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Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Flower Calendar

Happy New Year! Here's a couple more printable year at a glance calendars. I hope you enjoy it.
Click on the images for a larger version to print. The black and white one would look fantastic on Astrobrights paper!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Amiens Cathedral floor labyrinth coloring page

Amiens Cathedral floor labyrinth coloring page

The other day when I posted the Amiens Cathedral labyrinth printable box, this was planned. Getting it just right took a little longer than planned. I hope you enjoy this coloring page! Click on the images for larger versions to print and color.

Small JPG version:
Amiens Cathedral floor labyrinth coloring page

Large transparent PNG version:
Amiens Cathedral floor labyrinth coloring page - transparent png

Today is unseasonably warm, and while we were out running errands we happened on an unkindness of ravens. I got this photo and wanted to share it.



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Amiens Cathedral inspired printable box

Amiens Cathedral floor labyrinth

Amiens Cathedral in France is a gorgeous Gothic cathedral in France, and is just an amazing example of engineering and artistry in the early 13th century. Last night, my husband and I watched Building the Great Cathedrals on Nova, and you all know how much I love rose windows and architectural details. You can watch it online for free here at the PBS/Nova website and the show is just wonderful.
What really got my attention was the floors at Amiens, black and grey brickwork in geometric patterns including the labyrinth above. I used them as my inspiration for the printable box below. Instead of doing it in color, the black and white seemed to suit, so the fold and cut lines are in grey.

Click the image for a larger version. Print on card stock, cut out, score folds, fold, glue!
Amiens Cathedral inspired printable box with the floor labyrinth

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I hope your holidays were wonderful!


Yesterday, after a week of incredibly cold temperatures, it warmed up enough to snow. My daughter tried to catch snowflakes on her tongue.

I hope your holidays were wonderful!

Ours were very low-key. Just our little family and Dad.
TG asked for, and got more Doctor Who shirts for her mammoth collection (seriously, I think she has 20 or 30 Doctor Who shirts now!) as well as a Kindle of her own to read Sherlock Holmes and other things she loves.
This model. It's the least expensive wi-fi Kindle (the rest of us have 3g Kindles). We discussed it, and she thought this model would be just right for her. I like it, it's very small. About the size of my husband's hand, and very thin. Setting it up with the wi-fi in the house was a piece of cake and she was happily downloading some of the book she wanted to read. There's a free complete Sherlock Holmes just out last month, and since it's on my account, she was also able to get into my library for a few more things.

Michael was hard, but I got him a hex impact driver which he's loving and gave it to him early. I also got him 2 Firefly shirts, and a shirt by a Juneau based artist/screenprinter who does great stuff in our fandoms. You can see her work on Etsy HERE. I also crocheted him a hat. This wound up being very challenging. He's been wanting me to make him a hat, but it had to be something very plain. No spike stitches, no fun textures, no ribbing, cables or any of the other techniques that are so much fun. Originally he wanted it in just one color. After I came to the conclusion that even a quick to finish hat was going to take me *forever* in just one stitch, in just one color (BORING!), we re-visited that.
So it's all in single crochet, with a stripe pattern that was fun to work out. This hat was made to fit his largish head, but I will post the pattern later. He asked if I was going to post the photo to crop it to just the hat. You get just the hat and his pretty brown eyes! It's in an alpaca/wool blend, so it should be very warm for cold Alaskan mornings.

William of course was the challenge. I did a lot of research and found out a watch of the quality that I wanted to get him was prohibitively expensive. I did find a mechanical skeleton pocket watch that was a lot more affordable and just the style he liked, very steampunk. It has a wooden bezel around it, and is encased in a glass globe instead of a hinged pocket watch case. He was thrilled. We also got him a soldering kit, Michael is going to teach him more about electronics, and he and I will do slide pendants together.

What did I get? Well, TG made me a new doll for my huge collection of original dolls from her. This one has a thread sketched face, not embroidery thread, but sewing thread instead, and is as usual, made from scraps and completely designed on the fly. She might make patterns for individual dolls, but never reuses a pattern and never uses other people's patterns.
It's Dean from Supernatural. Under the teeshirt is the anti-possession tattoo! This one is cookie cutter style and entirely too cute. I love the big green eyes!
Michael got me enameled cast iron cookware, William and Dad gave me embossing folders. TG knit for everyone else, Michael got a Deadpool Neko, Dad got a coffee cup cozy, and William got a necktie. William and Dad gave TG and Michael each video games.

We went out to eat at a local Chinese buffet restaurant. They served traditional dinner as well as there usual great layout of Chinese, Korean and Japanese food. It was pleasant, laid back and if it wasn't my mom's full out Christmas blitz, it does suit the 5 of us quite well.

Regular postings will start again soon!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Snowflake Tree Coloring Page


Happy Solstice! I was planning something different today, but then just got very relaxed creating this, so today is a coloring page! Click on the images below for larger versions to color.

Small jpg version:

Large transparent png version:


In other news- today I got a short message from a childhood friend on FB. It's not the first time, but every time I'm a little startled by this time machine that Facebook can be, people from the past and future friends. Then comes that moment you look at them and think "Gosh, they look so grown up." because it doesn't feel like that much time has gone by, are we all grown ups now? I mean, I know, my son voted in his first presidential election, my husband and I are closer to 20 years than 10 years together. But I don't feel like a grown up, until I see those old friends and realize, YIKES. It has been that long.
Part of it of course is the holidays, you remember past holidays, people you haven't seen in a very long time.
So, old friends and new, I hope your longest night passes safely and happily.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Eggnog! With printable recipe cards

I was a bad blogger last night and didn't take any photos of the eggnog. Instead, I enjoyed eggnog with my family.

The recipe from my childhood? Turned out to be just as good as I remembered. Just as creamy impossibly thick. Of course, I probably got the seasonings all wrong, but it worked!

Um.. this? Not for the faint of heart. If you're on a diet, I recommend half cups, or giving yours to someone else. Or realizing that dieting can be a resolution for 2013, or even that the world might end tomorrow. (written 12-20-2012)

My Favorite Eggnog (and now Michael's and my kids favorite too!)
What makes the difference is whipping the cream. A lot of eggnog is made with just straight cream and milk, using very cold cream and whipping it makes a frothy, foamy, thick eggnog. When you're 10, it's impressively good. When you're *coughcough* tyone, it's still very good, and you can add rum!

This recipe is made to serve 4 if you pour full cups. If you do half cup servings, it will serve 8. Why so small? Because one of my friends was very sad there were no small batch recipes for eggnog she could find, and I tested the recipe just for my family of 4.

So first, the cooked part:

4 eggs- separated, you'll use the yolks, refrigerate or freeze the whites to use in meringues or something else later
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla - or 2 if you love vanilla like I do!

Combine milk, spices and sugar in saucepan, bring to a light boil, and whisk constantly. Let simmer for about 10 minutes while whisking. Turn off heat, and stir in vanilla.

Pour 1/4 cup of milk mixture SLOWLY into the egg yolks while whisking to temper the yolks. This keeps them from cooking on contact with the rest of the hot liquid. Pour that mixture into the pan and whisk it to mix in the egg yolks completely. Chill milk mixture.

While the milk and egg mixture is chilling, whip
1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. sugar
in a chilled bowl. Whip it to soft peaks (when you lift the mixer, whisk or egg beater, peaks will form and slump). Fold in the chilled milk mixture.

If you want to add rum, decide first if you're going to be serving some to kids. If so, just add the rum into individual cups, and stir it in well. Otherwise, you'll put the rum into the milk mixture before folding it into the whipped cream. If you just want a bit of rum flavor, use 2 Tbs, for a lightly alcoholic drink (about 1 ounce per serving) use a half cup of rum, for a stronger drink, use a full cup of rum. If you're doing individual drinks, I leave it up to you. A shot is 1.5 ounces. If you are going to use rum, please, please use a good one*. Because this is a bit of time to make and you're worth it! (Always drink responsibly!!)

So here's the printable recipe card- click on the images for larger versions.



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Coconuts, Christmas and Eggnog

Apparently I'm hard to shop for. There are tons of things that I want, but when it gets down to the holidays or birthdays none of the men in my family can remember any of them. They peer over my shoulder to see what I'm looking at online, they look at my Amazon wishlist, and they check out my bookmarks. Then they ask "What do you *want* for Christmas?"

I want my family to be happy and healthy.
I want NOT to have to do dishes or hours of cooking (Yay! Chinese buffet is becoming a family tradition!)
I want to turn on the news and see nothing but goodness and happiness, but also realize how unlikely that is
This year, I want grace and healing for all the victims of the tragedies that have happened in 2012.

Some of those things are doable, others are just wishes that lots of people are working towards. It's also not at all what they mean.

They wound up going to the craft store. Apparently, when in doubt, go to Michaels!

While they were there, TG and I went out for soup and tea at the mall. A small, locally owned restaurant. We talked of all sorts of things, then met back up with my husband and son and went to the grocery store.
William decided he wanted a coconut. So we got one.

Now, I love coconut, but don't get it often. William started opening it but couldn't find the ice pick, and asked Michael to use one of his screwdrivers, instead, Michael came over with his impact driver. Because you know, any excuse to use power tools. William drained out the water and asked if any of us wanted some. Then it was time to start on the coconut. He asked for a hammer. So Michael played "Can't Touch This" before giving him a hammer. STOP! HAMMERTIME!
As we were all enjoying the coconut, I looked at them both and said "If coconuts are going to be a power tool using, song and dance production, we don't need to have them often." They both looked at each other and laughed.

Today TG and I are making eggnog following a recipe that I got as a kid. It was simply the best eggnog I'd ever had as a kid, so we will see how it compares now. Michael and I will probably put a spot of rum in ours. If it turns out as good as I recall, I'll share the recipe tomorrow.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Snowflake Mandala to Color


I hope you enjoy this snowflake mandala to color. Some of you really like circles! You can also use it for other crafty purposes. Click the images for larger versions to print.

Small JPG version-

Large transparent PNG version:

Want more snowflakes? I've got them to color, cross stitch and print.

Pheels like the Holidays

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PHILADELPHIA cream cheese for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love cream cheese so much. So many of my favorite recipes use Philadelphia cream cheese and I'm always looking for more. 

You can find a lot of simple recipes for meals and entertaining here-> PHILADELPHIA cream cheese

Pin them, save them for later and find something to make for dinner tonight. Plan your next party, or if you're running short on time and have to bring something to a party this week, find the perfect creamy dish that can be made quickly and kept cold until you go!

My favorite recipes are generally savory, and I love salmon, so my favorite recipe is the Smoke Salmon Lemon Pepper Dip, 5 ingredients for a versatile dip that can be served with crostini, turned into tiny sandwiches with cucumber, or just eaten with sourdough toast.

For leftover turkey or a very classy, light appetizer version of a traditional turkey dinner, the Roasted Turkey Cranberry Bites. If you've never had cranberries and cream cheese with turkey, you're missing out. This is all the best stuff of one of my favorite sandwiches. 

My daughter, the chocolate fanatic, wants to make the featured recipes, Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake. Combine chocolate with cheesecake and she's always happy. Add caramel and an Oreo crust, and she's over the moon happy. When you click on the featured recipe, you can pin it, then use the menu at the top of the page to find lots more recipes for every meal of the day and appetizers and desserts as well.

Entertain with style, grace, and really easy to prepare rich, tasty food. PHILADELPHIA cream cheese

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Holly Gift Box



I hope you enjoy this simple green and red holly Christmas gift box. If you like it, let me know and I'll do more things with this design.
Click on the image for a larger version to print. In PNG format to keep the colors very clear.

There are 2 holly mandalas from last year. One is a wreath shape. Holly mandalas

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sewing Cubes and Tetrahedrons

Tetrahedron and Cube- Hand sewn

Yay for Platonic solids! Platonic solids are polyhedral shapes made of regular, symmetrical shapes, and there are only 5 of them. If you play or love someone who plays tabletop RPGs, you're very familiar with them. They make up the dice for those games. Cubes and tetrahedrons are very easy to sew, especially if you start with a fabric that has tessellating squares or triangles. The above models were sewn using swatches from a new collection I have up at Spoonflower. Any square or triangle fabric will work, or you could do them in patchwork shapes pretty easily too with a few more seams.

I did these with hand stitching because of their size.
Sewing the tetrahedron- 
A tetrahedron is the shape you might know as a 4 sided die, 4 equilateral triangles that form an almost pyramid like shape. It's the shape used in pyramid tea bags as well.

If you're making a large one with various fabrics, you'll cut 4 triangles at the right size plus seam allowances. If you're handstitching a little one like me, you'll cut out your fabric like this-

First, find your 4 triangles, you want a multi-directional design if there is a design in them, and you'll be cutting out a strip with 60 degree angles on the sides.

Add your seam allowance. For me, it was about 1/3 of an inch since they are hand stitched. Chalk in that line, or use a permanent marker, they will be inside the seam so it won't show.

Cut out including seam allowance, trim the corners to reduce bulk.
See the arrow? That's where you start stitching. But you'll need to pin it first because the second seam can be kind of a pain. With the right sides facing each other, pin A to be, C to F and E to D on the corners and in the middle. It's going to look a bit screwy because of that odd direction seam, it will work though. Starting at the arrow, stitch the A-B seam, then the F-C seam, take out all the pins and turn it right side out. Stuff it as firmly as you prefer. I used polyfil to stuff mine. Then slip stitch that last seam to close. 

If you're using separate triangles, you'll make a strip as shown above, then stitch that final seam as described, leaving a gap for turning, then slip stitching that closed after stuffing. Tie knot in thread, and bury the thread end in the finished shape.

Sewing the Cube-
This is a lot easier, especially for anyone who is a regular reader of my blog! Because it goes together a lot like a box but with closed seams.

In my fabric, the knotwork squares are set up on a diagonal, so finding my base shape looked kind of like this-

Add seam allowances, cut out including seam allowances and clip corners.
Now it's time to stitch it. This will be done in a couple stages because you'll need to knot off the thread and start sewing from a different place.
So starting on the inside corner: A-B, C-J, D-E, which brings you to the bottom corner of D-E. Knot off thread and cut. Then from the inside corner, G-H, I-F, knot off thread and cut. From the inside corner, L-M- turn right side out and stuff, then slip stitch K-N to close. 

These can be used as ornaments, toys, a little bigger than my models, juggling balls. 


Great deal on Frito Lay snacks at Dollar General

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Frito-Lay @ Dollar General for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Frito Lay Snack size bags are on sale at Dollar General until 12/30/12- Buy 4 for 50¢ each and get 1 free (plus applicable sales tax). It only counts on snacks bought in a single transaction, while supplies last.

With winter breaks and children at home, you may want them on hand as a treat with lunch. People who are throwing casual parties for the holidays or having friends over for watching games, being able to mix and match is great. It's a way for people to get their favorites kinds of chips. Frito-Lay @ Dollar General, it's a great thing. 

What's your favorite? Or rather, if you're like me, what's your favorite right this minute? Check out the Frito-Lay @ Dollar General website and see the snack match game they have!

Mine changes. Tonight it's Fritos, because we are having chili for dinner, and leftover chili with Fritos is a fantastic lunch. During the summer, when it's really warm, I want Cheetos. No idea why, but I'll get Cheetos and wash them down with icy fruit smoothies. The cheesy flavor is the perfect pairing for a good fruit smoothie.

The rest of my family loves Doritos, year round. They consider Doritos very nearly perfect chips.  I usually eat chips as part of a larger meal, but they like to snack on chips during our movie nights. Since we watch mostly action/adventure films the crunching doesn't interrupt.

If we want potato chips, I like Lay's Classics, so does TG. My husband Michael prefers Lay's Barbecue. 

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tree Flake Mandala


I hope you enjoy today's snowflake mandala to color. It's fairly intricate in parts, so you'll want very sharp pencils or fine tip pens to color this one.

Click on the images for larger versions. The small JPG version is above. I didn't do a colored version because it's family movie night tonight!

Large transparent PNG version:

I took this photo this morning and posted it to my Facebook page. Sunrise at 10 am. Click on the image if you want to see a larger version.




Sunday, December 9, 2012

2012 Angel Boxes


When I posted this year's angel box, I said then that there would be more colors. While working on those, I wound up tweaking the layout a little, and re-did the brunette box to match the rest. I hope you enjoy these angel printable boxes for Christmas!

Click on the images for larger versions, print on card stock, cut, score, fold, glue!







Friday, December 7, 2012

2012 Angel Coloring Page

As promised, here's the Christmas angel coloring page to match the angel box for this year! Click on the images for the larger versions, print and color!

Small JPG version:
Christmas Angel Coloring Page

Large transparent PNG version:

I also posted some new football patterns to Beadwork at BellaOnline with some tips on beading for football fans!


New fabric posted at Spoonflower! I haven't gotten photographs yet, but it looks nice. I added orange to my Chef Skull series, and added 2 knot styles in a whole bunch of colors. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Essential Duck Tape® Gift Book Tutorial

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Duck Brand® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Duck Tape® comp books are a great first project for Duck Tape® crafts, but this one, with it's multiple bookmarks and wonderful Christmas look also serves a purpose. You can keep track of the sizes, color preferences, character preferences and all those other things that make gift shopping so much easier. They take about an hour to make start to finish.

Duck Tape® Notebook

If you're like me, with teenagers who seem to have all sorts of interests that are hard to track, having a list handy makes it a lot easier.

You can also use this technique with other Duck Tape® tapes for other things! I recommend the Retro Owls tape when it comes out. Because really? Winning Duck® Brand's MyDesign contest is STILL just that exciting to me. Become a fan on the Duck Tape® Facebook page (I am!) to find out about all the exciting tapes, projects and contests. If you scroll down a bit on the Facebook page you'll see my Retro Owls! 

So, what do you need for your own DuckTape® notebook? 

Christmas Duck Tape®

Duck Tape®! Check out all those great Christmas colors and prints. The silver and gold didn't photograph well, but they are a true metallic silver and gold.

You will also need: A comp book, sticky backed hook and loop squares, ribbon, non-stick scissors. The Duck Tape® and comp book are necessary, the rest is optional. The hook and loop squares are used for the tab that holds it closed, the ribbons are used for bookmarks. You will need some sort of scissors. I really recommend non-stick Teflon coated or titanium scissors for serious Duck Tape® crafting. They make life a lot easier, but if you don't mind cleaning every so often, standard scissors will work. Another quick tip: If you have long hair, tie it up so it doesn't get into your work.

Start by making a sheet to use as an inside pocket if you want one. Sheets are easy. On a non-stick surface (I use old hotel room service trays) put a piece of tape sticky side up, lay another piece sticky side down offset from the bottom piece so there is a sticky overlap. Turn over, repeat.

Fold the bottom overlap edge over to seal the bottom, and when the pocket is as deep as you want, make the last piece a decorative piece of tape, and fold the overlap over to seal the top edge. It's okay if the pieces aren't perfectly the same size and the side edges are messy. Those will be trimmed off. (I didn't get a picture at this point, but used the polka dot tape as the top trim)

Now to start the notebook. like base coating, if you're using tape that has a light background, you'll want to put down a base of white Duck Tape®. My choices for the decorative tape were the adorable reindeer and the polka dots. Two strips of white base tape, then 3 little sections of the decorative tapes. 

Then start taping the rest of the cover. I started with the vertical framing using green tape. The tape is wrapped around to the inside cover.

When it's time to do the horizontal tape, it's also time for the ribbons. Hold the ribbon to the spine of the notebook, and then wrap it to the inside, figuring out about how long you want it to hang out of the bottom. Cut the ribbon pieces you'll need. I used 5 ribbons. Hold the ribbon in place on the spine, and tape over it.

Give the ribbons a light tug. Mine were securely anchored, but if they aren't, just split another small piece of tape in half lengthwise, and tape over the ribbons again. 

Finish taping the outside except the spine. The inside isn't very pretty at this point.

To fix that, you'll be cutting pieces of tape just a bit shorter then the inside of the notebook and start from the edges, taping towards the middle. You'll also add the in the pocket if you made one at this point.

The tab is an easy piece. It's like making the pocket above, except it's one tape width wide with the other side in the border color, then cut another small piece to go over the end after you trim the ends evenly. Make the tab about 4 inches long.

Remove a square of the loop side of the hook and loop squares from the backing and stick it to the back side of the tab. Then remove a square of the hook side, and carefully, without touching the sticky part too much, stick it sticky side up to the other square.

Now you'll put the hook and loop and Duck Tape® tab on the front of the notebook, placed about in the center on the open edge of the notebook, rub firmly to bond the hook and loop tape into place, and wrap the rest of the tab to the back of the notebook. Use more tape to tape that in place on the back.

If you used ribbons that matched like I did, you can add Duck Tape® tabs to the ribbons to help keep it straight which ribbon is which. 

You can use the decorative tapes in so many ways. My daughter wants to use the peppermint stripe on an empty Quik container to make herself a Christmas purse, you can also use it on gift tags, or even in place of gift tags. When I wrap presents, I don't use tags except for "from" labels for family. I use different colors of paper instead. Duck Tape® could be used the same way. Pick different tapes for different people and don't tell anyone which tape is theirs until Christmas morning! 

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