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1  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Teesha Moore style pouch, quickest easiest cheaty version ever! on: February 15, 2018 06:33:33 AM
This was constructed in about 2 hours from start to finish, no kidding. Fastest Teesha Moore pouch I have Ever made!

First cut 4 pieces of fabric the same size for the inside and outside of the front and back pieces. Cut 2 smaller pieces for the flap.

Line your pieces up with the fabric you want showing on the outside facing up. Sew only where I have (across the top and down the right side of the flap, down the right side of what will be the back, down the right side and across the bottom of the what will be the front piece.)

Now sew those sections together as shown with the seam allowances towards what will be the outside of the pouch.

Now you insert whatever sort of stuffing you want to use into the openings then turn over the seam allowance and pin closed. I used flat pieces of felt cut to size this time but I often use fluffy stuffing and make quite poofy little pillows. The amount of embellishment will determine how flat they become.
I am not showing step-by-step embellishing because that's the fun part where you get to use your imagination. Just remember to double check orientation by folding the pouch up and marking the top and the bottom so you don't put things in the wrong direction. Remember that the seam allowance and the flap will fold over and cover the edges of any design. Also keep in mind loose threads etc on the inside of the pouch, you won't want anything to catch on those later so hide knots and long bits of thread around the edges or between the layers of the fabric.
Once your design is complete, turn over all the seam allowances and pin in place. I also added a loop of elastic for the future closure but you can do anything you like for that.

Now stitch the seam allowance down all the way round the flap piece and the top of the back piece as shown. I am using a variegated thread for automatic colour changes.

Using a long length of thread, stitch down the seam allowance across the bottom of the back piece and the front piece where they meet, leaving the thread uncut.

Fold the pouch up and use that long thread you've left attached to stitch the sides together, across the opening on the front piece of the pouch, and down the other side.

Take care to reinforce the point where the sides and the flap meet, that's where there will be the most pulling when the pouch is opened up.

Add a button or another closure and you are fini!

See how the orientation of your design is important? I *almost* put these words on upside down even after checking.

I hope you'll give it a try and share how it goes for you, I was so excited about how it turned out. Please let me know if anything isn't clear and I'll fix it right up.
2  COOKING / Dessert / Banana mayo muffins. Seriously. on: February 14, 2018 08:00:48 AM
Banana bread is something I often make in large batches and freeze so the kids have a somewhat healthy treat to take to school in their lunches. I don't claim to be great at baking but I thought the recipe I was using was ok until a friend came over with a loaf she'd baked. "Best banana bread ever!" my children proclaimed  Undecided Cry.

She emailed her recipe and it has MAYO in it, wha...?! Eww, right? Wrong. Best Banana Bread EVAR. I made a batch of muffins last night, came down this morning to find:

Makes 12 regular sized muffins, 9 large muffins, or 2 small loaves
Preheat oven to 350F

1C Miracle Whip (I used Hellman's mayo)
1C sugar (I used a bit less)
1C mashed banana
2C all purpose flour
1tsp vanilla
1tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder

Mix first 3 ingredients and add vanilla.
Sift dry ingredients together and add to first mixture. (I stir until there are no flour lumps but do not overwork the batter)
Pour into greased muffin tins and bake for 20 mins. (I used muffin papers and had to bake for additional time, test with a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin).
3  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Decorated wooden spool, photo tute with tips on: February 14, 2018 07:36:18 AM

The edges of an old wooden spool were painted with nail polish. Despite the noxious fumes it's one of my favourite things to paint items like this with because it comes in every imaginable colour, can be had for a buck or 2 at a dollar store, the containers are small enough that many are easily stored without taking up much space, it sticks to nearly anything, dries quickly, and can be layered any way you like.

I used beading end caps that have a much smaller hole than the spool. To keep them lined up neatly I found some small wooden beads to wedge into the spool opening. I painted the beads the same silver as the spool ends, this was to blend in the colour but also to secure the beads even more. A thick layer of polish acts a bit like glue.

I've been all about rainbow everything for months now so sorted out the beads to make a pattern. Random is just as nice looking though, do what you like. It's good to thread the string (I used dental floss) through a single bead at the ends of the spool to help with alignment. I chose to bead 2 strands to dangle in the tassel but you can tie off anywhere you wish so long as you leave something to attach the tassel to. Try to do it where the knot and thread ends will not show. Adding a small bead of strong glue at the knot is a great way to ensure it stays tied.

Use a prefab tassel or make one yourself anyhow you like. I made a tassel out of thin strips of fabric scraps left over from another project. Stacked in colours and stitched to another strip of fabric then trimmed across the bottom. The fabric strip everything is stitched too will get folded over and the whole line of strips rolled up and sewn together. I did stitch those strands of beads to the inside of that roll, that's how the tassel is secured in place.

The strip of fabric on the spool can be secured with glue but I just stitched tightly at the join and that was strong enough to keep it in place. I'm thinking about what sort of message to add, stitched, stamped, something... we shall see Smiley

The closure can be a button sewn to the strip or a thin bit of ribbon that wraps around, a string tied in a bow, or a button on a bit of elastic like I did.

I thought about hanging this in the car but realized the loop is too small to get over the rearview mirror and too long to hang it off of something else so it will live in the craft room instead and I'll make another for the car with an openable loop. I'll post photos of that when it's finished.
4  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Positive Affirmation spool on: February 13, 2018 08:35:12 AM
Made for PerfectlyBohemian in the Positive Affirmation swap. I've always wanted to make one of these and was so happy to have a chance to finally do it. The old wooden spool is painted with nail polish.

Beads from my stash.

Tassel made of ribbons in the colours she likes best.

The statement is stamped and embellished with stitching, a bit of vintage lace, wrap around ribbon with a beaded end and a purple button to hold that in place.

She wanted something to potentially display at work and I thought a hidden statement might be good. All that shows when it's wrapped up is the row of pretty hearts, only she knows what is written inside. 
5  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Miniature bell jar scenes on: February 13, 2018 08:00:29 AM
Last year I joined the I <3 Valentine's swap and had the lovely edelC as my partner. I started a project for her but decided to switch to something else before I'd completed it. I thought I would keep the other little thing for my own trinket shelf but every time I looked at it with the intention of working on it, it very plainly said to me "No, I am not for you." until I finally figured I had better finish it and send it to Edel, the person it has belonged with all along.

The girl is black shrink plastic, I found images of silhouettes online and copied the one I liked best. Her balloon is shaped from very fine wire, the balloon itself is nail polish. Set inside a mini bell jar, I think Tim Holtz, with some miniature scene fake grass, both from Michael's. I got the man to take the kids to the beach and fetch back some beach sand which is what the path she is standing on is made of, a little piece of Hamilton Ontario lives in Ireland now Smiley.

LadybugsAndBumblebees and I did a personal swap recently and I sent her a little something for the members of her family. She said her son was difficult to make gifts for but she had something similar to this in her pinterest for him.

It's air dry clay painted with acrylics, the grass is the same sort used for mini scenes, the bell jar also from Tim Holtz.

It was difficult to get a good photo of something so tiny but I really liked the results and was happy with how it turned out. I hope he will enjoy it too.
6  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Be Here Now rainbow cushion cover on: February 12, 2018 11:18:27 AM
For the recent Positive Affirmation swap we were to make something for ourselves too. I was stuck on what but had been cross stitching for a swap and thought I'd just do a little bit more for me. And then I went all rainbow scrap bin crazy like I do and ended up with this.

The back is a large piece of my small collection of indigo shibori from a workshop with alwaysinmyroom at Wulf's awesome studio (hey guys, have any of you done fun stuff with your fabric?).

And here it is on the couch in my craft room.

It makes me happy Smiley.
7  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Gelli printed card set on: February 11, 2018 11:18:06 AM
Last year I made a gelatin plate but never got up the nerve to use it. It seemed a bit dried out so I remelted it and finally gave it a try. It was messy, fussy, time consuming, and I didn't love the prints I made.

Determined to make something good enough I layered on some stamps, circular shapes dipped in white paint, and flecks of gold which don't show in the photos but were my favourite part of all. I let them sit for a couple days to make sure I liked them, after working on them for so many hours and days I needed a bit of distance to tell, ha ha.

I fussy cut them to make a dozen cards for a swap, I hope they will be enjoyed and useful.

 I will make more for myself one of these days. I think I need a bigger table though.
8  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Five squashed creature book marks on: February 11, 2018 10:50:45 AM
There are some free patterns and videos out there showing how to make some of these but I just skimmed them and picked bits and pieces of my fave elements to make up my own versions. I recommend a sock yarn for a nice thin bookmark.

Those eyes make me giggle. Is that morbid of me?

Squashed rat, or is it a mouse? Either way, this was for a recent swap, Lb&Bb's hubby is an exterminator so both creatures would fit the bill Cheesy.

Fox for my big red Viking

He's actually getting pretty gray lately, I may need to update with a silver fox book mark soon Wink.

Frog for my auntie

I love the expression Cheesy

This one was for my daugther who's been on a koala kick lately. I thought I'd make it a bit cuter and less, I dunno, dead looking? She was disappointed! LOL, the ghoul.

I don't know how she could be anything but happy with this adorable guy though, just look at that face!

And for the lad, Nyan cat. I don't get this at all, I am out of touch with what the youth of today admire I guess.

I think I managed to capture all the 8 bit goodness (not that I really know what that means, ha)

9  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Pen holder for journal or notebook, tutorial on: February 09, 2018 11:48:02 AM
I made a few of these recently and varied the stitching sequence for each until I hit upon one I'd recommend. Here's how I did it, all the sewing is on the inside so there are no visible seams.

First measure the book cover and cut 2 strips of fabric that are the same height plus seam allowance. The width is entirely up to you, I used a wide elastic and made the fabric an 1/8 of an inch wider plus seam allowance.
Also cut a strip of fabric the same width but at least twice the height of a pen or pencil. Fold that in half and press the crease.

The elastic is cut about 1" shorter than the height of the book plus seam allowance.

Stack them with the right side of a large piece on the bottom, the folded piece to hold the pen with the side of the fabric you'd like showing up, the piece of elastic lined up at the bottom, and the second long piece right side down on the top.

Starting an inch or two below the top edge, sew down one side, across the bottom backtacking to secure the elastic well, and up the other side leaving a small opening on one side. Take care not to catch the elastic in your stitches.

Fold the top open and pull the elastic up to the top seam, pin in place and finish sewing up and down both sides and across the end, backtacking to secure the elastic well. You will leave the small opening on one side unstitched.

Trim the seam allowance on the corners cutting close to the stitches but not through them. Gently pull the elastic through that small opening and turn the pen holder right side out, using a pointy tool to push out the corners. Press the fabric taking care to fold in the seam allowance of the small opening and not to melt the elastic. You have 2 options for finishing. You can either edge stitch around the entire project to close the side opening and even better secure the elastic ends or you can close the seam invisibly with a ladder stitch (that's what I chose).

I used a slightly longer elastic on the bigger book.

If you want to make a holder for more than one pen increase the width and add a line of stitching to divide the pocket up.

Here are the previous attempts, I really do prefer not to see any outside stitching.

10  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / 5 minute whole oats on: February 08, 2018 02:16:06 PM
People keep suggesting overnight crockpot oats as a time saver but regular whole oats are the easiest, quickest breakfast going. I never, ever stand around boiling and stirring them because that results in a big ole globby blob and if you want that it's faster just to use quick oats.
I prefer whole oats that have retained their shape and some chewy texture, not like a dry raw oat of course but not mush either.

Add to a pot of boiling water grated apple and/or cubed pear, raisins, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, a dollop of butter and a dash of salt.

Stir whole oats into the pot, I use so much that there is really barely any water left at all. Stir, bring it up to a boil again, shut off the heat, put on the lid and let sit until the water is absorbed.

This is usually only about 10 mins. By the time the kids get downstairs, their hands washed and the table set it's all ready.
See? It's perfect!
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