Sunday, May 30, 2010

Spinning school graduate

This week was my last spinning class!  I have officially graduated from spinning school.  As my teacher put it, I am now her textile daughter.  For our last few classes I learned how to ply.  The picture above is my recipe card for the skein pictured.   On the left is what the single looks like (yarn that has been spun but not plied) and the right has my samples of different plying: (from the top) 4-ply cable, 2-ply, Navajo 3-ply, and 4-ply basic.  I ended up making the skein with the Navajo 3-ply and I think it turned out great.  It's really fun to see all of my spinning work start to form itself into skeins of beautiful yarn.  I still have a lot of the green yarn that I've been posting pictures of to ply and I will post pictures as soon as I do it.

I was so grateful of my spinning lessons that I had a whorl made especially for my teacher from 2 Cranes.  It turned out wonderful.  I was able to pick the piece of turquoise I wanted it made from and the piece I picked was from the Kingman Mine in Arizona.  I think JoAnn really liked it.  I'm sad to see my classes end, but excited to start spinning for future knitting projects and learn how to dye with natural dyes from Janet at Lofty's on 60.  More projects to come soon...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

First harvest of the year!

My pomegranate practically fell off my plant today.  We opened it up and there were about 100 little pomegranate seeds in it.  Yum.  It was still kinda sour but still really good.  I hope that I get some more pomegranates soon!  Yum, yum.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

How to: Make a graduation hat card

Graduations are coming up and I needed a card for a graduation party that's next month.  I was given a really neat graduation card for my high school graduation and this gave me the opportunity to try and recreate it.  Thanks to Sally for inspiring me to try and make it and creating the original design!

Graduation Hat Card template
White computer paper
Black poster board
Bone folder
Embroidery Floss in school colors

More after the jump....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Red hot birthday card!

My father-in-law's birthday was this week and his gifts included a sample of our local salsa maker's goods: medium salsa, chipotle hot sauce, and green chili dip mix.  I thought it fitting to give him a chili pepper birthday card along with it.  I didn't use the Cricut for this but instead made my own template.  Click here to download it:

Chili Template

Use the template to trace the chili on to folded paper of your choice.  Cut out the chili but be sure to leave at least one inch on the fold uncut.  I then traced it again in a different color to add the stem.   I decided to jazz it up with some Martha Stewart glitter - I used the color Tourmaline.

Happy Birthday Dad-in-law!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thanks a Bunch Sunflower card

I was pretty lucky this year in getting some great birthday presents from friends and family so I had to make a few Thank You Notes.  Aren't these the cutest cards?  I love them.  

Cricut Machine or access to one such as in a scrapbooking store
Cartridge - Walk In My Garden
Plenty of card stock paper [light blue, white, brown, green, light yellow, dark yellow] - I used The Christmas Cardstock Stack by DCWV
Craft glue
Scissors (regular and decorative)


Using the Cricut Machine and the Walk In My Garden cartridge cut out a flwpt to your desired size in brown cardstock.  Then, using green cardstock, cut out three different sizes of snflwr.  I did each sunflower about a 1/2 difference.  After getting your three sunflowers then using the shift key and sunflower button cut out the same three sizes of sunflwr-s in your light yellow cardstock.  Using the dark yellow repeat this step.  Then cut out a 5" x 10" rectangle of white cardstock.  Fold this in half.  Using your light blue carstock cut out a 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" square.  I then used a decorative scissor to cut the edges of my blue square.  Glue the blue square on to the front of your white card.  Then glue on the flower pots, sunflowers and colored flower part.

On the inside I used the Cricut to cut a abunch and thanks in my darker yellow.

On the back I used my "Homemade by Danielle" stamp and Martha Stewart's turquoise ink to add a personal touch.  If I had enough time I'd make a bunch of these for future thank your notes, I think they are just darling.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cafe BellaLuca

I wasn't planning on writing any posts about specific restaurants when I started this blog but after our dinner at Cafe BellaLuca in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, I find it hard not to.  I would just like to bring attention to the fact that this place has it together.  Above is the house greens salad I ordered - all organic - a nice bed of nutritional greens (not your average house salad of iceberg), a few onions, cucumbers, sprouts and topped with a sun-dried roasted tomato.  Delicious.  I was also a fan of the 100% compostable straw that I had with my lemon water.  Made from corn.  Not plastic.

Even their take away boxes were made of compostable pressed corn product.  Not styrofoam.  I loved this!  Not only was it good food but I felt less guilty about taking it with me knowing it wasn't going to sit in a landfill for hundreds of years.  Here's a picture of the wonderful meal I had (Littleneck Clams & PEI Mussels in Herb Garlic White Wine Sauce):

I know that there are other restaurants nationwide doing little things like this too and it makes me happy.  Hopefully more will follow suit.  It's time to make a change - no more plastic and no more styrofoam - just good, organic and local food!  Thanks Cafe BellaLuca!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My first (real) sock

I finished my first real sock!  I say real because I actually started one in February, however it turned out to be what my husband calls a cankle sock.  It had a really wide ankle and then I got frustrated and I finished it really quick so it was too short for my feet and too skinny at the bottom.  It was pretty sad.  But, I was determined to make a sock so I started again with this pretty sock yarn I got in Albuquerque.  It took me two months but I finally just finished the first one!  I used the Beginner Sock pattern from Knitting on the Net.  Be aware that the picture of my sock is what the pattern makes, not the picture they have on their website. 

Beginner Socks Knitting Pattern by Kim Goddard from


Yarn: Happy Feet DK (I made one sock with about 3/4 of a skein)
Color: Multi - Aspen Print
Needle: 5 Size US 2 double pointed needles
Gauge:  28 sts = 4 inches

Cast on 56 sts.  Join and mark beg of round.

Rib in K2, P2 rib fr 7 inches or desired leg length. (I did it to about 6 inches)

(con't after the jump)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day (cards)

Happy Mother's Day mom's!

I made some Mother's Day cards and I thought I'd share how I did it:

Cricut Machine or access to one such as in a scrapbooking store
Cartridge - Mother's Day 2010
Plenty of card stock paper [green, floral, purple, cream]
Craft glue


Using the Cricut Machine and the Mother's Day cartridge cut a 5 1/2 inch Doily2 with your floral pattern.  This is an intricate pattern so be sure you are using a clean mat and a nice clean blade at a low speed.  Once this is cut out, remove from the mat.  I then cut out a long rectangle using a paper cutter (you can use scissors and a ruler) that was approximately 12 x 6 inches.  Fold this in half.  Glue your floral pattern on top of the front of your folded cardstock.  Then using a complementary color to your floral pattern, cut another long rectangle out of cardstock approximately 11 X 5.  Glue this on the inside of your card.  This will leave a border around the inside that is the color of the outside of your card.  After it is glued, using your floral pattern again cut a 2 inch HappyMothersDay.  Using a lighter color then what is in your card inside background, cut a 2 inch HappyMothersDayShadow.  This will be your shadow for the "Happy Mother's Day" on the inside of your card.  Glue these together once cut and then glue the whole thing to the inside of your card. 

I think it came out well although I don't like the colors I used that much.  I was some what limited because I had to make eight mother's day cards!  It would be neat to see what this looks like with blues and grays though. 

Hope everyone has a nice Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lofty's on 60

Lewie and I went to visit my friend Janet's shop today:  Lofty's on 60.  She has ten angora goats, three of which are this years offspring.  They are darling!  She spins beautiful mohair from her goats and brought some in to show me today that she dyed with peach leaves.  She lets her goats roam the backyard freely and as she puts it, nobody seems to mind because they mow all the neighbors yards for free.  When we went over to visit them the three young ones were in her backyard but her other seven goats were wondering down the road.  After cooing over the babies - they were so shy but so cute! - we decided to walk down a ways to see the other adults.

When we finally found them in the back of our town's video and laundry store we apparently scared them and they went running to the front and starting trotting down US Hwy 60!  It was a funny site to see them all walking down the hwy together with cars passing by.  After a few houses they went back down a side road on their way back to Janet's for dinner. 

Silly goats!  It was quite an adventure.  After my spinning classes are over I plan on having Janet teach me to dye wool and mohair using natural dyes.  She's really good at it and always has such beautiful colors of mohair.  I'm really looking forward to that.  A whole new world to discover.  Maybe if I'm lucky, and she has enough, I'll get to purchase some kid mohair from her to spin too!

Spring is here!

Spring is here.  With our last frost date scheduled for next week I put a few plants outside because it's been so warm lately.  Introducing our Roma tomato plant (on the right) and my dwarf pomegranate plant (on left).  They are enjoying the nice weather as much as I have been.  I have two baby Roma's on the tomato plant already and a huge pomegranate that's been growing on my plant now for months - see it on the bottom left of the plant?!  It's so satisfying to see something grow that like.  I wish that we could have a real garden but alas we always seem to be in the limbo of moving so it would be disheartening to put all the work into one just to move a few weeks later.  But, my Roma's and pomegranates are keeping me busy for now - and happy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spinning Class #6

Back from another spinning class.  Only two more to go!  I'm working steady on the merino wool that my teacher dyed a lovely greenish blue color.  I'm trying to spin it everyday so that I'll have enough stuff to play with when plying.  Pretty isn't it?

Today I got to play with flax - which is spun into linen.  It's much different then working with wool or cotton.  It's stiffer but has a wonderful luster and is incredibly strong.  I brought some flax home to play with this week - see picture above, it's the white fiber.  I also got to make a few cotton puni's at class and got to bring those home too.  I made them with the natural orange cotton that I just love.  Don't they look like big worms?  I'm really enjoying spinning school and will be sad when it's over, but it's taught me so much new stuff about sheep, raising sheep, growing cotton, fibers in general, spinning, history and being more self sufficient.  Next week starts the two-part ending class about plying.  I'm excited to be able to see what all this fiber I've been spinning will look like as yarn!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Margarita Cupcakes

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, which is tomorrow, I made margarita cupcakes!  They are quite delicious. I snagged the recipe from - a great website with lots of recipes.  And yes - they actually have real margarita in them!  I love that it has you make a lot of margarita but then you only use a portion of it and the rest is for drinking.  Haha.

Cake batter:
9 ounces liquid Margarita mix (a little over a cup)
3 ounces tequila (a little less then 1/3 cup)
3/4 ounce of Grand Marnier
1 box white cake mix
3 large egg whites
2 Tbs vetetable oil
1 Tbs lime zest

Lime Buttercream Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), at room temp
5-6 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp grated lime zest
green food coloring, if desired
small lime slices for garnish if desired (like key limes)

1.  Preheat oven to 350*.  Line two dozen cupcake tins with paper liners.

2. Whisk together margarita mix, tequila and Grand Marnier in a small bowl. Measure out 1¼ cups for the recipe; pour the rest on some ice and drink it while making the cupcakes.

3. In a large bowl, blend cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, lime zest and 1¼ cups of the margarita mix from step 1. Blend on low for about 30 seconds and then increase speed to medium and blend for two additional minutes. Batter will be slightly lumpy.

4. Spoon the batter into cupcake liners (about ¾ full). Bake for 20-25 min, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool for about 10 minutes in the pans, then remove them to a rack to cool completely.

5. Once cucpakes are completely cooled, prepare the icing. Place butter in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer until butter is fluffy. Add 5 cups of powdered sugar, salt, lime juce, and lime zest. Mix until thick and creamy. Add more powdered sugar until the frosting is of a good spreading (or piping) consistency. Mix in a tiny amount of green food coloring or gel paste if you’d like the frosting to have a green tint. Ice cupcakes in whatever manner you prefer… spreading or piping the frosting. Use small lime slices as garnish.

Yield: About 24

Monday, May 3, 2010

A new toy!

Meet my new toy:

It's a ball winder!  Ever since I saw my teacher use one I haven't started a new knitting project because I didn't want to make a ball without one.  She had one today that she was selling at a good price and I snatched it up.  I'm addicted.  It rolls yarn into a nice ball with a flat bottom (so it won't roll) and it pulls from the inside.  No more chasing yarn around the floor like I've been doing.  I was reading about ball winders online and in a comments section a woman said, "Do I need to join Ball Winders Anonymous?"  Haha!  I can relate to this now - I got home from school and spun all the yarn I am using into balls with my ball winder.  When I ran out I tired to find more!  Look how pretty it makes them:

Anyone that doesn't have a ball winder and is a knitter, weaver, crocheter and/or a spinner - I highly recommend getting one.  They are really fantastic!  My teacher tells me they can also be used for plying but I won't know how to do this for a few more weeks!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Mexico Green Chili Breakfast Tart

Today the Egg Show was taken down at Bear Mountain so I celebrate the end of the Egg Show with a New Mexico Green Chili Breakfast Tart.  It was a great month having the eggs around and it was a lot of fun.  This recipe is courtesy of Lori Scholes, aka Buckskin Cate, who wrote the recipe for a book I have called, Magdalena Trail Drivers Cookbook.  It is published by our local cowboy action shooting club.  I highly recommend this cookbook - it full of all sorts of goodies and treats and yummy recipes.  You can buy the book at The Market Place in Magdalena which is Lori's store.

New Mexico Green Chili Breakfast Tart
by Lori Scholes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup butter
3 eggs
1/3 cup Pinon nuts (Pine nuts)
1 1/2 cups cream cheese
1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz green chili, chopped
1 Jalapeno pepper, shredded
1/4 cup red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
Sprinkle of red chile flakes

Sift the flour and cornmeal into a food processor.  Cut the butter into cubes and add to the food processor.  Blend.  Add one egg and continue to blend into a small ball that is workable to press into a crust.  Press the ball of dough into the bottom and sides of tart pan.  Prick with a fork to ensure crust does not break while baking.  Bake at 350* for about 25-35 minutes or until a pale gold color.  Remove from oven and set aside.  In a mixing bowl, blend cream cheese and 2 eggs.  Add the green chile and roasted red bell pepper.  Add the jalapeno shreds (to taste) and the red pepper flakes (for color).  Add cheese.  Once blended, spread the mixture into the tart crust.  Scatter the Pinon nuts over the top.  Top decoratively with chiles of your choice.  Place in oven and bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes or until the center no longer jiggles when shaken.  When done, remove from the oven and let set for 5-10 minutes before removing rim.  Serve in pie-like slices with a dollop of sour cream and garnish of red pepper.  Can be served hot or cold. 

It is so good you'll make one every week!  I hope to add more posts soon, I've been very busy with spinning class and work.  Don't give up on me yet though - I have several posts about Mother's Day coming up!