Thursday, June 30, 2016

bee bullions

A project of sewing bullions on a cream-colored linen diaper shirt.

Of course, it is for Ivy Elizabeth.

And of course, I will sew her some pink rompers to be worn with it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Little granddaughter,
         Just as the mighty ocean's wind tousles our hair,
                 Just as the sun's invincible strength warms our skin,
 and we glow in its light...
My prayer for you is that you will know His mighty power and invincible love, 
all the days of your life. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

shades, textures, and rapsberries

Today is hot as summer rings faithful. It was a home day allowing me to sew a taggie blanket for Ivy Elizabeth, who is beginning to hold onto things. But that was after I wandered outside and snipped three pink hydrangeas to ensconce in a clear vase, and after I brewed a pitcher of raspberry tea.

Raspberry Tea
First make a simple syrup of 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar
Boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
Add 4-6 oz. fresh or frozen raspberries.
Mash raspberries, I use a potato masher.
Allow to stand for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile boil 6 cups of water, add 6 teabags.
Steep until tea reaches required taste, I steep mine over an hour. (Some think the tea becomes bitter if steeped this long, I suggest doing taste testings.)
Strain the raspberries, and then add this syrup to your tea.
Add about 2 cups of water.
Pour over ice.
Sip and enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2016

glorious June

in the garden...

Upon a most imploring request, my husband constructed a raised bed  in order for me to start a new lavender garden. He is just like that! Since we had to move our bee hives to Witt's house, I harvest the lavender rather stringently these days compared to afore years, when it was gratifying to watch the honey bees gently drinking the sweet nectar of the lavender blooms.

The hydrangeas make me swoon this year, so beautiful!  I was hoping to tend my soil to urge blue blooms from this particular bush that sits on the northeast side of my house, across a expanse of lawn from my lavender bed. But instead I am enjoying the most fetching shades of lavender and indigo.

And the company I keep is good too. Some cats chose where they want to live and with whom. Louie is one such cat. One cold February night he appeared at our back door meowing alarmingly. He has completely stolen our hearts with his cat's heart and winsome ways.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

on this Wednesday

 Since socks have proven to be a perfect take along project, I lean toward keeping an ongoing sock project on my dpns at all times. As something new in sock knitting this spring I began knitting a pair of toe-up socks with the added bonus of an afterthought heel. The light blue yarn you see is holding the stitches where I will be adding the heel very soon, I hope

While at our local library sale I was perusing the shelves containing old hardback treasures, the charming book sleeve was enough to arrest my attention, but then the author's name had me recalling a previous book I had read two years ago and I immediately grabbed for it.  The Cutters is a splendid story celebrating family with all its everyday challenges and joys, especially rendering the struggles that motherhood brings into Nell Cutter's home. Yet the heart of her struggles are only echos of many mothers today. It was a satisfying read with a humorous thread running throughout the chapters.

"Her prosaic everyday work at home appeared now, a glorified, beautiful thing. She had come to the land of her heart's desire, and lo! the only land she wanted was the dear, substantial one of her everyday happenings."

I could not resist buying this double pointed needle keeper while in Cary back in April. I am looking forward to sewing some myself since she has graciously provided a tutorial for making your own.

 And since I am knitting and reading, joining the yarn-along flows together quite nicely on this Wednesday.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

second fermentation kombucha tea

There is a generous amount of information regarding kombucha tea given on the internet. So my intent here is not to give the history or reasons for brewing and drinking kombucha, whether your brew your own at home or purchase it from the grocery store.

Todays strain: the bottle on the left has been strained, the one in the forefront( with ginger) is ready to be strained.
the bottle in the back has fresh raspberries, also needs straining.

I am not a master brewer, but I have "mastered" batches of kombucha that are delicious and refreshing to drink according to my taste buds. I have drunk several varieties of the store bought kind; but personally I like mine so much better. And it is much cheaper to make your own if you are serious about drinking it on a regular basis.

My kombucha  goes through a second fermentation process that last roughly four days, resting in a dark cupboard. I have only once have a bottle to explode due to the natural formation of carbon dioxide during the second fermentation process (that is one too many)!

How I make my Kombucha:
1. Three quarts of purified water (distilled). I use *Primo*; *Le Bleu* is also very good in ph.
    1 cup organic sugar
2. Boil for five minutes.
3. Four organic black tea bags. I use English Breakfast.
    Two green tea bags.
4. Remove the water from the burner, add teabags and cover. Allow the tea to cool to room            temperature, or almost room temperature.
5. Add your scoby and 2/3 to 1 cup of brewed kombucha tea from your last batch.
6.  Cover with a white cotton cloth secured with a rubber band, a bay leaf set atop the cloth will prohibit little bugs that could prove to be a slight problem.
7. After 7 to 8 days, I bottle my komchucha in flip-lid airtight glass bottles. Organic fruit or fruit juice    is added at this time. Any sort of fruit, fresh or frozen, works; it is fun to experiment. A good rule of thumb for adding fruit juice is 1 part juice to 3 parts kombucha tea. This depends on personal taste of sweetness.
   One of my absolute favorite things to add is two teaspoons of fresh minced ginger to the bottle. My own form of ginger ale.
   Concord Grape Juice is another added favorite of mine. Today I strained a bottle that had been brewed with organic fresh raspberries, so good!
   As a word of precaution, open your bottles that have gone through the second fermentation process    very carefully, I suggest throwing a towel across the lid, sometimes they will pop quite forcefully         as the carbon dioxide is expelled. It varies, you never know how much at any given time.
8. Using cheesecloth, strain the kombucha. There will be a small scoby developing already and you want to eliminate this from what you will be drinking. Straining also removes bits of fruit or ginger.            Personally, I try to get mine as "clean" as possible.
9. Store in the refrigerator. There are at least two good reasons for this, it will continue to ferment if  you do not refrigerate, and it just tastes better when chilled, refreshing and crisp.

Recently, I have discovered that if you lay your bottles down instead of upright, and leave them for about an extra week, they are slightly more fizzy. The carbon dioxide created in kombucha is natural, unlike the carbonation added to soft drinks.

My kombucha tea brew sits  on an oak table beside the piano where I am convinced the lovely music produced by Charlotte on the piano only adds to my kombucha success. You should consider resting your kombucha is a place where it is not disturbed. It is a live culture, after all.

reading and knitting with "small things"

I was pleased to discover Ginny had brought back her knitting and reading yarn along, because frankly I do find myself enjoying  the ...