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1  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / More Tiny Felt Kitties (Now with added kitties) on: February 23, 2013 08:40:26 AM
These are almost identical to the ones I made last week, all I did differently for these was to use embroidery floss to stitch the stripes on their heads instead of using pieces of felt; also I changed the positioning of their arms a tiny little bit. In hindsight I would also have done their noses in black for all three instead of the grey that I used for two of them because it doesn't show the stitching as much. I measured them this time - just over 3.5 inches!

These are really fun to make and very simple which is just as well, the little girl in question is already asking for a list of other itty bitty creatures Smiley

*Updated 16 March 2013* Just a few more that I made so that she'd have every colour of the rainbow...
2  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Tiny Felt Kitties on: February 17, 2013 02:45:17 PM
I made these over the weekend for a two year old girl who's crazy about kitties.  They're felt, and they're only about 3" tall. (This is the best pic I could get, probably won't get a chance to photograph them with natural light).

3  COOKING / Dessert / Multi-experimental Quadruple Chocolate Cupcakes on: February 12, 2013 03:51:47 PM
I made these this evening and I'm really pleased with how they turned out. They're chocolate sponge, with a Ferrero Rocher baked into the middle, topped with chocolate cream cheese frosting and dipped in milk chocolate. I was going to drizzle on some white or dark chocolate, making them quintuple chocolate, but that would have been ridiculous Tongue

I'd seen the ideas on Pinterest, for the Ferrero in the middle and the dipped frosting, and I was a little skeptical, especially about successfully dipping a big lump of frosting into melted chocolate without it falling in or making the chocolate curdle, but it totally worked. The other thing I wanted to try out was Cadbury's chocolate flavoured cream cheese, which I'd seen advertised and figured would make a wicked cream cheese frosting.  I was right Smiley

Before dipping
4  COOKING / Dessert / Assorted cupcakes on: February 03, 2013 03:37:08 PM
These are just various cupcakes I've done for parties and such over the last while.  Most of them are frosted with buttercream and embellished with fondant, marzipan or sugarpaste flowers/shapes.  

Marzipan rose, pink sponge.

For a kid who's crazy about tictacs!
5  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Wrist cuffs from denim scraps on: February 03, 2013 03:10:59 PM
I hope I've put this into the right section, if not mods please advise.

I made a bunch of wrist cuffs from some denim scraps I had left over from making kitchen chair covers (I posted about them in the home section).  These were only the second thing I've made with my sewing machine, so I was pretty much just practising my machine sewing and trying to get good at straight lines and seams.  I attached the felt hearts and the stars by hand. 

The backing fabric is gingham and star/stripe print fabric I got from a local curtain store, they gave me a big pile of swatches and sample books that would have gone in the dumpster.  Some of the fabrics are really cute and perfect for small projects - check out your local interiors places because they toss those sample books almost every week apparently.

It's not really showing up well, but I machined a heart monitor line in red thread on these ones.

I think you can see the shiny-ness of the silver denim a little better in this one

I used two pieces of velcro so they could be adjusted, I think it looks a little clumsy though, I'd probably use buttons or pop closures next time.

I like these two the best.

6  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / 'Camera' camera case on: February 03, 2013 02:31:26 PM
This is loosely based on those felt camera cases that are all over the internet, that are supposed to look like a cute felt version of an actual camera, only it's a bit lacking in the cuteness factor I was after ha.  I wanted to use some bits of silvery denim I had over from another project, and I also wanted to pad and line it so I had to compromise a bit on the cuteness; I was going to blanket stitch it from the outside but the padding would have made that very difficult.  The outside is black felt with denim details, and it's lined with red felt. 

I padded between the two layers with those sheets of thin craft foam you can get at art stores.  I didn't use a pattern, I just measured the camera, added a little extra to make room for the cord and extra batteries, and played it by ear.  It's really sturdy and it fits the camera perfectly so I'm happy with it over all.

7  COOKING / Dessert / Cupcakes - lettering lessons learned... on: February 03, 2013 02:02:37 PM
I made a batch of cupcakes last night for someone who has just been awarded some certificates, so I decided to try out lettering for the first time ever.  I was recently given some of those little tubes of icing with the tiny nozzles for writing, so I wanted to try them out.  I also wanted to have a go at a method I've seen online where you draw around shapes on paper on top of fondant to sort of emboss the shape onto it.

That part worked out very well.  The little tubes, not so much.  I stood them in hot water and kneaded the tubes as per the instructions on the box but I still found them to be way too thick and hard to control, so i wouldn't bother with them again.  Also the tubes were too small to use both hands, which I prefer.

So, not awful for a first attempt but I'm hoping to get a better result next time by mixing my own icing and using a bag and nozzle.  I wanted to use black royal icing instead of orange but I had to scrap the first batch of icing because no matter how much black food colouring I added, it stayed deep grey - stylish but not very appetising!  The font I used for the lower two layers would have looked much better on black, it's kind of wobbly and scrawley and I thought it had a Tim Burton-ey look about it but anywho...

8  COOKING / Dessert / Wintery spiced cupcakes - 3 kinds on: February 03, 2013 11:35:28 AM
I made these for a family party over the holidays, they turned out delicious and went down really well so I thought I'd post the recipe(s) exactly as I made them in case anyone wants to try them.

My basic cake recipe is fairly standard:
125g unsalted butter, 150g caster sugar, 2-3 medium eggs, 200g self raising flour, 1 teasp vanilla essence (optional).
Cream the butter & sugar, add beaten eggs gradually, add sieved flour, add vanilla. 15 mins at 200 degrees celcius.

The cream cheese frosting recipe I use is:
115g unsalted butter, 170g cream cheese, 250g icing sugar, half teasp vanilla essence.
Mix the butter & cream cheese, add icing sugar, add vanilla.

The first variation I did was spiced apple cupcake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  I'd seen a recipe online which used reduced apple cider for the flavouring in the cupcake sponge.  As I don't drink alcohol, and as these had to be suitable for kids too, I decided to try reducing store brand apple juice from concentrate.  Worked like a charm.  I started with about two thirds of a litre and simmered until I felt like it tasted strong enough, I was left with about a cup of liquid.

Instead of adding the third egg to the batter, just use two and add the apple reduction to it after the flour.  Add a teaspoon each of cinnamon, ginger and allspice.  To the cream cheese frosting, add a teaspoon and a half of cinnamon.

The second variation I made was spiced orange with cardamom cream cheese frosting.  To the basic cupcake batter I just added a teaspoon and a half of natural orange oil flavouring, and a teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger. I didn't use allspice in this one as I didn't want to drown out the orange flavour, but it probably would have been ok.  To the cream cheese frosting, I added a teaspoon and a half of ground cardamom.

The third was gingerbread cupcake with strawberry cream cheese frosting.  Simply add three teaspoons of ground ginger and one of cinnamon to the batter, and a teaspoon and a half of strawberry essence to the frosting (I also added a drop or two of red food coloring to make it pink).

From left: Spiced apple with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, spiced orange with cardamom cream cheese frosting, gingerbread with strawberry cream cheese frosting
9  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Easy cosy ribbed scarf on: February 03, 2013 11:00:41 AM
This is just a plain ribbed scarf I made as a gift over the holidays.  I used yarn from a throw that I was knitting a few years ago but had to abandon because the store discontinued it - I unravelled it and made scarves instead.

No pattern, I just knit until it was the same length as one of my scarves.  I think it's about 30 stitches wide if my memory serves me, and I used a bigger sized needle than I needed so it would turn out slightly loose. 
It's a lot fluffier than it seems in the pic, it's got silvery fluffy fibres running through it.

10  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Simple tarot card case on: February 03, 2013 10:42:27 AM
I made this as a holiday gift from a repurposed skirt and some felt remnants I've had in my stash for about 10 years.
I didn't follow a pattern, I basically just drew around a standard Ryder Waite deck and adjusted as I went.  It's all hand stitched, apart from the flat piece for wrapping the deck, I stitched around the edges of that with my machine because I wanted it to be very neat. It was a very straightforward project, only took me an evening.

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