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1  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects / Wedding gift plate on: February 09, 2014 11:32:17 AM
I made this plate in a ceramics class for my friend's wedding.

Perhaps a bit twee for my liking, but I think she thought it was ok.
2  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Renovated Rococo chair on: July 19, 2013 02:15:38 AM
Not really sure whether this belongs on Craftster or not, but here goes...

This is a chair from the late 1800s which came from my grandmother, before and after one furniture renovation course and two upholstery courses (they were four-day courses, I calculated about 60ish hours of work in total):

And a couple of in-progress shots (these are links to bigger pictures):

I expected the work to make a difference in how the chair looked, but I never thought that that hideous thing could end up looking so pretty! I can't take that much credit for it as I didn't really know what I was doing with the upholstery - the teacher was fantastic.

P.S. The fabric is Chinese Lanterns by Sanderson, which is discontinued but I was fortunate enough to find on ebay after it had taken us hours and hours to decide on the fabric, only to return to the shop and find they didn't have any!
3  COOKING / Dessert / Chocolate "basket" cake on: August 22, 2012 12:28:57 AM

This contains a chocolate cake made from this recipe, which I highly recommend - although whenever I've made it I've put buttercream and raspberry jam in between the layers, rather than the ganache (I recommend doing this for a bit of freshness, in order to make it less sickly sweet). I did put the ganache on top.

The cake is then wrapped in a chocolate "wall" higher than the cake, and the resulting "basket" I filled with mixed berries from the garden.

To make the chocolate wall, measure the circumference of the cake and then the height you want it to be. Add a little to the circumference to make sure the ends overlap a little (maybe half an inch?). Draw a rectangle that size on some greaseproof paper, making the lines go well beyond where they cross so you can see them even when the rectangle is covered with chocolate. Trim the paper to about an inch from the line. Turn the paper over. Melt chocolate (I used about 100 grams but it turned out a bit too thin, so I recommend making more than that) and spread it over the rectangle which you can (hopefully) see through the paper, going over the lines a bit. It's best if you have a stone surface to do it on as it will help with the cooling. (Don't do it on a hot day!) Now keep an eye on it while it cools, and when it's set just enough - i.e. it is malleable, not dripping, but not solid - trim off the edges of the chocolate along the lines of the rectangle you drew, and then trim off the paper along the edges of the rectangle. Now, working quickly, pick the whole thing up and wrap it around the cake (with the paper on the outside!), making sure the ends overlap (peel the paper away from the end so the chocolate sticks to itself). They should still stick together if the chocolate is soft. If they don't you could gently brush some of the ganache or something like that in between. At this point it's best to leave it alone to set, don't poke at it too much! It may look like it will be a disaster, but it will probably turn out ok. Leave it in a cool place for an hour or so, then peel off the paper.

If you get any holes in the chocolate, don't try to fix them with hot melted chocolate! It will only melt a bigger hole (I say this from experience). You'll need chocolate or ganache that is still liquid but not hot. Anyway, any holes will only add that nice homemade touch! Smiley
4  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Fox terrier "welcome" door sign on: July 18, 2012 04:11:15 AM

I made this door sign that says WELCOME (in Finnish) in a hurry when I needed a housewarming gift for a friend who has a wire-haired fox terrier.

We had some old, very weathered bits of wood from some bush supports I took down from our garden, so I sawed off a bit (maybe 6 inches long) which had some moss on it. Sanded it a bit, put on a thin watery coat of white acrylic craft paint, then painted the letters and the doggy picture and sanded again a bit to retain the weathered look. I actually tried to transfer the letters from a printout using the technique described here, but I guess my letters were too thin and small so it didn't really work at all. So I just copied them freehand.

The piece of wood had a couple of rusty screws in it from some hardware so I took them out and screwed them to the top to tie the twine to.

It didn't quite come out like I'd envisioned but it was the best I could manage in the time available and with the materials I had on hand! It took maybe a couple of hours total, including drying time on a very humid day.

5  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Spruced-up outdoor kitchen trolley on: May 15, 2012 06:19:56 AM
Before: sad and broken (from being left out in the rain and enduring our cold winters), with wobbly wheels

After: much happier and much more useful!

6  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 70 ENTRIES / Snoopy's doghouse on: January 03, 2012 11:04:14 PM
This idea came to me when I saw the shape my gingerbread house was going to take.


I made these two houses for my friends as Christmas presents (although I'm only entering the Snoopy one in the challenge). I've never made a house before, so these could do with some fine-tuning... I made the pattern myself out of cardboard.

It is entirely edible, except for the base which is a small heart-shaped metal plate. I thought it looked a bit like a wrought-iron fence. The whole thing is quite small, perhaps 5-6 inches tall.


The snowballs on the ground are sugar-coated toffee sweets, and the snowman at the back is also made of them. The "glue" and snow are royal icing. You can't see it in the pictures, but the windows have yellow "glass" made out of crushed boiled sweets. Snoopy himself is made out of a double layer of gingerbread - I cut two shapes using a cardboard pattern I made myself and stuck them together with icing. The black bits are cut out of liquorice. The red roofing is made out of that long flat red liquorice. I bought a metre thinking it was quite a lot, but it turned out not to be enough! The lights are small fruit sweets.

I wanted to make more stuff outside the house but in the end I couldn't fit anything else on the plate. I should have made the house even smaller!


I think the recipient liked it. I hope she eats it, too!
7  CLOTHING / Designer Clothing Homage / Duvet/comforter coat on: July 08, 2011 03:48:07 AM
Take a look at this designer coat made to look as if the wearer is just wrapped in a lovely down comforter/duvet! (The text is in Finnish but you get the idea from the picture.) I saw it featured in a couple of design or women's magazines last winter.

Shouldn't be too hard to make out of an old blanket?! Click on the picture to see a back view as well.
8  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Tea tray "It's always tea time" on: January 03, 2011 10:56:39 PM

Of course I forgot to take a before picture! It was an antique tray, medium-dark wood, with an old painting of cherries that was too worn to salvage. You can just about see in the picture that it has very pretty handles.

I took it apart (being antique, it is put together very sturdily with screws) and sanded it (luckily it wasn't varnished). Then I stained and varnished the edges and handles and painted the base with lots of coats of "antique white" water-based furniture paint.

The writing is in a font which is pre-installed on Word 2010 called AR Decode, but I freehanded it because I couldn't be bothered to play with the printing to get the correct size for the tray. (It is about 1.5 times A4 in length). I did the edges of the lettering first in pencil, then in thin permanent marker. Then I filled it in with black enamel craft paint.

I finished it off with several layers of water-based varnish so that it can be used for actual tea-making.

9  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Weddings and Bridal Showers / Question about DIY wedding budget on: August 30, 2010 09:08:36 AM
This is a question for all those who have completed or are planning a wedding involving some level of DIY. What was your (approximate) budget/actual cost, and what did that include that was DIY and not DIY? I was reading some wedding blog and it said something like "I decided to make a lot of the stuff myself, so the wedding only cost us like USD 20,000!" Ummm... sounds like quite a lot to me!

We've just bought a new house in the country, and the location is quite pretty and fairly big. So my idea is to invite maybe 80 friends and family round for a housewarming party next summer. And they won't know until they get there that we'll also be having a very brief wedding ceremony in the garden. We have a lot of fairly big garden parties so people shouldn't suspect. The reasons for the surprise are the following:

- People come to weddings with certain expectations. I want people to come just to have fun and spend time with family and friends. I want the focus to be on the party rather than on the couple.

- I don't want people to get all dolled up for a wedding, just to come as they are, to have a nice time.

- I don't want people to bring gifts! We've been together for 13 years already, we truly don't need anything.

The whole idea is to have a nice, relaxed garden party, although still elegant (not cheap-looking!). I don't want to go overboard with anything. It's already outdoors in a nice setting, so there will be no need for huge amounts of flowers or anything. I thought I'd DIY the following:

-my dress (probably short and not white); hubby can wear whatever he feels comfortable in.
-decorations: I thought I'd make some fabric bunting, maybe paper-covered fairy lights, lanterns made out of candles and jam jars, and a major theme of fresh apples and apple-tree branches in bowls/vases (because apples will be in season and we will have 20 apple trees)
-flowers: the wedding will probably be in August. What flowers could I plant in my garden now in the fall or next spring that I could then cut for bunches in August? We are in hardiness zone 5b. Peonies are my faves but they will be finished by then.
- the other option is to make a huge load of these and skip fresh flowers altogether (just have those and the apples?)
- quilts: I thought some families with kids might like to have their dinner as a picnic on the grass -- weather permitting -- so I might make some simple quilts from my huge fabric stash (to match the bunting)
- the cake and maybe other desserts
- gifts/favours (not sure what yet, but I can make them over the winter)

Stuff I will try to find cheap:

- tablecloths: I have some vintage pieces of fabric, tablecloths and bedsheets and want to try to find some more. If they are all in the same colour palette (close to white) it might work to have mismatched ones. Otherwise I might have to rent or buy plain white cloths.
- I am thinking about getting mismatched bargain vintage plates and coffee cups from thrift stores for the dinner (I saw a caf that did that and it was quite charming).
- music: I was going to make our own playlist from an ipod. We've got room to make a small dance floor inside the main house or in the "barn" building. I might be able to convince a friend of mine to play the violin as we walk down the "aisle".

Main stuff we will have to pay for:

- officiant's fee
- rings
- renting a tent, tables and chairs
- renting crockery and cutlery, unless I decide to go the vintage route (above)
- photographer (although he's a friend, but I want him to charge properly)
- hair/makeup
- drinks

Major question mark:

- Food. My fianc is an excellent cook and people always love the stuff he makes for our parties. However, I want him to be able to relax and socialise on this occasion, which he rarely has time to do. We could make some things in advance (like I'm planning to make the cake), but can't possibly make everything. I think I read that Molly of orangette had people bring stuff to their wedding dinner and it was great. However, she probably knows people who are all chefs and stuff. People will probably be only too happy to bring food to a garden party but I'm worried that (a) they'll feel a bit cheated by having to bring stuff to a wedding (once they find out), (b) the food may not be stellar and/or go together very well and give a shoddy impression, (c) people do like a good sit-down dinner at a wedding, don't they? So I'm not sure what to do about it. If we have to order catering, it will be a big chunk of the budget. And it's not always great anyway.

So, anyway, thanks if you read this far! What are your thoughts? Did I miss anything?

10  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / At what age is a boy... on: March 24, 2010 12:54:32 AM
... too old to receive a stuffie for his birthday?

My nephew is going to be 8 in April and has recently become a big Star Wars fan. I was thinking of making him a Star Wars-themed stuffie. Will he think it's stupid/too kiddy, though?

I know these things are individual, but I'm asking for opinions on a general level. I don't actually know him too well, because my sister's family lives in a different country.
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