July 29, 2010

Crafty Friday 7/30

It's that time of the week again. Crafty Friday is here!!

I don't have anything super fancy this week to blog about because all of my "crafty" time has been taken up with making yarn. Specifically, this one skein of yarn. {sigh} This skein took forever!

Normally I spin yarn without much thought to what it's going to be when it "grows up", but this time I had a project in mind. Maybe that's why it seemed to take so long. I guess I was impatient.

Anyway, I had decided I wanted to make a lacy alpaca scarf kind of like this one and I needed a thinner yarn to make it. Mostly I spin chunkier worsted or bulky weight yarns because they make great hats, gloves and sweaters so spinning such a thin yarn was an eye opener.

Spinning up fat yarn is quick, but when you take the same amount of fiber and spin it into a really thin yarn you get a lot more yardage, but it takes that much longer.

My skein turned out just as I'd hoped. After nearly 2 weeks of spinning (about an hour a day) I had more than 800 yards of absolutely gorgeous silver alpaca for my scarf. Um, that will actually make 2 scarves I think.
What have you been up to this week?

Do you have something to share? Let us know what you’re working on this week! If you have something to share with us on your blog, add your link to the current week's party. Just please be sure to:
  1. Add the permalink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address in the Mister Linky form below (need help with finding the permalink? click here to see a great post Darcy wrote on this!)
  2. Include in your blog entry a link back to the party post on this blog! so that your readers can come and see what everyone else is working on today and have an opportunity to contribute! You can use the code below to add the button to your posts or blog if you'd like.
  3. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what makes a party fun!! You don't want to come to a party and have no one talk to you!!
  4. Let me know if you have any questions, problems or need help!

If you want to play along don't forget to grab a button to place at the top or bottom of your post to show you are participating in Crafty Fridays!
Simply copy the code below in the box and paste where you can edit the html in your blog post.

Home Sweet Farm





July 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Puppy Love

For more Wordless Wednesday visit the home of Wordless Wednesday and A Beautiful Mess.

Oil Spill Hits Close to Home

Well if the Gulf spill wasn't enough there is now a new spill....15 miles from my home.

It happened in a town not too far away and the oil has spilled into a major river in our area carrying the oil through towns, neighborhoods and communities. When will these people learn?!?!?!

Here's an article from our local newspaper.

I can't smell it here, but I've heard the stench is horrible and the fumes have actually sent people to the hospital. I can only imagine what it's doing to our watershed and the river critters.

July 25, 2010

The Parade That Almost Wasn't

Do you ever make big plans and then have something completely out of your control mess it up?

We were supposed to be in a parade this past weekend, but this is what we woke up to.
video
Rain, rain and more rain.

There is this little tiny town about 10 minutes south of us. Actually, if we didn't homeschool, this would be the schools our kids would be in. We never spend much time there and it's one of those places that if you blink while driving through you'd miss it.

They have one small grocery store, a gas station that doesn't always have gas (that's a whole other story), and a funeral home. That's about it. No lights and no stop signs.

What they do have going for them though is a great farmer's market, a nice park and Lizzie's aunt living there. It seems they also have a homecoming celebration (not the football kind). This includes a community parade, a carnival and some fun.

I had never participated in any of these things, but was recently asked to take pictures of the float by Lizzie's aunt & uncle were putting together. Of course I love any opportunity to take pictures, but that rain was freaking me out.

The amazing thing was that by line-up time the rain was letting up and when the parade took off the rain had ended. Talk about divine intervention 'cuz I was sure that rain was never going away.

We had a lot of fun even though we were all wet and I'm already looking forward to next year. Just a little less rain please!

July 22, 2010

Crafty Friday 7/23

Hey...it's Friday again already?!?! Geez, where do the days go?

This week I've been making felted soaps.


What are felted soaps you ask? They are bars of soap in their own little washcloths. They are super soft and lots of fun. Especially when your guests come out of the bathroom scratching their heads and sheepishly asking why your soap has grow fur.

We take fiber straight from our alpacas, give it bath and then prep it a bit for felting. We use only undyed fiber to make sure you aren't going to turn yourself red, purple or some other color in the shower. That'd be weird, right? That limits the color choices to white, brown, black or gray, but they are still awesome looking and so much fun to make.

Each bar takes about 10 minutes to felt and then a day or so to dry. Instead of trying to write out instructions that would probably not make sense I found this cute little video on Youtube. There are more videos on there too if you want more in-depth directions.

Also, if you like the felted soaps, but don't feel like making them yourself....we sell them in our Etsy shop.



So what craftiness have you been up to this week?

Do you have something to share? Let us know what you’re working on this week! If you have something to share with us on your blog, add your link to the current week's party. Just please be sure to:
  1. Add the permalink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address in the Mister Linky form below (need help with finding the permalink? click here to see a great post Darcy wrote on this!)
  2. Include in your blog entry a link back to the party post on this blog! so that your readers can come and see what everyone else is working on today and have an opportunity to contribute! You can use the code below to add the button to your posts or blog if you'd like.
  3. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what makes a party fun!! You don't want to come to a party and have no one talk to you!!
  4. Let me know if you have any questions, problems or need help!

If you want to play along don't forget to grab a button to place at the top or bottom of your post to show you are participating in Crafty Fridays!
Simply copy the code below in the box and paste where you can edit the html in your blog post.

Home Sweet Farm





Followers and Giveaways!

Okay... I love you guys... I really do!

To show you how much I love you, I am here to let you know that when we hit 200 followers (only 2 to go!) we are going to have another giveaway.

I have no idea what yet, but I'm feeling the need to give back to my readers. I'll let you know soon.

July 21, 2010

Canning Season has Officially Begun!

As I'm writing this, I'm waiting for the last batch of Bread & Butter pickles in the canner to come to a boil. Waiting for water to boil....ugh!

I love this time of year when the garden starts producing all these colorful veggies. Of course I wish it wasn't so disgustingly hot in the summer, but, hey...I guess the garden wouldn't grow so well if it was cold.

No matter how many fans are going in the kitchen it's always so hot when canning, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. In fact, I have a hard time even letting people eat the veggies in the garden because I want to can them! I love seeing those colorful jars of food put up for the winter and always feel like there's not enough.

I spent an afternoon reorganizing the jars in the basement. I have a shelf at the bottom of the stairs that is generally reserved for previous years and the occasional jars that didn't fit on the other shelves. This is the shelf with last years leftovers so they can get eaten first.


I'm just starting with pickles as the cucumbers are coming in really well. I've done some Dill and Sweet pickles already. Don't they look lonely? I think they need some friends!


Tomorrow I think I'll be canning green beans because I saw a bunch out there this morning. I just didn't pick them because I knew I wouldn't get them done today.

Do you guys can anything?

July 19, 2010

Recipe of the week -- Kid Friendly Salmon



Do you have trouble getting your kids to eat fish that doesn't resemble a stick? Do you hear them chanting salmon is yucky?

That's my kiddos in a nutshell. If it wasn't labeled fish "stick" it didn't enter their mouth. Even putting it on their plate started a riot.

Fast forward a bit to the moment where I found the easiest, yummiest salmon recipe ever. Somehow (and I'm still not really sure how it happened) I got them to try a teeny bite and lo and behold they were hooked! Salmon was now a must eat!! Go healthy fish!

Kid Friendly Salmon

1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tbls. vegetable oil
2 tbls. brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. salmon fillet cut into four pieces (individually frozen salmon is great for this!)

In a small baking dish, combine the soy sauce, oil, brown sugar and garlic; mix well. Place salmon in the baking dish, coating with sauce mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat grill or broiler (both work equally well). Grill (or broil) over medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.


For more great recipes visit Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, What's Cooking Wednesday and Tuesdays at the Table.

Monday Hops 7/19


July 15, 2010

Crafty Friday 7/16

Calling all crafters or crafter wanna-bees! This is the perfect place to share everything you've been up to.

This week I've been trying desperately to finish up some projects that have been left behind due to other projects. One of them is this beautiful baby bonnet for my soon to arrive niece. Shhhhh.....don't tell my sister. It's her shower gift on Saturday. ;)

I just finished it about 5 minutes ago and then sat down to share it with you.

I've never knit a bonnet before. I've made lots of hats, but they were round. This is the first real project I've done that had seaming in it and it was easy!!

I found the cutest pattern here from Drops Design. It's European so it's mostly in metric measurements, but I'll give them credit because they did try and "Americanize" it a bit. I thought it was pretty easy to understand after I figured out how to read the lace chart. More on that here.

I'm happy to report it turned out wonderful and I can definitely recommend this pattern to anyone looking to make a baby gift. And a big thanks to Rachel for modeling this bonnet so well!

What have you been up to?


Do you have something to share? Let us know what you’re working on this week! If you have something to share with us on your blog, add your link to the current week's party. Just please be sure to:
  1. Add the permalink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address in the Mister Linky form below (need help with finding the permalink? click here to see a great post Darcy wrote on this!)
  2. Include in your blog entry a link back to the party post on this blog! so that your readers can come and see what everyone else is working on today and have an opportunity to contribute! You can use the code below to add the button to your posts or blog if you'd like.
  3. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what makes a party fun!! You don't want to come to a party and have no one talk to you!!
  4. Let me know if you have any questions, problems or need help!

If you want to play along don't forget to grab a button to place at the top or bottom of your post to show you are participating in Crafty Fridays!
Simply copy the code below in the box and paste where you can edit the html in your blog post.

Home Sweet Farm






I Signed Up For Social Spark!


This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.



I am always looking for new opportunities as a blogger and ways to make my opinions count. Of course getting paid doesn't hurt either. :o)

Today I was reading online and came across this great site where I can do just that. It's called Social Spark and the whole concept around Social Spark is really simple: bloggers and advertisers can come together, the bloggers give their honest opinions about products and services and the advertisers get to hear what we think. Are you loving it yet?

Signing up for Social Spark is super easy! A little information about yourself and your blog and you are on your way to making a difference. This is a great way to make your blog work for you. The advertisers pay bloggers in exchange for writing posts on their blogs. I am so excited to be a part of this program!


Izea, which has always been a trusted name is behind this wonderful program. I am looking forward to all of the future opportunities that I get to be a part of.


Code of Ethics
Sign up for SocialSpark

If you like to blog and you love to give your opinions on products and help out some great companies develop their products even better, I urge you to join this great program. Social Spark has so many great opportunities for you to voice exactly what you feel while giving you the opportunity to make money doing it. It is so easy and you can sign up for opportunities that you like. It is definitely a fun and rewarding experience.


SocialSpark

Visit my sponsor: I Signed Up for SocialSpark!

July 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - I love you...Really!


For more Wordless Wednesday visit Wordless Wednesday and A Beautiful Mess.

CSN Stores Review Coming Soon!


This has been an exciting week so far!

I was recently contacted by CSN stores to review a product from any one of their more than 200 stores! CSN has just about anything you could possibly imagine from cookware to outdoor furniture and even a bathroom sink. How cool is that?

Now my big problem is what to review. I've found so many good things already. How do I choose? I'm really leaning towards something for the kitchen just because I looooove kitchen gadgets. Here are some of the things I've looked at. What do you think?

Hamilton Beach Chef Prep 10 Cup Food Processor


Kinetic Classicor 12 Qt Covered Stockpot


Creative Home White Marble Rolling Pin with Cradle


Polder Deluxe Stainless Steel Bread Box


Signature Housewares Sorrento Wheat 10" Large Mixing Bowl

July 12, 2010

Recipe of the week -- Taco Pasta Salad

Oh man....I'd hoped to have this up before now. It seems I zonked out in the chair. I'm sure I looked hilarious to anyone that saw. I was sitting in one of those glider rockers....sideways....with my knees up by my chin. Not sure how I got there and boy did I feel the effects of that, but here I am...sort of awake and ready to share.

I really love this salad. It makes a great filling lunch or dinner. It doesn't require much work or heat so it's nice in the summer.


Taco Pasta Salad

2 cups uncooked spiral pasta
1 lb. ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning
3 cups shredded lettuce
2 cups halved grape tomatoes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup Catalina salad dressing
Tortilla chips

Cook pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the taco seasoning; cool.

Drain pasta and rinse in cold water; stir into meat mixture. Add the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, olives and dressing; toss to coat. Serve with tortilla chips.


I've also substituted kidney beans for the ground beef for a fun salad.

For more great recipes visit Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, What's Cooking Wednesday and Tuesdays at the Table.

July 11, 2010

New Items on Etsy!

I've been working my tail off these last few weeks and finally have something to show for it!

Lots of new items have been added to our Etsy shop. Right now it's mostly rovings for you spinners, but there are few new yarns too.

I'm hoping to get the multi-colored sock yarns up later this week for all the knitters out there.

Here's a little sampling of what's new. To see these and more visit out Etsy shop.

July 08, 2010

Crafty Friday 7/9

Welcome to my first ever blog party!

Calling all crafters or crafter wanna-bees! This is the perfect place to share everything you've been up to.

This week I thought I'd share with you a cute recycled craft. The kids made these in 4-H a few months ago and they turned out so darn cute.

You use left over CD cases and make decorative boxes out of them. You can use scrapbook paper, old greeting cards or just about anything else you can think of to decorate them.


Complete instructions can be found here.

What have you been up to?


Do you have something to share? Let us know what you’re working on this week! If you have something to share with us on your blog, add your link to the current week's party. Just please be sure to:
  1. Add the permalink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address in the Mister Linky form below (need help with finding the permalink? click here to see a great post Darcy wrote on this!)
  2. Include in your blog entry a link back to the party post on this blog! so that your readers can come and see what everyone else is working on today and have an opportunity to contribute! You can use the code below to add the button to your posts or blog if you'd like.
  3. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what makes a party fun!! You don't want to come to a party and have no one talk to you!!
  4. Let me know if you have any questions, problems or need help!

If you want to play along don't forget to grab a button to place at the top or bottom of your post to show you are participating in Crafty Fridays!
Simply copy the code below in the box and paste where you can edit the html in your blog post.


Home Sweet Farm






Prairie Girl Project Debut!

Have you ever seen this book?


I hadn't until recently. I found it mentioned in a post on Ravelry and had to look it up. It's the cutest little book on old-timey crafts and activities.

This is what Amazon says "Frontier fun meets a home-spun touch in this heart-warming mixture of pioneer projects and wistful nostalgia. Jennifer Worick teaches readers how to sew a quilt, master the art of bread-and-butter pickles, speak old-time slang, and much much more. This is for the legions of Laura Ingalls Wilder fans who have dreamed of what a pioneer life out on the prairie would be like. Combining step-by-step how-to on crafts, with tongue-in-cheek instructions on prairie slang, winning a spelling bee, and singing a lullaby, The "Prairie Girl's Guide to Life" allows fans to finally act out their childhood dreams or to simply enjoy the vicarious thrill of reading about it one more time. This is a book that will pull at the heart strings of every childhood Laura and also teach us a few prairie-time crafts along the way."

Sounds fun, right?

I'll admit that like a lot of Americans I love all things pioneerish and the thought of cowboys makes me woozy. :o)

In our family's constant journey to finding a simpler more fulfilling life this book seems like a great how-to manual. It also looks like a lot of fun to explore with the kiddos.

The author is from Southwest Michigan which is our neck of the woods so that is just awesome! I'm not exactly sure where, but it sounds like her family has been here at least 2 generations. Go Michigan!! Love the Michigan products and people!

The book states that there are 50 projects, but I counted 52 twice. That makes this book a perfect year long project. We are going to try to complete one thing each week and write about it on Thursdays.

Some of the projects that we will be working on are knitting a shawl, lacing a corset, panning for gold and making applesauce. Of course some projects are easier than others. I'm not entirely sure how we're going to pan for gold or lace a corset, but we'll figure it out.

This week we're going to start easy with the Art of Letter Writing. When was the last time you wrote a letter by hand?

July 06, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Blue Ice Cream is GOOD!


For more Wordless Wednesday visit Wordless Wednesday and A Beautiful Mess.

Recipe of the week -- Baked Beans (from scratch)



How many of you are from the Eastern part of the US? Those of you that aren't....I wish I was with you. :o)

It is soooooo hot here and we have no A/C. Most summers I never even feel like I miss it, but these last few days have been pure torture. Today is a not so lovely 90 something (I can't even bring myself to look) with humidity that's something like 150%. I sweat just thinking about working.

Of course life must go on and the work needs to be done. I'm doing mostly inside stuff now though because I think attempting to work outside would be akin to suicide or at least extreme stupidity. We're making sure that the animals have plenty of shade and water and then doing the same for us. My job today is to update this, Etsy and maybe our website if my brain cooperates.

Anyway....I believe this was supposed to be a recipe posting.

Summer makes me think of lots of foods including watermelon, steak, corn on the cob and potato salad. Another picnic staple is usually baked beans. Not a cool food by any means and I'm sure as heck not going to be cooking them today, but these are yummy and would work nicely for any picnic or family reunion you have scheduled this summer.


Baked Beans

1 lb. dried great northern beans
1/2 lb. thick sliced bacon strips, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups ketchup
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar (although I usually only have light and it works fine)
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground pepper

Sort beans and rinse with cold water. Place beans in a dutch oven; add enough water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour or until beans are softened. (You can also soak them overnight in cold water with a similar result)

Drain and rinse beans, discarding the liquid. Return beans to the dutch oven; add 6 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until beans are almost tender.

In a large skillet. cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; drain pan, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. Saute onions in drippings until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid; place in an ungreased 3-qt. baking dish. Stir in onion mixture and bacon. Cover and bake at 300* for 2 1/2 hours or until beans are tender and reach desired consistency, stirring every 30 minutes. Add reserved cooking liquid as needed.


For more great recipes visit Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, and Tuesdays at the Table.

July 05, 2010

Holiday Weekend Fun with the Alpacas

Do you remember all that yarn from Friday's post? Did I tell you what it was for? Well, I don't think I did so I will now. All that yarn and alpaca fibery things were for the alpaca display we had on Saturday.

There is this really cool place here in town (actually just south of town) on M-66 called Station 66. It was an old gas station in the 50's and it sat on the property untouched for 50 years after they closed before anyone did anything with it. Now the younger generation has opened it up using a lot of the original stuff as decorations. It's got a really cool nostalgic feeling to it.

They've opened this place up to sell local fruits and veggies plus promote local and Michigan made products. Oh, ice cream too! Now how awesome is that?? And guess who's veggies they are selling. Yup, yours truly. :o) They also carry our yarns and handmade soaps.

On Saturday, as an effort to both promote our farm and this new business, we took 3 of our boys down to visit with the visitors. Of course I couldn't go without taking product. I took everything we had done and displayed it right near the alpaca.

Now not everything is alpaca, but most people get the fact that we are fiber people who just happen to raise alpacas. A lot of alpaca products sold, but the merino sock yarns were by far the biggest seller. I sold so many I only have 3 left! I need to dye more this week.

We had a lot of people who asked tons of questions that we were more than happy to answer. The boys got tons of lovin' from the kids that came by and hopefully the grown-ups all learned something new and exciting. I even got a big custom order! People are loving our products and I can't even begin to tell you how good that makes me feel. There's not always a lot of feedback when you're getting a business going.

My favorite part of the day though was listening to some of the conversations going on around me. (I know eavesdropping is bad, but come on...they were talking about my stuff!) Everyone knew we were the alpaca people, but none knew we were also the veggie people.

Listening to the comments on the veggies "these are the best! how do they grow them so big? I've never seen them look so good!" was a great time. I loved the feedback because it was so completely honest. How could they fake it when they didn't know we grew them?

I think I've finally recovered from the day and am already looking forward to the next time!

If you are in the Battle Creek area at all, check out Station 66. The ice cream is great, the food and drinks awesome and what a super way to promote MICHIGAN!!!

July 04, 2010

Mingle Monday! 7/5

Happy Monday! Okay, I'm a little early, but hopefully this week for most of you Monday is still a holiday and you get to extend the weekend. I know I'm taking it easy today and tomorrow before I get back to some serious work.

Monday Mingle is hosted by KdBuggie. Stop by over there and say hello as well.

Here's to Monday and making new friends!

Photobucket

Here's what you do:

(KdBuggie's Rules)

1. Become a follower of my blog -- if you aren't already.

2. Make sure to grab my Mingle Mondays button (found here) and put it on your blog so you remember to come back on Mondays! :)

3. Add your name/site to the linky list!

4. Add the linky to your blog so that all of your new visitors have somewhere to leave you a comment! :)

5. Visit as many blogs as you want! This is a great way for everyone to get more followers and make new friends!

6. Leave a comment! I love getting comments. If you are visiting, let me know that you stopped by so I can take a look at your fun blog!



Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day!!!


Have a safe and happy holiday! As for me....I'm off to visit the sales at the fabric store. :o)

July 02, 2010

Friday Blog Hops 7/2/10

Happy Friday! Here's to finding new friends!


Fiber Fun Friday -- Yarn!!

This week is all about the yarn. So many yarns in all sorts of flavors.

There's the alpaca, of course, bamboo, merino and even certified organic merino. And they come in fingering, sport, dk, worsted and bulky. Whoa! that's a lot of combinations!

I can't just leave them alone though. I have to turn them into pretty works of art. The stripey sock yarns are my favorite!



And if the yarn wasn't enough...I couldn't resist dyeing up some 100% alpaca rovings too!

July 01, 2010

Handmade Soap Winner!!!!

First I want to give a big, giant thank you to all of my readers! You made this giveaway a lot of fun.

Second, I want to say Congratulations to our handmade soap winner!!

Congratulations to Cakeblast!

I WILL BE EMAILING THE WINNER SHORTLY, PLEASE BE PATIENT.
YOU WILL HAVE 48 HOURS TO RESPOND, OR A NEW WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN.

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