Printing Tips

Check out my printing tips if you're having problems printing to the right size
If you'd like to support this site and all the free things I post- please check out my Don't Eat the Paste Mandala collection coloring book for 9.99 at Amazon.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Circle pattern boxes

I apologize for the quality of my model pic. I had to take it with my cellphone because I need to replace my rechargeable batteries for my regular camera.
As usual, click on the images for the full sized versions. The top is a circle closure you do by cutting each circle halfway following the lines on the template.

Made from Scratch

Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life is the book I'm reading now.
A lot of it is pretty obvious, and it's not really a guide to living sustainably so much as a collection of ideas of things you can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle and tips for doing them. Not everyone is going to be able to do everything that's in this book. I know that I can't have livestock in my neighborhood for example unfortunately. But there are ideas that anyone can do, and the basic idea of living a life that's made from scratch, built with your own two hands is something that anyone can do at least somewhat, there are suggestions for how to apply some of the ideas in an urban environment as well which is certainly a good thing.
The author, a vegetarian, talks about keeping hens for eggs, beekeeping, sewing your own clothes, what it was like to face the responsibility of having to put an animal down, and training your dogs to be working dogs. She tells about her trials and tribulations in learning how to homestead, and also the satisfaction of eating something that she harvested and cooked herself.
I love the emphasis on buying good used items instead of brand new. A lot of books on living green or more sustainably talk about a lot of the shiny new green stuff out there, but buying vintage is really a lot greener, plus, things were made better 30-40 years ago!
She shows in a no nonsense way how hard it can be to live this way, and explains well why she does it.
There are recipes as well. It's not a cookbook or a how to book though, although it has aspects of both.
If you're looking for information on having a hobby farm, there are better books out there, but if you live in an urban setting and would like ideas for living more of a homestead type life, this is a great book to get ideas to look into further and research more.

If you like Little House in the Suburbs you'll probably enjoy this book. It's the same sort of philosophy.

The author has her own blog. Cold Antler Farm

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Maple sugar and stocking stuffers

I don't have brown sugar because I buy it as needed. So yesterday when I spur of the moment decided William and I would have butternut squash and apples for lunch, I couldn't find any brown sugar. So I baked it with maple sugar, butter, cinnamon and just a bit of white sugar to stretch out the maple sugar since it's so expensive.

Yum yum!!! Even E ate a couple chunks and said "I don't think I like the squash, but the stuff on it is so good!" so I asked "Do you want to do apples in phyllo that way?" "Oh yes!"

I keep maple sugar on hand for bread baking because even as expensive as it is, I only need to add a bit for a great flavor using whole wheat or spelt flours.

Check out Amy's Stocking Stuffers. Aside from a really nice write up about me, she's got a ton of great ideas for stocking stuffers that would also work well as lunch box treats on special days. Lots of little gift ideas with links, size, and price. She writes them nicely with a fair amount of detail. I added it to my feed list. With my teens I'm always looking for inexpensive stocking stuffer and non-food treat ideas for them.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dragonscale Box

My teens like fantasy things best. Not exactly surprising given they grew up on Harry Potter and Tolkien. My daughter carries around her glittered fairy wand on a regular basis (or did until she got a Sonic Screwdriver for her birthday) and my son always has a dice bag and some magic cards on him.
I've been making printable boxes for them since they were little for little gifts and a lot of them have a fantasy feel to them. Today I wanted to try a dragonscale effect. Click on the images to see them full size.
The shadow is just for fun, it's my daughter's shadow one day we were out walking. Mike's arm is what's making the "wing" effect off her back.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Record Bowl Labels

Repost from my other journal. I hope everyone coming from Craft likes this.
Part 1: How to make record bowls
Making new labels, including a template.

Because you know, sometimes those 25¢ and 50¢ thrift store albums aren't as cool as Jim Nabors Christmas Album. In fact, the one I grabbed to use today was Bless This Home by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Which is probably a great album for umm.. people who aren't me, and probably people who aren't you, but I apologize to anyone who finds this blog through a search engine trying to find a copy of this record.

So I measured, and made a template for a record label. 4 inches in diameter with a .25 inch hole in the middle, or for people who use metric 10.16 cm and 6.35 mm.
You'll need:
1/4 inch hole punch, if you have a scrapbooking punch that will work in the middle fine, if not, well.. I didn't either, and I'll explain what I did.
Spray Adhesive
Spray sealer of some sort, I used one designed for scrapbooking in a matte finish
a record
and an idea. Hopefully better then mine. I couldn't think of song titles, and just decided a vector skull and crossbones I drew a couple years ago for the label, and then thought "Huh.. glitter. I like glitter. How about glitter pirates?"
Design your label in your favorite paint program, or, don't be ruled by conventional labels at all, and cut it out of fabric, an old comic book that's not even gradeable but still has a couple whole pages, whatever, and cut out 2 labels, one for the back, one for the front.
Punch hole in the middle, if you had to use a standard hole punch like I did (standard cheap hole punches are 1/4 inch if you didn't know), just lightly crease the circle right in the middle, then line up the edge of the hole on the template with the edge of the circle cutter thingie in the punch, and punch, you're essentially punching a half circle, and when it's unfolded, it will be the whole hole. (sorry. I tried to resist, but I couldn't.) Repeat with the other label.
Spray the label (not the record, or it will pick up all sorts of dust and stuff!) with adhesive, and apply very carefully over the old label, repeat on the other side.

Now pick which side of the record you like best, and following the instructions for the record bowl place that side face down on the bowl.
When you pull it out, finalize the shape with your hands, and it cools, spray the label with the sealer to keep it looking nice and at least a little moisture resistant. I wouldn't recommend keeping it in the bathroom though. After the inside dries, spray the bottom label.


Pirate Label, blank banner feel free to personalize, recolor, whatever.
Pirate Label The one I used for mine.

Wheee! So now you can hide that extremely embarrassing label on that record you listened to when you were 12, and turn it into a craft you can do with your kids.

One Pretty Thing

Check out One Pretty Thing for some great craft round ups. I'm going to spend a couple hours checking all the pretties out!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Some Alaskan photograph boxes

I keep taking all these photos, and I thought maybe they would look good on boxes. They will be a little ink intensive because they are photos, but I hope you like them!
Click on the images to download the full sized versions. The magpie was one I spotted and photographed on my friend Rosemary's b-day, and the forget-me-not pictures were from gold panning the other day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Staycation- Gold panning at Crow Creek Mine

Today, we went out goldpanning at Crow Creek Mine.
The drive out to Girdwood has always seemed magic to me, as a child who loved epic fantasy and had too early an exposure to Tolkien, it formed a lot of the movie in my mind of the stories. Passing through the mountains wrapped in clouds and set with streaks of white snow, purple fireweed and green trees always seemed like just through the next set of mountains, you'd find Middle Earth or a fairy land. It's still like that to me. It was hard to get any good pictures because the sun was so bright though, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Shown at 25%, contact me if you want the full size version
None of us found much gold, but it was a lot of fun. The sun was out. So were the big classic Alaska mosquitoes. I think I may have lost a couple lbs in blood loss. The creek was cold and we got to play in the mud. It's gorgeous out there. Leaving Anchorage, you pass by Indian Valley Mine to get to Girdwood where Crow Creek Mine is. Just keep going, pass it by. Because after a long drive down a very bumpy dirt road, you hit a slice of Alaskan heaven. Worth the blood price extorted by the mosquitoes. There are some structures that have been standing since the late 1800s, early 1900s. It's sort of like an amusement park, Alaska style. You can take the walking tour of the old structures, see the rusty implements used to plow, cook, etc. They are super friendly out there, and DO have a bottle of bug spray available if you didn't realize how bad it was going to be. You pay your 15 dollars, and learn how to pan gold, then they give you a gold pan, a bag of gravel seeded with specks of gold to practice with, a shovel to get your gravel and sand, and get told "Just walk down that trail to the creek." or you can use the panning shed if you just can't make the walk. The walk is not handicap friendly. I had some issues on it, but it's a gorgeous walk. Surrounded by forest walking a path edged with forget-me-nots and cow parsnip so tall that some stalks were literally curving over Mike's 6 feet plus height.

Shown at 100%, it's just cropped out of a larger image of lots more forget-me-nots
Before you leave the little Crow Creek settlement, you see a little pool of cold creek water off to one side filled with soda and a bucket that says 1.00 each. Honor system soda. Definitely not in the city now! The kids were charmed, and so was I, so I gave them a dollar each.
You get down to the creek, and there is a little pool of almost still water, and the rapidly running creek. Heaven. We did the practice stuff, and then got to getting spadefuls of dirt and panning. The sun was hot, the creek was cold, and somehow William kept his feet dry. The rest of us got soaked and dirty.

Paper clone me looking for a dry place to stand
It was a lot of fun. I'm talked to my dr. at my last check up to see how much of a danger melanomas were to me, and since it turns out "Not very." I skipped sunscreen and just soaked up the rays and the resulting freckles. I'm pretty sure I'll have a couple more after today.
After we decided my back just couldn't handle anymore and still make the walk back to the car, we left. We stopped in Girdwood proper for malted shakes and I picked up a hairfork made by a local artist and the kids got pretty fused glass stars to remember the day with. Then we started the drive back to town.

Shown at 25%, contact me if you want the full size version
You can email me at shala *at* donteatthepaste *dot* com.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chocolate Coeur a la Creme recipe

E turned 14 yesterday.
For her b-day, well.. we forgot to give her half her presents. Whoops. We gave them to her today, but we gave her the big one. Her very own sonic screwdriver. Once the batteries were installed, it became her favorite thing ever. Seriously. I was napping, and apparently at one point she came to the living room where Mike was playing one of the hitman games, and she pointed it at the screen and announced she was fixing it for him.
She decided she wanted to go to the zoo. Yay. I love the zoo. So we went and walked and looked at animals. After that, we met Dad and William for dinner. William got her a Star Wars lego set. There was much rejoicing. Of a very geeky kind.
We made a chocolate coeur a la creme. Well.. dome de la creme. I don't have a heart mold because it's an item with too few uses.

Chocolate Dome a la Creme E's b-day variation
8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 T vanilla (okay.. one teaspoon for most people, we LOVE vanilla in this family)
1 T milk (not usually in a coeur a la creme recipe, but the cocoa powder needs a bit more wet)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar

Cream cheese, milk and vanilla together, add in sugar and cocoa a bit at a time until it's all incorporated.

1 c heavy cream
1 T. vanilla
2 T. sugar (this is for a teen, we made it a little sweeter then usual)
Whip cream, vanilla and sugar until stiff, fold into the cream cheese mixture.

I used a mesh strainer. Rinse a piece of cheese cloth big enough to line the strainer with cold water, line the strainer and put the strainer over a bowl big enough for it. Put the cheese mixture into the strainer, and fold the top of the cheese cloth over the top of the cheese. Put in the fridge overnight.
Before you get ready to serve it, make up some strawberry puree or cut some fruit to serve with it.
This tastes amazing. E says it's like a chocolate cheesecake without the crust but better. It's very light and almost mousse-like, and very rich.
I think peaches and a bit of Grand Marnier would be perfect with this. You can do vanilla by omitting the milk and cocoa, and I'm pretty sure this would work fine with Splenda instead of sugar. I'll try that sometime soon for my Uncle Lamar.
Of course.. I'm sure there are lower fat options that can be used as well, but if the point is something decadent, we can go back to non fat yogurt and such tomorrow. It was her b-day, and she loved the treat.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rose and Skull Bracelet

Pattern by request. If anyone makes it up, I'd love to see a picture! Click on the image for the full sized pattern. Tilt head to your right to see it properly.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Spiral Dot Box

This is a 2.25 inch cube box. I hope you like it. Click on the images for the full size version.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Kindles marked down

Kindle 2 for 299.00 Yes. This is an associate link. But that doesn't change how much I love love love my kindle. I currently have 75 books on it and another 30 archived, and the long battery life is no lie. I've had mine going for 10 hours without an issue. I haven't let it run down yet, but I think it would work well for a weekend camping trip without recharging.
I admit it, I could give up my phone easily enough, or even my television but my Kindle and iPod are my two most used toys. I actually wasn't sure how much I'd use my Kindle when I got it, but really.. my only complaint with it is that I can't take it into the bath with me. S'okay. I have a ton of dead tree books.
I think it might be the right time for me to get one for my dad and William. :) William will love all the classics available for free, and Dad will enjoy a newspaper he can increase the font on while reading it.

Currently reading- Genius Squad by Catherine Jinks. Fun fun books, the first is Evil Genius, which is about a boy named Cadel who is raised by a perfectly awful foster family and finds out he's the son of an evil mastermind who has created a school of world domination especially for him. It could be corny, but it does a good job of portraying a boy who is raised nearly morally bankrupt and socially estranged learning the difference between right and wrong and changing his life. There is a lot of violence, math and spy type action. For the 12-16 set I think. I know I'm encouraging E to read it just for the fun of it. It's a hefty 500 pages with enough action to keep a kid interested. If you or your kids liked Artemis Fowl, you'll probably like this as a step up. No fairies, but the same sort of character.

Currently working on- Nothing at all except staying cool. This is revenge time for all the people I mocked when they complained it was so cool at 40°F during the winter. You can all mock me now. It's been in the high 70s-mid 80s with a ton of haze from forest fires. So pretty much I've been sitting by a fan and reading, taking regular walks, and NOT COOKING. Nope. Uh uh. Not turning on the oven.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Peace symbol stencils

There is something that just makes me cringe about peace symbols on clothing and jewelry that are mass produced by countries with dubious labor practices and sold by big box stores that drive small businesses out of business. Because of that, my daughter's favorite peace symbol necklace is one I twisted for her out of wire.
Lately, I've seen seeing a ton of them on clothes, and I like the idea of wearing clothes with peace symbols, either embroidered or stenciled on, but for me, it really has to be something handmade with pride. The idea itself seems to need a personal commitment to the concept, not just buying something made and sold in a way that directly contradicts the ideal.
I did mention I'm a second generation hippie right?
ANYWAY.. *grins* a couple stencils you can use on a thrift store shirt turned inside out, or a shirt bought from No Sweat's going out of business sale. I hope you can use them and like them. As usual, click on the images for the full size version, print out at whatever size you wish. Cut out the gray parts, and there's your stencil. You can find a lot more information about stencils here at Stencil Punks. I have more stencils here.

Friday, July 3, 2009

4th of July Wand

Recently I posted a fairy wand project all encrusted with glitter. This is the same idea, but inclusive. I added into the template a wand so you don't need to use a dowel for the wand part. I hope you like it.
Instructions for cutting and folding the star are on the link above, to fold the wand part,score the 3 folds, and cut out. Fold each side into the middle and glue, burnish down the folds with a spoon or something similar, then fold in half, glue, and burnish it down. Tape between the stars with double stick tape as before.