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1  Super Easy Kid's Superhero Cape in Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects by Vallyncia on: January 22, 2012 07:20:53 PM
Here's a link to a super easy superhero cape I made for my stepson for Christmas. It's not super fancy, but it's a play cape you can personalize and whip up in a couple of hours.

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2  My garden - a labour of love (Pic heavy) in Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects by Vallyncia on: August 12, 2011 10:35:02 PM
My garden this year consists of my 50 square foot garden plot in a local community garden, my balcony garden, and my assorted herb plants growing in my kitchen window. I actually have another "garden" in my living room, but for this contest I've avoided including my houseplants and have only included the garden that I planted this spring. Most of what you see was grown from seed.
My garden plot, taken last week.

Carrot flower (did you know they flower if you leave them in the ground for two years?)

Balcony garden:

My basil in my kitchen window.

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3  Re: Recycling/Eco-Friendly/Gardening/Hippie Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Vallyncia on: March 15, 2011 09:29:25 PM
So I got unbelievably SPOILED! Monnie31 is amazing. Here are some pics of what I got:

That is a picture of pretty much the entire package:
Gardening apron with matching seed book (LOVE the colours), crafted signs for Veggies, Flowers, and Herbs, the spoons in the upper left are labels for my garden bed and in the lower right are chimes that are going to go on my deck very soon.

Another shot of everything; you can see my seeds that go in my beautiful new seed safe showcased below:

She also gave me new clippers, gardening gloves, garden netting and a small basil starter pot!!!
Finally, here is a picture of some of the beautiful jewelry she threw in because she is awesome. There was a bracelet, necklace charm, and this Tree of Life (have I mentioned how much I loved this package??)

I'm still working on my package to her, but I must admit, she set the bar pretty high!!!
Thanks to my partner and the organizer of this swap Grin
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4  Voila! Undies and Beach Cover (from old dress) in Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by Vallyncia on: February 23, 2011 08:54:39 PM

I recently purchased a dress from the thrift store in the hopes of making underwear from the fabric.
Not only did I get some cute undies out of the deal, but I was also able to make a cute top and skirt for the beach to go with it!

Here is the dress:

And here is the underwear on its own:

And here is the top and undies:

And finally, here I am modelling the beach cover.

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5  Re: Sweet and Easy Valentine's Day Swap Round 2 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Vallyncia on: February 11, 2011 10:25:52 PM
Here is my awesome package from Reuse. Love, love, love it! My husband and son have already devoured the candy, though  Roll Eyes

That is a general shot of the whole package.

SOME of the candy I got. I also received chocolate (mmm Lindt!) but my camera takes pictures at too high a res and I had to crop some stuff out to upload. Boooo.

Cute V-day art that is now hanging on my bedroom door.

My new tea cozy (complete with matching mug sleeve and tea "rug" Smiley

Finally, my fav travel mug modelling it's sweet new sleeve.
Thanks so much!!!! I am so happy I did this swap. Can't wait 'til next year.
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6  Re: Homemade Reese Cups in Dessert by Vallyncia on: January 29, 2011 09:18:39 PM
Just made these tonight...super easy and they looked great!

Just a couple things...I used icing sugar instead of powdered sugar (not sure of the difference?) and the peanut butter mixture never got "crumbly". It did work and taste great, however.
Also, I used those cheap chocolate wafers and they definitely negatively affected the taste. They still taste good, but next time I"ll be sure to splurge and use some better chocolate.
Thanks for the recipe!
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7  I made underwear! First project using a pattern. in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by Vallyncia on: January 25, 2011 11:33:12 AM

and from the back...

Yay! My first pair of undies, and my first sewing project using a pattern.
A more detailed description of what I did (and some better pics) can be found on my website.

Any comments, suggestions? The fabric was free but I think it actually ended up looking pretty fun  Smiley
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8  Re: Canadian Envelope Swap Winter Edition! Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by Vallyncia on: December 21, 2010 09:21:12 PM
This is the package that I sent:

I'm feeling now that it wasn't full enough  Undecided but it's my first swap, so I wasn't quite sure about what was expected. I thought sticking to the envelope size was super important, but now I wish I had cheated a little! It's some photos that I took, some caramels that I made, some jewelry, lace, and a bow for crafting, some festive bits and bobs, and some seeds from my Mexican Hat plants.

My partner's envelope (Mermaid Cafe). It's awesome and I loved it!

As you can see, she stuffed her envelope a little more than I did! My stepson snagged the balloon right away, and we are planning on using all the awesome stickers for card making on Christmas eve. The jewelry bits are great, I love the little lizard! And the festive clutch is awesome and I will fully be making use of it this holiday season.
Thanks again for organizing this swap!
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9  Trifilicious - A New Dessert Creation with Mini-Tute in Dessert by Vallyncia on: December 20, 2010 10:01:29 AM
I have been on a candy making binge this Christmas season, and for the most part I have been very successful. However, one fudge recipe didn't set properly and so I couldn't give it away as gifts. So, instead I decided to use the delicious fudge and make a trifle!

Here's a mini-tute, in case you want to try it:
It was time consuming but not that difficult, since the fudge was already made:

1 (12 oz.) pkg. butterscotch pieces**
1 (14 oz.) can condensed milk
1 1/2 c. tiny marshmallows
2/3 c. chunk style peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped peanuts
In saucepan, combine butterscotch pieces, milk, and marshmallows. Melt and remove from heat. Beat in peanut butter, vanilla, and dash of salt. Stir in nuts. Pour in buttered 9 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Chill and cut in squares. Makes 4 dozen. Store in refrigerator.

**To make the fudge "not work", use semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of butterscotch
Let it set in the fridge overnight.Then, bake a cake (I just used a french vanilla box cake) in two parts. Use the first part as the bottom and then spread the fudge over it. Now, this won't look pretty. The cake will probably fall apart and the fudge won't spread well. That is okay  Wink
Then the next layer of cake, then the toppings! I used fresh whipped cream and frozen strawberries (strawberries are not in season this time of year, so I had to make do, although fresh of course would be better) and spread it evenly and thickly over the top.
I did this in a cake pan, but you can also do it in a bowl for the more appropriate "trifle effect".

(You can sort of see my son in the background, with his little fingers waiting to dip in the whipped cream!)

This dessert is awesome. Expensive and time consuming, but awesome. I highly recommend it for a party or get together as it's rich, tasty, and will feed a lot of people.
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10  Chocolate Covered Caramels! *NOW WITH TUTE* in Dessert by Vallyncia on: November 30, 2010 02:52:19 PM

This Christmas I have decided to make everyone in my life candy as a present. After all, there is no such thing as too many treats at Christmas!!
The recipe I used is here:

It was relatively easy, although more time consuming that I had anticipated. They are delicious and set really nicely over night in the fridge.

2 cups white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 cup butter
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.Grease a 12x15 inch pan.
2.In a medium-size pot, combine sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, evaporated milk, whipping cream, and butter. Monitor the heat of the mixture with a candy thermometer while stirring. When the thermometer reaches 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) remove the pot from the heat.
3.Stir in vanilla. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and let the mixture cool completely. When cooled cut the Carmel into small squares and wrap them in wax paper for storage.

First, you need to make the caramels several hours before you dip them in chocolate (I made mine the night before and left them in the fridge to cool).
The caramels take a fairly long time to boil to the appropriate point (120 degrees Celcius), probably about 20 minutes. Be careful to remove them from the heat as soon as they hit this point, however, as they quickly burn after this temperature. It really helps to have a digital candy thermometer, although they are more expensive (mine was about $30). You could try with a cheaper plastic one, but be very watchful!

I poured them into the pan and let them set overnight in the fridge. Now, we didn't try this but it might be a helpful tip for next time - instead of just buttering, line the pan with wax paper and use that to life the entire sheet of caramels out when you want to cut them. I think this would make it easier to cut the caramels into uniform shapes. Mine ended up being very randomly sized Smiley

I made a second batch of caramels and gave them away just like this, wrapped in cellophane paper with a ribbon.

Super easy and fun gifts, and they taste awesome.  However, if you want to go the extra mile:
After being cooled and cut,

 we then prepared the chocolate...
We bought some high quality chocolate in bulk (at the Superstore in Canada, although I'm not sure what stores would sell such a thing in other countries, possibly Wal-Mart). Chocolate chips would also work, we just used bricks because the quality of the chocolate is generally higher and the chocolate itself is usually fresher.
We shaved the chocolate and then melted it in a make-shift double boiler. We used a metal bowl that fit snugly over a pot, although other configurations (or an actual double boiler, haha) would work as well. It is important that the boiling water is kept from getting into the bowl with the chocolate, because that will ruin the consistency. (Sorry I don't have any pics of this process).
It is also best to do the chocolate coating in a cool, dry room. Heat and moisture will encourage the chocolate to seperate, which, while not affecting the taste, will affect the appearance of your candy.
We melted in small batches (probably 200 to 300 grams at a time) and once the chocolate was ready we sat down with a pile of caramels and dipped them by hand into the chocolate mixture. Obviously VERY clean hands are essential at this point. Make sure you keep stirring the chocolate as you dip to keep it from seperating. This process takes some practice to do consistently and it gets very messy, but it's also tons of fun!
We also melted some white "chocolate" (which as we all know is really just candy!) and drizzled it on some of the candies for a fancified effect.

The chocolates will be dry enough to move in about half an hour. You can tell they are ready when they lose their glossy finish.
If any of your chocolates get a whiteish finish it is because the chocolate did seperate a bit. Hopefully this doesn't happen but if it does, it won't affect the flavour, only the appearance.
I will be adding more pictures shortly. Hope this is clear, but if anyone has any questions please let me know!
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