Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hair Doo-Dads

Well hey there. It's been a while since I posted here, so I thought I'd better get a quick post in. I recently participated in another Craftster swap, this time for hair "doo-dads." I had 3 swap partners, and had to make them each something simple. Here's what I came up with:

For the first partner, who likes the color green and plastic toys in accessories:

For the second partner, who didn't give many guidelines but said she likes bright colors:

I also did a headband for her, since the bobbies were simple:

And here's a detail shot of the bow:

And lastly (my favorite), for the third partner, who likes the color yellow and had a cool bee necklace in her Wists:

The bees and birds are felt and embroidery thread, and every piece required hot glue. Making these was fun, I'll probably make some in the future for myself :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Obsession: ATCs

So, I recently started making ATCs for a swap I'm involved in. "What in the world is an ATC?" you wonder? Well, let me enlighten you.

ATC stands for "Artist Trading Card." The only hard and fast rule is that they have to measure 2.5" by 3.5", and they are not supposed to be sold, just traded.

There's more info here, on Craftster. You can also peruse pages of ATCs made by all kinds of crafters.

In this particular swap, participants make lists of different themes in which they would like to recieve ATCs. Person A posts a list, then person B "claims" them for one of there themes, then posts their own list. Person C claims person B for one of there themes, posts their list, and so on (until the end of August). So far, I have made 4 claims. Unfortunately, I didn't get a good picture of the first ATC I made, but here are the other three (and their respective themes):


This one I did in a yarn painting style, with a red Swarovski eye. Here's another angle:

"Edgar Allen Poe"

This is just a collage, with pages from a magazine, a printed portrait of Poe, and black puffy paint. Another angle:

"Om nom nom nom"

Another magazine collage, with a ruffle for textural interest. Here's a pre-ruffle pic that shows the color a little better:

These are super fun to make, and I imagine I'll make a lot more. Anyone can make them, and they give you a chance to try out different techniques and styles on a small scale. I love the "trading card" idea, and I look forward to acquiring a collection :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Quick Craft

I generally gravitate toward more tedious and time-consuming (knitting, crocheting, sewing) crafts. It's actually quite odd, seeing as I am generally a pretty impatient person.

From time to time, I have to take a break from my bigger projects for a little instant gratification crafting. With that said, here are six pairs of earrings I made this morning, from findings and charms I had laying around in my craft-stash (I stopped at six because I ran out of earwires).

That's all for now, but I have a knitting project and a sewing project both ongoing, so stay tuned...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The elephant in the room

I mentioned Craftster in my previous post, but I did not really get into how awesome this website is. Basically, it is an enormous forum for discussing, showing off, and looking at all things crafty and homemade. Craftster has a huge user base, and there is enough info and cool stuff to look at on there that you would likely never get through it all.

One of the neat things on Craftster is the organized swap. There are constantly swaps going on, and they all pretty much work the same way:
  • Someone comes up with a theme for a swap and posts it
  • People sign up
  • Original poster divides participants into pairs
  • Each participant makes something and sends it to their partner
There are specific guidelines laid out for each swap, but this is basically how it goes. I hadn't done a swap in a while, and decided I felt like doing one the other week. I love making little stuffed animals, so when I saw there was a stuffie swap going on, I thought it could be a lot of fun.

The girl I was paired up with is German, and right around my age. (I am not the only one in my mid-20s who appreciates a stuffie swap. Ha!) When you sign up, you have to fill out a questionnaire so as to give your partner an idea of what you'd like to receive. One of my swap partner's favorite animals is the elephant, so I decided that's what I'd make for her.

When I crochet an animal, I don't use a pattern. I crochet enough that I kind of just know how much to increase or decrease to get the shape I want (most seasoned crocheters would probably tell you the same thing). I work in spirals, creating hollow shapes that I stuff and assemble. Basically, I just make it up as I go along...

Here's a shot of the trunk/head when it still just looked like a cone:

And here are the pieces once I finished them, pre-assembly:

And post-assembly, sitting on my computer:

Now, I liked how the simple, cream-colored shape of the elephant was looking, but it still needed a little something else....


A good start, but not quite enough. So I added fabric paint eyes and a felt heart, and it was finally finished.

She's on her way to Germany now, I hope she makes her new owner smile :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009


So, I came upon this post on Chocolate & Zucchini via a link on Craftster. Basically, the author was introduced to lärabars, which she enjoyed, and decided to try to make a homemade version. I like to pack a little snack like this when I have class or am otherwise going to be somewhere where I might get hungry, but good-quality energy bars can get expensive, and who wouldn't rather make their own?

I was intrigued.

I am not a big chocolate fan, so I decided to change this recipe around to suit my tastes.
Behold, the älysiabar:

1 16oz package Medjool dates
1.5 cups roasted unsalted mixed nuts
Juice and most of the zest from one small lemon
1/4 cup whole flax seed
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
A little bit of whole wheat flour (or any flour, really)

First, pulse the nuts in a food processor until they are broken up, but not reduced to a dust. Remove and set aside.

If your dates are not pitted, you will need to pit them yourself (like I did). Simply slice in half with a paring knife and remove the pits.

Process dates into a thick paste in the food processor. You will know they are mashed enough when a ball forms and starts threatening to jam up the blade. Take the ball out, break it into pieces, and put it back into the food processor (your hands are going to be sticky now if they weren't already).

Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the flour), and process until mixed, or until another ball forms. Take the ball out, and if it looks like it could still use a little mixing, knead it around in your hands.

Flour your baking pan (I used an 8.5" square pyrex dish) and then press in the mixture.

Put it in the fridge and let it set until firm, then cut up into small rectangles and wrap them individually in plastic wrap. I got 15 out of the batch, they seem small but they are really rich and packed with energy. A little goes a long way! They will keep for about a week in the fridge.


Kombucha Update

So I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seats, wondering what's going on with my kombucha brewing venture. You can relax, I'm going to fill you in right now.

I checked on my jar-o-'booch today, and to my delight, things are happening! Good, culture-growth things. There is a film that has formed on the top, which will become the new "mother" SCOBY, that you can see here:

You can also see that the original SCOBY is growing in size/thickness, and I think there might even be another one that is beginning to grow, as well:

So, I have been asked, what am I going to do with this fungus-tea, if and when it ever comes to maturity. Well, I am going to drink it, of course!

But why!?!? It's got floaty culture bits and who knows what else in it.... I mean, gross.

Colby is concerned:

Kombucha tea comes from China, where it has been brewed for hundreds, maybe even thousands, of years. It is purported to be a kind of "cure-all" tonic, and people who know and love it have story after story about what it has done to improve their health and their lives. What makes kombucha "work" is the fact that it is a living beverage, chock-full of probiotic (good bacteria) material. It is actually available, bottled, at most health-food, Whole-Foods type places. Here's an example of a bottle I purchased and drank at my local Kimberton Whole Foods store:

I highly recommend this flavor. Yum!

So why am I, specifically, interested in this beverage? Those of you who know me well, also know that I have quite the problem stomach. One of the main benefits ascribed to the consumption of probiotics is improved digestion and gastrointestinal function.

Plus, the homebrewing process appeals to both the science geek and culinary crafter in me ;)

*Phew!* Colby is relieved.

You can all go back to your regularly-scheduled Sunday naps, now (Colby in particular).

Friday, July 31, 2009


What, you don't stay up until 1am sewing? Well, I do. And I did tonight.

Because I can never fall asleep at a decent hour anymore, I decided to finally do something with this big ol' shirt I bought for like $3 at a thrift store:

It's a men's 3x, but I love the colors in the plaid and decided it was really meant to be a summer dress, not a big shirt.

So, I cut it up....

And remade it into this:

Sorry for the crappy pics, I'm going to go ahead and blame the poor lighting (and it is past 1am, after all!)

A stupid-face side shot:

And a shot from the back: