Thursday, May 30, 2013

~Pick a Pin: Knit Jar Cozies~

So if there's something you really need, it is a sweater for your jar:

or two:

or quite possibly, three is the magic number:

I got a little carried away with my jar cozies. ;-) But I love the way they turned out! Now I just need a Cuppow and I'll be all set!

I have had these jar cozies pinned for 36 weeks, according to my pin. I used leftover wool DK weight yarn from my ripple afghan (finished project in this post) that I made so many years ago. I've now cleared out all my wool yarn from my yarn bin. Time to tackle the cottons and acrylics! :-)

Pattern here (if you're going to pin, please pin from the original site).

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

~More...Dryer Balls!~

After making my three dryer balls, I really wanted a few more. The only wool yarn left in my stash was a cone of sport weight yarn I bought in November 2006, when my sister and I visited Marr Haven. I figured this yarn has been giving me guilt long enough! No more! I will use it...for dryer balls! :-)

I didn't have a wool sweater to use for the centers, but I did have a very small amount of different wool yarn for two of the centers. Turns out with the scrap yarn and the cone of yarn, I had just enough for three dryer balls:

I wound them this morning, and then ran three loads of laundry (two hot, one warm), then through the dryer, and voila! three more dryer balls. :-)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

~Wool Dryer Balls~

Some friends and I got together to make some wool dryer balls. It was a fun morning together. Since the project didn't take too much thought there was lots of conversation, the topics ranging from all manner of crunchiness since we were already being so crunchy and making wool dryer balls (of course, the ultimate crunchiness I suppose, would be to line dry laundry and then we wouldn't need to have wool dryer balls, but I digress).

I had quite a few scraps of yarn from various projects, so my balls are uncoordinated:

Mine went through two wash loads (one hot and one cold), and then through the dryer. I like the way they turned out, and I'm using them this morning as I do laundry. So far, so good! :) I read that you can use from 3-6 balls in the dryer, so I'm thinking of making a few more.
If you're unfamiliar with dryer balls, their purpose is thus:
:::to separate the laundry as it tumbles to help it dry faster, preventing the laundry from bunching up
:::to prevent static so laundry softener is not necessary and
:::if they are wool, to absorb some of the moisture from the laundry, speeding up the drying time

Project notes: we had a wool sweater which was felted, and we started our balls with a  folded strip of the sweater, so we wouldn't need quite so much yarn. Then we just wrapped and wrapped and wrapped...after that we stuck the balls in nylon knee highs, separating them from one another by either a knot or tying it off with yarn. The nylons accomplish two things: they help the balls hold their shape through the wash and they prevent lint from clogging your drains. Also, it is important to note that 100% wool yarn that has not been treated for washing is necessary (the yarn will be labeled "washable" or "superwash" if it has been treated).

Unrelated: here you can see a glimpse of my flower bed. Everything but the petunias are perennials. I'm excited to see the Asiatic lilies bloom. I have three and this year two of them have reproduced. I'm not sure when to split them, but I assume it would be after they bloom. I'll have to look into that.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

~Pick a Pin: Wheat Tortillas~

I recently decided that I need to start utilizing my Pinterest boards a little more. I have actually made a lot of the recipes I've pinned, but I want to get to the sewing and crafting pins too! So I'm going to go through and pick some of my pins, and feature them here.

First up: wheat tortillas. The recipe is here. I was looking for something for lunch and decided on these. They were really good! And easy. Time-consuming, perhaps...but the taste is so much better than purchased tortillas, and there are not 32 ingredients in them. Just four.

This is where my picture should go:

But alas, after I ate lunch, and did a few things outside, I came back to photograph the remaining tortillas, they were gone. My husband enjoyed them too. ;-)

I filled them with beans which I had made previously, salsa I canned last year, and some shredded cheese. It was quite gratifying to know that I had made everything except for the cheese. I don't think I'll be making cheddar cheese any time soon! But I will be making these tortillas again!

Stay tuned for more Pinterest projects! I'm looking forward to some crafting, sewing, and cooking!

Monday, May 13, 2013

~Grape Jelly~

The last time my daughter went grocery shopping with me, she pointed to some grape jelly and asked what it was. I realized she's never had grape jelly! So I found some that was sugar free, and bought it for her. She loves it! She's eaten most of the jar in less than two weeks, so I figured I should make some of my own.

If you're looking for a quick canning project, here you go! I used Welch's 100% grape juice, a box of no-sugar pectin, and that's it! Of course, it isn't as sweet as regular jelly, but for our house it's perfect! I let my daughter help as much as possible, so she is quite proud of our jelly! Since I knew she would want to sample the jelly sooner rather than later, I left one of the jars unsealed and stored it in the fridge.

While I would love to source fresh Concord grapes and cook and strain the juice myself, I have to admit this is much easier! Now I can start my 2013 canning record. :-D

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

~Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies~

Do you ever have one of those days that chocolate just seems necessary? Today is one of those days for me!

I decided to make a batch of my favorite cookies, but I changed them up this time and they came out delicious! Who knew you could improve a Mrs. Field's cookie recipe? :-)

Preheat oven to 350*.

Cream together:
1/2 cup soft coconut oil (or butter)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Sift together, then add to creamed mixture:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt

Stir in:
1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Drop or form cookies and place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. I like to make bigger cookies, so mine usually take about 15 minutes.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

~Mango Ginger Jam~

I came across this preserves recipe and instantly wanted to try it out! Thankfully, ataulfo mangoes went on sale shortly after I found the recipe, so I was able to give it a go.

Since I wasn't canning it, I didn't follow the recipe exactly. I didn't let it sit overnight with the lime rinds, so even though it has lime juice in it, the finished product doesn't have much of a lime flavor. But that's ok - I like it the way it is! I ended up with a pint, since my six mangoes yielded only 2 cups of cut fruit.

When I first tried it, I wasn't sure if I even liked it! Then one morning I put spooned it into some! I was hooked! It reminded me of the ginger yogurt I used to get at one of our favorite Indian restaurants in California (though that yogurt didn't have fruit in it).

Since I didn't can it, I guess this doesn't count as the kick-off to my 2013 season for canning, eh? I'm looking forward to cherries which should be in season relatively soon. I have a few cherry recipes to try this year!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


This year we decided to have our garden here at our house. The drought last summer (but mostly the decision to not water!) killed off most of our grass anyhow! Plus having our garden in our yard will be way more convenient!

Our garden so far:

I must say that my husband has done about 99.9% of the work so far. I planted a 3-foot row of radishes and a 1 1/2 foot row of peas the other night.

Kevin also read up on how to start seeds, and has started almost all the plants we will be planting this summer:

They're doing pretty well! The trick is to have florescent lights hanging over the plants, and have the bulbs almost touching the plants. The bulbs aren't hot, and if the light is right there, the plants won't bolt and get too big before planting season. This project is one which my daughter got involved in. She got to plant almost all the seeds! She enjoyed the treks down to the basement to "check on the plants".

While I am not too involved at this point of the process, I most assuredly will be involved with the picking and canning part!

We will be growing quite a bit this year!
peas (sugar)
cucumber (pickling and salad)
beans (wax and green)
tomatoes (three varieties for canning plus a cherry variety)
assorted herbs

and I'm probably leaving some things out! We have grand plans this year! :)