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51  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Halloween Placemats on: July 01, 2014 02:14:53 PM
I made these placemats for quaggy in the Halloween in June swap.  She had mentioned in her questionnaire that she'd enjoy a set of them.  They are all the same except for the central images, which all are inspired by vintage monster movies. 

Here is an 'action shot' from quaggy because I didn't think to get a photo of them in place on my table before I sent them (duh!)   Cheesy
52  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Living Off The Land on: June 19, 2014 10:06:30 AM
My husband and I have been feeding ourselves for a few years now and have learned so much in the process!  A few years before we began this adventure, we stocked up on how-to books so had some good book learning and reference materials on hand.  I've been putting food by and making soap for many years and have always had an herb garden so had a tiny bit of a background but no clue what we were getting ourselves into.  It's probably a good thing!  Our farm had two horses and a donkey with a very poor fence and small barn when we bought it.  Good fencing was one of our first expenditures, followed by a big barn built to our specifications (hay storage, feed room, tractor bay and lots of shelter space) a few years later.  

As far as farm animals go, we thought we'd start with chickens but actually found ourselves with two guardian dogs and three sheep one fine afternoon.  Two tiny goat kids came along a few months later.  Here are a few of our breeding stock.  

Our border collie Jack helps work our sheep.  He's trained to both voice and whistle commands.  He's amazing.  See the fading orange dots on the sheep's foreheads?  They all got vaccinations, hoof trims and health checks last week.  We corral them all together then mark them with stock markers as each is done to make sure no one was missed.  Having large animals means you have to learn to do a lot of things yourselves, it's not easy to get them to the vet.  My husband and I were both EMTs so have been comfortable splinting broken bones, administering shots and assisting with deliveries as needed.

We recently got a great pyrenees puppy Lizzy, who will grow up to be about 120 pounds and will guard our animals some day.  Right now, she's just a ball of energy.

We keep a few dairy goats that I milk and make cheese from.  My husband built my milking stand. Before we started this adventure, I took a three day farmstead cheesemaking course at NC State U and I learned a lot about cheesemaking from just reading books.  I also purchase milk from the grocery store for making cow's milk cheeses.  Not having a dairy breed of sheep hasn't kept us from trying to get sheeps milk, but it took three of us a half hour to get about a quart so it's only been attempted once.   Cheesy

Here's a long range view of our garden.  We're up to 14 raised beds now plus 4 inside the greenhouse.  We try to grow just enough of each thing for ourselves, and also try to keep all of the beds planted Spring through Fall.  The garden is surrounded by a fishing wire fence to help keep deer out.  We also have a separate in-ground area for potatoes and asparagus.  We save a lot of things to replant every year, like garlic, shallots, potatoes and vegetable seeds.  We also have an orchard with apple, peach, cherry, apricot and pear trees but have yet to get one piece of fruit out of it so have kind of given up.  Stoopid deer!

The greenhouse is used as a season extender. We're able to start tomato and pepper seeds indoors in January because we know we'll have the greenhouse available in April to move the plants into.  We've also overwintered cool crop vegetables such as carrots and kohlrabi with great results.  

Here's a view of a typical daily harvest from last Summer.  Tomatoes, hot peppers and shiitake mushrooms which we grow on logs.

This is what I harvested this morning.  A half a bed of shallots and some pickling cucumbers.

We also grow microgreens year round inside the house. We've dedicated a room just for that adventure.  This is our fifth year for those.  Of everything we do here, it's the microgreens that keep us at home for the most part.  They have to be watered twice a day.

We have two hives but lost our bees over the winter.  We plan to order more in December so should be back in business with honey next Spring.  Picking up bees is a pretty exciting day!  You drive ever so slowly with tens of thousands of bees in the back seat of your car.  

As you can see, we did eventually get chickens.  They arrive in the mail as 2-3 day old chicks and get moved into a brooder under lights until they have enough feathers to stay warm.  It's a pretty exciting phone call from the P.O. when chicks arrive.

My husband built a chicken tractor to raise chicks on pasture.  The goats think it's a toy.

If anyone would like advice on anything we do, feel free to shoot me a PM.  Or if you would like to know of a good book on a particular topic.  We still have that extensive library and refer to it often.   Smiley
53  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Alice In Wonderland Spool on: June 15, 2014 04:10:11 AM
I made this for PerfectlyBohemian in the Altered Spool Swap.  Alice in Wonderland was near the top of her list of themes.  I started poking around in my stash and realized I had a good start on some Alice related embellishments but couldn't figure out where to find a spool just the right size for what I envisioned.  I noticed some clearance polyester cord on clearance at WalMart and talked the salesperson into letting me have the spool if I bought the last of the cord, so for 90 cents I was all set!

I appliqued some butterflies on a bit of embellished dot fabric and that became the base background.  I added a white rabbit and 'drink me' potion.

There are also Alice playing cards in the garden.

And a lock and key amongst the flowers, butterflies and ladybugs.

I made the tables for the top, using a real pocketwatch face for one of them.  I made the macaroons and glazed cake out of polymer clay.  It's a little hard to see, but there's a mad hatter's hat under one of the tables.

A nice touch, the 'Curiouser and Curioser' locket on top of the spool opens to images of the White Rabbit and Cheshire Cat.  

Alice sits on another spool wrapped with fancy trim and beads.  
54  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Altered Spool Swap Gallery on: May 30, 2014 05:41:41 AM

Altered spool made by our own pottermouth!

Link to signup thread: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=433540

Swap stats: If your name is in red, you have sent. If your name is struck through, your partner has received. If your name is in green, you are sending late with communication. If your name is bold, you are late and not communicating and are very naughty.   Smiley = you have feedback;   Grin = you and your partner have successfully completed the swap

 GrinMissingWillow <> PerfectlyBohemian Smiley
 Grinmariak  Smiley <> Ramona Q Smiley
 Grin pottermouth  Smiley<> Killam Creative  Smiley
 GrinKnickertwist Smiley <> cackle  Smiley
 GrinEdelC  Smiley <> Smmarrt  Smiley
 GrinSonjaBoo Smiley <> rockingbearranch  Smiley
 Grincmarion3   Smiley <> whenindoubtsew  Smiley
 Grinlindyv321  Smiley <> quaggy  Smiley
 GrinHSG  Smiley <> hazelly  Smiley
 Grincrazyda79  Smiley <> goatgoddess  Smiley
 GrinLudi Smiley<> fancybutch  Smiley
 Grinalwaysinmyroom  Smiley<> rackycoo  Smiley
 Grinjillybeans  Smiley <> Mistress Jennie  Smiley

55  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Altered Spool Swap (MAIL BY 6/18/14) on: May 18, 2014 08:33:38 AM

Altered spool made by our own pottermouth!

Swap name: Altered Spool Swap
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: MissingWillow, co-organizer: HSG
Sign-up date range: May 18, 2014-May 25, 2014 (or until full)
Date to send item by: June 18  

Limited to a certain number of people? (optional): 24

Restricted to people who all live in the same country? No
If so, which country?

Additional Age requirement? Must be at least 18

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: Correct
- Will recruit a co-organizer or give all details to a Swap Moderator if this swap has more than 25 participants: N/A
- 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 18 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:
You will be altering a spool for your partner.  The spool itself must be the prominent part of the project, not just used as a peripheral element. There are many sizes of spools available, from those you would find in your sewing kit up to large cable reels.  To keep things fair, please don't use a spool larger than 6 inches tall.  

You will receive only one partner.  The idea behind this swap is to give you a simple, low-pressure craft swap that won't stress you out.  We want to see your best work, this gallery will be wonderful!

For those new to altered spools, here is link to a pinterest board - http://www.pinterest.com/missingwillow/altered-spools/.  There are many other versions if you'd like to do a search.  This is a "no extras" swap and there is a lot of time to craft, so make sure you do something spectacular!  Oh, and the secret word is  "I sent this questionnaire to both MissingWillow and HSG."

If this is your first swap please read: (https://www.craftster.org/swapsinfo.html) to find out how to ship your item and other details about participating in a swap.

Name of swap: Altered Spool 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 18 years old or, if not, that you have moderator approval(YES/NO):

1.My five favorite themes/ideas are: (Please include any holidays that you would like to receive spool art for and feel free to list more than five!)  

2. Do you have a pinterest that would help your partner with crafting for you?

3. What are your favorite colors?

4. Do you have any allergies?

5. Do you have any allergens in your home or craft area such as smokers or pets?

6. Is there anything you would NOT want to receive?

7.  Is there anything else at all that your partner or organizers need to know about you?

8.  Have you been in an altered item swap before? If so, who have you already been partnered with?

9. What's the secret word?


We reserve the right to refuse anyone who has a history of poor communication and/or late sending.

It is a requirement to post in the thread so everyone can keep up with announcements.
Please check into the thread regularly and communicate with the organizers if problems occur or you will be late.

PARTICIPANTS: (*needs to post in the thread before being "official")
1. MissingWillow
2. HSG
3. alwaysinmyroom
4. Mistress Jennie  
5. rackycoo
6. Knickertwist
7. cackle
8. fancybutch
9. pottermouth
12.Killam Creative
13. quaggy
14. whenindoubtsew
15. crazyda79
16. SonjaBoo
17. lindyv321
18. EdelC  
19. PerfectlyBohemian
20. goatgoddess
21. Ramona Q
22. hazelly
23. Ludi
24. mariak
25. jillybeans
26. rockingbearranch

Gallery   https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=433749
56  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Amy Butler Project Bag on: April 29, 2014 03:27:23 AM
I made this project bag for pottermouth in the most recent IYP swap.  I just completed an Amy Butler quilt top and had lots of lovely scraps left over.  I really like how it turned out, and can't wait to get the quilt finished!

If anyone would like to make their own, here is a link to my tutorial.
57  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Completed Projects / Harry Potter Napkins on: April 25, 2014 08:44:53 AM
I made a complete set of Harry Potter stitched napkins for pottermouth for IYP 25.  My daughter now, of course, wants a set of her own.   Cheesy

58  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Completed Projects / Botanical Kitchen Towels on: April 25, 2014 08:41:43 AM
I stitched these up for rackycoo in the most recent Invite Your Partner swap.  They are botanical raspberries and cranberries.  I think I need a set, too. 

59  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Super Exfoliating Melt and Pour Glycerine Soap on: April 01, 2014 04:27:01 AM
I've been dying to try some of the soaps containing crushed walnut shells I've seen on pinterest lately.  This winter has been really bad for dry skin so I thought I'd give it a try.  I didn't want to dull my Cuisinart by chopping up the shells up so decided to go for a little more chunky bar.  The peanut shells are leftover from my Floating Candle Tutorial and the hickory shells are from our yard.  This batch isn't scented.  For my next batch, I think I'll try a fragrance that reminds me of springtime.  Also, I won't use shells from salted peanuts, the soap kind of scratches and the salt isn't any fun.

60  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Floating Candle Tutorial on: April 01, 2014 04:25:15 AM
I have a special dinner coming up and wanted to make a fun centerpiece for the table.  I decided to make floating peanut candles, you can too!

Start with candle wax and wicks.  I used soy wax because it's fancy. 

The wick bottoms are too large to fit inside of the peanut shells so I took cutters to make them smaller.

Melt the wax in a double boiler.  I used a chopstick as a stirrer.  Once the wax is melted, carefully pour it into the peanut shells.  Once it cools trim the wicks and you are done!

Here's an action shot.  The whole process only took a little over an hour from start to finish. 
C & C welcome!
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