Friday, March 30, 2012

Baby Names...a la Ella

As the day of the baby's arrival draws every closer, names are very much on our minds.
We won't be imparting any "final decisions" here until after we meet the new little addition, but I thought I'd share with you some favorites that have come out of Ella's mouth since she first learned she'd be a big sister:

- Baby Diamond
- Alice in Wonderland
- Shiny Ariel
- Ariel Flower
- Melody
- Aurora
- Sunshine
- Yellow Rose

Mind you, as far as she's concerned, it's going to be a girl. End of story.
We'll see~ ;)

Well, until then take care and Happy Baby Names!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Homemade Yogurt!

Finally.
After two failed attempts (one that made me quite sick, I might add) we finally pulled off making our own yogurt at home.
Behold~!

About one gallon's worth!


If you want to make your own yogurt at home, there are tons of sources online, but the one I referred to was on Soulemama's post here and all the accompanying comments.

But for a simple rundown (sans photos, gomen!!) this is how we did it:

Materials:

- cast iron pot
- big glass jar
- candy thermometer
- milk (2% in our case)
- store-bought plain yogurt (has to have live cultures in it)
- space heater

Directions:

1) clean the big jar and scoop 1 cup of the store-bought yogurt and plop into the bottom of the jar

2) heat the milk over medium heat until it reaches 180 degrees F

3) once milk reaches 180 degrees, remove from heat, and allow to cool down to 110 degrees F

4) pour the heated-then-cooled milk into the jar

5) whisk it around a bit to mix with the store-bought yogurt at the bottom

6) place near the space heater in a way that keeps the heat rather contained (Dash made our table into a kotatsu, so the space heater underneath the heavy blanket made a rather effective incubator)

7) leave there for 8 hours

8) after the 8 hours are up, stick it in the fridge to cool to usual yogurt-eating temperature

9) enjoy!!


Now that we've been successful once, I am confident that this is the way we are gonna go from now on (using the last bit of our homemade batch as the starter yogurt for next time so as to completely eliminate the need to buy store-bought again). It is very cost-effective and you reduce the amount of plastic in your life. That's hitting two birds with one stone!

Maybe I'll take photos next time because it can be very grueling sitting there by the oven with the thermometer in the pot waiting for the mercury to rise up to 180 F -- there are many visual cues to alert you as to when you are nearing the correct temperature. Hopefully I can capture that on camera next time ;)

Well!
Best of luck to all your DIY adventures and Happy Yogurt Making!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rapunzel Hair!!

Howdy, all!
So this month has been a tad bit more crafty than I was expecting. What with the growing belly, I haven't been sleeping as well and I'm also really "nesting" oriented right now with funny little things on my To Do List like "wash walls" and "install new carpet"!
But!!
This past weekend, Ella Rose and I worked together on something she's been asking for since Christmas -- her very own Rapunzel hair!
I referenced a couple of sites, to put together a wig that we are all happy with. It looks something like this:

Sitting on her tower (the stairs)
 


Now you can get a sense of the length.
She wouldn't let go of her french toast...

Flowers "woven" throughout!

I really should have taken photos for the steps, but I was really not sure how this would work out...so please see the written out steps below for how we did it:

1) Find something sturdy and long to wrap the yarn around -- in our case, a bench...could be a table or countertop too. It should offer the length that you desire. To reach the floor, we needed her hair to be about 50", which was the exact length of our bench. Score.

2) Tape end of the yarn to one edge of the bench and wrap around and around until you have done so 30  times.

3) Tie off at the far end from the taped end with a little bit of yarn.

4) Cut off at the taped end, and you will have this 100" long bundle of yarn that is tied off in the center (where it's tied off is the "part" of the hair)

5) Repeat this until you have 11 bundles total (this took us 2 whole new skeins and this random skein I had on hand...). Then lay those aside.

6) Take a pair of kids size tights and stick over your child's head nice 'n' snug.

7) Tie a knot on the top of the head using the two legs, then chop off the legs so you just have this little knot on top.

8) Turn cap inside out on the head

9) Get your kiddo to stay pretty still (ha! good one!) as you start at the front of the stockings and sew your first bundle into the cap. I used a darning needle and the yarn used to tie the bundles in the first place to attach with a nice double knot.

10) Continue all the way to the knot on the top of the head.

11) Now pull back aaaaaall that "hair" into a low ponytail (also using a yarn to tie it off, not a real rubber band of anything)

12) Braid!

13) Tie off at the bottom

14) Stick fake flowers in as you like~


And that's just about the gist of it.
I look forward to many a dress-up session with this new wig and some fun times around town.
Look out, cuz Rapunzel's in town! ;)

Well, hope you enjoyed and good luck making your own wigs! With all the different colors of yarn out there and potential lengths of wig, the sky's the limit!
Until then, happy wig-making!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Recent Artistry

This is something that Ella's taken to doing recently:
drawing faces that actually resemble faces! :)
Her best friend, Clara, is her favorite subject to draw and I thought I'd capture her in the midst of her creativity for your enjoyment~

video

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Knits of 2011

I love knitting just as much (if not more!) as when I started.
And I'm happy to say that in 2011 I accomplished two "major" achievements in knitting.
Firstly, knitting in the round on double pointed needles. Yesssss!!
And secondly, was the duplicate stitch, which I've posted about already. ;)

Now to show you the rundown of everything I knit, both those shown on this blog before and those not. Here goes (blog entries first, followed by never-before-seen photos)!!

- potscrubber
- my armwarmers
- wool soaker
- USC convertible mits
- Clara mittens
- rainbow bra

Now for photos!!

Purple mittens for Ella!

Ariel mittens for Ella...out of commission now due to small size

Rainbow mittens for Ella...did not last long ;_;
A purple tail for Barbie whipped up over the holidays

And now for the ones I have yet to get photos of...
- Shannon's armwarmers
- three phallic chapstick cozies
- rainbow legwarmers for Katie
- Emma's handwarmers
- Moses' mittens
- Elizabeth's convertible mits

Yay!! I kept up the knitting pretty well, all things considered.
And oh so many mittens!!!!!! :D

I just can't wait to keep knitting on into 2012!
First project on my to-do list = socks for Dash!!
He's been asking for socks for months now, and I finally have the confidence to start them (I think!!)
Then I'm supposed to knit some Rapunzel hair for Ella. @_@ That is gonna be interesting~~!


Well, thanks for following along and until I see you again...
Happy Knitting~!!!

2012 New Year's Resolutions

Yahoo! It's the new year! And the last year (possibly...I kid. Or do I? ;) )
Anyway, I am going to review my resolutions from last year and see show you what I have lined up for 2012. Here goes!


2011 Resolutions:
[ ] jog every other day
[x] raise chickens in the backyard
[x] knit at least one thing a month
[x] get involved in the local community more (volunteering, etc)
[ ] insulate the house
[x] establish a thriving worm bin
[x] reduce waste in our lives more
[ ] create a stained glass masterpiece
[x] try a new recipe at least once a week
[x] only eat dessert/drink alcohol for special occasions
[x] get Ella to sleep in her own bed, on her own

Not too shabby!! :D
Now, before I go on, I'd like to talk about why some of the items on the list weren't completed. Here goes:
[ ] jog every other day --- that lasted for all of 3 months...boo.
[ ] insulate the house --- I had Dash look into it for our floors using fiber glass but it was a definite no-go. Either we alter our plans, hire a professional, or quit the whole idea. Will keep you posted on that.
[ ] create a stained glass masterpiece --- I am happy to say that I actually did dig out my stained glass supplies last month for Christmas presents (post coming soon, I swear!) but nothing that I'd call a "masterpiece"

And here are my resolutions for this year!


2012 Resolutions:
[ ] keep up on the news
[ ] get more green plants in the house
[ ] get pre-pregnancy body back (and then some)
[ ] read one survival-related book a month
[ ] watch one survival-related movie a month
[ ] "beautify" the upstairs (curtains, etc)
[ ] master the cable technique in knitting
[ ] knit something for the baby
[ ] wear scarf-shawls more regularly
[ ] establish more community
[ ] get Ella to sleep on her own (for real)

As you can see, a lot of my goals have to do with preparation for something possibly happening on 12/21/12, because I am getting the vibe that things are coming to a head and cannot keep going on the way they have been. Aren't you getting that same vibe? I like to think I'm not the only one who thinks that...
Also, a lot of "nesting" related goals, in preparation of the newest arrival to the family. Gotta get more pure air in here with those plants~!!

Well, I am going to pin up this list of resolutions above my desk where I can see it everyday, and if you have goals in mind too, I suggest you do the same. It's the way to go!! :)


Until then, Happy New Year!!!! ♡