Monday, November 22, 2010

Kyo doll under way!

Ok, so I have finally started it.  My kyo doll is under way, and boy do my fingers hurt already!  I've started with the hands and making each of his little fingers is killing my fingers!!  But it's so totally gonna be worth it!!  I put pipe cleaners in his fingers to make them poseable to.  He's goona be the biggest ami I've made.  His arm is 9 1/2 inches long if that gives you an idea of how big the rest of him will have to be.  I'm still debating ho how to do his eyes, if I should do the traditional safety eyes or make them out of felt so they look more like that characters.  I'll probably do a comparison on them.  I know once I finish him Munchkin is going to want a Kyo of her very own.  <Sigh> So much crocheting, so little time!  Not to mention that I still have 2 monkeys to make for christmas a baby quilt by January and I sitll need to think of what to make everyone else for christmas to.  Joann's has their sale this friday and like the last 4 years, I will be there at 5:30 am waiting for the door to open!  I'm not what I'm going to get because surprisingly there's not a whole lot that I want to get this year.  I think I am going to get a dressform for sure, providing they have a large one.  I wish they would carry the x-large ones in the store instead of being special orders, that would be very helpful!  But, oh well.  At least this way, I will finally be able to hem my own clothes now!  Well, off to finish the fingers on my Ami-Kyo!!  I think I'm going to make Ami Neko Kyo to.  So cute!!
So here's the arm, kinda hard to see exactly how big it is, but it's big!

Here's another project I'm working on.  I made one of these for a swap and thought it was just awesome and have been wanting to make another one.  I had a heck of time finding a blue that would match the fun fur, it's still not exact, but it's about as close as I'm gonna get, so I'll take it.  He's gonna be so cute when hes' done!! (or she)

Happy crafting!! <3

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Avatar swap all don!!

Well, my avatar swap is all finished!!  I had no flakers and everyone sent awesome packages!  It was fun to organize it.  Now I'mthinking of organizing another swap in January!  It's gonna be a Fruits basket swap!  Or possibly just a generic Anime swap, I haven't decided yet.  I have it up in the swap idea board, so we'll see how many people are up for a fruits basket swap and how many are up for general anime.  So far, most are for fruits basket! :D
I also sent off my Harry potter swap package!  Now I officially have no swaps to do and I can concentrate on the christmas gifts that I need to make.  I have at least 2 monkeys to make.  One rainbow, and one purple for my 2 little cousins.  I need to figure out what I'm going to make for everyone!  I had some projects last year that I never gof finished, so I may end up making those since I still have all the supplies to make them.  Well, I'm off to brainstorm!  Christmas is gonna come fast!!!  Plus I was kinda hoping to get some stuff to participate in some of the local holiday bazaars, but I'm not gonna have time for that this year.  Maybe next year.  And I definately want to to try to make it to some of the craft shows this summer to!  That would be AWESOME!!!

So, now I'm off.  Happy Crafting!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Avatar swap done!!

My partner should get her package tomorrow.  I really hope she likes it.  I wanted to keep the zuko doll so bad!  I guess I just have to make one for myself.  Of course, I'm sure Munchkin will steal it if I do, lol.  She loves everything I make.  But anyway, onto the pictures!!

This is the bookmark I made.  It represents all the nations.  White for air, blue for water, red for fire, and green for earth.  Munchkin wanted to keep this one to.

Now onto the pictures of Zuko!!!

the back

closeup of his face.

The front

the side with his scar

The side that has no scar

and just so you can see his ponytail a little better.

I was so happy with the way he turned out!  I can't wait for my partner to recieve him tomorrow!!

Hope you guys like him to!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My new obsession

OK, so Munchkin and I have been watching Fruits Basket, and well, it's anime, and we both just LOVE IT!!!  We're kind of a little obsessed over it.  We bought the dvd's (got them today) and I bought the first 10 books and we should be getting those friday! :) 
Our favorite character is Kyo.  If  you've seen it you know who he is.  But in short, the show is about the Sohma family who is cursed by the Zodiac.  Whenever one of them is embraced by someone of the opposeite sex, they turn into their zodiac sign.  Kyo is the cat, who isn't a sign, but, well, just watch it on hulu (  So I have decided that I need my own Kyo plushie!  I have one more swap to finish up and then I can start in on Kyo.  Hell, I may start in on him anyway.  I know my daughter is going to want one to, so I'm going to have to make 2.  I think I'm going to make a Kyo amigurumi, and then make a cat-Kyo stuffie.

I bought some orange eyelash yarn today so I can use it for his hair.  Hopefully it will come soon. :)  I can't wait to start on my Kyo.  Can't wait to watch/read some more fruits basket.  It was a little annoying watching it on hulu because all but the last 3 are subtitled.  Well, time to go get cracking on my projects!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Craft my pet swap finished! Starting in on Avatar swap!

Front view

YAY!! I finally finished the Craft my pet swap!  I crocheted my partner's Pomeranian.  The yarn was a little difficult to work with as I've never really worked with mohair before.  I did learn a little bit from it.  I feel bad for having to send to my partner a week late, but at least it will be in the mail Monday and on its way soon!  I feel really bad because she had 2 partners and her other partner made the exact same thing I did.....  I hope she likes mine to.  Here's a picture of the dog I crocheted.

Side view
 Not as cute as I had hoped it would turn out, but I'm still very happy with it.  I also crocheted her a keychain of one of her cats.  I was going to try and do all 4 of her cats, but sadly, ran out of time.  To make up for the lack of craft able extras on my part, I'm going to go to the pet store and buy her some pet goodies.  But here's a picture of the keychain.  I want to make one for myself and Munchkin wants one as well, as do my nephews.  I think it's pretty darn cute :)  I got it out of a Japanese crochet book.  Don't know the name 'cause it's in Japanese.

Kitty keychain!
I have also almost finished my Prince Zuko doll for my Avatar partner.  I really like the way he's turned out so far.  I’m very happy with him.  I'm going to get started on his hair.  I will finish his arms and legs later.  I am most proud of his scar.  I think it looks pretty damn close to the cartoon version.  Let me know what you think.

Cartoon Zuko's scar

My poppet Zuko's scar.  Pretty close huh?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Avatar & Craft my pet swap

I've got a total of 3 swaps going right now, I had to take a break from the craft my pet swap and work a little on my avatar swap.  I've made one thing already, and I pray that my partners for wither don't read my blogs at the moment! lol.  I've made one small item for the avatar swap, now I'm working on a larg item.  My partner's favorite character is Prince Zuko, and she really wanted a Zuko plushie, so I'm making her one.  I've got the head done, just need to add the other eye.  I'm pretty happy with the way the scar turned out to.  I'll have to post pictures of it along with a picture of the cartoon version.  I'm also doing another Harry Potter swap.  I'm still trying to think of what to make for my partner.  I have to make at least one wearable, and one edible item and a samll game/toy type thing.  Thankfully it has the longest crafting time.
Having a hard time with everything though because of school work.  the only reason I even got any crafting time in today was becasue I had to take a break from my reading.  I kept falling asleep. :(  But I guess that's ok because I really needed to get started on some of my crafted items.  Time to get back to the board, and if any of my partners have read this, please pretend that you didn't.

Friday, September 10, 2010

First swap under way!!

YAY!!! My first ever swap is underway!  All the participants now have their parnters!  I think I may try and do a little crafting this weekend for it.  I know exactly what I'm going to be making for my partner!  I just hope she likes it too!  I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!
Avatar the last airbender is such an awesome cartoon and so many possibilities that can be crafted.  I heard there was a sequal coming out next year, I can't wait for it!!

Time for bed, happy crafting!! =D

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Organizing my first swap!

So I'm organizing my first swap on the crafting form I joined.  It's a great website full of any craft you could think of.  There's a different board for every craft.  I frequent the crochet board the most, but sometimes will post in the toys or jewelry boards as well.  But I'm super excited about organizing!  Once I get a few small ones under my belt, I can host larger ones, hopefully.  My first swap is Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Based on the Nickelodean cartoon and the movie, but mainly the cartoon.  Thankfully, it's a very small swap, so far only 7 people have signed up for it.  I'm hoping for 8 to make it even, but if not, I have everyone all partnered up and ready to go.  The sign-ups close Sept 9th, tomorrow.  I think the coolest thing is getting to pick my partner!  I gave us a month of crafting time and made it small, only 4 points, with at least 1 meduim project.  I hope it goes well and there are no flakers!  I will be sad if there are flakers :(
But if you want to check it out, here's the link to the swap page

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How to make Blackberry syrup!

Today I made Blackberry syrup which can be used on pancakes, waffles and french toast or add some water and you can make blackberry juice.  It's super yummy and super easy!

First you need one of these.......

(I'm not sure where you get one of these.  I inherited this one from my mom when she moved to California and wouldn't be able to make juice anymore.  I'm sure if you googled it you could find one, or you might even be able to find one at your local farm/feed store.)
And some blackberries and sugar....

and of course, jars, lids and rims....

It doesn't matter what size jars you use.  If you know you won't go through the syrup fast or are giving it as a gift, use smaller jars.  I use regular mouth jars (I like to use my large mouth jars for my tomato sauce), but it doesn't matter, you can use regular or large mouth jars, and brand doesn't matter either.  Kerr or Ball work.  Just make sure it's treated glass.  Less risk of breaking.

The first step is to clean everything.  All 4 pieces of the juicer and all of your jars.  I usually just run my jars through the dishwasher, this also gets them nice and hot.  Once clean the next step is to add water into the bottom compartment, like this.....

I turn the stove to high at this point to get the water going.  It needs to come to a boil.

Once full of water, the middle compartment goes on.  Inside the middle compartment is a colander, this colander is specially designed to fin inside the middle compartment so it's very important. 

Now this next part is important.  Depending on the size of your juicer depends on how many cups of blackberries you can put in.  You don't want to put to many in because the juice will overfill the middle compartment and end up in the bottom compartment.  Inside the middle compartment is a cone where the steam comes in to steam the blackberries.  My juicer will hold more, but I do 10 cups of blackberries, like so....

Now, you can wash your blackberries before this step, but it's not necessary, my mom never did, and I don't either.  The only thing that falls down into the syrup is the juice from the berries.

Once the berries are in, you throw the sugar in right on top of the berries before the lid goes on, like so....

How much sugar you add depends on 2 things, how sweet your berries are and how sweet/thick you want your syrup to be.  My berries weren't overly ripe this time ( I got the beginning of the ripening season), but I still did 1/2 a cup of sugar to 1 cup of berries.  The way my mom did it was 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of berries.  That's a little to sweet for me and depending on how sweet this batch is I may have to increase or decrease the amount of sugar I throw in.
So once the sugar is in, you put the lid on and let it summer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  This is important, you need to check the bottom compartment every so often to make sure there is still water inside there.  You don't want to burn the bottom of your pan.
Once you have the blackberries going, you should get your jars ready.  I like to have mine going in a water bath.  I put them in mouth down, I also put the lids in there so they get nice and hot as well.  I don't have a huge pot, so I use the biggest one I have which will hold 4 jars.  I throw 4 lids in there as well.  You don't have to heat up the rims, just the jars and lids.  I put the jars in the water first, then turn it to high and bring to a boil.  Keep in mind that the jars will sit in there the whole time the blackberries are steaming.  So once the water boils, I turn it down to low, or to the #2 or 3.  Not to high.  This keeps the jars nice and warm as well.

At this point, the water in the bottom compartment should be nice and boiling, so you can turn it down to medium.  If you turn it down to low it will take longer for the berries to produce the syrup.

Here is what my stove looks like once everything is going...

This is what the berries will start to look like about 1/2 an hour in...

(Make sure that if you're going to lift the lid off,  you wear a mitt or use a towel as it will be hot.)

As the blackberries and sugar steam, your little hose will start to fill with purple liquid.  This is the syrup!

It's ready!!

Now this next step you need to be careful of.  The jars and syrup will be hot!  So when pouring the syrup into the jars I wear an oven mitt and hold it from the bottom.

All you do us unclamp the clamp, and let it fill.  Don't let it fill all the way.  I usually fill it to where the jar starts to curve into the mouth.  If you have dribbled any syrup on the jar you want to make sure you wipe it off before putting the lid on.  If anything is left on the rim of the jar, the lid won't seal properly.  Once you have the syrup in the jar, put the lid on, put the rim on, and tighten as tight as you can.  Then all you do is leave it on the counter and in about half an hour, you will hear "plink".  This is the jar sealing.

Out of the 10 cups of berries, I got 2 jars.  If my berries had been riper, I would have gotten more.  But I still have 2 1/3 buckets left to go! Not to mention that in 2 more weeks all those green berries I saw today will be ripe and ready for me!  I could make more syrup and some freezer jam!!  I love berry season!!

Assuming you have more berries, you would refill your pot with your jars and lids and start all over again!
You can see in this picture that as the jars heat, they will suck the water into them.  Just make sure you have some water in the pot that didn't get sucked into the jars.  You can always add more as they heat.

Even though I haven't tried it with other berries, I'm assuming you could do this with just about any berry.  I imagine you could do this with a variety of fruit.  Would love to know if anyone uses this with other berries or fruits!

I think this is one of the easiest ways to can and is perfect if your just getting into the canning process.  No pressure cooker involved!  I have used a pressure cooker, and they are intimidating!

If I can get some tomatoes before the season is over, my next canning project will be spaghetti sauce!  Or if my mom is here in time, I will have her teach me how to make blackberry freezer jam!  YUMMY!!!

Just a side note, if you want to do any canning, I highly recommend finding places where you can pick your own fruit.  I'm luck enough to have grandparents who have a farm that has a huge surplus of blackberries.  They have just kind of gone wild over the years.  Even if you can find a farm that will sell it to you cheap, buy from there.  I have found that in my area Farmer's markets aren't all that cheap, and not really cost effective when it comes to canning or preserving.  Also, when looking for canning jars, I highly recommend garage sales and your local thrift stores.  And when all possible, buy on sale!  This will help to keep your cost down.  Another important note, if you give these away as gifts, always make sure you get your jars back!

Happy Canning!!!!