Archive for the ‘craftivism’ Category

The next Seacoast Eat Local Farmer's Market is Saturday at Wentworth Greenhouse in Rollinsford.  I love the Rollinsford Market, and am excited to see what the farmer's have for us this week.

Since I started going to the Farmer's Markets I've wanted to make myself some reusable bags.  I use reusable bags, but they are the heavy plastic-like jobbies that you get at the supermarket, from back when we frequented the supermarket with enough vigor to receive free bags due to the amount spent…Organic is expensive in the store.  Well, I must admit to loving the durability of those bags, but I didn't like advertising for a Supermarket while walking around a Farmer's Market…  So today Mini and I got to work on a reusable bag that is designed like the plastic store bags.  I picked up the Pattern on Etsy.  It was easy enough to make, and fully reversible, making it more sturdy and more fun. I'd like a couple more, but between that one and 2 other random bags I already made a while back, it will probably do just fine for this week's trip.

Another little item on my list of things I'd like to have, to enhance my shopping experience, is produce bags.  I will throw a couple heads of broccoli into my larger bag, but a pound of shallots gets a little hard to manage, so a small bag that I can put the little things into, then into my larger bag, would be helpful.  I have always used the plastic bags the farmer's have available, but have never been happy about doing so.  Now I don't have to.  I have two made up, in simple unbleached muslin…with silly ribbon that says "handmade".  They even have french seams!  I didn't like how the fabric frayed so I decided to try the french seams, besides they are a lot more sturdy because of it.  Probably a silly addition, but that is the fun thing about making them yourself, if you don't want frayed fabric entangled with your veggies, you can stitch french seams…how fancy…oh and by the way, french seams are fancy, and quite clever, but VERY simple to do.  Honest.


The eggs in the background are just a running gag at this point, around here.  Everywhere you look there are eggs.  In the basket from outside, in the bowl in the sink waiting to be washed, on the counter waiting to be used, in the fridge being stored.  Eggs are everywhere, so I had to include them in the picture. 


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The eggs are continuing to come, around here, and I’m trying to find ways to incorporate them into meals, without getting tired of them.   I shall again sing the praises of those little Ancona egg machines.  If you don’t have chickens, but want a couple in the back yard, this breed is brilliant.

While reading the Dark Days Recap, I found a recipe that looked intriguing, so since I didn’t get around to the making of the Chicken Pot Pie that I wanted to make for dinner, I got started on this fast, simple dish.

Roll Call (with substitutions noted):

My Yard:  Eggs, Duck Fat (I fried the shallots, and grilled the bread with the duck fat)

Local: Cream (Brookford Farm), Shallots (instead of Leeks in the recipe were from Meadow’s Mirth), Thyme and Parsley (A friend’s garden, dried by me)

Local-ish: Homemade bread made with some non local and some local ingredients.

Not Local: Pepper

I cooked it on 430 degrees for about 16 minutes…I think I used more cream then they called for.  I think my ramekins were slightly larger, but it’s what I had, and it worked, even though it did take a smidge longer to cook.

Craft Hope has a new project.  Scarves for Foster Kids who are now going to college.  What a fabulous thing to support.  Foster Kids so often have so much stacked against them, that even if given the financial and logistical opportunity to go to college, the emotional baggage and negative influence of parents who can’t see past their own issues, they don’t go.

My husband and I were a full time parents in a group home for 3 years, and it broke my heart to see how many of those girls let their past dictate their future.  Knowing there are kids who are being supported to continue their education past high school, and they are taking that opportunity seriously, is quite encouraging.

I started a scarf in a beautiful blue tone red Cascade Eco+, for the project.  I’m using the free Scarf Askew pattern, I found on Ravelry.  I think it will be a good gender neutral pattern, and it’s knitting up so nicely.  It’s going to be cozy!

The red is the same yarn I used to make Mini another Neighborly sweater vest.  I paired it with a soft fluffy yarn of muliti colors and a bit of glitter running through.  My fancy little girl loves it, and it will keep her core so warm!

Still can’t find those camera battery chargers…maybe something for the eye tomorrow.

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The weather was beautiful today!  We took the girls for a walk in Rochester for a little family time.  Downtown Rochester is having an art exhibit, which consists of giant shoe sculptures done by Adam Pearson and decorated by various artists.  There are 11 shoes in all, but we only visited 6 of them.  We may take a trip over for the remaining shoes, sometime, but since my second fall on the stairs my foot gets soar, then numb if I walk for too long…I'm thinking I should run that fact by my doctor sometime.  We had a good time and Mini was thrilled to be searching for giant shoes.


Work Boot




Cowboy Boot


Lady Boot




Hiking Boot

Shoes were selected because Rochester has a long history in shoe factories.  It was a lovely walk and was so nice to get outside and soak up some vitamin D!

When we got home I worked, with my parents, on putting the next layer of tires on the Potato towers, and filling them in with dirt.  I'm excited with how nice the plants look and I hope that we didn't wait to long to fill in the next layer.  We didn't have a choice, since you can't really shovel mud, and that was what the rain created, but with a couple sunny days the dirt was workable again, the towers look beautiful, and are really ready to take one more lay of tires, so we'll be doing that again in a couple days.


Duck Update:  The ducklings are growing fast!  Here they are with Josephine, who is doing a good job with them.  It will be interesting to see how things go once they are allowed to go out in the yard with the rest of the ducks.  The dark ducklings will be black, and the light will be blue, like Josephine.  She looks more brown because she is faded from a year of sun, but after her molt in a the next couple months she'll be more blue.


Chicken update:  I put my plan into action, and have set 14 eggs under Mary.  I hope she is as successful as Jane was.  She did such a wonderful job with her 12, and continues to be a good mom, including keeping the feisty cockerels in check.  They will be allowed to free range soon! 

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Ice Cream! 
Homemade ice cream is a tradition in our family.  My dad's side gets
together for 4th of July every year.  My grandparents and my parents
always make hand cranked, home made ice cream for all to enjoy…well, my parents haven't the past couple years because their ice cream maker broke.  This
year almost everyone in our family will be at the 4th event, including
relatives from Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Texas!  It's a big
deal, and we are all very excited.  I'm going to bring some from my own
hand crank maker this year, so I'm experimenting and searching for
recipes to try. 

I have been trying to find recipes that don't contain
refined sugar.  It's probably a moot point, since honey and maple syrup
effect the blood sugar the same as sugar, but we have never fed Mini
refined sugar, or items (other than an occasional cracker or bread)
that have sugar in them.

She's going to be 3 in August and we
thought this summer, introducing her to Ice Cream might be fun. 
Especially since the 4th is going to be such a big deal this year.  So
I decided to experiment a bit tonight.  This is what I made:

  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup heavy Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cups coarsely chopped strawberries


Bring the 1 1/2 cups heavy cream to a simmer in a heavy-bottom saucepan
medium heat. Whisk together honey, cornstarch, and egg yolks.
Pour about 1/3 of the hot cream into the honey mixture, then pour the
honey mixture into the remaining cream in the saucepan. Heat over
medium low heat, stirring constantly, until hot and thickened slightly.
Do not let boil. Strain into a large mixing bowl.

Cool the mixture; whisk in milk and vanilla. Chill thoroughly then
freeze in your ice cream machine. Add strawberries near the end of freezing
Makes about 1 quart.

Not to toot my own horn, but YUM!

I went out with friends for Sushi tonight.  It was very yummy and I'm sure I'll go back again…I wish I remembered the name, but it's on Central Ave in Dover down near the Mill.  While looking at the menu I came across a very unfortunate typo…especially for a sushi restaurant:


E6 is supposed to read Heaven…without the N it's quite different

The Craft Hope site put up a picture of all the dolls going to Nicaragua.  I was excited to find, in the pic, 2 out of the 3 dolls I sent in…I'm sure the other is there, in the sea of Rag Dolls.


I've already started hats for the July 25th deadline of Project #3.

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When I was in college I went through a period of time where I enjoyed reading biographies. One that touched me greatly was Amy Carmichael: Let the Little Children Come.  She was a woman with an intense love for children, and did amazing things for children in India, especially for girls who would have otherwise lived a life of temple prostitution.  After reading the book, the concerns of children in India became a big focus for me.  After college, my focus on India changed, but my desire to help children did not, and I worked for 3 years, full time 24/7, in a group home for abused and neglected girls.  Whenever I hear about people reaching out to the people of India it tugs on a little string to my heart.

Today I went to the Craft Hope Blog to find that the next project is going to India!  Specifically to the Bhawani,Rourkela and Sooch Village children’s homes.  They are looking for sewn, knit or crocheted blankets, booties or beanies for newborns.  The deadline is July 25th. If you are interested in participating you can find out the details on the Craft Hope Blog.  They had a great response to the doll project I participated in, and it seems the opportunity to reach out to people all over the world with crafty goodness is growing.  What a fun thing to be part of!  I think Mini and I will have to do some sewing for this, together.

Here are a couple links to patterns, if you are interested in helping:

I made this bonnet for my baby, but I omitted the lace.  It knits very fast, as it’s done with worsted weight yarn.

I also made booties like these.  I used a different pattern, but this one is free.  Great!  They really do stay on, which is nice for any baby, but especially when the mama can’t just go pick up, or knit up a new pair if one is lost.

I thought I posted yesterday, I wrote a post, but I guess I didn’t click the right set of buttons to post it.  Oh, well, it wasn’t wildly exciting, but did get the rest of my seedlings in the garden.  We lost 2 of the guineas last night.  It happens, sometimes, for no aparent reason. We’ve really been very fortunate with how healthy our birds have been this year.  We didn’t lose any of the 11 hatched Anconas, and even at that 11 out of 12 is a great ratio.  All our Dorkings are thriving, even the little guy who was born with a twisted leg, so I don’t feel like it was due to mismanagement.  We picked up a couple replacements today and are hoping things go better with these.

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We are avid public library visitors.  Mostly Mini and Husband, at this point, while I have them picking up a lot of inter-library loan selections. Since we value the Library we try to support it outside of the tax money that we already “donate”.  So when the librarian sent out a request for prizes/gifts for the summer reading program, and preferred a focus on “green living”, I responded right away.  She accept my offer of a handmade doll.  Here is what I created, using the Black Apple Tutorial/pattern from her visit on the Martha Stewart Show.  I added a book bag, and a hand stitched book to go with the summer reading theme.  I also filled her with Organic Cotton Stuffing and her socks are re-purposed from a pair of Mini’s baby socks.  I love how she came out!



After deciding to make the library doll, I came across a cool blog.  The purpose is to find crafty folks willing to make things for needy kids all over the world.  Their first project was pillowcase dresses for girls in Pan de Vida Shelter in Mexico. I found the blog after that project closed, but the new project, dolls for girls in the Casa Bernabe Orphanage in Nicaragua, has until June 13th!  Perfect!  These 3 girls are ready for jetting off tomorrow!


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I commented a few days ago about writing to my Senator and Rep about concerns with a new law going into effect February 10.  Changes have begun to take place and it looks like a good start.  Products made with natural materials such as wood and cotton will not be needing testing. Great.  They are also adding something for the thrift stores, so they can sell second hand items.  Also good.  Hopefully the end result of these changes will provide us with safe alternatives to plastic toys, while still keeping toy makers accountable.  <a href="http://cbs5.com/consumer/Phthalates.lead.toys.2.903709.html">Here is one article about the law changes so far.</a> It also has a link for comments, if you want to add your ideas to the discussion with the CPSC.

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