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11  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / Best fabric for making plushie for child? on: March 29, 2007 10:48:48 AM
I have been admiring everyone's stuffies and they are all sooooo cute and inspiring.  I want to make a robot for my son.  What's the best fabric to use for a toy that will get lots of love?  I like the look and ease of felt, but I'm not so sure about it's durability.  Everytime I've washed felt, it pills badly.  Is there a higher quality felt that I'm just unaware of?  I'm thinking of the little 8" x 12" squares you can buy at fabric and craft stores.  Would fleece be better?  (I'm worried about fleece's tendency to stretch). 

Any help or advice would be GREATLY appreciated! 

12  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Cotton batting: prewash or no? on: March 27, 2007 10:19:05 AM
I'm about to use cotton batting for the second time.  This is my first time using it on a large quilt.  Do you cotton batting users prewash or no?  Adavantages?  Disadvantages?  I am using Pure & Natural brand.  Thanks!
13  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Please help my brown rice! on: February 24, 2007 05:07:34 PM
Okay, I consider myself a very accomplished cook.  I can make bread, sausages, tortillas, cakes, candy--you name it--all from scratch without a hitch. 

The thing I cannot make is brown rice.  I can make beautiful white rice and have the perfect technique:  one cup rice, two cups water, bring to a boil, put the lid on, drop heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes without disturbing.  However, when I try this with my brown rice (adjusting time to 50 miuntes rather than 20), it comes out like sludge.  It's all soggy and more like porridge than rice.  The water is all absorbed into the grains, so I think I am cooking it long enough.  But the grains all stick together and have this nasty texture.  I want beautiful, chewey brown rice that falls into seperate grains instead of all sticking together in a gooey mass. What am I doing wrong?  I really don't want to buy a rice cooker because I don't have the space for lots of appliances.  Is there any way to do it on the stove, or do I have to just break down and get one?

I love to eat brown rice, and am trying to convince my husband that it is better than white, but can't seem to get it right. 

Thank you in advance!
14  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / In search of vintage patterns on: January 03, 2007 05:14:27 PM
I am interested in making some 50's style dresses for summer.  I am wanting a more casual look as opposed to evening wear.  I have purchased original vintage patterns online and had no luck.  I have also tried two of Simplicity's re-releases of vintage patterns and they were both a disaster. 

Are there any smaller companies out there that make vintage-style patterns? 

Or does anyone have any vintage patterns that they recommend? 

15  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Discussion and Questions / Anyone know any great art instruction books? on: December 10, 2006 06:15:36 PM
Back in high school I took lots of art classes and learned all about the principles and elements of design, composition, etc.  Most of my classes were in painting, and they were all acrylic.  I've been getting into oils more now, well, exclusively now, because I am so in love with the colors and the blending and the vibrancy of oil paints.

However, I am having a hard time finding any instructional books that I like.  They are all filled with bad landscapes and cheesy still lifes.  PLEASE!  There HAVE to be some cool art books out there.  Something that will be really inspiring and educational. 

Does anyone out there have any favorite art books to tell me about?

16  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Awesome orange bird pillow on: November 16, 2006 02:42:32 PM
Hello All!

Here is my super awesome orange pillow.  I love it so much!!  I used plain orange fabric and stencilled the birds in a brick color.  It sat on my sewing desk, stencilled and unsewn for weeks.  Then I just whipped it up lickety-split.  I'm very pleased!

17  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Fleece penguin pullover for toddler boy on: November 15, 2006 07:52:12 PM
My son will NOT wear any sweaters no matter how soft they are.  So I took one of his old fleece pullovers from last winter, traced it and made a new pattern, making it a little bigger to fit this year.  I am so proud of myself because I made the pattern last night and made the shirt from start to finish today.  Anyone with a two year old will know what a MIRACLE that is!!  I put penguins on it to entice him to wear it.

Here's a closeup of the penguins: 

The shirt is fleece, and the applique is felt.  I used a stencil from Stencilry for the penguin design.  Next I cut out the felt and used Heat n Bond to fuse the layers together.  I've never used that stuff before and it is AWESOME!  I also did some hand stitching around the edges, for added toddler durability.  Total cost: $3!!!!  Woo hoo!!!!!
18  Halloween / Halloween Costumes / Max The Wild Thing! on: November 05, 2006 11:33:04 AM
Anyone who has or has been around a two year old knows that they are full of energy and opinions of their own!  So...I decided to make my son this Max costume from Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are."  The book's first line is:  "The night Max wore his wolf suit, and made mischief of one kind and another, his mother called him WILD THING!"  It suits my lovable son to a "T"! 

I modified a Simplicity pattern for a dinosaur costume.  The jumpsuit and hood are white fleece, the black tail is faux fur.  I improvised the ears (used a cut-up water jug to make them stiff because I had no interfacing) and used fun foam for the whiskers.  Unfortunately, my son only wore the hood for a few minutes because he hates stuff on his head. 

I felt like I really got all the details of the costume right, but sadly, everyone kept calling him a cat.  *sigh*
19  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Do you have a clever coffee table idea? on: October 21, 2006 06:03:54 PM
I am in the process of redecorating my living room and need to replace the ugly worn table.  I have been unable to find anything at the thrifts, and painting or fixing up my existing table is not an option.

So what do you use as a coffee table?  What crafty clever thing can I buy or build for cheap?  I am at my wits end, and am looking for any creative ideas.  I was thinking of something round, but any style will do.

Thank you for your ideas!
20  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Party Planning / some papel picado I made on: October 01, 2006 05:56:21 PM
More stuff for the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) party I am having next month. 

I am cutting about a million of these papel picado to make a big banner.  Each is cut from a standard size piece of construction paper with an x-acto knife.  I downloaded the pattern for the one on the top from here: http://www.storyboardtoys.com/releases/Papel-Picado-Pattern-Simple.pdf#search=%22papel%20picado%20pattern%22

The middle one I drew myself but borrowed the design from one I saw for sale online.  The bottom (blue) one, I designed the pattern myself. 

These would make great halloween decorations, too.  I think they'd  look nice cut out in one color, then mounted on another color.

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