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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Cat Cookies (a.k.a. Kraftsy Kitty Kookies)

Cat Cookies (a.k.a. Kraftsy Kitty Kookies)

Happy Halloween everyone!  Time for another baking edition of Kraftsy Kitties!
I was inspired to try making some kitty cookies based off the “pattern” for panda bread.  This Japanese (of course) pinnacle of delicious cuteness is definitely worth trying, although most of my efforts in the bread arena usually end up looking a little O_o – literally, what with the stretching of shapes in the whole rising thing with baking bread.  I’ve had really good luck with substituting bread dough for sugar cookie dough – it’s much easier to work with.
In this version you’ll need two colors of dough; the larger portion for the cat face, and approximately half that amount for the contrasting eyes and rim.  (About eight hours after I mixed up the dough it hit me that a black cat would be more suitable for Halloween, but then again, all cat things I make end up being orange tabby, naturally.)  This recipe is actually great for when you don’t have a long chunk of time to bake at once, because the dough works best when you can chill it.

I love this cookie recipe for its simplicity.  To color, either add a few drops of food coloring, or a tablespoon of dark cocoa powder.  I often use matcha powder to make green tea cookies.

 

To baking!

For the larger amount, you will need:

2 cups flour
2 sticks of butter
1 egg
1 cup of sugar

Halve the amounts for the contrasting dough.  I just use a whole egg, but sprinkle in a bit more flour if the dough seems too quickly.

Beat all ingredients in a stand mixer.  Chill the dough in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight in a covered container.

1. Roll about half of your main dough into a fat log shape on a lightly floured board. Press with your fingers into an oval shape.  This will be the base of the cat face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Next, the eyes.  Roll two small ropes with your contrast dough.  Keep the ropes round.  Add in a rope of your main dough to form the space between the eyes.  Work quickly as your hands will warm up the dough, and the softer it gets the harder it is to handle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Next, take about 2/3 of your remaining main dough and rolling it out to a flat piece.  Mine started getting a bit warm and too soft, so this is what happens when it starts getting all sticky.  Still, this whole thing is pretty forgiving, so don’t stress too much if this happens you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Put your eye roll (Step Two) onto your face oval (Step One.)  Slap that flat piece (Step 3) onto the top and gently press it into place.  I found that it helps to have that flat piece ready…or else the eye parts have a tendency to roll of the head.  Moistening the dough with a pastry brush dipped in water as you put them together will also help them stick, but I like having that top-of-the-head piece on there to help keep it all together.

It doesn’t need to wrap all the way around the face – just around the eyes is fine.

 

 

 

5. Next, the ears! This is basically a repeat of Step 2, but reverse the colors.  Also, this time, instead of making the ropes round, flatten each rope into a triangular shape, including the middle pieces.  The middle channel will be slightly larger than your ear pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Holy out of focus camera!  Sorry about that, but you can see the ear segment plopped on top of the head now.  This is probably a good point to mention that you should start with a modest cat-face piece in Step One because this cookie log is just going to get bigger and BIGGER.  Looking a bit more recognizable as a kitty face now?

 

 

 

 

 

7. Roll out your remaining contrast dough into a rough rectangle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. And slap that sucker around your log.  Almost there!  And the end bits always look kind of wonky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. At this point, your log might feel a bit precarious, because the dough might not be sticking that well together.  If you try to bake your cookies like this, all your segments are going to fall apart, trust me.  So, wrap the WHOLE LOG in plastic wrap, like a sushi roll.  Then you can slide your hands down the length while applying pressure to compress the dough together and get the air out.

It’s best to chill the dough again at this point.  You can also freeze your cookie dough for later use.

 

 

 

10. When your dough is nice and chilled again (2 hours to overnight) , use a sharp knife to cut off slices about 3/8″ in thick.  Here you’ll be able to get a preview of your rolling abilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Turn out onto a rack to cool and admire (or judge) your handiwork.  I think this is probably just a B.  But then again, all my rolled cookie animals always turn out O_o.  Still tasty though! And if they look a little scary…it IS Halloween after all! 🙂

Enjoy! ❤

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Informational

 

D.I.Y. Magnetic Thread Rack

I’ve been pretty ADD with my projects lately. I’ve got like 4-5 projects going on at once, each with their own thread spool and as I no longer have room for a  thread rack on the wall, the spools sit on my sewing table, getting lost in the piles of fabric or waiting for some errant cat to come along and knock them off.

I decided I needed to make a small thread rack that could be put away when not being used, so I made a magnetic thread rack.

Supplies:

  • magnetic tray like a toaster oven pan or small baking pan. (I found mine at a dollar store.)
  • magnets
  • long screws with flat screw head
  • super glue
  • fabric to cover the tray

I used really small earth magnets because that’s what I had on hand. If I had to do it over, I’d use bigger earth magnets because these magnets aren’t strong enough to support really large spools of thread.

Create your thread rack pegs by super glue-ing the magnets to screw heads.

Cover the tray with fabric. I used hotglue to glue the fabric on.

Now you just put the screws with magnets on the tray so they can be used for thread spools.

I wanted to have the thread rack propped up, or hanging on the wall, so I swung by the framing section of JoAnn Fabrics and picked up a plate holder rack and a plate hanger.

A plate holder rack is like a small easel and is perfect for when I want the thread rack on the table within reach.

The plate hanger attaches to the back of the tray and is good for when I want the thread rack hanging on the wall.

Or in my case, when I want to hang the rack on the mirror behind my sewing table. I used a suction cup hook to hang up my magnetic tray.

My last sewing project was making a bunch of sewing organizers that I assembly line produced, and I had to constantly swap threads spools and bobbins on 2 different sewing machines. The magnetic thread rack was super useful in helping me keep track of all my thread.

As an added bonus, it kept Bobo from chasing my thread spools right off the table which is one of his favorite activities.

I’m pretty happy with how my makeshift magnetic thread rack turned out! It’s been really handy and when I don’t need it anymore, I can take the pegs and throw them in a baggy and put away the tray.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in DIY, Tools & Accessories, Tutorials

 

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Keeping your books and workstation hair free

Hey folks, Happy Kraftsy Kitty Monday!

How can you say no to that face?

I’m really excited about today’s post, which is two related tips about keeping stuff cat hair free!

Do you have a desk dedicated to your computer workstation? Most people do these days. The fiance and I both have dedicated office space with our computers – a desktop computer, and an LCD monitor. We both spend a large amount of time at our computers, which mean our cats love to spend it with us. As soon as we got the cats, we noticed that our computer desks got increasingly dusty and hairy – and no wonder, considering where our cats like to hang out with us!

We tried to just clean up and wipe down our desks more often, but with all the peripherals and the LCD monitors sitting on our desks, this was tedious and annoying. Additionally, my primary monitor is a Wacom Cintiq tablet (an artist tool) – which is extremely heavy and has a ton of large wires coming out from the back of it. Moving it is no trivial task, so cleaning around it is very annoying!

I figured if I could at least keep all the LCD monitors off the desk, it would be a lot easier to wipe down the desk in one go, since we wouldn’t have to maneuver between all the monitors. At first I thought about mounting the LCD monitors to the wall, but that wouldn’t work for my Wacom Cintiq, since I have to maneuver it around and work on it with a stylus.

Enter the Ergotron – an LCD stand that has a flexible arm. I bought three of them and mounted all three of our LCD monitors to our desk. The absolute best thing about this is the flexibility – we can change the height, pitch, and direction its facing at any time! That means easier dualscreening as well: I mounted an LCD in the middle of the table, and I move the Wacom Cintiq to the side when I want to just play some computer games.

So, not only can we configure the three monitors between us however we please – we can wipe the table in only a few seconds, keeping it cat hair and dust free easily!

Three LCD’s mounted with Ergotron arms. The center LCD is hooked up to my computer (on the right).

Another view of the normal rig.

Gaming mode: I move the Wacom Cintiq to the side and use the LCD as my primary monitor.

We applied a similar concept downstairs: We used to have an open IKEA shelf that was very sturdy, but unfortunately it was placed against the wall just against the stairs. Our kitties LOVE racing up and down the stairs, and as time went on a layer of kitty dust and hair would accumulate on the shelves (and everything on the shelves!)

Open shelf: 100% messy looking, 100% kitty-hair coated.

Solution? Well, you can’t prevent the hair – but again, you can make it easier to clean! We went to IKEA and bought various types of their BILLY line bookshelves. This modular shelving line is so easy to assemble and so simply stylish!

The key is to get the accompanying doors – we decided to go with the doors that were half opaque, half glass. That way, we can show off some shelf items on the top, but hide messier things behind solid doors on the bottom.

So much neater, and much more space available as well! As our collection of books/movies/board games grow, we can also add to our BILLY shelves with their modular additions!

Moral of this post: You can’t avoid cat hair. We shave one of our cats yearly, and he still can’t help but shed all over the house. What you CAN do, however, is make the cleanup a lot easier on yourself – and I hope you’ll find the tips today helpful for doing so!

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Informational

 

Cats in Ties! Make your cat a Tiecat too.

Just more proof that cats officially own all humans and also the internets.  Have you seen this tumblog about cats wearing ties?  It’s pretty much one of the most adorable things ever.

I’d love to dress up Otoro like Wei-ling has been demonstrating her her extremely patient kitties with their hats and being breaded.  However, Otoro is somewhat less tolerant and I enjoy actually have a face, so the full on costume is out of the question.  My answer?  Catis in ties! Have you seen this tumblog? 

Many cats who wouldn’t let you dress them up are already accustomed to wearing one article of clothing – their collars.  So it’s easier to dress them up a little bit with simple collar decorations.  The first time around, I made a dress shirt collar tube/sleeve I could slide over his collar and a small tie out of pin striped fabric.

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It was OK, but the edges didn’t hold their shape very well. And the dress collar kept getting turned around.

Next I cut out collar, tie, and bow tie shapes out of felt, and included small tabs to sew onto the back side so I could slide them onto his collar. I did this freehand, the shapes are not too complicated.

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The collar wasn’t the best, but the tie and bow tie were much better now!

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And there you have it!  A well dressed kitty who won’t be too upset about putting on the fancy wear. 🙂  Enjoy!  Hope you share your pictures of your well dressed kitties too!

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Informational, Tutorials

 

Photo magnets

We needed some more fridge magnets and I thought it’d be fun to make some glass tile photo magnets of my fuzzy kids.

You can find a lot of tutorials for making glass tile magnets on Pinterest, and they’re all variations on the same theme. Here’s how I make photo magnets…

Supplies:

First step is to print out photos that you want to use for your magnets and make sure they will fit in the tiles you have.

I’ve discovered that printing on regular paper or cardstock works better than printing on photo paper. Photo paper smears very easily and gets blurry when Diamond Glaze is applied to it.

Trace the tile onto your photo.

Cut out the traced shape. I’ve seen people use an x-acto knife for this step which might work better for you. I’m a little terrified of knives because I’m extremely accident prone so I try to stay away from them.

Put a dab of Diamond Glaze on the glass piece and spread it across the entire tile with a toothpick.

Place the photo facedown onto the glaze. Press down to make sure all the air bubbles are out.

You can also flip it over and press down to make sure all the air bubbles are out. Wipe away any excess that leaks out.

Diamond Glaze is water soluble so you can clean up any messes with a damp towel.

Repeat for all your photos. Wait 10-15 minutes for the glaze to dry.

Flip the tile over and put another layer of Diamond Glaze on top of the photo. Spread the glaze out with a toothpick, sealing the photo in.

Wait another 10-15 minutes for the glaze to dry.

Put a dab of superglue onto the back and drop the magnet on.

And that’s it!

Once your glue is dry, you can put your photo magnets on the fridge.

You can use the same technique with other printed materials like stationary or a design you print out yourself. If you don’t want to purchase resin tiles, you can also use flat backed marbles that are found in most crafts stores.

Here are some other magnets I’ve made over the years… (Do we have any other WoW players reading this blog? =D)

Everyone should go make photo magnets with photos of their cats now!

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Tutorials

 

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