along with purchased 1 extra. 

Wondering what you might make?  There are tons of strawberry crafts out and about on the web, but here's a few of my favroties right here on Craftster: pottermouth's Berry Gathering Apron , lindyv321's Tiny Stitched Strawberry, Acadian Driftwood's Strawberry Jam & Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate, smittenheart's Strawberry Soap, derscroot's Stenciled Strawberry Shoes, or my Summery Strawberry Dishcloths.  And because it's too cute not to share, how about the cute zippered pouch and the strawberry pillow from this post over on sewdelicious.com.au, or the adorable strawberry mini quilt she received in return? 

5  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Black Bean & Caramelized Onion Tacos (Vegetarian - w/ Vegan friendly options!) on: July 31, 2018 09:51:35 AM

This recipe is easy, fast, and doesn't heat up the kitchen too much in the dead of summer.  Mostly chopping and stirring, with just a bit of time in a skillet.  Happy (and healthy) Taco Tuesday!

Black Bean & Caramelized Onion Tacos with Lime Marinated Zucchini

1  can black beans
1  large sweet onion
6  flour tortillas
1 Tbsp taco seasoning (or a mix of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cilantro, & Mexican oregano)
1  lime
1  zucchini
1 Tbsp  light brown sugar
2 oz  aged sharp cheddar cheese (or vegan cheese substitute of choice)
cup vegan sour cream substitute (or real sour cream if you want)
1 avocado
olive oil
salt & pepper

Start by remembering that today is Monday, aka your husband's D&D night, and that you need to have made & finished eating dinner by 6:00 pm, so he can go slay demigorgons or something.  Decide that vegetarian tacos are the way to go, and pull out the ingredients.  Realize that you're going to need some help to get this done on time, and put on some James Brown to help get you moving.  I recommend "Get Up Offa That Thing".  

Prep the ingredients:  Zest the lime, then slice in half.  Quarter the onion, then slice about 1/4" thick.  Halve the zucchini lengthwise; then cut into thin half moons.  Grate the aged cheddar cheese on the large side of a box grater.  Drain and rinse the black beans.

Start the filling:  In a nonstick skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium.  Add the sliced onion and season with salt & pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 3-4 minutes.  Lower the heat to low, add the light brown sugar and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until golden and soft.  

While the onions caramelize, place the zucchini in a bowl with a light drizzle with olive oil, the juice of half the lime, and season lightly with salt & pepper.  Stir every few minutes, while getting on with the rest of your taco goodness.  You are the queen of multi-tasking.  

Realize that your James Brown song has ended, and ask Alexa to play you Brick House by the Commodores.  Heck yeah, you are kicking tonight's butt!

Go back to the skillet of onions, and add the beans, 1/2 cup of water, and the taco seasoning. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally and mashing the beans lightly with the back of a spoon, 7 to 9 minutes, or until thickened and the beans have slightly broken down. Turn off the heat; season with salt & pepper to taste.

While the beans cook, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream substitute, lime zest, the juice of the other lime half, 1 Tbsp of olive oil, and season with salt & pepper to taste.  

Wrap the tortillas in dampened paper towels and warm in the microwave for 15-30 seconds.  Or warm them in another skillet if you dislike microwaves.  But I for one, ain't got time for warming individual tortillas or washing extra pans!  The crafts, the crafts are calling....  Finally, slice the avocado at the last minute, because you almost forgot about it.

Assemble the tacos: place a schmear of the lime cream on the bottom of each tortilla, then a scoop of the the black bean & onion filling, tuck the avocado slices along the sides, and top with the shredded aged cheddar. Serve with the marinated zucchini on the side.  Watch your meat-eating Midwestern husband happily destroy his veggie tacos, and know you are victorious.  Wish him luck in his D&D game, while not seeming like you are shoeing him out of the living room so you can crochet & Netflix with your puppy.  
6  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Scrappy Shawls for Alice's Embrace on: July 27, 2018 02:36:16 PM
The awesome ladies of the Crochet Shawl-Along have inspired me to stash bust out a few scrappy shawls from my bits and bobs of Lion Brand Homespun.  The pattern is the Yarrow Triangle Scarf.  These two will go to a charity called Alice's Embrace, that provides shawls and lap blankets for Alzheimer's patients. 

7  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Celtic Tree of Life Sun Catcher on: July 25, 2018 10:49:49 AM

Recently I had the good fortune to be partnered with Wulf in the Use the Good Beads Swap.  My initial idea was to make him a Tree of Life art quilt, but after some discussion, Wulf revealed he didn't actually have any wall space for hanging one, but suggested that he did need a table mat for his dining room.  So I went off on that adventure.  But there was also a throwaway comment he made, about not wearing jewelry, which is one of my favorite crafts to make, and it stuck in the back of my head.  How could I, a jewelry maker, make him some sort of jewelry for his HOME, rather than for him personally? 

This started to ferment in my brain, spiced with a bit of the previous desire to make something with the tree of life, and resulted in the idea to make him a sun catcher for his dining room window.  The tree was created with artists jewelry wire in light gold, bronze, & copper, with silver wire used to fill the dead space between the branches and roots.  Hanging amid the branches is a Swarovski crystal crescent moon.  Above and below the tree are emerald green Czech glass rose beads, and at the bottom is a Asfour crystal pendant.

I thought this would be a quick last-minute addition to the swap package, but it actually took much longer than I planned.  The wire I used was made of two strands of wire twisted together, resulting in thicker wire, that was a bit harder on my fingertips as I twisted it around the metal ring, and twisted it into the truck and branches.  As for technique, I read several tutorials online, then mixed them all together to get the effect I wanted.  I forgot to measure the finished piece, but the tree is either 5" or 6", the green roses are about 1", and the prism pendant is just over 2" long.

8  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Starbuck's Pink Drink - Low-Cal Vegan Version! on: July 25, 2018 10:32:37 AM

Terrible confession:  While I am a 30-something white girl with a large collection of scarves, I'm not much of a Starbuck's fan.  I know, I sort of fail at being a Millennial.  I'm not a coffee drinker, I'm lactose intolerant, and I dislike sweetened beverages that make my teeth feel fuzzy.  Sad

But that doesn't mean I don't see the appeal of those fancy coffeehouse drinks, because I do.  Every time I pass a Starbuck's poster advertising fantastic sounding concoctions of caramel and cream, or magical unicorn beverages, etc., I'm tempted.  So not being a Starbuck's fan, I missed their 'Pink Drink', until Pinterest felt the need to point out several 'do-it-yourself' versions of it last week.  I came across one that seemed perfect for me, the Healthy Pink Drink on 40 Aprons.  I headed over to Target for the Perrier strawberry sparkling water, and the freeze dried strawberries, breezing right past that Starbuck's kiosk on the way out, convinced I was about to make myself something much better than they could offer.  And boy was I right!

This was light, refreshing, and not a sugar bomb that would leave you feeling lousy later.  Somewhat like a strawberry egg cream.  Smiley  I did end up tweaking her recipe though, so here's my version.

Jennie's Modified Vegan Pink Drink

Freeze Dried Strawberries
Perrier Strawberry Sparkling Water
Crushed Ice
Pink Food color (optional)
Sweetener (optional, I tried it with Rose simple syrup, but prefer it unsweetened)
Milk or Creamer of choice

If you want any sweetener, pour some in the bottom of the glass.  1 Tablespoon of simple syrup should be more than enough.  Next pour a scant 1/4 cup of freeze dried strawberries in the glass, and top with half the seltzer, allowing the berries to rehydrate and dye the beverage pink. 

After a few minutes, take a peek and decided if it's pink enough for you.  If you want it pinker, add 1/2 drop of food coloring.  I do this by squeezing the food color bottle gently, and dabbing a bit on a clean (reusable!) straw, then stirring it in. 

Now add some crushed ice to hold the berries down in the beverage.  Next pour on the remaining seltzer.  Finally top with a splash of your favorite milk or creamer substitute. 

Personally, I liked the flavor of Nutpod's Vanilla Creamer, but the texture of Silk Cashew Milk.  The Nutpod's creamer tended to separate a bit, requiring you to stir every time you take a sip.  The cashew milk stayed evenly distributed, but since mine is plain it lacked the vanilla flavor.  Overall I'd describe it as a grown-up version of the strawberry Quick you might have drank as a kid, but lighter and more refreshing.  Creamy, fruity, but not overwhelmingly sweet.  A lovely pick-me-up on a hot summer afternoon. 
9  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Sari Silk Ribbon Bowl on: July 25, 2018 09:44:37 AM

After making a Mandala Tablemat for Wulf in the Use the Good Beads Swap, I was feeling guilty about having bent the swap rules.  Technically the yarn to make the mandala didn't come from MY hoard, so I used one of the yarns that was in my stash, to crochet a bowl.  It's made from a ribbon yarn, created from recycled silk saris, by recycling worn out clothing (saris), keeping the textiles from ending up in a landfill, and at the same time giving fair wages to women & girls in India and Nepal, allowing them to work from home.  Both the yarn and the pattern are available From Darn Good Yarn.  (Bonus, if you buy the pattern it comes with directions for both knitting and crochet.)
10  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Sari Silk Mandala Tablemat on: July 25, 2018 09:44:05 AM
I recently had the fun of being partnered with the wonderful Wulf, in the Use the Good Beads Swap.  The emphasis was to use your most treasured craft supplies that you've been hoarding for years, always saying 'I need to wait till I have the most perfect, special use for them!'  In talking to Wulf, he mentioned needing a mat for the center of his dining table, so I turned to my stash of silk sari yarn.  Sadly, none of the yarns in my stash were working just right for what I wanted to make, so I actually bent the swap rules, by doing a yarn trade with someone on Ravelry.  So I did use a precious material that had been hoarded, it just hadn't been hoarded by ME.  (Don't worry, I made up for it with a second project, a fiber bowl.  My inner Hermione is still afraid I'll be expelled from life for breaking an arbitrary rule.)

I actually wrote my own pattern for this one.  It's crocheted with 1.5 skeins of silk sari yarn from Darn Good Yarn.  It's made by recycling worn out clothing (saris), keeping the textiles from ending up in a landfill, and at the same time giving fair wages to women & girls in India and Nepal, allowing them to work from home.  It might look tiny, as doilies are usually made with delicate lace weight yarn, but this one is actually a heavier worsted weight, so it actually measures 17" across.  

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