1/31/2012

DIY: Kindle cover from a book

I am one of those lucky people that got a Kindle for Christmas this year. I love to read. While I was initially skeptical I am digging it now. You see, I like the tactile experience of reading a book. I like to hold it in my hands, feel the paper beneath my fingers. I do not baby my books. They get tossed in my purse, trampled by a kid, and *gasp* I dog ear my pages. My books are loved. They are handled. I like the smell of the ink and the paper. I love book cloth. I prefer to buy them used or swapped through paperbackswap.com. So when these digital readers came out, I was all "No way! That is not for me." I lied to myself. It is fantastical. Books at your fingertips. You can sample a chapter to see if you might be interested. I love it. I will still buy my beloved second hand books but I am in love with my Kindle.

I have been carrying it around in its box.

Isn't that sad. I just can't throw down the kind of money they are asking for those covers though, despite that I was given a Amazon gift card for that exact purpose. Instead, I bought an immersion blender and made my own Kindle cover out "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban".

A pocket with a snap for storage.
All made with black and purple felt.
A button with an elastic closure.

Elastic to hold it for reading.
Marvelous!

I decided to make one for my friend for her birthday this week.
I used the cover of Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer! What 31 year old woman wouldn't love a Twilight Series Kindle cover for her birthday? (Don't answer that.)







Inspiration here and here.

Here is how I got started:
Now don't feel bad for my tearing apart books. I bought this as an extra copy at a garage sale for a quarter. It had been defaced and was missing its dust jacket. I have a tendency to buy cheap second hand copies of my favorite books to give to people. I like to share the love, people.
Yup, that says Harry Pothead.
They even went through the trouble of printing out a proper label.
I am guessing that the signed owner of the book was the culprit. If you know this person give them a stern talking to about the respect of not only books but especially Harry Potter books.
STEP 1)
Using scissors or a sharp knife cut the paper in the inside along the spine on the front and the back. This might be all you have to do. For the Twilight book, it was glued in too so I had to man handle it a bit to get it free.
STEP 2: The books are too wide for the Kindle. I shortened it by using hot glue and pressing the spine together a bit to shorten it.
Like so.

LINING:
(I didn't take anymore pictures because I wasn't sure how it was going to go. I was nervous. Plus with hot glue you have to move fast there isn't time to stop take a pic and go.)

Now for the inside I laid out felt and used my rotary cutter to get it to size. Cut out a pocket. Sew on a tab for the snap. Sew on the snaps by hand. Sew the pocket onto the inner panel. Lay out your Kindle to measure for elastic. Cut elastic and snip holes in the felt for the elastic. Inserted elastic and secure the elastic to the felt with hot glue. Secure the closure elastic with hot glue. Using a nail and hammer poke holes in to the cover. Snip a paper clip apart thread onto button and insert the wire through the holes in the cover then spread them apart like a brad. To attach liner to book carefully and quickly (hot glue sets fast!) go around the edge and worked from left to right also dobbing glue across as you go through the middle of the book. Press carefully as you go to smooth out bumps. Add more glue as needed. I went through like 10 glue sticks.

Hope you love it!
(and don't tell her about the bday gift, okay?)
Love,
B

Recipe: No Knead Bread

I made my very first loaf of bread yesterday. I think it is what is normally referred to as a "country loaf". I think that means it isn't pretty. I think it is pretty. It was actually way easier than what I expected. To be honest, I thought it was going to be a complete disaster even while it was baking in the oven. I found this and this through Pinterest and followed their recipes.HOW TO ACTIVATE YEAST:
The only difference is that I used active dry yeast instead of instant yeast. Which means I had to activate my yeast in warm water and feed it sugar. It is like sea monkeys or something. I used a small bowl, got out the candy thermometer and temped my water coming out of the tap until rested nicely right under the 100 degree mark. I guess at 110 these little boogers fry and become useless. I put about 2 tablespoons of water in the bowl, added a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of yeast, gently stirring. Then I added 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. I warmed a cloth napkin with water and draped it around the top of the bowl for 10 minutes. When I removed the napkin is was all foamy! Yay! I didn't kill the yeast! To add to the recipe just subtract the amount of liquid you used to activate the yeast from the recipe.
The thing about no knead bread is that you have to let it sit over night. Something about fermentation. I set it next to the heating vent all night. When I got up the next morning it was all poofy and bubbly. I baked it in my dutch oven. It came out all crusty and delicious. Like I have been doing this for years. It was perfect. We ate it with my home made butter while it was still warm!

I think I should have been born in another era. Maybe I am supposed to help lead the revolution back to a simpler time where we live from the land, grow our own food and make our own bread. That sounds like a lot of responsibility, so maybe not but you should try this no-kneading bread. Your home will smell wonderful and you will beam with pride when you turn out your beautiful loaf onto a rack. You will feed your family something you made from three simple ingredients. Bliss.

1/27/2012

DIY: Make your own foam soap!


I have been making my own foam soap refills for years. I prefer foam soap but it runs out so quickly. I came up with this easy solution that only uses 3 table spoons of regular hand soap. That is super cheap. I big jug of liquid hand soap will last our family a whole year. Sometimes I use the non-moisturizing body washes to make the refill. Then you can have a pretty scent just like Bath and Body Works foamy soap for a fraction of the price. If you use the moisturizing kind it can clog up your dispenser.

What you need:
-empty foam dispenser
-regular liquid soap refill or body wash of choice
-table spoon (I couldn't find my actual table spoon measuring spoon so I just used the big spoon out of the drawer
-Sharpie
-3/4 cup water

measure out 3 Tbs of liquid soap and put it in the dispenser

mark a line with a Sharpie so next time you go to make it you don't have to measure it!

gently add 3/4 cup water and mark it again. You don't want to fill it too full because when you put the pump in the water level will rise. Gently shake.

and done. Foamy soap!

1/26/2012

Preparing for the craft mall

In about a week, I will be sharing space at a craft mall called Nickerbob's with a couple talented ladies. It is a great location off the I-55 about fifteen minutes south of Springfield, IL. I went there a while back to see if there were any competition for the type of things I make. Not really. There were some crocheted items but nothing like what I make. So I am hopeful it I will do well there.

I haven't been making much to get prepared for this but I do have a lot already made. The wind is little out of my sails right now. Sales were pretty awful this year. This craft mall opportunity is sort of my last effort as far as selling anything. Since I truly enjoy making things and want to continue making things I really want it to do well.

I have been trying to plan a display set up in my head but I won't know until I get there unless it will work or not. I struggle with the proper way to display scarves and hats. I don't want to lay them out on a table. How do you make people understand what a circle scarf is if you aren't there to demonstrate it?

I am to the point in TaaDaa that I feel like it isn't fun anymore. I don't have the encouragement of sales to keep me going. I told myself that I would give a three month hard try on the etsy shop and if nothing happened I would move on. January marks that end. So the etsy shop is coming down as of January 31st.

I am fighting a bout of uncreativness every since Christmas. I have list of unfinished projects that are looming at me. I have two graphic clients that need attention but my ongoing funk leaves me staring at a blank computer screen or a jumble of unrealized ideas. I need to clear out my brain and get back my mojo. My confidence is low because I have spent too much time comparing myself to others. I feel mediocre in everything I do.

{via}
I have to stop letting my joy go. I need to be excited for this new opportunity. I am trying and if it doesn't go over, well, it is time to move on.

1/24/2012

Recipe: Make your own butter!



Making your own butter it actually really easy. You can make it with a mixer or a jar with a couple marbles thrown in and share the fun with the kiddos.

I am getting more and more disgusted about all the processed foods that we feed our families. Someone once told me that the ingredients to make fake butter (or margarine) were one ingredient shy of being plastic.

I don't know if that is true but one look at the ingredients list proves I have no idea what I am eating or feeding my family for that matter.

Honestly, I would rather eat a few more calories than ingest something I cannot pronounce. Especially, since we use very little butter on things anyway.I bought 1 pint of heavy whipping cream.

To be fair, here is the list of ingredients on the whipping cream.
I poured it into my mixing bowl.
I whipped it on high until it turned into whipped cream. Add a little sugar and you don't need to buy the stuff filled with oil to put on your pumpkin pie anymore either.
Whip some more until it begins to look a little bit separated.
Then, all of a sudden, when your back is turned, you will have butter! (Well, that is what happened to me.)
Wipe your beater clean with clean hands, squeezing out the extra butter milk.
I had prepared a little ice water that I could dunk it in if I thought it was getting melty while I kneaded out the buttermilk
Place on a clean tea towel
You will have some buttermilk left in your bowl that you can use for something else. Pancakes perhaps?
wrap it up to absorb the remaining buttermilk.Mmmmm fresh home made butter.
Sprinkle in a bit of salt and mix it up. Give it a taste.

Or make some toast!