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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Great Alaskan Playtime Book: Part 2

If you tuned in to the last Alaska Crafter article* then you already know about my crafty family and their amazing feats of craft genius. To continue the trend this week I'll reveal the last half of the Alaskan Playtime book that was created for my nephew Owl (just his nickname). Pages 6-15 are sure to thrill as much as 1-5.

Page 6-7
When Owl is not making noises of his own, he loves to make noises with everything around him. That's why a forest of trees that crinkle as the bears rumble by is right up his alley. To create crinkly trees, first cut a tree pattern out of green foliage-textured fabric. Sew two tree pieces together with the right sides together leaving the bottom open. For the crunchy interior reuse the plastic windows from security envelopes. Stuff them inside your tree and stitch up the bottom. Then, attach the tree to a forest page with a strip of furry brown fabric for the trunk.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back To School Cool

As a preteen prepping for the first day of school, my jumble of raw emotions could only focus on two things; will they get my name right, and will I be just as cool as and totally different than everyone else? With a name like Tanna, first days were both thrilling and dreaded. Perhaps this would be the year I would not make a fool of myself in loud declaration of the fact that, "My name is TAAAN - NA, not Tanya!" or maybe for once I would have the new cool Trapper-Keeper that no one else could find in town.

Unfortunately, there is never a cooler Trapper-Keeper, and I am still a jumble of raw emotions. But I have learned a few new tricks of the trade, like that Tanya is a fantastic default name, and that making your own stuff is always cooler than buying the last one on the shelf. So, if you have some wee ones who are preparing to make their way through the preteen jungle, here are a couple of projects to stall the onslaught and make them stand out in the all-too-familiar crowd.

Nickname Tags:
Depending on the "cool" factor (which I'm sure your child can determine for you) nametags for binders, notebooks, pencil cases and other school supplies might be hip or heinous. If nametags are on the outs, keep track of books and lunchboxes with nickname tags, because everyone is cooler with a secret identity.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Family and Fish!

Cap'n holds up his the first fish of the day
Cap'n is from around Detroit (yeah, like the Red Wings shirt didn't give it away) and once a year his folks roll into town and we take a little time to play Alaskan-style.  Finally, this year the sun came out for our fishing expedition and we actually caught TONS of fish!!  Nevermind that they were mostly Pinks (a little less desirable in the rankings of salmon species) so my dad was a little iffy on keeping them.
But we caught several Cohos too, so no problem!
Capn's mom caught all the big ones.
Then of course Pop's had to clean them all for us- haha, that is a skill I probably should have picked up long ago.
Cap'n had a good time. 
The Seagulls were also on the lookout for scraps.  I can't wait 'till next year now! Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Great Alaskan Playtime Book

**UPDATE** Click here to see the rest of the book . . .

Eek, I have been waiting for this article to come out so that I could post it here . . . SO COOL - Go Mom and Sis (ps, yes that is my sister's mouth spouting "Peek-A-Boo!")!!

Babies are a crafter's dream. There are so many tiny tot crafts to be made it's almost exhausting. With the arrival of my new adorable nephew, nicknamed Owl, the house has become a total craft zone. My crafty lineage (read: my mother and sister) have really topped themselves this time by designing and creating an Alaskan-themed playtime book from scratch, and lucky for us they were willing to share.

The Book
The book itself is crafted from soft fabrics sandwiched around batting layers to give it a fluffy baby-appropriate texture. Local stores provided the fodder for much of the wildlife-inspired fabrics. The seams are bound with bias tape to create a finished look on the page edges. The pages are built in spreads (this means the pages are combined together, not individually) but individual pages would work like a dream. To help yourself, draw the layout first and assemble the pages separately (just in case there is a - gasp - mistake).

Page 1
To start things off right, page 1 holds Owl's favorite activity, peek-a-boo. To craft this page, take a photo of yourself with a quintessential peek-a-boo expression - you know the one. Use printable iron-on paper to print and adhere your face to the page. Now create the hands using two layers of felt each for a bit of rigidity. Sew around the edges to bind them, and between the fingers to create the right look. Lastly, sew a small piece of hook and loop to each hand to secure them before the peek has been revealed.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I'll-Ask-A Crafter by Alaska Crafter

I'll-Ask-A Crafter is the question and answer portion of Alaska Crafter.  Write in anytime with questions to get your answers: alaskacrafter@gmail.com.

Rhubarb grows endlessly in our front yard and we are looking for new ways to use it up. Please help! - Run Over By Rhubarb

 Well, ROBR, have you tried sorbet? I stumbled upon a recipe for rhubarb sorbet this summer that could not be simpler. It requires only three ingredients that should already be on hand: sugar, water and rhubarb. Create a simple syrup by dissolving 5 oz. of sugar in 2 cups of water and then boil it for five minutes to get the right consistency. While the syrup cools, clean and chop 1 lb. of rhubarb stalks into 1-inch chunks. Heat the pieces in a saucepan with 2 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon sugar while stirring. As you bring it to a boil, the rhubarb will break down into a pulp - it's really cool. Combine the cooled syrup with the cooled rhubarb in a food processor or blender and you're ready to throw it all into an ice cream maker.

No ice cream maker? No problem! The basic principle of the ice cream maker is that the interior core (where the liquid is held) is wrapped in an outer core of rapidly melting ice and is being agitated. Huh? Okay, grab a food-safe inner core, like a quart-sized self-zipping plastic bag, or a small tin can. Put the rhubarb mixture inside and zipper the bag, or seal the can with plastic wrap and rubber bands. Now, put the smaller bag or can in a larger bag or can (like a gallon-sized bag or a coffee can). In between the two layers fill the space with ice and rock salt, often labeled as ice cream salt in the store. This will aid the ice in melting faster, which will transfer all its icey coldness into your icey treat. Believe me, it’s science. Now all you have to do is seal it up and agitate. If your using zippered bags, just squish the stuff around a bunch, refilling the ice and salt as it melts. For the can method, play a little game of kick-the-can, or maybe just roll-the-can. Either way, with a little elbow grease you’ll come up with a delicious soft-serve sorbet treat that is both simple and eco-friendly.  Yum!

I have a wedding to attend soon and I have the dress all ready but no jewelry! I’m kind of crafty and want to make a necklace that matches my dress, but don’t want it to look “homemade.” Any ideas? - Nude Neck in Need 

NNIN, “homemade” is hip, haven’t you heard? But, in all seriousness, for an important event you want to look polished and up-to-date, not sporting the dried macaroni necklace you made in third grade. Here is a super-easy necklace idea that looks chic and is in style everywhere right now.

Buy several strands of beads, and one yard of ribbon that compliments your dress color, making sure the scale of the ribbon and beads work together. Restring the beads onto beading cord and neatly tie the ends together to create a circle. Lay the circle of beads on a flat surface and pull on two opposite ends until you have a flattened oval, or a double-strand effect. Now, snip the yard of ribbon into two pieces and loop each piece into the ends of your flattened oval. Tie the ribbon pieces together behind your neck in a bow and instantly you have a beaded necklace.

For a real statement piece, fold the flattened oval in half again to create a quadruple-strand necklace. Now you have instant jewelry that can match any outfit in a flash.

This article first published here by The Juneau Empire . . .