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Sunday, January 30, 2011

How to make sugar cubes or shapes

My darling daughter prefers her coffee with brown sugar. She's also as I've said before, a bit of an Anglophile. Which means occasionally at least, she likes lumps of sugar instead of spoonfuls. Brown sugar cubes are awfully expensive.
So this weekend, we made a batch of sugar shapes for her.

Because the mold we used was fairly detailed, it's a bit hard to see what they are supposed to be. Here's a picture I messed with the contrast a bit and greyscaled. Hopefully it shows a little better. The contrast adjustment made it a bit grainy, but it is a bit clearer.
Because the only thing cooler than brown sugar cubes for my daughter is brown sugar daleks and TARDIS. 
You will need:
Brown sugar- we used an organic brown sugar that she really likes
water
an ice cube tray or small candy molds*
parchment paper lined cookie sheet
a place they can dry out safely

Wash your hands well. You could do this with silicone spatulas but it's a lot easier to do it by hand.
Put a cup of brown sugar into a bowl, and add a half teaspoon full of water. Mix it in well so that it's all just a bit moister than usual. Squeeze a handful and see if it sticks together. If it does, it's ready. If it's not, add in water just a sprinkle at a time until it does stick when you form it with your hands.
Pack your mold well, only 2 or 3 cavities at a time. Turn it out on the parchment paper. Continue until all the sugar is used. If you want to make more than that, do it the same way. If one breaks when you're popping it out of the mold, pick up the sugar the best you can and put it back into your bowl to use again.
After you get as many as you like made, put it some place safe and draft and humidity free to dry. The ones above we let dry for 5 hours. After they were dry, we put them in a tightly sealed container.
I couldn't find my paste coloring, but I think it would be fun to do a bunch of Go Go Dalek Rangers in the right colors!
The same technique works with other sugars, and the less detail there is in the mold, the better. The Cybermen in our ice cube tray had too much subtle detail to work well at all. Raw sugars or white sugars will need a little more water than brown sugar because brown sugar is so moist to begin with.
Hearts would be lovely for Valentine's Day, little roses would be sweet for a princess tea party.



*If you want cubes, I recommend using a mini ice cube tray. Otherwise, use your favorite small candy molds. The tray I used is a Doctor Who ice tray that we were given by a close friend who blames The Turnip for her Doctor Who and Torchwood addiction.

FriendShip Cookie Box

I realized that I hadn't posted a cookie box in a while. This one matches the tags you can find here. 100 ppi, click on the image for the full sized version.

Also, a tutorial on making a cute little lacy heart out of seed beads.
You can find the tutorial here

Friday, January 28, 2011

Links I'm loving right now

Some recent things I'm loving!
Amy Echo clothing- specializing in larger sizes with a great goth influence, she will custom size to fit. I really seriously want the pixie hankie skirt. She also has an Etsy store.

Thistlewood Manor- I have a thing about soap, especially about good handmade soap. Deb makes wonderful hot processed soaps, and she sent me some samples and a shampoo bar to try out. The pumpkin lager soap smells like pumpkin butter while it's cooking and my son loves that scent. My daughter was wild for the raspberry. The shampoo bar! On my hip length very straight hair, it got it so clean and shiny my husband thought it looked like a lighter color because the silver in my hair was shining so. On my son's curls, well, they were manageable. This is a big thing. Usually his hair attempts to eat any combs or brushes that come near it.  She also has an Etsy shop, and sews as well.

Fred M Cup Measuring Matroyshkas, Set of 6 Dry Measuring CupsFred M Measuring Matroyshkas- (Amazon affiliate link) A friend of mine got these for her daughter, and showed them to me. The absolute cuteness of them convinces me that my plain steel measuring cups are just boring. That these are just perfect.

Trash My Stash posted a list of  5 Resolutions You Can Make, including my make-up pads!

Creative Warcraft posted this traveling game project that reminded me of something similar that my mom used to make. She would get beat up cookie sheets from thrift stores and cover them with contact paper to make traveling checkerboards that could also be used as lapdesks by my brother and I.

Valentine FriendShip circle tags and coloring page

Trying to think of a good friendship design, I started thinking "Why not a ship?" The idea being that friendship is a journey, an exploration. At first I was thinking of a boat type ship, but I like space ships. So the rocket? That's my friendship.
So I put it on a 2 inch circle tag, then used a 1/8th hole punch to punch holes to hold little lollipops. Because friendship is sweet! You can use the circle tag for cupcake toppers or what you'd like.

Click HERE to download the pdf.

And a coloring page that you can use for embroidery or other crafty applications.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Celestial Mandala box, card and coloring page


Still on a mandala kick. This one is one of my favorites so far. Simple with 4 points, lots of swirls and a celestial theme. The original is a bit bigger than the version I used on the printables. Except for the coloring page, the printables are 300 ppi. Click on the images for the full sized versions. Hope you like this as much as I do!





I liked this one so much that I put it on Don' t Eat The Paste at Zazzle and plan to order a teeshirt soon.




Saturday, January 15, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr. printable quote


With Martin Luther King Jr. Day coming up soon, I wanted to make something to celebrate this amazing man and his life. The quote I picked is one that also reminds me of my mother because it's something she said a lot as well. "Life's most persistent and urgent question is 'What are you doing for others?'".
First I made this printable art piece, it's 300 ppi and will print out at 8x10 inches. Click on the image for the full sized version and feel free to re-color it.

Then I decided that I wanted to do a coloring page with the same quote and worked on this yesterday. Drawing the frame was a lot of fun. Click on the image for the full sized version.



Thursday, January 13, 2011

Little Shell box and coloring page

The current contest on Spoonflower is Rococo designs. If you have an account there, you should go vote. There are some great designs and fun takes on Rococo. I went with the meaning of the word and the swirls in the style, along with a color palette based on some of the paintings from that era that had pastels on dark backgrounds. The word is supposed to come from the French for stone, and the word for shell.
I resized the design to fit on top of my 3x3x1 inch box template, and a version in 100 ppi as a coloring page. I hope you like them! Click on the images for the full sized versions.


I also posted the template for the Hershey Kiss box in my Etsy shop

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kiss Boxes! 5 colors

Nothing is sweeter for Valentine's Day than a kiss from someone you love right?

Because of the detail of this design, it's in 300 ppi. Be careful with your score lines. The labels on the bottom of the kisses were printed on sticker paper and punched with a 3/4 inch hole punch*. 80 fits on a page, so you can use them on the bottom of kisses for 20 boxes if you wanted to. 2 boxes print out on a page. So if you were feeling very very ambitious, 2 sheets of sticker paper and 20 sheets of card stock would be enough for a class of 40 kids. Or you can use the little 3/4 inch circles to close things up like I did on the box on the right. Click on the images for the full sized versions.






The Uchida 3/4 inch circle punch is the one I used. The link is an Amazon.com affiliate link which helps support my craft and book addiction.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Delicate Wire and Chain Earrings


If you look at the right hand side of my blog, you'll see a fairly short list of links to sites I like. More links are under the links tab at the top of my page. 
One of those links is Auntie's Beads and it's been there for almost as long as this blog has been up. Because the site has good prices and some of the best "How to bead" videos I've seen on YouTube. Look on the side bar of their page under resources for those. 
So when they asked if I wanted to use some beads and post a project made with them, I jumped on the chance. 
They sent 5 sparkly strands of faceted crystal beads. 
The first thing I made was the pair of earrings above. They are very simple to make, have a ton of sparkle and shine, and the design can be changed up to suit other looks very easily by changing the metal and color of the beads. So if you used gunmetal with jet and metallic plum it would be very dark and gothic. Copper with bright colors would be a great Bohemian look. The earrings are very light to wear and have a lot of swing.
I work with my wire right on the coil or spool so I have less waste. Check out their glass beads page for lots of colors and options.
You'll need:
5 inches of chain
earring hooks
15 inches of wire- I used 24 gauge sterling
2 head pins
beads! 
I used 
4 6x8mm rondelles
6 4mm bicones
4 6mm bicones
10 3x5 rondelles
4 4x6mm rondelles

-basic wire working skills-

Cut the chain into 8 lengths, 4 at 3/4 inches, 4 at 1/2 inch 
On a headpin, string on a 6mm bicone, 3x5 rondelle, 4mm bicone. Make a wrapped loop on top. Repeat for the other headpin
 Cut off 2.5 inches of the wire and make a wrapped loop. String on a 3x5 rondelle, 6x8 rondelle, 3x5 rondelle, Make just the loop part for the bottom, don't wrap it yet. Add on 3/4 inch chain, 1 decorated head pin, 3/4 inch chain. Finish loop.
Cut off 3 inches from the wire. Start a loop on the end, slide that on one 3/4 inch chain, and finish the wrap. String on 4 mm bicone, 1/2 inch chain, 4x6 rondelle, 6x8 rondelle, 4x6 rondelle, 1/2 inch chain, 4 mm bicone. Hold the beads in place while putting a soft curve in the beaded wire. Because of the shape of the beads, you need some "slack" in the wire or extra space. If you wrap the second loop without curving the wire first, you might not be able to curve it. Start the loop at the end, slide the other 3/4 inch chain on the loop, finish the wrap.
The bottom piece is done with a 2 inch piece of wire. Make a small loop on one end. Slide the half inch chain on the loop, finish the wrap. String on 1 3x5 rondelle,1 6mm bicone and 1 3x5 rondelle. Make loop, slide the other chain on the loop, finish the wrap. Repeat for the other earring.
The basic technique is pretty adaptable and makes a great project while watching tv. If you wanted, you could skip the head pin entirely and add more layers of chain sections for longer, even more sparkly earrings.

The cup I displayed the earring on is part of my personal collection. I love my no handle cups for tea or chocolate on cold days! This one was made by Ember Haynes of Silverbear Sundries.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Burning Bright

I'm reading a book on digital collages and paintings. It's interesting and inspiring. Playing with some of the techniques and some photos, bonfire images and a photo of a tiger that I took, these are the results. The images are fairly large if you click on them to see the full sized versions.


I'll be working on some printables for Valentine's Day today or tomorrow. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Geek stuff

Just throwing a couple things up here. The first is a template in 300 ppi that fits a Nintendo DS. I used sticker paper with it and created a Pokeball to cover the scratches on my son's DS. Plain paper covered with packing tape would work too since it's size to have a bit of a border space around it. The blank template is in PNG format.


The other thing is blank game tokens. Why? My son is designing a board game that looks very complicated. While he's in the process of testing and designing, these will give him something inexpensive to use as game tokens that he can also write a quick note on them. To use them, you cut out the circle, fold it half and glue it, then cut a notch where the black line is. I cut a narrow V shape out. Then cut out the token parts, fold it in half and cut the corresponding notches. You can glue this or not before cutting the notches, I left his unglued so he can easily re-fold them so the blank side is out for extra notes. I'm really not sure if these will come in handy for anyone else, but if you can use them, do! Lined, unlined and half lined, these are 300 ppi gifs and print out to be about 1 inch at the base, and 1.5 inches tall.


Black and White Flower printable boxes

My first printable boxes of 2011! This set is at 100ppi. I used the cookie box template, the Andes mints box template and a 2x2 cube. Hope you like them! The Andes mint slide box will hold 4 mints and the layout will print 3 boxes on a sheet of US letter sized cardstock.
Click on the images for the full sized version.


Monday, January 3, 2011

A couple of photos from New Year's Eve



Click on the images for larger versions. Not full sized though, I resized them to 50% before posting them.
New Year's Eve is my son's birthday. We celebrated with lunch at one of his favorite restaurants, then after that, went to the mall to pick him a cover for the Kindle he got for Christmas. That evening we went to see the fireworks.
The New Year's Eve show here is always better than the 4th of July show. For one thing, it's earlier. It starts at around 8 pm instead of at midnight. The other thing is that it's DARK. On the 4th of July, even at midnight, it's not really dark here, more dusk than night. 
Both photos are unretouched. 
Taken with my HS-10. (affiliate link)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mandalas-coloring pages

I drew both of these mandalas recently and thought you might like them as coloring pages. If you want to use them for embroidery or other crafty uses, you may. The coloring pages are 100 ppi, the colored versions are 300 ppi. Click on the images for the full sized versions.







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