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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Favor Boxes


5 colors, 2 sizes. The 3x3x1 inch size and the 2x2x2 inch. I hope you like this set, I think it would be a good one for favors for a DIY wedding or wedding shower. If you really love the design, but need another color, let me know in comments. 
Click on the images for the full sized versions. 300 dpi and .png format for very clear colors.






If you like this set, you might like the circle dot boxes, in 100 ppi here, and 300 ppi here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Marian Call drawing and garden planning

With only two people commenting for my drawing of a Marian Call album download, the winner is Jennifer B, but knuckstermom, please email me at shala at donteatthepaste. com. I'd like to send you a little something for playing.

I'm planning my garden. There is still snow on the ground and on the mountains. I took this photo on my way home from the store where I picked up soil and pots for my starts.

I'm going to start my pumpkins tomorrow, we are growing them from seeds from our jack-o-lanterns. We are also starting our first batch of potatoes in true recycling fashion, we are lining laundry baskets with surplus burlap from a local coffee roaster, and planning to do them in stages started a month apart so we have potatoes all summer for the grill.

My teens are making seed tapes following the fantastic tutorial here. Because the carrots we picked are slow growers, they are doing radish seeds every 5th spot instead of carrots so we know that's where our carrots are.

Also planning rhubarb, but that's going to wait until spring kicks in properly and I can go to the nursery that is conveniently located within walking distance. In The Garden Nursery is always friendly and very knowledgeable about what will grow in Anchorage, and how to best care for it. 
The Turnip Girl becomes The Rhubarb Girl as soon as it starts coming up in the summer. She's wild for the stuff. Rhubarb sauces for fry bread, rhubarb lemonade, rhubarb soda pop, rhubarb pie. So this year I figured it's worth putting in, I know it grows very well in Anchorage and comes back bigger and better every year.

Mike is planning on doing some smokes with the pieces of birch from a tree cut down in our backyard. 

The weather may not agree, but I feel very much like spring.

Book Review - Simply Great Breads

I love baking fresh bread by hand.
So a book with a title like Simply Great Breads is always going to appeal to me.
The author, Daniel Leader is as enthused about bread baking as I am, and the introduction is wonderful. He discusses the necessity of using the best ingredients and using recipes that allow the grain you're baking with to take center stage rather than using a lot of fats and flavors that mask the characteristics of the grain you're using. It also explains a bit about the science part of bread making and about artisan doughs.He lists different ingredients and their attributes like cornmeal which is used both as a release and as a nice bit of texture to things like English muffins.
The recipes are a mix of savory and sweet. They are yeast breads, he suggests using a dough hook in a stand mixer, but they can all be done by hand as well.
The recipes and the photos are just gorgeous. This is one of the prettiest bread baking books I've ever seen. The recipes are drool worthy and inspiring. All yeasted, even things like pancakes that aren't generally made with yeast. The author also came up with what has to be my favorite crumpet recipe ever.
The variety of methods and types of yeasted breads is just wonderful, 28 recipes total with extra variations for some of them to increase the range. There is even a recipe for yeasted fry bread. Most fry bread recipes call for baking powder, but the recipe my family uses is a sweet yeast recipe. This one will make a lovely base for savory treats.
If you love baking bread, I really do recommend this cookbook. You can get it directly from the publisher, Taunton Press, or below using the Amazon.com (affiliate) link.


Affiliate links don't affect your cost at Amazon.com and do help pay for my site and for my book addiction.
My review policy is visible using either the link on the right side bar or using the page tabs at the top of the page.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Eggs in a Basket - Cadbury Creme version

Another paper egg basket. This one holds 4 Cadbury creme eggs.



These boxes are sized just right for Cadbury creme eggs, and the bottom "basket" is a snug fit for 4 boxes. 
Lately a few people have asked for instructions to put some of my boxes together so at the bottom of this post, I'm including instructions.
The printables are all 300 dpi, and yes Liberty, there is a black and white coloring version! Recommended for adults or very patient younger people because it has a fair amount of detail. Click on the images for the full sized versions. The boxes print 2 to a US letter sized page.  Print the pages on card stock. The lily used on these boxes was previously used here. Because of the weight of Cadbury creme eggs, I recommend taping or gluing the bottom tab of the egg boxes. I will be posting this box template in my Etsy shop.


 

Side note- when I was done photographing the box, I asked Turnip Girl and my darling husband if either of them wanted a Caramel creme egg, they both said "Yes!" so fast it sort of stunned me. I think maybe next time I shouldn't leave my "props" out where they can see them but not eat them for more than a day!

Most of my boxes have gluing tabs that are just over a half inch wide to accommodate people who would rather use double stick tape. The basket on this set is an exception, the little flap that folds to the inside is narrower, but it can be cut off completely and that will loosen up the box marginally. The egg boxes are a very snug fit!
To put together the egg boxes, or any of my boxes that are that style, print on card stock. You'll cut it out, and score the folds. I can't stress enough how important scoring the folds is, it makes a lot of difference in how neatly card stock folds. But you don't need a fancy bone folder to score. My bone folder was misplaced months ago. I use the back of a steel crochet hook and a ruler to score straight lines. The crochet hook gives me a lot of control and the rounded end doesn't cut my paper. Just weakens it enough for a nice fold. I've also used guitar picks, yarn needles, pens that were out of ink, and even collar tabs from my husband's dry cleaned shirts. 
So, cut out along the black lines, score and fold along the blue lines. Pre-fold the box, then add glue or double stick tape to the tab marked in red and glue that to inside of the box on the other side, lining up the edges carefully. Fold in the top and bottom tabs. If you need to glue the bottom tab for security, do that as well. Use the glue on the tab that's on the square bottom.

Again, cut lines are marked in black. The fold lines in blue. You can see the tab side directly opposite the slanted lines on the tab is the cut line. Score and pre-fold, then glue the red tabs to the inside. The pink tabs are glued down last. Burnish them well so they aren't bulky. Burnishing means to rub it, I use the rounded top (not pointy end) of a stick pen to burnish down folds.



Friday, March 25, 2011

Japanese Seed Beads FTW!


Believe it or not, that's a color photo. Auntie's Beads sent me a wonderful selection of black and white themed seed beads.

I love Japanese seed beads. They are so uniform and have really large holes to work with, and for designs like this bracelet

-
EDIT: Just finished instructions, which you can find here.
the rounder shape of seed beads works a lot better than cylinder beads. 
I use the larger sizes in seed bead designs like the bracelet above, which is made with size 8 gunmetal, size 8 silver gray ceylon and size 11 matte black and crystal. I also use the larger sizes a lot in thread crocheted amigurumi dolls. They work perfectly for eyes and small details. 
I think my favorite thing about them is the range of colors and the consistency of them. 
I'll be posting instructions for the bracelet on beadwork at BellaOnline after I get it all diagrammed. My husband thinks the technique would work very well for USA flag bracelets so I'll graph one. I think this bracelet design would also work very well using seed bead mixes, and Auntie's Beads has some lovely color themed mixes available on their seed beads page.
The button clasp came from my personal button collection.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Western Wallet Card


This is the second time I've used this template, and this template is for sale in my Etsy shop
Print the card on card stock, and the envelope on paper. The card will hold US money in the pocket. Sort of like a billfold.
I made these in 300 ppi, click on the images for the full sized versions, and print at 300 dpi for the right size.
If you cover the wallet/card part in packing tape it also makes a nice play wallet. 



Sunday, March 20, 2011

I see the moon and the moon sees me

I'm sure lots of you took photos of the moon last night. This is the one I took. Click on the image for the full sized version. It's cropped to 5x7 inches at 300 ppi.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Grandma's Recipes- Lemon Bars

I haven't done a post from Grandma's recipe box in a while. As I've mentioned before, Grandma had a sweet tooth, so her recipes run heavily towards simple desserts. This is another lemon recipe so I used the recipe sheet posted here.
The original recipe card.

Grandma's text:
Lemon Bars
makes 15-18 bars
Holly Bradle
Mix together:
1 c. Butter or Oleo
1/2 c. Pwd. sugar
2 C sifted flour
salt
Combine.
4 Eggs beaten, 2 c. sugar, 4 Tbsp flour, 1 tsp Bk pwd, 6 Tbsp. lemon juice plus grated rind.
Put first ingredients in 9x13 pan, greased. Bake 15-20 min. at 350°- Do not brown
Pour combined ingredients and bake 20-25 min. at 350°. Sift pwd. sugar over while still warm. Cut in bars. let cool.

More modern text for people who didn't learn to cook from a recipe box.

Lemon Bars
makes 15-18 bars - Recipe from Holly Bradley's recipe box
Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups sifted flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4 eggs beaten
2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
6 Tbsp lemon juice
grated rind of one lemon

Grease a 9x13 inch pan and preheat oven to 350°.
Mix first 4 ingredients, and pat into pan. Bake for 15 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure it doesn't brown.
Mix remaining ingredients while the crust is baking, and pour over crust when it comes out of the oven. Put it back in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Sift powdered sugar over the top while it's still warm. Cut into bars and let cool.

The first part of the recipe makes a nice cookie type crust, and the second part makes something like a lemon curd. Not exactly a lemon curd because the lemon juice and baking powder combine to create a bit of lightness. and it doesn't have butter in it, but a very similar flavor. It's another easy to adapt and play with recipe. I like adding nuts in the crust and a bit of vanilla in lemon mix. Other ideas are to mix cocoa powder into the crust, and substituting the lemon juice with half orange juice and the lemon zest for orange zest. Chocolate orange flavors are always good.
This recipe WILL work with Splenda or other sugar substitutes. 
Click on the image for the full sized version of the recipe sheet.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crocheted Button Bangle


This pattern, like my dice bag pattern, is very modifiable. It can be adjusted according to the thread, hook sizes and buttons you have. My instructions are for size 10 thread with a size 6 (US) steel hook (1.8 mm), and vintage 3/8th inch buttons from my collection. US terminology.

The button crochets are done by sliding the button up the thread to the bracelet and inserting the hook into the stitch behind the button yarn over, pull through the stitch, 2 loops on hook, yarn over, and pull through the loops. So basically it's a just a single crochet after you push the button up.
This pattern is confusing in the second part. Just try it. It works up fairly fast since it's only 64 stitches and 3 rows, if the last row doesn't work right for you the first time, pull it out and try again. 

Button Bangle Pattern:
Size 6 (US) steel hook
Size 10 Bedspread weight cotton
8 3/8th inch buttons with 4 holes
Tapestry needle that you can thread with the size 10 cotton and that will go through the button holes
Scissors

Thread the 8 buttons on the cotton making sure they are all facing the same way.

Chain 64, join chain with a slip stitch, be careful not to twist.
Row 1: Chain 1,single crochet in each stitch around, slip stitch to join
Row 2: Repeat row 1
Row 3: ch 1, single crochet in first 3 stitches, slide button up to the bracelet, single crochet in stitch behind button, *single crochet in next 7 stitches, add button single crochet*, repeat **  6 times (until all buttons are added), single crochet in next 4 stitches, slip stitch to join, break off thread.

Now for the kind of tricky part. Thread the 8 buttons on the thread the hole diagonal from the first one and slide down the thread. You'll need to be able to slide it down the thread a few times to finish this, just pull up a thread after the 4th button to make a loop from the ball of thread, then pull it through the other 4 buttons to give yourself more working thread.

Chain 64, join chain with a slip stitch, be careful not to twist.
Row 1: Chain 1,single crochet in each stitch around, slip stitch to join
Row 2: Repeat row 1
Loosen up the thread in buttons so the bracelet is open, and put the part you just worked inside the first part of the bracelet, add more thread to your working thread as needed by pulling it off the ball and pulling up loops between the buttons a little at a time until you have enough thread to work with.
Row 3: ch 1, sc in first 3 stitches, pull the thread between the first and second buttons until your working end is right up against the button, button single crochet, single crochet in next 7 stitches, now you need to take a good look at your bracelet to see which direction to go in, spreading out the this part inside the first part worked best for me. Pull thread between the second and third button until the row you are working is flush with the button, button single crochet. Continue that around, with 7 single crochets between each button single crochet, ending with 4 single crochets and a slip stitch to join.

Weave in ends.

Modifying this pattern is easy. Just make sure you have a number of stitches divisible by the number of buttons you want to use and that the buttons won't be too crowded, you can also adjust size this way. So if the best fit for your wrist is 70 stitches, you could use 7 or 10 buttons easily. Because it's a soft bangle, you can make it a bit smaller than your favorite metal bangle. The flexibility makes it easier to put on.  With smaller thread you may want more plain rows. 

Check out my Ravelry pattern page here.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Daffodils


I'm so ready for spring. So I drew the mandala above.
Then put it on a box and made a coloring page! The box is 300 dpi, the coloring page is 100. Click on the images for the full sized versions.





Last minute No Pinches paper wristband

Tomorrow is March 17th. You know what that means! At least one of your friends is going to forget. So with that in mind, here's a last minute project to print. 100 dpi and works on paper or card stock.
One sheet prints out 8 wrist bands you cut out, then cut the slits for putting it on someone. It's adjustable from 9 inches down to 6.5 inches to fit a wide range of wrist sizes. Cut the long side down at the next slit over from where it fits (as shown on the right in the photo) and use a bit of tape to secure the ends. Click on the image for the full sized version. The font used is Cari Buziak's Aon Cari Celtic, which you can download from her site, Aon Celtic for free. Click on freeware.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Egg in a Basket boxes

I know eggs are egg shaped, not rectangles. But rectangles are a whole lot easier to fold and glue together. Each of the little eggs when printed at 300 dpi is 2 inches tall by 1.5 inches wide x 1.5 inches deep. The basket box they are sitting in is 1 inch tall by 3.25 inches deep and wide. So you'll need to print 4 eggs to fit the box and there is some waste card stock. What I do with bigger waste pieces is set them aside for notes, white backgrounds for small elements in other projects and use them as paint and glue palettes. Watch for more sets of these in the coming weeks if you like this set, and I will be posting this template in my Etsy store.
As usual, the tabs are large enough to use double stick tape or a glue roller to assemble. 2 sets, the one pictured above and a set that can be colored. Click on the images for the full sized versions.





And just because I liked how they looked, here are 2 basketweave tiles that you can re-color and use in your own craft projects.





Sunday, March 13, 2011

Beads, beads and millions of beads

This weekend was the annual Empty Bowl event at the Egan Convention center. It's a fund raiser for a local soup kitchen. Artists from around the state donate handmade bowls, and a 20 dollar ticket gets you a bowl and all the soup and cornbread you can eat. My family went along with probably a couple thousand other people.
The Egan center, which is the smaller and older of our convention centers has a gorgeous art installation inspired by the Aurora Borealis called "Beaded Sky Curtain" by artist Jeanne Leffingwell. Millions of strung beads emulate the beauty of the Northern Lights.
I had my HS10 so I took a couple photos. The new HS20 is available for pre-order now. I really really want it. I've loved my HS10 so much. I know I keep talking up my camera, but I love it's zooming capabilities and how easy it is to use. No lenses to fuss with. I'm dropping hints starting now for this camera for my birthday to my darling husband. Big not at all subtle hints like "I would really love to have this camera which is 500 dollars and available at Amazon for my birthday"
I re-sized the full images to 25% for faster loading, then cropped down the 100% images so they would be smaller so you could see the full detail. Click on the images to see them at a larger size. The first one is with no zoom from where I was standing, the second one is zoomed in close.


The cropped images


Yeah, it zooms that much. Manual zoom and I used the auto-focus, so non-photographers can actually take good photos straight out of the box.

More beads-
Posted a shamrock project at Beadwork at BellaOnline.





Saturday, March 12, 2011

Marian Call concert last night + a drawing!

I've mentioned before how much I love Marian Call. She's a local singer who tours, and performs at coffee shops, bars, house parties and comic book shops around the US.
Every so often we are lucky enough to get her back home for a few shows. Every so often we are lucky enough that she's doing all ages shows so my kids, who adore her music as well can see her play. Last night was one such night. The owner of Bosco's Comics heard her talking on the radio about shows she did on her 50 state tour, and heard her mention performing at comic book shops. He thought that was a fantastic idea. And so Bosco's hosted it's very first concert. They did a really good job. The owner, John, provided snacks and treat bags for people who donated a minimum to see the show. The treat bags had candy, a Fables comic book (Marian loves Fables!), incense, dice, trading cards and Magic cards in them.
If you live in the Anchorage area, you know about Bosco's. Maybe you've only been in there to look for special geeky presents for your son or daughter, or maybe you're like my family and spend entirely too much money there. They carry all sorts of geeky delights, comic books, games, trading cards, dice and everything you need to go with your geekdom. It's the perfect match for Marian's music.
The concert was great. One of the songs she does is about Jayne from Firefly, and she said to a crowd of comic book fans "Does everyone here know who Jayne is?" and Mike said loud enough to make people laugh "If you don't, you should leave now with your head hung in shame." Her Jayne song is usually done as a sing-a-long.
Her equipment failed, but the venue was small enough that the show went on anyway. A snug, cozy acoustic show and her voice carried beautifully.
You see, she's a geek. She did a song all about it and everything.
Her first album, Vanilla, was given to me as a Christmas present by my husband when it came out. Her style is a bit folk, a bit jazzy. The lyrics are her own, so is the honesty and humor in them.
Her second album was a commissioned project by Quantum Mechanix Inc. and it's the delight of a couple fandoms. Songs inspired by Battlestar Galactica and Firefly. The name of the album is Got to Fly.
I have both albums, which are available at all the usual places like iTunes, Amazon and her website. Instant purchase, instant download. But last night at her concert I purchased ONE digital code for a download of Got to Fly. The code comes on a plantable card. The winner of this drawing can choose between having me mail them the card so they can plant it after they download the album or just having me email them the code so they can get the album and I'll plant the card in spring (greenest option, no envelope/mail).
Winners will be drawn by random.org from the comments left on this entry. I have the comments numbered.
This contest is completely my own. Neither Bosco's or Marian Call are sponsoring it, it's just because I really love her music and will take any chance I have to promote it.
How to win:
Leave a comment on this entry. (1 entry)
Go to Marian Call's website and listen to some of the songs on there. Leave a comment with the name of your favorite song on this entry (1 entry)
Tweet this giveaway with a link back to this page. (1 entry) #mariancall - leave a comment on this entry with a link to your tweet (click on the time at the bottom of your tweet for the direct link to the tweet)

The time to enter ends on March 19, 2011. EDIT: extended to March 25, 2011! I'll do the random numbers on March 20th, and announce the winner on this entry. If you win, you can email me your email address if you don't want to leave it in the comments.

Coolio!

When the Cookin' With Coolio cookbook came out, I got a copy to review. This is what my original review said about it.
"I know a lot of the people who order this are going to order it for the novelty factor. 
It is novel, and it's laugh out loud funny to read. Coolio keeps his spices in dime and nickel bags and it's the first cookbook I've read that needs a language warning. 

But getting past the novelty into the recipes because I love to cook, this book is full of easy to prepare good food. His stated goal is to get people eating healthier and being less dependent on fast food. With that in mind, a lot of the recipes are inexpensive and have minimal prep work. 10 minutes of prep and most of them cook up pretty quickly. So you have food that's faster than getting in your car and driving to a burger place. Most of it is a lot healthier too. Use your judgment, if it calls for a cup of mayonnaise, it might be unhealthy. The recipes use a lot of canned foods and sauces to make it quick and easy. There are some very healthy options as well that look absolutely delicious. I'm looking forward to trying the chili for my family. 
There are some very tasty vegetarian meals and options. 
The shrimp recipes look amazing. I've used the fork steak recipe after seeing it on his cooking show and it was a huge hit with my family. He states anyone can make a good expensive steak, it takes true kitchen skill to make a good steak with a cheap cut of meat. I appreciate that philosophy. Learning the basics of cooking can make budget cooking way better than what your friends do after seeing a gourmet show and trying with the costly things. 
About cooking basics- he doesn't go into great depth but he does explain the terms and methods very well including not assuming his readers know how to boil an egg. 
The recipes are adaptable, basic recipes that will serve well in any home kitchen and could quickly become comfort food standbys and some of them are easily impressive enough to serve to guests with a more formal presentation. 
It appears Coolio doesn't eat pork, so a lot of the recipes call for harder to find things like beef bacon, if you do eat pork, you can substitute regular bacon. The rest of the ingredients can easily be found at any big grocery store."

I love this cookbook. It's fun, it's easy, it's a fantastic cookbook for people who don't want to fuss too much with meals. The flourless peanut butter cookies are amazing. Coolio also has a cooking show available on YouTube so you can see how he makes some of the recipes. Scantily clad women, language and other various warnings you might expect. Plus it might make you laugh really hard if you like his quirky humor.
So, why am I bringing it up a year and half after the cookbook came out? Because of this!
He was in town for a concert, and stayed at the hotel my husband works at. My husband, who never asks for autographs offered to bring my cookbook to work and see if he could get it signed.
Now, that's truly cool. 


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