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321  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: A Dress Made Out of Paper? on: February 05, 2009 10:40:20 PM
You could try these:  http://www.geuzen.org/current/DIY/paperdress.html , but if you're not going to sew might I suggest plenty of double-sided tape for the seams Smiley

For inspiration (drool...) have a lookie at: http://www.papier-couture.com/
322  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Gems -- a Pittsburgh tradition?? on: February 05, 2009 10:28:04 PM
Your 'gems' sound very similar to the 'gems' found in Australian bakeries; little half-sphere cakes joined together with whipped cream or other filling, dipped in icing/chocolate/etc and rolled in coconut.  They're gorgeous little things.  Most often I see peach gems, raspberry gems or a variation on the basic lamington theme.

If this is what you're looking for...

To bake them, you need a 'gem iron'.  Have a look at one here: http://cookshoppl.cart.net.au/details/594132.html  You can also use a shallow patty cake pan.  Not sure if that translates, but there's a pic here if you need one: http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/50998673/Patty_Cake_Pan.html.  Of course you'll get an ellipse rather than a spherical shape but it's still pretty.

I use a basic vanilla cupcake recipe for mine and sandwich the two halves together with whipped cream.  To make the chocolate version, dip the round cake in thin chocolate frosting, then roll in coconut.  For other flavors, the best thing to use is jello.  Make up the jello (whatever flavour you like) and set until thick but still liquid.  Roll your cakes in that, then in coconut.  Or sprinkles, etc.

Wish I had some pictures of the real thing for you  Undecided
323  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Too Many Mangos. Help? Please? on: February 04, 2009 09:56:34 PM
I was in the same situation this Christmas Cheesy

Golden Mango Chutney: simmer chopped mangoes with onion, red chilli (to taste) in white vinegar and a little sugar.  Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or do the bottling thing to last longer.   

Frozen Mango Smoothies: pretty much what we live on in December.  Slice/chop mango flesh and freeze (ice cube trays or freezer bags work great).  When you're ready for a smoothie, blend lots frozen mango pieces with icy milk.  You can even add ice cream if you want.  Amazing smoothie, but beware, many a blender motor has been sacrificed to this little bit of heaven... but it's worth it.

Prawn and Mango Salad: Toss torn cos lettuce, finely chopped red capsicum, mint, coriander, shredded coconut (toasted if you like it that way), sliced mango, chilled cooked prawns (crumbed or as is).  Dress with chopped red chilli and lime juice. 

Mango Salad Dressing: Mango pureed with chilli and ginger.  Thin with lime juice.

Frozen Mango Cream Bars: Boil 1 1/4 cups each of water and sugar to a syrup, cool.  Blend about 1kg mango flesh with the sugar syrup and a teaspoon of lemon juice.  Save a cup of it - mix this with 300ml cream.  (Add macadamia nuts if you like)  Line a 20x30cm lamington pan with foil, pour in the mango cream mixture and freeze until firm.  Pour on the rest of the mango, freeze.  To serve, slice into bars... kind of like a Weis bar.

Mango Cheesecake: Add pureed mango flesh to your basic cheesecake recipe, and top with fresh sliced mango or a layer of mango jelly (mango set with gelatine) or both.

Mango & White Chocolate Mousse: Something of a Christmas tradition at my house.  Melt 375g white chocolate with 3/4 cup cream.  Cool.  Whip 1 1/2 cups cream until thick and smooth (don't go nuts or the mousse goes grainy).  Fold through the white choc mixture.  Layer in glasses with sliced mango and chopped macadamias.  Garnish with a mint leaves. 

Pureed mango makes a nice marinade for chicken or fish, and I've baked slices of it with pork (sprinkled with a little brown sugar...hehehe...)  Add it to cakes or muffins, top ice cream with it, mix mango through vanilla ice cream with chopped macadamia nuts, soak the mango in honey and bake into breads, scones, cakes, etc.  Try mango with star anise as a sauce for chicken.  Stuff lychees with mango and dip in chocolate.

I could go on, but I won't.  Even I'm getting cross eyed looking at that list.

324  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Fondant Help? on: February 04, 2009 08:44:45 PM
The recipes I use:

Fondant (Sugarpaste)
makes 1kg (2 lb)

5 teaspoons gelatine
125ml (4 fl oz) liquid glucose
1 tbs glycerine
1 kg (2 lb) confectioners' sugar (or icing sugar)

1. Sprinkle gelatine over a tablespoon of water in a small dish.  Leave until it goes spongy, then microwave for a few seconds at a time until it's all liquid.  (Or you can melt it over hot water, double boiler style).  Add glucose and glycerine, stir until melted then cool a minute or so.

2. Sift icing sugar (or pour it in a bowl and stir a couple of times with a whisk.)  Save a cup for kneading.  Make a well; pour in the glucose mixture.  Stir until combined then use a dry hand to knead.  It'll be stringy and gross for a while, just keep kneading, using that reserved icing sugar as necessary.  Once you have a dough-like texture, turn onto a board or whatever dusted with plenty of icing sugar and knead away until you get a smooth, pliable ball of fondant.  It takes a while.  Good luck Smiley

Use immediately or wrap tightly in plastic and store in an airtight container for up to three days.

**Note: I have always found there is too much liquid in this recipe, but then I live in a very humid climate which always does weird things to recipes.  Allow for extra icing sugar.  If yours turns out sticky like mine often does the first time, just keep kneading in the sugar until you're happy with the consistency.

Personally, I prefer the following recipe.  Tastes heaps better and it's not full-on like you'd expect white chocolate to be, but you do need a quantity of the other stuff to get started.

White Chocolate* Sugarpaste

makes 1.5 kg (3 lb)

500g white chocolate (*You can use any kind of chocolate. It's all good.)
150 ml (5 fl oz) liquid glucose
50 ml (1 3/4 fl oz) sugar syrup (equal amounts of sugar and water boiled to a syrup and cooled)
About 600g (1 1/4 lb) sugarpaste (fondant)

1.  Melt chocolate.  Combine glucose and sugar syrup, stir over hot water until warm then add the melted chocolate.  Stir until combined.

2.  The original recipe recommends leaving it overnight, covered and stored at room temperature.  Once you're ready to go, knead the chocolate mix to make it pliable, as it will be hard.  The heat of your hands will soften it.  Then knead in the sugarpaste (again, on a dusted board) until you get a nice ball of smooth, pliable sugarpaste that's ready to use. 

325  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Re: Frangipani (plumeria) flower girl dress on: October 26, 2008 05:09:37 PM
Thanks, all.  Took the dress to show the bride yesterday and she's happy, which is the most important thing!   
326  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Frangipani (plumeria) flower girl dress on: October 23, 2008 10:17:52 PM
3/4 front view:

frangipani dress 3/4 front by rossieforpresident, on Flickr

Miss is a flower girl at her aunties upcoming wedding.  We live in the tropics; frangipanis are everywhere and made a fitting theme.  Miss wore the dress (decorated in blue) at a wedding several months ago, but I didnt want to make another dress while this one still fits.  Instead, we revamped!

The dress itself isn't my work (just the bling) but I believe the pattern was McCall's M4759.

Side view:

frangipani dress side by rossieforpresident, on Flickr


frangipani dress front by rossieforpresident, on Flickr

Front (with neckline visible):

frangipani dress front 2 by rossieforpresident, on Flickr


frangipani dress back by rossieforpresident, on Flickr

3/4 back:

frangipani dress 3/4 back by rossieforpresident, on Flickr

The flowers are silk with a little glitter added in the centre (because glitter goes with everything).  Aside from the corsage, which was glued to a thin piece of card first, they are sewn right onto the dress.  The beading was threaded onto wire first then stitched down.  The green sash is the same fabric as the Matron of Honour's dress, with some pleats added for a bit of texture.  The bow is stitched to the sash on the left and clips onto the right to make life easier with the zipper.  All the bits and pieces are sewn on delicately so they can be removed after the wedding.


frangipani dress corsage by rossieforpresident, on Flickr

Back pleat detail:

frangipani dress back detail by rossieforpresident, on Flickr

And another:

frangipani dress back detail 2 by rossieforpresident, on Flickr

327  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Re: Scary formal dress -> mermaid dress on: October 23, 2008 05:19:32 AM
Thanks for the feedback Smiley 
328  CLOTHING / Clothing for Kids: Completed Projects / Scary formal dress -> mermaid dress on: October 22, 2008 12:05:06 AM
Took a frightening 80's-esque formal dress, with the dropped waist and mega-fluff and scary poofy sleeves:

big scary dress by rossieforpresident, on Flickr

And turned it into a mermaid play dress:

mermaid side, posing by rossieforpresident, on Flickr

(Never mind Miss and her posing)

The process:

Seperate the dress into its major components: bodice, skirt, sleeves.  Take out the zipper. Find scary tule fluffer things inside the sleeve.  Detach and save for later use.

Cut the top half of the bodice off.  Use the previous sleeve cuffs for straps, decorate with scary fluffer tule and gathered shoulder bits.  Make bottom and tail using the old skirt (pattern from Australian Women's Weekly 'Kid's Dress Ups & Parties'.  Recommend serious meditation and calm breathing before attempting to use the pattern sheet.)  Add frilly thing to the waist cut from dress lining.

Attatch top to bottom.  Using gauzy lining from old dress, make ties for the back closer.  Add plenty of sequins.  

Find lots of jewellery, sparkly makeup and girly hair things and play dress up!

Detail shots:


Mermaid sleeve by rossieforpresident, on Flickr

Back closure (pretty bows)

mermaid back closure by rossieforpresident, on Flickr

Dress with tail

mermaid back, tail by rossieforpresident, on Flickr

More shots at flickr, if you're interested.
329  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Party Planning / Re: Firefly Shindig on: June 12, 2008 05:25:26 PM
I *heart* a good shindig! 

From what you wrote, I'm gonna assume you're going for the big fancy Inara-style shindig.    There's lots of good advice about how to throw a good shindig at places like fireflyfans, but here's my two cents.

Pick your place - lots of light, flowers, lovely music, a fancy lookin' buffet, firefly-inspired formal dress.  Have guests 'check their weapons at the door'.

Being a fancy occasion attended no doubt by a few ruffians parading as respectable citizens, you could have the shindig swear word of the night (in Chinese, of course), so when people stub their toes trying to learn a waltz they're only allowed to curse as you choose.

Dancing is essential.  You could all learn the waltz together or some such.

Have your attending guests each put together a mini-skit, filk song or other entertainment item to perform.  Try some theater sports - re-enact a scene from the show (a popular shindig pastime), with ad-libbing/accents/different settings etc for a bit of a twist.   

You could give awards to your guests for their costumes, such as the 'The Captain Tight-Pants' Award, or 'Best Lookin' Companion in the House!' Award.  Perhaps you could think up awards for the best dancing, entertainment, inventive phrase/insult (Chinese or English), best accent in the 'verse, the Malcolm Reynold's honorary award for misplaced gallantry, the Kaylee Fry award for best use of a strawberry, etc etc.  Make the certificates pretty and if you're gonna go with trophies, make them fun.  (Who wouldn't want a Vera of their very own, or a can of 'Blue Sun' beans?)

Have a sword fight!  With pretend swords, of course.  You could make a tournament and a trophy out of it.

Party favors for your guests might include toy pistols, CD's of filk music, Mal-style suspenders, chocolates, pairs of blue gloves, etc. 
330  CRAFTING FOR GOOD AND NOT EVIL / Crafty Charitable/Social Causes / Re: Brainchild I just had... (didn't even know I was pregnant ;-) on: February 27, 2008 05:43:31 PM
I think that's a great idea.  Good for the environment and good for crafty karma.  Here in Australia there has been a huge push to reduce the use of plastic bags - most of us now have reusable bags that we take to the shops.  In some places there's even a bit of a stigma about using plastic, and there are even declared 'plastic bag free' towns.   

There are places online where you can buy calico bags all ready to go that are seriously cheap, sturdy and washable.  They're my personal preference as the stores find them easy to work with and they are really easy to embellish.  (I give them out as Christmas pressies).  I would be concerned that the pillowcases might tear... but I suppose if the seams were reinforced???

Once people see how lovely and practical your shopping bags are I'm sure they'll become interested.  You could leave a stack with the centre management of your supermarket so people can take one home with them if they like.  Some stores may be happy to put them into circulation for you - less costs for them and it's a draw card for the conscious consumer.  You could pin a note to each bag explaining the cause and encouraging shoppers to reject the plastic.

Besides, once the bags are all prettied up, they're kind of like practical ATC's.  Great advertising for your cause, for your craft or non-profit group, with the added benefit of being useful to businesses.

Good luck Smiley 

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