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51  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Eco-dyed paper - first time bundles... on: October 16, 2016 07:17:46 AM
This has been something I have been wanting to try for awhile and finally did so when I was on vacation up North last week.  Had some fun meandering around the woods with the dog, and picking up lots of fallen leaves and stuff, and got around to trying eco-dyed paper.

Here are some of my favourites, but I made 4 biggish bundles, and there were lots of papers.  I did fibers too, but they were less a success - and some are still bundled and not opened yet.

A big batch of the end results

Boiling, with a pot lid and old horseshoe to keep the fibers submersed.

The papers, still bundled, and wet sitting on the bottom of my old tub.

Sumach branch on paper

leaves on folded water colour paper

Sumach and fern frond

Lots more pics and links back on some of my first attempts and what I learned on my blog if anyone interested...

Some of these I am tempted to just keep as is, and some will be used in journals or other pieces.  I am happy how these turned out, but definitely have ideas on some changes to try for next time.
52  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / 2016 Holiday Tag and Card Swap (sign ups by Oct 14, send by Nov 10) on: September 29, 2016 05:28:06 PM


So the holiday gift giving season is coming up, and I am inviting fellow Craftsters in joining in on another seasonal card and tag swap.  Previous ones have been fun and great prep for the coming holiday season.

Anyways, let's get some of the business end done...

Swap name: 2016 Holiday Tags and Cards Swap
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: Onyxnox
Sign-up date range: now until October 14, 2016 (by midnight EST)
Date to send item by: November 10, 2016

Limited to a certain number of people? (optional): 20

Restricted to people who all live in the same country? YES/NO - no
If so, which country? not applicable

Additional Age requirement? no

Swap Organizer himself/herself meets these conditions:
- Has fully read the Swap Info Guide: YES
- Has successfully completed two swaps as a participant: YES
- Is not organizing more than three swaps right now: YES
- Will recruit a co-organizer or give all details to a Swap Moderator if this swap has more than 25 participants: not applicable
- Is at least 18 years old: YES

Swap Organizer will check each participant to make sure they meet these conditions:
- Has been a member for at least one month: YES
- Has posted at least 15 times: YES
- Has completed one swap successfully before signing up for multiple swaps at a time: YES
- Is not currently signed up for more than five swaps: YES
- Does not have any negative feedback: YES
- Participant has agreed that he/she is at least 16 years old: YES
- If within the US, understands that Delivery Confirmation number is required for this swap: YES
- If outside the US, understands that a mailing receipt copy is required for this swap: YES

Details of swap:

This will be a swap for cards and tags for the upcoming holiday season.  

Participants will be in groups of 4, where each Craftster will send a set of 4 cards (and envelopes) and 4 tags (and attachment mode) to each of the other three members of the group by the send by date, and each Craftster will receive 4 cards/tags from each of the group members.  

Therefore everyone, in the end, should have received a dozen cards and tags in time for holiday gift giving.  

Minimum expected size for tags - 2"x3", and to include ties/ribbons/sticky
Minimum expected size for cards - 3"x5", and to include envelopes

There is no maximum.

On saying that, the theme of the cards do not have to be limited to the holidays, if that is what your partner wants.  Also, Crafsters are encouraged to be as creative as you want; just because it is cards and tags, does not mean you have to limit yourself to paper.  If you want to make your items from something other than paper, feel free to.  I love seeing how varied the results are and how wonderfully creative everyone is in these swaps!

But because this will likely be mostly a paper swap:  as per Craftster swapping rules, papercraft swaps are exempt from the DC confirmation requirements.  Senders are required to resend their packages if they are not received for any reason.

Previous tag swap galleries....

Holiday Tags 2013

Holiday Tags 2014

Holiday Tags and Cards 2015

Discussion for 2015 card/tag swap...

If you want to participate, information to send to organizer:

Name of swap - 2016 Holiday Tags and Cards Swap
Craftster username
Email address
Your real name
Mailing address including the country
Would you be willing to ship to an address outside your own country?
Confirm that are at least 16 years old: (YES/NO)


1) What kind of holiday cards/tags do you want? (Christmas, Hannukah, Winter Solstice, religious, Kwanzaa, etc)

2) Would you prefer any non-winter holiday tags?  If so, what kind would you like (birthday, Valentines, Easter, general, etc)?

3) How do you want your tags to attach (ribbon/string/stick-on/surprise me)?

4) What kind of themes/colours would you like your tags to have (please list at least 5)?

5) What kind of themes/colours would you like to be avoided?  

6) Any links to Pinterest, blogs, etc for stalking purposes?


Note also that I am going to be away for the next week for vacation, so will not update the list until I get back - feel free to PM, but don't get nervous if you don't see your name showing up here or the swap in your profile until after the first week of October....

Also, remember to read the Swap Info Guide to find other rules about participating in a swap.

Current List of Swappers

1.  Onyxnox
2.  kbrison
3.  flygirl88
4.  Artmomto5
5.  gala_apples
6.  IsikkahJai
7.  Thimbles71
8.  late_nite_stamper
9.  bunny1kenobi
10. SonjaBoo

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

53  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Winter holidays coming up - Another tags and/or cards swap? on: September 22, 2016 07:21:45 AM

It's coming up to that time of year again - planning for the winter holidays.  Wondering if anyone is interested in starting to make and trade tag and/or card sets for this year's winter gift giving and mailing.  I like doing this relatively early so that everyone gets their items hopefully soon enough to send out in time for the holidays. 

Here are the links to last years swap discussion

and to the wonderful gallery...

and to the 2014 tag swap gallery

I was thinking of setting it up before I go away on vacation, and have sign ups until early October, mid October at the latest, then a send by date of the first week of November.
54  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / WAFFLES!!!!! on: September 16, 2016 09:30:13 AM
I have been having a waffle craving for a couple of weeks now, and my coworkers and I are planning a brunch/breakfast potluck this weekend at work.  I offered to make WAFFLES!!!!!  I just love the word even (WAFFLES!!!!)

This is is my go-to, favourite waffle (WAFFLES!!!!!) recipe.  The cornmeal gives a nice crispness, and the lemon flavour is very light.  Excellent with berries, and syrup.  Can be easily adapted for savoury flavours too.

Lemon Cornmeal Waffles (!!!!)
Makes 12 or more

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs, separated
1 1/4 cup milk - scant measure
4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil, or melted butter
extra oil/butter for waffle iron

In 2 cup measure, measure milk, and add lemon juice.  Stir well and set aside to sour for about 15 minutes.  This makes soured milk which makes a good replacement for buttermilk which is what the original recipe called for.

In separate large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and mix well.  Set aside.

In separate bowl, combine soured milk, oil, egg yolks.  Blend to combine.  Pour into flour mixture and mix gently to combine.  Do not over mix, some lumps are OK, like a pancake batter.  Set aside to rest.

Heat up waffle iron, oil/butter griddle if needed.

In separate clean and dry bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gently fold into batter to lighten.

Pour some of batter into iron and cook until done, often when steam lessons, about 4 minutes.  I like mine crispy, so I let them cook to a deeper brown.

Place on heat proof plate and keep warm in oven on low temp until ready to serve.  Or freeze and reheat in oven for 15-20 minutes, then serve warm.

I actually made these for a breakfast potluck at work, so I will let them cool to room temp, then refrigerate and we will reheat them by toasting them in the toaster - a la Eggos.

more about my love of WAFFLES on my blog if anyone is interested, and a link to the original Anna Olson recipe, which included a wonderful recipe for strawberry rhubarb syrup too
55  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Mark this space... on: September 10, 2016 06:05:10 AM

I had an idea lately to make something with die cut canvas and paper and made these bookmarks.  They are made from inked and stamped Canson XL water colour paper.  I love working with the stuff because it is nice and thick, and can really take being wet over and over again, and can take being sewing onto as well, and still maintain it's integrity.  I do wish I could find a smooth surface version of it - so if anyone can recommend something like it with a smooth surface, I would appreciate it!

Anyways, after inking, and stamping, both sides, I inked and die cut some cotton art canvas, and sewed it onto both sides of the canvas.  Then I added crackle medium.  After that dried, I sewed on an embroidery floss tassel.

I entered it in one of the challenges at the Simon Says Stamp challenge blogs and it did get mentioned in the Designer Spotlight - no prize, but a nice ego boost.

More about the project on my blog if anyone is interested
56  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / a bag for your Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains.... on: September 10, 2016 05:12:38 AM
I made this recently for the Unbirthday Swap for Kittykill, inspired by some stamped lunchbags she had pinned.  They were stamped brown paper bags, but I wanted to make a reusable bag, so I made a zombie stencil for the pocket on the reusable bag.  It can also be used as a small project bag instead... but so much better for a nice snack of brains...

It's made from polka dot canvas, with a cotton drawstring top.  I used unbleached art canvas for the zombie face and fabric paint.

I added a little tag to it too - which can be removed...

I oopsed at first making the pocket - made it too big, as I made the stenciled head too big.  But there was no point wasting it, so I just finished all the edges and made it into a mugrug.

Some more pics and info about the project on my blog page, and some more about my ooopsed project here.
57  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Roasted Cauliflower and Caramelized Onions - vegetable candy! on: August 25, 2016 05:25:34 AM

I was going to carb it up this past weekend because Jim wasn't going to be home and I miss cheap, nasty carby dinners (he's gluten free).  I was going to order some fried chicken, or pizza, or make up a big ol' pan of mac and cheese - carby comfort...

Except oddly, I was craving cauliflower - my friend a couple of weeks ago made roasted cauliflower as a veg dish for a BBQ we were at and it was just delicious and I had bought a couple of heads of the stuff myself this week.  So instead of the cheap, nasty, bloating carbs, I ended up making this and having this for dinner... OK, this and a lot of jujubes while watching a marathon session of Grey's Anatomy....

Roasted Cauliflower and Caramelized Onions

Serves about 4-6 depending on the size of your cauliflower

1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed, and cut into florets
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 large sweet onions (red onions here)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 500F.  I used my toaster oven.  Spread the cauliflower over two prepared pans (just lined with foil).  Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast, switching position of trays intermittently and tossing vegetables in the pan, until brown, about 45 minutes, or so.  

While cauliflower is roasting, mince garlic, and dice onions.  Heat small amount oil in pan, on medium heat.  Gently caramelize onions in pan.  Brown gently, stirring occasionally.  When almost browned well, toss in balsamic vinegar and stir well.  Scrape up the tasty caramelized browned bits.

Toss the caramelized onions in with the cauliflower and layer back on tray and place back in oven and roast for another 10 minutes or so to meld flavours.

The idea of the big box of fried chicken, pizza, or mac and cheese is so wonderful - but then afterwards, there is the regret, the bloating, etc - so this was delicious, filling, and a much healthier option.  Dang, I must be growing up.  Regardless, it would make a yummy side dish also.

A bit more on my blog if anyone is interested
58  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Pin me! on: August 19, 2016 10:24:51 AM

I saw some cute thimble pendents made into pin cushions and thought I would make my own.

I made the cord necklace, making it a bit longer, for easier access, as this is supposed to be a functional, rather than decorative piece.  For a bit more function, I added some fine steel wool at the bottom, so that any needles or pins inserted in it, will have their tips sharpened.  It works - I was playing with the pins in this and the ends are quite sharp right now!

Then I added some extra bling with some sewing charms I have in my stash.

Some more pictures and whatnot on my blog if anyone is interested....
59  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Creative Inspirations swap - anyone interested in inspiring each other? on: July 27, 2016 07:29:30 AM

I  have been thinking about making something like this for awhile for myself.  Then I got to thinking that it would be nice as a swap.  Essentially, for those times when you feel that you are itching to make something, but are drawing a bit of a blank on what to make.  

Sometimes an image, a word, a song, a phrase can be a wonderful trigger for inspiration.  The snow falling gently on the scene outside your window.  The sound of the birds at the first light of dawn.  A favourite lyric.  A new technique, or different style.

I was thinking of making tags, cards, a booklet, whatever to act as creative prompts for myself - as a booklet, or in a box, so that when I want to make something, I can pull one out and use that as my prompt for my project.  

Then I thought it may be fun for a group to share their prompts and it could be fun as a swap.

Anyone else interested in inspiring each other?  It could be in the form of tags, cards, ATCs, fabric pieces, felted pieces - but not the container - the recipient would be responsible for their own way of containing, storing, or displaying their inspirational prompts.
60  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies on: June 26, 2016 04:28:17 PM
Another baked treat I made this weekend, for the Saturday workshop day we had for the Craftster Canada Meet Up in Toronto.  These are cookies that I adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe, that my family has quite enjoyed several times.  They seemed pretty popular this time too so I thought I would share in case any of my new friends would like to make more!

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 4 dozen

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 oz (1 1/4 cups) dried cranberries
4-6 oz white chocolate chips
4-6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
(I put 6 oz of each into this batch, it does depend on how much chocolate chips you want, and you can certainly use all milk chocolate, or semi sweet chocolate if you are not a fan of white chocolate chips)

Pre-heat oven to 375F.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with sugars until creamy and fluffy, with mixer.  Add vanilla and eggs and beat until well combined.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt, and mix well.  Gently mix into butter mixture until well combined.  Mix in dried cranberries and chips.

On parchment covered baking sheet, using two tablespoons, drop dough onto sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake in middle of oven until tops are golden brown - about 18 minutes.  Let cool on sheet about 5 minutes and transfer to rack to cool fully.

*** these can be made gluten free by subbing in gluten free oats, and baking soda, and using a gluten free flour mix, but I found that it made for a softer, cakier cookie.
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