Bird in Hand Farm

Bird in Hand Farm is an imaginary place.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dina Rocks!

Dina had a give away on her blog: Five Cats From Crazy.  Unfortunately, she asked a really tough question and did not get many comments.   Her question was: Who or what triggered your love of crafting?  It is a great question.  But maybe to hard to answer in a simple comment.

Initially, I thought the who was easy.  My mom.  She sewed, knit, made jam, made Halloween costumes, Christmas ornaments and even some baskets.  But, my Dad makes stuff too.  He is a very good wood worker and when I was kid, built a cider press.   He made the end tables in my living room.  He paints.  Now he is carving.  Both my grandmothers sewed.  My grandfather painted, not well, but he did it.  My Aunt sews too and for a while was weaving.  She and my mom would make matching dresses for my cousin and me on holidays.  So, lots of people in my family make stuff. 

I think the what part is an appreciation for the time and quality of handcrafted items.  Handmade items are unique.  Typically, they are built to last.  They reflect their maker and intended recipient.  Sometimes they are cheaper, but not always.  I really like houses and style from the Arts and Crafts movement.

I could go on and on, but you get it.

Anyway, Dina only got a few entries. She decided to make bracelets for each of us.  Mine arrived on Saturday.  I love the green stones.  It is perfect.  I would show you a picture of it on my wrist, but I shake too badly holding the camera with one hand to get a good shot.  With the bracelet came a skein of Artful Yarns Lustro.  It is a beautiful metallic green mohair.  I *think* I know what it is destined to become.  I'll show you when it is finished.  Thank you Dina!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Judy's Apple Pie

We still have a refrigerator drawer full of apples.

This is the apple pie recipe I grew up with.  Judy is a family friend, but I don't remember her ever making it.  I do remember having it at Aunt Pat and Uncle Fred's house.  Aunt Pat and Uncle Fred are not "real" relatives, I just grew up calling them that.  They were in the same circle of friends, so maybe it did come from Judy.  Anyway, it is my favorite apple pie.

The original recipe calls for an oil crust.  I like it.  The farmer doesn't.  If you want the original, here it is:
1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 c oil 
2 tbl milk

Combine with fork and pat into 9" pie pan.

Here is what I am using instead:
1 c flour
6 T butter
big pinch sugar
little pinch salt
1/4 c milk
Mix until it sticks together.  Refrigerate for at least 30 min and roll out on a floured board.

1/2 c. oatmeal
1/3 c flour
1/3 c brown sugar
1/3 c white sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 stick softened butter

Mix together until chunky.

The best part:
4 or 5 apples peeled and sliced
1/2 c sour cream
2/3 c sugar
1/4 c flour
1/2 t cardamon (We have not added this in years because it smells like old shoes).
1/2 t cinnamon 

Mix and dump into your crust, sprinkle with topping.  Bake at 375 for 40-45 min.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Apple Abuse

We are done abusing the apples. The one on the left got pretty brown on the bottom.  I also found a fruit fly hanging near them.  Lesson learned.  They need to dry in an area that is warmer and dryer than my front porch. Maybe a fan some of the time would help too.  I decided to finish them off with a hour in a warm oven.  I did not want to do that earlier because I did not want to cook the apple and our oven runs warm.  I also did not want to turn on the oven for 3 apples... 

This is how they started...
The Kid's
The Farmer's
We decided to abuse a pumpkin too.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


We need to talk about squash.  I swear I have eaten squash at every meal every day for a week and still this is what is all over my kitchen counter.

We made pumpkin bread.  It was great.  There are a ton of recipes out there.  Go try one. 

We roasted a combo of butternut and carnival squash.  It was the perfect side dish for pulled pork.  We ate the whole pan up over the next few days. 

I made a fresh pumpkin pie.  I had mashed the pumpkin but it was still pretty stringy.  I thought that the mixer would do more to break it up and that somehow it would "cook out".  Nope.  Stringy pie.  Good flavor, but the texture was all wrong. Note to self: Run pumpkin through the blender or food processor before making pie.

Then the farmer made Alton Brown's Butternut Squash soup.  Really good and it felt virtuous to eat it. 

All of this is good, right?  Yes.  But here is the deal.  After all of that, we still have squash sitting on the counter..  This afternoon, we pick up the CSA box with more squash.  Someone hold me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tarn Basket

I did it!  It has that "dorky homemade look," but I love it.  It took a week, start to finish

You need:
Tee shirts cut into 1" strips
Size 9 double pointed needles
Size 9 circular needles - Mine were 36" long
a sense of humor.

The square bottom with the increases was inspired by the: Knitty French Market Basket. I increased until I was happy with the size. I never counted, ‘cause it really didn’t matter. It measures about 10” across the bottom. Then I did a purl row to help it turn up for the sides. The sides also measure 10”. The last 6 rows are garter so it won’t curl. The handles are braids with knots and then the strands for the knots were threaded through and knotted again on the inside.

Knitting this was hard work at times.  I should have used bigger needles, but I wanted a really stiff fabric.  It stands up by itself.   I like that it is washable, and my hope that it will be really durable.  I'm not sure what I want to use it for, but for now it is holding the remaining "tarn" that will be used in another project.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Felted Soap

DJ introduced me to the idea of felted soap.  She is an amazing artist and is a great source for style ideas.  Check out her etsy shop: Kitchen Wizard.  You can find felted soap all over Etsy, and I'm starting to see it at craft shows.  People charge a lot for it!  The most reasonable I have seen was $6 for a 3oz bar of felted soap.  I've also seen them from $12 to $15.  Crazy!  I make soap and I know how to felt stuff, so I was all over this idea.  I also happen to have some roving (fiber for spinning - don't know why, cause I am NOT going to learn how to spin.  Don't ask me why I have a drop spindle....  But I digress).  Anyway, felted soap seems to becoming a popular item and I want to try to make my own.
This is really easy.  Bevel soap edges and wrap with roving.
Scrappy soap getting re-purposed - We have 50ish bars. 

Carefully stuff into foot of a knee high stocking. 

Use hot water and rub with your hands to felt.  I occasionally would get them wet with cold water and then go back to hot to "shock" the wool.  When you start to see some fiber coming through the stocking, you are done.  Peel the knee high off and let it dry on a rack.  Done!  I'm hoping to make some as Christmas presents.

Not bad for 10 minutes of work.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Obligation Crochet

I have known about this baby coming for months.  With the shower in 10 days, I decide to get busy crocheting the critter.  I want to be making something else.  I have Zauberball just crying out to be made into a shawl.  I need a shawl.  It is finally getting cooler.  But, no.  I need to whip out this present. 

Her Mom does not like pink.  *sigh*  Okay, no pink.  Well, maybe a little.  I'm not shopping for more yarn.  Her Dad comes across as pleasant but disinterested.

I don't feel like crocheting.  The boucle yarn is being a pita.  My hands hurt.  I want to start my shawl.  Dammit.  

I am so lucky that this is all I have to gripe about.  But, I'm going to anyway.

I tried to crochet her differently than I normally do so the fabric looks interlocked and not like a spiral.  I think I like the spiral better.  

Anyway, she is done.  I was literally sewing in yarn ends 10 min before the baby shower.  . 

No more "obligation" crafting.  I would have been much happier if I had contributed to the gift certificate and been done with it.  Rory sent me an article about the parallels between knitting and yoga,  I think that knitting and crochet can be a meditation.  This little mouse was not a happy, peaceful process.  I hope she finds love anyway.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wool Dryer Balls

A couple of weeks ago Dina mentioned making  dryer balls on her blog.  Huh?  I have dryer balls.  They are hard blue spiky things.  They were kind of expensive.  They don't make the clothing any softer, but they do help it dry faster.  They are forever escaping the dryer and hitching a ride in the laundry to various locations in the house.  I did not know you could make them.  I especially like that they will absorb some of the moisture and help items dry faster that way too.  With any luck, they will be quieter than the plastic ones.

I looked online for instructions. GoodMama has a good tutorial.  I love that it uses up lots of scrap wool.  I was able to make the initial mini balls using bits and pieces that were only a few inches long.  Then I used Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool to wrap the initial little balls to felt.

Apparently, these little guys like to escape too.  I had left them on an end table when I went to bed.  I planned on felting the core balls the next morning.  In the morning they were gone.  We searched all over the living and dining room and only found 5 of the 6.  I whipped off another one, only to find the 6th lying at the bottom of the basement stairs.  The cats must have had some fun overnight.

Winding these to a 10" circumference used up a lot of skein remnants that I had lying around.  After going through the hot wash once and the dryer twice they were good and felted.  You can tell because the fiber starts coming through the nylons a little bit.  The dog would not move for the final picture. 
He does not seem to understand that it is my couch.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Tangledness was the website that introduced me to the idea of "tarn."  I love this!  Folk art!  Yay!   I'm very attracted to the idea that you can take discards and make something wonderful from them.  But, I have to be careful or I would succumb to the temptation to save everything because someday I might be able to make something cool with it.  

So the idea percolated for a bit.  Then the Farmer decided to clean out his closet.  Jackpot!

Cutting the shirts is easy with a rotery cutter and a ruler.  It is even easier with a strip gizmpo the Farmer got me years ago when I was quilting.  You slide the rotery cutter into the groove and can cut many strips without lifting the ruler.  The body of the tee becomes one very long strip.  The shoulders become lots of little ones.

I'm going to make the oven mitts someday soon, but first I want to make a basket.  I found this pattern: Lark Crafts.  I wish it had a picture.   It also does not say how wide to cut the strips...  I decided to knit one instead.  I'm using 1" strips, size 9 needles, and this pattern as a jumping off point.  I can design a basket.  Right?  How hard can it be?

 Stay tuned for my adventures in basket making.  In the meantime, check out Textiles 4 You, another site with lots of tarn ideas and links.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Apple Kutchen

I just know you were jones-ing for another apple recipe.

Donalyn has a beautiful blog.  She writes about life in upstate NY and has some fabulous recipes.  I want my blog to be a bit like hers when it grows up. 

I needed an apple recipe that was not a desert.  This actually uses yeast.  We ate her apple kutchen for breakfast all last week.  It was good.  It kept nicely and traveled well. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Smores Bars

Sorry I have been away for a while.  Last week was horrible and then I got sick.  Then, to top it off, I could not get Blogger to upload photo.  I decided to wait rather than put up naked posts.  I'll catch you up this week.

Friday night was wet, rainy and cold.  We had a fire in the fireplace.  The Farmer suggested that we roast marshmallows in it.  I suggested we make these: All Recipes Smores Bars.  I cut the sugar down a bit and these were still incredibly sweet.  They were a hit, no one got hurt, nothing got set on fire, and no marshmallow got onto the carpet.

If you want something that is completely devoid of nutritional value on a cold, rainy night when you are missing summer already, these are the ticket.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Scrubby Spiders

As I mentioned earlier, the kid likes holiday decorations.  She also likes crafty projects.  That might just be self preservation in this house though.  Anyway, she asked to make these spiders.

You need: pot scrubbers, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, glue, and glitter pens

Step 1 Take 4 pipe cleaners, hold them together and give them a good twist in the middle.  Vola! 8 legs.

Step 2. Thread half a pipe cleaner through some of the scrubber in the middle of bottom.

Step 3: Use it to secure the legs.  Bend them to look spider-like.

Step 4: Glue the eyes on.

Step 5: Use the glitter pens to decorate. 


I like them.  They are too silly to be creepy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Walking the Dog

Have I told you about Darwin?  Darwin is a rescue.  He had been picked up as a stray in a neighboring town.  We adopted him from the CNYSPCA this summer.  I don't even know why I was looking at dogs on their website.  We were not looking for a dog.  I loved his face.  I had to go see him.  Of course, everyone else wanted to come too.  He was the only dog in the shelter who was not barking his head off. 

We thought about it for a day and I listened to "Can we get him?" about a thousand times.  I thought that a dog would be a good addition to the family and that we might get some more exercise by taking him for walks.  The farmer stopped by the SPCA on Monday morning to check on their adoption process and 40 min later he and the dog were in the car on the way home. 

Darwin is very sweet tempered.  He is occasionally very silly.  He loves the Farmer.  He has two speeds: slow and stop.  His favorite thing to do is to take a nap.  He is essentially a 72-pound throw rug.  The vet says that he is at least 8 and likely older.  He is a true mutt.  He appears to be a combo of: a basset, spaniel, lab, and one of the great breeds (saint or Newfoundland).

Walking Darwin is not fun.  He pulls.  He sniffs.  And sniffs.  And sniffs some more.  Occasionally he catches a scent of interest and lunges at it.  He pulls so hard that he coughs because he is putting pressure on his airway.  I tried stopping every time he pulled.  It took 45 min to go 9 houses.  I know it would have gotten better, but I'm not that patient.   He is too big to be that badly behaved on a leash.   So much for getting a dog and getting more exercise.

A friend suggested the Gentle Leader Headcollar.  When we went into the store, he was pulling so hard, he was skating.  Almost as soon as it went on, he became a calm, obedient, responsive dog.  It was
transformative.   Amazing.  "Who are you, and what did you do with my dog?!"  Today's walk was the first time he made it to the corner without peeing on at least 4 different things.  The Farmer actually had to stop and encourage him to sniff around to see if he wanted to go.  He came home looking very happy and quite pleased with himself.  I think this is one of the best pet products we have ever tried.  If you have a dog who pulls, try it.  Tell your friends.  Darwin will be going on many more walks.

Other stuff:

Dina is hosting a giveaway on her blog.  Go check it out.

I'll give you an apple abuse update tomorrow.  Progress is slow.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kid Socks!

Laura sent beautiful sock yarn and a the pattern for Most Basic Kids Socks as part of the swap.  The Kid loved the yarn and I needed a simple project to tote around.  I got almost a whole sock done while I was in Vegas.  The second took a little longer.  Not too long though, 'cause after all, she has little feet. 

Someday, when her feet stop growing, my plan is to give her a pair of socks each year for Valentine's Day.  Nothing says love to me like warm feet on a cold, winters day.
Here they are!
Apple Abuse Day 2:
A little bit of progress.  Not much.