Friday, February 13, 2009

The Gift Basket

This is a basket I made in the late 70's. It is based on a Native American gift basket used for weddings and other special occasions where a gift was given. There are three openings around the sides where small gifts could be tucked inside.

Not only does it have a long history of tradition, it has quite a personal history also. I didn't have the rope called for so as is usual with me, I winged it and used some jute I had left from a macrame project. While it resulted in the right proportions of size, it wasn't as stiff as it should have been. It was saggy! The saggy, baggy basket... This is one reason why it has a special personal history.

When I first made it, it had cowrie shells around the top with a fringe of shackle feathers below them and a string of small shells hanging in each opening and was the natural color of the jute. I thought it was pretty cool but I admit it was rather unusual.

It wasn't long after I made it that it had settled down to about a third of the original height... and the openings gaped wide, it looked horrid! The first thing I tried as a remedy was spray starch. It worked fairly well as long as the basket wasn't handled very much but that just didn't happen... I had some pretty ornery friends back in those days, they teased me a lot about my strange "creations"... I found the basket sitting upside down every now and then. It didn't really hurt it except to break the starch. I kept trying stronger cures...I mixed up a strong batch of liquid starch, the kind you have to boil, and soaked the sides of the basket in it for a couple of days... worked for awhile. Finally I used a long, stiff brush and painted the inside with glue.

The only problem with that was that you could see the dried glue on the inside of the neck. As will happen with me, one thing led to another and the picture above is the current version of the gift basket. It's pretty damn stiff now!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm sooo bad...

It's been since forever...I didn't have access to the internet for several months and then when I finally did, I kept putting this off. Guilty feelings, you know? Not sure how to pick up the pieces again, just jump in or try to explain. I even thought I should wipe this and start over but was advised against that by a good friend, Joni, at Etsy. Not sure why...there's not much here to be sure. But this is the hardest step, the first one, and now that I've done it I will have no excuses... Oh yeah, the above necklace can be found at my eCrater shop, feathersnsuch, along with other handmade creations and vintage treasures! Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Most Awesome Chocolate Cake, I Can't Believe I'm Sharing This!

Just don't tell anyone how easy this is! It is an extremely moist cake that will still be great a week later. I live alone so I know it's still good after that long, those of you with more in your household will probably never find out!

Chocolate Chip Cake

1 2-layer pkg yellow butter cake mix
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream (the natural kind like Daisy is best)
1 4-oz pkg chocolate instant pudding mix
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup corn oil
1 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Combine eggs, sour cream, water and oil in large bowl, mix with electric mixer until combined. Add cake mix and pudding mix and mix until smooth, scraping sides and bottom of bowl as you go. With spatula, mix in chocolate chips and pecans. Pour into greased and floured Bundt pan (I use that spray that has flour in it). If you will bang the pan on the counter a few times it will get the big air bubbles out. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then invert onto wire rack to cool completely.

That's the basic recipe, now here is the awesome factor: you can substitute other flavors of cake mix, pudding and/or chips. I've used a fudge cake mix (still a butter recipe type) with semi-sweet chips and chocolate pudding to produce the most decadent, chocolatey cake ever. I've skipped the nuts and used a mixture of milk chocolate and white chocolate chips. One time I added those chips that are crushed Heath or Skor bars. Basically, whatever combination of butter recipe cake mix and instant pudding sounds good to you and then a complimentary nut and/or chip. I'm thinking next time I'll use Reese's chips and milk chocolate pudding, or maybe some of the miniature Reece's.

Most of the time I don't frost this or I just dust it with powdered sugar. If you just don't think a cake is finished without something extra, here is an easy glaze you can drizzle over the cake.

Chocolate Glaze

2 Tbl real butter
6 Tbl unsweetened chocolate (2 oz)
4 Tbl water

Microwave at 50% power until butter melts, about 1 1/2 minutes. Whisk until smooth.

2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Add and whisk until smooth. I usually use the back of a large spoon against the side of the bowl to get it mixed up really well.

This cake makes one of the better bribes I've found to date for the least amount of effort on my part! Since I've found this recipe and started making different variations of it, I haven't used any other recipe. It's just too awesome!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Vintage Toothbrush Holder

Vintage Toothbrush Holder
Originally uploaded by girleddy

I was thinking of listing this but haven't had any luck in researching it. It has 217 as the only marking on the bottom. The green stripe was part of the glaze and the flower motif appears to be a transfer. From the shape of it I'm thinking it is either Art Deco or Art Nouveau but haven't been able to find anything similar on any of the sites I normally use for researching. If anyone knows, I would appreciate the help!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dionne Quint Spoons

Dionne Quint Spoons
Originally uploaded by girleddy

My mom bought a box of things at an auction "blind" many years ago for a few dollars. This set of spoons was in the bottom of the box, unknown to all! I was pretty young at the time and of course just had to have them, thankfully I was rather spoiled! I remember going through the box while still at the auction and discovering the spoons. A local antique dealer happened to see them and offered mom $50 for them but she had already said that I could have them so she didn't sell them. This must have been hard for her as we were kinda poor and that was probably 3 or 4 weeks worth of grocery money back then. But she had already said I could have them and would never have taken them back. She asked me if I wanted to sell them (it would have been my money) but of course I didn't, they were too much like dolls to me! My mom was so great.

By the way, in case you didn't know, the spoons are the Dionne Quints. The Dionne quintuplets, born on May 28, 1934, were the first fraternal quintuplets known to survive their infancy. The sisters were born just outside Callander, Ontario, Canada in the village of Corbeil.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

smiley face mugs
Originally uploaded by girleddy

I was tagged yesterday by Christina of She's a happy, friendly sort so I thought the smiley mugs were appropriate! The photo is all I'll have left after today as they were purchased from my Etsy shop and now I have to figure out how to package them so that they will make it to L.A. all in one piece.

As part of being tagged I have to list 5 of my many quirks...that should be so easy! Well, here goes...
1. Should be obvious! I'm a such a pack rat! I will have to live to be 250 to be able to get everything done with all the craft supplies I've stashed away!
2. As soon as I come home, first the shoes come off and then the bra, I believe in being comfortable at home!
3. I've had a cat for almost a year that I don't like, now I'm not mean to her and she eats better than I do...I just don't love her like I have all the other cats I've had over the years. I'll pet her and let her sit by me on the sofa but I just can't help but not like her, not sure why...I'm a Leo and have always had an easy time with cats, even friends cats that "don't like anyone else" always like me. I adopted her when she was about 2 yrs old so maybe that's part of it, she was very spoiled and demanding right from the beginning and she tried to bite me every time I got near her for the first month or so. And it bothers me that I can't bring myself to take her to the animal shelter. Want a cat?
4. I live alone so I very seldom make real meals, I just eat whatever, whenever. I don't buy much junk food, just chips once in awhile, so it's not as unhealthy as it sounds. I think the term is a "grazer" but I don't care for that label much, I'm not a cow!
5. I'm one of those people that appears to be out-going and out-spoken but inside I'm a real shy person that has forced myself into anything public.

I have tagged Sandra, a friend at Etsy Vintage, and I'll find four more today...

Shadow Box

shadow box
Originally uploaded by girleddy
This was a gift I made for my mom when I was in high school! And if you look closely in the upper left corner, the Betsey Clark cut-out will date me! Most of the items in the shadow box had a special meaning between me and Mom, even the flowered fabric was what we used when she helped me make a jeans skirt. I see the skirts made out of a pair of jeans nowadays and have to smile...the only difference is about 30years!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

White Shell Planter

White Shell Planter
Originally uploaded by girleddy
I've added quite a bit of vintage to my Etsy shop in the last couple of weeks. This ceramic shell is an example. My computer desk is right beside my aquarium stand and I have several large shells sitting on the ledge in front of the top tank. Thus, I sat this on my desk and had it filled with pens. It seemed to tie it all together.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I Should Have Been a Librarian....

I just realized today that there are books for sale on Etsy. Now this could help solve a big problem I'm having. See, my daughter in Portland, Oregon wants me to move there, something like 1400 miles away! Nothing much left to keep me in Kansas, folks are gone and my son in Kansas City is planning on moving to Washington (the state) in the near future. So I'm all for it EXCEPT that I have so many "treasures" and I just can't afford to move all of them. Books are heavy and if there's a market for them they would be a good thing to weed out.

So most of the afternoon I spent on, checking out the going prices on some books. I have probably close to 300 cookbooks and maybe 100 craft books and this isn't counting paperbacks. I pulled a pretty big stack out of this one bookcase and set it on the floor beside my computer desk and started going through them, putting the ones that I was going to list in one pile and the ones I couldn't part with in another. Well, one pile ended up pretty big and the other not so much. Guess which way it went? Yeah, out of about 30 books I had weeded out 5! Plus I kept getting sidetracked looking through the books, finding recipes I wanted to try and getting pretty hungry in the process.

I wasn't making much progress with the cookbooks so I went and got an armful of craft books from my work room. I picked the ones that were mostly sewing thinking I'd be better at getting rid of them as I'm not that crazy about sewing. Hell, I've glued hems up before and the last time I actually cut out a pattern and made something to wear was a jester costume for Halloween and that was probably 20 years ago!

I did a lot better this time but it was hard, really hard to give up my dreams of the patchwork quilt I've planned to make for the last 30 years, the applique wall hanging that's so outdated that it's back in style again and....on and on....

I know I'll be able to find whatever I want on the internet but it won't be the same to me. There's just something about holding an oversized book on my lap and flipping through the pages, the beautiful photographs catching my eye on the way by, going back and finding the page and then sticking a scrap of paper in the pages of the ones that I'll make "someday". And it doesn't really bother me that there are so many that I'd never have the time to get to all of them if I lived to be 200 years old. It's the same kind of feeling that I get looking through all of the seed catalogs in the middle of winter, if I actually ever bought and planted all that I want in those catalogs I'd have to be living on a farm, a big farm. It's all about possibilities.

I'll go back to "weeding" tomorrow. Maybe it will get easier the more I do it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Crafting Supplies on the Cheap

Like most crafters, I like to find the least expensive (cheap!) way to support my habit. It gets pretty costly, as you all know, to feed the itch to "create". One way I help keep the cost down is to look for supplies in places that aren't commonly known for having crafting supplies. One of those just happens to be the fishing aisle at a certain discount store.

The other day I was wanting to make some braided necklaces and the only cording I had was either too thin or way too thick. So off I went to WallyWorld, thinking I could find some black twine in their hardwares section. I was having trouble finding where their rope was, go figure!, it's never the same place twice! So I found an actual employee (woo hoo!) and asked if she knew where they had twine. She happened to be the person that worked the sporting goods section and took me right to a display set up for catfishing. I was only wanting black cord to begin with but once I saw the pink and yellow, well, they'll go together soooo well! Plus the ball of neutral color will work well for another project I've had in mind.

The rolls of colored twine are 260 ft. of #18 twisted nylon and the ball of neutral is 180 ft. of #48 cotton/polyester. All of them were $1.97 each! Pretty good price, I thought. While I mostly use hemp cord because I like the natural aspect of it, a roll of it similar to the ball of cotton/polyester is close to $5.00. Besides, I really think the neon colors are so cool! But that may just be the retro coming out in me....
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