Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How to Make your Swiffer Green

I have a Swiffer and I like it. But I keep forgetting to buy those sheets for them. And since I am a bit of a tightwad, I resent having to buy them in the first place. They seem expensive, don't you think? Anyway, a crocheted swiffer sock pattern over at Craftstylish looked like a cheap (and green) solution - a reuseable cover that can go in the washing machine. The next thing that popped into my head was those 50's crocheted dusting mitts with the loops. I'm a sucker for everything mid-century modern so I had to have one with loops. Add research on the loop stitch and ugly old acrylic yarn and I've got my loopy duster. And I bet synthetic yarn is better at creating static electricity than the fancy stuff anyway.

Monday, April 27, 2009

How to Cook Greens

My gracious and generous neighbor, Redneck Mother, dropped off a mess of Swiss Chard from her garden the other day and I wasted no time in cooking it up. A few years spent in Mississippi taught me to truly appreciate plants with huge dark green leaves. Although they may look a little daunting (I have seen my MIL refuse to cook them up because they are 'too much trouble to wash') , they don't have to be labor intensive. Here's my shortcut, good for greens of all persuasion:
  1. Put the greens in your kitchen sink and fill it up with cold water from the tap. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Any grit left on the leaves will have sunk to the bottom of the sink.

  2. Take the greens from the sink and set them aside. Don't worry about drying them off - a good shake to get most of the water off is sufficient. The water that still clings to them will be used to cook them in a minute. Chop them roughly. (I like to include the big stems but some people prefer to cut them out.)

  3. Heat a big skillet. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil and a minced clove or two of garlic. Saute the garlic for a minute.

  4. Add the chopped greens. Cook, tossing occasionally, for about 2-3 minutes. You want them wilted but not mushy. (See? The water still clinging to the greens steams and cooks them!) And don't worry about an overly full skillet - these babies shrink up a lot.

  5. Put them on a plate and add a little salt and pepper. If you're from Mississippi, you'll have a bottle of pepper sauce handy. If not, a splash of balsamic vinegar is nice, too.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oreo cookies that never get stale

I had some leftover black and white yarn from an amigurumi class that just finished up. Guess what I couldn't get out of my mind? For each cookie, make two black and 1 white of the following:
  • CH 2. Work 6 SC in the second CH from the hook.

  • Make 2 SC in each of the 6 stitches (12 SC total.)

  • (SC 1, make 2 SC in the next stitch) all the way around (18 SC total.)

  • (SC for 2, make 2 SC in the next stitch) all the way around (24 SC total.)

  • SL ST to the next SC and finish off. Weave in loose ends.

Use a tapestry needle and a length of the black yarn to sew together the three pieces with a running stitch. Now I'm off to the store to compare them to the real thing...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This lovely poem posted recently by a dear friend reminds me that both Spring and Life are fleeting and for that reason should be savored all the more.

Baby Seed Song by Edith Nesbit, 1858-1924

Little brown brother, oh! little brown brother,
Are you awake in the dark?
Here we lie cosily, close to each other:
Hark to the song of the lark
"Waken!" the lark says, "waken and dress you;
Put on your green coats and gay,
Blue sky will shine on you, sunshine caress you
Waken! 'tis morning 'tis May!"
Little brown brother, oh! little brown brother,
What kind of a flower will you be?
I'll be a poppy all white, like my mother;
Do be a poppy like me.
What! You're a sunflower! How I shall miss you
When you're grown golden and high! But I shall send all the bees up to kiss you;
Little brown brother, good-bye.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Recycled Windowsill Garden

Here's my entry for the Crafty by Nature Contest over at Craftstylish.com. It's easy and simple. It's not horribly impressive, but did I mention that it's easy and simple? You'll need:

* empty tin cans, rinsed out
* old wool sweater(s)
* bedding plants (or seeds) and a little soil
* a pair of scissors

Toss the sweater(s) into the washing machine using hot water and the highest agitation setting. Since they are wool they will shrink and felt up. Then toss them in the dryer or let air dry. Cut tubes from the arms the same length as the cans. Pot the plants/seeds in the cans. (And probably you should nail a hole or two on the bottom for drainage, although I didn't.) Slip the sweater tube over the can. Instant windowsill garden (or pencil holder or vase if you don't like getting your hands dirty.)

BTW, you have until midnight tonight to enter the contest - let me know if you do!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Strawberries take a little patience.

I planted strawberry plants last fall. And being the total gardening noob that I am, I thought that the few strawberries I 'harvested' (did I actually 'harvest'? and can you call a handful a 'crop'?) was it for those plants. Not so. I guess they take the winter to get established because now I have big healthy plants, quite a few flowers and the beginnings of a REAL crop. The Kid even got a little into it and sampled the first one. Getting him involved is the most important harvest of all.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Felt Nest with Robin Eggs

This little nest with robins eggs measures about 3 inches across. I sewed on a pinback so I can wear it. Can these count as Easter Eggs?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Embrace your Inner Grouch

[image: pocomedia.etsy.com]

"Meet Annie and Keith. They've been battling it out their whole lives - too bad mom forgot to keep score. They still love each other though, in a hate-hate sort of way. Black eyes, bruises, bite marks and unexpected haircuts are just a few ways of saying "I love you" to your sibling. Good thing they are related or it might be considered assault!"

Finally! Dolls that speak to my inner misanthrope! I've admired the twisted little dolls from Gravel Alley Primitives for quite some time. Reading their stories makes me laugh and reminds me not to take life so seriously - after all, no one gets out alive. I've leave you with another story for the road.

[image: pocomedia.etsy.com]

"She looks forward to the day when she can call you "hun" and make you wait 13 minutes while she changes her cash register tape. She'll giggle and say, "I'm new," even though she's not. She'll forget to scan your coupons and then make you stand in line at the customer service counter to get your discounts. She's mean like that. "

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Felt Easter Egg Tutorial

These felts eggs are easy to make and I'm pretty sure they are fun to play with.

You'll need:

  • craft felt (a 12" x 9" square will yield 6 eggs and cost about 25 cents at the local big box store)

  • polyfill for the stuffing

  • embroidery thread and an embroidery needle

  • three straight pins

  • sewing scissors

  • an egg template

For the template just trace an egg and then add 1/4" all the way around. You can also get find a free template here but you will need to reduce it to 75% the original size to get an egg that will fit in an egg case.

  • Cut out the egg shapes using the template. I fold the felt in half, pin the template to the felt and then cut two egg shapes at once. Two pieces will make one egg.

  • Whipstitch the two pieces together using the embroidery thread. I find that about a 30" length of embroidery thread is just about right length for me.

  • Leave about a 1" gap on the bottom of the egg for turning it inside out.

  • Turn the egg inside out.

  • Stick your finger in the egg and push out the seam all the way around.

  • Stuff with the polyfill nice and tight.

    Now whipstitch the bottom of the egg closed. Have fun!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Free Yarmulke Crochet Pattern for Passover

The Purl Bee has graciously posted the pattern for these crochet kippot . These skullcaps would be perfect gifts for Pesach, which starts next Thursday, April 9. These are so appealing they almost make me wish women also wore them.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sugar Free Peeps for Easter

[chiwaluv's Etsy Shop]

I found a crochet pattern for these adorable amigurumi peeps at
Chiwaluv Amigurumi Critters - perfect for Easter. Only 4 bucks for the pattern - about what you'd pay for real peeps plus your kids won't get cavities.