Monday, August 30, 2010

Latest Owl Happenings

As you well know, I knit owls...and it makes me happy.  I keep coming up with ideas and I'm discovering that the possibilities are endless.  That is what is so neat about crafting and creating.  Once I get an idea or an inspiration my brain begins to work.  Recently, Nancy my friend and ex circulation manager at Mint Hill Branch Library said Emma and Marie had requested a purple owl and a blue owl.  Nancy is Emma's and Marie's grandmothers.

Chloe and Zoe were made my special request.  They were knitted using bright cotton yarn which I'm sure the girls will love.  The girls also requested hats, so I designed the newsboy cap.  I added the purses.  Girl owls need purses, don't you agree?
I have redesigned the talons and Chloe had surgery this morning.  The owls stand up on their own.
Chloe after her talon surgery.
Remember the bright eyed blue eyed owl I was working on?
He is finished.  I name him Theo and he is ready to go back to Owl school.  He wants to get He will soon be listed on my Etsy shop.  Theo is my first blue eyed owl.
Theo and I would like to wish all those going back to school and all the home school moms including my daughter all  the best.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cooking Green Plantains

Cooking green plantains is very easy. During my recent visit to Compare Food Latin Market I picked up some.  To peel off the thick rind, first cut plantain into 2 or 3 sections depending on the size.
Use the point edge of a knife and cut through the rind.  Make at least three cuts in this manner.
 Peel off using your fingers.
I just realized I don't have a picture showing how to cut plantain.  There are two was you can cut the plantain, in slices no larger than 1/4" thick or in chunks about an inch in thickness.  The picture below shows the thicker plantain.  In my country these are called Patacones.  Puerto Rican's call these Tostones.
To make the Patacones, after cutting in approximately 1" thickness, you will fry in hot oil (vegetable oil or canola oil).  You will need to put more or less 1/4" oil in your frying pan. Cook on each side until the plantain changes color.  It will not be cooked through yet.  Remove plantain chunks from the oil and mash them.  If you don't have a masher like mine you can use a clean brown paper bag.  Place plantain in between two sections of paper and mash the plantain.
 This is the plantain masher I bought in Panama.
 The plantain will look like this after you mash it.
 After mashing the plantains, return them to the hot oil to finish the cooking process.  You will now just cook them for a couple minutes on each side on the hot oil.
 Cooked plantains.  Sprinkle sea salt or regular salt once they are cooked. 
The ones in chunks are semi cooked.  Semi  cooking makes it possible to mash the plantains.
The easier method of cooking green plantains is to simply slice and fry in hot oil. They cook very quick so keep an eye.  Place hot plantains on paper towels.   Sprinkle salt as soon as they are done.
It is best to cook and eat your plantains right away.  If you do have left overs you can save in the refrigerator but will have to reheat in the oven or toaster oven to restore the crispiness. 

Plantains are good to eat and good for your health too.  Read more about the nutritional value of the plantain here


Monday, August 16, 2010

Birds of a Feather

Take a peek at the blue eye Owl which is still a work in progress.
Here are some other winged knitted creatures....
Life size knitted bird.
Yellow Baby Bird.  Found this nest during our trip to Bryson City, NC.
Pink baby bird.
Blue Baby Bird. or Twitter Bird.
Tried to make a baby bird with feathers on top.
...not sure about those feathers on the top.

Just like the Lord provides for little winged creatures in real life, He will also provide for all your needs.
Man is God's prized creation.  He loves you.  Trust him with your life and welcome Him in your heart.  I did....


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shopping Experiences this Weekend

I finally made it to the two stores that cater to the Asian and Hispanic community. Our first stop was at Super G Mart International Food. It is located in the old Bi-Lo store on Independence Blvd near Margaret Wallace.  There also used to be a Best Buy store in the same shopping center. The majority of the people shopping were orientals...and I was mainly really impressed at the large amount of produce (fruits and vegetables)....some I had never seen before.
How is this for a fruit?  It's the Jack Fruit and it's the largest known fruit in existence.  Cliff said this one weighed around 30 lbs.  Wish I could have sampled some.  I intend to read more about this huge fruit.  Compare Food also carries this huge specimen.  It is sold by the pound.
Not sure if this is a fruit or a vegetable.  I think it's a fruit and it's not 59 cents each but the pound.
Read about it here.
The eggplants were so beautiful and quite abundant.  I will definitely buy some when I run out.  We have had eggplant growing all summer in our garden.
Our next stop was at the Compare Food Store.  This is the one I was more interested in going since it carries latin/hispanic food. Their produce section was not quite as large as the first store we visited.  The fruit selection was good and they carry my favorites, papayas, mangoes, beautiful limes, plantains, etc...and some fruit I had never seen before.  This one was not labeled and I have never seen it in Panama.  Very pretty to look at bright and colorful. The spice wall was immense as you can see in the background.
Checking out our items.  I only bought items I'm not able to get at my regular stores, such as plantain chips, green plantains, yucca, Masarepa (for making corn tortillas) and papaya. I am planning to prepare the  yucca today.  I would definitely do more shopping at this store in the future.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Amigurumi - Crocheted Stuffed Toys

Amigurumis have oversize heads and small bodies and extremities.  This is the Panda I have been working on for Jessica.  The end result is almost always cute.  Wikepedia defines Amigurumi as a Knitted Stuffed toy but I think it should be Crocheted Stuffed Toy.

Perfect round Oversize Head

To make a perfect round head follow this pattern:

The number in the ( ) represents the number of stitches once the round is worked.

Round 1: Chain 2, make 6 single crochet in the second chain from the hook. (6 single crochet)
Round 2: Work 2 single crochet in each single crochet in each single crochet. (12 single crochet)
Round 3: *Work 1 single crochet, 2 single crochet in the next  single crochet. Repeat from * to the end (18 single crochet)
Round 4: *Work 2 single crochet, 2 single crochet in the next single crochet. Repeat from * to the end (24 single crochet)
Round 5: *Work 3 single crochet, 2 single crochet in the next single crochet. Repeat from * to the end (30 single crochet)
Round 6 to Round 13 - Work even - One single crochet in each single crochet (30 single crochet)
The following is a decreasing row:
Round 14: *Work 3 single crochet, 1 single crochet decrease. Repeat from * to the end (24 single crochet)

Attach the eyes at this point.
Make another decrease row:
Round 15: *Work 2 single crochet, 1 single crochet decrease. Repeat from * to the end. (18 single crochet)
Round 16: *Work 1 single crochet, 1 single crochet decrease. Repeat from * to the end. (12 single crochet)

At this point you may begin stuffing the head using polyester fiberfill.

This is the last decrease:
Round 17: *Skip 1 single crochet, work 1 single crochet.  Repeat from * to the end (6 single crochet)

Cut the yarn and leave a 4 inch tail to close up the small hole. Fasten off pull on tail and weave in tail inside

 Part 1 of this video shows how to start making the head.

Part 2 of this video shows how to begin the decreases that will shape the amigurumi head.

I'm finished and I  hope Jessica likes me.


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Owl I Phone Cozies

It's amazing how many things can be crafted to look like an owl. These cozies are specially made to accommodate the I-Phone. The bright colors will please people of all ages. My preferred yarn for these cozies is 100% cotton yarn. The beaks have been made using repurposed wool. I recommend hand washing these cozies and air drying.

The tweedy owl made with Sugar 'N Cream Twists is the first one of its kind made.
It's fun thinking of all the color combination. I really like purple an orange together.

  These cozies were made by request for an Etsy buyer.  Thank you so much for your support.