Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ancient treadmill found

 This is the great wheel Dad restored for Garfield Farm Museum. (my photos might be odd for a while as the white balance on my camera is misbehaving - I even got out the manual!)   I demonstrated spinning on it this Sunday at their Harvest Days event.  Don't let the chair fool you there is a reason they call these walking wheels.  I had a lovely drive down - about 2 hours - and got there with plenty of time to set up and chat before getting into costume.  I also spun some more on it as I had only worked on it for about an hour after Dad finished it.
 This is the view from my perspective, across the lane from me was a woman discussing tanning and Joseph (on staff at the Museum) demonstrating blacksmithing. He is working on a chain link fence to use in future demonstrations. I was using some East Friesan wool that I processed myself and dyed with staghorn sumac - which smells lovely during the dye making process - and I ended up with 3 skeins of yarn. The yarn is varied lace to fingerling weight and I am very happy with it.
 I got Joseph to take my picture. That is the Tavern Museum behind me. The bag by the chair was given to me by a friend and fellow volunteer, it contains afghan hound fur she collect from her dogs.  I also had drop spindles to demonstrate on and have people try to spin.  It was a very pleasant day!
 My breakfast table Monday morning. The yarn is wound on the bobbins there, winding was the only time a sat on Sunday's Demo, a Great wheel is all about walking aback and forth and one guest described it as the treadmill of the 1840's.  Mouse is eating breakfast in the background and we have star anise & cinnamon apple butter and apple jelly in the jars.
My knitting.  I am learning to knit from a chart and doing lace patterns.  So I thought the great wheel yarn would be perfect. I am loving the knitting. This will be a lace neck shawl thing from Jane Austin Knits summer 2012 edition.

I hope your projects are bringing you joy!~ Julia

Friday, October 4, 2013

Apples, apples, everywhere.

This is how the day started!

I did not move the apples from the below picture onto the table. There are just that many apples.  I worked on apple related projects for the entire workday.

I am waiting for the last batch in the canner to finish so I can go to bed now.  I stopped work at 5 to take Beaver to his dad's for the weekend and visited with my parents - we meet at the halfway point which works out to be near my parents house. 
My Dad was helping me to restore a great wheel that Garfield Farm Museum had stored in a barn.  They want to fix them (there are three) up to have volunteers demonstrate spinning on a great wheel. They have the Garfield family wheel in the museum, these were donated at some point. Dad got it working and it looks great. We spent some time working on tension and spinning with it tonight. I need to do some research on better cord splicing methods... but that is another post this one is suppose to be about apples not spinning. It sneaks it's way into all parts of my life.

While I was working on apples today I made up these loaves of bread, which I just pulled out of the oven. I used only the yeast left in the bottom of the carboy after bottling a batch of pear cider. It is a sour dough like bread with a faintly pear cidery taste.

left to right apple butter, apple butter in cool anniversary blue glass jars that makes the food look different, and spiced apple rings.
I did up apples for jelly - I have near a half gallon of juice.  Most people dump the fruit after making juice for jelly, I don't I mill it and make apple butter. I got 5.5 pints tonight and it smells so good.  I cut and froze apple slice for pie, I am also going to try making pie filling - this is not how I make my pies normally but experimentation is fun, right? I also did spiced apple rings with cinnamon and star anise. This is a new recipe for me and they were so yummy it took serious willpower to not just eat all of them.  I have 9 half pints - side note doesn't hay-pint sound better, like a hay penny - and a half gallon of syrup I will use to make more.

Oh and the apples are still everywhere... I seriously doubt anyone but me could tell any got used - unless I made you carry the compost out - and the trees have at least that much again on their branches. Hoping you kitchen smells as good as mine ~ Julia

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Buried under a mountain

Family beach day with my parents, sister and brother in law.

Part of a current quilt pattern that will be a Christmas present for Butterfly.
Yep I am still alive here, but I have been busy. Good busy. Exhausting busy. Racing around from one project to the next like a chicken without a head busy. So here is what has been going on...

No, too long, let me sum up....

Okay, even that would likely be mind numbingly too long. So the shorter version with be what I can think of right at the moment and highlights. I'll try to cover some projects I have going in more detail in the coming weeks as I am hoping to get back into the swing of this. A dear friend and I were talk last night and we decided to challenge each other to posting today instead of just thinking up post and meaning to get to it.

The big stuff:
Beaver started High school! And went out for the football team! (I am not sporty or anything so this has been a bit weird for me, but I am learning.) He is loving school - he is a okay student and a natural leader normally - but this year he is really doing well and talks engagingly about all his classes this year. Mommy happy dance. He is co-captain of his model painting team.

One of many day trips to Old World Wisconsin with family friends
Mouse was accepted to the same STEM school Butterfly is in, he took switching schools very well and seems to be flourishing at the new school. He is a very smart boy but seemed to have trouble making close friends, it is nice to see him playing with kids would seem excited to see him and have similar interested.  He is on the model team as well.

Beaver's model.
Butterfly is just that a social butterfly. She had a bit of a hard time this year as her closest friend was moved to a different class and a lot of the others moved levels, (k&1st, 2nd &3rd, and 4th&5th are grouped together in the classrooms at this school) but she has made a few new friends and is enjoying having her beloved teacher again. Her teacher announced a baby on the way and Butterfly wants to learn to quilt to make her a blanket.

Mouse's Model

Badger is in kindergarten. (I have no kids home during the day...) she is doing well and adjusted much more easily than I expected her too.  It helps that her sister's best friend was moved into her classroom, so she already knew someone.

Butterfly started painting mostly just to get to hang out with her older brothers. She did not really like it, but she did very well. Beating both of them and making the team. I told the leaders I did not think she wanted to be on the team. When I told her she won, she told me that she didn't like the painting part so much, but she loved competing so she is on the team.

and as for me I picked up a very more hobbies to fill my days - as if I needed any! I went back to brewing and wine making, I am buried under mountains of apples, I am quilting more, I opened an Etsy store, joined a spinning guild, joined the football moms club, am thinking of joining a quilting guild, am exhausted.

I decided to add a few random pictures from our blog-cation. Hoping you are making your full days and enjoying them. ~Julia

Friday, May 10, 2013

Adventures with wool

 This is the current project, teal-y green blended gently with a very small amount of Easter egg dyed green/blue/yellow mohair.
 This is the yarn I made from Easter egg dyed yarn overdyed on natural white and brown wool. It took 2nd place for bulky two ply (it is maybe worseted weight but there was only fine or bulky) the at the Spin In.  I entered 5 skeins, one first place, 3 seconds, and a third. I was very, very happy.
 This wool is sumac dyed with and iron after-bath, I thought I had gotten it clean ---- NO. I spun it with a small amount of undyed wool (for some texture.) There was too much lanolin left in the wool, too much sumac and iron too.  I was filthy after spinning.
 I ended up re-washing the yarn before plying and was delighted by the color change. I am now planning on rewashing all the yarn I have dyed. I do plan on plying this yet. The color is more right in the lower photo.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spring, no summer, no spring...

Um the weather seems a bit confused yesterday we are roasting, today I am cuddled into a sweatshirt. Oh well, here is some over grown beauty from my yard. It seems like every time it would be good to go out and get yard work done I either am racing off to something or it starts to rain. I have done the mad dash take the laundry in off the line twice this week. I am starting to wonder if maybe my plans for my garden do not fit either my life or my willingness to actually make it a priority. Butterfly had her Violin concerts, the Boys more Model club meetings, spinning things for me and helping a friend.

 Mom, Dad, and I are going to start selling our craft work - excited and nervous!

Additionally I have been breaking out in hives everyday! I never was allergic to anything growing up but whatever I am reacting to is really driving me nuts, it has been about two weeks now of raised itches hives. Will someone please scratch my skin off, please! 

One leg patched, one leg darned, one Mouse singing Darned old Jeans, the next line in his made up song is, you can tell Momma loves me, darned old jeans.
I have been doing lots of hand stitching, repairing clothing, pretty embroidery, learning to darn.  I LOVE darning.The kids are enjoying it and bringing me a remarkable pile of things to mend and darn. (Are they ripping some of this just so I can sew it back together???)

Hope you are enjoying the simple things ~ Julia

Friday, April 26, 2013

What I made for Easter

I am just posting this now due to taking a little break after having some dental work that is only really feeling like it is healing well now. I made two dresses for my daughters for Easter using only materials I had on hand (except a zipper for each dress) and in the colors they picked. I also made them each a matching knit shawl/bolero/jacket thing in matching yarn that was not only stash but stash yarn but originally bought at a thrift store. Beaver did not want me to make him anything and Mouse got a hand made kilt - that was not really finished by Easter but wearable - and got to be in the photos with the men in kilts at church. He was very proud. There is a large group of Scottish descendents in the parish so for major holiday they all wear their colors. I will post more about his kilt as I finish it.

 This is Badger's dress, I wasn't sure about the colors but she was determined and I like it now. Please excuse the wrinkles as this is after she wore it and I washed it but before I ironed it again.
 These pile of fluff do not look like much but on the girls they are fuzzy cuteness and covered their arms, halter style dresses not the best choice for this years weather.
A sneak peak of Mose's kilt. I decided to go with a flannel shirting in a color very close to his fathers ancestors, but not to buy the really stuff for a 8 year old. Someone else I have in mind to make on for will be all out though.

 This is Butterfly's dress. It looked great on her and the best part of both dresses is the pattern thinks little girls are much bigger that they are.  I had to take the dress in 4 inches and up four inches for Badger and 2 each way for Butterfly. Even then the dresses are very long and not snug. So they will last a long time!

I am a day late joining Crunchy Catholic Momma at the Stash Bash! I hope your creating fun, useful, maybe even beautiful things! ~ Julia

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Yarn Along - sweater without thumbs.

Joining Ginny at Small Things for the yarn along!

I knit like crazy to get out of the body of this sweater, mostly two days of nothing but knitting fast and watching videos from the Colonial Williamsburg website (  I am in the hood now! I knit too much too fast and followed it up with a lot of handstitching, mending, and darning. My thumbs ache, so progress has stopped. The yarn bowl was a gift from my mother in law! Love it! I finished this book today, very good, very him. The good guys are good the bad guy megalomaniac and the stakes are high.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Yarn along - size 35's and fuzzy yarn to the rescue

Linking with Ginny at Small Things for the Yarn Along this morning.

What does a scary crafty mommy due when she made two halter topped Easter dresses (Pictures tomorrow at the Stash Bash) for her daughters but the weather is supposed to be 35 and raining? Search her yarn stash! I found this yarn and a similar but pink one in the stash. Grabbed the biggest needles I own, 35s (that 20mm) and set to work I am working 41 stitches across, then I bound off the middle three, I am working the remaining stitches on both sides to match the back, then I will sew the corners together to make a little shrug. A soft fluffy cloud of orange for Badger and pink for Butterfly.

I am also sewing a kilt for Mouse's Easter outfit. Lots of the men in our church are of Scottish decent and wear their kilts for special occasions. Mouse asked if he could have one. So I am hand-stitching like lighting and praying I get it done in time. I am only using flannel as I could not find a proper plaid and it did seem a bit silly to spend that much on something for a boy who is always outgrowing his pants. He asked me if my sewing machine knew how to make anything other than dresses, so I am happy to be making something for him.

As far as reading, I read two of the books I got last week, Creative Spinning - it had some interesting plying and colorway ideas but was not of great use to me - and the fiction book Glory by Heather Graham.  I like her work - most romance, suspense, and ghost stories - because of the research she does about the area she sets her work in and it history, which she often give a summary of at the end. This one was a romance set during the Civil War. I liked her portrayal of families that loved each other deeply but had members on both sides actively working for their cause, and view into those on the southern side who were both pro-cession and anti-slavery. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thank you Blog!

 I was just saved by the blog. I thought I should post a picture of this wool. I dyed it Sunday night after using the dye for Easter eggs with the kids and wax painting eggs. I wanted to put away the wool before people come over tonight. Out came the camera. As I took the photo I realized I needed to charge my camera. Mouse has his school music program tonight and I nearly attended with no battery charge left!  It is plugged in, now I just have to remember to put the battery back into my camera.

 Badger drawing snowmen and stick figures. I may be spring but we still have snow! They say we might see 40 this week.
These are the painting wax resistance eggs I made and in the bags are yarn eggs the younger three did in Sunday school. We are going to make an Easter tree, from sticks in the yard, when they get home and hang these eggs. The picture is My Great-Grandmother Ruth Delilah, she is holding Beaver whom she told me was a keeper. She passed on not long after this photo, it is sitting on the under the tea pot cupboard in my kitchen with my cookbooks and keeping an eye on us.

Hope you manage to remember all the little and big things you need to today! ~ Julia

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Yarn along - sweater and flowers

Joining Ginny at Small Things for the Yarn Along!

 I tired to get it all in one picture! Nope. So the work space in front of me from left(above) to right(below). The current Spinoff magazine! Lots of info on selling your craft work. My garden plans are moving along. The inside of Mouse's sweater, look and armhole. I finished the back panel and and on the last side, that said, I tried it on him and want to add about 1.5 inches, luckily I left the stitches live.
Some more flowers, actually I am up to about 25 of these. I decided to make 91 and the stitch them together, 7rows of 13, for a back of the living room couch blanket. Badger and I went to Half Priced Books today. I got Glory by Heather Graham, Early American Weaving and Dyeing-The Domestic Manufacturer's Assistant and Family Directory in the Arts of Weaving and Dyeing by J. and R. Bronson (first published in 1817, ) Creative Spinning by Alison Daykin and Jane Deane, and Crochet Master Class by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss.  Badger got the Princess' cookbook and a book titled I Love You. I haven't started them yet but they sure look good.

looking forward to seeing what you are all making! ~ Julia

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Morning Musings

Linking up with Nadja at Patch o' Dirt Farm.

Right Now...
 I am sitting in my quiet kitchen, cooking up some leftover baked potatoes to go with some eggs.  I have a cup of hot decaf chai at my elbow. The older three children are off at school and Badger is still in bed. As she has been sniffly I am letting her get her rest. Jim is working and the snow is falling fast, last Monday of winter. It is 8:50am.

This Weekend...
Friday, I was all excited to go to a spinning guild meeting.  I had never been before but found their website and the Badger and I gather up our stuff and drove over. But there was no one there. very disappointing. That evening I went to a gathering of people from school, some of whom I haven't seen since my graduation. One of the Professors hosted and made chicken curry, we watched a Thai horror film, not bad, and a Lithuanian movie about a warrior and a princess. Wolfhound was very good, a bit Conan like but more likeable. I got home late but had a very nice time.
Saturday, I slept in while Jim played with the kids. That evening we went to close friends' house to play Star Wars so part of the day was spent building a character.  I am playing an Archaeology professor and had a nice time translating what I really would do on a dig to both my friends and to the Star Wars universe. It was not my idea to play myself, as I normally try to play something completely different, but since he was starting us on a dig, everyone said it made the most sense for me to be the professor and them to be students or guards. As a side note if I could get a real life crew to move that much dirt in a two month season I would be a very happy archaeologist. We all had fun, and so did the kids who had a movie night with their friends.
Sunday, we got up for church, early as I remembered as I was falling asleep that we were supposed to bring the snack for Sunday School. I wanted to bring something shelf stable, so they could use the extras another day, so we stopped for granola bars on the way into church. Adult class was a continuation of the program we have been doing on Sabbath as resistance. Looking at ways to focus on God and Family on Sundays as a method of resisting the ways of the world and as a way to recharge in faith and love to face the work ahead. I find that this course is resonating with my sustainability and simple living reading, focusing on the thing you are doing and doing it well then doing the next thing. I have been wanting to do family dinners on Sundays, and think I will start. Maybe one weekend each month invite my parents, then the next month invite Jim's and his sister's family.

Some plans for the week...
I want to work on cleaning the house well this week, I feel like I have been just getting enough done for awhile now and really want to get more than enough done. I also want to work on Mouse's sweater, make more crocheted flowers, finish Bec's skirt, and make some Easter dresses and an Easter Kilt or two (depending on whether Beaver would wear it, I know Mouse will.) I also want to place my garden orders this week.

I am grateful for...
Mom was released from the hospital Friday and is resting at home!! Bec is settling into a new home and job, that if I had sat down and created for a job that would be perfect for her I could not have done a better job. My brother in law got a new job that is much closer to home and is making him, and my sister happier.

Some prayerful intentions this week...
I want to set a little time aside to pray for all of the people on the prayer request list from church.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Stash bash - apple sauce

Linking up a day late with Crunchy Momma's Stash Bash!

What is a momma to do when she finds out that she has canned (& canned, & canned) a whole bunch of applesauce from the apples from her trees, only to discover that only one of the kids likes applesauce! This was 2011's summer crop as our apples produced nothing with this past summer's weather. I still have lots of applesauce!

Then I discovered that I could get them to eat it if I took my 'stash' of applesauce and make it into something they all like - fruit leather. This is a great snack for school as my younger kids are required to take either a fruit or a veggie that is also not messy as snack time is during course time. So my dehydrator is getting a workout this week making school snacks.

Side note: I firmly believe we as a society would be better eaters (with less health problems) if we spent a little less time harping on what we ate and a little more time eating. My elementary kids are given 20 minutes to get to the lunch room, go to the bathroom, get their lunch and eat. I really think that making eating important and focusing on doing it would be a better lesson in the long run than teaching kids to eat as fast as they can without thinking about the food or tasting it. I know my Butterfly would be nicer when she got home if she had enough time to eat her lunch, she is so hungry but never gets through her lunch.

On a more crafty note my stash busting crochet flowers are coming along well. I am using up all the bits and pieces of yarn I have, I think I will stitch these all together when I am done and make an afghan for my living room.
Hope your creativity is turning your leftover supplies into things that improve your life!~ Julia

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Yarn Along - Flowers for Spring

Joining Ginny for the Yarn Along!

Knitting wise I am still in my green tweed sweater for Mouse.  I am making progress, but it doesn't seem like it and I wanted to do something else. As I was reading blogs I saw this at My Rose Valley and decided to do a few. I am thinking I may make the garland or try to figure out a way to connect them into a flower blanket. I whipped up these guys in a few house during dinner and game night.

Reading I am mostly trying to just read blogs and magazine this week as they are easier to walk away from to get stuff done. I really need to work on my time management or self-control. Reading the entire book, excluding the things that need to be done because the story is good is not a good idea.

I am starting to plan my garden. This sketch is a first draft. The curly things are the blueberry and blackberry bushes I planted last year. I am not sure if they survived the dry summer, much less the winter. The horseradish and chives are beautiful. I want zinnas, hollihocks, Madder, indigo, apple mint, lemon verbenna, lemon balm, thai basil, basil, thyme, lavender, rosemary, rue, and lots more. I am thinking about ordering some container sized citrus this year too. & Cherries. & Figs.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

thoughts on a tough and amazing week

Mom is back in the hospital. I got home from church to find my phone ringing. Dad had taken her in to er and they were admitting her for a bowel obstruction and she may need surgery.  I got the kids some lunch and even convinced the Badger to take a nap then went down to see her. I brought her phone, hair brush, some throw away magazines, and her crocheting project. She had a NG tube down her nose and was in pain and sick. I stayed for awhile.

Yesterday was the day of the CONCERT. Butterfly (who takes violin lessons) received tickets to a Lindsey Stirling show as a Christmas present. She, Beaver, My parents and I were all to go, have dinner in the city and see the performance. Mom couldn't go and Dad chose to stay with her. Butterfly was crushed, even more when I could not find anyone free to go with us. Then as I am looking up info to take us, I am finding out this is less and less what I was imagining. She had a lovely new (to her) dress to wear blue velvet, lace collar, and plaid skirt, I was in dress clothes and made Beaver put on a dress skirt. UM... it was a standing only rock/violin concert. Lindsey Stirling's performance was magical, amazing, and inventive. Butterfly was in awe. The problems - she did not take the stage until 9pm, we started waiting at 6, there was no were to sit, a lot of people, drinking, and a DJ performing as the opening act who was loud and liked to swear. Basically, I took my 6year old to a rock concert. That said and all the stress it caused it was an amazing experience she will never forget, and I will never forget the joy and awe on her face when Lindsey's version of The phantom of the opera and halfway through bubbles burst from the stage over the audience. (also future event gifts will have mommy research before hand)

Mom's tests are back and the blockage seems to be resolving itself  and the tube is out!  No word yet one when she may be able to come home, this really took a lot out of her and her health is so fragile anyway.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Yarn along - and the winner is...

All four of you! I decided rather than drawing three names from four, I would rather make another set of stitch markers and have you all win!  Bookworm-mary, Uglemor, DianaR.Smith, and Harknessangels will all be relieving a stitch marker set.

More progress on the sweater for Mouse.
 I have been reading Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont. It is a lovely book, filled with beautiful spindles and great information. Badger & I are going to the library in a few minutes so more inspiration to come.
This is my latest thrift store find, 10 yards. Perfect for new curtains in the girls' room. Their favorite colors are pink and orange. $9.99

Joining Ginny for the Yarn Along.

Woolly Wednesday - boucle and friends

Join us for Woolly Wednesday at Spinspiration!

I did a fair amount of spinning in February and did some dyeing.

This is Paduck sawdust. I am working on the ratios for dyeing. I did up 4oz of East Friesan wool with this. It turned an orangey pink. I then took half and after-bathed it in an iron solution. It is an interesting pink/purple. I think I needed to use more wood dust to woo.l Next time!

This is a woolen spinning of a BFL and  mohair mix that I got at this year's Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival.

First skein of the same as above, I normally spin worseted and fair fine, so this was something new for me. It is very soft. I am thinking I will spin up all that I have of this and try weaving with it - first project one my loom?!  Maybe a lustery white/cream for the warp or a deeper blue....

Following instructions in an old Spinoff Magazine, I tried my hand at boucle. The wool is Polwort and tussah silk.  After the first plying(of three) I was certain I would regret this, but it turned out nice.  Due to running out of sewing thread to ply it with I ended up with 2 skeins, one 198yards long and the other with a copper strand (pictured) at 110 yards.

I made this one at a crafting retreat. I had nearly run out of wool (with me) use a little black left, so I spun it fine to make it last. When I ran out I bought (well more wool,) but also a yarn by Mary Maxim with sparkles and some mohair content.  I strung a bunch of large-ish glass beads on the commercial yarn and plyed it to the yarn I spun. I love the results.

I blended some wool I got for Christmas - a 3# bag O' crap from the Sheep Shed - I think it has some mohair in it but can't be sure.  I really like the colorway and as I had Lord of the Rings on while I was spinning it, I think it is a elven forest yarn.

I took some orange (I think it was suppose to felting wool, but it spun great) and mixed it with a cream wool and sparkle for this one.  A friend, who makes beautiful dolls, kept saying I made Rapunzel's hair.

My wonderful husband, who is clearly tired of me drying wool in the kitchen and bathroom, hung these hooks above the laundry sink (completely on his own) for me. The skein hanging there is the first boucle skein.

 I hope you are spinning up a creative storm! ~ Julia