Atomic Sunrise & Goosebumps

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I tried something new on the weekend and ended up with an Atomic Sunrise and Goosebumps.  No, those are not new cocktail ideas…although they could be, I will have to think on those a spell.

Anyway, back to my new adventures.  I have oodles of Wilton’s Food colouring gels in the kitchen not being used up since I don’t bake as much as I used to (lots of reasons, and hubby being one of them).  With closing the Northern Homestead for the winter, all my natural dye supplies are up there waiting for Spring to arrive and me with it.  So instead I went looking for another way to flex my creative muscle on two freshly spun skeins of yarn.

Food colouring and Kool-Aid are 2 very good mediums to use on animal fibers (wool, alpaca, silk, etc.) but they do not work on plant based fibers (cotton/linen/hemp) so skip those.  The added bonus of using food based dyes is that it isn’t harmful to ones health as some of the natural dyes and mordants (or acid dyes) can be and you can use the same cooking equipment as you use for your home cooking.  For the natural dyes, I have a whole set of pots/utensils just for them.

For the making of my food colour dyes, I employed the use of my crockpot.  A great heat source that you don’t have to coddle like a pot on the stove.

First up was to soak the yarn in an acidic solution to help bond the food colouring to the yarn.  I let the 2 skeins soak overnight in a pail of water mixed with 2 Tbsp of Citric Acid (Fruit Fresh) or plain White Vinegar or Lemon Juice would also work.  The Citric Acid I had on hand to use up along with the food colouring.

Studio_20160222_093344Next was to plop the yarns (processed one at a time) in the crockpot with just enough water to cover the wool along with 1/2 cup of white vinegar or lemon juice.  Let it heat up on high for about an hour and a half or until the temp reads 150F.

Studio_20160222_093508While the yarn is coming up to temp, take 3 glass jars (or however many you need for each colour) and using wooden popsicle sticks, scoop out about an 1/8th of a tsp of gel colouring and smear it all around the insides of the jar.  Pour in half a cup of boiling water and stir to dissolve.

Studio_20160222_093412When the yarn has come up to temp, pour the dye in whatever colour pattern you like.  Try to keep to the same colour families (like red/orange/yellow or blue/green/purple) or you’ll end up with an unpleasant brown (unless that is what you are going for).

Studio_20160222_093435Do not stir, just place the lid on the crockpot and let it sit for an hour or until the water in the pot has turned clear.  This means the colouring has been exhausted and sucked up by the wool.  Remove the lid, turn the crockpot off and let it sit until the yarn returns to room temp.

Remove from the crockpot, squeezing the water as you go and rinse in the sink in the same temperature water as what it was sitting in (or you risk felting the wool with a shock in water temperature).  Hang to dry and voila!

Atomic Sunrise and Goosebumps.

Studio_20160222_093546Studio_20160223_093107 I named the blue/green/purple Goosebumps as it reminded me of a cover of a Goosebumps Series (R.L. Stein) book that my son read long ago.  As soon as the skein came out of the crockpot, that is what I though of.

The Atomic Sunrise is self-explanatory and is actually a lot more vibrant (think neon) in person.  I have a ball and half of bright orange wool left from my “I’m Not a Deer” hat that I knit last fall for my daily walks during deer hunting season so I will combine them into a matching scarf.

So now I must get back to the spinning wheel(s) to make some more yarn to dye with in this newest creative outlet.  If you want to try this at home but don’t want to spin yarn, you can over-dye commercial yarns (wool/alpaca/silk, etc only – do not try on acrylic as the colours won’t take) or you can buy ‘bare’ yarns from various yarn companies to play with.

Enjoy and let your fun side out!

Deborah

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Almost there…

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9 months has passed since we moved and I can say that finally, F-I-N-A-L-L-Y, the painting has come to an end in the Colourful House of Frightenstein.  Yes, we did the major painting prior to moving in, but there was still the kitchen, baths and all interior doors and door frames to be done.

They can now be crossed of the to-do list save for a few touch-ups after my kitchen is renovated in a few weeks. Woo!

With the bulk of the updates/fixes now done, I can settle into some serious loom time before the Northern Homestead gets opened from its short winter nap, as well get the rest of my seeds started for summer gardening.  I have a few sprouts happening already as you can see here… Curly Parsley (top photo) and Basil (bottom photo)

DSC04163 DSC04165and remember these?  Grocery store green onions that I planted a few weeks ago?

DSC04153Well, here they are today….

DSC04168I have to prune them as they are getting totally out of control, which is easy as pie, just snip and add to your cooking.  Super simple to grow, just get some potting soil and when your green onions are about down to the last 4″ from the root end, plunk them in a little pot, water and watch them grow again and again.

DSC04169Guarding my little wee plants is my obedient kitty.  He sits there staring out the window all day, waiting for the summer warmth to arrive (me too) and never lays a paw on the sheers. What a good kitty!

I have a couple weeks before I get the rest of the pots and seeds out, for now, it is off to the loom and spinning wheels and get down to business!

Deborah

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Huevos Rancheros

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If you love eggs (like I do), and if you love Mexican food (like I do), then you will love this breakfast staple.  How can it be better? If you use my leftover Charro Beans as the base, that’s how.

Making huevos rancheros can be time consuming due to all the chopping/sauteing of veggies/beans, but utilizing the leftover charro beans has made for a breakfast that is ready in under 30 minutes instead of almost an hour.

DSC04157Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a small baking dish (spray with cooking spray first), press a warmed 6″ flour (or corn) tortilla into place.

Add 3/4 cup of charro beans

Top with 2 tbsp shredded cheese (mozz/cheddar or monterey jack, whatever suits your tastebuds)

Crack one egg onto the top, season the egg with salt and pepper and pop into the oven for about 20 minutes or until egg is done to your liking.

Garnish with cilantro. Salud!

Easy-peasy…. and boy, was it tasty.  I have enough charro beans in the fridge for one more breakfast.  I am so looking forward to tomorrow morning.

Deborah

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My New Planting Table

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I love my hubby.
He is resourceful.
He is creative.
He is a very good problem solver.
and he can build just about anything.

Now that we have downsized to condo life, planning and planting my seeds for this years garden came with a bit of a dilemma.  I had an enormous window sill in the living room at the house that pretty much handled all the plant pots and trays.  The condo…not so much.  I could use the floor I guess, but with the sectional couch in front of the window, it would be a pain to gain access to watering, etc.

So hubby, seeing said dilemma, stepped up and built this fabulously useful planting table that fits perfectly behind the couch in front of the large span of windows.

DSC04151Built with a depth wide enough to hold the standard plant trays and a length about the size of a football field (or thereabouts), I now have oodles of room for the many pots that will soon be gracing the raw beauty of the plywood top.  Simple to make from regular 2×4′s and plywood, it is sturdy and comes with a lower shelf to hold bags of soil and excess trays/pots.

DSC04153Right now I just have the bare minimum started.  Basil, Cilantro and Parsley and some perennial flower seeds (Arabis) that are to be started this time of year as well as some leftover green onions from the fridge.

I discovered last summer that green onions, after you have used the green part and before taking them too far down the white part, you can plant in the ground and they start to regrow.  The last couple years I have grown green onions from seeds, but by August, they are barely thicker than chives.  So I had a brain wave to stick them in the ground and see what happens.  From this point forward, I will not have to buy green onions from the store as these will continue to grow and I can snip off what I need, when I need it.

I love spur of the moment ideas, sometimes they work out, sometimes not.  In this case, happy results indeed!

Deborah

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