Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Do You Kombucha?

2013 was the year of trying to improve my health. I started out the year on a Whole 30 Diet and have continued to {mostly} eat a Paleo diet...except the random desserts and alcoholic drinks that I don't want to give up. I swam more laps than I have ever swam this past spring and summer. I continue to try to maintain my weight and even lose a few more pounds but lately that has been difficult because I have had a flare up of Plantar Fasciitis. Hopefully I can get back to a regular form of excercise soon. The plan was to start walking October first, but the pain in my foot will not allow that right now.

One of the things I have learned to really like is a probiotic drink called Kombucha. I must admit that prior to learning about the Paleo diet, I had never heard of Kombucha.

It is so easy to make at home. All you need are some tea bags (or loose leaf tea), sugar and water.

And you need a slimy, ugly thing called a scoby or a "mushroom" as some people call it. This can be purchased at a health food store, online or if you know someone who makes Kombucha (like me) you can get a scoby from them. With every batch of Kombucha that is made a new scoby is created, so there is plenty to share.

After bringing the water to a boil, you allow the tea to steep for 30 minutes. Then you add the sugar and more water and the scoby. You cover loosely with a cover that will allow air to flow but keep dust and the bugs out (I use a t-shirt) and let it sit in a quiet place for about 10 days. This is where taste comes into play. Some people like a more vinegar taste (then you can let it sit up to 14 days), but I prefer my Kombucha to still have a bit of sweetness to it.

After the initial ten days, then you divide up the batch to flavor it. You can flavor it with herbs and fruits. So far my favorites are Blueberry/Basil and Lemon/ Ginger. You let it sit again for 3 days and allow the flavors to meld and a bit of carbonation to form.

It even gets a little alcoholic, but really nothing worth mentioning here. It has a refreshing, soothing taste and creates a good bacteria for the tummy.

I used my new labels from my son and daughter-in-law to mark the flavors
that was supposed to say Blueberry Basil

I try to drink about 8 ounces a day and it seems to keep my tummy feeling good. 

So tell you Kombucha?

How I make Kombucha
Bring 64 ounces filtered water to a boil.
Add 10 tea bags and allow to steep for 30 minutes.
Add 1 cup sugar, stir to dissolve.
Add 64 ounces more filtered water and allow to come to room temperature.
Put cooled tea in a large glass vessel (I use a 3 gallon jar), gently add the scoby and about 2 cups of plain Kombucha from a previous batch, cover with a thin t-shirt held closed with an elastic tie.
Allow to sit at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and away from drafts for 10 days.

After 10 days...
you need 5 or 6-32 ounces glass canning jars
to each jar add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup of your preferred flavorings. I like blueberries (fresh or frozen) and 5-6 leaves of fresh basil muddled together;  1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice; a few slices of fresh or frozen peaches.
Then fill each jar, leaving 1" of head space and cover with a folded paper towel held on with a rubber band. Allow to sit in the same way for three days. Then strain into bottles and refrigerate, covered tightly with a screw on lid or a wire swing top lid. It keeps for several weeks.

Kombucha can be tricky. This is  just a brief lesson in how I make it. If you decide to make it please read up on it in a book or on the internet and learn all the rules. There are lots of recipes on Pinterest
A couple of good websites

These books are two that I have found very informative.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cascade Quilt Blog Hop

About a month ago I saw that my friend, Susannah Kate, was asking for pattern testers for her new quilt pattern. Of course I wanted to make it and try out her new pattern.
Meet Cascade Quilt, a pattern by Susannah Kate Sews .

A frustrating part of quilting for me is mixing fabrics. Some people like this part the best. For me, it is always a risk. But this time I think I hit the nail on the head. I love these fabrics together; so much that I am renaming my quilt "Playgroup" because if all these fabric designers were together as children they would have had such a fun and creative playgroup. Included in my fabric mix are fabrics from Denyse Schmidt, Jeni Baker, Brigitte Heitland, Lotta Jansdotter and Bari J all on a background of Empire Yellow by Art Gallery Pure Elements.

This pattern is so well written and easy to follow. I have wanted to make a plus quilt for some time now and Susannah Kate figured out all the math for us. The easiest way for me was to lay it out as I went along with the cutting.

I am lucky enough to have a large "design floor" space in my sewing room so I just left it on the ground as I sewed the rows together.

When it came time to choose the backing fabric this print from The Ladies Stitching Club was perfect.

I quilted it with straight lines on either side of each horizontal seam with a new to me thread, King Tut variegated thread. Bernice the Bernina loved it.

Our son recently became engaged to his girlfriend, Lauren, so we gifted this quilt to them at their engagement party last week.

 A little personal word quilting on a few of the rows says, "Evan and Lauren Sweet Love".

I hope you will check out the others on this blog hop and  make a Cascade quilt of your own. It's a great pattern. Thanks Susannah Kate for allowing me to be a part of this new pattern.

Cascade Quilt Blog Hop Schedule
Oct 26 – Trina @ 
Oct 27 – Alex @ 
Oct 28 – Diane @ 
Oct 29 – Jenny Mae @ 
Oct 30 – Courtney @
Oct 31 – Heather @ 
Nov 1 – Mary @ 
Nov 2 - Summer @ 
Nov 3 – Susannah Kate @ 
Also, please visit Amber @ . She has written a great post about the Cascade quilt pattern and has such cute pictures! 

Quilt Name: Playgroup
Fabrics used: Bijoux, Chicopee, Nordika, Bella, Juggling Summer
Background Fabric: Empire Yellow by Art Gallery Pure Elements
Backing: Ladies Stitching Club Proper Posture Tea Cakes
Binding: Bijoux Magenta Mystic Traveler
Thread: Pieced with Aurifil 50 wt. Quilted with King Tut variegated 40 wt.
Batting: Warm and White
Measurements: 54" x 68"

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival, a second entry

Since we are allowed to enter two quilts I thought I would bring back an oldie but goodie. To this day I really cannot believe that I made this quilt. First of all it was only the 6th quilt I ever made. I saw the pattern and was immediately attracted to it. Why? I ask myself now. I don't even like cats! I did not know what paper piecing was and I had no idea how to execute the pattern. I had a lot of encouragement from one of the ladies who worked at my LQS and she actually taught me to understand foundation paper piecing as we talked over the counter at the store.

The quilt is made with a combination of foundation paper piecing and applique. The faces and whiskers are all hand embroidered. This quilt was made long before I started blogging so the photos are not of very good quality.
This quilt was made in 2003 and gifted to my frined, Tzippy, for her birthday. She loves cats and loved the quilt. She loved it so much that she asked if I would make it bigger so she could use it on their king sized bed. So I cut off the binding on the sides and added two long strips of fabric and re-quilted the sides and finished the binding. I am entering this in the Bed Quilts category.

To this day, every summer when Tzippy swaps this quilt with another on her bed, she thanks me for making it for her. 


Blogger's Quilt Festival: Larry's Gone Fishing

It's time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival again. This time I am entereing a quilt that was made with pure emotion. It is not the most creative quilt, nor is it the most beautiful, but it was made to honor a friend who has died and will be a lasting, tactile momento for my friend's family.
This is Larry's Gone Fishing, a St. Louis 16 Patch quilt. You can read the story behind this quilt here.

This quilt was made with 13 of my friends Hawaiian shirts. I wish there was a category for unconventional materials. I know there are t-shirt quilts and baby clothes quilts, but Hawaiian shirt quilts? I've not seen one before.

This is what remained of the shirts. I was able to get about 12 strips per shirt.

Mr. R and I took the quilt to our local park for a photo shoot on a lovely evening. I am entering in the Photography category.

I named this quilt Larry's Gone Fishing...I don't think it needs any further explanation.

Quilt Stats:
Fabric: good quality Hawaiian shirts
pattern:St.Louis 16 Patch
backing:Spot On 108" extra wide in Chartreuse
batting:Warm and White
binding: marbled grey-beige from stash
Straight line quilted by me with Aurifil 40 wt. color 2000
Kim and Larry, 2002
San Diego 3-Day walk

Thanks to Amy Ellis for hosting this fun event. I always enjoy seeing everyone's entries and secretly wish, hope and pray that I win the Baby Lock sewing machine. 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October Bee Blocks

I must admit I had a lot of fun making this months bee blocks.
First up,Modern Stitching Bee... Emily asked for log cabin blocks in low volume and blues, with a red center and one half row of green. When I first saw her requests I thought, they would be tedious, but they were fun and really fast to make. I think she is going to have a beautiful quilt.

October Bee Blocks

October Bee Blocks

Next up for Stitch Tease Bee is Valerie. She asked for one big block of flying geese in magenta pinks and marigold yellows, also with low volume prints and a few grey geese thrown in, too. I have to admit I think this is going to be a stunning quilt and I love, love, love the color palette.

October Bee Blocks

I really love being involved in these bees. The cutting out of small pieces actually takes way longer than the time it takes to sew the blocks together. I hope you girls like these blocks because I sure enjoyed making them for you.

I'm at Amy's House Today

The lovely Amy Ellis has interviewed me as a past participant in her always exciting Blogger's Quilt Festival. Are you ready? It starts in just a few days.
You can read all about it on her blog today and maybe even learn something new about me, too.


I am still trying to decide which quilts to enter for this year's festival. 
Here are the photos of the quilts I entered in the Spring Festival.

Wordy Friends Quilt

Be sure to enter, you can have a chance to win a Baby Lock Sewing Machine. Now that would be exciting.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Off the Sticks

A second pair of socks have come off the sticks. This pair is the Serpentine sock pattern from the book Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson. I knit them two at a time on one long circular needle. A little confusing at first but once I figured out how to keep the balls of yarn separate it was easy.

This is my first lace sock pattern which was very easy to follow. I had my share of ripping and repeating, but eventually understood the increases, yarn overs and decreased stitches.

I wish I would have made them about an inch longer on the ankle, but I was afraid I might run out of yarn.

I also finished the Cascade quilt but will be writing a special blog post all about it, soon. It sure does make a pretty backdrop for the sock photos.

I used a Russian bind off technique and I don't think I am very good at it yet. The bind off caused a little bit of ruffling at the top of the socks, but I am sure I will get better as I make more socks.

Now I just need some cool fall temperatures so I can wear them.

Sock Stats:
Pattern: Serpentine Socks
Yarn:Regia Blitz Color 75% wool 25% Polyamid
Needles: US size 2 (2.75 mm) circular needle

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mr. Romance

A few hours ago I sent this motley looking crew off to go fly fishing. 

Today is Mr. Romance's birthday and by some weird magnetic pull in the cosmic universe all the boys were able to get the day off of work; so they left to drive 4.5 hours to Bishop, California, where they will have one day of fly fishing and then drive home.
This is the first away trip they have been able to take...I think ever; since they all have jobs and families and other commitments.
We pulled off a last minute family dinner tonight, complete with meat loaf and mashed potatoes and I even made two pies. Mr. R likes "birthday pie", not "birthday cake".

I don't know who was more excited, me or the guys. I planned the entire trip as a surprise for Paul but then ended up telling him last week. Ever since last year, when we went fly fishing in Utah, he has wanted to go again.

I hope they catch lots of fish and make lots of memories.
Happy Birthday to my Mr. Romance. He has been my love for 43 years and I cannot imagine my life without him. He answers to lots of names...Dad, Papa, Paul, Doc, Paul-Dogg, Stan, Honey, Rickey and Mr. Fun. He is the best father to our boys, a compassionate dentist, a generous son-in-law, a fun grandfather, a good friend and a caring father-in-law. But I am blessed with the best husband and for that I am grateful.

I truly believe God created you just for me and vice versa...we are so good together. I am so glad you have this time with the boys. I can hardly wait to hear all about it.
Happy Birthday, my L*O*V*E

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

WiP Wednesday Knitting and Sewing

I haven't linked to Work in Progress Wednesday for a very long time. In fact, blogging has taken a backseat but all for a good reason. I have been able to get a lot of projects finished and have started several new ones.
My second pair of knit socks are on the needles and more than halfway finished. I'm enjoying making these Serpentine Socks from the Socks from the Toe Up book.

I am so excited about this pattern and will have a full review very soon. My friend, Susannah Kate, has designed this pattern that is so easy to make; she has written a great pattern. I have finished quilting it and it just needs binding. The Cascade Quilt is one you will all want to make.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced