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21   / FIBER ARTS / Meet Our Featured Artist in Fiber Arts - Belladune! on: March 31, 2016 07:54:52 AM
Tell us a little about yourself
I am first and foremost a mother to three beautiful wild children, and a wife to a wonderful man.  Our home is also occupied by three cats a dog and some fish. We (my husband and I) run a plumbing company in a tiny little village (that morphs into a large town in the summer months. Whoop Tourism!), and are involved in many local organizations (but not the same ones.. can you imagine?! we'd be with each other 24/7!   Shocked )   I've always been crafty, and though my passion for making things has waxed and waned over the years I can't imagine a day without some sort of making.

How did you get started in fiber arts?
It's all Craftster's fault.  Wink The story goes like this: One day I got it into my head that I ought to give cloth diapering a try. I was looking at various forums on the subject and having already acquired mad skills in sewing I thought I'd be better off making my own diaper covers. That lead me to a cloth diaper pattern here, and all the wonders that are hidden within these many many pages and projects.  A gorgeous yarn popped up in the Recent Posts thumbnails and I clicked, wondering what they made with it.  Well, blow me over, they made THE YARN. Mind blown, and fingers itching, I bought a drop spindle and some wool the first chance I got and I was hooked. Down into the fibery rabbit hole with me! Now I spin, felt, dye, and more.  Funnily enough, I never did make a cloth diaper cover...


What inspires you?
The medium itself.  The possibilities that wool and fibres present are endless.  The use of resists in wet felting, using the texture of the wool to create interesting yarns, the sculpting process of needle felting... that's just the tip of the iceberg, and I've only managed to cover maybe 1/4 of what's seen above the water.


Do you have a creative philosophy?
I suppose I do. Create something everyday, in any medium, even if it's not your preferred.  Making something often leads to the next idea of what to make or another iteration of the same thing in a different medium. Because slowly it becomes a need not just a want. And it doesn't matter if it's hideous, just make it. Keep going and see it through, you may surprise yourself in the end.

Do you have any advice for someone interested in getting into spinning?
Dive in.  Run out and  get a spindle. Or heck, make one from CD's. You don't need a teacher.  There are tutorials here, and all over the place on the internet.   Make mistakes, make something that resembles yarn, and save it. Keep practicing and go back to that first ever proto-yarn and be in awe of where you started.

What is the favorite project you've ever posted?
Just one?! Such a toss up... I'm torn between my crafty Momma cupcakes, my Snailtaur (or more accurately Rlynns.. He was a swap gift!) and my Secret Keeper. Oh! and The Yarn That Craftster made!


Besides Fiber Arts, what other boards on Craftster would we find some of your work?
You can find me on the cooking boards, knitting & crochet boards... embroidery/needlework... sewing... I even played with clay a few times.. And I think there may be one or two of my projects in More art less Craft.. events and holidays.  I certainly don't practice craft monogamy.


What is your favorite project on Craftster that's made by someone else?
I love all the stumpwork embroidery pieces.


What is your favorite spinning method?
Woollen! Because it makes soft fluffy springy yarn.

Needle felt vs. Wet felt?
It really depends! I love both for different projects.

If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
You have time. There's always time for things you want to do, you just need to notice that you have control over it.

22   / KNITTING / 2016 Featured Projects in Knitting on: March 21, 2016 03:14:51 PM
Here's a great start to 2016 featured projects from our knitting board!

Harry Potter Inspired Hat and Mitts by raeonix

Sheep Socks...uh, NOPE... by alwaysinmyroom

23  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Discussion and Questions / 2016 Featured Projects in Machine Embroidery on: March 08, 2016 03:03:41 PM
Here is a list of our current 2016 featured projects in machine embroidery.  Thanks to everyone who contributes to this section of Craftster!

Family Portraits by lindyv321

Free Motion Bunny Embroidery by pottermouth

Machine Embroidered Hoop Art by Nicc79

Hagrid's Hut by pottermouth

Always Machine Embroidered Hoop  by lindyv321

Owl Embroidery by alwaysinmyroom
24  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / A Tiny Tea Room on: March 04, 2016 08:00:46 AM
I had a small box and was inspired to turn it into a tea room, complete with a pretty little pink floral tea set and the perfect sentiment, "Where there is tea there is love".

Extra cups hang from hooks on the wall.  I constructed the cake stand from a metal bead and a stamped metal embellishment.  The cake is molded from paper clay and dusted with glitter 'sugar'.  The lemon slices are nail decor and the sugar cubes were made from polymer clay. 

This project has inspired me to make a series of miniature tea rooms.   Smiley
25  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / A Miniature (Actual) Bakery on: February 17, 2016 02:15:28 PM
Before we bought our farm almost 10 years ago, we lived in Cary, NC and our favorite local business was La Farm Bakery, an authentic french bakery within walking distance of our house.  About five years ago we started running into the bakery owner at food and wine festivals, where he was doing baking demonstrations and my husband and I were spit roasting lamb.  He's the nicest, most generous guy and I was inspired to surprise him with a miniature replica of his business.

I included a display of his cookbook, A Passion For Bread.  It's fantastic!  The pastries were made from polymer clay and paper clay.  The bottom shelf holds his bags of hearth baked granola, his scone mix and bags of the coffee he carries.  The counter is the base of a miniature china cabinet.

I've literally had that miniature baker's rack for at least 30 years, waiting on the perfect project.  The breads are made from paper clay with acrylic paint and chalk highlights.

I grabbed a few photos of the inside of his bakery, to show what I used for reference.  

I had to include a photo of his signature whole wheat sourdough boule with a butter knife for scale.  It's to die for!  If you'd like to check out his website, it's www.lafarmbakery.com
26   / MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Miscellaneous Featured Artist, PerfectlyBohemian! on: January 20, 2016 01:12:43 PM
We've long admired PerfectlyBohemian's gorgeous nature-inspired creations here and are thrilled to recognize her as our latest featured artist for the Miscellaneous category!

How long have you been crafting? What's the first thing you remember crafting? 
I've been making art since I was 10 years old. That is probably also the same age I was when my childhood neighbor started teaching me about sewing. I remember the first projects she worked with me on were making pajama shorts with plaid seersucker in bright colors.

What's your favorite media to work with? 
My favorite media changes almost yearly. Some of my favorites still are fabric, wool roving, and lately, yarn.


What inspires you? 
Nature is my biggest inspiration. I love being outside, watching for birds and other animals, and . My favorite craft themes usually incorporate elements of nature.


Do you have a creative philosophy?   Don't spend too much time striving for perfection. Focus more on pouring your love and care into a project (and getting it done before that birthday, holiday, deadline, etc. Wink). A minor flaw will only serve to remind people that your craft is handmade, and truly appreciative people, will never be bothered by it.

What's your favorite creation you've posted on Craftster?   It's hard to pick a favorite of all time because I feel like I have really grown and expanded my creative resume since joining Craftster, and all the old things still represent a special time of my creative learning. For the longest time, I was really proud of the two art dolls that I made almost 10 years ago and were the first things I posted on Craftster

 I don't consider them to be my master pieces, but when I made them, that's when I really started crafting outside the box. I'm also really proud of the diaper bag I made for a cousin in 2011. Again, not a masterpiece, but that's when I started paying more attention to details in sewing, like top-stitching. People even thought it was store bought - I still haven't decided if that is an insult or a complement. Also, sadly, that bag was stolen from my cousin. My most recent favorite though is Mr. Hare that I made for Cackle in the IYP swap. He's a nearly life-sized posable critter that I needle-felted to life. I just wanted to play with him in the woods, taking a bunch of pictures, but alas, he had to go to his forever home with someone else Wink

What's your favorite item on Craftster created by someone else?   In 2010, Phizzychick posted a Fairy Godmother Cabinet that really inspired me. I still look back at it occasionally when I'm trying to make fun altered stuff. All the details and knickknacks are amazing. It's like looking at an I Spy book trying to find all the magic hidden inside the photos! Smiley https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=332796.0

On what other Craftster boards can we find items that you've posted?   Needlework; Fiber Arts; Knitting; Purses/Bags/Wallets; Home Sweet Home; Toys, Dolls and Playthings; Paper Crafts; Image Reproduction Techniques; More art, less craft; and probably a few others.

Tell us more about your username!: In middle school I used to watch lots of movies with my best friend, and our most favorite was Moulin Rouge. We watched that thing so many dang times that we could probably have performed the movie ourselves back then. One of the themes of the movie was Bohemian ideals, and as an young, aspiring artist, I wanted to be "Bohemian" - of course, not the kind that is literally a person from Bohemia; we are talking about the unconventional artist. The Bohemians in Moulin Rouge just wanted to make art and write and not be held down by the fancy, rich people. The funny thing about being "perfectly" Bohemian, is that there's nothing really perfect about being unconventional, now is there? So any Bohemian can be perfectly Bohemian.
27  Category Challenges / Cooking: Challenge Entries / How to Decorate Cookies Like a Pro on: January 07, 2016 01:33:19 PM

Cackle and I have an annual cookie decorating get together right before the holidays.  This year, we decided to try edible wafer paper decals and were thrilled at how they came out!  

We ordered the decals from Fancy Flours (www.fancyflours.com).  This is how they come, in sheets.  Just cut around the images and set them aside for adhering to the cookies.  

The great thing about this process is you can use your favorite sugar, shortbread, gingerbread or butter cookie recipe.  Whatever you usually bake for decorating during the holidays.  

We used Cackle's royal icing recipe (of course)!
Royal icing recipe....
4 cups confectioner's sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
7 tablespoons water

She posted a great tutorial on how to make it back in 2011: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=380065.0

Outline where you will be placing your images then flood the center with more royal icing.

We let them sit overnight uncovered so the icing would harden.

Adhering the cut outs is super simple!  Just paint the back of your image with corn syrup and place it on the iced cookie.  Blot carefully with a paper towel to make sure the image lies flat.  That's it!

Here they are all awaiting final embellishment.  

I finished mine off with some stiffer royal icing squiggles and candy dragees.  This was the complete set of the 12 Days of Christmas that went to a friend who is a true cookie monster.  She loved them!  She kept saying "they're too pretty to eat, but I'm going to eat every one of them".   Cheesy

28  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Witch's Bookshelf Placemats on: October 14, 2015 07:04:07 AM
Ludi requested two placemats in the Mini 13 Days of Halloween swap, and I was inspired to make them to represent a section of a Witch's bookshelf.  I used my embroidery machine for the book lettering "Advanced Potions" and "Herbology".  I included a sparkly crystal ball on a skull stand, a container of cobweb powder and a jar of red licorice.  Even witches like red licorice!

This witch apparently has the same taste in literature as Ludi.  She's reading "Titus Groan", one of Ludi's favorite books.  She currently has a spooky textbook open on an eyeball bookstand. 

These were tons of fun to make.  I've been toying with the idea of a witch's bookshelf quilt for a while.  This was a great starter project!
29  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Witchy Workroom on: October 14, 2015 06:52:53 AM
I made this altoid tin for Ludi in the Mini 13 Days of Halloween swap.  She likes miniature things and I figure this might look good in her cabinet of curiosities.  The giant worm lurking under the work table glows in the dark.

There's a portrait of her favorite needlework artist Ernest Thesiger on the wall. 
30  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Super Simple Pickled Peppers on: October 01, 2015 12:45:22 PM
I spent about an hour this morning pickling jalapenos from our garden.  It was so easy, I thought I'd share the process with you guys.  We use pickled jalapenos in a lot of stuff around here like chili, breakfast burritos and all sorts of Mexican dishes. 

We grew a bounty of peppers and garlic in our garden this year in raised beds.  Most of the peppers we grow are too dang hot to consider pickling but our jalapenos are outstanding and need to be preserved.  This is my second batch so far.

The ingredients are just too simple.  Peppers, vinegar, water and garlic.  I also added a habanero to each jar but that's totally optional. 

The ratio is 3 parts vinegar to one part water and I always eyeball the total amount of liquid needed for the peppers we have on hand.  I ended up with 5 and a half pints of pickled peppers for this batch and I used 4.5 cups of vinegar to 1.5 cup of water.  Before we figured out this gardening stuff, I would pickle a single jar at a time (I'm retired, I have the time) so I know this is totally scaleable. 

I sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for 10 minutes and while that is happening, I brought the water and vinegar mixture to a boil.

After fishing the hot jars out of the water bath, I put a garlic clove, a whole habanero in each jar and filled the rest with sliced jalapenos. 

Then I poured the hot vinegar/water mixture on top until it filled the jar to about 1/3 inch from the top.  Screw the sterilized lids on top and put them back in the water bath.

They gently boil with the lid on for 10 minutes.  Take the lid off, take the pot off the heat and remove them after 5 minutes.  Store in your pantry just like you would the store bought kind. 
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