Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Antiques

As you all know, Zach and I love antiques. This past weekend, we went to Holly, Michigan which is a lovely, quaint little town filled with antique stores. One of our favorite shops, Battle Alley Arcade Antiques resides next to the famous Holly Hotel, which serves delicious one-of-a-kind food and is said to be haunted.

When you enter the antique shop, you feel as though you've stepped into something out of a Sherlock Holmes novel. The walkways are paved in crooked cobblestone and meander this way and that through the old 1890's building.

We can never seem to leave this shop without taking something home with us. Zach, more often than I, finds an old tool that he can't live without, but this time it was my turn.

I fell in love with one vendor's collection of antique Thanksgiving items.

The first is this beautiful cotton feed sack, doting a lovely blue and red turkey. The sack is in incredible condition, no stains and only a tiny tear on the back. I love the way it looks hanging on the wall.

My second find is this collection of Pilgrim and Turkey candles.

Most likely make by the company Gurley.

My Grandmother had a collection of chorus angels that she would put out at Christmas that remind me of these. I loved those candles and was thrilled to see that there was a Thanksgiving version.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Maple Sugar Candies

Even though maple syrup is made in the spring, for some reason, the flavor and essence of MAPLE reminds me of the fall. Maybe it's the golden caramel hue, or the deep rich flavor? I picture a steaming pile of pancakes on a cold winter morning drizzled with the earthy syrup.

We had a generous maple harvest season-before-last and I still have jars of syrup from 2013. They've deepened in color and flavor, and I prefer them to this year's harvest.

I decided to make these maple syrup candies for the Thanksgiving table this year. I thought they would look adorable as a sweet decoration on top of slices of pumpkin or pecan pie. They would also be beautiful nestled in a dollop of whip cream on top of a warm fall drink. Spiced Apple Cider, Hazelnut Latte, or a Hot Buttered Rum to name a few. They work well as a natural sweetener dropped into a cup of herbal tea.

To make these candies you need 1 ingredient.

Real Maple Syrup

You don't really even need candy molds, you can pour the candy into a 9x9 baking dish and cut into rustic cubes. 

I found the instructions and temperatures for this project at Allrecipes.com 

And the process couldn't be easier.

Add two cups of real maple syrup to a small sauce pan.

Using a candy thermometer, heat the syrup to 235 degrees.

It will bubble and froth, stir this down and remove from heat from time to time to control the boil.

Once it reaches temperature, remove from heat and let the temperature drop to 175 degrees.

Once cooled, stir until it becomes lighter in color and moving quickly,

pour into molds.

Before the candy cools too much, I sliced the backs even with a knife. Let cool and pop out of the mold gently. If you've never had maple syrup candies, they are intensely sweet and maple flavored. They are an interesting texture of firm candy that melts instantly into a creamy treat. Give them a try!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Faux Large Loom, Hand Woven Scarf, Part 3

Click here for Part 1 and Part 2 of this project.

To finish the scarf, remove the outer loop around the peg of your loom.

Snip this loop with a pair of scissors,

and tie twice.

Repeat on the other side of the scarf.

Work back and forth sniping and tying off until

the scarf is removed from the loom.

Repeat on the other side, and the scarf is finished!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Faux Large Loom, Hand Woven Scarf, Part 2

To learn how to set up this project please visit Part 1 in this series. 

To begin weaving, you're going to want to leave some space before the first weft and the loom. This space will create your tossles on the end of each scarf. You should have your clothes pins marking your weft spots. 

I began by tying on the first color. You're going to be working with two strands at a time.

Pull the first strand under the second warp moving bottom to top.

Then pull the second strand in the opposite motion moving over the second warp and under the third.

If you pull each strand slightly to the right, you will create a twist between the two strands and this will lock the scarf in place even better.

Continue this over under pattern to the top of the scarf.

Adjust the weave so that it's straight. 

You can tie it off here, or simply loop around and repeat the over under process moving back down the scarf.

Adjust the second weave to snug it up next to the first,

and repeat a third time.

You can finish the strand at each weave by tying off and tucking it between the plies of the thicker yarn. (Like you would in a knitting or crocheting project.) Or you can leave them in a fringe, or simple snip them close to the knot.

Work this way, alternating strand colors until you reach the end of the scarf leaving room for tossels at that end too.

To learn how to finish this project please visit Part 3.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Faux Large Loom, Hand Woven Scarf, Part 1

I saw this yarn at a local yarn store and fell in love. Sometimes a yarn just stops you dead in your tracks and you have to have it! This was such a case.

The moment I saw it I knew that it needed to be woven. The yarn was bulky almost like a multi-colored roving plied with black string. It was too busy to be knitted or crocheted and I wanted the yarn to simply speak for itself.

My challenge was how to weave such a long piece without a large loom.

So I decided to cheat! I have several lap looms meant for loom knitting. This wooden one is particularly handy for this project because it unscrews and comes apart.

So I separated the two halves and clamped them to opposite sides of out coffee table with wood clamps. This way I could use the length of the table to lengthen the loom space.

If you don't have a wooden loom, two plastic lap looms would work as well.

Then I worked the yarn back and forth across the table skipping a peg between each length. In a sense, I was warping the loom. I learned at the end that it's a good thing to finish with an even number of warped yarn to make things easier when tying off the finished scarf.

Once the scarf was warped I found some Terracotta and rusty-burgundy yarn in a smaller thickness to weft the scarf.

I marked the places I wanted to weft with clothespins, leaving about an 1 1/2 inches between so that the thicker yarn would show through.

Then I pre-cut all my weft lengths alternating between each color. These ended up being about 1 1/2 ' which would give me three rows of weaving. 

Now I was ready to begin weaving. Check out Part 2, and Part 3 for instructions on the weaving process.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Photo Friday

It's hard to believe how quickly winter has made its presence. Last week it was in the 50's and this week we've seen some single digits and about 3-4 inches of snow! I made a promise that I wouldn't start decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but my harvest themed corn stalks and pumpkins look ridiculous under a blanket of snow!

Zach and I have been taking advantage of the early evenings and cold weather to work on some new products for the Etsy shop. I hope you enjoy this weeks photos and our new items below! You'll see from the photographs the rapid transition in weather.

New Roving blend
New bottle opener design
New Double Twist Railroad Bottle Opener
Wheat Wreath for Thanksgiving
Juniper Berries
Arborvitae
Bittersweet
Bittersweet
Oliver having fun in the snow!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

KBB Post: Hives for Pollination and Conservation

Check out my latest Keeping Backyard Bees post Hives for Pollination and Conservation to learn about alternative hives you can provide to many species of pollinators. 
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