Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Paying it Forward

I found out about this while perusing all the wonderful Sew Mama Sew giveaways out there!   It seems like such a nice way to meet other bloggers, and to spread the handmade love a bit further!  

Here's the dealio:

I am entering into the following contract with the first 5 people who comment and then commit to do the same on their blog.  Just read below and if you feel up to the task copy the following into your blog and leave me a comment. I am willing to post overseas (I am in Colorado, but remember you must commit on your blog to do the same to others.

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. Whatcha get is whatcha get.
2. What I create will be just for you, with love.
3. It’ll be done this year (2009).
4. I will not give you any clue what it’s going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something
cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. Or it may be monstrous and annoying. Heck, I might bake something for you and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that’s for sure!
5. I reserve the right to do something strange.
6. In return, all you need to do is post this text on your blog and make 5 things for t
he first 5 to respond to your blog post.
7. Send your mailing address - after I contact you.

Welcome to everyone. I will however, make an effort to do something that you like based on what I see on your blog, BUTthere is no guarantees.

So that's that!! 

Thanks Bec Clarke for bringing this to my attention!!  I'm looking forward to a little something from Australia!  (Isn't it amazing how the internet makes us all seem just a little closer!)  

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Giveaway Day

Hi there and welcome to my crafting blog!  I'm so excited to be a part of giveaway day this time around, and am looking forward to checking out all the great blogs, sites and shops out there!  
Today, I'm giving away a small knitting needle/crochet hook holder!  I use the Beta version of this guy all the time for my own gear, and hope you will find it useful.  This one has 21 pockets for straight needles or hooks, and three wide pockets that can be used for circular needles or afghan hooks.  It also has a little Velcro-closure pocket that can be used for stitch markers or whatnot!  

The flap folds over and it ties closed.  

This baby measures in at about 10"X 15".  Folded, it's about 10" X 5.5".  

I'd be happy to ship internationally.  

To win this fine made-by-me prize, please comment below and let me know what's currently on your needles or hook, (or what's up next if you don't have anything going)!  

I'll keep the giveaway open through Sunday, May 31st.  

I'm looking forward to hearing from you!  Thanks for playing.  

Monday, May 25, 2009

Busy weekend!

I got a lot of sewing done this weekend visiting my MIL's cabin in Southern Colorado.  This is the first time I've ever taken my sewing machine on a trip with me, and it will not be the last.  It was a perfect place and time to sew.  

I spent a good deal of my free time leading up to the trip getting my fabric ready to go so I wouldn't have to do much cutting or measuring.  That's definitely the most time-consuming part, and also the messiest part!  

Anyway, it worked.  I made 17 squares for the 9-patch quilt-a-long.  Now I'm up to 31, and just barely staying ahead of the game.  I think I like the more mono-chromatic squares best... I'll have to do more of those.  

And I made two knitting needle cases!  One of these has long been promised to my good friend Lesley,  and the other one is for give-a-way day on Wednesday!!  So check back then and you could win it!!  
Here's what they look like inside - I was lazy and just did a velcro patch pocket on these instead of the zipper, but I think it will do the trick.  

Not bad for a couple hours work after baby's bed time!!  Now if I could only be that productive the rest of my evenings!  

Making and Straining Yogurt

We've been eating a lot of yogurt lately, so I decided I would start to make it myself.  This way I would know exactly where the milk came from (our dairy), and I wouldn't have to pay the high prices for the thick, Greek style yogurt I like.  

The process is very easy actually, and just takes a bit of time, and some trial and error, (in my case).  Hopefully I've made all the errors for you.  

All you need is some milk (whole or skim or anything in between),  and some yogurt with live active cultures in it.  I guess some yogurt might have more active cultures than others, so you may have to test this out yourself.  I've had success with Stonyfield Farms and Brown Cow, and maybe a couple others, I don't remember.  Now I just use my own yogurt if I have the presence of mind not to eat it all.  

You can make it in any quantity you want.  The batch in the pictures is a half a gallon of skim milk.  I use about two tablespoons of yogurt for that much milk, but I may be using more than necessary.  Better safe than sorry.  

Heat up your milk to just short of boiling, (the book I use says 180 degrees F but I've boiled it before and it works just fine.)   Take it off the burner and let it cool down (according to the book, to 116 deg F).  About 20-30 minutes.  

While milk is cooling turn the oven on to the lowest setting, (mine is 170 but anything over 120 should be fine).  Whisk your yogurt in a small bowl.  
When your milk is between 115 and 135 deg F, whisk some of it into your yogurt.  This is where I've screwed it up before... I've killed my cultures by adding them to milk that was too hot.  They curdled pretty obviously though so I think you'll know if it happens to you.  Then mix your cultures back into the rest of the milk.  I do all of this in a glass or ceramic bowl with a well fitting lid.  

Put the lid on, and stick it in the warm oven.  Turn OFF the oven.  I turn the light on for a bit more heat.  

Let it sit for four hours.  Check it, and if it's still very milky, let it sit for another hour or two.  

You have yogurt!  (sorry I don't have a pic of the plain yogurt done.)

The longer you let it sit the tangier it gets.  I've let it sit over night... I've even added more cultures to milk I'd already let sit over night, (I guess I'd killed the first cultures and didn't know it!)  

Once it's set, you can stick it in the fridge.  If it stays warm the cultures just keep multiplying and it gets even tangier.  If the whey separates just stir it back in.  

Now if you want to strain it, no big deal!  Get a couple of layers of cheese cloth, (or in my case surgical grade gauze), and lay it in a strainer.  Spoon your cold yogurt into it and tie up the ends.  I did this from my kitchen faucet the first couple times, but then my husband was kind enough to place a hook underneath one of my cabinets for this purpose.  Allow the whey to drip from the yogurt as the pressure squeezes it out.  Deppending on how thick you want it you can let this sit for hours.  I put a bowl underneath because the whey can be tasty in recipes instead of water or milk, (pizza dough, pancakes, smoothies).  Or, if you're not baking feed it to your plants.  

Here's the final product after four hours and a bit of extra squeezing... I use this stuff instead of sour cream on burritos!  And it's very high in protein.  And yes... this was made with skim milk!  

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Last night I crossed one thing off my list!  A new pincushion.  

I will not be sad to say goodbye to this relic.  

I made it when I was 12 or 13 or so.  It stabs me every time I pick it up, and it's not very pretty. 

This on the other hand is so cute!  I made it from tiny scraps that I probably couldn't use for much else.  And I found the most perfect button for the top!!  I'm loving it already!! 

Thanks to Sew Mama Sew for the cute idea during Fat Quarter week!! 

Monday, May 4, 2009


Well, after a long break from my sewing machine, I'm back at it.  I started doing squares for Amanda Jean's one-a-day nine square quilt.  

I figured getting to my machine once a day would get us both back in sewing shape.  And having to make lots of little scraps would also force me to work on some of the projects I've bought fabric for, (and maybe even cut into some of the stuff I've been hoarding!) 
And I think it's working!  

I've finished up the major blocks for a headboard/wall hanging/quilted picture for the guest room/library/office/sewing room, (I guess everything has to be multi-purpose in that room!). 
And at my DH's request I started a little doorstop.  I wanted to make it a house because I really liked this one I ran across somewhere.  

I also made a little skirt for my baby girl, but I think it'll look a bit better after washing... I have to work the kinks out of the baby alterations I made to this amazing tutorial.  

And I'm sure there are some other projects I should be working on too... I think I need a new pin cushion... maybe I'll do that next.  I just have to decide which one... I've seen so many cute and creative ones out there it'll be tough!