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1  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / trying to get my drawing mojo back: zentangles! on: January 04, 2010 09:11:17 PM
My interest in things tends to be obsessive and cyclical...I may do nothing for months but create ATCs, then I'll switch to knitting and do nothing but that for a year, then painting, then spinning, then crochet, and on and on and on. I've been really wanting to get back into drawing lately, but I've been away from it so long I was having trouble getting past that "but what if I can anymore? what if I screw it up?" line of thinking.

I ran across a reference to zentangles somewhere, I don't really remember, but they seemed like the right sort of low-pressure, technically-simple idea that would be perfect for jumpstarting my brain...so far, it seems I was right Smiley

They're various types of black pens, mostly India ink, on heavyweight drawing paper.

My current favorite (which may or may not actually qualify for the title of "zentangle", but, meh, I've never been very good at following directions):

And starting with my first one:

(Huh. Photo compression is not being very kind to this one.)

They remind me a lot of the reprints of 1970's coloring books I used to have when I was a kid. I'm liking the process enough that this may be the first time I actually manage to fill an entire sketchbook!
2  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / uranium, a circle jacket on: January 04, 2010 06:52:16 PM
After about five years of random, mostly unsuccessful attempts, I finally got the hang of crochet back in November. I'm definitely still learning, and I mess up a lot, but I felt confident enough to attempt to make myself a jacket (since it's winter and I don't own a coat, yikes) from the unimaginatively named 99-3 Circle jacket crochet with Silke-Alpaca pattern.

Since my gauge was waaay off, I used the instructions for the Small/Medium sizing to inset the sleeves, and just kept going until the circle was large enough to be flipped up over my head like a hood:

It's made with a mix of Patons Classic Wool and Classic Wool Merino...the yellow color isn't one they actually offer, it's a mistake, so I got a whole bag of partial skeins for pretty cheap. It and the solid olive green (the first two colors starting from the middle back) are the only two colorways that I didn't dye. I used up a whole lot of green and blue food coloring and vinegar!

From the front with the hood/collar up:

It's tied shut with a long chain made with strands of two different colorways held together.

With the collar down, like the pattern intended:

There's a million mistakes in it, my count ended up way off about halfway through, but I am really pleased with how it turned out, and it has been doing an excellent job of keeping me warm while freaking people out with its brightness Wink

And a detail shot, showing the necklace it's named after, which is made of uranium glass (it's radioactive and glows under blacklight!):
3  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / alice scarf, hand dyed on: January 21, 2009 04:23:49 PM
I seem to be making a lot of scarves lately.
Had a skein of cream-colored Patons Classic Wool Merino left over from a swap on Ravelry, and I decided to make myself something pretty Smiley

It's the Yarn Harlot's One Row Scarf, a fantastic and simple pattern, and the yarn was dyed with two colors of paste food coloring, purple and brown.

It's starts of rather pale and sparse and then slowly shifts into deeper, richer tones.

It's fairly short for my tastes, but it's long enough to knot once...or I may just have to use it as an excuse to splurge on a really pretty shawl pin Wink

4  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / crazy new magpie scarf...unexpected productivity, yay! on: December 19, 2008 10:52:40 PM
It's December.  I live in the Northern Hemisphere.  Whoever took our cold weather, plz to be sending it back now, kthx...I want to wear my knitted stuff! Tongue

I got tired of staring at one of my bags of yarn, the remains of a failed crazy-slouchy-hat-experiment, and I needed something mindless to keep my hands busy while I lazed around on the couch (stupid busted up knees, grr) and watched nerdy movies over and over and over again, so I grabbed a random circular needle (turned out to be a 29" size 10.5US) and cast on until I was sick of casting on...lots of garter stitch, a bit of stockinette, nine different yarns*, and five days later I had what I'm calling my magpie scarf:

(Pardon the moodiness of that second shot, it was my self-portrait for the day.)

I still have no idea how many stitches were in each row, never bothered to count them, but it took about 15-20 mins to  knit across each one...the poor thing was really scrunched up on the needle, so I didn't even know how long it was gonna be 'til I bound it off.

Without stretching, it's about a foot wide by nine feet long, not counting the fringe.

I adore it, and am anxiously awaiting the return of cold air so I can wear it for more than five minutes without passing out from heat stroke.

*Lion Brand Landscapes, Lion Brand Lion Boucle Multi, Moda Dea Beadnik, 2 colors of Patons Classic Wool Merino, Plymouth Yarn Jelli Beenz, Red Heart Ltd. Soft Yarn Solids, Samband of Iceland Lava which I dyed an apple green, and an unidentified 100% wool which I dyed a variegated fluorescent rainbow.
5  COOKING / Dessert / cranberry upside-down cake on: October 03, 2007 09:24:44 PM

1 can (20 ounces) pineapple tidbits
(or a can of pineapple chunks, smushed up)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
(or a cup of white sugar with a couple tablespoons of molasses mixed in)
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup walnut halves
(or a couple handfuls of finely diced walnuts, or maybe some pecans, or both, or no nuts at all)
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
and a few drops of neon pink food coloring to turn the cake a nice sunset-orange Wink

Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice...add enough water to the juice to make 1-1/4 cups.
Melt the butter and pour it into a 13x9x2 in. pan.
Sprinkle the butter with the brown sugar, cranberries, and walnuts, then top with the pineapple.
In a mixing bowl, combine the dry cake mix, eggs, oil, and pineapple juice (and some food coloring, if you're a strangely-colored-food addict)...mix for two minutes.
Pour the cake batter into the pan, then bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (mine definitely took longer, it was really wet and gushy).
Cool for 10 minutes before inverting...or be lazy and just leave it in the pan, flipping each piece before serving.

It's really good, though the pineapple kinda overshadows the cranberry...I may cut back on the pineapple next time, substituting more cranberries and maybe cranberry juice in its place.
6  COOKING / Dessert / rainbow cheesecake...now with two attempts! updated 15Mar08 on: August 29, 2007 02:11:58 PM
Based upon the Tie-Dyed Red Velvet Cheesecake served at the Disney Pop Century Resort, but mine is so much cooler Wink

I used brownie as a base, instead of cake...it's dense and chocolatey and good.
Because of the amount of work and dirty dishes involved in creating the cheesecake layer, I just used a mix from the store for the brownie...homemade would be extra tasty, just keep in mind that you're working in a 9-inch springform pan, so only make as much as you'd put in an 8x8 inch pan.

Pour your brownie batter into your springform pan and bake according to the directions...allow it to cool completely and then get to work on the cheesecake.

second, a question, you cook the brownie first, then pour the cheesecake on top of the brownie and bake again? That doesn't burn or overcook the brownie?

The moisture of the cheesecake layer keeps it pretty well protected, though it is to the point of being thoroughly done and chewy...I like my brownies to be a bit underdone and squishy, so I may cut back on the baking time for the bottom layer when I make another one.

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
food coloring...lots and lots of food coloring Cheesy
(need to convert to metric?)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and almond extract until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add in sour cream.
Divide mixture into 6 (or however many colors you'd like) small bowls and add a different color to each one.
This cheesecake contains:
http://www.mccormick.com/productdetail.cfm?ID=6034 & http://www.mccormick.com/productdetail.cfm?id=10790

My red, green, and yellow are from the standard set...my blue and purple are from the neon set...my orange is a mix of the standard yellow and the neon pink.  I wanted to have the neon green but I used it all up on art projects Roll Eyes
Drizzle batters onto brownie base in the 9-inch springform pan (I kinda speckled and splattered mine in with spoons, but you could pour them in and swirl lightly if you'd like it to go quicker...don't be afraid to play with the colors!).

Bake 35 minutes, until the center is just about set when you jiggle the pan.
Allow to cool completely and refrigerate before serving.
Run a knife around the cake to release it before removing sides of pan.

It looks kinda like Play-Doh at that point, doesn't it?

Be careful when you cut it, if you don't want the colors to mix.  Keep the blade clean and don't drag it, or all your edges will turn an odd purple-grey...it's a bit of extra work, but well worth it.

***15March08, cheesecake number two***

Based upon this lovely (and kinda sophisticated sounding) recipe for Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Bars.

Crust (it's like a soft vanilla cookie):
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
food coloring
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 913-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, cream together the sugar, butter, and vanilla extract.  Add the food coloring of your choice.  Mix in the salt and flour a bit at a time, until the dough is crumbly.

Press evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 15-17 minutes.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup half & half
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
(or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract plus 1/2 tsp peppermint extract)
food coloring
1 tbsp all purpose flour

While the crust bakes, combine the sugar, half & half, and cream cheese and mix until smooth.  Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing in each one completely before adding the next.  Stir in the extract(s) and flour...if you're doing multiple colors of filling, divide it up into bowls and add the food coloring.

Pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking, then return the pan to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the filling is set and not jiggly.
Wait until it's cool before slicing (or mostly cool, if you're impatient like me)...this is a very light and airy cheesecake, so the colors don't drag much when you cut it.

7  COOKING / Dessert / my chocolate cheesecake experiment (beware the parenthetical asides!) on: May 17, 2007 05:42:31 PM
I felt like baking something.  Something chocolatey.  So I decided to experiment...

Currently the recipe (inspired by one I found...somewhere) reads:

- 4.5 ounces of (milk, or whatever your personal preference) chocolate
(I used a Cadbury's Dairy Milk bar...next time I may add in an extra half bar, it's a bit pale)
- 2 (8 ounce) packages of Neufchtel cheese, softened
(cream cheese is a flavorless, more fattening rip-off of Neufchtel...go with the original!)
- a wee bit under 1/4 cup of white sugar
(going for a semi-sweet dessert here, but you can definitely add more sugar if you want)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(or 1/2 if you're not a vanilla fan like me)
- 2 eggs
- 1 prepared chocolate cookie crumb crust
(yep, store-bought, 'cause it was easier that way)

Melt the chocolate - I broke my candybar into squares and popped it into the microwave for about thirty seconds, it doesn't take long.  Set it aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Get a big bowl, toss in the softened cheese, sugar, and vanilla, and then mix the crap out of it till it's nice and smooth.
Work the eggs into the cheese mixture, one at a time. This will look pretty gross for a while...runny yellow egg bits with chunks of squishy sugary cheese floating around in it...keep mixing, it'll get better.
Blend in the melted chocolate.
Pour the chocolatey goodness into the crust and pop it in the oven.
Bake it until the center barely jiggles when you move the pan...mine took about 40-45 minutes.
Set it somewhere to cool, and then refrigerate for a few hours before diving face first (if you live with chocoholics, the refrigeration is best done while everyone is asleep...people can't beg for a taste or sneak a piece if they're unconscious).

As for the sauce on the top...eh, I made that the same way I make any and all chocolate sauces: toss some confectioner's sugar into a bowl, dump on some cocoa powder, splash in enough milk to make it into a runny paste, then microwave it till it starts to bubble. Stir in a bit of butter, heat it till it's bubbly again (that may or may not be necessary, I know nothing of the science behind food, I just make it up as I go along), add a bit of vanilla extract, give it another good stir. and then I have gooey chocolate sauce. Let it cool for awhile and then pour it on top of your cheesecake.
(This is the internet, Google is your friend...if you desire the exact measurements to make chocolate sauce, look up some actual recipes.)

-copied (mostly) from a blog entry-
8  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) / childhood escapism in miniature on: April 10, 2007 07:36:30 PM
Not doing too well with words right now, so pardon me if this makes no sense Wink  Look at the pretty pictures!

I took the theme quite literally...my cards are actually little six-page books.

The covers:

A peek inside the "books":
The first and last two pages are excerpts...it's the center pages where all the prettiness is located...

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, via my brain:

Peter Pan, via my brain:

They're loose interpretations, mostly symbolic stuff...nothing straightforward here Wink
My supplies are all over the map, from scrapbook paper to food coloring to kids' markers, with a big dose of gold leafing pen because I love shiny stuff.

Both cards, for polling purposes:
9  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) / "Pimp my background" gallery on: January 31, 2007 08:39:09 PM
Message from rackycoo: aliastriona_angerboda had a bit of an artist's block, and Teeisme jumped in to help her out. From there, this gallery was born. Feel free to post your incomplete atc's here, and see what your fellow craftsters do with them.

TWO THINGS: Make sure you create your own background to post, and only use non-copyrighted images when "fixing" someone's card. Have fun with it! I can't wait to see what happens.
preg_replace('/(.{49})/', '$1 ', '__________________________________________________________')

I'm stuck.  There's about 20 minutes till February and I have no ideas Tongue  Spent the past few hours glueing scraps to a random background, but it's unfinished and going nowhere:

I got nothin'.  Anybody want to finish a card for me? Cheesy
10  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Ever heard of Christien Meindertsma's FLOCKS? on: December 17, 2006 07:59:34 PM
I thought this was insane...and really cool...but quite insane...

GIANT knitting.  GIANT.

I ran across this website: http://www.theseflocks.com/, and I just couldn't resist sharing.

I am in no way affiliated, I don't know these people, and this is most definitely not my work.

You should go look at the site.  Really.  It might give you all sorts of crazy ideas...or just make you feel really sane Cheesy

Here's a peek:

(I took a copy of one of their images...didn't want to link directly to it...hotlinking is bad!)
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