I’m interested in the Steampunk genre. So is DD1, who is busy making steampunk style costumes. I’ve had this book on my shelves for a while, even though I haven’t actually made anything from it… yet! The book is Steampunk Softies: Scientifically-Minded Dolls from a Past That Never Was, by Sarah Skeate and Nicola Tedman. It contains complete patterns and instructions for eight different characters with very interesting personalities. In addition there are lots of accessories and a wealth of ideas that could be used to customize your own soft dolls and sculptures.

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Sometimes the simplest of tools are the most useful! The doll I’m making has a “tail”. It is a thin tube that is sewn, and then turned right side out before attaching to the body. It can be tricky to turn such a tiny thing right side out, but I’ve developed a technique that is simple, and works like a charm! You will need the sewn tail and a chop stick!

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We eat a lot of tofu! I use it in both sweet and savory dishes. That means I’m doing a lot of pressing, to squeeze the water out of the block of tofu. You probably saw the post here about the standard, low-tech way of pressing it. It works, but it’s messy and leaves me with a lot of stuff to wash. It also uses a lot of paper towels.

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There are very few people who are great cooks from birth. Everyone learns along the way. And most cooks, and even the great chefs have tools which got them to where they are now. A very important category of tools is: Cook Books! I happen to have two favorites. The first is a 30-year old copy of Joy of Cooking. As far as I’m concerned, no kitchen should be without a copy of this classic.

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One of the reasons I changed Zelda’s toes was because I wanted to make sandals and flip flops for the dolls. These shoes often have a part that goes between the big toe and the one next to them. I had an idea for flip flops that I tried out: These aren’t perfect, they are just a test of my concept. The biggest problem I ran into was how to permanently attach the cording without making the shoe lumpy, and how to get the bottom sole piece to stay stuck to the top.

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I think freezer paper is one of my all-time favorite crafting tools! I buy it in the largest rolls I can find and I use it for all sorts of things. It is a reasonably heavy white paper that has a plastic coating on one side. What makes it so cool is that you can iron it on to stuff. If you saw yesterday’s post… Freezer paper is used to make the Poppet Dolls.

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There are some cleaning jobs that are just nasty… such as cleaning that greasy broiler pan, the bottom of the oven after Thanksgiving dinner or the BBQ grill after a football party. The cleaners that are normally used aren’t healthy for us, either. However, there is an easy way to clean these up that doesn’t involve anything more than stuff you probably already have on hand: white vinegar and baking soda!

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