Sunday, October 24, 2010

Little Butterflies

The butterfly on the doll looks larger than its real size.  The finished butterfly measures 2 inches at its widest.  They are a breeze to make and take so little time.  The doll is modeling my latest beret/slouchy hat creation.  I hope in the near future to have a real little girl model this hat.

I am very happy with the slouch hat and will definitely wear them once the weather gets cooler.  I really like the fact that the fit of this hat is loose so it does not mat down your hair.  That can be a problem with wearing some tight fitting hats.  I think slouchy hats look good on everyone, don't you think?
 I made a video demonstrating how to make a little butterfly.  Try it.  Your butterflies will make you smile.

 The pattern can be found here:


Friday, October 22, 2010

On my Needles and Hook

It's finally getting a little cooler in Charlotte so I've been working on knitting and crocheting hats. This year I'd like to work specifically on the slouch design, which is in my opinion a very comfortable hat to wear. The problem with wearing beanies is that they mat down and mess up your hair. Slouchy hats on the other hand are loose and I think they are very stylish.

On a recent visit to Hobby Lobby I came across a really neat free pattern by Debbie Stoller to promote the yarn Bamboo Ewe.
 My first hat came out really slouchy since I used a Vanna's Choice 4 ply worsted yarn. Vanna's yarn is heavy worsted which is slightly heavier and thicker. The second attempt matched the gauge and I'm really happy with the results.  I used Karaoke soy silk yarn from my stash. 
I loved making this hat so I purchased a skein of Bamboo Ewe in the Lipstick colorway.  This yarn is also considered a 4 ply yarn, but is not as heavy as Vanna's.  Red Heart has sure come a long way with their yarn.  The feel and softness of this yarn is dreamy.

I  told you I was into making slouch hats.  This will be the crochet version which definitely goes much faster.  I could not resist including the pink butterfly to this we'll see if the butterfly stays or goes.  I'm in the process of creating a video which shows how to make this cute butterfly. 


Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Littlest Pumpkin

Originally uploaded by finadrea
Owen at seven months makes us all very happy. We are blessed with such a sweet member in the family. He can sit up straight as you can see and loves to eat most foods introduced to him. Does quite well with his two teeth.

Got Stains??

I try so hard not to stain my shirts -- but what can I say, it's an going thing with the stains. So yesterday I did some online research and found some green stain remover recipes. I only did a small batch to test if the recipe would indeed be effective.  The original recipe called for baking soda but I substituted that ingredient with washing soda. Washing soda is good to treat mustard, chocolate, blueberry, cola, meat, grease spatters and olive oil.  Washing soda is available at the Grocery Store.  I bought mine at Harris Teeter.   Here's the recipe:

Stain Remover
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup washing soda
1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide.

These quantities make a small batch.  Double the ingredients to make a larger quantity. Mix in a glass container  1 cup hot water,  1/4 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide.  Store this mix in a spray bottle.  I put this one to the test right away and it did work on my stained knit shirt. 

Note: If you shake mix while it's still warm, it will continue to to squirt without stopping, so wait to use until  the mix has cooled down to spray. Do shake the mix before spraying.
I was in the mood for trying recipes and since I ran out of my liquid soap I decided to try making my own.

Using your grater, finely grate about 1/2 a cup of bar of soap.  I got my goat milk soap from  Heart Creations. Add about a cup and a half of water.  Mix will be runny.   Pour the mix using a funnel into an empty liquid soap bottle or any bottle that has a pump.
Mixing with a wooden spoon did not quite break down the I looked around the kitchen and found something I could use.
I used the frother to break the soap flakes --- look how foamy it got....then
It was  tricky to get the mix down the funnel. lol.... as you can see. You learn all kinds of things.
I did end up with liquid soap and it's all natural.


Friday, October 08, 2010

Green Cleaning - Two Recipes

By definition green cleaning means cleaning to protect your health without harming the environment.  We benefit from using environmentally friendly products in many ways.  Just a few products will yield most of the cleaners or detergents you will need to keep your home naturally clean.   Most cleaning products can be made using borax, white vinegar, baking soda, castile soap, setzer water, lemon name a few.

I started with the laundry soap. I've been using it for a couple of weeks and absolutely love it.  It's also a great way to save money.

I have been looking for a recipe to make a general surface cleaner to clean my kitchen counter tops.  I found a recipe in this couple's blog: Young House Love.  You will love reading some of their posts.

I found the borax and the Castile soap in my Harris Teeter Grocery Store.  The other brand of Castile soap out there is Dr Bronner's.

 I used Dr Woods Pure Tea Tree Castile soap.  The back of the bottle has some wonderful recipes too.

All Purpose Surface Cleaner
You will need:

4 tsp borax
1/2 tsp Castile Soap
4 cups Hot water

I used my 4  cup Pampered Chef measuring cup to mix the borax and the castile soap. Mix well until the mix is well dissolved.
Pour dissolved mix into a plastic spray bottle.  I found the 24 oz ones at a Dollar General for $1.00.  It helps to use a funnel to pour the liquid into the bottle.  Do it in your sink as there will be spills.
Label your bottle.
 The next green cleaning recipe can be used to clean your toilet and sinks.  The recipe calls for castile soap, baking soda and white vinegar.  The recipe is here.  To store this cleaning product you will need a plastic bottle with a squirt top.  As you can see the baking soda and the castile soap shake well before using.
Have fun green cleaning.


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Another Way to Eat Oatmeal

Cooler weather has finally arrived which gets me in the mood to cook or bake.  I have a confession to make, I eat oatmeal every day.  It's one of those foods I grew up eating and love it in any way.  I am referring to the Old Fashion Oats which are better and less refined.  I have been doing research about eating foods which score low in the glycemic index.  These are the foods that have less impact on raising the blood sugar.  On the other hand foods with a high glycemic have an effect on the hormone insulin that is released into our bodies.  Oatmeal is one of those foods which score low.  I am changing some of my eating habits due to the fact that I have a tendency to high triglycerides. This weekend I made a Pumpkin-Almond Granola mix and it turned out pretty good.  Even Cliff who never eats oatmeal like it.  He put it in a shaker spice jar to keep in the car and snack.

Pumpkin-Almond Granola
 4 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract 1/2 a cup
Dried cranberries or Pomegranates 
Combine the 4 first dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix the last four ingredients.  Pour these into the oat mix and distribute well.  Spray a cookie sheet or a Pampered Chef large Bar pan with cooking spray.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes.  You will need to stir the granola every 10 minutes or so.  Watch it towards the end so it does not get too dark and burns.  Stir the dried cranberries during the last 5 minutes of the cooking process.

 Allow the granola to cool completely and store in a jar.  Granola is great by itself or you can use it to add crunch to yogurt or ice cream.  
I have been using the Agave nectar instead or regular sugar as a sweetener.  Agave nectar is a natural sweetener which also scores low in the glycemic index.  Unlike artificial sweeteners it does not have an after taste. It actually does have more calories  than regular sugar per tablespoon but since it is so sweet you need less for example to sweeten your coffee or tea.  Read more about the benefits of the Agave Nectar here.