Saturday, November 8, 2008

Some of those 'pics' I promised!

Ok..I promised to post some pictures of a few of those items that I finished lately..craft wise for the most part. SO here ya go...


First..the stitchery. I got the stitching part finished months ago it seems, but just had not framed it. I finally pulled out the box of random frames the other day and found this wooden one. It was really scratched up and not looking good at all, so I dry brushed some black paint directly on top, leaving a bit of the wood showing through in places.



Same thing goes with this jar here. I finished the stitching many moons ago but finally sat to getting the 'ufo's finished, and so here it is. No, I did not 'prim' it..I'm not sure I like that 'prim aged' look on the jars. It really holds the flour I use in the house and sits out in view all the time. I MAY sew a running stich around the top cover and fray the edges before I'm completly happy with it. The jar itself is an empty gallon pickle jar. A five pound bag of flour fits in it just perfectly.



The bottles you see in the next photo, beside the flour jar are homemade bottles of Vanilla. Yep, that's right..vanilla. I purchased the beans a while back, have kept them in an airtight container and decided to prepare some 'vanilla' extract for some Christmas gifts this year. How do you do it? Simple..get some of the best highest in 'proof' grain alcohol you can buy. (Everclear or a bottle of simple 'grain alcohol' which they do sell at the liquor stores). Toss in one or two vanilla beans (it really only takes one, but I use two..will explain why later in the post) and let the mixture sit till it turns a lovely amber/brown color. You'll have to shake it once in a while. Once the beans get 'wet through' you can pour the contents into a bowl, take each bean, split it and scrape out the insides putting it all back into the bottle and returning the alcohol to the bottle as well. It will be a stronger vanilla that way. I just started out with these bottles of vanilla a few days back and you can already see the beautiful amber color starting to come out.



Ok..now on to the 'rag quilt' that I began many moons ago too. I set myself to finish this project and I did. Mind you, I'm still 'fraying' the edges when I find one I haven't done. I will wash it one more time when I can't find any 'unfrayed edges'. It's easy to fray the edges (well..sort of) because I simply go at it when I'm covered with the gem at night while we are watching a movie. It's bold in it's colors, but I wanted something that 'stood out'. The back and matching squares on the front are a Celtic Tartan that once washed almost feels like flannel. VERY heavy and VERY warm on these cold evenings.



And finally a few of the village houses that I had the time to paint a week or so back. I buy them unpainted (ceramic bisque) and go about painting them to the colors I choose. I add shadows and such with a black paint wash, then 'age' them somewhat with a dry brush technique in white. I have about 5 more to go before I'll have enough to 'create' a village look. I still have to buy the 'lights' to put up inside them, but those are easily gotten. I forgot to put something next to the houses so you could see their size, but the house is about 5'' high at it's tallest point, and about 6-6 1/2'' in length. I love painting these little guys and at one time had a full village with the train to go round them. Since I lost those in a house fire several years back, I'm beginning to remake my village. (I've got grandkids coming along ya know!) This isnt' the best of pictures, but as I paint more of them I'll try to get more pictures posted of the whole village as I go along.
Now, to why I use two vanilla beans per bottle of alcohol. When the bean has been split and scraped, putting all the goodness back into the alcohol (bean, scrapings and all) it makes the vanilla stronger and darker. Once I get it to that point, I can split what I have..doubling my amount. Here's how: Buy another bottle of alcohol and get an extra empty bottle out. Pour 1/2 of the 'extract' already made into the empty bottle, adding 1 of the beans in the current bottle to the new bottle. Fill up both bottles with the new alcohol you just bought, cap, shake and wait another two weeks. You've doubled your amount with 2 vanilla beans. When each bottle gets to about 1/2 empty, simply add more alcohol and wait a little bit and you'll have vanilla again. You can do this several times before the vanilla bean finally 'gives up the ghost'. Keep it stored right (cool dark), you'll just about have a never ending supply of vanilla...or some for gift giving! :)
Well, I hope you've enjoyed seeing the 'UFO's finished up as much as *I* have! WHEW..it's good to feel a sense of 'finished' accomplishment when you can finally end a project that you have put off completing!


So, what are all YOUR Ufo's??


Enjoy the Holidays!!

Sage (The Hedgewife)

1 comment:

A Gracious Home said...

Everything is beautiful here. The quilt is fantastic. Keep up the good work. Doylene