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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fairy Parties review and Wild Rose printable box

I recently got Fairy Parties by Colleen Mullaney to review.
A lot of girls go through a fairy phase. I'm not sure I ever actually got out of it. This book is all about creating a perfect fairy themed party .The introduction is only a couple of pages, explaining the basics and a bit of the history of fairies. The chapters are separated by fairy types and the instructions and recipes are planned for a party of 6 girls. The range of fairy types should suit any girl who loves fairies.It's not all pink and froth or wild woods, there are some great variations and ideas.
Each chapter has costume instructions including a skirt, a top,decorated shoes and a wand. The chapters also have game suggestions, a craft or two, and recipes to fit the theme.
The first chapter, Fairy Sweet is a confection of pink, froth and so very feminine. The drink is a pink punch decorated with sparkling pink decorator's sugar and the costumes are very flowery.
The second theme is Sugar Plum Fairies, a purple theme with fruity drinks and tarts and a lot of sparkle.
Rainbow Flower Fairies is a multicolor summery party, and where the first two chapters had decorated ballet slippers, this one has decorated sneaker type shoes to suit a garden theme. Fruit kabobs and rainbow parfaits, it's a very colorful party.
Fairies Rock is for the Diva Fairy. Think rhinestones and hot pink, feather boas wands and stylish elastic headbands. If Fairy Sweet would thrill your average 5 year old, this one suits older girls. The foods include pizza purses and a pomegranate punch.
The last theme is Woodland Fairies. This one is my favorite, and I'm going to adapt some of the ideas adult sized for going to this years Renaissance Fair. It's a good party for outdoorsy girls, and like the Fairies Rock theme, appropriate for girls who are in the tween set. Flower crowns and bare feet with ankles wrapped in ribbons and flowers. The foods are pizza, strawberry punch and a trail mix.
The final chapters are a collection of fairy themed crafts and one with more games. Some of the crafts can be done by girls with some adult supervision, but most of them are better done by adults to set up for the party. There are only a few games, but they include instructions for setting up a maypole for little fairies to dance around.
You can get Fairy Parties from Chronicle Books or from Amazon.The Amazon link is an affiliate link and helps pay some of the costs of maintaining this site.















Another 100 ppi 3x3x1" box. I'm playing with a couple effects and really liked the thorny look so I put a couple wild roses on it and put it on a box. I hope you like it too.

Ducky Love and Lost

Still playing with my new camera and we went back out to Potter's Marsh yesterday because some of the ducks are back. I got this set of 3 pictures that look like they tell a story. All pictures are resized to 50% but otherwise unedited. Click on the images to see the bigger versions.




Saturday, April 24, 2010

Peanut Butter Loves Jelly mini book and note card

I make these little tiny printable mini books for fun and you can find a few plus assembly instructions here.
This is one I wrote and illustrated yesterday.
Here's the story which you can print out to use for a notecard or anything else you might like.

If you print it at 200 ppi, you get the tiny version and two copies will print on one page. If you choose 100 ppi, one copy with fit on a page and that makes the larger version. I've seen my miniature books used in earrings, doll houses and other crafty uses. I've done a layout for both 200 ppi and for 100 ppi. Click on the images to download the full sized versions.
200 ppi


100 ppi

I hope you like them! I told my husband I wrote a book and made him read it. He said it was very sweet and maybe it needs more plot development which led to a very silly conversation about writing a 32 page children's book and illustrating it, then selling the movie rights and being very disappointed when the movie version had explosions and all sorts of things that weren't in the original story. At which point we concluded that maybe it was best not to develop the story more completely and just leave it where it's at. A little bit of whimsy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shiny new camera

Recently I got a shiny new camera. I've been wanting one for ages (well, last summer?) that I could take pictures of eagles with because my little camera with it's 5x zoom couldn't get more than vaguely eagle colored blobs. I'll admit though, I know very little about the art of photography, aperture settings, ISOs and all that. But I wanted those eagle pictures.
It looked like an DSLR was the only way to go, but then hybrid cameras started coming out. The one I have is the Fujifilm FinePix HS10.
It's a reasonable price, the lens is all inclusive with 30x zoom so no lens changing to get a nice close up shot. The question becomes, will it work for taking pictures of eagles for someone is keeps mixing up what all those photographer commands do.


All of the following pictures were taken using the factory settings and auto-focus.







Well, we went out to where we saw the eagles nesting last summer. There were birds to be heard but none to see there but I took a couple pictures of the trees where the eagles were last year.
See the arrow? That's the tree the eagles nested in. This picture and the next were resized to 25 percent, but otherwise, I didn't muck with them at all.

And this is zoomed all the way. If an eagle were there, I think it would have shown up as an eagle. Not an eagle colored blob.
So, I'm impressed. Next question is how will it do for the pictures I need to take for my sites? Well, the current project on my beadwork site is a simple wire cage pendant.

This is using the flash from a few inches away.
This is simply the best camera I've ever had, and people who really know how to use all the functions are getting simply amazing shots, so it's a good camera for me to learn a lot more about photography with, but still usable while I learn more.

This loses a lot of detail in resizing. If you want to see the full sized picture that I took last night, click here.


Loving my new camera so much! I'm looking forward to lots of pictures this summer!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Little Mouse Crochet Pattern


I've been working on a series of tiny amigurumi for a project my daughter and I are doing together. The basic body will be the same on all of them with different ears and such to make animals of them, and I'll do an e-book when I'm done making them. The elephant and bunny are about 3 inches tall.
The mouse was just for fun. It works up very fast and it's about 6 inches long from the tip of it's nose to the end of it's tail. More than half that length is tail.
In these patterns, the rounds are joined, not worked in a spiral.

Here's the pattern for the mouse!
Using worsted weight cotton yarn and a size F hook
Decreases are worked by slipping a hook into one stitch, yarn over and pull the loop through just the stitch you're working in, leaving 2 loops on the hook instead of finishing the sc, insert hook in next stitch, yarn over, pull through the stitch, yarn over and pull through all the loops on the hook.
Magic loop or chain 2
Round 1: 4 sc in first ch or loop, slip stitch to join
Round 2: ch 1 (does not count as first stitch), 2 sc in first st, 1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in last st. Slip stitch to join (6 sts)
Round 3: ch 1 (does not count as first stitch), sc in each st around, sl st to join
Round 4: ch 1 (does not count as first stitch) 2 sc in first st,  sc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 sts, sl st to join (8 sts)
Round 5: ch 1 (does not count as first stitch), sc in each st around, sl st to join
Put safety eyes in round 4
Round 6: ch 1 (does not count as first stitch), sc in each st around, sl st to join
Round 7: ch 1 (does not count as first stitch), sc in each st around, sl st to join
Stuff firmly
Round 8: ch 1 (does not count as first stitch) work a decrease in each stitch around (4 sts), sl st to join
chain 20 then sl st back up the chain. Break yarn off and weave end through the last round of 4 stitches.

Ears-
Ch 2 or magic loop
6 sc in first ch or loop, sl st to join, break off yarn and sew them on the mouse behind the eyes.

This is the background I used for the photo. I used my paper cutter to slice off the margins and taped them together. The trees are just cut out with the bottoms folded at a 90° angle. Click on the images for the 100 ppi printable versions.



Friday, April 16, 2010

Western Shirt Boxes

Blame Rosemary for this. I do.
While I was working on the template which is 4 inches high, 1 inch deep and 3 inches wide, I realized it could be use in either orientation. So I did 2 boxes, one that stands tall, one that's flatter. If I used a simple tile fill with a blank spot on it and decorated all the sides, it could be put together either way. Click on the images for the full sized version in 100 ppi.


Until April 30th, I'll give the 300 ppi  blank template for this box to anyone who buys anything from my Etsy shop since I accidentally posted one item 3 times.

Ice Cream Tessellation Coloring Page

The current contest on Spoonflower is tessellations. My entry is an ice cream cone tessellation.
There are some great tessellations in this contest. If you want to vote and have a Spoonflower account, go here to vote. 

I decided to draw a version of this to use as a coloring page. I think it would be great  in a bunch of colors to represent flavors!
I hope you enjoy it.Click on the image for the full sized version.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Amis and an Elvis necklace

I'm still not completely happy with the proportions, but getting closer and keeping lots of notes which I tend not to do with stuffies so I can re-create them. I've been talking to The Turnip who wants to be a stop motion animator about making a short ami movie using amis I've made. I *think* once I get the proportions right, I'll be able to modify the pattern to have heads that turn and posable short little arms.
For an idea of scale, the panda is 4.5 inches high including ears.

And hey! Elvis necklace!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lemon Cups recipe with printable recipe pages


Getting back into Grandma's recipe box, I found this recipe for lemon cups. I remember loving these as a kid. Grandma had a sweet tooth and loved custards and puddings. This was probably the recipe that set up my life long affair with lemon flavored things. Puddings, ices, cookies. I love lemon.
She had access to a lemon tree and I'd pick lemons for this and for lemonade. One year my carry on bag on the way back to Alaska was just full of fresh lemons! I miss fresh lemons so much.

As written:
Lemon Cups
1 C. sugar
1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. melted butter
5 Tbsp. lemon juice
grated rind of 1 lemon
3 well beaten egg yolks
1 1/2 C. milk scalded
3 stiff beaten egg whites

Combine sugar, flour, salt + butter; add lemon juice and rind. Add to combined egg yolks and milk; mix well. Folk in egg whites + pour into greased custard cups. Bake in pan of hot water in a moderate oven 325° 45 min. When baked each dessert will have custard on the bottom + sponge cake on top. Serves 8.

More usual terminology
Lemon Cups
3 eggs separated
1 C. sugar
1/4 C. Flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. melted butter
5 Tbsp. lemon juice (juice of one lemon with lemon juice added to make 5 Tbsp.)
grated rind of 1 lemon- or zest of one lemon. Be careful to avoid the bitter pith
1 1/2 C.  milk scalded then cooled to lukewarm

Preheat oven to 325°. Butter 8 custard cups and place in a pan of hot water.
In a bowl, beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks well and mix in milk. Beat well so there are no lumps.
In another bowl, mix sugar, flour, salt and butter well. Stir in lemon juice and rind. Pour mixture into the egg yolks/milk and mix well. Fold in the egg whites and spoon mixture into custard cups. Bake for 45 minutes.

Click on the images for the full sized 100 ppi versions. I hope you enjoy this dessert as much as I always have!




Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tessellations and Butterflies


I posted a tutorial for designing tessellating bead patterns on Beadwork at BellaOnline today.
Lady Helen posted a picture of how she decorated her bathroom using my butterfly outlines in black Contact paper. I love how striking it looks.

Tea and Crumpets review and a printable recipe sheet

Tea and Crumpets
Tea and Crumpets is a new book by Margaret M. Johnson . It's a collection of recipes from famous tea salons, hotels and restaurants all over Europe
It's a gorgeous book for adults who want to impress at tea parties with friends.I love the ritual of tea and snacks in the mid-afternoon with friends and family. The introduction is a little about the history of tea, both as a tradition and the origin of tea and how it spread world wide. There is more tea trivia interspersed through the book.
Then you get into the recipes. It's a mouth watering collection of sweet and savory things to serve with tea. From the very traditional cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches which are livened and colored with a bit of arugula to a savory and rich wild mushroom that's flavored with truffle oil, the sandwiches and savories offer a nice selection. Made less petite, many of the recipes would be good packed for a lunch as well.
The next chapter is more of what you expect with tea. Crumpets, scones and fruit quick bread recipes as well as instructions for traditional toppings like clotted cream and strawberry preserves. The Irish recipe for fruitcake looks especially wonderful. I think my daughter will enjoy making the chocolate scones because she thinks chocolate improves everything.
The next recipe chapter is the largest. Tea time sweets. Shortbread, cakes, mousses and other sorts of sweet treats that are certain to impress guests.
The last recipe chapter is the French Art of Tea for when you want something very special and very beautiful. The Creme Caramel Saint-Petersburg is a custard with caramel that anyone who loves flan or creme brulee will appreciate, and I absolutely recommend the chocolate-hazelnut pots de creme.
Most of the ingredients are simple to get at a well stocked super-market. The few things that are harder to find, a good specialty shop should carry.
Margaret Johnson also has some Irish cookbooks and I think I should get them too. I loved this one and I've been interested in learning more European cooking.
You can find this book at the publisher's site, Chronicle Books or from Amazon: Tea and Crumpets (affiliate link)

I was talking to a friend who uses a 3 ring binder and page protectors for her recipes instead of using recipe cards. I'm a recipe card user so pages for recipes never occurred to me. These are the first ones I've ever done and I hope you like them! Click on the images for the full size 100 ppi versions.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tea or favor printable boxes

These would make good gift boxes, but I sized them to hold four-five bags of Tazo tea. We drink a lot of herbal tea, and I usually have a couple bags with me in case I'm somewhere that just doesn't have the kinds of tea I like.  My husband is crazy for orange teas. Market Spice, Constant Comment and his favorite herbal infusion is the Wild Sweet Orange. If you have any orange flavored tea suggestions, please let me know! Yes, we do have tea balls for loose tea. We just tend to use bags frequently for convenience and consistency.
The colorways for this box are inspired by friends of mine. Click on the images for the full size 100 ppi versions.





Monday, April 5, 2010

Book Review- Upcycled Accessories

Upcycled Accessories ---> 25 Projects Using Repurposed Plastic by Tracie Lampe is my kind of craft book. Repurposing is always a better idea than sending something off to be recycled and this book is all about fusing plastic bags to make a tough sewable fabric to make accessories out of.
The basic process is explained well on the internet, this book takes it up the next step. The author explains how to use different types of plastic and other materials to create some very sophisticated effects, her new directions with the idea will inspire more ideas for most crafters and upcyclers. She also explains how best to paint your new creations and how to sew the plastic. The 25 projects include toys, coasters, wallets and lots of other ideas including patterns for some really neat looking hats.
I think my favorite project in the whole book is the Shower Essentials Caddy, it's a waterproof caddy for the shower which would make a great spa type gift for a friend. It's very easily customized to the colors and preferences of whoever you are making it for and utilizes my favorite of the authors techniques.
My daughter, who is an avid repurposer, loves the cute silver robot toy which is stuffed with more bags which makes excellent use of scraps too small to work with, it's an adorable blocky robot with a bright red heart.
Great book for using with small children as long as you do the fusing and sewing, they can paint the finished items to make special items for family. For teens like my daughter, it's a great thrifty and green alternative for crafting and learning sewing skills. Some of the projects can use the things she finds when we walk in the summer as well, combining upcycling with found art very nicely.

I do recommend using a thrift store iron for fusing bags. It's what I do. If you're like me and have been using cloth bags since before it was popular, friends are a great source of plastic bags.
You can get the book from MyCraftivityStore or from Amazon by clicking below. The Amazon link is an affiliate link and helps pay some of the costs of maintaining this site.

Printable mint favor box- embroidered design

These boxes will fit 4 Andes mints perfectly and come 3 to a sheet. 
I posted the blank template for sale in my Etsy shop.
Click on the printable page to get the full sized version. 100 ppi on cardstock.
I really love how cute and petite these are. 
I used a clear sealer and double stick tape to assemble mine.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Current reviews and thrift stores

Currently newish reviews
Fiction- not my strong point in reviewing.
Blood of the Demon by Diana Rowland, it's a sequel and I do recommend the series so far. You can read my whole review on the link.
Silver Bourne by Patricia Briggs.

Craft and Bead Books
Beaded Allure by Kelly Wiese- also posted at Beadwork at BellaOnline. Totally recommend it. It's a lovely book.

Non-Book
Mark-It Fine Point Permanent Markers
Divine Milk Chocolate Bars
Farberware 10 Inch Open Skillet
Verbatim 320 gb portable HD
Whirley-Pop popcorn maker
Chinet Paper Plates

If any of the reviews are helpful, please vote helpful on the review!

We just got back from Michaels because they had a 30% off total regular price purchases coupon in their email this week. Astoundingly, I spent less than 21 dollars. I got some more yarn to make potholders and such and some more Glossy Accents for bottle cap necklaces.Michaels was clearing out book shaped wooden boxes for 29 cents each so I bought what the had left. The Turnip will probably decorate them. After that, I told Mike I wanted to stop by Value Village.
I prefer a lot of the local thrift stores most of the time, but what Value Village has that the rest don't consistently is big bags of fabric remnants for 4.99. The Turnip didn't know we were going specifically to get more fabric for her. She was thrilled. She looked for a minute or two, but my daughter has a definite taste for shiny fabrics and one of the bags had blue satin in it.I got a second bag that had some pieces I could use. I went through my bag, pulled out the pieces I wanted, and gave the rest to her, it included a large piece of a silky synthetic I think will wind up being draped on things and played with more than sewn with. So the house is silent as she's in her room sewing happily.I was happy. I found a Sunset book on making children's play spaces that looks very good. I spent a lot less than I thought I would. Less than 20 at the thrift store.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rick Rack Easter Boxes

I have more Easter printables here.
This is a new size box. 1.75 inches wide and deep, and 2.5 inches tall. If you like the size, let me know and I'll do more boxes in this size. The inspiration was painted eggs, but the boxes themselves should be pretty all occasion. I hope you like them. Click on the images to get the full sized version and print on cardstock at 100 ppi.

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