Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Button cookies

I came across these in a holiday craft idea book at the library.  It seems many people of the internets have made them, but I figure my attempt won't hurt anything.

I used a boxed mix.  The mix was purchased before I got the idea to make these, in a fit of "I am tired and have been ogling this $1.00 forever."

Here is the end result.

This is an individual cookie.

And here are many more cookies, fresh from the oven.  The nice thing about the outer ring is that it gets brown first, which provides a warning that the cookies are almost done.

And of course cookies go great with...more cookies.

I think they look lovely all piled up together.  If I had frosting I would thread the holes.

These are the well-done cookies.  I like burnt things, so I happily ate them after the pictures were done.

In this picture are the tools I used to decorate.  Two biscuit cutters from a set of graduated sizes.  I picked one that would make decent sized cookies, then took one that was just a size smaller.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Miceli's cheese

First, background on vegetarian/kosher cheese:

If you eat kosher food or vegetarian food but like cheese, you are probably aware that buying it is a daunting research project.  Cheese companies do not often label whether or not their cheeses are vegetarian or not.  There are also companies who will label some cheeses but not all.

The reason cheese is not always vegetarian is because of a product called rennet.  This originally came from the stomach of calves, which has a certain bacteria that adult cows lacked.  This bacteria allows the calves to break down their mother's milk.  Nowadays the bacteria itself can be made in a lab or with plants of some sort (I am not sure on the process, sorry!) and there is no taste difference.  Seriously, if the cheese isn't labeled, there isn't any way to tell the difference.

The bacterial ingredient in cheese is listed as either 'enzymes' or rennet.  If a manufacturer wants to denote whether the bacteria are non-animal, they can put microbial enzymes or microbial rennet on the label.  If a label has a kosher symbol, that also denotes vegetarian friendly cheese, because Jewish dietary restrictions insist on no mixing of meat and dairy.  If there is nothing on the label, the manufacturer usually has a 1-800 number that can be called.  Unfortunately, many employees have no idea about the rennet and are surprised by the question.

Now the story:

I received two balls of Miceli's mozzarella cheese.  Balls of mozzarella are exciting and round and delicious.  I loves me some mozzarella.  These mozzarellas were not labeled, however, so I found the number for the manufacturer and called them.  The person who answered the phone was friendly and courteous, but couldn't answer my question when I asked what type of rennet they used.  I expected to have to give the cheese away, but then she said she'd put me on the line with Mr. Miceli.

I got to talk to a person at the head of the company!  He said he would have to call me back about it after asking some other people in his company.  And he called back!  And it was microbial rennet!  Yay!

In short, I think Miceli's is an awesome company.  I only wish that I had more reasons to call.  Because that was just cool.  Also, I may start a cheese crusade, calling companies and asking them to label whether their cheese is vegetarian friendly or not.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Update on those candles

After some discussion with roommates, I added some girth to those candles.  They have a different flicker than store bought ones, but they work very nicely.  The flames are really high, but they don't seem to burn faster than normal candles.

I also experimented with flax string as a wick, and also have made red candles using leftover wax and pillar candles that no longer function.  I like them.

Home-made drill

This one isn't completely done, but I was uploading pictures to sell some things anyway, so I figured I'd make a post.

I read several books and watched films about making knives, and decided to try the simple method of gluing two blocks of wood together around a blade.  There is definitely a big gap in there (You should be able to see part of the metal through the slit.  If I had a clamp, I could have smooshed the wood close together, but all I had was string.  There is an effective way of clamping things with string and another piece of wood, but unfortunately I've forgotten exactly how to do that.  i'll have to experiment in the future.  This tool works well enough that I'm not going to bother.

I will be wrapping some flax fiber thread around it, because I am worried about its long term stability.  However, this thing does actually work!  I am amazied that it fits together as well as it does, because I had to saw it in half while holding onto it.  Yay for having no clamps or vice grips...or work table.  I made this thing while sitting on the couch.

Since I am no smith and don't have the tools to do a lot of metal-working, I just sanded this drill bit into the shape I wanted.  It was originally a rectangular thing with a circle on the end that came with a multi-tool, and I have no idea what it is meant for.  Since I had no use for it, I decided to modify it for this.  Yay!

Later I'll take some pictures of the finished thing and the holes I've drilled with this.  Haven't drilled all the way through anything yet (And with as small as the drill is, I can't drill through very long things), but I have made holes on the end of some wands.  Wands which I also need to take pictures of.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Join the FBI and shoot a car!

I have been in search of a second job, so nothing too crafty right now.  (Though I do have a homemade drill that I will be posting pictures of soon.)

However, I came across this and wanted to share it with you all.

So apparently if you join the FB, you can get a weird futuristic car (Because the FBI always draws attention to itself.) and you can shoot it as well.  I love the range of ages allowed too.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Frolicking with the Parasol

The roommates and I got a chance to go outside and play with the parasol, after which we took the cat out for some play time.  (This project is for the Handmade Artists Forum shirt revamp, which can be found here - http://handmadeartistsforum.com/forum/index.php/topic,3942.0.html)

First, here is a size comparison with a human:

Second, here in Washington, we worry about whether it will be sunny, rather than whether it will rain.

Next, a failed attempt to look up at the pocket inside the parasol.


It is so easy to look elegant when you have a froofy thing over your head.

Finished shirt revamp!

I have finished my shirt revamp project, for this contest: http://handmadeartistsforum.com/forum/index.php/topic,3942.0.html  Not sure what I thin of the results.  I'll have to look at them in a few more months to decide.

First, the shirt:

I chose this shirt because it had interesting lines which I thought I might be able to use.

Now, the finished parasol:

I found it hard to take a picture because I had no one to model it and an arm that was too short to hold the camera away.  The frame, including the pole, is made of wire.  The ribbon is wire-edged ribbon, which gives it a nice shape.

Here is a close-up to prove that yes, it was a shirt.

I left the other pocket whole and sewed it against the frame.  That way I could put some valuables in it if I take this thing outside. (Not likely, as my town has very little sunshine.)

Here is what the underside looks like.  I took metal wire that had been coiled a long time, snipped off a few loops, and then tied them together with yarn.  The fabric cover was sewn against the metal loops after it was finished.