It’s not the Boots, it’s the Booty

Working the ren faire is still so much fun!  Everyday I can’t believe I’m there achieving my high school fantasy of selling hats at KRF.  The first time I went to the faire was with my first real boyfriend.  He bought me a rose and a pewter heart necklace and I was completely enamored with the place.  Though that love didn’t last very long, my love of renaissance festivals has only increased.  Every fall I would beg my parents to take me to the faire until I could finally drive myself.  Then I would drag my siblings and friends along with me, wearing various outfits that I concocted from Mom’s leftover material stash.  One day I tried on a fabulous muffin cap made by one of the artisans at the faire and I was in love all over again, this time with hats.

Fast forward a few years to college.  In school I took a couple of costume theater courses, and loved every minute of them.  I had to petition the college of engineering to count them as electives since I don’t think an engineer had ever taken a costume class before.  I only intended to take the prerequisite costume construction course so I could take the millinery course they offered the next semester. Disappointingly, the millinery course ended up conflicting with one of my major courses, so ironically that was the only costume class I didn’t get to take.  And boy have I used so much that I learned in the other courses.  Eventually I started drafting hat patterns for my costumes, friends’ costumes and eventually my annual medieval party.

Thanks for taking that stroll down memory lane with me.  Today I have a very quick and very limited use blog post.  Have you ever had boots that won’t stay up?  Probably not!  But maybe your pirate or cavalier friends have?  I purchased a pair of not-inexpensive cavalier boots for Will a few years back and the damn things slouch.  In the picture they didn’t slouch, so when I made his pants I sized them to come just below the knee, safely below where the boots would reach.  Well those slouchy beasts end up exposing his whole calf after an hour of standing.  How ignoble!  Well we solved the problem!  Boot straps!  No I’m not talking about the things that hold your pants down or the things used to power on your motherboard.  These things hold your boots UP.  Observe:

Before:

Before boot straps.

Before boot straps.

After:

One boot strap on, one off.

One boot strap on, one off.  That tie on the ground is what we were previous using as a boot strap.

DIY Boot Straps to Unslouchify your Boots

Materials

  • 4 feet of 1″ woven cotton braid
  • 4 D Rings (1″ wide)
  • thread
  1. Cut your braid into two 24″ sections
  2. Finish the ends of the braid to prevent fraying by straight stitching near the ends of the braid.

    Stitch ends to prevent fraying

    Stitch ends to prevent fraying

  3. Take two D-rings and thread one end of the braid through both of them.  Stitch as close to the rings as you can get with the presser foot.

    Attach d-rings

    Attach d-rings

To use the straps

  1. Unfold flap of boot.  Insert braid around leg inserting one end through both d-rings

    Unfold boot flap and wrap strap around leg.

    Unfold boot flap and wrap strap around leg.

  2. Put end of braid over the first d-ring and into the second d-ring.  Pull until snug.

    Put end of strap over one d ring and under the second d-ring.

    Put end of strap over one d ring and under the second d-ring.

  3. Tuck end of braid in.

    Tuck strap in.

    Tuck strap in.

Posted in Crafts & Sewing | 6 Comments

Peeps

My co-worker, Roger, returned from his sabbatical last Tuesday.  Every 7 years we get to take 8 weeks off in a row with pay – they call this a sabbatical.  It is customary to decorate a co-worker’s cube upon their return.  I’m under the impression that the more annoying the clean up upon your return from sabbatical, the more your friends are trying to show their love.  For instance for my friend Amy’s cube we turned her cube into “Little Cuba” complete with a huge wooden raft with crates of cigars and 300 lbs of sand.  Let me be the first to admit that sand was a bad idea.

So back to Roger’s sabbatical decorating.  For years we have been depositing stale Peeps in Roger’s cube in the months following Easter.  It started first when instead of throwing out 6 boxes of rock hard Peeps 5 months after Easter I decided to hide them one by one in Roger’s cube.  I don’t actually remember why I started doing this, he definitely doesn’t like Peeps.  Frankly that may have been why.  Whatever the reason, other co-workers caught on and by the end of a couple years he was known as “the Peep Guy” and had mysteriously accumulated a stack of peeps about 5 feet high.  Roger tells a particularly funny story that a new hire came by his cube once, saw the stack of Peeps and asked if he could have one.  Roger said yes (didn’t warn them they had been there for years), and allegedly the person ate one without complaint.  This still baffles me because by this point there had been a lull in Peeps deliveries for many many months.

Anyway, my dream was to fill his entire cube with Peeps while he was on sabbatical but I did not have the foresight or the money to make this happen.  I contacted Just Born but they don’t keep stale or defective Peeps around to sell as seconds (probably a good thing).  Instead we settled on turning his entire cube into a giant box of Peeps.  But because that wasn’t easy enough to clean up (recall the 300 lbs of sand in Amy’s cube) we also planned to fill the entire thing with balloons.

This entire project took lots of man-power!  I think we filled a total of 800 balloons and we used 200 square feet of yellow wrapping paper to cover his entire cube. Everyone on our team (at least 25 people) helped out which was great team-building!  The finishing touch was to add four giant plush Peeps bunnies that I made and finished up during a recruiting trip at my alma mater (talk about strange looks when entering the hotel).  Enjoy the pictures below, and if you’re interested in making a Peeps bunny check out my tutorial at the end.  Each bunny took roughly an hour.

We covered the entire cubicle in yellow wrapping paper so he did not know what awaited him inside.

We covered the entire cubicle in yellow wrapping paper so he did not know what awaited him inside.

Peeps bunnies packaged in Roger's doorway

Peeps bunnies packaged in Roger’s doorway

The bunnies are watching for Roger to walk in.

The bunnies are watching for Roger to walk in.

800 balloons in a 8'x8' cubicle

Here’s the surprise inside – 800 balloons in a 8’x8′ cubicle

Roger spent much of the morning moving balloons . At least it wasn't heavy lifting.

Roger spent much of the morning moving balloons . At least it wasn’t heavy lifting.

Here's the cube after he made some significant progress clearing out.

Here’s the cube after he made some significant progress clearing out.

peep_bunnyDIY Giant Peeps Bunny

Materials

  • 1 yard of 72″ wide yellow felt (I think it would also be great or even better in polar fleece)
  • 3″x3″ square of brown felt
  • 1 lb of stuffing
  • yellow & brown thread
  • My pattern here
  1. Cut out 2 bunnies using my pattern above.  Be sure to add 1/2″ seam allowance. Cut 2 5″ x 4 foot strips.  Cut eyes and nose from brown felt (no seam allowance needed).

    Cut out peeps bunny with 1/2" seam allowance.

    Cut out peeps bunny with 1/2″ seam allowance.

2. Sew the 5″x4′ strips together at one end to form a nearly 8’x5″ strip.

3. Pin good side of one bunny to good side of 8′ strip, placing the seam of the strip in between the bunny’s ears.  Pin to where the ends of the strip overlap at the bottom of the bunny.

4. Repeat step 3 with the second side of the bunny.

5. Stitch around the whole bunny starting with the opening at the bottom.  Repeat with the second side of the bunny.

Stitch where the bunny was pinned.

Stitch where the bunny was pinned.

6. Clip into seams at the bunny’s neck and ears.

Clip Seams.

Clip Seams.

7. Turn right side out.

8. Fill the bunny with stuffing as desired, making sure to stuff evenly.

Stuff through the bottom opening.

Stuff through the bottom opening.

9. Hand stitch the bottom of the bunny closed.

Hand sew the bottom closed.

Hand sew the bottom closed.

10. Hand stitch the eyes and nose onto the bunny.

Hand sew the eyes and nose on (preferably while your co-worker drives you home from Ithaca).

Hand sew the eyes and nose on (preferably while your co-worker drives you home from Ithaca).

Voila!

The bunnies lounging on the couch.

The bunnies lounging on the couch.

 

 

 

Posted in Crafts & Sewing | 5 Comments

Mannequin Head Take 2 (And ~August Give Away)

So the mannequin head that I decorated in purple patchwork got several down votes from friends and family.  I am still using it at the faire because I like it.  But I also made several mannequin heads with a “wood look” affect.  These were actually much easier than the patchwork.  I have instructions for them below if you’re interested.

Finished mannequin head.

Finished mannequin head.

Speaking of the faire, our first weekend was lots of fun!  We met lots of fun and interesting people and made many people smile playing dress up with our hats.  Today the faire is closed due to the horrible weather and wind caused by Tropical Storm Hermine.  This means we get an unexpected day off!  I’m catching up on life and household chores since the last month has been so busy. Hope you all have an enjoyable Labor Day as well!

Oh and you may have noticed I neglected to put up the August Give Away!  Oops.  This one will be awarded at the end of the faire (just in time for my Medieval Feast party).  One winner will receive a hat of their choosing of any style left at the end of faire (see this post for all the options).  To enter post a comment below describing your favorite historical person from the renaissance and why they are your favorite.  Whatever makes me laugh the hardest wins.  You have until October 1 to enter.

DIY Faux Wood Mannequin Head

Materials

  • Foam mannequin head
  • foam brush
  • 2-3 sheets of brown tissue paper
  • mod podge

    Cut strips of tissue paper and mix mod podge with water.

    Cut strips of tissue paper and mix mod podge with water.

  1. Cut strips of tissue paper approximately 1.5 inches wide.
  2. Mix mod podge with water in a 2:1 ratio.  You want the mod podge to be easy to paint on, but still sticky.
  3. Using the foam brush, paint a stripe of the mod podge mixture from the base of the neck under the chin, over the crown of the head then down to the back of the neck.
  4. Gently apply a piece of tissue to the stripe of glue.  You’ll want to gently press the tissue paper down to the mannequin with your fingers.
  5. Using the foam brush gently wash over the tissue paper with more mod podge mixture.

    Overlap strips in front then cross over strip on top of head.

    Overlap strips in front then cross over strip on top of head.

  6. Start another stripe slightly to the right of the first one. At the crown of the head cross over the other stripe and continue down the other side overlapping the first stripe.

    Top portion of head finished.

    Top portion of head finished.

  7. Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 until the entire face of the mannequin is covered.
  8. For the neck of the mannequin, follow a similar procedure as above, adding strips from the chin down to the base of the mannequin head, slightly overlapping each.
  9. Let dry.

    Finished mannequin head.

    Finished mannequin head.

 

 

Posted in Crafts & Sewing | 4 Comments

Whimsical Brims

Alright, so today’s the post where I tell everyone what I’ve been doing for the last 6 months straight.  So you remember the post about mannequin heads?  Well I have literally become the mad hatter.  Well I’ve become a hatter, I was always mad.  Here’s the story.

After you have been at my company for 7 years they give you an 8 week paid vacation called sabbatical.  This vacation is on top of your regular vacation and must be taken all at once.  Since I started working I’ve been joking that I was going to take my sabbatical and work at King Richard’s Faire (the local renaissance festival).  Well it was still a joke until I came up on my sabbatical this year.  I’m not an actor, but I always said I could make hats and sell them.  So I emailed the faire asking if they had room for more artisans.  They had one booth left, so for kicks I put together some prototype patterns, made some hats and sent pictures in.  Then they juried me in as a new artisan for the season under my newly established name Whimsical Brims.

From there I have been scrambling to learn business and tax laws and make hats.  Oh and then retrofit the booth they gave me (did I mention it is 16’x8′ wide??)  Luckily I have such supportive and amazing friends and family.  My best pal Amy made me an amazing sign out of pallet wood, made all my hat stands, two chandeliers and also collected a bunch of furniture for me to put in the booth.  My mom has scoured thrift stores and yard sales to find me items for my stop, including furniture and rugs, and has taking on the laborious task of cutting out my hats.  I could not have gotten here without either of them.

Last Friday Will & I took the day off of work from our “normal” jobs to set the shop up.  Here’s the transformation.

Before

Before

Now

Now

And here are all the hats I will be selling (by the way almost everyone I polled about the mannequin head transformation hated it, so I have to redo those).

The Marian

The Marian

The Gwenevere

The Gwenevere

The Muffin

The Muffin

The Jester

The Jester

The Henry

The Henry

The Boleyn

The Boleyn

The Robin

The Robin

The Shakespeare

The Shakespeare

Next weekend is the first weekend of the faire and my aim was to have completed 200 hats by the start.  I finally hit that goal last night!  As for sabbatical… well that didn’t exactly work out.  My plan was to work at the faire on weekends and spend the week replenishing my supply while on sabbatical, but they pushed my sabbatical out 3 weeks.  So the beginning of the faire I’m going to focus on not selling out…  And now that my sabbatical is almost here, I keep getting questions about what I’m doing.  Most people take long vacations to somewhere exotic.  When I tell people I’m selling hats at King Richard’s Faire most people stare at me blankly or say “oh”.  I guess I should start trying to hide the fact that I really have gone mad.

Posted in Crafts & Sewing | 8 Comments

Green Tunic

So I don’t think I’ve posted anything about dyeing recently, other than my post on my first screen printing attempt.   Well I picked up some green Tulip “Fabric Dye” in the Walmart clearance section the other day for 50 cents.  I can hardly resist anything that costs 50 cents, and it seemed like fun (these little packets of dye normally cost 3 or 4 dollars each – crazy mark up)!

Well I glanced quickly at the back before purchasing it and saw it says it works best on cotton, rayon and silk which are all natural fibers.  I guessed it must be fiber reactive, one of my favorite dyes to use since it means I can use it for shibori (the Japanese art of knotting, folding and binding fabric before dyeing to produce beautiful results).  Further research suggested I was right that it is a form of fiber reactive dye.

I received this awesome pattern from burdastyle for free a couple months ago and have been waiting to try it.  You all know how much I am into hippie chic lately.  I decided to whip up the pattern in some bleached linen (a natural fiber made from flax) I had purchased months ago from fabric-store.com on clearance, then dye it in shibori style.  (For the record, tie dye is a form of shibori, so this whole project is just a thinly veiled crunchy clothing tutorial.)

Shibori Tunic

Materials:

  • 2.25 yards of linen or natural material (like cotton)
  • 100% cotton thread
  • Tulip Permanent Fabric Dye
  • Rubber Elastics
  • 1/4 C salt
  • A plastic bucket
  • A stirring implement
  • Rubber Gloves
  1.  Prepare the tunic – (sew front darts, side seams, shoulder seams, sleeves and set in sleeves). Also prepare the collar and front, but do not attach to the body of the tunic.  I also basted along the neck seam since the dye bath washes out the water soluble marker I use.

    Plain linen tunic without finished collar, sleeves or bottom.

    Plain linen tunic without finished collar, sleeves or bottom.

  2. I decided to dye the collar and sleeve hems solid green, but shibori the rest of the dress.  I chose to try a folding shibori pattern, which I’ve actually never tried before. To do this, accordion fold the fabric the long ways.

    Fold shirt accordion style.

    Fold shirt accordion style.

  3. I also used an iron to press the fabric.
  4. Then accordion fold the length into triangles.

    Fold into triangles accordion style and secure with rubber bands.

    Fold into triangles accordion style and secure with rubber bands.

  5. When you reach the end, secure the fabric with rubber bands.
  6. Next prepare your dye.  This Tulip Fabric dye required me to boil a gallon of water and mix with salt.

    Add salt to steaming water.

    Add salt to steaming water.

  7. Add the dye in and stir.  Make sure your area is completely covered since fiber reactive dye will permanently dye any natural surface (such as wood floors…)

    Add dye to bath.

    Add dye to bath.

  8. Once combined add your fabric to the dye and stir continuously for 15 minutes.
  9. After that, stir periodically for another 45 minutes.20160822_221205
  10. Wash in cold water until the water runs clear.

    Rinse in cold water.

    Rinse in cold water.

  11. I then hung my pieces to dry.

    Hang to dry. (Ignore all the projects in my messy basement)

    Hang to dry. (Ignore all the projects in my messy basement)

  12. Once dry, I finished my tunic neckline, sleeves, and bottom seam following the pattern instructions.

    Finish tunic neckline, sleeves and bottom hem.

    Finish tunic neckline, sleeves and bottom hem.

  13. When complete I threw it in the washing machine on warm with synthrapol to remove any additional dye that had not adhered to the fabric.
20160823_224509

Voila! DIY Shibori tunic! I think folding may be my new favorite shibori technique!

Posted in Crafts & Sewing | 2 Comments

Close but no cigar

So today’s project is awesome.  At least I hope it is, it’s processing right now.  Well anyway I am going to blame Stranger Things for it not being done on time, but its really just hats and Lexi’s time management skills.  Check back tomorrow, I promise it will be done.

What are you going to do instead?  Well you can instead browse this hilarious webcomic from our friend Caldwell if you haven’t already found it on the internet.  Start with my personal favorite.

Oh and some of you may have noticed that I’m late announcing the winners of July’s give away.  You all win.  Anyone who answered the contest gets a hat.  I just have to make them first, so all bets are off on if Pokemon will still be in style by then.

Posted in Crafts & Sewing | 2 Comments

Lavender Lip Balm

It was so hot this weekend.  It was around 95 every day but according to the weather websites it “felt like 104”.  I can tell you that it actually felt like being slowly roasted alive.  I don’t know how anyone goes outside of their air conditioned houses further to the south.  My parents live on a little cottage on a lake in the summer which is great and relaxing.  The one downside is that the cottage lacks air conditioning (or heat).  When the outside temperature hits 90 degrees I turn into a blob.  A whiny, irritable blob.  I needed to be productive this weekend and I just could not bring myself to do anything.

Luckily when we went back to our air conditioned house I was recharged enough to finally make some lavender lip balm for the June Give Away!  A bit late I know!  I made this recipe slightly differently from the last batch of lavender honey lip balm.  The problem with the version I made last time is that the honey eventually separated from the lip balm emulsion and became a weird liquidy mess.  It smelled nice, but was not very pleasantly textured and actually kind of grainy on your lips.  This version is just beeswax and oil based, with none of the honey.

Months ago I had refined some beeswax taken during several of my hive visits.  To refine the wax I simply wash the comb gently in water, then put it in a metal coffee can or glass canning jar in a water bath.  I bring the water to a gentle simmer and let the wax melt.  After it is completely melted I let it cool slightly then pour the wax through cheesecloth into a clean plastic container.  When cooled you can pop the wax out of the container much like you do ice cubes in an ice tray.

Finished lip balm

Finished lip balm

Lavender Beeswax Lip Balm

What you need:

  • 1/2 oz of beeswax
  • 4 Tbsp sweet almond oil (or any other cooking oil such as coconut, olive or )
  • vitamin e oil (a couple drops)
  • lavender essential oil (a few drops)
  • clean glass jar (I use an old jar from pasta sauce)
  • 8 .25 oz lip balm containers (sanitized and dry)

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

  1.  Weight .5 oz of beeswax into a container.  If you are using a block of beeswax you will have to gently shave this into the container until you reach .5 oz.

    Weight .5 oz of beeswax

    Weight .5 oz of beeswax

  2. Add the beeswax and 4 Tbsp of almond oil to your clean glass jar.  Place in a pot of water and slowly bring water to a boil.

    Mix beeswax and almond oil in a jar in hot water bath

    Mix beeswax and almond oil in a jar in hot water bath

  3. Swish oil and beeswax around in the jar until melted.  (You should probably use gloves for this, I just have teflon hands.)

    Swish oil and wax until melted.

    Swish oil and wax until melted.

  4. Remove from heat and take a clean teaspoon to remove a teaspoons worth of liquid.

    Test lip gloss consistency.  This looks and feels great.

    Test lip gloss consistency. This looks and feels great.

  5. Let cool and test for consistency.  If it is too liquidy, melt in more beeswax; if it is too firm add more oil.
  6. When you have reached the desired consistency (I did not make any additions) remove the jar from heat and swirl in 2 drops of vitamin e oil and 4 drops lavender oil.  Note that you can use ANY type of essential oil you desire.  I just happen to like lavender…
  7. Pour liquid into your clean lip balm containers and let cool completely.

    Wait for lip balm to cool before capping jars.

    Wait for lip balm to cool before capping jars.

  8. Cap and give away to your friends!

    Finished lip balm

    Finished lip balm

Posted in Beekeeping, Crafts & Sewing | 4 Comments

Oh So Stylish DIY Badge Holder

So the other day I noticed I had a pack of 10 badge holders in my Amazon shopping cart.  Weird.  I didn’t remember putting them there.  I thought I must have had them in there from DanyCon since I was toying around with the idea of making everyone lanyards and badges, but knew I had purchased things since then.  I promptly deleted them because clearly I was going crazy.

The next day Will was complaining about how often he has to replace the little plastic thing holding his work badge.  Ah.  Will was the culprit.  He said those were the “sturdiest” holders he could find (though they really didn’t look particularly sturdy).  That made me think back to when I was at college.  In school I carried my student ID around everywhere with me on a lanyard.  That ID holder was made of leather and was super durable.  I never had to replace it once in 4 years.  That got my thinking, “I could make that”…

Yesterday at the summer house an inner tube popped so I asked my dad for part of the plastic as he was tossing it in the trash.  He probably thought I was crazy because he said something like “you can have the whole thing if you really want it…”  The plastic is perfect for the see-through window on the badge holder, and was thick enough to sew through without ripping!  Plus I saved a few inches of plastic from the landfill… and was able to use up some scrap fabric and interfacing!  Here’s how to make your own!

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DIY Badge/ID Holder

What you need:

  • 1 square foot of fabric
  • a small rectangle of thick malleable plastic (less than 6×4″)
  • a small rectangle of Peltex Pellon 70 ultra firm stabilizer (less than 6×4″)
  • a small rectangle of medium weight fusible interfacing (less than 6×4″)
  • a 1/2″ diameter plastic ring (like the ones used for roman shades)
  • 1 snap
  1. Cut a 4″ x 2 5/16″ rectangle of pellon 70 and a 6 1/2 x 5″ rectangle of fabric.

    Cut peltex and fabric

    Cut peltex and fabric

  2. Fold the width-wise edges of the fabric up the sides of the interfacing.  My trick with interfacing is that instead of using pins, which are difficult to use with such thick interfacing, I use tiny binder clips.  They save so much time!

    Hold interfacing and fabric with binder clips for easy sewing.

    Hold interfacing and fabric with binder clips for easy sewing.

  3. Press.

    Press

    Press

  4. Fold the fabric up around the interfacing & clip

    Fold fabric up

    Fold fabric up

  5. Press.

    Press

    Press

  6. Fold the ugly (side you’ll put on the inside) edge of the fabric up over the top of the interfacing.

    Wrap "bad" side of fabric around interfacing.

    Wrap “bad” side of fabric around interfacing.

  7. Fold in the edges like you would an envelope so the fabric will not show.

    Fold in edges so they will not show.

    Fold in edges so they will not show.

  8. Press.

    Press

    Press

  9. Fold the good side of the fabric over onto the bad side of the badge (this will be hidden when we attach the front).

    Fold "good" side of fabric over "bad" side of fabric.

    Fold “good” side of fabric over “bad” side of fabric.

  10. Stitch all around the outside, close to the edge.  This is the back of your badge holder.

    Stitch 1/8" from the edge.

    Stitch 1/8″ from the edge.

  11. Take the back of your badge holder and trace around this on a piece of fusible interfacing.  Cut out the interfacing a mm or so larger than the traced rectangle.

    Trace badge holder back onto interfacing, cut slightly larger than this.

    Trace badge holder back onto interfacing, cut slightly larger than this.

  12. Cut out a square of fabric 1/2″ larger than the rectangle in every direction.
  13. Measure 1/2″ up from the interfacing on each side and draw lines forming a frame.

    Draw a 1/2" frame on interfacing.

    Draw a 1/2″ frame on interfacing.

  14. Cut a “v” in the interfacing from one corner of the inside rectangle to the adjacent corner.

    Cut "v"s up to the frame on both sides.

    Cut “v”s up to the frame on both sides.

  15. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse interfacing to fabric.

    Fuse interfacing to fabric

    Fuse interfacing to fabric

  16. Cut your “v” shapes from step 14 into the fabric taking care not to cut further than the interfacing.

    Cut "v"s into fabric

    Cut “v”s into fabric

  17. Fold and press the sides, forming mitered edges (see instructions in this post).  Trim the fabric so it comes just to the edge of the “frame” you drew in step 13.

    Fold and press up sides, forming mitered corners

    Fold and press up sides, forming mitered corners

  18. Fold the inner pieces outwards, press, trim to slightly smaller than the outside of the rectangle and binder clip.

    Fold inner pieces out, forming a frame.

    Fold inner pieces out, forming a frame.

  19. Repeat for all 4 sides.

    Trim and clip then repeat for all 4 sides.

    Trim and clip then repeat for all 4 sides.

  20. Sew 1/8″ from the center of the frame, all around the face of the badge holder.

    Stitch 1/8" from the inside of the frame.

    Stitch 1/8″ from the inside of the frame.

  21. Cut a piece of plastic slightly smaller than the width of the “frame”.

    Cut a piece of plastic smaller than the frame.

    Cut a piece of plastic smaller than the frame.

  22. Center the plastic on the back of the frame, place a piece of waxed paper over it (this will prevent the plastic from sticking to your presser foot) and binder clip.

    Add waxed paper over the plastic to prevent it from sticking.

    Add waxed paper over the plastic to prevent it from sticking.

  23. Stitch 1/8″ from the outside of the “frame” all around.

    Stitch 1/8" from the outside edge of the frame.

    Stitch 1/8″ from the outside edge of the frame.

  24. Remove the waxed paper by tearing.

    Tear off waxed paper.

    Tear off waxed paper.

  25. Add a plastic ring to the back piece by stitching back and forth over the ring.

    Attach ring

    Attach ring

  26. Place the frame of your badge holder over the wrong side of your badge holder back.20160808_222019
  27. Stitch on top of the outer stitching, taking care to leave the top side opened (so you can put your badge in).
  28. Add a snap at the top of the badge holder between the top edge of the “frame” and the back.

    Add snap

    Add snap

  29. Enjoy!

    blurred2

    Looks especially great on a mannequin wearing a long black cloak as shown here.

Posted in Crafts & Sewing | 4 Comments

Long live the queen!

Crazy day today with the bees!  Simon ordered some queens from a local beekeeper so I jumped on his order and got one as well since last time I checked Ingrid had perished.  Well today, after I received the queen, I had this grand plan to take 5 frames out of my flourishing hive and put them in the dying hive and install the new queen.

"Please let me meet the queen mom, I don't even need a bee suit, see." (Dany is a little too curious about bees.)

“Please let me meet the queen mom, I don’t even need a bee suit, see.” (Dany is a little too curious about bees.)

Well the first issue I had was that Betsy’s (flourishing) hive had produced SO MUCH HONEY that I could not lift the top deep.  Crap.  I am not a weakling either, so this thing must have weighted nearly 100 lbs.    I guess this is a good problem to have, but my hive visits are not going to be very useful anymore.  The other problem is that I could no longer get to the bottom deep to extract some frames of brood.  Great.  So I threw a queen excluder and a shallow super on top and called it a day.

Betsy's hive "bearding" (hanging out outside the hive to keep cool). You should have seen them when it was 95 out! It was only 70 out today!

Betsy’s hive “bearding” (hanging out outside the hive to keep cool). You should have seen them when it was 95 out! It was only 70 out today!

The second hive seemed to have a rather large amount of activity going on, considering these bees have been queenless for a month.  Odd.  I opened that hive up and unlike the barren wasteland I expected to see, I saw 5 full frames of brood!  Odd, but awesome!  And then I saw her!  A new queen!  I had purchased Ingrid as a marked queen so she had a white spot on her back.  This big beauty had no mark to be found.  They must have created emergency cells from some of the remaining larvae and built their own queen!  When the bees recognize they are queenless, they can create a queen by building out an ordinary cell and feeding royal jelly to the larvae inside.  I am guessing/hoping she mated with my second hive too!  (Seems like good sperm since that hive is so populous!)

Some beekeepers would probably suggest I re-queen the hive where the second queen was produced.  To those beekeepers my response is firstly, it is August 4th.  It takes around 7-10 days to accept a new queen, and by that point they may miss out on this nectar flow from this week’s rain.  Secondly, my record with queen acceptance is PITIFUL (see this post and this post).  Thirdly, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.  And finally THEY MADE THAT QUEEN.  Long live the Queen, long live Queen Renée!

Renee's hive - steady stream of bees at the entrance reducer (I removed this when I left).

Renee’s hive – steady stream of bees at the entrance reducer (I removed this when I left).

Now what to do with this third queen?

 

Posted in Beekeeping | Leave a comment

Lexi’s Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken

Have I raved about chicken thighs on this blog yet?  I don’t know that I have.  I discovered them a couple years back and have been in love ever since (and don’t get me started on turkey thighs).  I know it is silly to say “discovered” because surely I had realized chickens had thighs, right?  Well I did, but I didn’t realize you could buy them in super cheap bulk packs for next to nothing, and that they were like heaven after sitting in a crock pot all day.

My go-to recipe for chicken thighs is for “Salsa Chicken” which is quite literally the easiest recipe ever (see the food section of this blog entry for the steps which are to basically dump a can of salsa in with some chicken thighs).  The recipe makes the best chicken tacos known to man and the most difficult part is shredding the chicken!  Another great thing about chicken thighs is that you can stick them in the freezer and pop them directly out of the freezer and into the crock pot with no issue!  Then last week chicken thighs were $.88 a pound at the grocery store (I know, right?).  All this got me to thinking… what else can I do with chicken thighs and a crock pot?

Here’s the next recipe I’ve come up with and I think its a hit.  Come fall I’ll work on some more…

Chicken Teriyaki

Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

You will need:

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, halved
  • 4-6 chicken thighs (frozen)
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch

Place chicken thighs in crock pot.  Mix together first 5 ingredients, pour over chicken in crock pot.  Cook on low 8 hours.

Mix first 5 ingredients and pour over chicken

Mix first 5 ingredients and pour over chicken

Cook on low 8 hours

Cook on low 8 hours

When the chicken is finished, pour sauce into gravy separator.  Let sit for a few minutes then pour the sauce into a saucepan over high heat.  When it starts to bubble, lower the temperature to medium and add 1 Tbsp corn starch mixed with 1 Tbsp water.  Stir until mixture thickens.  Pour thickened sauce over chicken then serve.

Thicken sauce and pour over chicken

Thicken sauce and pour over chicken

Posted in Culinary Delights | 2 Comments