Monday, June 13, 2011


Whew! Thank goodness I got that out of my system. Sometimes I feel the need to do a little hand sewing, and I always have grand plans for completed queen-size coverlets and quilts (see: Grandmother's flower garden, crocheted ripple blanket). This time I made myself stop with this tiny doll-sized product. It's about 9" by 11". I used Heather Bailey's tutorial for these. They're all from the scrap bin, and were actually pretty enjoyable to make. But I'm so glad to be able to let myself off the hook on this particular method. Sometimes there's too much inspiration out there, you know?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Yum! The strawberries are becoming a yearly spring tradition. We go to Wegmeyer Farm, out near my grandparents' place (and pretty close to my parents' new place, too). Everyone had a good time at the patch. Notice H's red shirt-- a deliberate clothing choice by Mama after last year's championship berry eating left his blue shirt purple with juice. This year H was more interested in picking and picking and picking than eating, though.

We picked enough for a couple of batches of jam and several gallon bags of frozen berries for smoothies. I'm always battling fruit float with my strawberry jam. Is the secret to let them macerate with the sugar for awhile before you cook the jam? For this batch, I just followed the recipe on the Pomona's box, and it's plenty tasty, although the fruit float is bad despite my turning efforts.

Also, while I appreciate the shorter cooking time (and using less sugar) with the Pomona's, for strawberries, it leaves the finished jam tasting a bit like freezer jam, of which I'm not a huge fan. (It works great for blackberries and blueberries, though, I've found.) I've got another batch of strawberries macerating with a vanilla bean in the fridge right now-- I'm going to try Food in Jars' strawberry-vanilla small batch jam tonight. It's a pectin-free recipe. I hope the extended macerating time will help me skip the fruit float.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Knitting Catch-up #1

We were moved out of our house almost all winter for a home renovation, so I didn't get to blog about the knitting projects that I completed in peak knitting season. I'm going to attempt to catch up, but there may be some unseasonable photos! This is George's stocking. It's (obviously) the same pattern as the other family stockings that I made in 2009. I think my favorite thing about this pattern is that it comes together so quickly with such a nice finished product. Line them in interlock and they look like a million bucks. Here are all the family
stockings hung by the chimney with care in the little house where we stayed during our renovations.

Pattern: Falling Snow Stocking by Jennifer Hoel, a free pattern on Ravelry
Yarn: Malabrigo Chunky
Needles: US 9
Lining: Cotton interlock


I bought milk kefir grains from Cultures for Health about a month ago, and have had a pint jar on the windowsill growing ever since the grains arrived. We had been eating a lot of "kefir" from our dairy delivery (love South Mountain Creamery) in smoothies and such, but it was getting too expensive. H loves it so much that I decided to begin making my own.

I wish I could say this was harder, but kefir is so incredibly easy to make. After rehydrating the grains, you really just dump them into milk and leave it, covered, for 24 hours. H's favorite smoothie is kefir with strawberries and a little honey. We have been eating it instead of yogurt. For about a year, I was making yogurt every week, first in a little yogurt maker and then in the crock pot, but this is so much easier I don't know that I'll ever go back to making the yogurt.

Our success with milk kefir is making me curious about water kefir. I am a little wary, though, because although milk kefir is a fermented beverage, it doesn't taste alcoholic in the least. I'm worried that water kefir will be like kombucha, which I can't stand. Has anyone tried making their own water kefir?