Monday, March 29, 2010

Book Wreath

My most recent project combined two things I love...books and crafting. While it may seem like sacrilege to some, I did not mind sacrificing a used book for this project. I just went out and bought one, instead of taking one from my own library. I chose one of my favorites, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

The project required very few materials: A wreath shape, book, hot glue gun with glue sticks and paint. I used a brownish-gray paint to "age" the edge of the book.

Then, I simply folded the pages multiple ways and glued them onto the wreath, starting at the outer edge. It took some experimenting to find shapes that I liked, and the project took a few hours to complete, but I'm really pleased with the result. I still have enough pages in Les Mis to make at least two more wreaths. I'm hoping to put a couple on my upcoming Etsy store.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fun in the sun

I've been taking advantage of the sunny days and experimenting with my sun print kit. I bought it in December, so I've been itching to try it out.

Here are a few of my favorites.

I used some stencils I got with an Ani DiFranco album to make this one. I'd been saving them to use in some sort of project, but I wasn't sure what. This seemed perfect.

This was my first attempt. I love how it turned out. I used a necklace, and I think it looks like a constellation chart.

Since I liked the way one necklace looked, I thought I'd see what happened if I used several chains at once. I think that the result kind of looks like a map.

I'm looking forward to more sunny days, so I can try out even more ideas.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Simple Chew Toy

Soon we'll hear the pitter-patter of new, tiny feet in our home. That's right, we're going to be dog-sitting! We're so excited to have a canine guest, Roxy, while our good friend Shay is in Thailand.

I thought today would be a good day to craft an easy chew toy for Roxy. So I dug out some old, too small or just unwanted T-shirts and got to work.

I cut the shirts into strips horizontally, making loops. Then, I stretched the loops out. I learned the polka-dot fabric did not stretch, so I saved that for the finishing touch.

Then, I braided the strips together. I ended up with five braids. I picked the best three and braided those into one large braid.

I finished by tying the ends with the polka-dot fabric. Ta-da! Perfect for St. Patrick's Day!

Say Cheese!

I had the day off from work today and took full advantage of it. I started by pulling out my copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and attempting (again) to make delicious, home-made mozzarella.

Believe it or not, you can easily make mozzarella in your own kitchen in just thirty minutes. I have tried this three or four times with varying results. I think I nailed it this time.

All you need is a stainless steel pot, a thermometer, pasteurized milk (not ultra-pasteurized), citric acid and vegetable rennet (I found mine at the Seward Co-op). For complete directions, please go to

Heat milk in the pot to 55 ° and stir in citric acid. At about 88°, the milk will start to curdle. Stir in the vegetable rennet.

As it heats, the milk will separate into curds and whey. At about 100°, the curds will start to pull away from the side of the pot, revealing the whey. Turn off the heat and start scooping the curds into a microwavable bowl.
Using your hands, press gently to remove as much whey as possible. Then pour the whey out of the bowl. Heat the cheese in the microwave for about a minute, then knead more whey out. The book recommends using rubber gloves for this part, and I definitely agree! The curds are really hot!

You will knead and reheat it a few more times, then salt to taste. You will need more salt than you think. Then you will knead the cheese some more and pull it. When it pulls without breaking, you are done!

Roll the cheese into balls and enjoy!

Delicious with tomatoes, basil, olive oil and black pepper!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Coffee Filter Garland

I finally finished my secret craft and I am super excited about how it turned out. The preparation for this project was a little time consuming, but the production time was minimal and it was very inexpensive, since I had all the materials lying around the house.

First, I mixed up a big batch of tea. I used English Breakfast (yum!) but any tea should work. Then I dyed small coffee filters in batches of ten or so, letting them soak for 2 to 5 minutes, so that I could have a broader spectrum of shades.

I laid the dyed filters out to dry and in the morning had a beautiful pile of pinkish-brown circles.

Then, using a large darning needle, I threaded the filters onto ribbon in groups of 10 to 15, tying knots at either end of the stack. I scrunched the stacks to give them a floral quality and voila! A simple, pretty garland!

I had so many materials that I ended up making two garlands, so if you would like the shorter one (with cream ribbon,) let me know and I will send it to you. I can totally picture this on a mantel or in a little girl's room.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Here I am, blog world! I'm so excited to start sharing some of my favorite activities and places here. I am currently working on my first craft to post, which was inspired by something I saw on, one of my daily reads. I've prepped all the materials and now just need to sit down and complete it. I hope to have it all done this week so that I can share the finished product with you.