Thursday, September 29, 2011

Felted Dryer Balls Tutorial

Want an eco-friendly way to dry your clothes? Hanging them on a clothesline is the best! But if you don't have 7 days of sunshine like we do here in California, these dryer balls will help you save money, use less chemical-y fabric softener, and save on energy.

These 100% felted wool dryer balls will speed your drying time and are just fun to make!

You will need:
Wool roving and/or 100% wool yarn
An old pair of tights or nylons

First, take your yarn or roving and create a small ball:

Next, take your roving and break into small strands.

Wrap the strands tightly around your yarn ball. Continue until it is the size you want your dryer ball. Mine are about 2 inches in diameter. I think 2-3 inches would make the most efficient size dryer balls.

Feel free to snazz them up a bit and add bits of decorative roving around in a design. Or, needle felt a design after you are finished.

Put the ball into your tights (or nylons) and knot between balls.

Wash in washer on the hottest cycle. It is okay to wash them with a load of clothes. I ran mine in two loads of wash and through two drying cycles.

Ta da, felted wool!

Enjoy shorter drying times. These are especially great if you have to go to a laundromat and use a timed dryer, they help get your clothes as dry as quickly as possible.

Happy felting!

If you're feeling un-crafty, you can still go green and buy this set from Amazon*!
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A fat wife and full barn...

...never did any man harm

After posting about this Jane Snead pattern I did a little research and found out that the owner (I think?) has a ebay shop and sells some of the old kits! Unfortunately, I didn't see my favorite one in the mix:

But I'm going to keep looking! Here are a few other of my faves from the book:

This one reminds me of my older sister, she loves everything tulilps.

The next two just make me giggle.

This one is just cute.

I found this one on ebay and want to stitch it for me and Ryan's 1 year anniversary.

I so wish people still designed cross stitch like this. Maybe I will start to!

I have a new found love for cross stitch. Something about how relaxing it is to stitch and stitch and let your mind relax. Plus it's the perfect portable craft. Yay for cross stitching!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Finished Stitching

I finally finished the Swedish bell pull I started a couple months ago. It actually went pretty fast, I just didn't work on it consistently. It says "Welcome" in Swedish. I just have to hem the edges, attach the bell pull and then hang it up!

If you didn't know, I acquired the above cross stitch kit from my mom who had some adorable Scandinavian kits hidden away in her linen closet. Along with the kit I found a Jane Snead sampler (a mail order company that is now out of business, sad) book which contained this pattern that I'm trying my best to find a copy of:

It is definitely one of my favorites from the sampler book. There are many more awesome patterns that I will share at a later time, they are pretty great.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Polish Cookies

Ryan and I recently came into a plate of these delicious polish cookies called chrusciki. I've never had them until today and they are so good you can't stop at just one...or five.

They're light, airy and full of sugary goodness. Our landlord is a very sweet Polish woman who we've been trading little treats with. She stopped by this afternoon while I was cleaning and dropped these off. Needless to say, I took a coffee break. Now, I'm on a blog break.

I linked to a recipe for these above if you're interested in attempting them yourself. And you should because they're amazing. Yum.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Organizing a wall

I'm attempting to use up my stash of fabric (or at least make a dent in it) by making projects from the many craft books I've acquired over the years. So I decided to make a wall organizer from Lotta's Simple Sewing book.

We hung it on the wall right when you walk in the door. That way it's convenient to put any mail or coupons right in a pocket. I also threw some pens, tape, and scissors in some pockets too.

The only part I'm not quite happy with yet is the wooden dowel I used to hang it up, it's not quite long enough so the fabric bunches on either side. An easy fix but I need to go someplace that sells them.

It feels good to have a place for things to go when I walk through the door. I was tired of stacks of junk mail just sitting around and this does the trick. Yay for organizing!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday brunch and pillows

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. Maybe it's all those years of my mom telling me it's the most important meal of the day, but I love it. Weekdays I always eat cereal or oatmeal, but on weekends...breakfast craziness ensues.

Today my dear friend Alisha is making her way over to break the fast with me and Ryan. I'm branching out and attempting baked eggs in tomatoes!

In the above picture, I've hollowed out 6 roma tomatoes by cutting off the very top and scooping the insides out with a spoon. Then I cut a bit off the bottom so they would stay upright in my casserole dish. I added some sauteed onions and spinach and will fill each tomato with eggs and then bake for 15 minutes at 400.

We'll also have oven potatoes and pumpkin bread I made yesterday. I'm trying to act like it's Fall out here in California even when it's sunny and hot everyday. Baking Fall things helps.

And in unrelated news, I whipped up some simple 16" square pillows yesterday for our couch. I started and finished while watching New Scandinavian Cooking on PBS (love this show!). One side of the pillow is solid black and the other is the patterned fabric. I need to make a few more yet, but thought I'd make a couple more interesting ones to pair with the basic look.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

3 Citrus Marmalade

The three-citrus marmalade I attempted last night is now finished!

What started out as lemons, grapefruits and oranges turned into 5 lovely jars of the marmalade.

It took me a long time to chop all that rind off the fruit without a zester (which I have already added to my Christmas list after this). And it took quite a while to reach the 220 degree mark, about an hour. I was getting worried it would change the taste of the marmalade if it kept cooking, but it finally reached 220.

It still looked pretty syrup-y too when I poured it in the jars, then I was worried that all that hard work would be for naught if they didn't gel properly. But, rest assured, when I woke up this morning they had gelled quite nicely.

I like this picture of the morning sun shining through the jars. The jar on the right was only filled halfway since I used a small jar for the other half to give to my sister.

Overall, tastes great on toast. You can really taste the orange the most, with a hint of lemon. I found it pretty hard to taste the grapefruit at all. I might add a wee bit more in the future. If you like orange marmalade, you'll love this recipe!

Three Citrus Marmalade:

3 navel oranges
2 red grapefruit (the store didn't carry any other variety so I went with red)
4 lemons (mine were very tiny)
6 cups sugar
4 cups water

Wash all your fruit thoroughly since you will be using and eating the rind. Zest your fruit in fine ribbons. I think a French zester would be ideal for this job. Add all of your zest to 4 cups of water and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

While zest cooks, finish removing all the rind, pithe (white stuff around the citrus) and seeds, and put your fruit in a bowl (I had about 4 cups of fruit). When zest has finished cooking, add the fruit along with the sugar. Bring to a boil and keep at medium-high heat until the marmalade reaches 220 degrees, it took me an hour to reach this temperature.

Pour into sterilized jars and can in a water bath for 5 minutes.

Eat it up!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Citrus marmalade in the works

Tonight I am tackling this recipe for three-citrus marmalade. I'm using grapefruit, oranges and lemons. I don't own a zester so it looks like I'm in for a long night of hand chopping these suckers...which somehow I'm actually looking forward to.

I'll post the finished product soon!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Hug O' War
from the book "Where the Sidewalk Ends" by Shel Silverstein (1974)

I will not play at tug o' war.
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.

I'm having a very relaxed Saturday. Catching up on some reading, cross stitching, coffee-drinking and hanging out with the ol' husband.

Happy Labor Day, enjoy the long weekend!