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1  Always Adorable Buttercup Bag in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by cassiege on: December 16, 2010 04:09:29 PM
I remember last year when Made by Rae (http://www.made-by-rae.com/) shared her pattern for Buttercup Bag, Craftster seemed to explode with the wonderful creations. Every single time I saw one, I thought, "That is the most adorable bag pattern. I wish I had someone who would want one." And now I do! I gleefully decided to make this bag for my sister-in-law. I only wish I had remembered that I planned on sewing some interfacing onto the lining (because of course I forgot) since my bag is a tad too floppy. Ah well!

Instead of the button flap, I just decided to sew a single button onto each side.

I used brown satin for the lining and was very pleased to see that it could hold a paperback book with ease.

So, there is my (obligatory?) attempt at the Buttercup bag! Thanks for looking. Smiley
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2  Where to find a metal square for a necklace? in Trinkets and Jewelry: Discussion and Questions by cassiege on: March 25, 2010 12:40:12 AM
I want to make a necklace for a friend's birthday. It's nothing much but a chain and a metal square, and I have looked everywhere for just a plain silver (or "silver") square (no embellishments) and CANNOT find anything that would work! It's driving me crazy!

It's just this:

That's all I want. But I can't find it anywhere. It seems squares are out and circles are in!

I don't want to make one out of wire because the metal has to be sort of flat. There has to be somewhere where I can find this. Does anyone know where I can find something like this? Online, offline, anywhere??

...sorry for sound desperate! Cheesy Thanks for ANY help! Smiley
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3  Wooden Sock Blockers in Knitting: Completed Projects by cassiege on: December 23, 2009 11:48:09 AM
(First, I apologize if this is an incorrect board for this project--even though it's a wooden craft, I thought it related more to knitting! Wink)

My sister had been commenting for a while that she wanted to buy sock blockers, but they were always so expensive. She knits a lot of gifts and that inevitably means socks (though I remind her that she's only knitted me ONE sock and I'm still waiting for the other...), so I decided to make her a set of sock blockers. I only made one of each size, however. Maybe next year she'll get another set. Wink

We jokingly call them "Sock'em Blockers".

The "sizes" go from small, medium, large, extra large. (The extra large is rather... extra large...)

She's knitting this sock for our older brother, so while she was away, I stole it to model it on the large sock blocker.

I used templates I found at a website called CyberSeams (http://cyberseams.com/article/105710/all_things_knitting/how_to_make_your_own_sock_blockers.html) because I'm new to knitting and so had no idea where to start for sock blockers. I cut out the templates they provided, traced them onto wood, and cut (err, sawed?) out the shapes. I also cut 1-inch holes in the middle of each one to (hopefully) speed sock drying time. I used a sander to round all edges and made sure nothing could hook onto the sock and then I sanded it smooth by hand. Then I sealed it very well because my sister and I live in a humid city (in a badly insulated apartment in front of a river), so I had to make sure that moisture couldn't get into the wood.

And this is how the project ended up. I'm quite pleased with it even if they're not perfect. Smiley (Again, I'm not very knitting-socks-savvy, but I think that the arch should be deeper on some of them.) Using power tools is very fun, by the way, but also very scary. Cheesy

Thanks for looking!
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4  A Poor Girl's Doctor Who Scarf -- First Time Knitter! in Knitting: Completed Projects by cassiege on: November 08, 2009 11:38:23 AM
"It's a pity about the scarf. Madame Nostradamus made it for me. Witty little knitter. ... Never get another one like it."
The Doctor (Doctor Who: The Ark in Space)

The Doctor's scarf has a multitude of uses (liken it to a towel, if you will), including disarming a gunman, taking measurements ("That's 162.4 cm, correct?" "Show off." "162.4... That's about seven stitches!"), or attempting to determine if an attacking machine is triggered by heat. It's also quite fashionable and quirky, just like the Doctor.

Unfortunately, mine is far less quirky.

This is because I am a first-time knitter and a college student. The former means that I made a whole heap of beginner's mistakes, and the latter means that I am poor and incapable of paying for enough wool yarn to knit a true Doctor Who scarf. I instead used some very soft acrylic yarn. (I do wish I had the money to make a proper wool scarf, but, honestly, crunch the numbers--they aren't pleasant!) But, you can tell that the yellow acrylic is of a much poorer quality than the rest.

And, finally, it's about three to four and two-thirds feet too short. Tom Baker is 6'3" and I am 5'2" and so a 18-20' long scarf is sort of impractical for a girl like me. (And, also a Doctor like him, but I have ceaseless enjoyment from how many times he steps on it, has to flip it over his shoulder, or how far behind him it drags along the ground. But, truly, there is no scarf spiffier.)

Anyway, since I used acrylic I had to alter the pattern a bit. I found the pattern at http://www.doctorwhoscarf.com/ and used size 7 needles like suggested, but thicker, cheaper yarn, so I altered the number of stitches from 70 to 45.

I struggled with color changes at first and couldn't figure out why they kept flipping around onto the other side, but, after a few tries, I figured it out and now I'm basically a pro! Wink

I love the tassels, and I preferred them long instead of short. Grin

I did end up putting the scarf on an indefinite hold--see, it's at 14 1/3 feet, but its "goal" is another 3 2/3-4 2/3 feet, at least that's how I judge it by eying the Doctor's scarf. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to continue knitting it and seeing as how it's getting on to winter, I'd truly like a scarf to wear.

Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I wanted to share how my first knitting project went. Smiley Now I just need to figure out how to properly weave in the ends... I didn't do it very well!

Oh, and, of course, many thanks to my sister for teaching me how to knit, talking me through problems, and helping me to untangle huge messes of yarn!
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5  What are these? in Discussion and Questions by cassiege on: August 16, 2009 05:52:58 PM
I bought a sewing basket full of old sewing supplies from a garage sale and these two things were in it. Trouble is I have NO clue what they are. This may be a stupid question, but does anyone know what they are? Are they even craft related? I'd assume they'd be related to knitting, but again I have no idea. Cheesy Any input would be greatly appreciated! Smiley

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6  The Girls from Ba Sing Se (Avatar) in Needlework: Completed Projects by cassiege on: April 26, 2009 02:57:19 PM
This is my very first cross-stitch, so I would really appreciate some comments and criticism!

This is how dorky I am: I love the cartoon Avatar: the Last Airbender. (It's really hard to admit as a 22-year-old...) And I just love Uncle Iroh. In one episode, he sings this song and since I'm constantly singing it as well, I decided that it would be a fun cross-stitch.

It's about 8x10 inches (at least, it fits in an 8x10 frame)... Sorry for the bad photo, my apartment has the worst lighting! I honestly thought it was a better photo when I uploaded it. I'm terribly sorry it's blurry! (The colors are a dark green, a tannish-gold, and a dark brown.)

Here's a close-up of the symbol. In the show, it's the symbol for "earth". (Ba Sing Se is a part of the Earth Kingdom.)

And, for good measure, here's Uncle singing the song:

((Sorry, kittykill, I re-pictured this because it's linked to my own photobucket account, I didn't want to upload that photo onto Craftster since it's not strictly craft related and so used my photobucket account.))

Yeeeah. I'm a dork. Cheesy

I am entirely unsure if I did anything right. I looked up how to do the basic cross-stitch and backstitch, etc., but I am still unsure of how many threads of floss to use. Should the white be visible behind the threads or is that a no-no?

I used two threads on the letters and one on the backstitching. The letters I "coordinated" by counting and eyeballing from a PDF file on my computer (I obtained a basic pattern of the letters from a website that I cannot find right now) and the symbol was a method of guessing and checking and constantly re-doing by using a picture as a reference.

Thank you for looking! I hope it's not TOO awful! Grin
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7  "Vintage" Purse, Large Tote, and Treat Bag in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by cassiege on: April 03, 2009 11:57:57 AM
My older sister's birthday was December 25 and I only just gave her her gifts a few days ago. Roll Eyes But I made her three different bags.

I followed a tutorial from Emma Brennan's book Making Vintage Bags for this one. (Sorry about the blurry photo). It's small, but adorable.

I made this one up as I went along. And I, idiotically, forgot to add some interfacing (or anything) to the handles, so they were floppy and terrible. So, I used fusible webbing and stuck on some pieces of the lining fabric. Except I didn't have enough to match the length of the handles and then had to add a piece. It was awful, but I was convinced that taking the whole thing apart and doing it again would be worse. Embarrassed

Anyway, it's pretty big. I made sure to make it big enough to hold a folder (which is good because when I gave it to her, she mentioned that she doesn't have a briefcase and typically just brings a single file to court (she's a lawyer) and so it was perfect... and THAT was great to hear, considering the ugly handles I'm still beating myself up over...)

The round, gray circle was done by reverse appliqueing and I wanted to do the entire design that way, but ended up making the letters too small, so I kind of improvised with embroidery thread (but it's still, sort of, kind of, reverse appliqueing). I also improvised the gray lines because they were last-minute additions (love fusible webbing). My twin sister came in and said: "What are you doing?" "Improvising." "Good answer." Cheesy

My older sister takes her dogs to dog parks all the time and so I also made her a treat bag for them from plastic bags that are fused together. (They're Albertson's bags, which is perfect because they had the right kind of letters to spell out "Treats"). Fusing plastic bags is great, but they probably release some kind of deadly toxin when you heat them up. Cheesy It's still fun, though... Wink

(Sorry about the pointlessly long post. I always seem to have a story to tell. But thanks for looking! Grin)
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8  Make Your Own Vanilla Extract *UPDATE* in Recipes and Cooking Tips by cassiege on: March 11, 2009 10:55:26 PM
(This has been updated a few times, please check out the updates since I learned many things as I went along!)

Hey everyone! I don't know if this has been shared yet (I tried searching, but couldn't find it), but this was revolutionary for me, so I thought I'd share!

I stumbled across this website: http://bethanyactually.com/make-your-own-vanilla-extract/, which shows you how to make vanilla extract! (She used the instructions from here: http://family.go.com/parent-to-parent/blogs/catherine-newman-blog/vanilla-extract-729914/)

My sister and I do a LOT of baking (we usually make some type of baked goods once a week, at least, and my favorite chocolate chip cookies recipe calls for a whole tablespoon!) and real vanilla extract is so expensive. So, we were very excited to do this. It only took ten minutes, but we were having so much fun.

Here's all our equipment. I bought the bottles from the same place that Bethany did, to which she gave a link. I bought the vanilla pods from the same website that both Bethany and Catherine Newman used and I purchased the cheapest vodka I could find, but in the biggest container. Cheesy

I sliced them up two ways and my sister dropped them in the bottle and filled it with vodka.

This is them all vodka-ed up and ready to sit for a month.

Anyway, I thought that some people might find a vanilla extract recipe to be useful, or fun to do. We were able to make ten bottles, so I have enough to send to friends and family and keep some for myself for baking! Unless my math skills are THAT bad, it looks like this was MUCH cheaper than buying vanilla extract (and now I can re-use the same bottles so there's less waste and that way it'll be cheaper the second time around!). I think that the 10 bottles we made ended up costing somewhere between $3.50-$4 per bottle, and those are 4-ounce bottles, so they were about $2.50 cheaper than a 1-ounce bottle! (I've never seen a 4-ounce bottle before, so I can't compare price for that. Grin)

Well, I have a month to wait and see how the vanilla turns out. Cheesy

(And I'm sorry if I posted this on the wrong board, I've never posted at the cooking section before.)

05/09/09 UPDATE:
I realize my update is a month late, but I promise there's a reason!

After a month of intense anticipation, I opened a bottle and took a whiffunfortunately, it still smelled strongly of alcohol (that is, more alcohol than vanilla). I consulted with my sister and we decided to wait another month. After about half a month, I wanted to make some cookies (school was going on to midterms, so, of course, I needed cookies) and so had to break into the vanilla. It smelled much better. And now, two months are up and it smells very strongly of vanilla.

I opened up a store-bought bottle of vanilla extract to compare and found that the store-bought vanilla had a very sugary smell to it (but also with that tinge of alcohol). I hadn't realized that the vanilla extract I buy has corn syrup in it! I believe the corn syrup is also what makes store-bought vanilla extract thicker than the homemade vanilla extract. The homemade vanilla extract is just as liquid-y as vodka isof course.

There is an abundance of suspicious looking floaties and fibers and vanilla bean flecks littered through each bottle from the multiple shakings. They're completely harmless, of course, but since we're giving some of ours out as gifts, we're thinking about buying some small tea strainers in case the recipients of our gifts are a little more creeped out by it. I mean, if I was less lazy/didn't like the look of the beans and pods, I'd strain it myself, but I think they look pretty.

Last week, a group on campus that I belong to had a bake sale. I made some Chocolate Crinkle Cookies and added half a teaspoon more of vanilla than the recipe required. One of my group members was chewing thoughtfully on a cookie and he said, "What's this taste? Cinnamon?"
"You can really taste it."
"...is it good?"
"It's great. I love vanilla."
"I made the vanilla myself!"
"I didn't know you could do that!"

So, that made me feel great. Grin

Anyway, I would recommend letting it sit for a minimum of two months (or at least a month and a half) rather than one month as suggested in the tutorial. Also, I would recommend to shake it quite often. Some bottles are kind of cloudy and I haven't yet been able to figure out why. I read something about polyphenols making liquid cloudy when cold (and, apparently, vanilla beans have polyphenols? My research is kind of unclear), but I haven't figured it out yet. Also, just as with store-bought vanilla extract, don't store it in the fridge.

The vanilla is a dark amber color when photographed without a flash, but a lighter color with a flash. It's a light liquid when poured out.

Comparison between the homemade vanilla and store-bought vanilla. Even though the liquid is very light, it has a strong vanilla smell and the store-bought vanilla has a strong sugary smell. (The store-bought vanilla is also really old and things were beginning to settle...)

I'm not someone that has a super-tasting ability, so I don't know if I should say if I can taste it or not. I think I can, but I might be getting tastes mixed up. Wink I would recommend doing it, though. By smell alone, it seems to have worked and, of course, it'll get stronger (and probably darker?) the longer you let it sit!

I hope this didn't disappoint anyone!

There are other tutorials for larger bottles if you search online. Here's one I found at http://tipnut.com/homemade-vanilla-extract/

Traditional Vanilla Recipe
(Makes 8-ounces)
1/2-pint Vodka
4 Vanilla beans
Seal tight bottle or container
Decorative bottle
   Using a sharp kitchen knife, cut a lengthwise slit down the middle of each vanilla bean.
   Cut vanilla beans into 1/2-3/4 inch pieces.
   Pour vodka into your container.
   Add vanilla beans to container and shake.
   Wait and shake. It will take 30-days for the vanilla extract to mature. Once each day, vigorously shake the container for 30-seconds.
   Once the 30-day cycle has finished, strain the liquid through a colander or coffee filter and place in decorative bottle.

(Sorry for the huge post, I just wanted to give a sufficient update to this experiment!)

Update 2:
Oh yes, I forgot: I read that higher quality vodka is better than super-cheap vodka for vanilla extract... like I bought. Cheesy However, I did see a suggestion to increase the quality of a poor-quality vodka a bit by pouring the vodka through one of those water filter pitchers a few times (like Brita or Pur). (...I'm not vodka-savvy, sorry... Cheesy)

Update 3:
Seeing as how this is still being read (you guys are awesome), I felt as if I should do another update.
I can't tell the difference between cheap vodka and expensive vodka when making vanilla. I don't go around drinking vanilla (...or vodka), so I don't know how I'd be able to tell the difference anyway! Wink But feel free to experiment! For me, making my own vanilla is all about cost, so I'm sticking with the lower-quality vodka.

I've never filtered the vanilla because the vanilla bean pods and flecks don't bother me, and I liked being able to tell those receiving the gifts that they can refill it (and the idea that I could refill it as well!), and so I've refilled a few bottles and realized that the color doesn't get as dark, but it still smells as strongly of vanilla as it had before when it was let sit for the required amount of time.

I think that's it for now. I may do another update. Wink Thanks to everyone for their comments and helpful suggestions. That's what makes this site awesome.

Update 4:
Hello again a few years later! I answered a few questions in comments, but I thought I'd put them here as well!  Smiley

You don't have to use vodka specifically, but you do have to use a liquid with a high alcohol content like brandy or rum. Vodka is a neutral taste, but brandy or rum (for example) would add interesting tastes themselves.

"Topping off" the vodka in an already prepared batch of vanilla (that is, as long as the vanilla bean pods are still inside!) will not weaken the taste and helps keep it full and tasty. However, of course after numerous refillings the vanilla will begin to weaken and you will have to add more pods to keep the strength. ...and then eventually, when you realize you cannot fit anymore, you may actually have to empty it out. Wink  Cheesy

I hope everyone is baking with great fervor!
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9  Photo Cuffs in Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General by cassiege on: March 11, 2009 03:44:52 PM
I received an e-mail from Photojojo with "Make Your Own" in the subject line and instead of instantly moving it to its own folder to read later, I opened it and all my hopes of getting some of that paper done for class vanished. It was about how to print off pictures to make cuffs and I couldn't resist!

(And I have abnormally TINY wrists, I can't wear watches and bracelets have a tendency to slide off my hand, so it was nice to be able to make something fun that fit my small wrists.)

The top of picture I took when friends and I went to see Stonehenge.

This one is a photo of the abbey ruins at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland. This one I made a tad too tight, but it still fits.

This one is a bridge. I forget what it's called. Cheesy (Sorry about the quality of the photo (OF the photo) the light was kind of going.)

The back. Sorry about the threads, I didn't clip them yet. I used a button here, but snaps with the others.

I have a lot more to do:

(The Stonehenge one is lying flat at the bottom and the whole picture of the Holyrood Palace is the one at the very top and the bridge is the one below Holyrood Palace.)

They were VERY easy to do. The hardest part, for me, was the snaps because I am always battling with snaps. I prefer to sew closures on, but the snap-on ones obviously look better... but it took a few tries.  Cheesy It was a lot of fun and a fun way to show off pieces of photographs.


(Just for the record, I'm actually not that sensitive, I was just having fun giving them a hard time. Wink I love their website.)

Here's the link to the website (http://photojojo.com/content/diy/photo-cuffs) if you'd like to try it for yourself! I personally didn't follow their instructions, I just stole their idea, so I thought I'd give them credit. Wink

(Sorry, this is such a long post! I have a terrible time showing anything without talking a lot about it.)
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10  Vintage Purse and Clutch in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by cassiege on: September 18, 2008 11:34:29 AM
These purses are made from vintage fabric (at least, I'm assuming it's vintage fabric since it was purchased at an estate sale and seems to be!) with pseudo-vintage patterns from Emma Brennan's book Making Vintage Bags (just to give credit!). I made them for my mother for her upcoming birthday.

Please excuse the strange colors, I took these photos late at night and the fabric is somewhat shiny.

Marker for scale. It's a very large clutch. The bow is supposed to be velvet, but I didn't have velvet and actually had trouble finding some. Tongue

The opening to the purse is rather small! The instructions said it would be small, but I was still surprised.  Cheesy

Thanks for looking! Smiley
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