Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rhubarb Jelly

Making jelly is a great way to use up all your extra rhubarb in the spring.  I tried a lot of rhubarb recipes this year and I thought this jelly turned out really pretty and it tastes very yummy too!  I know we will enjoy it this winter.  Here's the recipe from Taste of Home!

Amazing Wild Blueberry Pie

This blueberry pie was "to die for"!  I made it from frozen blueberries we picked out in the woods last year.  I hear the wild blueberries are about ripe now, so we've GOT to get out there and get some more!  I got the recipe for Blueberry Dream Pie from Taste of Home.  I didn't use the mint because I didn't have any but it was still great.  You should try it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Digital Scrapbook

I recently finished up my 2010 scrapbook.  It is all digital and 102 pages long.  I made it on Adobe Photoshop Elements using mostly free and purchased backgrounds/ elements and a few of my own creations.  I will say it was a ton of work- it took me over 2 months working at least 2-4 hours a day to get it all done!  My scrapbooks are like a photo journal for me- I am always referring back to them when I want to know when certain things happened (like when did the snow melt last year).  I don't do a lot of written journaling, but  rely mostly on my photographs to tell the story.  Below are a few of my favorite pages. 

I had a 12 inch by 12 inch  book printed out at  I was pleased with the results- the printed colors turned out good this year :)  What do you think? 

Art Yarn to Hat

I've never spun "art yarn" before, but now I can tell you it was fun and I'd like to try it again sometime!

I started by blending several different fibers together with just my fingers.  I did a very chunky type of blend to let the different types of fibers really stand out. I started with a reddish variegated wool batt that had some sparkly metallic fibers blended in. Then I added some snips of recycled sari silk loom ends in red, burgundy, and turquoise. Then I cut up some leftover lavender eyelash yarn I had and threw that in. I also added a pile of curly wool locks that had been individually dyed several colors such as gold, red, orange, peach, pink, blue, and turquoise. 

The next step was spinning the yarn.  It was really fun to watch how it all came together as I was spinning.  I was careful to leave the curly ends of the wool locks hanging out from the yarn for interesting texture.  I  plied the yarn into 2-ply for extra durability.  

Here is the finished skein- fun stuff :)

I made myself a crochet hat that is roomy enough to wear even when my hair is up without getting my hair all messed up.  This isn't a great picture of the finished product, but it'll have to do!  I do enjoy wearing my hat and I've even had a few compliments :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

My First Attempt at Knitting Lace

When I knit stuff with my handspun yarn I don't usually follow any kind of a pattern because it just seems like too much effort to figure out how to get the two into sync. That means I've never relly tried any knitting that is very complicated- or interesting.  So, I decided I wanted to try following some kind of a pattern and I decided on a lace pattern for a scarf I saw in a book.  I had one ounce of Tussah silk and one ounce of soft merino wool.  I tried to spin them as fine as I could and then plied them together. 
Tussah Silk

Spun Silk

Spun Merino Wool

Silk and Merino Plied

The silk is shiny and the wool is more matte. 

After I was done spinning my two ounces of fiber together (that's not much!) I decided I wanted to dye it.  I ordered some commercial synthetic dyes online and mixed up two colors to come up with this teal color.  

I let one half of the skein soak in the dye for awhile before I put the rest in to give the yarn a little bit of a variegation in the color.  

It came out a nice color... and I started to knit.  I of course had to change the pattern because I knew I didn't have enough yarn to make the scarf as wide as the pattern indicated.  :P

I enjoyed knitting the lace pattern, but I usually had to wait until the kids were busy to work on it, because I have trouble counting stitches and carrying on a conversation at the same time (you know how kids are with their out-of-this-world questions when you are trying to concentrate on something)!

Levi wanted to take a picture of me knitting, so here it is :)

This is what it looks like.  As you can see it didn't turn out overly "lacy", so I probably should have spun my yarn even thinner.  Live and learn! It is soft and not itchy at all and it matches my eyes, so I guess it turned out satisfactory for what I put into it.  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pottery Class

Recently, I took a pottery class through our community education program.  It's the third pottery class I've taken, each in a different location and with a different teacher.  I wanted to take this class to get more practice using the potters wheel.  Even though I've had a little experience with the wheel, it was surprising how long it took for me to get the feel for it again!  I enjoyed playing around with the clay and I made quite a few pieces.  I found the most challenging or frustrating part for me was actually the glazing process because you never know just what color it is going to turn out to be.  I had a few pieces I really liked, until the color came out all wrong.  The color really makes or breaks the piece in the end!

Pinched Bowl

Slab Formed Mugs

Carved Slab Built Mugs

Mugs made on the wheel. 

I would like to do more pottery, but buying a potters wheel and a kiln is obviously my biggest hurdle.  Maybe someday I'll find a good deal on a some used ones!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Monster Hats and Owl Hats

Earlier this winter when I was looking for gift ideas for kids, I came up with the idea to make monster hats for the boys and owl hats for the girls.  I was originally planning to make the hats out of polyester fleece material, but I didn't have any on hand.  I could have ordered some online, but I did have several balls of leftover yarn someone had given me and some felt pieces, so I decided to use that instead.  .  

I knit the hats on one of those circular rigid plastic knitting things that you use with a hook that I got at a garage sale this summer.  I used two strands of yarn together, and they knit up fairly fast.  I think I made 10 of them.  I hand stitched the felt pieces onto the hats with a blanket stitch and embroidery yarn.   

The kids all seem to enjoy wearing their hats, so I guess I can say it was a hit!