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Posts Tagged ‘easy’

Books and Materials

These pretty little handmade notebooks are made with collage paper, newsprint, embroidery floss, and greeting cards.  You can use blank greeting cards or used cards to make your notebook covers, giving you a great way to re-use your latest pile of birthday or holiday greetings.

First, take your greeting card and your collage paper and plot out how you’d like to arrange the paper.  Try to cover every bit of the card.  If you’re using a used greeting card as your base, make sure that the paper you are using to cover the card is thick enough to hide any pictures or text.  They will look fugly when they show through.

Scheming the Fold

Next, use your favorite paper glue to cover every bit of the card with your collage paper.  I use a glue stick, since I find school glue or mod podge gets my paper too wet (then it warps!).

Glue Time

Carefully trim the cover after it has dried to make sure all of your edges are even.

Snip Snip Snip

Measure your card, then cut 15 – 20 rectangles of blank newsprint in a slighty smaller size than your card.  I would suggest going at least 1/2 inch smaller on all sides.  You can cut these by hand, but if you have a real paper cutter, it will make your pages come out much more evenly.  As you can probably tell, mine were hand cut.

Fold your pages in half and place them inside your cover.

Using your favorite punching tool, poke holes through the center fold of your pages and cover simultaneously.  I’m crazy, so I use a dremel with a drill bit.  I’ve seen folks use awls, heavy duty paper punches, and a huge variety of other things to poke these holes.  Just choose your favorite and go for it.  Just make sure your holes are all lined up nicely, or stitching it will be a huge pain, maybe even impossible.

Holy Moly

Now take some string and thread it onto a nice big sewing needle.  A tapestry needle would be ideal.  I used embroidery floss to bind my notebooks, but you can use any kind of sturdy thread or string.  Some good ideas would be twine, hemp, or very strong yarn.

Stitch through the holes in the book in one direction, like so:

Stitch Stitch Stitch

Then, turn around and stitch in the other direction.  While you are going this direction, slip your needle through the next stitch over every chance you get, this will make each stitch more even and secure.  See what I mean?

A Close Look at the Stitching

Tie a knot when you get back to the beginning.

Tying the Knot

Fold the notebook back down.  It won’t want to stay closed very much, so you should press it under something really heavy for a few hours, or maybe even overnight.

All finished!

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During a move a couple of years back I found myself packing up hundreds and hundreds of CD cases.  The numbers were staggering, but their sheer volume, once in front of my face, was hard to handle.  After I’d filled a box (or three) I started to doubt the sanity of packing and moving the insane collection into my new home.  So, I decided to toss the cases.  One by one, I packed my discs into humongous CD binders.  In no time I had condensed the size of my music collection by 3/4.   Though I was relieved to see my burden shrunk, I felt a pang of sadness at letting go of the cases for all of my favorite albums.  How many countless hours had I spent pouring over each and every one of those liner notes?  I knew and loved each one.  How could I just chuck them into the garbage bin?  Being crafty, my mind fashioned a strange compromise.  I pulled the liner notes from the CD cases and stashed them away in a plastic bag in anticipation for the day that I figured out how to make something creative with them.

I used the stash as a sort of paper buffet for some time.  I used the pictures and text inside the liner notes to make buttons, magnets, and collages, but it wasn’t until much later that I came up with the greatest use for my old CD books ever, the Album Bouquet!  One day I got my hands on a flower shaped paper punch, some beads, and a spool of floral wire and it all came together.  Here’s what I made:

RadioHead: Kid A

The Misfits: Static Age

PJ Harvey: Is This Desire?

Here’s how you make them.

You’ll need:

  • CD Liner Notes
  • A Flower Shaped Paper Punch
  • A Mini Hole Punch (1/8 inch)
  • Floral Wire
  • Medium Sized Seed Beads
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Floral Tape

Directions:

  • Start by carefully removing the cover of the album and setting it aside.  This will be used as the vase, or wrapper for your bouquet.
  • Cut the remainder of the liner into strips that are just a little wider than your flower shaped punch.
  • Punch as many flowers as you can from the liner, then put them together into pairs of two.
  • Now punch two tiny holes into the middle of each pair of  flowers using your 1/8 inch hole punch.
  • Cut several 5 inch lengths of floral wire.
  • Line up a pair of flowers so that the holes in the middle align, then carefully thread a piece of wire through one of the holes.
  • Slip a bead onto the wire, then thread about 1 inch of the wire through the other hole in the flower so that the two ends of the wire are underneath the flower.  Carefully twist the two ends together.
  • Repeat the last two steps until you have tons of flowers.
  • Arrange the flowers into a pretty bunch, then secure the stems together using floral tape.
  • Roll the album cover into a cone and secure it from the inside with a piece of double sided tape.  Curl the edges on the outside cover down a little to make it extra pretty.
  • Place your bouquet of flowers into the wrapper and present it to your favorite music lover.

If you are wondering what to do with the empty jewel cases themselves, you will be happy to learn that they can be recycled.  However, your local recycling center is unlikely to take them, as they are made of a material that is notoriously difficult to recycle.  But fear not, the internet has come to the rescue.  Visit GreenDisk.com to learn how you can have your cases ethically disposed of.   Or, if you are feeling crafty,  check out the Top 14 Ways to Reuse Unwanted Jewel Cases.  Yet another option is to call up your local used CD store to see if they’d like to take your cases.  Second hand music stores are often in need of extra jewel cases, so your local shop may be happy to take them off your hands.

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These sweet treats are made with regular, household cotton balls, simple craft supplies, and just a dash of imagination.  Kids will love piecing together these adorable play foods.  For this project you’ll need: large cotton balls, school glue, brown and black construction paper, small pom poms, small candy cups, and markers.

Cotton Cookies, Ice Cream Cone, and Cupcakes

To make creme filled cookies, start by cutting some shapes out of construction paper.  Cut two 3 to 4 inch circles out of brown paper, then two more out of black paper.   With a brown marker, draw chocolate chips onto the brown circles.  Using a white marker or a white crayon decorate the black circles to resemble a chocolate cookie.  Take two cotton balls and gently pull them in every direction.  Try not to pull them completely apart.  Instead, try to just stretch each cotton ball into a wide, flat circle.  On the wrong side of each paper cookie, spread school glue evenly.  Sandwich the cotton ball circles in between two paper cookies and gently press them together.

Next, try making some cotton ball cupcakes.  Start with a candy cup, or small cupcake wrapper.  Coat the inside of the cup with school glue, then drop a cotton ball inside.  To make your cupcakes look more realistic, try shaping them into a ball first.  Top each cupcake with a small pom pom and a drop of glue.

Another faux food you can create using cotton balls is ice cream!  Begin by cutting a 4 inch square from construction paper.  Carefully trim one half of the square into a round edge.  Using a brown marker, draw criss-crossing diagonal lines across the paper to make the paper resemble a waffle cone.  Now roll the square into a cone shape and secure it with glue.  Next, grab a cotton ball and carefully pull the cotton up from its middle.  Twist the cotton gently to give it a swirled look.  This step may take a little practice.  Once your ice cream is ready, use glue to secure your ice cream inside the cone.

Make sure you allow your cotton ball crafts to dry completely before playing with them.

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Leftovers are a challenge that require some cunning to overcome. Without a dash of daring, a tad of spice, or a bit of flair, your leftover meat bits can leave you unfulfilled. They dry out, they lose flavor, they just plain suck it up. After my Mom whipped up a Rump Roast that would make angels cry it seemed a shame to reheat the once perfectly cooked meat and eat it in the same way. My answer? Curry! Who doesn’t like curry, anyway? By stewing the meat in this creamy curry stew/sauce it remained juicy and tender. Best of all, noone suffered from Dejavu when it came round for its second show.  This basic curry sauce can also be used to create first round meat dishes, and vegetarian or seafood based curries.  Just quick cook any meat or fish on the side, then add it when I mention adding the “meat”.  If you are looking for some other veggies that get along with curry, try cauliflower, asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, or black beans.  One of my favorite vegetarian additions to curry is tempeh.  Chop it into bite sized rectangles, fry it in a little hot peanut oil, and sprinkle it with a dash of soy sauce. Your curry will love it!

Ingredients

  • 1 Yellow Onion (Thin Scliced)
  • 4 tbsp. Butter (Salted)
  • 2 tbsp. Curry Power
  • 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 2 Cloves Grated Garlic
  • 2 Knobs Minced Ginger
  • 2 Knobs Grated Ginger
  • 2 – 4 Dried Chinese Hot Peppers (X’ian Peppers) cut into thirds – Optional
  • 2 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 2 tbsp. Wondra
  • Leftover Meat (I used 1 lb. Rump Roast, chopped into bite size pieces)
  • Leftover Veggies (I used 1 cup peas)
  • Fresh Veggies (I used one sweet potato, diced)

Directions

  1. Whisk together Coconut Milk and Vegetable Broth in a microwave safe bowl, then warm in the microwave for 45 – 60 seconds. Set aside.
  2. In a deep skillet, combine butter, onion, minced garlic and ginger.  Saute over medium heat until the onions have browned.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high, and begin slowly adding wondra, teaspoon at a time, along with small amounts of the Coconut Milk/Veg Broth mixture.  Mix constantly to create a smooth texture.  Continue adding liquid until the mixture is uniform in texture.
  4. Add any meat or seafood followed by any fresh veggies and the grated garlic and ginger.  If you are adding hot peppers, now is the time.  Try to remember how many pieces of hot pepper you’ve added so that you can remove them at the end.
  5. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.  Once it is boiling strong, reduce the heat and leave the curry to simmer for the next 10 – 15 minutes.  While the mixture simmers, stir occasionally, keeping an eye on the texture of the sauce and any fresh vegetables you have added. You don’t want the sauce to burn, or for your veggies to become overcooked.
  6. When your veggies are tender and the sauce has reduced a bit, give the curry a taste and add any salt or other spices you think it might need.  Carefully remove any hot peppers you have added. (Chopsticks work well for this step.) Then add any leftover or pre-cooked veggies that you like.  If you are adding any tempeh or tofu you can do so now.  Let everything new warm up, then remove from heat and serve along with rice or egg noodles.

I would have included a photo, but curry just isn’t that good looking. Tasty though, quite tasty.

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