Saturday, November 16, 2013

Refrigerator Oatmeal Recipes

By now most of you have probably heard of the Refrigerator Oatmeal craze. If you are like me, at first you kind of wrinkled your nose at the weird idea of oatmeal being cold and moved on. If you are more open-minded, you thought, "Great idea! I should try that!"

It took a little while, but eventually I joined those of you in the latter group. Now I eat refrigerator oatmeal nearly every morning, because:

  • It's incredibly easy
  • It's super quick
  • It's full of healthy ingredients
  • It helps my stubborn stomach to digest things throughout the day
  • It happens to be delicious, not weird

So without any nose wrinkling and no more ado, let's make some Refrigerator Oatmeals!

My Supplies

What I use and why:

Jar - I prefer the "Elite® Half Pint (8-oz.) Wide Mouth Jars by Ball®" as they are the perfect portion for me, and they look so squat and adorable
Yogurt - Greek yogurt has the best texture, in my opinion, plus it is healthiest. I like Zoi Honey Greek Yogurt because (in my area) it has the most live and active cultures, and it doesn't have a bunch of junk added to it
Oats - just some regular rolled oats from the bulk section - no instant or anything like that
Seeds - Chia seeds happen to be the most popular in Refrigerator Oatmeal, and I'm just fine with that; I love those pretty little things
Milk - My stomach would complain if I used cow's milk, so I opt for a non-dairy alternative - oat milk is my favourite
Fruit/Misc. - Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, apples, bananas, nut butter, cinnamon... I could go on and on. I'll give you my absolute favourite recipes below.

The Basics

So with that all being said, feel free to use whatever types of milk, fruit, etc. you would like to fit those ingredient categories, and make them whatever size you want. But for ease of communication, let's just assume for now that you are making them as I do.

When that is the case, here is what you need:

  • Half-Pint Jar
  • 1/4 cup Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Milk
  • 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
  • 2-3 tsp (or 1 tbsp) Seeds
  • Other to fill

- Dump the oats and milk into your jar.
- Plop in the yogurt and sprinkle in the seeds. Stir. (it isn't strictly necessary to stir until the end, but stirring now will make your life a lot easier)
- The jar will be most of the way full at this point, so now just top it off with anything you would like and stir it well. Three averagely sized strawberries seem to be perfect most of the time, a handful of blueberries will do... and don't be afraid to mix and match! No reason not to have a strawberry/blueberry/raspberry/banana oatmeal.
- Refrigerate for a few hours until it thickens (I just do overnight).

I've done lots of experimenting with these over the past month or so; some attempts that sounded delicious turned out to be strange, some boring ones turned out to be just perfect the way they were, and a lot were decent enough to enjoy once or twice. The only ones I didn't like were those with wheat germ in them; it just tasted bitter. Oh well. Next I'm going to try adding Matcha!

One more thing before we get to the recipes: you can make these in giant batches for the week. I have eight jars at the moment, so four days of breakfast for me and the boyfriend. I just stir all the basic ingredients x8 in a mixing bowl (plus some extra milk - it seems to disappear somewhat in bulk), divide the mixture up between jars, and then flavour them all individually. I'm also going to chalkboard the inside of the circle on tops of those lids, so I can label each flavour as needed.

My Favourite Recipes

As always, I love meals that you really can't go wrong with unless you try. This is one of those recipes, so feel free to use my instructions as loose guidelines until you figure out what works best for your taste.
Raspberry Refrigerator Oatmeal
  • Half-Pint Jar
  • 1/4 cup Honey Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Oat Milk
  • 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
  • 2 tsp Chia Seeds
  • Raspberries to fill
Add everything but the raspberries and stir. Add the fruit, and as you stir, smoosh the raspberries just a bit to colour and flavour the whole oatmeal. Refrigerate.

Blueberry Maple Refrigerator Oatmeal
  • Half-Pint Jar
  • 1/4 cup Honey Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Oat Milk
  • 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
  • 2 tsp Chia Seeds
  • 2 tsp Maple Syrup
  • Blueberries to fill
Add everything but the blueberries and stir. Top it off with the blueberries and stir a final time. Refrigerate.

Pomegranate Refrigerator Oatmeal
  • Half-Pint Jar
  • 1/4 cup Honey Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Oat Milk
  • 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
  • 2 tsp Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Pomegranate Arils
Add everything but the pomegranate and stir. Top it off with the arils and stir a final time. Refrigerate.
Strawberry Cacao Refrigerator Oatmeal
  • Half-Pint Jar
  • 1/4 cup Honey Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Oat Milk
  • 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
  • 2 tsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cacao Powder
  • 1 tsp Cacao Nibs
  • 3 Strawberries
Add the yogurt, milk, oats, seeds, and powder and stir. Add the nibs, slice and add the strawberries, and stir. Refrigerate.

Your Turn!

Now time to make your own! Try banana-nut with cinnamon. Or an applesauce one. Definitely mix berries - I love huckleberry/strawberry/raspberry. Add honey or jam for sweetness, if need be. Try the Matcha before I do and tell me how it is because I'm slightly scared. Just be creative, and follow your tastebuds!

(Hmm I made a delicious smoothie with pumpkin butter the other day... I'll bet oatmeals would be great with that!)

Anyway, have you got any of your own scrumptious recipes that deserve a shout out? Let me know!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

DIY Fix for your Vehicle's Ignition Coil

I am very proud to be writing this post. You know that stereotype that women know nothing about vehicles? Well unfortunately, that is me. I can spot vehicle colours; I can tell the body difference between a little car and a pickup truck; I know what a camper shell is. Done - that is the extent of my vehicle knowledge.

But that's been changing since I recently purchased my very first vehicle - a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer.

The Problem

If I haven't mentioned this before, I am a fantastic destroyer of electronics. All I have to do is touch a phone, computer, tablet, etc. and its performance immediately plummets; on my unlucky days, it just breaks altogether (I apologize to one roommate in particular).

This is a real phenomenon, I'm not alone! Any of you cursed with this destruction?

Anyway, I say this because at the time of the incident, my boyfriend and I had owned this vehicle for nearly two months, with him as the primary driver. The one day when I drove it for, I don't know, about the fourth time, I was not at all surprised by the fact that it decided to suddenly act out against me.

As soon as I started the car, I could feel it shuddering abnormally. The shuddering was worse when idling or braking, and the poor thing hardly had enough power to make it up to 30 mph. Sorry, Trailblazer.

I did some research that day and decided my problem sounded like a bad ignition coil. I don't know if that counts as an electronic (poor vehicle knowledge, remember?), thus making it subject to my destructive touch, but nonetheless it still managed to break the moment I turned the key.

Anyway, more research brought up the fact that this would cost me over $600 to have fixed. Um, no! Luckily, being the savvy chick that I am, I was determined to figure out how to surmount this issue ourselves.

Sure enough, another search brought up several helpful videos for my needs.

The Solution

Now, I won't offer up a thorough tutorial here; I suggest watching videos if you need to take on this project, because they do a really amazing job walking through the process and I won't pretend I can do better. My post will serve more as a refresher once you already know what you are doing - I'm sure I'll be using it myself in the future.

Step 1. Gather a ratchet, a screwdriver, and your code reader if you have it - we have one that works with an app on our phone to tell us the exact meaning behind that pesky "check engine" light.

Step 2. Remove everything that is holding in this big plastic thingy.

Step 3. Hello there, ignition coils! To remove one of these guys, you need to unplug it and take off one bolt. Here are a few pictures to prepare you:

Step 4. If you have a code reader, then you can easily test the coils before replacing them. To test the coil you think is broken, simply switch it out with another one and get a new code reading. Our first reading said there was a misfire in #5. So, we switched that coil with #1 and went for a drive until the engine light came back on. Our new reading brought up a misfire in #1 instead, affirming that it was indeed the coil that was bad, not something else in slot #5.

Step 5. Just plop in the new ignition coil and put everything back together. Done!

30 Minutes and $600 Worth of Labour Later...

This was such an easy fix. Anybody who is capable of using simple tools can do this themselves, whether or not they have any prior vehicle experience. But the best part? It only costs one trip to the auto store (or a shipping cost) and a $70 ignition coil. That's a savings of $530!

It's been a couple months now and even though I've driven it several more times since, our Trailblazer is still running smoothly! Wish me luck for that to continue.

Now, is there anyone willing to pay us that $600 for our labour?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Stash Update #7: Star Hot Pad

Hello blog world - long time, no see!

I've learned something about myself this year: evidently I don't do much much blogging in the summer. This is the first week I've really even booted up my computer; I've been busy with outdoor summer activities instead. I'm not saying that is a bad way to be, but it does mean I don't post anything here!

I have been busy taking pictures of things for posts I plan on offering up to you, though, so don't think I've been completely lazy.

Now here, just to get the ball rolling, is a quick Stash-Buster update.

Star Hot Pad

I made this for my Mom this month, using my Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn (coloured Sonoma, I believe) and following the pattern from FreeCraft Unlimited on Ravelry.

I added in a little loop at a tip though, so it could be hung.

I made it in about two hours, and it was a really simple yet unique project. It ended up weighing just 43 grams. I think I need to start using a larger hook than recommended, because my projects always turn out smaller than expected.

Enjoy the Summer!

So that's all for now! I'm going to get back to the offline world. Hope everyone is having a great summer so far!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

DIY Stock Paper Envelopes

Hello everyone! I've got a simple project to share with you today; you may already have the things you need lying around the house.

But if you don't? I suggest going to Michael's! But then, I always do that.

Wait for it...

Michael's always has such pretty stock paper in their store, and it seems to go on sale every month. I always wished I had a reason to buy some.

I also wished I had better envelopes to send my friends' letters in...


Eventually, I realized that the two wishes were connected. So I loaded up on about 150 12x12 open stock papers of all different designs and colours!

Cutting the Envelope

As it turns out, these papers are just the right size to produce one of the typical square envelopes. If you have a steady hand and some patience, you can just unfold an existing envelope and follow the cuts you have to make yourself.

I despise using scissors, so I turned instead to my Cricut. Now, I don't have an envelope template for that machine, and I was very against spending $30-$50 to get one. Luckily I figured I could just build what I needed, with some finesse and expertly placed rectangles and triangles.

A few failures and lots of math later, I had forced my Cricut to create the perfect envelope. I would show you exactly how, but I'm not sure if that's against some kind of law - showing off ways to make envelopes without buying the proper cartridge. If anyone knows, feel free to quote rules at me (common sense informs me that it's fine, but that can never be trusted).

However you make your envelope, the process is still simple. Cut out the shape like so:

And then fold it up!

After that you just need to glue it down. I use my amazing glue pen from - where else - Michael's! The glue is blue while wet and permanent, and fades to clear as it dries to become tacky and reusable. I glue three sides with blue, and leave the top flap open to dry clear, pushing it closed when the envelope is ready to be sent.

Here are some completed pictures!

I also use my Cricut to cut out fancy address labels, but I keep writing on them before I remember to take pictures. That part can be done however you want though, so I gave up on label pictures.

Do You Still Write Letters?

There you have it! Simple project... for a fading method of communication. But I still love writing letters to people, and some of my friends enjoy writing back. Plus, I like to think fun envelopes make the mail carrier smile.

What about you? Do you enjoy taking time to write the people you care about?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Tom Kha, Base Soup Recipe

I never used to consider myself a big fan of soup. And if I went out to an Asian restaurant, there was just no way I would have ever sacrificed my delicious stir-fried medley of vegetables, meat, and rice for some silly glop of soup!

Until one day....

My friend wanted to drive out for lunch at a Thai Restaurant nearby. I wasn't feeling that well, so solid food didn't exactly sound great, but I acquiesced anyway. Longer-than-you-care-to-read story short, I ended up ordering some soup. Little did I realize I was about to meet the love of my food life; Tom Kha!

Tom Kha Recipe

Naturally I had to learn to make this myself. I've heard that the full name is Tom Kha Gai, "Gai" meaning chicken. Since I don't like chicken, I have not included that in my recipe, and thus am just leaving it at Tom Kha. Although I do use chicken broth...

Whatever you call it, there's really no need to follow any recipe for this soup too specifically; the coconut milk, kaffir, and galangal are the really important ingredients. Then you have the more Thai traditional ingredients such as mushrooms and chicken, but I left those out and replaced them with a few of my favourite veggies instead. Just cook what you like!

Nonetheless, here is my own recipe. This personally provided 5 servings to my household:

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 serrancho pepper
  • 4 oz. can of bamboo shoots
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves (pronounced like 'cat fur', but without the 't':  ca-fur)
  • 11 galangal root pieces (pronounced like 'gal', the word for a female:  gal-in-gal)
  • 3 stalks of lemon grass (pronounced like... just kidding)
  • 2-3 scallions
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 13.66 oz. can of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 small lime's worth of juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 40 cloves
  • 2 cups of dried rice

Rice Instructions:

I cooked two cups of dried white jasmine rice in my rice cooker, as normal. However, I also added 40 cloves and the juice from 1 half of the lime. I just love infusing otherwise bland rice with exciting flavours, and the cloves go so well with this soup. Just be sure to pick them out before serving.

Soup Instructions:

1. Chop up everything beforehand, if you like.


Lemongrass - crush with the flat of your blade to release the flavour, but make it easy to remove after cooking.

Kaffir Leaves - either leave whole to remove after cooking, or tear up into tiny pieces for easy chewing. You can eat them, they are just sometimes difficult to bite through.

Galangal - Depending on how you buy this, it will be ready to toss in as is. You may leave them in the soup if you wish, but don't try to eat them; if you like, just suck on them a bit and spit them back out (classy and delicious!).

2. Place the chicken broth, garlic, carrots, serrancho pepper, and black pepper into a large pot. Bring to a boil.

3. Turn down the heat to medium-low and add the bamboo, kaffir leaves, galangal, and lemongrass, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Time for the delicious coconut milk! Add the whole can in, plus the lime juice from the other half of your lime, scallions, brown sugar, and fish sauce.

Let simmer for another 10 minutes.

5. It's ready! Serve over the rice, or just eat by itself.

A Couple Things...

First of all, as I said in the title of this post, this is a great base for this soup with which you can build your own creation upon. I would have preferred it to have more of a bite, but my boyfriend doesn't like very spicy food, so I catered this more to his tastes.


My mother went and tried it two days later, and said it had become deliciously spicy. Unfortunately, I wasn't there and can't say personally how much it changed, but do consider letting your soup marinate itself for a while before serving. Then just gently reheat back on the stove top.

Next, some of these ingredients may be hard to find. Luckily for me, my local health food store carries the Thai Kitchen brand, which provides Kaffir Lime Leaves, Fish Sauce, and Galangal Root! (I also bought their coconut milk, which for some reason comes in a randomnly sized 13.66 can)

Now my recipe is still very white, whereas the restaurant's was very orange. I will play with a few more ingredients over time and see what I like that adds colour; the first thing I'll try will be some Thai Chili Paste, also made by Thai Kitchen!

Lastly, my Thai restaurant served this soup in a huge flaming metal bowl that kept it warm. I can't really describe it well.... but if it were a stronghold, the flames would have been the castle and the soup would be the moat around the structure. Then you just ladled the soup out of there and into your bowl. It was really very exciting, but sadly I have nothing like that at home. This doesn't really apply to the recipe, I just thought it was something everyone should know.

Until next time!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Stash Update #6: Bow Earwarmer

I don't feel I should be having cold ears in May. Unfortunately, it's been happening nonetheless. And when I'm being good and out running, I'm already miserable enough without adding frozen, aching ears to the mix. Thus, I decided to crochet myself some ear protection!

This was a really simple project to do, and I finished it in just a few (distracted) hours. Here's what I did!

  • Grabbed some Sugar 'n Cream Yarn in an energizing colour! (I used what was leftover from one of my starfish washclothes, and had just the perfect amount)
  • Chain 73
  • Hook rows of half double crochet, stitching into the extra loop that hdc makes, until it reached my desired width. (thanks Jenn; check out her scarf post for stitch details if you wish)
  • Marvel at how big my head must be to need all this yarn.
  • Joined the two ends with a tapestry needle, weaving in the strands of course.
  • Looped a string of yarn around and around the join to hide it, as well as create a cute little bow effect (would have been more prominent if I wanted the band to be wider). Weaved in those ends as well!

That's all there is too it. Very simple, and works up fast. Plus, it used up 33g of my stashed yarn - as well as getting rid of a mostly-used-up ball. Hooray!

I now fully expect the weather to warm up, out of spite. Little does it know that I don't want to use an ear warmer in May.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Delivery from MountainRoseHerbs!

Ooh I'm so very excited. I just recently got in a nice big order of MountainRoseHerbs products to start incorporating into my natural care routines. There was so much on that site I wanted, I could probably have spent a thousand dollars... but I kept myself under $200. Here's what I got for my money!

  • Meadowfoam Seed Oil
  • Rosehip Seed Oil
  • Bentonite Clay
  • Tamanu Oil
  • Vitamin E Oil
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Sea Buckthorn Oil
  • Lemongrass Essential Oil
  • Carrot Seed Oil

I'm experimenting with these products now, and I'll be posting what I do with them as I stumble across successes!

For this post at least, I can tell you that my guy and I have used Tamanu oil before. I find that it is very mousturizing, and I like incorporating a small amount of it into my OCM. He prefers to spread it, undiluted, all over his face after shaving, and then let it soak in a couple minutes before wiping it off. He says it really keeps his skin from getting irritated, helps combat stray pimples, and just keeps his face happy overall.

Now, I always hear explicit warnings about the smell of Tamanu oil. Really though, I don't see what the big fuss is about. It does have a distinct smell, but it isn't anything bad in my opinion. It's the smell of natural beauty!

See how beautiful it really is? I just love looking at the plants whose oil we use to better our lives. They could easily be just ornamental, but instead are functional as well. Amazing!

So wish me luck on my new oil journey! Do any of you have a favourite, less-common oil similar to these? I'd love to hear about them!

Gallery containing Tamanu plant photo... because I can't get it to work properly up there
Tamanu plant image by Tatiana Gerus

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Easter Chocolate and Cream Eggs

Finally, here is my other project I did for this past Easter. It's a pretty simple recipe, but it results in such cute, delicious little desserts!

As with most of my favourite things, I first discovered this on Pinterest! The pin lead me to the blog Raspberri Cupcakes, and I knew I just had to make these. Unfortunately, I don't have her beautiful egg cups, so you'll have to look at mine just sitting in various bowls.

Even though I have now made these two years in a row, I still haven't managed to go and buy some hollow chocolate eggs. Thus, I am stuck with the arduous process of making them myself. That's the best way to do things anyway, right?

So instead I buy some of the fill-able Easter eggs that all stores sell around that holiday - I discovered this time around that those which open around the length of the egg work best.

These are the kind I mean

Making the Chocolate Eggs

You need:
  • hollow plastic Easter eggs (anybody know if I can get these made out of something more reusable and durable? Can't seem to find that particular product)
  • chocolate
  • cooking oil

1. Open up your egg cases and give them a light spray with cooking oil.

2. Melt your chocolate down using whatever method you prefer... I was in a hurry this Easter, so hopefully you'll excuse me for not properly tempering real chocolate and instead microwaving the melty chips!

3. Once you have your melted chocolate, let it cool just a bit and then pour it into the egg halves. I would nearly fill one half of an egg, attach the other half, and then shake it vigorously to coat the inside. Then, still since I was in a hurry, I placed each egg in the freezer. After a few failed attempts at those, I discovered the eggs should sit upright, and they should be taken out every few minutes for another good shake to ensure the chocolate wasn't all settling in one spot.

4. When your egg shells are ready, carefully open the plastic and shake/gently pull the egg out.

5. Now it's time to destroy a few of them by learning how to cut off the tops! (This is why the eggs were hardened right-side-up; otherwise, the chocolate gathered at the top and made this job nearly impossible) I like to save the tops in one intact piece to place back on later, so this is why it's difficult for me. If you don't care and just want to leave your eggs open though, it'll be much simpler.

With the tops back on!

Definitely start on your ugliest ones, as this can be a difficult process. Even my trusty boyfriend helper has yet to fully master this particular art. He was experimenting with a few different ways this year, one of which was scoring the egg all the way around and then just breaking it off. Another was just a simple heated and serrated knife, sawed through the top of the egg. Yet another was a heated butter knife, just kind of shoved through to let the heat do its job. Each way had its respectable number of successes and failures... maybe we'll figure out the perfect method next year.

Egg Whites and Yolk

Now that your eggs are ready, put them in an airtight container in the fridge to stay cool. And if you haven't already, be sure to put the tops back on now so you don't get them all mixed up!

Are you ready to make the most delicious part of your eggs?

Fluffy "Egg White" Recipe:
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 oz of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine the juice, vanilla, sugar, and cream cheese in whatever size bowl you feel comfortable with (I hate when recipes tell me to use a large bowl... it's always so comically oversized). Beat it on high until smooth; it took me about two to three minutes to reach this consistency:

Resist the urge to stop here and just eat this

Now in a separate bowl (this one I don't mind being large, as whipping cream is messy to whip) whip your heavy cream until your wrist is screaming and your shoulder is burning. And then keep going like that for the remaining 90% of the job, until the infamous stiff peaks start to form.

Finally! Now relax and calmly mix your two batches together with the whisk, until the whole thing is smooth again.

Now in one way or another, get that mixture into your egg shells. I just dumped mine into a Ziploc bag, then cut off the tip and pretended it was the icing piper I seem to have lost. You can fill the shells up to the top, but then scoop out a hole for the yolk to sit in!

In-A-Hurry "Egg Yolk" Recipe:
  • some lemon curd

Now scoop in some lemon curd. Ta-daa. I filled my dessert design pen and squeezed it all in that way, just to feel fancy.

This way doesn't look very realistic though, so please go and check out Raspberri Cupcakes for that yolk recipe. I know last year I actually did make the yolk, but I didn't have access to passion fruit as Raspberri Cupcakes did. Instead I went off of her amounts and instructions, but used orange juice-butter-lemon curd for the ingredients.

....or I just used the butter and lemon curd. I can't remember. This would be why I choose not to instruct you in this area. Next year I'll be sure to make the yolk again!

You're Done!

Paper towels are classy

Last year I made these two days in advance, so I can tell you they at least last that long. Just keep them airtight and chilled until you are ready to serve them!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dyeing Easter Eggs, Naturally

I'm here, I'm here! *whew*

Sorry guys, I know I've been ignoring my blog the past couple of weeks, especially the stash busting part. Want to here my excuses?

  1. My loan officer failed to even attempt to push my loan through on time, so I missed out on purchasing my condo and am still living out of boxes in my parents' spare bedroom. Thus, all the fun, crafty, "new home" posts I was planning on fell out the window. Grr.
  2. I sometimes develop these annoying little dry itchy bumps on one of my fingers; I'm told these bumps are related to stress, but I don't really know. Maybe they are. Anyway, they crop up right where I need to feed my yarn when I'm crocheting (this started years before I began crocheting, so luckily the two aren't actually linked). Inconvenient, yes? And it happened right as I was getting into Ali's new Sherlock stitch. Grr again.

Anyway, enough whining. I'm here to show you folks what my family and I experimented with for Easter!

Dyeing Easter Eggs, the Natural Way

I've got to say, we were pretty excited to try this! My mom had a list of recipes for dying Easter Eggs using household ingredients and food, all of which sounded fun to try. I have no idea where she got the list from, plus she made a lot of the dyes while I wasn't there, so... bear with me here.

  • Turmeric:
Boil some Turmeric! 1 cup of water and 2 tsp of Turmeric, if my memory serves me properly

This, as you can imagine, was going to be used to make yellow eggs! Other colours called for such things as: purple cabbage leaves (steep leaves for hours), paprika (boil), blueberries (boil and cool), coffee, grape juice (not exactly natural ((mix with vinegar))), and red onions (steep for hours).

Once the dyes are cool and ready, we found it easiest to put them into ziploc bags with the eggs and just shape them into different containers.

Coffee, Onion, and Cabbage eggs are ready; others soon to follow!

We started this all on Saturday night. Then on Easter day, they were all good and coloured!

Once they were completely dry, we were all pleasantly shocked to find out that some had turned out... glittery!

Can't fully capture the glitter in a picture, but I'm proud of how well my camera performed

That would be the grape juice and vinegar egg. Apparently, the sugar from the juice separated and crystallized. That's our guess anyway. No matter the cause, I'm just glad it happened!

So Many Eggs...

Now we just have to actually eat all of these eggs. Today I brought some leftover dinner rolls to work, along with two pretty little eggs - coffee and cabbage.

I shall peel them up and make some delicious egg salad out of plain yogurt.

And while we're on the subject of peeling eggs... does everyone else usually struggle with that? The brown shell ended up in about 40 pieces when I was done, but then I had what turned out to be a smart idea. I just cracked the blue egg on the bottom, where the little air sac is, and so I had a nice grip on the shell to peel it off! Look, it came off in almost one piece:

I'll have to remember that. Hopefully it will work every time.

One Post Down

So that was one of my Easter projects! (other one to be posted later) Hopefully some of you will think of dyeing eggs like this next year. I know I didn't break any recipes down, but that's okay; there are so many fun ones out there, using different herbs, flowers and food, that just picking which ones you want will be part of the fun!

How did everyone else enjoy their weekend?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Stash Update #5 - Starfish Washcloths

Hello again! I just got back from a weekend trip and I'm tired, but I'm here for a quick stash-busting update. (Sorry it's going to be quick and sloppy)

This time I've got some starfish washcloths to show you!

Don't mind the toilet in the background, just look at the pretty cloths. They are of course made with just my Sugar 'n Cream yarn, and they weigh 33 and 35 grams, respectively.

I hooked these by this pattern from Red Heart, and found myself really hating their written instructions. You'd be surprised to know how many different ways I can interpret "...5 times, working 2 sts in previous point, 1 st in sc in ring and last 2 sts in opposite edge" before I actually get it right. I found myself wishing for a regular symbol pattern to follow!

As for my other projects, I finally finished weaving in that bauble towel/cloth:

Ta-daa. This was done before I knew how to properly "crochet evenly around," but oh well. It still manages to be cute. Plus, it's heavy; I added another 25 grams onto it from the last time you saw.

Totals and What's Next

So these put me at a total of 93 grams for this update! Although in reality I have stitched more than that, but my next cloth isn't ready to show yet. I'll tell you about it next time. As for now, I'm going to relax.

Don't forget to check out the other stash-busters! There are over a hundred of us now, so plenty to keep you busy.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Air-Dried "Porcelain"

Alright I am finally getting this post up. I wanted to do this last week, but I was screaming with the pain of food poisoning... or so I thought. Turns out it's some kind of evil stomach virus, of which I am still suffering. So forgive me if I ramble throughout this post and make it unnecessarily long.

This is a really exciting project with a myriad of possibilities, and I think everyone should make something out of it at least once. Now, being the way I am, I went straight for making an impossible piece with the porcelain... but let's not focus on that. Let's instead focus on how perfectly the dough itself turned out!

Gathering Ingredients

There are a few different tutorials online, and I happened to go with the one over at TheJunkWave.

Here's what you need:

  • 3 cups of White Glue
  • 3 cups of Cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp of White Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of Glycerin
  • 2 tbsp of Canola Oil

The glue and the glycerin can definitely be found at Michael's or some other craft store. Everything else can be found at a grocery store, or in your cupboard already. Actually, depending on your grocery store, each of these ingredients can just be found there.

Mix it Up!

Mix your glue and cornstarch together (that was harder than it sounds!), then add everything else and mix thoroughly. Be sure to find all the hidden pockets of powder that are hiding everywhere.

Sorry about the crazy lighting

You are then ready for the terrifying and easily messed up part: the cooking.

The Scary Part

TheJunkWave gives instructions for microwave and stovetop cooking, but I only tested out the stovetop so that's what I'll tell you about.

I read all about how easy it is to mess this part up, and I was really worried I would over or under cook the dough. I needn't have been so nervous though, as this method worked absolutely perfectly.

Put your mixture into a pot that you can easily clean (ha! Gotcha!), and put it on the stove. I did not warm up my burner first; I just put on the pot and turned it onto low heat right then and there. This method took me exactly 15 minutes from the turn of the dial to the time I took it off the stove. But I'm getting ahead of myself; let's talk about the fun you will have watching it cook. I know my own experience was wrought with self-doubt and excitement, and I'm sure yours will be special too.

As I plopped my mixture into my pot and got a big waft of glue stench up my nose, I kind of felt like an idiot. Who cooks glue on the stove? But whatever, it supposedly worked for other people. So I turned on the burner and started my phone's stopwatch. For the first several minutes, I just sat there stirring the viscous glue mix and wondering where I had gone wrong in my life that I had been reduced to this.

Then I realized that I could lift the spoon up and drizzle words and pictures on top of the batter, and they would actually stay for a moment - or at least longer than the foods I had made on the stove.

See? It says Teal. Except the T faded by the time I took a picture.

How fun! So that kept me entertained for a while, until suddenly the glue started changing!

Picture 1. Slight film forming, glue is becoming matte instead of shiny. Picture 2. Starting to clump!

The tutorial I was following said the mix would start to clump up like ricotta cheese and pull away from the sides of the pot. Mine wasn't exactly doing that yet, but it was getting there. I started to have hope. Hope that was fading by the time 14 minutes rolled around... but then what do you know? Right as my phone reached 15 minutes, the glue had started pulling away and clumping all over the place. It was ready!

The Scary + Fun Part

I scooped the dough onto a floured counter top and gave it some time alone to cool down. Then I floured my hands and got to work kneading.

Wow. Be certain to remove all jewelry, don't wear long sleeves, make sure nobody can possibly need you for anything, and maybe even have a designated phone answerer, because you are going to be a disaster. That dough sticks to absolutely everything it touches. This is just about the time I started to feel like an idiot again; especially when pieces would be drying under my nails and I thought I'd have to get them surgically removed.

But still, I need not have worried; after several messy minutes, the dough actually started to form and stick to itself rather than everything but. Soon, you are just playing with this really soft, large ball of dough. More fun!

Sadly, this is the time to put it away and forget about it; the dough has to sit in the fridge in an airtight container for at least 24 hours.

I don't know how long the dough will last, but I had mine in a ziploc bag in the fridge for about two weeks before I was able to do anything with it and it came out just fine.


Here come the feelings of idiocy again. Cleaning up after this stuff is not fun in any sense of the word. The best I can say is... test both soaking the glue and letting it dry first. The mixing bowl I was able to clean with just water, but the pot was another story. Some I removed after soaking, and the rest I left stuck on out of frustration.

To my surprise, when I went back the next day to give that pot another shot I was able to pretty easily scrape off the remaining dried out glue. Then I remembered that glue is indeed easy to peel away (anyone else used to cover their hand in glue as a kid just to peel it off?) and wondered if I shouldn't have just left it all out to dry.

Time to Get Creative!

After a day of waiting, it's time to make something out of your dough!

Now my creation I won't bother to show you. Let's just say you really need a potter's wheel to make a teapot, and a balloon is only a passable substitute.

I'm sad though, because I have really fantastic ideas to make a teapot customized for my crocheting needs. Really, really fantastic ideas! Unfortunately I have no way of making this amazing teapot right now. Perhaps in the future I'll be able to.

Moving On

So that's what I have for today! Hopefully I was able to make sense the whole way through. Sunday I'll be back to show you the starfish washcloths I've made, and maybe I'll have found my scale by then so I can update my Stash-Busting totals.

Has anyone here ever tried their creative hand at making this air-dried "porcelain?" Let me know if you have!