Working with polymer clay doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Make your purchases with care, choose inexpensive projects and protect the clay you already own to save money on this popular craft.
Spend less cash on the clay itself. This means that instead of running down to the local craft supply store to stock up whenever you feel like it, wait until the next sale. Or, better yet, see what polymer clay is selling for on Ebay or a craft website and compare prices.
Don’t buy every polymer clay accessory that comes out. Do you really need a pasta machine for conditioning the clay or can you warm it in your hand? Do you have to buy the set of texture tools or can you find interestingly textured objects around your house? Be selective in what you purchase.
Polymer clay books, with their full color pictures, cost a fortune. Search the internet and your local library to find plenty of how-to’s for free.
Always be on the lookout for found objects or household supplies that can be used with polymer clay. For example, aluminum foil can be shaped into a variety of molds.
Don’t use expensive clay when cheaper will do just as well. Compare prices on Fimo, Sculpey and Kato. Buy the cheapest clay that will do the job.
If you use a lot of clay, buy it in big blocks. Amazon sells white Sculpey III in 2 oz blocks for $2.75 or in 8 oz blocks for $7.47. Do the math!
You never know when you will need lime green or dusky rose. So, save every scrap of clay.
If you hate the color, still save it. You can use it as “waste” clay for the center of larger projects.
Clay left in a hot location (such as a car) may start to “cook” and no longer be usable. Be sure to store your clay in in a cool, dark location.
You don’t want different colors of clay clumping together. Wrap each chunk of clay separately.
Many projects require the use of a lot of expensive clay. Choose smaller projects instead. Try making polymer clay jewelry, magnets and covered pens; not vases and bowls.
Choose projects that have hollow centers or are shaped around molds. You will save a lot over the long run.
Some polymer clay projects have a list of supplies an inch long. Avoid projects that require a lot of “extras”. Look for projects that only use clay or supplies that you already own.
Projects that use a thin layers of cane to cover “waste” clay or inexpensive objects are big money savers. I used to cover small pieces of PVC pipe with cane. Votive holders and metal candy boxes can also be covered.
These are the useful tips that I have discovered. If you have any other good tips, please send me a line. I would love to add them to the list.
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I love to improvise when I sew. I find it gratifying to change a hem length, design my own collar and/or embellish the pockets. However, in the process of experimenting, I’ve made virtually every sewing mistake possible.
Fortunately, I’ve learned from my blunders, and so can you. Do yourself a favor, and don’t repeat my poor choices.
Here is a list of 10 common sewing mistakes that absolutely must be avoided:
Neglecting ironing. Ironing is incredibly boring, but poor ironing shows in a finished garment.
Sloppy marking. I hate marking, but some of the worst looking tops I made were due to incorrectly placed darts. Take your time and mark carefully.
Using incorrect fabric. I once made a dress out of some lovely batik-look cotton. Unfortunately, the dress was supposed to be made out of stretchy poly cotton and it ended up in the trash.
Wrong Size Pattern
Choosing the wrong size pattern. You don’t want to spend 10 hours on a dress and then realize it should have been made a size smaller or larger. If your not sure of your size, grab a tape measure.
Choppy cutting. You might be able to get away with bad cutting on a large flowing skirt, but it can be a disaster for smaller items, like panties.
Laying Out Pattern Wrong
Laying out the pattern wrong. Remember, check twice (or three times), cut once.
Working with the wrong needle. There have been several times when I haven’t had the correct sewing machine needle in the house and thought I could fake my way through. I couldn’t.
Poor pinning. A couple of years ago I made a hat and skipped pinning the brim to the band. Big mistake. Big.
Skipping instructions. Unless you’ve made the project 1000 times, you must read the instructions.
Rushing (and ruining) the finishing steps. The result is poor topstitching, uneven button holes and homemade looking clothing.
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source: Tizzy via flickr
I am not posting a recipe for Stuffed Peppers… I’m posting a template. You pick the rice; I’ll tell you what to do with it.
If you don’t already have a good rice recipe, try one of our 15 Rice Quickies. Any one of the recipes included would make a great choice for stuffing peppers.
4 – 6 cups cooked rice, well seasoned ( I use brown rice with sauteed onion, celery, carrot, stewed tomatoes and seasoned with salt, pepper, basil, garlic)
4 peppers, choice of green, yellow, red
oil for frying vegetables
tomato sauce, optional
Preheat oven till 450 degrees.
Lightly oil the bottom of a large non-stick baking pan.
Remove tops of peppers, rinse, and remove seeds. Halve peppers lengthwise.
Place the peppers in the pan and stuff each half pepper with rice filling. Top with tomato sauce, if desired. [I skip the sauce]
Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake in preheated oven till peppers are soft and flavorful, but still retain their shape. This will be 30-40 minutes.
If the rice is dry, add a small amount of water before adding to the peppers, to moisten. Rice will lose moisture while baking, so you don’t want it to start off dry.
Also, many recipes call for precooking the peppers first but I skip this step so that the peppers don’t fall apart while being served.
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Save money on your next project by using your sewing skills.
Don’t spend money on expensive fabric in order to make your project attractive. Instead, learn some new sewing skills. A scalloped hem, a hand embroidered collar, or some narrow custom braid across the top of pockets are the kind of designer details that add a lot of style without additional money.
Remember: Save With Skills.
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Over the last few weeks, I’ve tried three new recipes I found on the internet, all of which came out delicious. I’ve added each of the recipes to my homemade recipe book, since I’ll be making each one again and again.
The first is a Banana Loaf Cake from allrecipes.com. I followed this very easy recipe exactly, and the cake came out delicious. Just make sure the bananas are very ripe.
Next I made Michelle’s Popcorn Cauliflower. This recipe was recommended by a friend of mine and it was wonderful. The cauliflower came out tasting totally different than what I expected, but it was a great surprise.
The third recipe is Homemade Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats. This recipe came from Instructables, believe it or not! This another recipe that comes out perfectly, as long as you follow the directions to the letter.
I would strongly advise you try each of the recipes at home. You won’t be sorry. Guaranteed!
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I have a recipe for bean soup that always seems to work, no matter what I do to it. Rather than share with you one of the variations I use, I’ve decided to share them all. That way, as long as you have a few basic ingredients, you have soup!
Note: I wrote down the original recipe first and the options in parenthesis.
1 tablespoon olive oil (or any oil)
1 onion diced (or a package of onion soup mix)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped ( or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 carrot, finely chopped (or 2/3 cup frozen carrots)
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 large can chopped tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes or whole tomatoes)
3 cups water (or with vegan chicken or vegetable soup powder added)
no beans (or 1/2 can pinto beans or 1 can pinto beans)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme ( or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)
2 tablespoons fresh basil (or 2 teaspoons dried basil)
salt and pepper, to taste
Fry onion (if using) in oil. Add celery, carrot (unless using frozen), garlic (unless using powdered) and cook till vegetables start to brown.
Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and cook for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, depending how tender you like your vegetables.
Every 15 minutes, stir and add more water if needed.
Because of all the options, this recipe takes more adjusting than most. If you choose the bean option, you will need to add a couple more cups of water and watch soup more carefully to avoid burning.
Depending on the canned tomato option you choose, you may need to add additional water and seasonings. Just taste and decide about 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
Source: R-BS Views
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My son is in the US right now, and after vigorous negotiation, has promised me space for two craft books in his return luggage.
My picks? Two sewing books by Alabama Chanin.
For those readers not familiar with Alabama, she is bringing back into vogue the old-fashioned art of hand sewing. Alabama owns a company that creates luscious hand stitched fashions along with books and workshops teaching crafters to create their own. All her clothing is made 100% by hand, with gorgeous top stitching and interesting hems.
I haven’t yet seen the two books I’ve ordered, but I’m hoping that they will teach me how to create a garment with nothing but a needle and thread.
Alabama Studio Style: More Projects, Recipes, & Stories Celebrating Sustainable Fashion & Living (affiliate link)
Alabama Stitch Book: Projects and Stories Celebrating Hand-Sewing, Quilting and Embroidery for Contemporary Sustainable Style (affiliate link)
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