Thursday, June 04, 2009

Some Old, Some New

My computer is working against me today. I've tried posting to the blog three different times and something has gone wrong every damn time. So, fourth time's a charm, right?

Okay, before I get to the new, let's talk old stuff:

1. I did a massive dyeing project a couple of weeks/months ago and realized that I never showed you my color wheel that I made from the project. So, without further ado, here ya go:

I also found two colors that I missed while dyeing the roving. The purple and the green are not true and broke easily, so the colors that they gave are really odd sometimes. But that's okay and that is why this testing was conducted, so that I would have a better grasp on what the dyes would do straight out of the box. The center three are not primaries, they are secondary colors. Please don't think that I haven't a clue as to how it is supposed to look. I just got lazy about putting the three in the center when I already have them placed in the circle.

I am now very thankful to have all of the big pile of roving off of my table in my dining room/office/craft room. I'm sure it won't be long until some other crap moves in to take it's place on the table.

2. I'm still working on my first log cabin square. This would have been finished by now except that I noticed that I had picked up stitches on the wrong side of two different parts. :sigh: By the way, the Debbie Mumm Traditions yarn does not like to be ripped out. It's not fun.

On to something new:

I got the urge to dye some roving again. As a matter of fact, I wanted to play with 4 ounces of Falkland and I wanted to do some natural dyeing with tea. I have dyed fabrics with tea and yarn, but I wanted to try for a deeper color this time.

So I soaked the Falkland in water with some Alum and Cream of Tartar for a couple of hours while I took the Eldest to a gym class.

While that was going on, I got out my huge enamel pot and filled it with water and about a bajillion tea bags that I had lying around from an old tea party that I gave a few years ago. Yes, I said years. While I drink tea, I don't usually drink it caffeinated and at this point it would be too stale to drink anyway. I also added some ammonia to the mix (smells godawful now) in order to try and get a deeper richer color out of the tea.

The wool is now soaking and I'll probably let it soak overnight. I can't wait to see what color brown that I get out of it.

If it works out, it'll be one of the first few items that I will list in my new Etsy store. I'll throw out a link to it when it goes up. See ya tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

New Project on the Needles

In an effort not to kill my children yesterday (Dear God, Please let school start again soon!), I picked up a new knitting project. It had to be one where there was minimal counting, thus minimal thought. As I began knitting it, I had to force my fingers not to clutch the project. I think they were dreaming of wringing two little necks.

The problem is that I have one kid who is a tattler (The Eldest who always follows the rules) and one (The Youngest who never follows rules) that likes to just irritate the other. Well, yesterday it all irritated me. When I was done with them, they thought the Hammer of God had fallen on them. I was so incredibly steamed. They tried to start again this morning and then thought better of it when I lit into them again. There was no way I was going to go grocery shopping and listen to that the entire time.

So. A new project came into being. I chose The Log Cabin Afghan. Super easy project that is good for beginners and for using up scraps. Except I don't have scraps, but I do have some yarn that I bought initially for a top and hated it. It's not a great yarn, but it is pretty and soft and will be good for an afghan. It's Debbie Mumm Traditions that I purchased from JoAnn's. It's an acrylic/wool blend that is corespun and difficult to work with because of it. The stuff on the outside likes to slide up the core of the yarn and bunch up. You have to hold it very loosely to keep it from bunching.

This is what the square looks like so far:

I have no idea how big I want this to be or what who it is going to be for. I just knew that it had to be simple and you don't get anymore simple than garter stitch. I have made one change in the pattern so far. I did squares one and two together continuously since I am working from only one skein at a time. I'm not changing colors, the yarn does that just fine on it's own. The color changes in this yarn remind me a great deal of Noro Kureyon. This square is about two thirds finished. It looks like I might get 2 to 3 squares (approx. 9" square) per skein.

This will be a long term project. It'll be great for the beach vacation we have planned in July, something to do in the cottage when it gets too hot to be outside.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Rampant Stupidity

Flax Gel Report - Wonderful stuff! Love how it makes my curls look. Next time I will make a larger batch since I need to use quite a bit of it for my hair. But since it only takes 10 minutes, it won't be a problem. The only problem I have with the whole thing is it needing to be kept in the fridge. I know some people add vitamin E oil to help as a preservative, but I'm wondering if a pinch of citric acid would work as well. Just a thought.

Obviously last night was "Mad Scientist" night in my kitchen. I made a face spritz (I called it a spritz because of the container it's in. It could also be called a toner.) too that I like. I boiled some water (measured by how large the container was that I was going to be putting it in) and added one aspirin, some yarrow from my garden and some lavender from there as well. We'll see how well it works in the long run. Anything to help with adult acne will be very welcome.

But there were issues in making this. Evidently stupidity was running rampant on the part of the person cooking up all this stuff. I won't say who it was, you'll just have to use your imagination for that, but she poured some really hot water into a plastic bottle that imploded on the counter. Made a big mess, but it smelled nice. So I had to do the whole face spritz making thing twice! I might add a few drops of essential oil in there just for fun next time.

But I'm tellin' ya: Rampant stupidity was plaguing the kitchen last night.

Monday, June 01, 2009


I've been experimenting with flax seeds lately. Flax is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and is very high in fiber. Basically, it's good for you so go eat it, right? Yes (and I'll have a yummy recipe for you in a sec), but did you also know that you can make a hair gel with it that is fantastic for curly hair?

I didn't either. So today I decided to experiment, cuz I'm crazy that way and have mega naturally curly hair.

The basic recipe for the gel is as follows:

1 cup boiling water
2 Tbsp. flax seeds

Boil together for 10 minutes or until gel forms and then strain out seeds (difficult). Store in fridge and use as needed.

What I did:

1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1 small tea bag - purchased online years ago, can't remember where exactly. You can get them at health food stores to make your own teas. Very handy to have.

Put the ground flax in the tea bag and ironed closed. Boiled it in the water for 10 minutes and allowed to cool in fridge. May need to boil a little longer in order to get it to gel.

I haven't tried it in my hair yet. Tomorrow when I wash my hair and get the current product out of it, I'll give you a report. If it works the way I've been told, it will be way cheaper than buying hair gel.

Now for the really good stuff:

Let me preface this recipe by saying that I hate healthy cookie recipes. I can't stand them. Yuck, Yuckitty, Yuck. But...

I found one that I absolutely adore. Guess what? Has flax in it. Even better? I call these my skinny cookies. I can eat one or two of these and make my sweet tooth happy and it fills me up so that I don't eat about forty in one sitting. Yay!

The recipe comes from the book "Beauty Secrets of the Bible". If you are into making your own natural beauty products, this book has some neat stuff in it as well as this recipe.

(Adapted by me)BSB Chocolate Chip Flaxseed Cookies:

1/2 cup butter or margarine (original recipe called for butter substitute. I used what I had which was margarine)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 brown sugar - I used dark since that is what I had on hand
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 12oz pkg dark chocolate chips (Semi-sweet works too, just not quite as healthy)

Cream butter, sugar and flaxseeds together. Add egg and vanilla. I then slowly added the salt, soda and flour. Then add the chocolate chips. Drop Tbsp size portions onto cookie sheet. These do not spread while baking so you can put a lot onto one sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

These are fantastic. I can't say enough about how wonderful this recipe is. I think I need to go make more, right now.