Drum roll! …. We have a WINNER!
On Sunday we entered two breads into the local Irish Soda Bread contest at Now You’re Cooking in Bath, Maine.
The competition was divided into two categories. Traditional Breads and Non-Traditional Breads. We entered one bread into each category.
I was interested in the traditional bread whereas Maria wanted to enter the one with lemon and raisins. It was her favorite when I made the first tryouts.
My bread was not among the three best ones, but Maria’s bread won the Non-Traditional category! Not bad for us two novices trying to figure this out!
I’ve never tasted Irish Soda Bread until a few days back. There was a tasting at my local natural foods store, I tasted it and I liked it! The first thing I did coming home was to do some research into its history and to find a recipe similar to the one I had tasted.
Then I heard there’s an Irish Soda Bread competition in my town. I love food competitions! It’s amazing how different people cook the same item in different ways. I decided to take part.
Now the Soda Bread had become a challenge! I’ve studied several recipes, baked a couple, and come up with my own versions. I’ve decided to enter one traditional and one with raisins and lemon.
Back in October I introduced you all to freeform crochet. Since then I’ve had a lot of fun exploring freeform techniques. Starting today I’m going to walk you through a few simple stitches and techniques to get you started in your own freeform crochet projects.
We’ll be starting off with the spiral. A spiral is made by crocheting in the round in a continuous way without joining the separate rounds with a slip stitch. The beginning can be made in various ways, crocheting in the first chain or making a magic circle being the most usual techniques.
The method used for inserting the hook adds to the look of the spiral, too. We’ll be going through all the techniques to make these different looks in this series, so don’t worry. 😉
For now we’re focusing on the purple spiral in the top left corner (above). It’s made with normal double crochet.
The other day I learned to crochet a ball. I was very pleased with the result, placed the ball next to the computer and thought it might be a fun cat toy. I had barely finished the thought when I saw a black cat face with big, round, golden eyes appear behind the screen. She looked straight at me and then at one fell swoop grabbed the ball, jumped off the table and disappeared! Later I found her playing soccer in the kitchen …
I put catnip inside the toys. In the pet store I found out that there’s also a catnip spray available. I chose the dried leaves but I will go back and check that spray again. The magic in the dried leaves will fade over time and I see the spray being an easy way to bring that magic back.
There’s lots of items around a house that make surprisingly interesting cat toys. The other day my cats found the plastic ring of an empty tape roll. It kept them occupied for a long time!
But sometimes it’s fun to give them something special. Here are some fun crochet cat toys:
Last fall we had some technical problems with the site and an external hard drive and … Well, don’t ask what happened, I couldn’t even begin to answer, but my darling daughter and web manager Anna fixed the problems. Unfortunately in the process we lost the photos in the older tutorials! Big bummer! We had to remove them all, but I’m working hard on redoing the recipes and tutorials to get them back up.
So far I have baked a Carrot Cake and a Cheesecake.
I’ve also posted the recipe for our favorite way to enjoy dark green leafy vegetables: Stewed Dark Green Leaves. Give it a try! It’s delicious! It’s even better with homegrown greens.
Last fall I made some rustic looking wooden shelves for our market booth. I wrote a tutorial on the instant wood ageing process using tea and a mixture of white vinegar and steel wool. Read Instantly Age Wood in order to make more sense of this post.
The reaction between the materials is still a mystery to me, but it intrigued me to the point I wanted to experiment further. I even tried it on fabric and rope!
When I used some old leftover mixture, the wood turned brown! Not gray at all, but a pretty chocolate brown as seen in the photo above. So I decided to make a sample using mixtures of different ages to see if the results got darker or browner over time.
I made four different mixtures. Two with the 10% white vinegar and two with 5% white vinegar.
Valentine’s Day is a lot more than just a pile of greeting cards. It’s a happy, fuzzy holiday all about appreciating the ones we love. But don’t let it fool you, heart and love related crafts are appropriate year round.
Here are quick and easy instructions to make some of my favorite heart crafts: a paper garland, a crochet heart, and a little puffy heart. You can make these with scrap materials and stuff from around the house!
Photos of naked babies on sheepskins is sooo yesterday! But of course it had to happen, now that I got real sheepskin for my second grandson Dexter.
Now, all the rage is to use props of various kinds. They can be cute or funky or silly or geeky or anything that catches the parents’ fancy. Often it’s something to show the interests of the parents. Just search for “baby photo props” on Google and you’ll get 5 million hits!
My daughter Maria wanted a dinosaur/dragon outfit for her newborn son’s photo. She asked me to make one in lime green and blue, and showed me a bunch of photos she had found online. Seemed easy enough: it’s just a beanie with an attached cape and a row of dorsal plates.
I happened to have cotton yarn in the requested colors. It’s a bit chunky, but it worked. Here’s how I made it: