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1  Mothra power! in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by tillstar on: April 10, 2012 01:55:20 PM
The boyfriend is a massive fan of Godzilla and everything related, and particularly Mothra. I wanted to buy him a Mothra plushie for Christmas (something like this one: http://www.toyvault.com/Godzilla/Mothra%20-%20Large.jpg) but they are no longer being made, and if you come across one online it's a collector's items and thus stupidly expensive. So I thought, sure, I can make that. It was meant to be a belated Christmas present, as in I meant to make it during my holidays between Christmas and New Years. Now, more than three months later, please behold: Mothra!

I based the shape of the wings on some images of butterflies I found online that were roughly the right shape. The body is a based on a ball pattern (six leaf shaped segments), times six.

I drew the patterns with watercolour pens, scanned them and printed them on printable fabric. The wings have a layer of felt in the middle, plus wire around the edges to give some stand. The feelers and legs are wire tightly wrapped in wool.

There was quite a lot of trial and error (mostly error) involved in the making of Mothra and I ended up hand sewing most of it, because it's much too fine and fiddly for the machine, plus I didn't want to ruin my machine on all that wire. I was close to giving up a few times, but now I'm glad I didn't.

Some more pictures, hope you like!

And because Mothra is a little bit vain...

The boyfriend is quite pleased with his present I think. He is in the other room but from time to time I hear him should "Mothraaaa!"  Smiley

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2  Yummy muesli bars (with tutorial / recipe) PIC heavy! in Vegetarian / Vegan by tillstar on: January 30, 2011 11:34:35 AM
The boyfriend and I eat a lot of muesli bars, they are just such a good little snack to have in the office. But the nice ones are also quite expensive. And we have this New Year's resolution to produce less rubbish, and of course purchased muesli bars are all individually wrapped, so no good!

So I decided to try and make my own.

I googled a lot of recipes and tried a few different ways, and in the end combined everything into a recipe that works for us. Basic ingredients are oats and honey and then I add nuts and dried fruit and other yummy stuff.

And this is how they're made.

Ingredients (I'm German, so I'm using grams):

50 g butter or spread. I use soya spread but I've tried butter and it works just as well.
250 g oats. Mine are sort of medium fine but I guess you could mix fine ones and big ones.
50 g sugar
150 g nuts and seeds. For this batch I used chopped mixed nuts, sunflower seeds and linseed, but of course anything goes. If using linseed or sesame seed or anything similarly small, I would not use more than 30 g, otherwise the finished bars get quite crumbly.
50 g dried fruit - I like cranberries. I have also substituted the fruit and some of the nuts with a sort of tropical nibble mix - dried banana and pineapple chunks, coconut flakes and brazil nuts I think. Also nice!
150 g clear honey
Not pictured: 2 handful of puffed rice - adds a bit a volume to the mix
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp lime juice (or lemon)

Melt the butter / spread. Add the oats and stir until all the spread has been soaked up. Then add sugar.

Stir continuously. The sugar will start melting in the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring.

Add nuts, seeds, fruit and puffed rice. Stir.

When all the sugar is melted, add the honey. No picture of that as when I tried taking it, the oats started burning and then the honey spilled everywhere and it got a bit messy  Shocked

Stir until all the mix is evenly covered with honey. Add cinnamon and lime juice and stir that in as well.

The mixture will quickly start getting brown when the honey caramelizes. Don't let it burn! But don't take it off the heat too soon as it needs to caramelize for the bars to stick. Low heat and a lot of stirring (sorry, I keep repeating myself!) is the key.

When you've reached a good caramel-ish colour, pour the mixture on baking paper.

Now the tricky part starts. You want to compact the mix as much as possible to make the bars stick together - otherwise you're producing fancy muesli (not that that's not nice too  Cheesy ).

Put another layer of baking paper on top.

Squash the mix with both hands by putting lots of weight on. Careful, it's quite hot. I use an oven glove on one hand, though that makes it a bit harder to bring it into shape.

(The boyfriend took those.)

Next step you want to make sure the edges don't crumble away, so you sort of squeeze from the sides. Don't fold the mixture like you would do with cookie dough, that WILL make it crumble. Just press from the sides. I hope the photo shows it, it's a bit hard to explain...

(Looks like I have really stubby fingers in this one!)

Squash from top and squeeze from sides until you have a nice solid flat thing. Try and get the mix the same thickness in the middle and one the sides - around 1-1.5 cm, not less or it will be too fragile.

Now the patience bit. You have to let it cool completely before you cut it or it will break.

Usually the corners do crumble a bit, but after a bit of practice not so much any more. And it gives me an excuse to eat the broken bits straight away  Wink

Hope you enjoy. If anybody tries to do this, or has made muesli bars a different way, I'd like to hear your comments Smiley

Update January 2012:

Thanks Craftster for choosing my muesli bars for Best of 2011!

Ive been making those for a year now and I thought Id share my experiences.

- I now use a 28 cm non stick slightly buttered baking tray instead of just a sheet of baking paper makes a nice square shape, which is much easier to cut into bars.

- I then put the whole thing in the oven for about 20 minutes at a low heat (gas mark 2-3, maybe 150 degrees Celsius). Or I make lasagne for dinner and just put it in when the oven cools down it doesnt need to be precise.
This helps glue it all together better, I havent had any crumble away since.


- I have tried a few vegan batches with treacle instead of honey, it works just as well though I find I prefer the honey taste, treacle makes it very malty.

- I have done a nut free version too (because I forgot to buy any). I just used more oats.

- To make a less crunchy version I added some creamed coconut (this stuff: http://www.bluedragon.com/products/ingredients/creamed-coconut-block.aspx, though I buy the non branded verison in the asia shop - exactly the same, but much cheaper!). 200 gram (one pack) dissolved in 400 ml of boiling water, and then I use about a quarter of that. I add it after the honey / treacle. The rest can either be frozen in portions or used for curries. Only lasts a day or two in the fridge, even though it gets solid again.

This makes them much chewier, but obviously adds some calories. Nice though!  

- Chocolaty variety: Add a good table spoon of cocoa instead of the lime juice. Mmmh.

- Christmas variety: Cocoa and cinnamon or Christmas spices...

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3  Bike tube wallets in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by tillstar on: January 16, 2011 05:42:25 AM
The Boy has been complaining that his wallet was falling apart, and could I please make him a new one.

Obviously it should be manly, so no pretty fabrics and the like. I'd tried using that fancy canvas / truck tarpaulin stuff before and it's so hard work to sew through, plus it's not so easy to come by, so I didn't really want to use that again. 

Then I remembered that I recently changed both inner tubes on my bicycle and kept the old ones to try and do something fun with. A new project was born!

I used The Boy's old wallet for measurements. The beauty of bike tubes is that you can do open seams, which leaves much less margin of error (I'm not all that good with seam allowances!).

All in all, it took a little over an hour to make. I had another tube, so I made a second wallet. Mainly because bike tube is fun to sew. Like cutting through butter, only less messy.

Then I used some leftovers to make a triangular key chain pouch.

I want to put a mini bike repair kit in it, but I haven't found one small enough yet.

Finally I made a mini tool roll for my dremel attachments. Excuse the messy zig zag stitch. Sew first, cut later, or it won't go through the sewing machine easily...

I'm a bit obsessed I think.

The Boy seems to like his wallet by the way, he has been using it for more than a week now.

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4  Espresso cups (image heavy) in Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects by tillstar on: June 13, 2010 02:40:03 AM
My first post - and a project that I am a little bit proud of, I think it turned out rather nicely  Smiley

My boyfriend has recently discovered that he quite likes to drink espresso. We didn't have espresso cups, his birthday was coming up and I was lucky enough to find a set of white ones in a charity shop for next to no money. This is what I made, using Pebeo porcelaine markers:

Each cup stands for something he likes.
1. Music - and records in particular

The saucer is a record, so when you put the cup on the saucer it's like putting the arm of the record player on the record. Oh, and he likes monkeys.

2. Godzilla is not a monkey - demonstrating my shocking lack of knowledge on Japanese monsters, which he corrected soon after we met.

And another monkey.

Image sources (though I drew them on the cups freehand - never knew I was able to do that...)
Godzilla: http://www.eprintablecoloringpages.com/index.php?main_page=large_coloring_page&pID=27163&cPath=2255
Monkey: http://www.eprintablecoloringpages.com/index.php?main_page=large_coloring_page&pID=27163&cPath=2255

3. He likes Failblog. He also quite likes tea. Hence: Espresso FAIL!

(Thanks to Chimes for the idea of the tea bag in the cup: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=348782.0)

4. Me of course.

I'm German, and he is learning German. "Wunderbar" (meaning "wonderful") is one of his favourite words. Sometimes he asks me "what is this and that word in German?" and embarrassingly, sometimes I can't remember Shocked
When he asked me once what "humour" is this came out.

Of course I noticed too late that I spelled humour "humor", which actually IS the German word. Ho hum.

The boyfriend said he really liked them. What do you think?

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