Friday, May 31, 2013

Back to Back Backpacking

 This weekend I caved to my mountain fever, and got out not once, but twice! We went for a short vacation at Copper Mountain with the out-laws (Boyfriend's parents), then packed it in and went backpacking in the Lost Creek Wilderness.
 And no, the crafting did not stop. If I sits, I knits.
Looking forward to a great camping season! We will need a lot more moisture to avoid a bad fire season tho, and last summer was a doozy. What are your favorite summer retreats?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cutting Cookies

 This is my latest awesome cookie cutter - little scissors! I was so smitten I paid a full 3$ for it. Hey, I'm a vintage thrifter. That's a lot for old cookware. But how could I resist? I am a seamstress after all...

I used my usual basic butter cookies with a few tasty add-ins.
1 cup butter
1 cup honey
1/2 cup ground flax seed
A handful of lemon balm, crumbled fine between your palms.
baking soda (probably about 1 tsp. I never measure too hard)
~3 cups flour, to make a soft dough. I used a blend of white flour and whole wheat pastry flour.
 It took a long time to roll out all the cookies, since the cutter is funny shaped there's a lot of scraps at the end of each sheet. I added the jam dots mostly for looks, I was worried that the scissor shape wouldn't be obvious without them! That's just peach jam, pureed to be smooth.
I worried too much, the little scissors are definitely cutting and cute. Do you have a favorite odd cookie cutter? What shape do you make for your crafting group? Do I sound like a prim 50's housewife yet?

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Little Gloating...

I don't often show off on this blog, except for showing off all my FOs. But this has been such an epic project that it took five years to complete! This Craft Bitch got her piece of fancy paper.

I created an Individualized Degree called "Women and Textiles in History", which means that I had to pretend that all my random studies were focused on one greater end (I guess they kind of were...). Now what? More of the same! Only, with a fancy paper with my name on it. FORWARD!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Get your Granny on!

 I just reached the first great crochet milestone (well, after learning what HDC means), Granny Squares! Such a simple thing, with endless variations, and so much potential!. It makes great use of small amounts of yarn, and creates vibrant color swatches.

I learned the technique in my year-long afghan class, and the squares are piling up in shades of green. But I've never been able to focus that well...
 I received, via a de-stash chain, this box of wonderful hand-dyed yarns. Some are a nubby thick and thin, some a simple worsted. All of them have exciting color pallets, and combined they just sing. Each ball seemed to be a slightly different size, and no ball was big enough for any major projects.
So, thru the magic of granny squares, these great colors are getting stirred into a colorful afghan! The squares are popping out fast, I already have quadrupled them since taking these photos. Of course, at the end I'll have to stitch them all together.... Ugh.

Do you have fond memories of granny square blankets, or that famous 70's vest?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dandy Jam!

 After my last jaunt in dandelion land I was inspired to try my hand at making dandelion jelly. The soft scent of the blooms, and that rich yellow color seemed to promise a delicate lovely spread.

I picked a huge basket of flowers, easily done since my yard was blanketed in them! I had to move carefully to avoid stepping on a bee, and I picked only the flowers that were fully opened. Don't worry, there were still plenty left for the bees.
 Then began the grueling process of trimming all the flowers. The stem and green bit on the bottom of the bud is rather bitter, so i carefully chopped off most of the green bits. This diminished the volume of flowers quite a bit, and as we worked (I drafted the boyfriend into flower dissection duty) the petals seemed to shrink more and more into the measure cup.
 Finally! Four cups petals, four cups water, two cups honey, and some lemon juice. I simmer that a while, then strained out most of the flowers.  I wanted to keep a few petals in the mix to give it some body and color. I added 1 1/2 packets of low-sugar pectin. One packet just wasn't doing it, even after cooking down a while it was thin. I ended up cooking it down quite a while to get it syrupy enough.
 I canned in the usual way, it made 9 wee little jars (Not many for all the hours of prep work!) The jelly set up fairly thick (much to me surprise and delight) and spreads nicely.

I'll be gifting many of these, you guys better understand what a precious thing this is!
My breakfast the next morning was light and flowery! It's a spectacular yellow color, and has a subtle honey taste. Just perfect for a spring morning.

Have you ever made Dandelion Jelly? How did it go?

Friday, May 10, 2013

First Harvest - Radishes

I picked my first radish today. Ok, picked is a bit of a fib, the root was hanging almost entirely out of the ground, and I couldn't resist that rosy red tuber! It's been very rainy and strangely cool, so the radishes are growing quickly and not getting tough or too spicy.

In fact, I ate the whole thing. I couldn't resist munching a leaf while I ran inside to show my boyfriend.
"Oh!... Congratulations?"
*Munch munch munch*

I love the delicate spice of these (French Breakfast Radish, if you're wondering why it's so long.) and they can grow rather tightly. I'll be pruning out the fastest growers over the next few weeks, and when they are tender enough I eat the greens whole too. You can saute the greens if you don't like the fuzzy leaves, but I wouldn't let a garden fresh radish top go to waste! Or, when I want French Breakfast for breakfast, I slice up the root and leaves and cook them in an omelet with a light cheese.

I also make a light and tasty salad with them. I use a mandolin (The type that slices your fingertips, not the instrument) to finely shred several radishes and a crisp celery stalk. Then dress the veggies with a light vinaigrette and some sesame seeds. Hungry yet?

What's your first fruits of the summer growing season? Do you have a favorite way to eat radishes?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Alter Cloth

 I took a break from my year-long embroidery project to make this for a colleague in need. The triskellion is chain stitch in gold thread, the fire is staggered satin stitch, the tree is french knots, and the water is half chains for a wavy appearance. The center is a bind rune for Forseti, good of adjudication and justice.

Have you crafted things for your spiritual practice?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Finds - Spring has Sprung

The trees are finally greening around here, even with late snow storms passing thru they just cannot wait! I've been springing up the house to get in a flowery mood. Here's some Etsy pics to get you in the mood too!
Spring Birch - 2011 - 6 3/4 x 10 - Ink and Colored Pencil on Paper
Illustration by TonySheltonFineArt.
Add a 'welcome' to your front door with Forsythia, Wreath by ATPitman.

Bring the carpet of fresh greens inside with this crochet rag rug by TupperRugs.

Funky Handknit sweater by Tasssha, with pops of bright color and wild buttons!
DK Organic Merino "Spring Fever" Light Green, Yellow, Blue
Or, make your own spring time lovely, hand-dyed yarn by Gynx.