Craft Class Alert!!!
I'm teaching my Needle-Felted Peeps Class at the Urban Craft Center
When? March 10th from Saturday 11am-1pm.
How Much? $35 per person (All materials included plus light snacks provided!)
Ages 8+ welcome!
Space is limited, so I'd encourage you to sign up soon!
Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
I've been wanting to make some new shapes and accessories using my knitting forks. Yesterday, after a few minutes of experimenting, I came up with these easy knit(ting fork) flowers!
Confession: I've been watching re-runs of Family Ties on Netflix while crafting, so maybe it seemed natural that I would gravitate towards making hair clips that look like a craft straight out of the sweet 1970's.
To make your own knitted flowers, you will need:
Lambs Pride Bulky Yarn in lemon drop yellow
Matching thread + needle
Burly Spun super chunky wool yarn in green, blue red
Start your project by using the second method of knitting with the lucet, or knitting fork, as demonstrated here.The weave will start out quite tight. I like to knit a good long length (about 10 inches) before pulling the chain and releasing the tension.
Next, I placed one end of the yarn between my fingers near the base of my palm and coiled it up as tight as I could. I held the second end of the yarn in my fingers to keep the rings from unraveling.
To make the basic flower shape, I pulled the yarn piece near the tip of my fingers, down towards my palm. I tied the two pieces of yarn together so that the coils would stay in place.
Using the needle and thread, I reinforced the ringlets with a few simple stitches. Then, I ran a piece of the super bulky wool yarn through one corner of the flower (from the back side- if an obvious back has developed.)With a different color yarn, I wove a loop through the center of the flower and knotted it in the back as well.
The length of your chain will determine how many coils your flower ends up with. All of my chains were between nine and twelve inches long. The flowers ended up being about two inches in diameter.I tied one flower around my finger for a sweet ring, and pinned the rest in my hair with a couple of Bobby pins! These flowers take less than 10 minutes each and would be really cute strung up on a necklace (I'm going to work on one this week!), accessories for children, clasps for purses, or just strung on some pipe cleaner and given to someone as a little handmade bouquet! So many fun possibilities! Hope you enjoy!
Monday, February 27, 2012
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Ok, there are a few photos today... but while camping last weekend, the mister and I baked a cake over a bed of hot coals, and it came out so beautifully, I really wanted to share it with you.
The only thing, is that it was a box mix. No magical recipe to share beyond "add eggs, oil, water, and elbow grease from mixing up the batter with a travel-sized whisk."The only tricks I can offer are:
1. Mix the batter near the smoke from your growing fire so that mosquitoes won't pester you or land in your dessert.
2. Be sure to pour the batter in a greased metal bowl or pan, and set that atop several rocks inside your dutch oven. Lifting the inner pan off the base of the dutch oven will bake your cake evenly and prevent burning.
3. Put about as many coals on TOP of your dutch oven as you have under it, and rotate the base and lid of the dutch oven (in opposite directions) two or three times while the cake bakes.
We baked our cake for about 45 minutes, checking it with a bamboo skewer for doneness.
Even though it was "just a box mix" we were SO PROUD of our successful outdoor baking experience.
I would highly recommend picking up a dutch oven and trying some outdoor baking on your next camping trip! It's a really fun departure from hot dogs and roasted marshmallows!
Friday, February 24, 2012
If you are a car-camper (someone who has ever slept in a camper van, motor home, or even the bed of a truck) you know the importance of finding a level place to park your vehicle when sleeping in the great outdoors.
From rolling into the person you are camping with, to all the blood in your body rushing to your head while you sleep, even the most gentle slope can really mess with your camping experience. We almost always go camping with a level. Last weekend, we forgot to bring ours.
Instead of buying a level at the local hardware store, we improvised by using our Nalgene water bottle. Since most reusable water bottles are marked to show the number of ounces it can hold, you can find a level parking spot by placing the bottle (partially filled with water) on the window or dashboard of your car. When the lines marked on the outside of the container match the water line, you have found a level spot.
If your water bottle does not have markings on it, or if you have a reusable bottle that is not clear plastic, you can modify this makeshift level by using a disposable plastic bottle, and drawing a straight line down the side of it. It might be a small detail in the great scheme of things, but this is a quick tip that will make for a long and restful night's sleep!
Happy camping friends! The weekend is upon us, what are your plans??
Thursday, February 23, 2012
While camping last weekend, I stumbled across a fun trick for getting more up-close-and-personal photos than my existing camera lens would allow.
By using the loupe we'd brought with us for botanizing, I was able to expose the hidden underbelly of several ferns, the fine details of a moth wing, and examine an intricate flower, no larger than a grain of rice!
Our loupe is so lightweight that I could wear it around my neck all day, and forget it was there. And since most loupes start at $5 and get more expensive with the amount of magnification, this handy tool was light on our wallets too!
So the next time you are sitting near the campfire or lantern and a moth lands on you, don't squirm, grab the loupe for a look!And while stopping to smell the roses is nice, you might just be surprised to see how much detail is hiding in the tiny succulents and weeds that line the hiking trail!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
My husband and I try to step up our cooking skills with each camping trip. We've made cedar-plank salmon, baked lots of breads and more roasted chickens than you can shake a stick at, but on this trip we focused on some of the sweeter things in life: baked apples.
I really wanted to incorporate more fruit and veg in each meal, so when I proposed baked apples to top off our morning oats, I didn't realize how easy it would be to do while camping.
To bake your own apples over the campfire, you will need the following:
Apples of your choice (we used Red Delicious and Granny Smith)
1:1 Sugar & Cinnamon
Quick Oats (optional)
I suggest starting your fire or lighting charcoals first so that they have time to get red hot while you prep the apples.Core the apples and score the skin multiple times with the tip of a sharp knife.
Place one apple on a sheet of foil, and with about a tablespoon of butter, completely coat the skin. Place the remaining pat of butter in the center cavity.
Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mix around the apple and into the center. Wrap the foil sheet around the fruit and give it a twist at the top.
When your coals are red and glowing, they are ready to cook on. We started our apples on the coals of another meal, baking in our Dutch Oven. When the Dutch Oven came out of the fire pit, we set the apples straight onto a pile of glowing charcoals where they stayed for about 45 minutes. We turned them with metal tongs two or three times to ensure they would cook evenly.I want to mention that cooking directly in the flames of a fire is not going to work NEARLY as well as using coals (either charcoal briquettes, or the red glowing embers from a fire) these are both hotter and more consistent for cooking.
We baked our apples on Friday night for breakfast on Saturday morning. One of the important things about camp cooking is time management. In the mornings we like to spring out of bed (depending on the outdoor temperature) and get our day started, so we personally don't like to spend a lot of time on breakfast.
We warmed up our foil-wrapped apples in a saucer over a propane burner, and cut them up over a piping hot bowl of quick oats. Heating them up again took only a few minutes. Extra cinnamon and sugar was at the ready in case we needed a little extra boost of sweetness, but the apples were so beautifully cooked that the natural juices plus the trace amounts of butter and spices were all we needed to kick off a great day of hiking!Putting together the ingredients for baked apples (or baking any other seasonal fruit) takes no more time than throwing a re-sealable box of sugar and cinnamon in the car along with the rest of your camping gear. With a few minutes of prep at dinnertime, you can have a hearty breakfast that tastes great, incorporates a subtly sweet dose of fruit, and sets the tone for a happy and healthy day outdoors!
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
As I mentioned yesterday, my fella and I went camping over the weekend. The forecast was partly perfect with a chance of dreamy and thanks to President's Day, we had an extra day off. Before sharing the camping crafts, tips and recipes I promised you, I really wanted introduce you to Montaña De Oro State Park, located in lovely Los Osos, CA.
For three days, this was home. It's one of my most favorite parts of the California coast! Despite growing up in San Diego, I vastly prefer a rocky, craggy beach over smooth, sandy ones.
I also prefer the sweet "meep meep" sounds of quail over the BEEP BEEP noise of traffic.
On our first night at camp, we had loads of fun with long exposure photography. Even though it was a holiday weekend, the park was far from full on Friday night. The stars were brightly shining, and the only other light in the whole park came from our campfire. It was magical.
We cooked over an open fire for nearly every meal (outdoor dinners & dessert recipes coming soon!)Exploring the exposed treasures of low tide was high on our to-do list.
After a nice chat at the Visitor's Center (where the floor transitions from a gorgeous green wood to THIS incredible pattern,) I flexed my sandwich-making muscle and packed up portable lunches to hit the trails.
We spotted lizards, snakes and lots and lots of birds that guided us over twisty paths, across chirping streams, and down a dirt path lined with dusty horse shoe prints.
We botanized to our heart's content; pointing out hundreds of native plants and later looking up any we couldn't name.
We found a thumb-sized froggie on an especially damp part of the path who stayed for photographs and then hopped away to continue his own lunch.
When we returned to camp, we found that our fire ring had been visited by a gang of raccoons. We hadn't left any scraps out, but they left us a great reminder that while camping, you should always pack your food away!We finished each day with a sunset walk along the cliffs while kids below braved the jutting rock structures.
Leaving was bittersweet to say the least. With so much natural beauty around us, heading home to Los Angeles seemed like a bad dream we couldn't wake up from!
The comforts of hot showers and a soft, warm bed did help ease us back into life at home. We look forward to the next trip up to Montaña de Oro! Hopefully the wild flowers will still be blooming and the sea lions still barking when we return!