Tag Archive | kitchen

More beaded jar covers

I need to offer my apologies to German-speaking Jewish people of the world.

One of my most-clicked posts as a result of one of the most-frequent search terms that lead people to my blog has probably turned out to be pretty disappointing. See, when Mr. Gren and I thought that my beaded jar covers looked like tricked-out yarmulkes, I thought I was being all clever combining the words “jar” and “yarmulke” to get “jarmulke.” Turns out, that’s just the German spelling for the same thing. I suppose it’s still a sort of fun play-on-words, but it undoubtedly made no sense at all to all the people who landed on my blog shopping for actual Jewish head-coverings. Sorry ’bout that. Goyim gonna goy.

So this time, no funny stuff. I made jar covers with crocheted edgings and beads. White crochet thread, an assortment of pretty beads of various substances, and white flour sack towels from Pakistan which are actually somewhere in between cheesecloth and an actual flour sack towel in terms of the weave. For my purposes of fermenting, that actually works better because it allows more air in, while still keeping dust and bugs out.

 

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The tap is open and the kombucha is flowin’

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These made nice portable projects for our trip to Idaho this summer. I only finished two while I was there; I’ve got a couple more circles of cloth left still.

Sourdough starter

Sourdough starter

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These are fairly simple to do, but I love how pretty they turn out. Classing up my kitchen! I did learn a few things from last time which made this go ’round easier. I machine-stitched a line 1/4″ from the edge of the cloth, then poked my crochet hook inside that stitching line when I started the crochet edging. The machine stitching gives it a little more stability so close to the edge of the cloth. Also, I didn’t bother with beads that didn’t easily fit on my crochet thread. Life’s too short. I tried to do a different edging on each cover, for my own amusement. And that’s all there really is to say about that.

Since that was short and only marginally interesting, I’m going to tack on a bit more here at the end.

Remember this thing?

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This is the UFO jar that is, perhaps, partially responsible for my long hiatus. How can that be? Well, the last project that I pulled from the jar was the Rainbow Afghan. My goal was to finish one project per month. I didn’t finish it the first month. Nor the second month. I ran out of yarn. And then I ran out of gumption. This afghan was supposed to have been a stash-buster. You don’t buy new yarn for stash busters! So I was caught in this crafter’s quandary: Do I buy yarn and finish the project (and then have new leftover yarn)? Or do I accept that the afghan will be smaller than originally planned? I chose Option C, which was “Do nothing.”

While the afghan continues to simmer on the back burner, I thought it was high time to pull a new project. After all, my goal was to empty this thing out by the end of the year!

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{sigh} Oh boy. You don’t know how badly I wanted to put this right back in the jar and pull something else. “They’ll never know! They’re just internet people!” But integrity won out in the end and now I’ve published it for all the world to see. “Mai” is Rana’s favorite stuffed bunny rabbit. Originally, this project was conceived as a little mother-daughter teaching time, but, well, let’s just say that Rana and I didn’t have the best summer together and the thought of any more “quality time” together right now makes me want to run screaming for the hills. So here’s the deal: I’m just going to bust this out on my own. Leave it on her bed for her to find after school one day and then she and Mai can have a lovely time playing dress-up and I’ll move on to a new UFO.  Fair enough?

Christmas gifts: Cookie jar

We’re going to rewind here a little bit, back to November/early December, pre-Christmas and even pre-baby, but post-move. Dang, moving is expensive. So, finding ourselves cinching the ol’ belt even tighter those months meant that we had to get creative with Christmas gifts. I scoured the internet for nice DIY projects that could make suitable gifts for the people on our lists (our families draw names). For the next few posts, we’ll look at what I came up with! The kids each had two gifts to make and I let them take the lead on the projects as much as possible so that the gifts were truly from them and not just a Jen project from start-to-finish. All three kids really enjoyed the creation process; Rana enthusiastically declared, “This is way better than just buying stuff!” I like that attitude.

Granota was the first to do her projects because it was easiest to get time alone with her without the other two clamoring for attention or wanting to “help.” The first thing Granota made was a cookie-mix-in-a-jar. This is great for her age group (she’s 6) because there is so much she can do herself with just a little guidance. Plus, playing in the kitchen is always exciting! The recipe we used called for Rice Krispies and M&Ms, neither of which we had on hand. Instead, we substituted cranberries and chocolate chips. Also, because we use cane sugar instead of white sugar, there is not a lot of color difference between that and the brown sugar. The beauty of these mixes in a jar is the different colored strata, so we divided the flour and put it between the sugars and then on top of the brown sugar to give the jar that nice striped effect. Granota did pretty well in the kitchen and had a blast measuring the ingredients and pouring them into the jar. I… did quite well biting my tongue when she dumped half a cup of flour on the counter and made other little 6 year old messes. That’s huge for me, people.

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Then, to make the jar pretty, I let Granota choose from my stash of old Christmas cards that I save for crafty purposes. You just never know. She used the jar lid as a template, chose the picture she wanted and cut it out. For the instruction tag, she used the back of the card and chose a clipart tree that I printed out for her which she glued on to cover the brand name. It’s a little jaggedy and not “picture perfect,” but she was one proud little girl to have made this “all by herself.” And I was proud of myself for giving her the opportunity to shine.

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Everybody needs a cherry apron

And by “everybody,” I mean, specifically, me, although I do think any kitchen is enhanced by the addition of an apron in a bright cherry print. Cherry = Cheery. See? Ok, those words aren’t related at all. But for some interesting etymology, check this out: The word “apron” is not the original form. Prior to the 14th century, the word was actually “napron,” related to “nappe” and “napkin.” After awhile, people’s ears stopped hearing “a napron” and converted it to “an apron.” Nifty, huh? (If you like this kind of stuff, check out one of my favorite sites, The Word Detective. He’s got all kinds of great stories!)

In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I do, in fact, already own a cherry print apron which I received in a craft swap quite some time ago. I like it, it’s just that… it’s a half apron and, well, it’s usually not my lap that needs protecting from rogue tomato sauce. My tally (before today) of full aprons came to a grand total of two. 2. Dos. Two unusually sloppy nights of cooking and those aprons are down for the count. One is a heavy cotton with a toile print that Mr. Gren gave me years ago. The second is another one I received in a swap and has snowmen all over it. Even though our temp today hovered around 55 F, it’s still June and wearing snowmen in June… just makes me feel weird. Spring may never arrive outside this year, but it sure will in my kitchen, by golly.

I bought this cherry fabric over a year ago. It has been languishing in the bottom of a large sack full of fabric, all destined for various projects, all sitting there for over a year. Sometimes I get distracted. For some reason, knowing that we are moving soon (within a few weeks), has lit a fire under me to bust through my fabric and yarn stashes as much as possible. I don’t know why it makes a difference; I’m going to pack it all with me. If anyone wants to psychoanalyze this compulsion, feel free.

The pattern I used is a 1940s reproduction. I liked the halter top design and the pleating. The pattern called for bias tape trim around the edges of the halter, but I didn’t have any in a color that would go, and since Mr. Gren is currently unemployed, I’m trying hard not to spend any extra money on craft supplies. Maybe that’s why I’m concentrating so hard on my stash. Anyway, instead of trimming in bias tape, I just made a narrow hem to finish the edges. Overall, I’m happy with how it came out. Easy on, easy off. And who knows, maybe the lure of wearing a cheery cherry apron will inspire me to cook tomorrow night. My family probably hopes so.