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1  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Organizing my papercraft source materials? on: May 30, 2006 07:36:15 PM
Okay, all you wonderful scrapbookers, collagers, decoupagers, etc...

Do you maintain a library of source material? If so, how do you organize it?

I have three drawers of papers (everything from handmade papers to magazine clippings) and have realized tonight that my organization system is broken/sucks/needs to be replaced pronto. I've not had a lot of luck Googling for advice and am hoping some organizational whiz out there has a few good ideas up her sleeve.

There seems to be a lot of materials and supplies out there for organizing scrapbook papers, but my collection is made up of pieces of paper both larger and smaller and often unique bits of ephemera, so just having a set of trays sorted by color doesn't seem like it's going to work. Similarly, I thought of getting one of those hanging file organizers, but just feared all my small clippings would leak out the sides of the hanging files.

Anybody got a better system?
2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Stitching letters on: November 04, 2005 11:10:13 AM
I'm doing my first bit of embroidery with text and have been pretty frustrated with how the words are turning out. Anyone got any hints for embroidering text? Smiley
3  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Attaching my finished embroidery to other things? on: September 26, 2005 01:55:07 AM
It's just like me to start a project without a full idea of how to complete it, but I'm hoping craftsters will come to my rescue!

I'm doing two projects:
- a WonderWoman embroidery
- a series of five embroidery pieces inspired by Ani Difranco lyrics

Each of these is being done on plain white cotton, but when they're completed I'd like to attach them to my apron and a set of woven kitchen towels respectively (I didn't embroider directly on the towels because they're a variety of solid colors, some quite dark).

I'm thinking something like this project or this one.

How, exactly, do I go about doing this? What's the best way to finish the edges of the fabric I'm already doing the embroidery on? Any other pointers for me? I've embroidered a few things in the past, but always stitched directly on the skirt, towel, pillowcase, whathaveyou.

Thanks in advance for your opinions and ideas!
4  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Beginners' Swap? on: September 12, 2004 12:41:49 PM
How do people feel about the idea of a swap for beginning crafters? (I'm not organizin' anything yet, just sending out a feeler to see what folks think of this idea.)

I keep opening up all the wonderful swap threads and would love to participate...but think that my work isn't nearly as great as some of the things posted nor could I commit to sending so many things (I still work pretty slowly).

So, anyone out there in the same boat? Wanna swap?

5  UNITED STATES / Maryland / Jean Railla comes to Baltimore on: July 01, 2004 09:31:41 PM
Hey, all. As part of a job-search-thingie, I was recently trolling some Charm City web sites and discovered that we'll be getting a visit from Ms. GetCrafty.com Herself as part of the city's 2004 book festival and in support of her new book.

The book festival isn't until September, but I thought I'd spread the word now. More info about the festival here and about the author here.

I'm pretty psyched about Artscape, which is much sooner...but this gives me the next thing to look forward to! Wink

6  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Too small angelic jeans into a skirt (finished this weekend, yay!) on: July 01, 2004 09:48:14 AM
So, these are those jeans. You know the ones. I wore them back in high school, before my body completely morphed on me. And even though I know I couldn't ever fit into them again, I haven't been able to pitch them.
Reading craftster threads finally made me confident enough to pull the jeans out, get some scissors and make them into something practical:  a jean skirt.

This is officially the first piece of clothing I made and had several small challenges:  making something sans pattern, fixing a broken zipper, adding extra fabric to make the skirt and its waistline larger, and adding my first fastener. Heck, making something that wasn't comprised solely of straight lines, at this point, was a challenge! Smiley

At one point, these cherished jeans were turned into this:

But, as scary as that was, I managed to keep it together and make that mess into something! Here's my end result:

As you might have noticed from the above in-process photo, I had to completely remove the waistline. I ended up replacing it with this bit of satiny fabric:

I wore this to a 4th of July party and actually got compliments. Yay me!
7  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Kitchen seat cushion (cute cat pic inside) on: June 25, 2004 07:59:52 AM
So, I've spent so much time sewing lately, that I've decided I needed something to make my sewing more comfy. Currently, my sewing machine is taking up the kitchen table and I'm sitting at a plain wooden chair, which is fine for the length of a meal, but far from ideal for extended sewing sessions. So, this happened:
This was my first attempt at a number of things:  a homemade pattern (heck, a pattern of any sort...), tie straps, and piping that I made!

I used some remnant fabric I'd been hoarding, the inside cushion and padding from a futon mattress, inherited bias tape for the piping, and the leftovers from my necktie-into-cell-phone-holder to make the ties to fasten the cushion to the seat.

It kinda amuses me that there's another Craftster thread about covering up boring composition books, and here I am using it to make cushions (look closely at the fabric)! Cheesy

Anyway, I haven't used the cushion yet, but it's got my cat's seal of approval. I had barely tied the thing down when he jumped up on it:

8  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Layered Enchiladas on: June 23, 2004 10:59:10 AM
This is officially the first dish that I consider truly mine. Since January, I've been making a lot of effort into being a better cook, and I'm so proud to finally have a dish that people request.

In this dish, you'll also learn how to make your own refried beans, spicy cheese dip and guacamole. So, even if you don't like the idea of a Mexican-inspired layered dish, there's plenty of mini-recipes in my mega recipe.

To begin, I make the guacamole using 2 ripe avocados. I usually buy my avocados 2-3 days in advance and let them ripen in a paper bag on my kitchen counter. I slice the avocados in half, remove the large seed, and slice the avocado in diagonal strokes, like so:

Then you can just use a spoon to scoop out the diced sections of avocado into a bowl! Then squeeze the juice of one lemon or two limes (I prefer the latter) into the bits of avocado. Finely chop half a white onion and add to the bowl. Mash the ingredients to your preferred consistency; some people like chunky guacamole, some like it smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I then place the seed from one of the avocados in the center of the guacamole and put a layer of plastic wrap on top of the guacamole (not just across the top of the bowl), pushing out any air bubbles; then I stash it in the fridge while I work on the rest of the meal.

Other mix-in ideas that you can add to guacamole:  sour cream, garlic, cayenne or jalepeno pepper, salsa, cumin. I prefer a basic, straightforward guacamole, however.


I then prep the following things, which I'll use at different points in the meal:
one onion, chopped
one can olives, chopped roughly
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
3 c. monterey jack cheese, shredded
15.5 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and slightly mashed with a fork (keep these separate from the pinto beans, see below)

I then open two 15.5 oz. cans of pinto beans, rinse, and sort through the beans. I through the beans, plus a cup of vegetable broth, into my blender and mix until smooth. I also keep an extra half cup of broth on hand, in case I need to loosen up the beans any. I then leave the beans alone and head over to the stove. Heat about 3 tbsp. of canola oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until lightly browned, then add garlic and cook until that's browned. Now the spices get into the action:
3 tsp. coriander
1.5 tsp. cumin
dash of whatever pepper stuff I have around (we have variety in the house; you could probably just use chili powder?)

Add those spices to the onion and garlic and cook until fragrant (approx. one min.). Then add in the pinto beans from your blender and mix well. Cook until it thickens slightly (approx. five mins.), then give it a little taste and add more spices if you think it's necessary. Stir some more. Add the kidney beans that you mashed earlier, mix well, and add the reserved broth to loosen up the beans, if necessary. Simmer for 2-5 mins. Taste and season again. Your refried beans are ready to go!

I then my 9x13 casserole dish ready, sitting it near my beans, plus a jar of enchilada sauce, the chopped olives and at least 18 small corn tortillas. I try to get everything all in one area because I like to put the dish together immediately when the cheese sauce comes together.

For the cheese sauce, I heat half a stick of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. After the butter is melted, I lower the heat to medium-low and begin stirring in the monterey jack cheese, a handful at a time. When the cheese is melted completely, add a cup of sour cream and 8 oz. of diced green chilies. Cook until heated through, stirring constantly. Do not allow to boil. (I have also omitted the chilies and just used pepper jack cheese.)

When the cheese sauce has come together, I get on with putting the dish together. I begin with coating the bottom of my dish with enchilada sauce, then the layering madness begins:
6 corn tortillas---->layer of refried beans---->smothered in cheese sauce---->covered in olives---->
6 corn tortillas---->layer of refried beans---->smothered in cheese sauce---->covered in olives---->
6 corn tortillas---->enchilada sauce---->cheese sauce---->olives---->garnish with sliced jalepenos (6-8 slices)

Cover the whole darn thing with aluminum foil and stick in the oven and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 mins. When it's done, uncover the dish and let it sit/settle for 3-5 mins. Then slice, plate, spoon some guacamole for garnish, and serve!

For me, it's a great way to get the fun tastes of Mexican cuisine in an easy-to-take-to-work form.

9  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / moi's marvie sewing apron on: June 14, 2004 05:13:26 PM
I've been hacking up two pairs of corduroys for pillows and had the very top part of the trousers (with the zipper and the back pockets left). I promptly stared at this scrap of material for a day or two before I found it's purpose. I present unto you, moi's marvie sewing/crafting apron:


I took some step-by-step photos if anyone's interested in greater details. Smiley

10  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Bad Trou=Nice Pillows! on: June 14, 2004 04:17:56 PM
Just started sewing by machine and haven't wanted to cough up big bucks for fabric in case I muck it all up, so I decided to create some pillows for my couch using old corduroy trousers. But the recycling madness doesn't end there! The filling of the pillows is made out of the foam from an old futon mattress and the stuffing from an extremely shabby pillow. Bonus!

The purple pillow is 16x18", the blue 16x16" and the patchwork one is 9x14". Individual photos of the pillows can be found here.
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