Archive for November, 2011

* glitter cards

Posted on November 28th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Holiday, Martha.


I almost decided to go easy on myself this year and not make cards.  However, the cards in the stores are thoroughly boring for the most part and I couldn’t bring myself to buy any of them (and the alternative of buying the fancier, nicer cards is more than I care to spend).  I’d been playing around with glitter and Martha Stewart double stick tape shapes as an ultimately discarded ornament idea:

One of her kits has double-stick tape strips with glitter.  Here’s a tag version of the project.  Seemed easy enough, and it would put to use the 24-color glitter set my mom got me from Christmas last year.  We printed out the message and got to glittering.  I am pretty happy with how fancy and sparkly they look.

It took a couple hours for me and Mark to make a whole pile, but it was fun to combine colors and shapes.

You can see one more experiment in the back: a leaf stamped in glue and coated in glitter.  That worked pretty well, too, but I liked the stripes better.

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* winter garden harvest

Posted on November 27th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Home and Garden.


One of our neighbors stopped by the other day and asked if she could have my garden greens because they were “going to waste.”  Au contraire!  They are overwintering, and we have been eating from the garden pretty regularly even though it’s late November.  In fact, the only plants actually killed by the cold so far have been the peas this weekend.  They went down still in flower, even!

Harvested the past couple of weeks: collard greens, chantenay and little finger carrots, purple top turnips + their greens, arugula, lettuce, mesclun mix, beets + their greens, radishes, Asian greens, parsley, and two types of kale.  Crazy!  I think I like the winter garden even more than the spring.  My carrots in particular germinated like champs even though I had endless trouble with them the rest of the year.  The only pest problem was cabbage white butterflies.  Their caterpillars made swiss cheese out of my collards.  Nobody noticed once they were shredded and cooked up though (although it was pretty gross when a boiled caterpillar floated up in the blanching water).  It is definitely true that the garden is pretty much holding in place, though: Swiss chard I harvested in October has not grown back much at all, when earlier in the year it was hard to keep up with it.

A couple mistakes to fix next year: plant the brussels sprouts earlier (the plants made it about 6 inches and then stopped.  Hopefully they’ll resume in the spring), and don’t plant turnips.  I have never bought a turnip in my life and I can’t say they are my new favorite thing.  I made mashed turnips the other day, and we ended up cutting it with mashed potatoes to mask the flavor.  The greens are ok, but they’re not my favorite.  I also should have been more ruthless in thinning the big plants, like collards and broccoli.

We’ve also been eating some of my stored winter squashes.  A delicata was sliced into rings and roasted with a little brown sugar and red pepper.  This monster blue Hubbard got roasted, mashed with a little butter and spices, and layered with apple slices for Thanksgiving dinner.

We’ve broken into the canned goods too.  We already dispatched one whole jar of strawberry/raspberry jam, plus an entire jar of bread and butter pickles, and most of a jar of salsa.  The tomato jam turned out pretty interesting, though I think I’ll try a different recipe next time.  I also used a jar of tomatoes for pasta sauce the other day.  Now that the summer rush is over, all the canning books no longer have giant waiting lists at the library, so I’ve been looking for possible winter recipes (pickled beets are on the agenda for sure).  And good thing, because my mom got me a set of beautiful Weck jars for my birthday.  :)

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* plastic bird ornaments

Posted on November 26th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Holiday.


Last year I made cutout ornaments from a piece of Ikea fabric ironed on to backing.  This year I was even lazier and used cutouts from sturdier plastic placemats.  Hole punch and they’re done.  My mom and sisters helped cut them out when they visited a couple of weeks ago.  The Ikea codename is Klistrig.

I like that they’re Charlie Harper-esque.

If you would like one, I’d be happy to trade cards and/or ornaments.  Just shoot me an email (maitreya@craftlog.org) with your address.

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* crochet wreath

Posted on November 25th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Crochet, Holiday.


I bought a wreath form on a whim the other day.  I like the look of the yarn-wrapped wreaths that are everywhere, and decided to crochet around instead to make a braided look for the edge.  I used the bulkiest yarn I could find (Hometown USA from Lion in Monterey Lime) and my trusty Crystalites N hook.  Even with the fat yarn, some of the form peeked through, so I ended up going back and painting the whole thing with a coat of matching craft paint.  This tutorial from Goodknits was helpful if you have trouble crocheting around the wreathform.  I used a tutorial from Sarah London for a seamless join to finish it.

The flowers are rolled spirals, also rampant in blogland right now (here’s one of the millions of tutorials).  I didn’t have any cream felt, so used quilt batting instead.  It worked surprisingly well.  There are a couple of ones made from cork coasters in there as well.  I like the look of the cork, but it did crack a little if rolled up too tight.  The cork ones are held together with a pin to supplement the hot glue attaching them to the wreath.

The leaves are cork and thick felt (not quite as dark green as they look in the photo).

Hung with monofilament using a pretty great trick I saw somewhere: put one of those removable sticky hooks upside down on the back of the door and drape the string over.

Now off to get our tree!

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* encaustic ornaments

Posted on November 24th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Experiments, Holiday.


I had this brilliant idea to use my new-found encaustics skillz to make Christmas tree ornaments using wood cutouts from the craft store.  I should have known to abandon the project as soon as my torch refused to light.  Instead I had the bright idea of fusing the wax layers in a low temperature oven.  Not recommended.  This is what happened to some wax sheet cutouts I layered:

melted

A cutout from a doily worked a little better, but had no contrast.

waxdoily

I was really excited about this idea, so particularly disappointed when it didn’t really work: paper snowflakes cut out from tissue paper and layered over one another.  The wax gives tissue paper a translucency that’s really pretty.  Unfortunately, the other layer completely disappeared.

waxcutsnowflake

Ah well.  I think I might play it safe and just find a pattern to make.

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* whipup quilt block

Posted on November 14th, 2011 by maitreya. Filed under Sewing/Fabric Crafts.


This is my block for a project Kathreen from Whipup put together for a friendship quilt for her latest book project. She sent the materials and basic block instructions, and we were all supposed to embellish and sign our blocks creatively. My embroidery leaves much to be desired on this one, but I like my recursive quilt block motif.

whipupblock

Apparently it was too late to make the book (probably from terrible people like me shipping late and internationally to boot), but she did post some snippets.  Hopefully she’ll post the whole thing at some point since I’d love to see how it turned out.

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