Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Taste of June

A little taste of summer goodness today on this last day of January (and a very cold January day it is here)......

.......no food miles here, these came from our garden last June:)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Hit!

After my disappointing adventures in potted meat the other day I needed to make something really good.  I heard about baked oatmeal yesterday and decided to make some for breakfast.  It's very tasty and very easy to make and I have no idea how I'd never heard of it before.

I had found a recipe online and played with it slightly to make it even better.  I reduced the sugar from 1 cup to only 1/2 cup as I'm sure I don't need that much sugar for breakfast and I substituted raw cane sugar in the place of brown sugar (trying to keep it real).  I also opted for organic rolled oats that were not of the instant variety (I know it added more body).

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.

In medium bowl mix together 3 cups rolled oats
                                             2 tsps baking powder
                                             1/2 tsp cinnamon
                                             1/2 tsp ground ginger
                                             1/2 tsp nutmeg
In large bowl mix together      2 eggs
                                             1/2 cup raw cane sugar
                                             1 tsp vanilla
                                             1 cup milk

mix dry ingredients in with wet ingredients, pour into 9 x 13 baking dish and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.  I enjoyed it served still warm.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hits And Misses

I couldn't wait to get home last evening to see if the potted meat had set correctly.  It set perfectly and looked great....but it was HORRIBLE, I mean really bad.  It could have used a bit more salt and spice, that I could have lived with, but what really ruined it was that I hadn't simmered the meat long enough and it was like little hard nuggets suspended in the gelatine.  Yuck, I will try again but not until I get over how gross the texture was.  Blah.  Dave found it on the counter where we had left it and he seemed to think it was terrific...good boy.  But on a more positive note, I finally received the last of the 5 books I ordered for Christmas (photo credit Chapter Indigo).

BOOK: Victorian Farm: Christmas Edition

And when I thumbed through it I came across a picture of Ruth Goodman sitting at a sewing machine exactly like mine:)

If you haven't watched Victorian Farm or Edwardian Farm, originally aired on BBC, you are missing something pretty special.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trotting Along...

I think I was successful in making potted meat this morning but I won't know if it set completely until it cools.  It was painfully easy to make and tastes quite nice (I had to taste to see if there was enough salt in it).  I used two leg pieces to yield 2 cups of potted meat and 1 cup of just seasoned gelatine that I'm going to save for soup or gravy.  There was very little fat and once it's set I'll be able to skim it off easily.

While the porky goodness was simmering and making the house smell amazing, I decided to de-clutter another closet.  This one had a medium cardboard box worth of paper and magazines that are now in the burn pile.  I was also able to put aside about 25 books to sell on (they take up an awful lot more space than I thought).  Now I'm at work and if I have a little down time I'll work on cabled hat 2 of 12 and maybe slip in a little reading:)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesdays, Trimming and Trials

Tuesdays are usually non-productive days here on the homestead because they are big "store stuff" days, but I did de-clutter a closet today and feel pretty good about that.  With homesteading comes the desire to scale back, simplify and de-clutter so I've decided to pick a small space in the house, outbuildings or store every week and ruthlessly edit the "stuff" until we're only surrounded by what we need and a few simple wants.  The hardest editing will be the studio as it's filled to the top with fibre, yarns, books and tools.  I think the best way to tackle it would be to not buy any more yarn or fibre until I use what's on hand (unless of course I need another skein of a certain colour to finish an order blah blah) and repair/restore and sell all machines that I don't intend to keep.  But that's for another day.  Today I get to feel good about cleaning out a closet from a spare bedroom.

Tomorrow has been set aside to try a new adventure in the kitchen that certainly is old fashioned and fits very nicely with our newer, homesteading life.  I love potted meat and my Mum-in-law tells me that it's very easy to make.  You need a few basic ingredients:  pig trotters, salt, herbs....seriously that's it.  You put the trotters (thats the feet with some of the leg still attached for the meat) in a pot of water and boil them for several hours releasing the gelatin in them, scrape off the meat (this is the most tender pork in my humble opinion) and put it in a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap or some old yoghurt containers work well too.  then you put the bones back in, boil some more, add herbs (I'm using summer savoury) and salt to taste and pour the liquid over the meat that was set aside in the mould, let it harden in the fridge, skim off the fat, and enjoy!  She recommended that I use 1 beef trotter and two pork trotters because the gelatine from the beef might harden better but I'm going to see how I make out with just pork.  I wish it was the right time of year for new potatoes because that's how I like it served best, but that's ok, I'll make do.  Picture to follow.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Monday

I can't believe it's Monday again, or that January is almost over...again.

Spent my day off yesterday truly having a day off, I didn't do much of anything but boy did I have a great time doing it.  But, it's Monday again and that means back to work at both my jobs.  I finished a cabled hat this morning, one of twelve that I'm making to fill an order and I have a little swatch that I've been playing with too, it looks a little something like this...

...and it couldn't be smooshier.  I'm knitting it in Patons Classic Merino in Natural White, I love it.

Somebody has been keeping me well entertained while he's spent a lot of time up this apple tree chasing chickadees.  It's a poor quality photo but if you look closely, you can see Dave in the middle of the tree.  What you can't hear is how chatty he is scaring all the birds away....he hasn't learned stealth yet.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Same But Different

I currently have 2 Singer Treadle sewing machines, 1 that I'm keeping and 1 that I'm selling.  Although they are the same machine, a few years between manufacturing made some interesting differences.  These are photos of the one I'm keeping, you can see how it's more ornate and looks "Victorian" in design.

The second machine is a little newer, the artwork is less fussy and to me has an "Art Deco" feel to the design of the legs.

I did a little work on machine 2 today.  The Singer logo is now all shiny again after being very dirty and dull looking.

Took apart and scrubbed off the grime from the thread tension assembly.  It seems to be in good condition.

This is the "before" shot of the plates on the bobbin winder.  Very dirty but should clean up nicely.  The whole bobbin winder seems to be in good condition too except for needing a new "tire".

Friday, January 20, 2012


Today I managed to find another sewing machine.  This one is a Singer cabinet model from the early 70's and it was seized up fairly tight.  So far with lots of machine oil, I've managed to get it moving it's just not completely there.  If and when I can get it freely working I plan to find someone in my neighborhood who really wants to be able to sew but can't for whatever reason justify the expense of a sewing machine and give it to them.  I didn't pay anything for it, so I thought this would be a good time to "pay it forward".  It's not all fancy and pretty like the ones on the show room floor today, but given it's age and how sturdy it is, I believe it is meant to be repaired rather than replaced like today's all plastic, light weight "planned obsoletion" models.  This is machine number 6 in my possession but as I've said, I'm not keeping it.

Here it is with the top and front casing off.

Please excuse the poor picture quality, I have the machine in front of a window.

This is number 5 and we picked it up this week also.  It's another Singer Treadle machine and I believe this one will be available for sale.  I'm in the process of cleaning (lots and lots of cleaning), oiling and ordering replacements parts.  It's a real beauty and all moving parts move freely.  The drive band is on it's last legs so until I get the replacement, Mr. Homesteader rigged it so that I can at least use it to get the machine cleaned, working and singing again.  The cabinet is also in very nice condition with just some scratchy wear around the knob on the lower, right hand drawer.

Our house is starting to look like a Singer show room, or a Singer repair shop at least.  I have to say that restoring these machines has given me much more knowledge on how they work and how to take care of them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Keepin' On...

Well, I survived my nasty cold but unfortunately didn't accomplish anything while down with it.  But, since feeling better, I've had my nose pressed to the sketch book, calculator and swatches to see if I can translate the wonders in my head into recognizable stitches.  I have a real love for Aran knitting especially on traditional natural white wool.  It's a classic, timeless look that makes me feel comfortable, like a hot mug of tea and a warm hug.  So it's with cable stitches and natural white wool that I'm playing with right now while at my other job (I'm so lucky I can do that).

Along with knitting, I've been asked to make some Tea Cozies for a local shop, which of course helps to fill my renewed interest in sewing.  I make the Tea Cozies with blanket fabric from my local mill and line them with cotton fabric.  I recently found this lovely cotton to use, it looks so old fashioned and reminds me of linens you'd see at a fancy tea party.  (Some of this might need to become an apron too.)

Mr. Homesteader worked very hard taking care of me over my dreaded cold.  He made several pots of soup and these delicious buns from a recipe out of the latest Mother Earth News magazine.

But what has made both Mr. Homesteader and I so very happy over the last while is the young lad we welcomed into our home and hearts....place gratuitous family pet shot here....

Dave had his "surgery" last week and has sailed through it with flying colours.  I nearly broke into hysterical laughter when the vet said to keep him quiet for 10 days....hhahahahah keep a six month old kitten quiet for 10 days, that worked well.  It took him two whole days to get all of his energy back and we tried EVERYTHING to keep him quiet, short of sedating him.

Hopefully that will be the end of this years family illnesses/surgeries and we can all get back to our respective projects.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Down And Out

I'm stepping away for a few days because I'm under the weather and just don't have the energy to do any blog-worthy work.  Hopefully I'll have something interesting to share in a few days....

Monday, January 9, 2012

From The Post

Look what the mail man brought me today....

 Jardin rêvé, Jardin brodé

....this book is just cover to cover eye candy with clearly pictured descriptions of each technique and easy to copy and trace drawings to embroider.  My French is a little rusty but I seem to be able to follow along all right...I just love this book.  For those of you who don't speak (or read) French this is a book of embroidered flowers and insects from the garden (Le Jardin).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

On A Roll...

Made pot holders to match the apron I made yesterday.

Here's a close up of the fabric used for the apron and back side of the pot holders.  I love it!

So that's one complete gift made for Christmas 2012.

Friday, January 6, 2012

An Early Start

First gift for Christmas 2012 is finished!  Stop throwing things at the computer screen:)

 Flapper Apron from Sew Retro

I'm really not that organized, I'm just trying to make life a little easier.  I work 1 1/2 full time jobs so when it comes to gift making,  getting it done earlier this year sounded good.  Besides I was so excited to receive my Sew Retro book for Christmas that I was eager to start working on the patterns inside.

Picture This is a really sweet book, I've been enjoying it immensely.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wool People 2

Brooklyn Tweed wowed us again with another issue of Wool People.  If you are a knitter and haven't heard of Jared Flood or his company Brooklyn Tweed or his yarns Shelter and Loft, (you must be living under a rock on Mars or something) you have got to click on the link and see his blog complete with this E-Magazine.  There are several different designers (14 I think) who's work is showcased in this beautiful "Look Book" as Jared calls it and every single design is beautiful.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


My first finished object of 2012 is a wee Tam made from my own plain Tam pattern.  It's a pretty little knit, made much prettier by the lovely Sara who so kindly agreed to model it for the Blog.

Such a sweetie pie, thanks Sara.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Happy New Year to all of my readers, I hope 2011 was terrific for you all and that 2012 holds even more happiness for you.  In the beginning of 2011, I set out on a journey of discovery of the "Knitterly" variety.  I had been selling knitted (and felted) accessories locally for a few years but not with any set goal in mind.  If you've been reading this blog since the beginning (around this time last year), you will know that my goal for 2011 was to create and sell enough pieces to decide once and for all if there was a realistic potential for business here.  I had a dollar amount in mind that, if I could reach that amount in 2011, I was actually on to something.  Good news folks, is that I did make that goal!  I made it and now for 2012 I have a different goal in mind.  This year I dive head first into the world of knitwear design.  My goal is to design and offer 4 patterns in 2012 and for now, to continue making and selling those lovely accessories that I've been working on already.  As you may know, my first pattern is due soon.  It's been a lot of work and also very rewarding.

All the best to you for the coming year,


Things I Admire.

The people I admire most in life are those that never say "I can't possibly", but over and over again say "I can do that".  People who pick up something ordinary and make it into something extraordinary.  These people that I admire most also seem to make the things that I admire most....beautiful hand made furniture, delectable food,  a well constructed wall, a hand made gift, a well written book.  Yesterday, Mr. Homesteader and I received a gift from the Lady who works for us.  She's an amazing person (we already knew that long before yesterday) and she is both intelligent and talented.  Yesterday, she presented us with a quilt (hand stitched no less) that she had made for us complete with photos of our store copied onto fabric.  I was speechless.  It made me cry.  What an incredible gift.