The one with the socks pictures and the apple butter recipe.

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The summer is in full swing, even up here in the Pacific-very-North-West. We do get the odd days of rain, but mostly it’s sunny and warm. That means the greens are growing and the fruit is getting ripe.

We live right smack in between two empty fields. Which makes weeding blackberry brambles pretty much a full time occupation in our yard. But in summer we are glad we have the huge bushes to our left and right. It makes it possible for us to have blackberry preserves without having to go buy them, or hike into the sticks to get them.  Yesterday, my daughter went to go harvest a few and we had blackberry pie. (sorry, no photos.. it was gone too fast)

She also brought in some apples from our tree. It did not bloom quite as exuberant as last year, but there are still a number of apples more to take care of than we usually know what to do with. (We share with the neighbor and this year we are contemplating to let the local Food bank gleaners get the majority of them.)

The apples my daughter brought in yesterday were posthaste made into apple butter! YUM! (Well… it wasn’t too fast, since I made it in the slow-cooker.)

If you want to make your own apple butter, here is what we did:

You need:

  • About a pound of apples (we took about 6 medium sized apples, some were nice and ripe and some were still a bit tart. You want to  make sure to have a good mix of both)
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon, 4-5 cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (we have ready ground cinnamon at hand and have whole cloves and nutmeg to grind when needed. I ground the nutmeg, but left the cloves whole)
  • Optional: 1tsp lavender and rose petals each (from our yard, so I know they are not treated with anything)
  • 2 cups of sugar (you can do a blend of white and brown, or use a bit of agave sweetener,, or honey if you don’t want all that sugar. I use what I have on hand, so this last time it was two cups of white sugar.)
  • Slow cooker

Peel, core and dice the apples into bite size pieces, place in the slow cooker, add the sugar and spices and optional ingredients and stir. Let stand for about 10 minutes. Turn slow cooker to high and let cook for a few hours, stirring now and again. When the apples start to break apart on their own, it’s nearly done (this takes about 3-4 hours, depending on how small you cut your apple bits). This is when you turn the slow cooker down to low and let it simmer for another two hours. Turn slow cooker off and let the whole thing cool over night. Stir well the next morning, then put the whole thing in a blender (you can fish out the cloves now if you like, or leave them in). Blend until the whole thing is pureed and then fill it in glasses. You can now proceed with canning the apple butter, or freeze it. If you just stick it in the fridge as is, you may want to eat it within a relatively short while.

Presto! Not that hard and not that much washing up either. It’s a one pot job lol.

 

In knitting news: I have made a pair of socks for my daughter’s birthday. (I also have knitted other things, but can’t show them right now, since it is a birthday present as well)

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I am also working on a custom order crochet blanket. BRIGHT colours and fun! Pictures of the finished project fur sure, but here is one of half the colours for now. The customer picked them all. Aren’t they FUN?

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Refashioned Dread-wranglers

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It’s summer and I love to keep my hair off my neck when it’s hot out. I am sure a lot of you do, too. To top it off, i have dreadlocks, they seem to be even hotter than “regular” hair. So I tie it up a lot, or have my locks in a bun. Well… t gets boring fast if that’s all you do, so I figured a few headbands are in order. One still has to tie the hair up in a pony tail, messy bun or other up-do, but the headbands make it look different and fresh and fun. One can use a bunch of things for such hair bands. Anything from the obvious Bandanna to vintage scarves and lace shawls, or ribbons. hand made ones are the most fun and can be pretty price conscious, in a pinch. (I usually want things when I don’t have the cash in my budget to actually buy them. Does that sound familiar to you too?)

I do have vintage scarves, but a girl wants options, no? So I went through my stash to figure out how I can make these things for myself. I have a BUNCH of T-Shirt material, that I scavenged from our own old Shirts and from thrift-shop and yard sale buys. I use them to make all kinds of things, as you have noticed, if you have been reading my blog for any amount of time. Now they get turned into hair bands! (I like to call them Dread-wranglers lol) I already have ONE made. Out of striped T-shirt fabric. I love stripes!!! Honestly? This one was just the leftover from another project. It went on my nerves, as it was left out after the project was done and all the stuff put away already. So there it was and I glared at it and then it hit me: Tie it! I just cut it open (since it was still a loop) and ted it around my head and VOILA! It was close to perfect!

It goes around my head once, crosses in back and then ties. I am looking into making more just a wee bit longer, so I can wrap them twice and then tie it. I also want a few wider ones. Why not, right?

If you want to make your own:

Measure your head, then measure the T-Shirt (or fabric you want to make the wrap out of. I like T-Shirts, since you don’t have to sew anything) Make sure you have twice the head circumference, plus about 20 inches for tying (approx. 10 inches of tie on each side, or longer, if you want to tie it in a bow, rather than just a double knot). Find a T shirt wide enough to give you that measurement by only cutting off the bottom part. If you want both sides to look alike, cut off the hem of the shirt as well.

It’s best to find a T-Shirt without side seams. I don’t mind the seam in t, but if you can find one with out a seam, it will give you a continuous strip of material and some people might mind the look of a seam in the middle of the wrap. Take the T-Shirt and measure the desired width of your head wrap up from the hem to the underarm and mark it, then make a straight cut right at the mark. Take the resulting loop and cut it open on one of the side seams, Presto. Done. If you like you can make the |tie| parts pointy, but I like them blunt.

In the top picture you can see the uncut section of T-Shirt, the loop, in the light blue and the striped fabric is another T-shirt already cut open. I did cut away the entire seam, since I didn’t like the way it looked hanging off the end lol.

One could go and get yardage for this project, but where is the fun in that?

You don’t have to tie them, you can just tuck the ends and make it stay that way. Use a few bobby pins to hold the wrap on your head, if you feel it’s not secure enough (mine stay on just fine….) and go have fun in the sun.

So with a few of these I will be good for the rest of the year, or will I????

Honestly? Did you think I could go without a knitted one in my collection? NOPE! So I am working on one right now as well.  I love it. here are a few pictures of it, fresh off the needles. Very lacy, very cute, very stretchy! The yarn has elastic in it! How great is that?  I let you all know when the pattern is done and out.

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If you make any of these wranglers, let me know! Send me pictures! I want to see them! <3

Wishing you a great summer!

Hugs,

Bridgett

 

Some more hand sewing

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My daughter and I volunteer at the local Food Bank once a week. (We have done so for 4 years, then took a year’s hiatus and now we are back, baby!)One really nice lady there usually takes all the aprons (Used to sort the produce) home and washes them. Just because she is sweet like that.

She always took them in big garbage bags. Not at all the look. So we made her a bag. It worked great, because the t-shirt bags are nice and stretchy and fit all the aprons.. Sadly, one day it was gone and she had to use garbage bags again. So we set to work and made her a new bag.

Reverse and regular applique. All made from old T-shirts. I did have to embroider over a tiny hole though, but I think it is WAY better than a garbage bag ;)

Oh, and I got a pair of socks done as well!

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Knitting and crochet gone high tech.

One of my friends has told me about a knitting app she uses. It is called the knitting buddy and I thought I check it out and let you know what I think.

I went today and downloaded the free android version (available here) of the app to my colour Nook.

It installed in no time at all and is running right now perfectly fine, without any hiccups so far.

The interface is simple and it is really easy to understand and use.

From what I can tell so far, it is designed to keep track of your knitting projects on the go. It pretty much has the same features as your Ravelry project page. You can put in the project name you want to give it. There are drop down menus for the  status (current, completed, planned, on hold, or frogged), the category, and what craft you are making it in.

Further more there are spaces for what yarn, yarn weight, yarn colour, colour number and dye lot, yardage, needles, gauge given in pattern and your gauge, care info, website/pattern link and pattern adaptions. As well as three lines for notes.

You can add keywords and a start and finish time, just like on ravelry.

Now is where it gets different. This app has the added bonus of a row counter and it will also track the TIME you spend, knitting on any given project tracked in the app (if you want to, you can turn that feature off).

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Further it offers a needle and crochet hook log, so if you have this app on your phone or other portable device, you will always know just what sizes you already have, or need more of. It will let you check if the needle in question is in use, so no more guessing, if it is stuck in a project, or if you lost it. As well as a list of standard needle sizes in metric, US and UK measurements.size chart

It offers needle size charts and the standard abbreviations for knitting and crochet (just in case you hit your head and forgot them ;) lol), as well as a tab for yarn standards with links to the craft councils standards and ravelry’s standards, as well as an easy list to check right off the bat, if you don’t have wifi.standards

It has a ruler function (inches on one side, cm on the other), which actually can come in QUITE handy.

It also sports a flashlight function. SUPER HANDY, if you knit in a dark car on a road trip and drop a needle, or a stitchmarker. (Hey… I HAVE knitted in the dark, in the car, on a road trip… who hasn’t????) Sadly my device does not support that function, so I cannot tell you how bright the flashlight is.

 

Then there is the stitch calculator. This function is still in beta. I have given it a whirl. it will calculate basic decreases and decrease repeats for you. Not sure if I like it, to be honest. It is VERY BASIC. it only makes sure you don’t decrease or increase at the end of a row. I guess it might be good for someone not too comfortable with “winging it”, or if someone just hasn’t done that many decreases. I personally can do without this function.  However, don’t forget this function is still in Beta. This means updates and improvements are to come.

And last but not least: there is even a game built in the app. Now, those of you that know me, also know I SUCK at these games…. so I didn’t really go for it. (I did give it a half hearted try and will let my son and daughter have a go at it later).

 

All in all it is running well, not taking up too much room on my device. (I have NO idea, if there is a Mac version available.) I think it’s a great little app for people with small phones, or other devices they tote about daily anyway.

There is a “pro” version of it, for $2.99. The only difference I can see, is that the pro version gives you a screen-orientation lock and you can customize the look of the app.  It’s free, try it out, you won’t lose any money if you don’t like it, or never use it. There are a few other apps out there for free. As I have time, I will get them and see how they all compare and which one I like best. So far, this little app is really fun and easy to use and definitely worth a try.