Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year-End News

Happy (Almost) New Year!

I got a head start on my projects list by getting this done:

He's so forceful, the little one! 

You can make your own with this kit, now available in my shop!

As with my other kits, I designed the fabric and had it printed by Spoonflower.

Bonus 'cron:
Now that the recipient has received, I wanted to share this...

In real life this Captain America-inspired Christmas present is less washed-out. I had to surreptitiously take pictures in a dark corner as the sun was going down to avoid ruining the surprise!

 Have a fantastic 2015!

Monday, December 22, 2014

That Season Is Definitely Here

Whew! It's a whirlwind here. Christmas is a-coming!

I know it's been a bit of a popcorn-fest on this blog, but I made these "popcorn baubles" up and wanted to share.

This recipe is tweaked from one of my grandmother's old, old, old cookbooks:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/3 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
32 cups of popped popcorn (takes a bit over 2 batches for me to get enough from my air popper. I get it popping while the syrup is cooking.)

Cook the first 3 ingredients in a small pot over medium to medium-high heat. I stir occasionally most of the time, but, really, I’m a ditz sometimes and I haven’t figured out a way to mess up this recipe up yet.

Put the popped popcorn into lightly greased, shallow containers (don’t include unpopped kernels if you can. They’re no fun.) I use 2 disposable aluminum roasting pans from the grocery store (but I wash them and keep them instead of disposing of them.)

When the syrup reaches softball stage- I use a candy thermometer to tell -quickly stir in the vanilla and salt then pour over the kernels. Stir to coat.

When it’s cool enough for you, grease your hands (butter is tasty!) and get to forming the sweet, corny goodness into balls.

Let cool all the way. If they haven’t been devoured after that, wrap in plastic to keep fresh and/or to hang them.

That's it! In about an hour, you have classic popcorn balls!

You can have bunches of fun dressing them up, like Christmas ornament baubles (above)
or Ice Planets:

I found this fantastic Firefly-inspired dessert idea here.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Exploding Etui Tutorial

I love fabric boxes! All kinds...I think, anyway. But what's so special about these ones? 

They explode!

I made this one for me. The inside grommet tape will hold straight pins and needles (sharp and blunt-tipped) and safety pins that I can use to keep things (little bits of ribbon, bias tape, baggies of supplies) in place while toting them around in this box. 

Etui simply means a small case. I use mine for storing sewing supplies, but they can be used to hold stamps, makeup, etc. Can you imagine one as a little dollhouse, a woodland scene or a city needing saving by some tiny action figures?

Want to make your own exploding box? Read on! No sewing is needed. Perfect gifts for those who don’t sew to make friends who do. Want to sew? Go for it! Glueing is much easier, though, and very sturdy!

You will need:
Chipboard, photo matting, cardboard or the like (maybe balsa wood?)
Thin quilt batting (I used cotton)
Glue (white tacky glue is fine)
Cord (silky cord works nicely)

Grommet tape, fabric, ribbon, ? for inside
Stuff to decorate outside (grommet tape, embroidery floss, beads, etc.)

Determine what shape, dimensions, features, whatever you want for your box. Cut the chipboard (or substitute) however you need. My new box is 4” x 6”. I cut four 4x6 pieces and two 4x4. Then I cut four 3.75x5.75” pieces and two 3.75x3.75 for the inside.

  Glue one side of all your pieces to the quilt batting. Cut batting to same size as board.

Cut your fabric so each piece is about a quarter to a half an inch bigger on each side of its board. Don’t glue the fabric onto the batting!

Lay chipboard batting side down on the wrong side of the fabric. Glue the corners of the fabric on the back (chipboard side) first then do the same with the edges.

Make sure everything dries securely.

Clothespins work well. So does sticking things under a book or laptop to dry.

To make a hinge cut a strip or cloth as long as the edges you’re joining and about 1.5”-2” wide. Glue in half so right sides are showing both ways. Make enough for all the pieces you are hinging together.

To keep things nice and tidy trim hinges like so:

Push outside pieces close together (making sure it’s the layout you want) and glue the hinges on the back. Weigh down and let dry. (Afterwards, I put on the outside grommet tape. It's completely optional.)

Take this opportunity to get interior decorating! 
For the pin and needle holders I cut grommet tape to a little longer than the length of the chipboard...

…centered it onto the piece then glued it down on the back.

 Glue down inside pieces. I started with ones that wouldn’t have silky cord string attached (the lid underside and the bottom.)

 Cut and attach cord. Mine are around 22-23 inches long. Glue to back of front piece then glue back piece on top and help it dry securely. 

Cut small pieces of cord for the loops. Glue them down so about a quarter of an inch sticks up past the edge. Thread long strings through and adjust loop size as needed. It should be a snug fit. Glue back piece on top.

Let dry. The waiting is the hardest part!