Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Purple Minion Cup Cozy

Cup Cozies are all the rage right now. I started making some and selling them at craft shows.  I can barely keep up with my stock.  I started with a basic design and just changing things up to make different designs.  When they started selling like hot cakes I decided I better write down a pattern so I could remember how to  make more!

You are welcome to sell items made from this pattern, but please don't sell my pattern or copy it and claim it as your own.  This is my first time writing a pattern so if you see mistakes let me know.  I know how I make it but sometimes it is hard to convey to others what you are doing!  Enjoy!


These fit a 16 oz coffee cup, on a 12 oz pop can, or on a 16 oz bottle of water!


Materials
    Crochet Cotton
        Purple
        White
        Black
    Yarn
       Silver
  Buttons
     1 or 2  black 7/16th buttons or size of choice
    Crochet Hooks
       5mm U.S. H
       3.75mm U.S. F

With Purple and larger hook, ch 24. Join in ring with sl st into first ch, taking care not to twist ch.
1st rnd: Ch 1. 1 sc in each ch around. Join with sl st to first sc. 24 sc.
2nd and 3rd rnds: Ch 1. 1 sc in each sc around. Join with sl st to fi rst sc.
4th rnd: Ch 1. *2 sc in fi rst sc. 1 sc in each of next 11 sc. Rep from * once. Join with sl st to first sc. 26 sc.
5th and 6th rnds: As 2nd and 3rd rnds.
7th rnd: Ch 1. *2 sc in fi rst sc. 1 sc in each of next 12 sc. Rep from * once. Join with sl st to first sc. 28 sc.
8th rnd: Ch 1. 1 sc in each sc around. Join with sl st to first sc.
9th rnd: Ch 1. 1 sc in each sc around. Change to Black and Join with sl st to first sc. Break off Purple.
10th rnd: Ch 1. *2 sc in fi rst sc. 1 sc in each of next 13 sc. Rep from * once. Change to purple and join with sl st to first sc. Break off black.  30 sc.
11th and 12th rnds: As 2nd and 3rd rnds, Join with sl st to first sc.
13th rnd: Ch 1. *2 sc in first sc. 1 sc in each of next 14 sc. Rep from * once. Join with sl st to first sc. 32 sc.
14th rnd: Ch 1. 1 sc in each sc around. Join with sl st to first sc. Finish off. Sew in ends.

Eyes: Make 1 or 2 depending on what type of minion you want.
With smaller hook and white do 6 sc in a magic circle.
2nd rnd: Ch 1. 2 sc in each sc around.  Join with sl st to first sc.  Break off. 12 sc
3rd rnd: With sivler  join any on circle with sl st. Ch 1. *2 sc in 1st st, 1 sc. Rep from * 5 times. Join with sl st to first sc. 18 sc. Finish off leaving long tail for sewing.

Finishing:
Sew on eyes over top of black band.
Sew a button on each eye.
Using black stitch a mouth onto cozy.
Using white stitch teeth above mouth. I used just short back stitches close together for the teeth.
Using purple tie fringe to top. I centered 6 fringes using a double strand of yarn.  Fray the yarn.

Snowman Cup Cozy

Cup Cozies are all the rage right now. I started making some and selling them at craft shows.  I can barely keep up with my stock.  I started with a basic design and just changing things up to make different designs.  When they started selling like hot cakes I decided I better write down a pattern so I could remember how make more.  

You are welcome to sell items made from this pattern, but please don't sell my pattern or copy it and claim it as your own.  This is my first time writing a pattern so if you see mistakes let me know.  I know how I make it but sometimes it is hard to convey to others what you are doing!  Enjoy!




These fit a 16 oz coffee cup, on a 12 oz pop can, or on a 16 oz bottle of water!

Materials
Crochet Cotton
     White
     Orange
     Black
     Color of Choice
Crochet Hooks
     5mm U.S. H
     4mm U.S. G
Buttons
   2 black 5/8" buttons or size of choice

Using Color of choice (scarf)  and H hook ch 24. Join in ring with sl st into first ch, taking care not to twist ch.
1st rnd: Ch 1. 1 sc in each ch around. Join with sl st to first sc. 24 sc.
2nd and 3rd rnds: Ch 1. 1 sc in each sc around. Change to white and join with sl st to first sc.
4th rnd: Ch 1. 2 sc in first stitch. Sc in next 4 stitches. Ch 3. Skip next 3 stitches. Sc in next 4 stitches. 2 sc in next stitch. Sc in next 11 stitches. Join with sl st to first sc.  26 sc.
5th round: Ch 1. Single ch in every stitch and ch. Join with sl st to first sc.  26 sc.
 6th rnd: Ch 1. sc in every stitch. Join with sl st to first sc.
7th rnd: Ch 1. *2 sc in first sc. 1 sc in each of next 12 sc. Rep from * once. Join with sl st to first sc. 28 sc.
8th rnd: Ch 1. 1 sc in each sc around. Join with sl st to first sc.
9th rnd: Ch 1. 1 sc in each sc around. Join with sl st to first sc.
10th rnd: Ch 1. *2 sc in first sc. 1 sc in each of next 13 sc. Rep from * once. Join with sl st to first sc. 30 sc.
11th and 12th rnds: Ch 1. 1 sc in each sc around. Join with sl st to first sc.
13th rnd: Ch 1. *2 sc in first sc. 1 sc in each of next 14 sc. Rep from * once. Join with sl st to first sc. 32 sc.
14th rnd: Ch 1 sc in each sc around. Join with sl st to first sc. Finish Off

Scarf:
With same color as scarf  and size H hook ch 30.
Sc in 2nd ch from hook. Sc across. 29 sc
Row 2: Turn, ch 1. sc in each sc across.
Row 3: Turn ch 1. sc in each sc across. Finish off.
Sew in ends. Use 2 strands of yarn and put in 3 tassels on ends.  I tied them in a knot and cut off.
Insert Scarf in the space left at bottom. Tie the scarf.

Nose:
With orange and size G hook ch  7
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc, hdc, dc, dc, trc. Finish off leaving a long tail for sewing.
Sew in end. With long tail sew nose onto face.

Finishing:
Sew 2 black buttons onto face for eyes.
Using black yarn sew on a smile!


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sun Dried Tomatoes in a Dehydrator



I love dehydrating things. This year I saved up my money and invested in a 9 tray Excalibur dehydrator! It has been fun drying new things with it. We plant a huge garden at my parents house each year. Among the things we planted were over 200 tomato plants. We plant about 50 different varieties!

So what do you do with the abundance of all the grape, cherry, and pear variety of tomatoes? You can only eat so many salads, right?



Don't ask me all the names of these. I don't know! My mom does though, they own a small family green house and sell the plants. I just help plant and water!

I slice the washed small tomatoes in half and put them cut side up on my dehydrator trays. Lightly spray with a vegetable oil spray of your choice. I used Canola spray because that is what I had. These would be great with Olive Oil spray. Then lightly sprinkle with herbs of your choice. I used Italian Seasoning.



Then put them into your dehydrator set on vegetable setting. My dehydrator has vegetables set at 125 degrees Fahrenheit. You could go as high as 135. But you don't want to go any higher than that. Dry until firm, but not brittle. If they feel squishy they still have too much water in them. This will take 10  - 30 hours depending on the thickness of your tomatoes. I pulled them off the trays as they got dry. 

I started with 2 1/2 trays of tomatoes and got a little less than 2 cups. 



They are so delicious. Yes I did try one. They can be used in baked goods or thrown into soups and allowed to rehydrate. They smell so good and keep that beautiful red and yellow color!

Store the sun dried tomatoes in an air tight container. You can also put them in a cute jar and give them away as gifts! I make these chalk paint jars out of recycled jars! I will have to post a tutorial the next time I make a batch of them!






Saturday, July 11, 2015

Paper Mâché Elephant Head

Our theme this year for VBS is Camo Kilimanjaro. I decided to make a life size Afican Elephant head for the kids to pose in front of to take their pictures. It was quite an under taking but I was quite pleased with the results.


I first cut out the basic shape of the head and ears in cardboard. I used wire coat hangers wraped around each ear to it onto some plywood that was on this stage already at our church. Then using newspaper wand old wrapping paper I began to shape the ears and face. Taping it to the plywood. I used diluted Elmers glue 50/50 concentration to dip the newspaper in to paper mâché.


I cut a pool noodle in half lengthwise and then wrapped it each duct tape to get the shape of the tusks. I was going to use cardboard tubes but the ones I had were too heavy. The pool noodle worked great! I then used some gutter screen to get basic shape of the trunk.


After I got one coat of paper mâché on the elephant head I did some further shaping on the trunk and face then I did a second coat of paper mâché on the entire thing!



Now it was time to paint! I used some tempera paint because it was cheap and what I had on hand. I mixed white, black, and brown to get an earthy tone gray. I painted the head two coats with this. Once dry I dry brushed on some brown and darker grey to get shading. I used some off white wall paint for the tusks. Again it was something I had left over and it covered the tusks in one coat.


We added some decor to further the theme. We later covered the black plywood with some dark green fabric to bring it all together!



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Making Yogurt



My son is taking a dairy food science project for 4-H this year.  So we have been learning how to turn milk into all kinds of great food.  One of my favorites so far has been learning to make yogurt.  I had no idea how easy it was and how much cheaper it is to make your own fat free Greek yogurt.  The only thing was my kids did not like it.  They are used to flavored and blended yogurt. So the first time we made Greek yogurt we put it in containers and put it in the freezer.  I found on Pinterest that you can make frozen yogurt pops by taking Greek yogurt and putting in the Kool-Aid Liquid Drink Mix. My kids loved it.  Both fresh and when we froze them.  We have tried orange and also used Crush Drink Mix that was strawberry flavored.  Both taste great!!

To make Greek Yogurt I found a recipe for Skyr. Which is an Icelandic version of Greek Yogurt.  You can find the link to the recipe here.



To start with you need a gallon of skim milk and pour it into a pan. 

 
You will need a thermometer. Slowly heat the milk to 195 degrees Fahrenheit.  Stirring frequently to prevent the milk from burning.  A film will form on the bottom of pan.  Just be careful not to stir hard and stir the milk solids into the milk.  Once it hits 195 degrees take it off the heat and let cool to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  I put the entire pan in the sink with ice water to speed up this process.
 


When the milk reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit it is now time to inoculate the milk with your culture. You need to use some plain yogurt that has live active cultures.  Once you make this once you can keep a little back from each batch to save to make the next batch.  Take some of the warm milk out of the pan and add 4 tablespoons of your yogurt. Blend until smooth and then add to the milk.  You also add rennet to this recipe.  Do not use the Junket rennet that you find in the grocery stores.  This does not work for cheese making or this recipe.  Use a good quality cheese making rennet.  I ordered mine from New England Cheese Making Supply. Crush half a tablet and dissolve into 1/4 cup of non chlorinated water.  Add this to the milk mixture and stir thoroughly.
 


 
Put on the lid!
 


Then wrap the entire pot in 2 to 3 towels.  We did 3 towels.  We put the pan on the towel and wrapped it up in it.  Then repeated that process with 2 more towels.  Then you set it on your counter and leave it for 12 to 16 hours.  Both times we have made this we do it in the evening and let it sit overnight.  I have checked it after 11 hours and it was done. 
 


When you open up the lid the next day it is like magic!! It is so neat to see how the bacteria did its work and formed yogurt.  The rennet makes it extra thick almost like cheese curds! You can see how the whey has separated from the yogurt!
 
 
Next you need to cut the yogurt into squares.  It makes it easier to scoop out of the pan this way.  Don't cut to the bottom of the pan and scrape up any film that may have formed on the bottom of the pan.

 
Now scoop your yogurt into a strainer.  I use a clean muslin dish towel to strain off the whey.  Put this into a strainer in a bowl.


 
Now let your whey drain off.  I tie mine up to my cupboard to let drain.  This can take 2 to 4 hours. 
 

 
This is what it looks like when the whey has been drained off.  I just use a spatula to scrape it out of the towel.

 
Use a whisk or mixer and blend until smooth!! You now have very nice and thick Greek Yogurt!!
 
 
 







 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Canning Cranberry Juice




This fall when my dad got a bladder infection my mom asked me to pick up some cranberry juice for him.  I was shocked at how hard it was to find just plain cranberry juice.  Most of it was mixed with apple juice, grape juice, high fructose corn syrup, and other natural flavorings.  They did not name what they used for flavorings.  What was my dilemma? My dad was recently diagnosed with a bad allergy to apples.  I know it is odd, but having kids with food allergies nothing surprises me anymore.  So I decided to make my own cranberry juice and can it for my family.

It was good timing being around Thanksgiving almost all the stores had bags of cranberries on sale for under a dollar.  So I bought a bunch of them up and threw them in my freezer for a rainy day or when I had time to actually make the juice and can it!!

Today was that rainy day. Well actually a snowy day, but a day that I had nothing else to do and had time to make my juice.


Here are my 19 bags of cranberries!


I ended up having to split the cranberries into two batches.  They could not
fit all into one batch.  To start out making the juice add equal amounts of 
water and cranberries to a large kettle or stock pot.  


Bring to boil and simmer until all the cranberries have popped!! I 
put a lid on top because the cranberries tend to splash when they pop!
This will take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how 
many cranberries you have.


While the cranberries are cooking I get my strainer ready. I put a metal 
strainer over top of a large stock pot.  As you can see in the picture 
I attach the strainer to the handles to keep it from falling in and splashing
hot juice everywhere.  I learned this the hard way while making grape juice.


Then I cover the strainer with a piece of old pillow case to strain 
out the seeds, skin, and pulp.  


When the cranberries have all popped I scoop them out a 
little at a time and put them into the strainer.


Once all the juice has strained out I return the pot back to the 
stove to heat back up.  If you feel bad about throwing out the pulp 
you can run it through a food mill to remove the skins and use it 
to make some other desserts.  


Add sugar to taste.  For ten bags of cranberries I added about
3 1/2 cups of sugar to sweeten just enough so it did not have 
that strong bitter/sour taste.  Return to a boil and put into jars.


You can put into quart or 1/2 gallon jars.  Fill leaving 1/4 inch head 
space.  Wipe rims.  Bring your new lids to boil and place on jars.
Adjust your caps and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes for
quarts and 10 minutes for 1/2 gallons.  I got 7 1/2 gallons and a couple
of glasses for the kids to drink out of 19 bags of cranberries.  



I may have only saved about $10 by canning my own juice, but it is pure cranberry juice and I know what is in it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Apple Vinegar

I saw this on Pinterest so I just had to try it.  Making apple vinegar out of your apple peels and cores.  How simple and to think I always threw these away.  Apple vinegar is so good for you and there are thousands of uses of vinegar.  I am constantly buying it especially to pickle with so why not try making my own. 

To start with you make pies, apple sauce or something with your apples.  Save your peels and cores and put them into a dish.  The original post used a small mixing bowl.  You cover your peels with water and add 1/4 cup of sugar.  Mix it and weight the peels down and cover with a towel to keep gnats and things out.  I had a very large bowl so I used 1/2 cup with that.  The other two bowls were smaller so I only used 1/4 cup of sugar in those.  Then you just let it sit for a week to ferment.  It will develop mold on top.  That is ok.  Just keep spooning off the mold.  After several days you will smell it fermenting. 

Here is one of my smaller bowls.  As you can see there is mold that has developed around the edge.

 
 
After a week, spoon off the mold, then strain off the liquid.  I did this by pouring it into an old pillow case which I use as a jelly bag.  Then bottle up your liquid.  Put a square of cheese cloth on top before putting on the lid.  This helps the vinegar continue to breathe and also keeps the vinegar from corroding the metal lid.  Now for the waiting game.  Let it sit for 6 weeks.  During this time the fermented sugars will eventually and hopefully turn into acetic acid and become vinegar.  I have just bottled up my liquid.  I marked the calendar for 6 weeks.  I will then check to see if I have successfully made apple vinegar.  Thankfully my kids have some ph strips I can use to check if it has turned to acid!!
 
 
Here are my bottles that will hopefully become vinegar.  I am glad that I started saving bottles!!

 
I will have to check back in 6 weeks to let you know if it turns to vinegar!!