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281  Canine Candies: Valentine Sweets for our Sweet Beastie Grrrlz in Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects by TheMistressT on: February 16, 2013 07:11:06 PM
I was so busy making The ManFlesh some gifties for Valentine's Day and crafting things for a Valentine craft swap with some friends, that I almost forgot about my Beastie Grrrlz!   Shocked  Oh, no!  But I had picked up this candy mold at a used art supply store last summer with them in mind, so I busted it out and made them some heart shaped candy!

They're unsweetened carob and white chocolate (which isn't chocolate at all) so they are safe for dogs.  It's still a rich treat so I break each heart into about 4 pieces and give them no more than 2 of those pieces/day.  Dogs like to savor treats, anyway, as anyone with a dog can confirm.   Roll Eyes

Here's a close up of the kitty on their treats!  I melted carob first, applied it carefully and yet not at all neatly to the cat, then cooled them in the fridge.  An hour or so later, I melted the white chocolate and added it on top, then chilled again.  Our kitchen is quite warm and white chocolate has a low melting point, so I keep them in the fridge.

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282  Never made soap, have an idea, don't know if it's even possible! Please help! in Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions by TheMistressT on: February 13, 2013 10:05:49 AM
Hi, I've looked at some of the links in the beginners post and through the questions here and I haven't found an answer, but that might be because I know nothing of soap making and don't know the right question(s).

I want to make a manly-scented melt and pour soap that is layered.  I have seen many of these so I assume layers can be accomplished.  Here's the hitch, what I want to use is this faux bois texture to "mold" each layer so that as the soap is used it will maintain a wood grain appearance.  I imagine alternating layers of a light tan opaque and a dark brown translucent soap and hopefully the layers can be about 1/8" - 1/4" thick. 

Can I use a metal or pyrex baking dish as a mold?  Then pour in soap and lay this mat on top?  Peel it off when the soap has cured (or come to some level of hardness) then repeat for several layers?  Then cut it into bars?

These would be like party favors for The ManFlesh's core group of dudes who will be visiting us for the first time in our new home in semi-rural Montana to celebrate The ManFlesh's 40th birthday and 2 of the core dude's 42nd birthdays. 
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283  Re: 3 More Valentine Kitty Cat Yarn Dolls! in Valentine's Day by TheMistressT on: February 13, 2013 09:03:39 AM
I made them as a kid with my grandma!  I used this bunny that her mother, my great grandmother made, as a reference.  It was definitely more advanced than those I made as a kid.

There is styrofoam of some kind inside the head which was something I definitely didn't learn as s kid.  So, these cats have tiny stryo balls in the head and the ears are attached by sticking the wire that's between the layers of felt into the styrofoam and then using a dot of felt glue at the base to glue the felt to the yarn.  The tail is wire wrapped with two layers of yarn and then tied to the yarn that makes the waist with the wire ends and a dot of glue.
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284  3 More Valentine Kitty Cat Yarn Dolls! in Valentine's Day by TheMistressT on: February 12, 2013 05:49:35 PM
I was in a Valentine swap with some friends.  They're all pet lovers so I made these kitty cat yarn dolls for them.

The first one is for a genuine cat-lady in training  Cheesy who loves the 1970s, the color orange.

The whole time I was figuring out her outfit I was thinking of Carol Brady.  The button fastening her vest is a bead and the flower "brooch" on her lapel is a couple of beads, too.

Here's her long tail and cute backside:

The second one is for a lady who knows how to throw a party and make everything from the invitations to the desserts.

She wears an apron with a heart shaped bib and carries what must be a 3-layer cake!  There's big pink bow tying her apron in the back.

Pre-made pompon muzzles and noses, felt mouths, sewn-on sequin and bead eyes, felt and wire ears.

The third kitty is for a lady who loves her some western wear and some pink!

She's the Sheriff of Love with a tin heart instead of a tin star, tooled "leather" vest, denim & lace circle skirt, and a big ol' belt buckle.

Here's the only thing: I thought it would be easy to find a small cowgirl hat for her.  It was not.  So I found a tutorial online for making miniature western hats, found some white wool blend felt in town and made it by making a form from a wine cork!

I had a lot of fun figuring out what do to for each friend and spending hours in the craft room/office giggling and making them.  I hope they like them!
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285  Old-looking Magazine Holder for his Cook's Illustrated Issues in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General by TheMistressT on: February 10, 2013 02:26:17 PM
I got The ManFlesh a subscription to Cook's Illustrated magazine for xmas and he's been getting lots of use and enjoyment out of it (well, we both have).  They're on a shelf in a cupboard in the kitchen and that's fine, BUT I needed a Valentine for him.  I really like Valentine's Day, but I have a hard time coming up with ideas for him for some reason.  Maybe my brain is just crafted-out after xmas, I don't know. 

Anyway, I realized I had picked up this plain wooden mag holder at the thrift store a couple years ago and it was still in my stash and that I could decorate it up for him to keep his subscription in!  Whew!

I used an acrylic stain/sealer in Dark Walnut that I had to finish the exterior. 

Then I scanned and printed some images from an old "encyclopedic dictionary" and decoupaged them sort of roughly inside.  I wanted this to look old, but not particularly worn.

I tried to use food-related pages so I have types of cattle, various butchery charts and info on how both milk and flour are processed.

I added the little bit of label hardware to give it a little something special on the exterior (top photo).  Luckily, I was able to find this in a still-packed box, because neither of the closest 2 hardware stores had them or even were sure what I was talking about!  I was kind of shocked and definitely disappointed; I swear I could have found this in at least one size and finish in both tiny little hardware stores in my old urban neighborhood.  I guess rural and small-small town hardware stores have less actual hardware and more actual bottled elk urine.

(also available in cow)
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286  Valentine Rosette Ribbon Brooch for Mom in Valentine's Day by TheMistressT on: February 09, 2013 06:19:00 PM
Valentine's Day is coming on fast and I wanted to do something special for my mom, but had no idea what.  Finally I decided to make another rosette brooch by raiding my various stashes.



Found a good use for this little charm:



I wanted to put it into something other than a plain envelope, so I used a vintage paper doily place mat to cover a manilla clasp envelope.

On the front of the envelope, I but a red heart paper doily on the front with a quick Valentine's note written on it.  I couldn't find the proper glue so it kind of messed up the heart, but hey that's part of the charm of your kid's homemade gifts, right?  Even if your kid is middle-aged.   Tongue


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287  Old-fashioned Yarn Doll as Black Cat Valentine in Valentine's Day by TheMistressT on: February 06, 2013 07:04:12 PM

(I took the lint roller to him when I saw this photo, but you can see the collar on his shirt in this shot so I'm sharing anyway)

I've been wanting to make old fashioned yarn dolls since I came upon this bunny several years ago that my great grandmother made at least 3 decades ago.  I remembered making something similar with my grandmother (her daughter) when I was little.  I even bought yarn and tried one about 5 years ago to unsatisfactory result.  Then I started up again with one right before we decided to move to another state and I got busy with that whole process. 

Now that we're semi-settled I decided to press forward and made this Valentine for a friend back home!

She has a black Bombay cat named Jasper and this is based on him.  He's super snugly with her so I assume he's also romantic.   You know, in a neutered way.  Maybe "gentlemanly" is a better word.

The rest of the photos were taken before I decided he needed a cummerbund.  Here you can see his tail which is yarn-covered floral wire.

A closer look at his cuffs with fancy "gold" cufflinks and heart-shaped box of chocolate-covered mice.  You can't tell in the photos, but the felt of his "shirt" and cuffs has glitter on it.  Because he's fancy.

And one more shot of the details: a dozen roses was beyond his budget (he's kind of a layabout and hasn't ever had a job to speak of).

I'm midway through making versions of my Beastie Grrrlz and I'm pretty excited about those!  The challenge is getting brown/bronze locally (for they eyes).

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288  Cloth Napkaaaaaaaaaaahns! (Star Trek cotton print napkins) in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General by TheMistressT on: February 03, 2013 06:47:09 PM
I was wondering around the local JoAnn at the beginning of the year, ogling all the prints when I stumbled upon a section of Star Trek prints.  GAH!  Well, I went home and plotted what I could make then went back with stacks of paper and phone app coupons and bought yards 3 different patterns! 

First project: Cloth napkins.  I've been using cloth napkins pretty much exclusively for over 2 decades so it's fun to make new ones once in a while and it had been a few years.

They're the same print on 2 sides, just sewn right sides together, turned and top-stitched around the edge to close the opening and keep them square.  I considered a contrasting backside, but I was kind of trapped at home due to an icy Death Luge of a driveway that I fell on and got scared about driving, etc.  AND I had enough to make 6 w/o buying anything more. 

Action shot the first meal:

We're having fun with 'em!
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289  McGyvering Up A Faux Bois Shower Curtain Rod in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by TheMistressT on: January 30, 2013 09:54:55 AM

We have a narrow shower stall insert in one of our bathrooms.  We just bought this house and have to live with the avocado shower and sink for a few years until we will hopefully do a more intensive remodel.  So I used a shower curtain sample from my stash to inspire a simple redecoration in a retro 70s style - might as well roll with the avocado, right?  But, that shower also has a cheap-looking and worn shower door.  It's practical because of the size of the stall and removing it would mean filling holes in the insert which wouldn't necessarily be any better looking.  So I decided to hang curtain right over the door.  BUT... the tension mounted shower rod we brought with us doesn't get short enough, the local sources don't have the short ones in stock and the online options weren't great as far as color or price.  So I made one!

I did have a cafe curtain tension rod that fit and I tested it for strength and it held up fine.  I didn't like the look, though.

So I bought a scrap of PVC from a used building supplier had them cut it to size with their power saw, and used various materials from my stash to paint it to look enough like wood to blend in.

I've posted a tutorial on my blog if you have more questions: http://suddenlytaxidermy.blogspot.com/2013/01/3-faux-bois-shower-curtain-rod.html
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290  Rubbish cum heat: Egg carton firestarters. in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by TheMistressT on: January 16, 2013 05:19:32 PM
Now that we living in woods in the mountains our house is primarily heated with wood (via a wood stove in the kitchen).  In order to expedite getting the fire going in the morning and save time chopping and money buying kindling we started experimenting with supplemental ways to get the fire started.  I'd seem plenty of fire starter ideas on pinterest and decided to try the wax-in-paper-egg-carton type. 

Basically, you melt paraffin and pour it into the cells of a paper egg carton.  I'd also heard of and seen dryer lint used to start campfires (on purpose, as well as a leading cause of house fires) so I stuck that in cells before adding the paraffin.  You can also use candle wax, but we just moved and we surely didn't pack up and trck candle stubs with us across 3 state lines. Also, we want something that burns hot and fast and I'm told candle wax is often designed to burn slowly. 

I was able to make 6 dozen of these in about an hour for about 2.4 cents a piece!  Plus, I kept a few things out of the landfill AND helped heat our house.


I go into great and agonizing detail with lots more photos on my blog: http://suddenlytaxidermy.blogspot.com/2013/01/lets-get-this-fire-started.html
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