Water into Wine (or something like that)

This summer seems to have gone by too quickly.  Will has been getting up early for work to avoid traffic and I’ve been extra tired all the time, so we’ve been hitting the hay by 9:30 every night.  No jokes.  We’ve also been taking childbirth classes after work and on weekends, so it seems like our free time has really evaporated.  What little time we have left we’ve spent lounging around my parent’s summer house in RI doing absolutely nothing.  Which is exactly what I think summer should be used for.

Since we’ve been driving so much back and forth to RI for birth classes, doctor’s appointments, and hanging at the summer house, Will and I have been listening to books on cds that we got for a steal at Savers!  We found both Pillars of the Earth as well as World Without End by Ken Follett for $4 each!  Each volume is 45 hours of audio!  ‘Why read those books’, you ask?  Well there are two popular board games that we really enjoy based on each of the books, so we figured it was due time we gave the books a read.  I can tell you that Pillars of the Earth does not disappoint!  It has totally engrossed me.  It also makes me extremely thankful that I live in the 21st century.

In other news, I’ve started getting nervous that we haven’t done anything for the baby’s room yet, so Will agreed to paint the room this past weekend.  Except I didn’t get any paint swatches.  So he couldn’t buy any paint.  But I DID manage to finish the baby registry – so at least I have a list of all the things I think we’ll need when the baby arrives!  And I purchased a single adorable outfit off Amazon, so if nothing else, our baby will be looking dapper for about 30 seconds before destroying the outfit with its un-diapered bottom.  And on that subject, I have to tell you one last quick story.

Will and I are planning to use cloth diapers.  Before you say anything, if you read this blog you know how big of a hippie I am and that two of my biggest hippie concerns are recycling and energy.  So it will come as no surprise to you that the thought of throwing away over 5000 diapers over my child’s diapering lifetime is enough to kill me.  Well I have gotten heckled by friends, co-workers, and even COMPLETE STRANGERS when I mention offhand I’m planning to cloth diaper.  I was with my mom in Babies R Us the other day looking for a suitable diaper pail for cloth diapers (spoilers, there are none) when a woman, trying to be friendly, starts offering us some free advice on her daughter’s favorite diaper bin.  My mom mentioned that my husband and I were planning to cloth diaper so that bin wouldn’t be suitable for us, and the woman’s reaction was something of horror.  Her response was a sarcastic, “good luck”!  My response to that was, “thanks, I’ll need it, but I’m an environmental hippie so I think I’ll be okay” which I hoped would stop her commentary.  Her reaction to that was to ignore me and look at my mom and say “well, we’ll see how long that lasts, won’t we?!”  To which my mom responded with, “I cloth diapered 2 of my children so I bet she’ll get through at least one.”  That shut her up.  I’ll let you know in another 6 months how much of a disaster cloth diapering is, but for now, let me live my flower child dreams.

And on that note, here’s a tutorial on how to make something else recycled!  For Dany’s water bowl we’ve been refilling the bowl over the course of each day using an old liter plastic Dasani water bottle.  It is much easier than picking the bowl up and dragging it over to the sink.  The one downside to the dasani water bottle method is that because it sits on our counter and looks like it should be in the recycling bin it confuses our guests.  Multiple times we have had to dig it out of the recycling bin after overly helpful guests try to help us tidy up.  (Honestly not a complaint just evidence that it looks like garbage!)  To solve this dilemma I took a clear mead bottle and etched the word “water” into it so guests would no longer think there was a piece of trash sitting in our counter.

Finished water bottle!

Glass Water Bottle

  1. Print out the word water (or whatever word you desire) in the font of your choice.
  2. Place the print out over your contact paper on a piece of scrap cardboard.  Trace the letters using an X-acto knife.

    Trace letters with X-acto knife.

  3. Remove the letters you cut with your X-acto knife, but be sure to save any letters that have negative space that you don’t want to etch such as “a” and “e” in water.

    Remove letters from your stencil, reserving any negative space inside letters.

  4. Prepare your wine bottle by scraping the label and glue off with steel wool.

    Remove label with steel wool.

  5. Let bottle dry completely.
  6. Apply contact paper stencil to bottle.

    Apply contact paper to bottle.

  7. Following the instructions on the bottle, paint etching cream over your stencil continuously for 3 minutes.

    Paint etching cream over stencil for 3 minutes.

  8. After 3 minutes, rinse the stencil and bottle under cold water.

    Rinse stencil under water.

  9. Remove the stencil from the bottle.

    Remove the stencil from the bottle.

 

 

 

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Kheer Royale

Will and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary this week.  It seems to me that six years has gone by so quickly, and I’m going to be corny, but I am so happy to have spent the time with Will.  This year we’re really stepping outside our element, what with the baby on the way.

Thoughts of the baby are hard to ignore when you have a little person kicking you from the inside a few times an hour.  The other day when we were driving somewhere I told Will that I never thought I would like being pregnant and had been dreading it for years (he’d known this of course).  But that even though it is not so easy or a ball of fun like some people might have you believe, it is really exciting to have a baby growing inside you.  Every time the little person kicks or moves around inside you it’s your private secret.  And in return for this little secret, I have a profound desire to keep the little person safe, because that’s clearly my job.  It’s a weird feeling really.  When I finished Will remarked that that was the cutest thing I’d ever said.

Speaking of cutest things said, I have one more anecdote I would like to share.  But first, I apologize that this blog post is so corny,  I promise, its just because its the anniversary edition.  Please feel free to skip to the end where I’ll tell you how to make another interesting oatmeal variation!  The other day I was standing around chopping vegetables, in a black maternity shirt, maternity shorts, bright pink compression socks (yes I have to wear compression socks or stockings every day) and my hair thrown into a messy ponytail – basically looking like a pregnant woman who had just walked out of one of those People of Walmart sub-reddits.  Will came up behind me, gave me a hug and said something like, “look at my sexy wife standing there chopping vegetables like she just don’t care”.  That’s when I decided for the millionth time that I had married the right man.

Okay and without further ado here’s a recipe I created for a mini-crockpot oatmeal breakfast based on my favorite Indian dessert, kheer.  The key is to avoid over seasoning with the cardamom.  Since cardamom powder loses flavor and aroma pretty quickly, I advise starting with a very small amount and adjusting to taste.

Kheer Inspired Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats (not quick cook)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp honey (or to taste)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cardamom (ground) or to taste – see comment above
  • Slivered almonds for garnish

Stir oats, water and coconut milk into a tiny crock pot (such as the little dipper).  Place cover on top, turn on and cook overnight for 8 hours.  In the morning, remove oatmeal to a bowl and add 1 tsp of honey, and 1/8 tsp or more of cardamom until you’ve reached your desired flavor.  Let stand 5 minutes until thickened.  Top with slivered almonds if desired.

 

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Wee li’l Boots

Well I had a slightly ridiculous experience today.  It seems that this morning when I parked, I may have parked a bit too close to the white parking line.  The person next to me arrived after I was in the building and must have backed into the spot.  So when I came out to my car this afternoon I found that the person’s mirror was right where my door needed to open.  This meant I could only open my door about half way.  This would normally be no problem for non-pregnant Lexi, but for pregnant Lexi this presented a problem.  Turning sideways actually made it more difficult for me to get into the car… Luckily the top of my car door bows out a bit near the windows (apparently) so I was able to hoist myself up on the side of the car and swing my belly down into the car.  Do people still do hashtags?  If so #pregnancyproblems

Anyway I’m working on a baby renaissance outfit for the little bun in the oven.  I’m going to make it 3-6 month size just in case I have a large baby on my hips.  For starters I made some baby booties.  What do you think?  I sized them using a chart I found on pinterest, and the foot size claims to be for a baby 3-6 months.  We’ll see.  After I figured out the pattern, they didn’t take long to make!  And they were basically free to make since I used faux suede scraps that I had leftover from all the Robinhood hats I made for the renaissance faire.

Check out these wee li’l boots.

Baby Renaissance Boots

  • 1/2 yard of thick faux suede
  • Pattern here and here

Note the pattern above is for size 3-6 months.

  1. Cut out all the pattern pieces from your scrap suede.  All pieces include 1/2″ seam allowance.  Make sure to transfer the markings on the sole of the boot and on the face of the boot.

    Cut out all pattern pieces.

  2. Cut a straight line perpendicular to the face of the boot piece 1/4″ away from the point of the marking you transferred.  Trim 1/4″ inside the marking in the larger section of the marking.

    Cut out the space for the toe as specified.

  3. Place the wrong side of the toe on top of the right side of the face of the boot, lining up with the markings you made.  Pin and stitch on the front side of the boot.  Note: to line the markings up with the toe piece, you will need to curve the toe piece in slightly.  

    Line the toe of the boot on top of the face of the boot. Pin & sew.

  4. Flip the face of the boot inside out (right sides facing) and line up the back seam.  Pin and stitch.

    Stitch center back of the boot face.

  5. Take the inside face of the boot and with right sides facing line up the back seam.  Pin and stitch.

    Stitch center back of inside boot facing.

  6. Turn the face of the boot right side out.  With the inside face of the boot still inside out, fit the inside face of the boot over the face of the boot, lining up the center back seam.  Pin and stitch along the top edge.

    With inside boot facing inside out, fit inside of boot over outside of boot. Stitch and pin along top of boot.

  7. Flip inside face to inside of boot.

    Flip face to inside of boot.

  8. Turn boot right side in.  Pin the sole of the boot (right side in) to the face of the boot.  Make sure to line the points of the toe insert up with the markings on the pattern.

    With both pieces right side in, pin the sole of the boot to the rest of the boot.

  9. Flip the patterns over and cut out all the pattern pieces again for the other boot.  Repeat steps 2-8 for second boot.

    Now we just need a baby to rock these wee boots!

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Seersucker Mothertrucker

This weekend we visited Will’s grandparents outside Knoxville to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.  Will’s family on his mom’s side is huge and every single person came into town to celebrate for a total of 28 people!  We had a lot of fun with all Will’s cousins hanging out, playing board games and singing along to piano renditions of Disney songs.

A tradition at all of these anniversary/birthday milestones is to dress up for a huge family picture.  This year the family picture was held at Grandmother’s childhood home, which is this huge historical house that really could be a museum.  The color theme for the photo was blue and white so everyone wore solid blues and whites with the exception of blue and white striped seersucker, which was allowed because it photographs as light blue.  Given seersucker was called out specially, Will & I felt we HAD to wear seersucker.  Will has lots of seersucker, but I didn’t have any shirts that would fit my pregnant belly so I decided to make one!

I got the shirt idea from my co-worker.  A few weeks ago, after I wore my maternity shower curtain dress to work, one of my co-workers was complimenting the dress.  She remarked that it looked like the “old style” maternity dresses and shirts that they used to wear (I guess before the days where it was appropriate to wear so much spandex).  Then she gave me the great idea to make the dress pattern into a shirt pattern!  I used the same pattern Kwik Sew K3486 as my dress and tweaked the pattern slightly.  My modifications are below for your reference!

Will and I in our seersucker

Lined Seersucker Maternity Shirt

  • Kwik Sew K3486 – pattern pieces 7,8,9,10,11,12,14,
  • 2.25 yards seersucker fabric 43″ wide
  • 2 yards cotton lining
  • 13″ zipper

Lining

The seersucker I purchased was extremely lightweight and sheer, so I lined the dress.  This meant that I cut 2 of 8*,10*,11,12* and one of 7 and 9* from seersucker material and two of 10*,11,14*, and one of 9* from lining material.  In addition I cut piece 7 and 8 so that the stripes would be horizontal to the waistband instead of vertical.

Back modification (piece 12, back bodice and 14, back facing)

I modified the back of the dress to come down into a v neck in the back.  I thought this looked a bit more summery.  This is why my zipper was slightly shorter than what they recommended.  To modify the back, I took pattern piece 12 for the back bodice and measured down the center back from the neckline 6.5″.  Then I drew a line from the point where the neckline and shoulder meet, down to the marking I made on the center back.

Adding line from shoulder seam to marking on center back for v-neck back.

Because of my changes to piece 12, the back, I had to modify piece 14, the back facing.  To adjust the facing, I left the shoulder and armscye portion alone and traced along the new v-neck back pattern from above.  I extended the pattern 2 inches below the point of the v-neck and then used my curves to keep the width of this new “arm” of the pattern about 3″ wide.  See the picture below for what it looked like.

Adjusted back facing. The right side was adjusted for the v-neck.

Bodice front

Everywhere that called for piece 13 of the pattern in the instructions, I used lining piece 11 instead.  The only issue with this was in step 6 I sewed the waist of the lining to the bodice front, which meant I was unable to perform step 8 properly.  Instead of flipping up the lining and stitching all the way down from lining to fabric just stitched the sideseams together, lining and all.

This shows the back lining (right) attached to the front lining (left) then attached to front and back neckline

Modifications to the ties

In addition to cutting the ties so the stripes were horizontal along the ties/waistband, I also made the ties a lot longer.  I wanted to be able to wrap around the back of the shirt and tie it in the front, to give the illusion of a wrap shirt.  I changed the length of my ties to 43″each.

Length Modifications

Since I wanted a shirt instead of a dress, I took pattern pieces 9 and 10 up considerably.  The total length of each piece was 16″ and that includes 1″ for a bottom hem.  I hemmed the shirt using a blind hem.

*pattern piece has some modification to it.

Finished shirt – note how the tie wraps around to the front.

Side view – note the horizontal stripes on the waistband and ties.

Back view – note the v-neck back.

Our favorite picture of us from the Pryor family photoshoot from Thelen Wright Photography!

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Oatmeal Re-do

I don’t know if I told you about our recent bagel addiction.  Since the first trimester I’ve been craving carbs, and every morning Will has kept our kitchen stocked with everything bagels and cream cheese.  This has not only delighted me, but Dany, our corgi, who we let lick the empty cream cheese containers every week.  Well I finally decided last week that its been long enough and I have got to stop eating an entire everything bagel with cream cheese every morning.  This has disappointed Dany, but hopefully she’ll get over it.

So instead I’ve dusted off the old mini crock pot, and I’ve been having oatmeal every morning.  Well to be honest I haven’t just been eating oatmeal in the morning.  Instead I’ve been having steel cut oatmeal for breakfast, a hard boiled egg an hour later and half of a grapefruit an hour after that.  Small meals a billion times a day has been working for me lately.  Well aside from the weight gain.

In other exciting news, Will was able to feel the baby kick for the first time two weeks ago!  Maybe the baby is protesting the lack of bagels and cream cheese.  Or perhaps just displaying their excitement over my new breakfast choices.  Either way, here’s the recipe for my latest concoction – peach and brown sugar oatmeal.  I think it would work for any fruit, but peaches go well with the brown sugar.  I started out with a tablespoon of sugar, but realized that was half your daily recommended sugar intake!  I think it tastes just as good with a teaspoon, but if you’re feeling lavish you can certainly up that number…

Peach and Brown Sugar Oatmeal

  • ¼ c steel cut oats (NOT quick cook)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 peach, peeled and cut into ¾” dice
  • ⅔ c water

Stir together oats, sugar and peach in little dipper crock pot.  Add water and stir to combine.  Cook 8-10 hours.  Let stand 5 minutes before enjoying!

Mix peaches, brown sugar and oatmeal.

Finished oatmeal!

 

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Medieval Overdress

I know you’ve been waiting all week just to learn how you too can make your own empire waisted medieval overdress.  Well your wait has not been in vain – today I’ll show you how I made one!  On the subject of waiting, can I admit something to you?  I have been thinking about this overdress for a quite a while.  I was hoping that someday I would have a big pregnant belly and I’d need to cover it with a renaissance costume.  To be even more honest I was hoping that by the faire last year I’d need to have a pregnant costume to wear while selling hats.  In retrospect that would have been horrible so I’m probably lucky it worked out this way.

This dress was made with two things in mind: an empire waist to encompass a growing belly of many sizes, and a laced bodice closure to encompass a growing bosom.  As a side note, I got an email from King Richard’s Faire about the cleavage contest this year.  Do you think pregnant women would be automatically disqualified?  All that aside, it fit me a month ago, and it still fits me now, so the pattern seems to be working!

I drafted the pattern for the bodice myself based on my current size (34DD).  For the skirt pattern I got lazy and used the skirt from view A of Simplicity 8735.  If you want to make the dress yourself let me know and I can whip up a quick skirt variant for you to use.  For material I used a green heavyweight cotton material that I got at Saver’s.  It was $3.99 for 4 yards of 60″ material.  What a bargain!  For trim I used a 1.5″ wide gold jacquard ribbon which was much more expensive than the fabric.  Even so, the total cost of the overdress was $17.

Maternity Medieval Overdress

  • 4 yards of 60″ heavyweight material
  • 4 yards of 1.5″ jacquard ribbon trim
  • 1 yard of lightweight fusible interfacing
  • 1 yard of lining material
  • 2 yards of 1/4″ double fold bias tape (I usually make mine so it will match)
  • 3 yards of ribbon or cord
  • 8 3/8″ grommets
  • Pattern for bodice – to be posted 7/18!
  1. Cut out pattern pieces for the bodice from lining material, interfacing and outer material. Also cut out an additional rectangle of interfacing as marked on pattern.

    Cut out pattern pieces

  2. Apply rectangle of interfacing following manufacturer’s instructions to outer material on bodice front where indicated on the pattern.

    Apply interfacing strip to bodice front

  3. Apply interfacing to bodice.

    Apply interfacing to bodice.

  4. Pin side seams on bodice, right sides together.  Stitch.

    Pin and stitch side seams

  5. Pin shoulder seams on bodice, right sides together. Stitch.

    Pin shoulder seams and stitch.

  6. Pin darts on bodice front, right sides together.  Stitch.

    Pin and stitch darts

  7. Repeat steps 4,5, and 6 for lining material.

    Repeat above steps for lining.

  8. Pin lining to outer material all along neckline and bodice front, right sides together.  Stitch.

    Attach lining to bodice along neckline.

  9. Clip curves and trim seams to 1/4″

    Clip curves.

  10. Turn right side out and press.

    Turn right side out and press.

  11. Pin and baste armscyes.

    Baste armscyes

  12. Make the skirt following the instructions for the pattern, stitching center back, and side seams together.
  13. With wrong sides together, pin the ribbon trim to the edge of each front section.

    Pin wrong side of ribbon to wrong side of fabric edge.

  14. Baste along the front of the ribbon trim, 1/4″ from the edge.

    Baste.

  15. Flip the ribbon to the right side of the dress and match the fold with the edge of the ribbon.  Stitch along your basting line in 14.

    Flip ribbon to right side and stitch.

  16. Stitch 1/4″ from the other edge of the ribbon to secure.

    Stitch other end of ribbon to secure.

  17. Trim armscye seams to 1/4″ if you haven’t already.
  18. Open out one side of your double fold bias tape and pin the fold on your 1/4″ seam.

    Pin bias tape along armscye pattern line.

  19. Stitch along this line.

    Stitch then fold bias tape over unfinished edge.

  20. Fold bias tape around the unfinished edge and pin on the front side of the fabric.  Stitch in the ditch to attach the bias tape.

    Stitch in the ditch.

  21. Repeat for second armscye.
  22. Take the ribbon trim and pin it to the outside of your bodice front, folding over at the top.

    Pin trim to bodice front.

  23. Stitch 1/4″ from each side of ribbon as in step 15 and 16.

    Stitch ribbon to bodice as above.

  24. Take your skirt and baste 1/4″ from the top of the skirt and 1/2″ from the top of the skirt. Gather.

    Baste and gather skirt

  25. Pin gathered skirt to bodice, right sides together.  Matching up side seams and center back respectively.
  26.  Stitch 1/4″ below your 1/2″ baste.

    Attach skirt to bodice.

  27. Finish the bottom hem as desired.
  28. Mark out locations for 4 grommets on each side of the bodice front.  Affix grommets as per manufacturer’s instructions.

    Finished overdress with underdress and of course the “Boleyn” french hood.

    Finished dress. Note dany frolicking in the background/photobombing me.

    Side view of the maternity medieval outfit.

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Medieval Underdress

During the last couple of weeks, in addition to all my normal tasks, Will and I were preparing for my birthday party at home and I was preparing for the Maker Faire at work.  For my birthday we’ve been getting the yard ready which includes pulling weeds and spreading 8 yards of mulch.  Will didn’t let me do any mulching (thankfully) so the poor guy spread 7 yards of it himself.  For the Maker Faire I shopped for supplies, prizes, and food and helped Amy with the logistics.

On top of all that I decided that it would be nice to wear a renaissance dress while displaying Whimsical Brims at the Maker Faire to give folks the full effect.  Unfortunately none of my renaissance dresses currently fit.  Since inevitably I’m going to go to KRF dressed in costume while 8 month pregnant, I’ll need a costume anyway.  I didn’t find any pregnancy renaissance patterns, so I was forced to make my own pattern.  The dress consists of an empire waist overdress with lace bodice on top of a long underdress.  In this post I’ll show you how I made the underdress.

I started by measuring out bust and hip measurements as well as current “waist” measurements.  I factored in a lot of extra fabric for the waist size to be on the safe side.  The underdress is extremely blousey to accomodate lots of belly and a variable chest size.  Then I measured around the neck where I wanted the “collar” to sit.  The collar has elastic in it, so it will either sit around your collarbone comfortably or you can push it down off your shoulders.  Finally I measured the length of my arms from collar to knuckle and the length of the dress from shoulder to floor.  There’s a bit of fudge factor here, and bigger is better for this blousey underdress.

Modeling the blousey underdress while 6 months pregnant. (With help from Dany.)

Blousey Underdress

You’ll need:

  • 3 yards of 57″ linen (I buy my linen from here)
  • 1.5 yards of 1/4″ elastic
  • Pattern template – Make sure to add 5/8″ seam allowance to pattern.
  1. Obtain measurements for waist (belly), bust, arm length, armscye, shoulder to floor length, circumference around shoulders and finally desired collar length as described above.
  2. Following the templates above, create patterns for body and arms, plugging in your own measurements.
  3. Cut out fabric as indicated by the patterns above.

    Cut out pattern pieces

  4. Pin and stitch arms to body at back and front, matching the notches.  Repeat for second side.

    Pin arms to body along 6″ edges.

  5. Pin side seams of body from bottom of skirt to armpit.  Pin arm seam from armpit to wrist.  Stitch along this entire length.  Repeat for second side.

    Pin and stitch side body and arm seam.

  6.  Fold neckline under an inch, right side out.  Pin and stitch, leaving 1/2″ seam allowance and a 1″ gap to insert the elastic.

    Fold neckline under an inch. Stitch.

  7. Cut elastic down to circumference around shoulders + 2 inches.
  8. Using a tapestry needle, thread the elastic through the neckline casing.  When it gets to the other end, tie off the elastic with the 2 inches of allowance and trim.

    Thread elastic through casing.

  9. Stitch the 1″ gap used to insert the elastic closed.

    Stitch gap used to insert elastic in casing closed.

  10. Hem the sleeves.

    Hem sleeves. (I used a rolled hem.)

  11. Hem the skirt.

    Hem skirt (I used a blind hem).

 

 

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Ay, there’s the Shrub

It was my birthday last week and since it was my 30th birthday I’m now the proud owner of a walker AND a cane.  (Not to mention a denture bath and baby food.)  On top of that Will threw me a fabulous birthday lobster bake!  Some of my guests, who are also readers of the blog, commented that they had no idea what I was going to write about since we had the party catered.  Well I won’t write about the party itself, but I do have something potentially blog worthy to post about.

A few months back I received a copy of Edible Boston that featured an article on “shrubs”.  No, not the bushes in my front yard, but something otherwise known as “drinking vinegar”.  Shrubs are essentially sweetened fruit juice mixed with vinegar.  The result is a concentrated juice with a an acidic kick.  From the article it seems that shrubs have been all over the hipster scene for years.  They use them to make colonial era cocktails.  But the part of the article that intrigued me most is that they can also be used to make mock-tails and sodas.  Since I’ve recently found myself a teetotaler, this was of great interest to me!

My first attempt at shrubs came with my first farm share of the year.  I received two quarts of AMAZING organic strawberries that had to be eaten nearly immediately.  They were some of the best strawberries I’ve ever had, but even though I tried I couldn’t eat them all myself in 2 days.  By the third day they were really starting to turn, so I decided to turn them into a strawberry shrub.  After reading many many articles and recipes on shrubs I found that you could make shrubs through a cold processing of the fruit, a hot processing or something in between.  Aside from that there was one commonality – in most of the recipes the amount of fruit to sugar to vinegar was 1:1:1 by volume.  Below I’ll explain how I made mine.

Look at these amazing strawberries I got in my first farm share!

Oh, and you’re probably wondering, “what does this have to do with your birthday?” Well, I decided to serve my 3 week old strawberry shrub to my guests to see what they thought.  The results seemed to be pretty consistent, “not terrible, I’d drink more of it”.  That’s what I think too.  If you can get over the faint vinegar smell it is actually pretty delicious.  I imagine in mixed drinks you wouldn’t even notice the vinegar smell.

Strawberry Shrub

Ingredients

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  1. Chop strawberries.

    Cut strawberries.

  2. Mix 1 cup of sugar with strawberries and let macerate in a container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

    Mix sugar with strawberries.

  3. By this point the maceration should have extracted a large amount of liquid from the strawberries.  A bunch of excess sugar will have settled on the bottom of the container.

    Strawberry maceration.

  4. Strain strawberries from juice and pour juice into a sanitized container.

    Strain strawberry juice and sugar into container.

  5. Funnel excess sugar into container and add cup of cider vinegar.

    Add vinegar to juice.

  6. Return mixture to fridge and let sit from 2 weeks to several months.  After a week the excess sugar should have dissolved.  If it has not, shake the container every few days until sugar dissolves.

    Here’s the finished strawberry shrub I served at my party!

Non-alcoholic Strawberry Shrub Soda

Mix 1 Tbsp strawberry shrub with 1 cup of soda water.  Stir gently and serve over ice.

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Large Scale DIY Badge Reel Activity

Well, preparations for the Maker Faire delayed last night’s post.  I apologize to not give you any Tuesday morning reading material.  I actually wrote an entire post, but realized I didn’t have any pictures available and gave up.  So I’ll post about that next week.  In the meantime I’ll show you a quick activity that Amy and I came up with for the Maker Faire at work.

Our company has recently been pushing badge wearing pretty heavily.  It was always a policy that you were required to wear your badge at all times, but now they’ve taken things to extremes.  The women’s bathrooms even have signs reminding you to wear your badge at all times and showing women wearing them in different “fashionable” ways.  I can’t comment on the men’s room.  On top of that there are announcements every week stressing the importance of wearing your badge at all times.  This is what lead Amy to the brilliant idea of a DIY badge reel decoration activity.  We needed a quick, easy craft that would also voice the party line.

This is what I came up with to make it very simple, quick and mess free.  Each badge cost around 75 cents to make.  Employees seemed to really enjoy the activity and we got a lot of compliments on it.  Hopefully you can use the same technique at your company!

Large Scale Badge Reel Activity

What you need:

  • Retractable Badge Reels
  • Craft bottle caps
  • 1″ white circular labels
  • 1″ crystal epoxy stickers
  • Advanced Strength Glue Dots

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Mini Cosmetic Case

Well I’m happy to report that I’m feeling much better and my motivation has now gone up quite a bit!  I got a few things on my long list accomplished including a couple craft projects.  Also, by now many of my co-workers have noticed that I have a belly so I’m getting weird stares from people who have presumably not found out directly that I am pregnant.  It’s gotten to the point where I’ve forgotten who I have and haven’t told.  Several people have come up to me in the last week and in a low voice muttered that they have an embarrassing question for me.   I have spared them and exclaimed, “I’m pregnant!” before they can ask.  Hopefully no one was trying to ask me an actual embarrassing question to which I so rudely interrupted “I’m pregnant!”

Thank you to those of you who responded with your favorite blog projects!  I greatly appreciate it!  Anyone else who wants to chime in, feel free!  I have another week until the Maker Faire and I started getting things together to bring.  I hope to unveil a few new projects at the faire itself – we’ll see how far I actually get.

One of the random things I wanted to make the last couple weeks was a little mini make up holder to put in my purse.  I can never find my lip gloss or lip stick when I need it and I end up rummaging around for several minutes before giving up.  This is why I never wear lip stick!

  • 1/2 sq foot of scrap material for outer shell
  • 1/2 sq foot of scrap material for inner lining
  • 1/2 sq foot scrap Peltex 70 thick interfacing
  • 1/2 sq foot scrap fusible interfacing
  • 12″ zipper
  • 2″x3″ small mirror
  • Pattern here
  1. Cut out all pattern pieces as specified on the pattern.

    Cut out all pattern pieces

  2. Position thick interfacing on wrong side of outer shell material, leaving a 5/8″ gap between the two pieces.  Machine baste to hold in place.

    Baste interfacing to outer fabric.

  3. Turn up seam allowance and clamp as shown.  Machine baste.

    Clamp and machine baste seam allowance.

  4. Switch to your zipper foot.  Baste one side of zipper to one side of make up holder, placing 1″ along the edge of the inner part of the interfacing.  (See picture.)

    Baste one side of zipper to one side of bag.

  5. Repeat step 4 for the other half of the zipper.

    Baste other half of zipper.

  6. Fuse fusible interfacing to wrong side of inner lining following manufacturers instructions.
  7. Mark a 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ rectangle onto your lining fabric.  Cut an ‘x’ diagonally from corner to corner.

    Mark rectangle for your mirror. Cut from diagonal to diagonal.

  8. Fold back each triangle to form a frame.

    Fold under triangles to form a frame.

  9. Position mirror behind the frame you formed in 8.  Trace around mirror with water soluble fabric ink, marking the edges of the mirror.
  10. Place a piece of scrap material slightly larger than the mirror behind the mirror.  Using the zipper foot stitch the mirror backing to the frame right up against the mirror.  Be extremely careful not to hit the mirror with your needle while you sew as this could break the needle.

    Stitch around edges of the mirror outside the water soluble ink.

  11. Using an iron press the edges of the lining seam allowance up around the interfacing.

    Press under lining seam allowance.

  12. Line up the lining on the inside of the basted zipper, covering the zipper start and endpoint.  Stitch along edge of zipper close to the edge on one side of the bag.  Be sure to sew through inner lining, zipper and outer material.

    Stitch along edge of the bag attaching lining to zipper to outside.

  13. Stitch in a straight line along where the thick interfacing ends at the center of the bag.

    Stitch along the middle of the bag where the interfacing ends.

  14. Repeat steps 12 and 13 for other side of bag.
  15. Remove basting stitches.
  16. Show off!

    Closed mini cosmetic case

    The perfect size for lipsticks!

 

 

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