Jan 052012
 

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, it’s been a blast playing with polymer clay lately.  Although I’ve been spending a lot of time working with ideas from Christi Friesen’s books, it’s my goal to get some ideas, new techniques and all, then branch out and do my own thing.

Here is some of the latest stuff to come out of my craft room.  (Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.)

Isn’t this pendant the coolest?

steampunk-flower-pendant

The texture on the flower was done by pressing each petal into a definition stamp.

steampunk-flower-pendant-close-up

This one gets loads of compliments whenever I wear it.  It’s based on Christi’s “A Clockwork Orange” from her book Steampunkery.

This steampunk Christmas tree pendant is my own design.

steampunk-christmas-tree

I used the same stamps to create texture on the presents as I did on the flowers in yesterday’s post.  Using less pressure results in a more subtle pattern on the clay.

steampunk-christmas-tree-presents-close-up

The ornaments are all manner of beads, gears and chains, wired into the clay.  I love using Christi’s idea of using heat-set rhinestones, because the heat of the oven sets the adhesive on the back.  Clever!

steampunk-christmas-tree-ornaments-close-up

These two fantasy birds are from Polymer Clay and Mixed Media.

clay-fantasy-birds-both

I can’t decide which one I like best.

I call this one “Feathers.”

clay-fantasy-bird-feathers

And this one I call “Swirls.”

clay-fantasy-bird-swirls-head

Here’s a close up of Swirls’ wing.

clay-fantasy-bird-swirls-wing-close-up

And a close up of Swirls’ tail.

clay-fantasy-bird-swirls-tail-close-up

Here’s Feather’s tail.

clay-fantasy-bird-feathers-tail-close-up

Now you understand the names.  🙂

I plan to list one for sale in my shop, but I don’t know which one to keep and which to sell.

I’m leaning towards selling Feathers, as she’s just a bit more graceful overall.

Which do you prefer?

For the next project I’m thinking of completely different colors, like reds, gold & black, with a different shaped head, and I’ll have a dragon!

Speaking of dragons, I just received the nicest belated Christmas gift. It will have to wait until tomorrow, though, because it’s too dark now to take a proper photo.

Happy creating!

Jan 042012
 

Today’s workdesk finds me finishing up several polymer clay creations by adding a satin glaze. The two Sizzix dies were on clearance.  I’ve been wanting those!

I hope the fact that those were on clearance means A.C. Moore will be getting in some newer Tim Holtz dies.  Hope, hope, hope….

2012-01-04-woyww-polymer-clay-creations

I’ve been having way too much fun “claying around” lately.

funky-polymer-clay-flower-orange-definition

I made two dozen of these funky flowers, most were for Christmas gifts.

funky-polymer-clay-flowers-all-24

You can find the how-to’s in Christi Friesen’s book, Polymer Clay and Mixed Media.

funky-polymer-clay-flower-silver-crackle

The main change I made was to use her idea from Steampunkery and add texture with a rubber stamp.

funky-polymer-clay-flower-pink-lace

There are only six flowers left.  funky-polymer-clay-flower-light-blue-crackle

One I’m keeping for myself, and the others will be listed in my shop shortly. (Greedy little moiself wanted to keep them all, but seriously, do I really need six more necklaces?)

funky-polymer-clay-flowerblue-crackle

I’ll tell you more about the other creations in another post.

funky-polymer-clay-flower-pink-definition

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this pic of my granddaughter in the hat and apron I made her for Christmas.

cady-with-her-apron-and-hat

Even though I made the pattern’s smallest size (3) it’s all a little big on her. That’s ok, there’s room to grow.  🙂

Happy Creating and Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

*****Update 3:40 p.m. Jan 4, 2012******

The following five flower necklaces have been added to my shop.  Happy Shopping!

clay-flower-necklace-blue-lace

clay-flower-necklace-green-lace

clay-flower-necklace-pink-print

clay-flower-necklace-blue-crackle

clay-flower-necklace-green-print

Jan 032012
 

This isn’t a cooking blog, so I don’t post recipes very often, but I figure that around the holidays baking is part of our craftiness and creativity.  Right?  🙂

If you’re like me, you’ve eaten far more of this kind of stuff than is good for you.

2011-12-29-christmas-baking-006

But it was oh so good, indeed.

Here’s  how my table looked, with all the goodies ready to deliver to the neighbors. So festive.

2011-12-29-christmas-baking-009

Here’s my helper, Miss Molly. Well, she wasn’t really a helper – more like a supervisor.

2011-12-29-christmas-baking-002

And here is the promised healthy recipe:  Kale Chips.

kale-chips-recipe

What?!  You don’t think they look yummy?

Yeah, I was skeptical the first time someone gave me some to try.

Listen, I kid you not, this recipe has to be tried to be believed, these kale chips are amazing.  

I am in no way a veggie gal, and the sight of a pile of dark leafy greens  generally sends me running, but I could eat these all day long. They’re better than potato chips, and I feel so virtuous and healthy munching my way through the lot.

So, give ’em a try.  I dare ya. 😉

Kale Chips

1 large bunch kale (1.5 – 2 lbs)
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (found at health food stores)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt

Wash and dry kale and remove thick stems. Tear into large pieces. (I like each large leaf to be torn into about 5-6 pieces. Don’t stress over this.)

In a large bowl whisk together remaining five ingredients. Add in kale. Use your hands to thoroughly coat and massage mixture into leaves.

Now you can either dehydrate the kale, or bake in an oven. I like dehydrating because since the kale isn’t cooked the nutrients are preserved.

Dehydrator method

Divide mixture between four trays of a dehydrator, if you have screens, use them. Dehydrate for 16-20 hours until crispy.

Oven method

I have not tried the oven method, but most of the recipes out there tell you to spread the mixture between two baking sheets and bake at 300° for 20 minutes.

Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy.

Dec 302011
 

Twenty Eleven was my first full year of writing this blog. The goal was to blog at least two or three times a week, and I’m pleased to see that I’m averaging just about three posts per week.

A more important goal was to give YOU inspiring tutorials and helpful information. Judging by the number of kind comments and photos of completed projects you’ve sent me, I think I’ve succeeded, at least some of the time. 🙂

In fact, I just received these pics of two adorable dollies made with the directions from the Topsy Turvy Doll tutorial. Judy from Israel made these as Hanukkah gifts:

judys-topsy-turvy-dolls-3 judys-topsy-turvy-dolls-2 judys-topsy-turvy-dolls-1 judys-topsy-turvy-dolls

Cute, eh?  Let’s hear it for Judy!

The Ghost of Projects Past

Many times over the years I’ve thought it would be a good idea to keep some sort of craft and sewing journal, tracking of all the projects I made.  It just never seemed to happen… until I started blogging.

Knowing that I can reach out to others with my ideas and inspiration is a great incentive for taking the time to document my crafty doings.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my little blog even half as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it together for you.

As we look ahead to 2012, let’s take a look back at my 12 personal favorites from the past year.

(The links will bring you to the original post, many with tutorials, pattern reviews or helpful hints.  Clicking on the photos will bring you to the full size version.)

1.  Mug Caddy

I made these for gifts for Christmas 2010. Mine is now an indispensable part of my crafting area (you’ve see it in just about every What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday photo.)  Everybody that I made one for tells me they love it and use it all the time.

mug caddy organizer-Simplicity 2450

2.  How to Make Zipper Flowers

I never guessed that this would turn out to be my most popular post ever, by far.

If you don’t feel like making your own, I do still have a few for sale in my shop.

teal and gold zipper flower

3. Faux Leather Sketchbook Tutorial

This was a birthday gift for my son. Don’t know what he thinks of it, but I’m sure pleased with how cool it came out.  It’s still on my to-do list to make one for myself.

faux leather sketchbook close up

4. Altering a Too-Big Jacket

After losing a fair amount of weight this past spring, I did a closet purge.  This jacket went into the garments-I-like-enough-to-take-the-time-to-alter pile.  Every time I wear it I’m thankful I took the opportunity to size it down.

lavender moleskin jacket

5. First Mother’s Day Scrapbook Layout

No, I have not forgotten that I promised to share these techniques with you.  It’s on my “to blog about” list, and if it’s on the list it WILL get done, eventually.  🙂

first-mothers-day two page scrapbook layout

6. Knotted Bead Necklaces – Video Tutorial

I LOVE wearing all of these necklaces.  Not sure which I like more, wearing them or making them.  ***grin***

knotted necklace and bracelet set blue ceramic brass

7. Snowman Ornament Tutorial

It’s hard to believe it’s been five months since my quilting group made these in July.  I do still have several kits available  in my shop, by the way.

snowman-kit-all-3

8. Black Jeans Jacket

Another project that I suspected would become a wardrobe staple, and it has.  If you plan to make this jacket, make sure to read the review, this pattern has lots of problems.

butterick-5402-black-denim-jacket

9. Faux Shrug Top

I had a feeling this top would be perfect for the fall, and I was right, it got LOTS of wear.

simplicity-2364-raspberry

10. Felted Tote Bag

I’ve gotten far more use out of this than I thought I would when I started the project.  I just wish I’d made it a tad bit bigger.

felted-tote-complete-001

11. Steampunk Chameleon out of Polymer Clay

He’s still one of my favorites to wear.

steampunk-chameleon-002

12. Distress Crackled Elements on a Valentine’s Day Scrapbook

I LOVE how these came out!

valentines-layout-inspired-by-day-5-of-12-tags-of-christmas-large-flower-close-up

Here’s to a crafty New Year!

Dec 282011
 

Even though I don’t have anything too exciting on my workdesk today, I didn’t want to miss out on the final WOYWW of the year!

2011-12-28-woyww

Really there’s just a lot of post-Christmas debris, you know:  leftover gift labels & cards, tape, pens, tissue paper and such.

In the bowl is my MP3 player which I gave to my son last night to repair and he managed to finish off completely, lol.  Ah well, I may use the parts for some steampunk art or something.

My serger is on the table because after trying for months to get a new thread guide ordered from the manufacturer, I finally just had my brother-in-law weld it for me.  Yay, Dave.  Woot!

I’m a little annoyed with the guys at the sewing machine repair shop (they’re the reason I’ve been months without my serger) so I’m going to try to get the part adjusted to the correct angle by myself, rather than bring it to them.  (That I am post-Christmas “broke” is a contributing factor, as well.)

You can also see that I’ve been taking apart the purple coat in preparation for cutting a new pattern out of the pieces.  The coat itself has come apart quite easily, but the lining is serged, so that’s been a bit more work.

Oh, and the jury is no longer out on which Peanut Butter Bon-Bon recipe is best.  My grandmother’s wins, hands down.

The recipe I gave here is way too sweet, in my opinion.  It also doesn’t have enough peanut butter flavor.   Finally, while the pretzel does make it easier to dip the bon-bons into the melted chocolate, the pretzels get stale quite quickly.

So, just in time for your New Year’s celebration, here is my grandmother’s recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bon-Bons

3 cups peanut butter (crunchy or smooth, your choice)
1 box confectioner’s sugar (3.5 cups)
3.5 cups Rice Krispies
1 stick butter
2 – 14 oz. bags chocolate chips (Have you noticed that they now come in 12 oz. bags? Betcha they were 16 oz. bags before that. Huh.) Anyhow, it’s about 2 cups of chips per bag.
3 T. vegetable oil

Melt butter, stir in sugar. Mix in peanut butter and Rice Krispies until combined.
Roll into bite size balls, refrigerate until cold.

Melt chocolate chips with oil in double boiler. Use two forks to roll cold peanut butter balls in melted chocolate. Place bon-bons on waxed paper lined baking sheets. Chill in fridge until firm.

Try not to devour all at once. 🙂

Happy New Year!

Oh, and if you’re wondering why I posted a boring photo of my workdesk, go here to see LOTS of workdesks from around the world.  I’m sure many of them are far more interesting than mine.

Dec 222011
 

Every year around this time I do my annual baking for the neighbors. Usually, about a week ago you’d find me saying, “Oh, no way I’ll have time to do the baking this year.” But after all the gifts are bought or made, labeled and wrapped, and mailed off or tucked away, I find it’s time to bake.

Here are a few of the things I plan to make today:

This recipe has no redeeming qualities healthwise, it is just utterly delicious.  My quilting friend made some for our get together last weekend, and sent us all home with a baggie full.  I can tell you that mine only lasted the ride home because I could not safely get into that baggie while driving.  :-0

Saltine Cracker Brickle

Time: 20 minutes, plus overnight freezing

48 saltine crackers
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan or large cookie sheet with sides with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Arrange the crackers side by side in a single layer on the foil. In a small saucepan, melt the sugar and butter, stirring constantly until they bubble, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the vanilla. Pour evenly over the crackers and, using a spatula, spread to cover evenly.

2. Bake immediately. After 7 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the crackers. Return to the top rack of the oven and bake for 2 minutes more. Spread the chocolate evenly over the crackers with a clean spatula. Cool for 20 to 30 minutes before transferring the tray to the freezer. The next day, peel off the foil and break the brickle into pieces. Keep frozen or refrigerated.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bon Bons

These remind me of a treat my grandmother used to make for the holidays.  As she got older she got tired of doing all that dipping and the balls got bigger and bigger every year.  🙂

I like the idea of the pretzel in there, it gives you something to hold while you dip.  Her recipe had Rice Krispies mixed in for crunch.  The jury is still out as to which is better.

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup softened butter
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 cups miniature pretzel twists
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 T vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS

In a mixing bowl, beat peanut butter and butter until smooth. Beat in confectioners’ sugar until combined.

Shape into 1-in. balls; press one on each pretzel. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until peanut butter mixture is firm, about 1 hour.

In a microwave-safe bowl or heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips and oil.

Dip the peanut butter ball into chocolate. Return to baking sheet, pretzel side down. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Store in the refrigerator.  Makes about 5 dozen.
Zucchini Pineapple Bread

I’m making this because I have a) lots of grated zucchini in the freezer, b) two slightly overripe pineapples on the counter, and c) four cute little loaf pans that make 1/2 loaf each.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/zucchini-pineapple-bread/

Finally, I plan to make some fudge.  I may use this recipe:

Peppermint Chocolate Fudge

http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/peppermint-chocolate-fudge.aspx

Or this one:

Cookie Cutter Fudge

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/cookie-cutter-fudge/2ce455b3-74f6-40d3-bdbf-2fbb1fa9b5d0

I’ll take pics of the final results.

Hopefully I won’t do so much taste testing that I gain back all 60 lbs at once, haha!

 

Dec 212011
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday!  I hope today finds you not too stressed out, even though it’s only four days until Christmas.  (What is What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday you ask?  It’s only a great time to see what’s on the workdesks of creative people from all over.  Take a little time out and travel with us. It’s fun!)

I’m doing pretty well in the preparation for Christmas front, there are just a few little things that still need doing.  Though, for some reason, I’m feeling quite cranky and out of sorts today.  I don’t know why.  There’s absolutely no logic in it.  It’s just the way it is.

Think I’ll go have a piece of chocolate, maybe that will help.  ***grin***

Since I’ve finished all the handmade gifts for this year, I thought I’d tackle resizing this purple coat.

(You can click on any of the photos to see a larger image.)

2011-12-21-woyww-002

It was given to me a while ago.  It’s a gorgeous boiled wool, quite warm and cozy.  However, it was big on me even before I lost 60 lbs.

purple-coat

As you can see, now it’s just ridiculous.   A very good problem to have, in my opinion.  🙂

purple-coat-2

I’ve picked up two patterns that I’m considering for the remake.  My first choice is Butterick 5425.  It’s got a very feminine silhouette.

B5425

There’s LOTS of spare fabric in that purple coat, but I’m not sure there’s enough to accommodate the very flared skirt.

If that one won’t work, then I’ll use Burda 8292.  Its styling is very similar to the original coat, so there should be no problem.

Burda 8292

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Happy Woyww and Merry Christmas!

 

Dec 192011
 

Now that my quilting group has exchanged gifts, I can finally show you these:

votive-village-001

votive-village-003

Aren’t they adorable?

They’re simply battery operated votive candles wrapped with the little houses from the Townscape Die.

If it looks familiar to you, that’s because I just used it in this scrapbooking layout.

thanksgiving-1988-left-side-scrapbook-page

If you followed along with Tim’s 12 Tags this year, you might be perplexed, as you may not remember anything of the sort.  That’s because this little craft is from the 12 Tags of Christmas 2010, not 2011.  Yup, I’ve been hanging on to it for a whole year.  (Am I patient, or what?)

You can find Tim’s directions here.  (You’ll have to scroll down to the bottom of the post, as this project was a bonus given after the tag.)

If you’re thinking of making a few for gifties, keep in mind that while one or two of these is a fun little craft, making eight or so, like I did, can get rather tedious.

I’m pretty sure the quilters liked them, so it’s all good.  🙂

Wishing you merriness and time to create!

Dec 152011
 

They keep sending me videos and photos of her cooking, so I made my granddaughter this for Christmas.

apron-and-chefs-hat-for-cadence

Isn’t it adorable?  I think I want one in my size!

It worked up very quickly, especially with my shortcuts, so there’s still time for you to make a couple before Christmas.  🙂

It’s McCalls 6049.  Have fun!M6049

Here’s my pattern review:

Pattern Description: Children’s Aprons, Chef’s Hat and Oven Mitts

Pattern Sizing:3-4. 5-6, 7-8

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except for changes I made. I made the view C apron, skipping the lace trim and neckline ruffles.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I mostly did my own thing, but they were easy enough.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Too many narrow hems on a simple child’s accessory.

Fabric Used:Cotton Twill

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I had no desire to do all the narrow hemming along all those ruffles, so bought 1/4 yard more of each fabric and cut each ruffle strip twice the pattern width. By doing this I was able to fold it, wrong sides together, and seam the short ends, then turn, press and gather the raw edges as one. This left a nice finished folded edge, rather than having to hem.

After reading some of the other reviews, I decided to skip the ruffles along the neck line. I thought they looked like a bit much, and other reviewers said they made making the casing difficult.

I sewed the ruffles to the marked lines with the seams/marked lines meeting, and the finished edge of the ruffle pointing up, towards the neckline. I then pinked the raw edges, folded the ruffles down and top-stitched them in place.

For the hat: I made it as directed, except machine top-stitched the hat brim in place, rather than hand sewing. (An edgestitching foot is very helpful here.)

I didn’t make the oven mitt, as it didn’t seem appropriate for a three-year old.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Since this pattern goes from size 3-8, I certainly hope to have opportunity to make it again, if not for my granddaughter, then for other special little girls.

Conclusion: A really cute, fun little pattern. I made the hat and apron in just a few hours.

Dec 142011
 

Last week I picked up a set of kraft Christmas cards at Target, 16 for $1.  I mean, you can’t even get 16 envelopes for $1.

2011-12-14-woyww-christmas-card-alterations

They were a bit plain, but I knew all they needed was some love.  🙂 Today I’m working on making them just a little bit special.  First, I used four sheets of cream cardstock and cut out 16 3.75″x5″ panels and stamped them all with this stamp.

2011-12-14-woyww-christmas-card-alterations-most-precious-gift-stamp

Honestly, it was this stamp that inspired me to make any of my Christmas cards this year.  Sometimes a card is all I can afford to give, and I hate to give a lame, meaningless sentiment as well.

2011-12-14-woyww-christmas-card-alterations-close-up

The snowmen were adorned with Antique Linen Distress Stickles  on the pine cones, red stickles on the bird and hat brim, green stickles on the pine boughs and the scarf, frosted lace stickles painted all over the snowman and black enamel accents for the buttons and eyes.

Glitter doesn’t come through in the photos as well as one could hope, but trust me, they are Much. Better.  🙂

P.S.  If you’re wondering why the bottle of red stickles is in a plastic baggie, it’s because the lid rolled off and disappeared to parts unknown.  Between the mottled grey rug in my sewing room, and all the junk (important stuff!) piled under my table, I cannot find it.  Grrrrr.  I am confident that one day, it will turn up.  It will be an excellent day if I can actually find the bottle of red stickles at the same time.  Haha!

Maybe you’re not wondering at all about that, but think I’m nuts to be posting a photo of my workspace?  If so, my friend, you need to become better acquainted with What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  You will become hooked, I promise!