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81  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / remember spool-knitted chains from when you were a kid? on: April 09, 2005 02:36:39 AM
I went to Jo-Ann's yesterday with a coupon for their great coupon sale intending to purchase the tools to tat lace but then I saw this little "Embelish Knit" kit which is a pumped up version of the spools we all used when we were children. Having had a nostalgic yen for knitting useless lengths of chain for quite some time, I bought it instead - learning how to tat will have to wait. It comes with all sorts of suggestions for what to do with your chain.

These are destined for some bags I am making for two little girls.

82  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Simon the Short Fat Snake - A Rarely Seen Snake of the Christmas Rattlesnake Sp on: April 07, 2005 01:05:31 PM
A Silly Snake

Simon the short fat snake
was a dolt so decided midwinter
he needed to molt. He started to roam
in search of a home - a place where he
could be safe and be warm.
He entered our front door
and liked the warm floor
so he climbed the front stair
and made himself a place in your chair
and you can still find him there.

Here we see Simon climbing the stairs (the stairs are pink because my entry is a deep magenta and in the morning the sun reflects of the walls and tints everything):

Here we see Simon basking in the sun - enjoying the warm floor:

Here we see Simon sitting in the red arm chair:

Simon is a rare variety of snake known as the Christmas Rattlesnake. Here we catch a glimpse of the rarely seen jingle bell rattles of this species:

Simon and my daughter are fast friends:

Simon is just a snake made out of two neckties. I made him this morning when I should have been doing "more important" things. I read the poem to my daughter this morning and then let her find Simon who has now been rechristened as Sammy the Snake - Simon apparently lives in Sammy's belly.

I am glad I wasted time making him... Wink
83  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Stews containing alcohol... :) on: April 05, 2005 01:07:29 PM
Carbonnades Flamandes

Source:   Real Stew - by Clifford Wright

3 or 4 pounds beef brisket cut into 3 inch squares
Flour for dredging
1/4 cup butter
2 large onions chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
2 cups Belgian-style lambic beer (I couldn't find real Belgian beer so I used Blue Moon - Belgian White - Belgian Style Wheat Ale)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp firmly packed light brown sugar

Dredge the beef in the flour and tap off excess. In a large skillet melt butter over medium high -  heat then brown the meat on all sides (about five minutes). Add oinons and carrot and cook   until the onions are golden, stirring, about six minutes. Add the beer, vinegar, salt, pepper, bay  leaves, thyme and sugar. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low and cover.

Cook the stew so that it barely simmers until the meat is very tender, about four hours. After three hours, check the  broth and if it is too liquid, uncover and reduce the broth  (over medium high heat) until syrupy.  Reduce heat to low again and continue to simmer. Discard bay leaves and serve.

Authentic Beef Stroganoff

Source:   Real Stew - by Clifford Wright

1 tbsp dry mustard
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 pound button mushrooms cleaned and sliced
1 large onion chopped
2 pounds filet mignon cut int 3 X 1 inchs strips an 1/8 of an inch thick
1 cup sour cream or creame fraiche (after reading all his discussion on sour cream in the book
  - I opted for Mexican Sour Cream being the closest thing our grocery store offered - and yes, it  does taste different)

In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, and hot water to form a paste.

In a large skillet melt the butter with 1 tbsp of oil over medium high heat, then cook the   mushrooms and oinios (still over medium high heat) covered and stirring occasionally until soft  - about twenty minutes.

In another large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil over high heat, then sear the meat on both sides in two batches. The meat should be completely raw in the middle and browned on  the outside. Transfer the meat to the skillet with the mushrooms and onion.

Deglaze the skillet you cooked the meat in with some water and transfer that to the main dish too. Season with salt and papper and stir in mustard paste and cook over medium high heat until the meat is as done as you like it. Stir in the sour cream and cook over medium high heat just until sour cream is heated and serve immediately.

84  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / first embroidery in fifteen years on: April 05, 2005 04:34:42 AM
If you've seen my sewing - it becomes clear that I've taken up crafts after a lapse of fifteen years. I was doing some hand-detailing on my sewing projects and was enjoying it and then saw this transfer pattern and decided to do it for my mother-in-law who just built a new home and is doing a chicken themed kitchen - (I have major kitchen envy - it has marble counters and the range has a marble backsplash going up to the exhaust vent - and the worst thing she doesn't cook - what a waste)...but anyhow...she will probably put this away in a drawer and only haul it out when we visit...ah well - I learned a lot - I learned a lot about what I remember, that I learned a lot wrong, and that I want to improve and keep embroidering!!

85  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Remember those maps they pull down over the chalkboard at school? on: April 03, 2005 03:53:22 AM
I made a roller-blind with one. My parent's like to do theme Christmas's about five years ago -they did an auctio Christmas and hit paydirt when a local school rebuilt. The school decided everything had to go because everything in the new building was going to be new and so my parent's got loads of old school things. We received two of these maps that fit over the chalkboard.

86  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Fulled Wool Pouch on: April 01, 2005 01:02:47 PM
My first fulled wool project. A very fine Italian Wool Sweater that I picked up at Goodwill. Both layers together come to between a quarter of an inch and half an inch. I found out why thimbles are important. The difficulty of working with thick layers makes this not as polished/finished as I would like. This is my first time using grommets and I love them and will probably use them again.


87  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Baby Sister has a dress now too (second sewing project in fifteen years) on: March 31, 2005 01:10:47 PM
I made my youngest a dress out of the same fabrics as big sis

Here is a full shot:

a few shots:


my first zipper (very ugly)

oh - you want to see color?

one more with big sis


88  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Pincushion from wool scraps - the ultimate in recycling - tutorial added on: March 30, 2005 01:27:41 PM
I made this pincushion from scraps and lint from a fulled wool project I am working on and used an airforce button for the top.

This pincushion is very easy to make.

Save all you wool scraps. I saved my scraps from a fulled wool project which was nice cause I skimmed a lot of the washing machine and my dryer's lint trap.

Chop your scraps into quarter inch pieces.

Put a handful of scraps in your blender, fill the blender with hot water, and blend it until the scraps are chopped up.

Strain it through a colandar lined with a large scrap of fabric (or do as I did and use a worn out kitchen towel).

Process all your scraps this way (it is wise to do very small batches so you don't clog your blender).

Gather your scraps into a ball (some hand shaping is very beneficial at this stage).

Put the scraps back into the center of your fabric. Gather the fabric around it tight and tie it shut.

Throw it in the dryer. Two cycles is how long it takes my dryer to dry it well.

When you unwrap your fabric you have a gorgeous felt ball.

Embellish it as you see fit.

For my embellisment, I picked two large buttons (the button on the top is from my Dad's airforce coat). I threaded a large needle with yarn. I knotted it and then shoved it through from the bottom, attached the top button, then ran it back through and attached the bottom button, then ran it betweent the two a couple of times. Finally I took a very long strand of yarn, wrapped it around the base of a button a few times and then ran it along the side to the bottom button, ran it around the bottom button and came back up and simply circled the entire ball by that method. then I punched the needle through. Cut off the end of the yarn and let it slip back to the middle.

89  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / junk store journal (I think it was handmade) on: March 27, 2005 04:32:05 AM
I bought this journal for 29 cents at a junk store. I think it is hand made. I used it to make a sort of loosely organized visual journal for my Mom using my image transfer method. It was more difficult than I expected as the paper was rather fragile.

Sorry for the uneven angles of the scans the journal was an awkward shape for my scanner.
90  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / first article of clothing in fifteen years - simple shift for three year old on: March 27, 2005 03:58:01 AM
I used to sew when I lived at home - my Mom always did the buttonholes and zippers. Now I have a sewing machine of my own. This dress really is ugly around the neck and the keyhole closure in the back - I was too reckless and hurried to much and didn't read my instructions well. But I think it looks cute on her...

Full View - sort of


Pocket View


Attitude View


A look at neck and armhole - first time using binding - by the time I got to the armhole - I knew I had done a poor job and wasn't too careful - ah well makes a good play dress...


Oh, you wanted to see the colors? Here you go.


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