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61  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / BBT Soft Kitty Apron on: February 17, 2013 11:50:40 AM
My partner in a swap was a Big Bang Theory fan so I decided to sketch out and stitch up this:

The pink and gray stripes are appliqud using this method, more or less. Since they're such small pieces I didn't cut out the backs. I really like the clean-edge finish and especially the no slipping while sewing! The eyes and mouth are painted on with a fabric pen.

The pockets, edges covered with bias tape. All the dark gray is bias tape; the waist is well interfaced for stability (and sewn over the doubled light gray.)  Smiley

The skirt is a fraction of a circle so I cut a facing for the hem (no gathering to fit! And it can be kinda deep! Yay!) Kitty's face is fully lined.

I haven't gotten into the show so apologies if I did anything horribly wrong with my apron interpretation of soft kitty- like, I don't know, if the lack of whiskers means it isn't soft kitty but evil kitty or something. I think I did okay, though!
C&C always welcome.  Smiley
62  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Snow Angel on: January 01, 2013 02:34:34 PM
Happy New Year!

For a swap I made a snow angel hoop inspired by one I saw on Pinterest.

blurry full view

close up

close close up (Why does my camera like close ups so much? No other setting seems to work as well as often.)


a fairly rare blurry close up of the boot tassel french knots

the back, finished with felt

just because I like photo collages

I used crayon tinting to color the picture then added the accents and outlining. The "snow" is felt. I made a similar one for a previous swap...

...and the more recent one went a lot smoother! I'm learning! That's always good. On that note, I always appreciate c&c.
Thank's for looking!
63  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Dimensional fairy tale in plain-paper-box-to-shadowbox on: December 22, 2012 08:00:37 PM
Paper crafting scares me: I have next-to-zero-confidence in myself to come out with anything decent. So, when something turns out half-way decent (according to my standards which, as you'd expect, aren't very high) I'm pretty happy.

I made this for a swap partner based on the fairy tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon". In it (spoiler alert) the polar bear takes the girl to his castle and eventually turns into a prince. In this scene the hills are each cut separately and mounted on foam, as is the bear and rider. I painted the paper with sealer (and glitter for the bear/rider) for shine.

This was a One Tiny Thing swap with the max size being 4 inches. I couldn't find a shadowbox that small so here's were I started feeling okay about this project, although I know it's far from perfect. I went to the craft store and bought a 4" paper mache box with lid. I added the swirly detail to the sides of the lid with a toothpick dipped in Elmer's gel glue, painted over that plus the back and inside, sealed it and mounted the cut scene inside. Then I cut out the bottom of the box itself with an exacto knife, cut the middle of that out, painted and sealed the back, mounted it with superglue, built up the edges with more Elmers, painted it black (yeah, that song was going through my mind a lot) and sealed it.

On the back is a hanging bracket. I love superglue.  Smiley

It is not anywhere near the level you paper crafters get up to, I know, but c&c are always welcome!
64  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Different pillows for different pals: pincushions, lantern, Belle & Warehouse 13 on: November 21, 2012 04:39:30 PM

Every year I get an idea for handmade Christmas presents and every year I think "Oh, I'll just do those in December" and every year I end up nabbing stuff from the store or cobbling something completely different together on New Year's Eve. Not so this year! Here it is Thanksgiving Eve and I'm all finished except for the wrapping, and thats even done for 1 of these 4 pillows! Here they are:

This pillow, unfortunately, reminded me why dont often quilt. This paper-pieced pattern of old-fashioned pincushions jumped out at me and I wanted to give it a shot. I got on a bit of a roll after the one below but am now back in my place. Quilters, please dont look closely! I think my friend will like it, though. It closes with a center back invisible zipper because I didnt want to risk all those little paper-pieced seams getting mauled by a seam-ripper or making the zipper hard to zip. Problems avoided.

The one that started it all:

A lantern pillow based on this quilt pattern for one who loves all things Japanese. My friend can be quite sophisticated so the back is solid black. It closes on the side with an invisible zipper (my favorite kind).

For the one who loves Disneys Beauty and the Beast a Belle pillow! It is not quilted. She really loves the movie so I hope shes able to recognize what this is. There are many, many variations of this dress, even on Disney products! I used the dress in the movie as my inspiration and added the roses because it needed this is Belles dress advertising. The neckline in lighter yellow is curved to give more shape and tacked down so it doesnt flip up. It ties in the back and closes with a center invisible zipper. See?

The above giftees and I all hang out together, more or less, but this next pillow is for someone Ive been friends with since preschool. We get together for TV/movie nights and are currently watching Warehouse 13. Warning: Mild spoilers ahead.

The Studio 54 disco ball with wooden crate background. The zipper has a Studio 54 logo pull. She found this artifact really funny so I had to run with it. This tutorial on appliquing circles was very helpful. I modified it by slipping a circle of poster board between the interfacing and fabric to keep the ball round while fusing to the crate.

The back fabric is meant to allude to why the disco ball is in the warehouse and Lewis Carrolls mirror. Of course, what kind of friend would I be if I just handed her an artifact?

As you can see in the bottom right square, a mylar emergency blanket turned neutralizing gift bag will do the trick! Let me tell you: Mylar really is tough! The stuff does not tear unless you cut it. I put it though its paces. Whether or not it can be ironed, I dont know, but my iron doesnt want to find out the hard way. The pic above it is the zipper pull.

And here they all are together:

Eclectic, huh? I know they arent perfect, but I think theyre going to be well-liked. Present-exchange anxiety is worse than swap anxiety! Do any of you have that problem?
65  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / East meets...East: Pelmeni filling in spring roll wrappers on: November 03, 2012 10:36:01 AM

I love pelmeni (aka Siberian dumplings, aka Russian dumplings, aka...I'm sure there're more), but am lazy. I love gyozas, but am lazy. I have nothing against combining recipes and using shortcuts to create something that isn't either but satisfies my taste buds so here we go!

You will need:
1# ground beef
1# ground pork
3 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1/2 a medium-sized head of cabbage, shredded and preferably wilted for lower water content, but not necessary
30 or so all-purpose wrappers, such as for spring rolls

Combine the first 4 ingredients. You can add pepper too, if you'd like.

Place a healthy pinch of cabbage and 2-3 tablespoons of meat filling near 1 corner.

Fold the corner over the filling, fold in the sides and roll up! I like mine long and skinny, but it's up to you. Don't overfill them, though!

Place a baking rack in a baking sheet. Spray with Pam, put on your "peloyzas" and lightly spray the tops of them too! It will make them a little golden without the frying.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 14-18 minutes or until the meat registers as done.

You can eat them plain or with soy, sweet and sour, bbq sauce, horseradish, in soups, etc. I use the 4% fat beef so mine can be a bit dry, but I munch them up with or without sauce. I imagine the recipe itself can be modified infinitely!

Bon appetit!
66  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Hey, there! I was Little Red Riding Hood! on: November 01, 2012 02:31:06 PM
This year, I brought a basket of goodies to trick-or-treaters!

I wore this to 2 Halloween parties plus handing out baggies full of candy (that's right- a baggie of candy for each!) to trick-or-treaters.

I like the aesthetics of Little Red Riding Hood, but capes can go 1 of 2 ways on me: acceptable or dreadful. To save myself from a headache and because the idea grew on me I parted with tradition and made a bolero. I was fortunate to find a pattern that I could make work with minimal adjustments. The jumper, on the other hand, is from a sloper and the chemise I just sketched out.

The fabric for the outer jacket, chemise and jumper were gathered from various thrift stores, the jacket lining came from a family member's stash, the boots I bought for fall and the basket came from a providential field trip to a pumpkin patch. I broke down and bought the jacket's trim.

The other pictures show the color better, but this is the best I could get to show the back. I used one of my favorite, favorite trims (grommet tape) for the corset-style back and laced it with smooth, satin beading cord from the kids' craft section at the fabric store. It makes for very easy on-off!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween! Happy All Hallows, everyone!
67  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Retro and autumnal macaroon coin purses plus a candy corn pyramid purse! on: October 19, 2012 06:21:37 PM
Okay, it's official: I LOVE making these little coin purses!

I posted my first ones here. I usually get bored after making 2 or 3 of anything but that hasn't happened with these yet. Here're a couple more:

A tiny pumpkin! I painted the zipper pull with green nail polish so it looked a little like a leaf.

A retro atomic themed one! An added bonus to making these is that I get to practice embroidery without committing to a big project (the coin purses are only about 1.5" across).

In other crafty news I found this tutorial on the same site as the one I used for the macaroon coin purses. It looked fun and I had an idea so I made...

a candy corn pyramid coin purse! This is a lot bigger than the macaroons. I'd almost classify it as a clutch. The sun was going down when I took this pic so it doesn't show the colors the best. The yellow especially is more golden in real life.

Have a fantastic October, everyone!
68  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Lipstick USB on: September 20, 2012 05:41:58 PM
I enjoy fun spy shows with the gizmos and gadgets so when I saw this I had to have one. Here's how it turned out:

Opened. I used self-mixing clear epoxy resin to fill it and hold the functional part then painted the top with red nail polish. It was my first time working with that epoxy stuff. Well, my first try with this project I used something similar but the results...it's best not to speak of it.

Closed. The metal part stuck up too much so the lid doesn't fit like it did. I put thin line of clear nail polish several layers thick around the rim to help the cap stay put. It works!  Cool

In use. The light flashes red!

I'm so glad I tried this out. It was kind of a learning curve but now I know not to be too afraid. It's a start!
69  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Virgin Soda Syrups...with recipes! on: September 18, 2012 01:11:23 PM
I love Italian sodas and was deeply saddened when I developed an allergy to the one flavor of syrup I liked and was sold nearby. Fortunately I ran across this site (ETS: I had a link there but it's broken Sad )and used a lot of the tips to make a batch of my own, safe-for-me strawberry-lemon syrup. Delicious! And it lasted for 2 months until I ran out yesterday. Right away I made a batch of raspberry-lime. Also delicious!

Isn't it pretty? I opted for no ice, milk or whipped cream. Just sparkling water and syrup. It's that good!

For both batches I used the site's tip and added 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid (often used for canning) to help it keep.

Here's the strawberry-lemon recipe I came up with:
1 bag of frozen strawberries
Peeled zest of 1 lemon (just take a veggie peeler to it. Try not to get the white under layer! It's bitter.)
2 cups of sugar (the site said to reduce the amount of sugar based on the sweetness of the fruit. I think strawberries are pretty sweet so I started with a cup and half. It tasted like jam.)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon citric acid
the lemon's juice

For the raspberry-lime:
1 bag frozen raspberries
peeled zest of 2 limes (Mine were small. Adjust to taste.)
2 cups of sugar
11/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon citric acid
Juice of 1 of the limes

For both I brought all the ingredients except the juice to a boil then let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Next I put it through a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a glass bowl, mashing the simmered-mixture with the back of a spoon to help the juices leak through the sieve into the bowl. Once the syrup cooled a bit it was into a bottle with the juice then into the fridge. Easy-peasy and yummy! Different than store-bought, but excellent nonetheless. And it makes a lot:

I've already used about an inch and that's a 33 ounce (I think) bottle.

These are so quick, easy and, as far as I can tell, pretty much fool-proof just like the link says. Make up your own, check the link for more recipes and tips and feel free to use mine too. Cheers!
70  Calls for Swap Angels / Swap Angel Archive / Bento swap r5--Found! 1 angel on: September 15, 2012 08:04:49 AM
Puamelia is angeling. Thank you!

Winter83 is located in the US. This swap was for 3 points worth of crafted, bento-themed goods (see first 2 posts in the discussion thread for more info and helpful links) PLUS at least 2 store-bought bento items. The amount to be spent was to be decided with partners. Here is what winter83 sent her partner: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=412895.msg4891389#msg4891389
I would like an angel who could send within 2 weeks. Winter has waited a long time!

Discussion thread: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=411456.0

Gallery: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=412895.0

From questionnaire:

What bento supplies to you currently own? (boxes, sauce containers, bag, etc. List any details you feel your partner might've need to know.) None I am a Bento noob

What bento supplies would you like to receive? (boxes, sauce containers, bags, etc. List any details you feel your partner might need to know.) I could use beginner stuff! Also I'm really big on my food not touching and keep flavors separated so little containers for that would be awesome.  

Anything you would rather not receive?

What is your bento style? (detailed landscapes, plopping things in, it depends on the day...) Will be simple things I make for myself.

What colors, patterns and themes do you like? Purple! Purple and green together. Paisley patterns, jewel tones, and patterns and things that lots of people think are gaudy.
And shiny things.
Any colors, patterns and themes you really dont like? Yellow

Do you have a wist, pinterest or similar? http://pinterest.com/jenbrown1983/   http://www.wists.com/winter83/
Lots of other places for stalking see profile

Anything else youd like your partner to know?
I like Tare Panda and Hello Kitty stuff.

I would like to know what kind of characters do you like or do you prefer a more grown up classy bento.
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