Showing posts with label Hobbies
I need to stay away from Etsy.  Just a few seconds on there and the next thing I know I have a dozen new knitting patterns, a few sewing patterns, some incense, a new shirt... Oh my.  I am NEVER going on there again.
I like to pretend I know how to sew but truth is I'm really no good at it.  I wish I could make fancy clothing or a nice set of drapes but my skill level only allows for sloppy doggie wraps and maybe a tiny hand bag that small children will like.

Doing this post for my friend Julie, my sewing "lingo" is my own, I have no idea what the proper verbiage is for those that actually know how to sew.


The best type of fabric for the belly band is a thin fleece because it is soft against your dogs skin.

Cut two pieces of the same size fabric.  The size will depend on your dog.  I cut two pieces that measure 17" long and 6" wide (remembering the seam allowance of 1/4").


Then I line the two pieces of fabric up together (right side in)





Next, I sew three sides of the rectangle (1/4" seam allowance) leaving one 6" end open to flip right side out later.




After you flip the sewn piece right sides out then you'll bend in the edge of the open pieces of fabric and sew closed.



Then when you are done with that you can apply velcro to each end of your belly band.  I use velcro with adhesive and although the package says it does not need to be sewn on I have found that to be NOT TRUE.  If I don't sew the velcro in place it comes off in the wash so definitely sew it on.  


I sew one line on each side down the full length of the belly band so it goes over the ends of the velcros and then I sew across the width of the fabric through the velcro also so it remains firmly in place.

This is what it looks like when all finished.


P.S. Don't forget the pantie liner that goes inside the belly band to absorb urine.
It's always fun to see what people do with their Christmas trees after the holidays.  If you ever go on Pinterest you'll find some really cool ideas or just surfing the web you'll find some interesting ways of making your tree last.  This is one thing we've done with ours.


Step One: Cutting the tree trunk


Step Two: Decide where to drill cavity for candle.


Step Three: drill candle cavity


Step Four: drop in candle and you now have a rustic, natural candle holder and it took less then 15 minutes :-)







My daughter and I made some vanilla extract again this year.  We'll be giving these bottles away at Christmas time. 

Last time I made vanilla extract I purchased beans from Beanilla, I really wanted the Mexican vanilla beans at the time but they were all sold out so I bought the Madagascar beans instead.  I found that I really loved the way the vanilla turned out so I ordered the same this year.



I learned I could make my own vanilla from someone on Twitter.  Prior to that I would always buy the McCormick brand from the grocery store.  What I don't like about the cheap commercial vanilla extract is the ingredients tend to be vanilla bean extractives, alcohol, water, and corn syrup.  Why eat corn syrup when you don't have to?

So...I figured if I didn't know I could make my own then maybe others didn't know either, so here is a little tutorial.

What you need: vodka (40%), 4 oz. bottles (mine are from Specialty Bottle), and vanilla beans (mine are from Beanilla).  Beanilla also has instructions on making vanilla extract 





Once you've opened your vanilla beans cut them in half.



Then slice each one down the middle (do not cut all the way through, just slice the first layer)



Open the bean (the inside is where the good stuff is).



Put 5 of the cut beans into each jar.  I had a package of 10 vanilla beans so I ended up with 20 pieces after I cut them in half so I made 4 jars of vanilla extract)



Fill each jar with vodka, make sure you cover the beans.


When you are done filling the jars, cap and label them.  Put them in a dark cool place to sit for 6 weeks.



Here are the labels I made for my vanilla extract.  If you want to use them just CLICK HERE, print on sticker paper and cut out.
I finally moved on to washing the raw wool. The first bag was pretty clean. I wish I knew who I bought that particular bag from because that person takes immaculate care of their sheep. The second bag was pretty awful in terms of lanolin - maybe it has to do with the type of sheep??? I have no idea.

So... part one: pick through raw wool to get rid of particles like hay or poop. Part two: wash wool. 

I thought I ruined my first bag of wool because it looked felted when I removed it from the wash basin but once it dried it was absolutely fine. A few felted spots but not too bad.  The second bag I didn't poke at as much so it didn't felt at all but I have to admit that I really don't like the color. I wanted wool I could dye and the second batch doesn't seem suitable for that.

First bag of wool washed


I used a mesh bag to put the wool in. I learned quickly that I put too much wool into the mesh bag, should have just used a few ounces or else a larger bag. 

I filled the basin with water at a temp of 130 F and added the fleece scour solution.  Lastly I added my little bag of wool and watched as the water turned fro clear to a yucky yellow. The whole house smelled like sheep butt thanks to the steam coming off the water. That's ok though because I love sheep butt :-)

I turned the bag a couple times in the 30 minute soak and then transferred the wool to another basin full of clean water and fleece scour and turned once in 15 minutes. To finish I put the wool in a clean rinse basin and pushed it around a few times until I felt the wool was free of the fleece scour solution.



When done I just let the bag sit in the sink and drain out, when it drained as best as it could I dumped the wool onto a towel and let it sit until it was no longer wet. Once dry I pulled it apart. Now, I have no idea if pulling it apart will make it difficult to card since I am new to all of this but I'll soon find out.

Carding will be part three :)




After 30+ years thinking about it, I finally made some maple syrup. Don't laugh but here it is. This came from a silver maple tree in the city so we get the added taste of pollution too. Haha!
I admit it, I'm a fiber hoarder.

I'm also a book hoarder, a yarn hoarder, a soap supply hoarder, a card supply hoarder and... ok, you get the point. 

Problem with raw fiber is you really can't hoard it for very long or else the moths move in so... after stashing this stuff away for nearly a year I decided it was time to deal with it.


Now... just in case you didn't know, this is my first time working with raw wool. I've been spinning fiber for a few years and decided last year while shopping around at the Shepherd's Harvest Festival that it was time to learn to process wool on my own.  It's fun buying fibers that are already prepared for you but I think doing it all myself will give me a whole new appreciation for sheep.  

Luckily, this batch didn't have any moths fluttering around inside.  Being the squeamish person that I am I begged Maya to take the bag outside and inspect it before I'd even touch it.  Yay! No moths! In fact, the wool had lost most of its sheepy smell and took on the scent of our house and that's nice, now I'm just working on picking out the poopy parts, which is called "skirting the fleece".  This batch of wool isn't very dirty so I'm thinking it was cleaned up pretty good before they sold it to me but it still needs to be plucked over, the short fibers removed and then washed to get rid of most of the lanolin. So when I call this "raw wool" it isn't anywhere near as raw as the stuff that would come straight from the skirting table right after the sheep is shorn.

Once I'm done picking through this batch I'll separate out the good stuff and then wash, card and dye it.  Stay tuned :D

Anyone reading this post ever process raw wool? Tell me about it! I want to know what your experience was like. 

I wish I had a bumper sticker that said real friends make sure you never stop creating or maybe even better would be real friends know that creating keeps you sane or something like that.

My friend Teresa over at Homestead Notes (growing, writing, creating) is the person my bumper sticker would be referring to.  When I was giving up on knitting, she mailed me a a pattern for knitted sox to keep me going, when I told her I wish I could bake like her she sent me an awesome cookie recipe to get me baking, and most importantly when I don't say anything at all she knows exactly what I need - like the wonderful wolf fabric she sent me yesterday.  It came at the perfect time, bringing a smile to my face after learning that the injunction to stop the wolf hunt has been denied.  Yes, fabric with beautiful wolf faces makes me smile in the midst of all the idiocy of hunting and trapping.

Teresa knows that one key to inner peace is being creative.  Whether that be writing, making soap, knitting or baking... creativity is the spice of life :-)

So this post is for you T - Thank you!!

The beautiful wolf fabric Teresa sent:



My first lace scarf.  I'm actually about to finish it and it only took me 2 months. Yay! (don't laugh but I'm thinking I might frame it. LOL!)





and... the awesome cards I received in a swap.  I don't have pix of the ones I sent to others but here is what I received back:















While I was at Shepherd's Harvest Festival in May I learned that Minnesota had one Fiber CSA and of course I wanted to join immediately. I like the idea of raw fiber mailed to me every couple months for two reasons:
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