Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gettin Crafty

With the garden all harvested, everything canned, jellied, jammed, and frozen I turned my attention to long awaited crafty projects.

I’m doing my first color work knitting project. Argyle socks from Knit.1 magazine Fall 2007 issue. I’ve only had to start over once, so far, to switch to a smaller needle than what the pattern calls for. I’m much happier with the results.

Early this summer I bought a TON of organza and silk fabric. My mission was to make cute little flowers for my Etsy store. These flowers are adorable and can be used in spinning projects, or sewn into knitting projects. I also have some jewelry designs in mind. I’m waiting for my shipment of center beads to come in to finish these but plan to post them to my store next weekend.

I have these wonderful bead mixes that I also will be offering in my store in the up coming weeks. They are so much fun! My first project will be spinning them in with some fiber that I carded this weekend. Hand carded that is, I do not yet have a drum carder. I’m just so confused about the whole thing, so I will happily hand card until I can figure it out. This mix includes my first eva fleece I processed, Rambouillet, it also includes some Tussah silk, and commercial Merino. I took some sections of my batts and strung on some beads. I want to experiment with doing the pre-strung method as well as adding them in as I spin.


It's back to the sock now. I hope you too have had a crafty Halloween. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I heart Alton Brown

Alton Brown has never failed me. I have made his fool proof very moist meat loaf, followed his tip on soaking potatoes in smoked sea salt for the most scrumptious mashed potatoes and his turkey, OMG, brining it in all kinds of yummy aromatics made me look like a star at last years Thanksgiving feast!

Once again, he has won my heart through my stomach. Tamales. I’ve always wanted to make Tamales and I was happy to find that Alton had a recipe. So I set off to the store for some pork butt, husks and cornmeal, along with a few spices I did not already have in the pantry.

Tamales are actually pretty easy to make. We started off by simmering the Pork Butt in a pot of water and spices for 2 hours. While that was going we soaked the husks. Once the meat was done, we took it out to cool. While cooling we prepared the cornmeal dough. We shredded the meat and added it to the sautéed veggies and more spices. The spices included chili powder, cumin and smoked paprika to name a few and it made the house smell incredible! It was so hard to resist taking little taste tests of the meat because it was soo tender and yummy!


We turned on some good music, set up our work station and off we went to assemble these sinful delectables. With good company, good music and good wine, we had assembled about 3 dozen of Tamales in no time. Now, it was time to wait, mouths-watering while the Tamales simmered for an hour and a half teasing us as they filled the house with their heavenly aroma.


As soon as it was time, we dove right in and enjoyed each Tamale until we were satisfied. Oh, did I mention we also went on a stuffed pepper mission too?


So what if it was 1 am. It was well worth the heartburn later

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Green Tomatoes and Chocolate Cake

The weather has been unusually warm this Indian Summer. Each week we see a few more red tomatoes and I've been doing what has become routine of harvesting and drying the tomatoes in the oven or freezing them whole for later use in sauces. We still have several green tomatoes and I didn't want any to go to waste. I searched the internet for recipes using Green Tomatoes. I came across recipes for Green Tomato Jam and settled on a couple for my weekend project. Last night we finished the first batch of jam from this recipe.

Fresh picked Green Tomatoes...



This was the first time we have made jam and ended up cooking it a bit too long, but it is still very scrumptious. The Vanilla adds awesome flavor and for some heat we threw in a Habanero.
yum...


The second recipe is a 3 day process and includes cinnamon and all spice. We started step one last night, and will continue today and tomorrow.

A few weeks ago I filled my basket with Fennel from the garden.


I took flowering heads that had not yet blossomed put them in a paperback and stowed away in a closet. Last night I remembered they were there and probably ready to be seeded. This was an easy and relaxing task we did while chatting and listening to music. We ended up with half a jar of fennel seeds to be used in chicken and dumplings later...my fav.

After another weekend of harvesting and preparing for winter I made a chocolate cake...Just because

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Seed Bead Stitch Markers

In one of my Rav groups we got to talking about seed bead stitch markers and the various methods to make them. This is my method, enjoy! :)



Supplies:


* Size 15 or 11 Seed beads: Size depends on the size you want your markers. Size 15 are very tiny beads and will help produce a very tiny marker. I usually use size 11 for bigger markers.
* 2 mm Crimp Beads
* Beadalon or Softflex: I use Beadalon since I can easily find it in at my local craft store, Softflex usually has to be ordered or purchased at your LBS.
* Optional: 4mm focal bead or charms. Note: Charms usually come with a little ring (jump ring) to hang from a chain, usually these are too big. I recommend getting 2mm jump rings instead.
* For bead charms you will need 1 1/2” - 2” headpins depending on the size of your beads.

Tools:

* Crimping Pliers or Jewelry Flat Nose Pliers

* For Bead Charms you will also need Jewelry round nose pliers.

Instructions:


1. Make any bead charms you will use for your markers
2. Cut a piece of bead wire about 3” long. You can adjust this length as desired.
3. String your design of beads onto wire. You can do all beads for dangle free markers, or add a charm in the middle.
4. String on crimp bead on one end. Take the opposite end of the bead wire and string it through the opposite end of the crimp bead. Your wires will cross as illustrated below: (amount of beads strung are for illustration purposes only, you will need more)


5. While pulling both wires snug either crimp the crimp bead or squeeze it tightly with your flat nose pliers to secure the wire and crimp bead in place.
6. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Indian Summer

This weekend was full of more harvesting activities. We turned these....




Into this...


Driving through town the aroma of roasted hatch chili's filled the air. I couldn't resist, I got two bushels. While waiting for the chili's to roast I chatted with the owner, an older gentleman in a cowboy hat and welcoming grin. We talked about the chili's, family and this years harvest. His little Chihuahua comfortably perched in his arms, looking at me through his good eye. The man explained that it took this little guy a long journey to find him and now they are life partners.




I finished my scarf. The colors remind me of all the veggies we have been roasting and canning and pickling these past few weekends. The scarf was knit up on jumbo 35 needles and I used about 2.5 balls of this cool yarn. I have enough left to make cozy hat.



After a nice day of harvesting, pickling and knitting, we kicked our feet up and enjoyed an Autumn evening sitting by the fire. I heart Autumn. :)