Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Crafting 2009: Part 4- That's all folks!

...Our pile of handmade goodness for Christmas 2009!

Here's a closer look at the hat, scarf and pouch:

And of course kitty toys; we couldn't forget about the furry creatures! Of what are they made? Old kitty toy strings, Jennifer's old pants and catnip from the garden. Yep - they were a hit. You can't really go wrong with strings and catnip.

We enjoyed crafting these gifts and look forward to next seasons inspiration!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Crafting 2009: Part 3- Soap & Lip Balm

Jennifer is soapmaking again so everyone received a couple of bars of soapy goodness this Christmas. I made three types: lemongrass, fir & grapefruit. The scent all but disappeared in the fir and grapefruit so I am learning how to really anchor fragrances before I start selling again (we are hoping to reopen our shop this winter!). I like the look of the lemongrass and grapefruit soap colored with turmeric and paprika respectively. The lemon balm leaves are from our garden here in New Mexico.

I've made lip balm a few times, mostly just for Steve and myself, but this Christmas we made some as gifts. They turned out well fragrance and consistency wise. Should I continue to make these I will find and use recyclable containers next time. It's all quite fun experimenting! All my time in the chemistry lab throughout college never proved as much fun as the chemistry I am practicing in my own kitchen!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Crafting 2009: Part 2- Knitted Bracelets

Jennifer whipped up these fun little knitted bracelets and enjoyed experimenting with different stitches, clasps, etc. Here are a couple knitted I-cord bracelets with a crocheted loop and drilled mescalbean seeds acting as the clasp.

A single repeat of chevron ribbing and a tamarind seed (we ate the fruit, saved and washed the seed and drilled two holes in it for this button) made a nice earthy looking bracelet.

Two more I-cord bracelets with a coffeetree seed from our place in Indiana and a rock collected here or there tumbled and drilled...

Fun buttons, double moss stitch & little arrows...

I like how these turned out and they were a fun little project to try different stitch patterns. If you decide to make these I suggest leaving at least 12 inches when casting on and binding off so you can sew on the button or seed on one end and crochet simple chain stitch on the other end to make the loop.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Crafting 2009: Part 1- Hand-carved Ornaments

It's time for the much anticipated Christmas Craftiness by Jennifer & Steve! To make it more fun, we will post on this topic for a few days with today's post featuring Steve's hand-carved & painted ornaments. Jennifer helped a bit with the painting. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Slaughter Canyon December Hike

We are so enjoying the weather here in Carlsbad...December and 60s! Knowing we won't be here forever makes us appreciate this balmy climate even more. Here's a few photos from our hike this past weekend in Slaughter Canyon at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Plants growing in this rock made us think of Zuni Waffle gardens, nature style.

FLOWERS!
Happy to be out moving and in the sunshine...

Steve enjoying himself too...

and even getting cozy for a nap!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Agricultural Carving


Steve recently finished this corn stalk carving - how cool is that?! We are off for a hike later today and will post some winter New Mexico pictures in the next few days. Hope everyone's weekend is great!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More Indian Cooking...

Jennifer spent a day cooking Indian (& taking pictures of the pretty food!) this week following recipes from the book mentioned here. If you are new to Indian cooking this book proved very easy to follow for us.

Look at this beautiful assortment of spices for the tomato chutney:

Tomato Chutney cooking down:

Naan fresh from the oven:

Vegetable Kormo:


Split pea fritters:

All that cooking is made even more fun by little visitors in the kitchen; here is Bounder soaking up that last bit of sun.


Now that is a peaceful face...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Packages!

Our Christmas presents were shipped yesterday! We put so much time into these almost all handmade gifts, but felt so proud sending them out. We will share our craftiness after the holiday. Hope your preparations are coming along on time!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Carving Fun

Eight years of parochial school left me with at least one burning question, "who carved those cool church pews and how did they do it?".

So I go myself a set of carving tools and set out to teach myself carving.

My experience so far has been good. Seems like it goes as such...

Get a board and draw something on it...


...cut around the outline and the start carving away all around...


...do some sanding...


...how fun is that?!:


Some finishing touches:


Of course there are many types of carving but a fella's gotta start somewhere! Now comes the hard part - learning how to keep my carving tools sharp. Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Porch Visitors & Recipe Recommendation

A little flock of yellow-rumped warblers is looking for some tasty insects on our porch and in our front yard mulberry tree today. There's a few juncos mixed in and they are all quite fun to watch.

Recipe Recommention: Better Homes & Gardens No Knead Focaccia Tiles

A few nights ago I made this bread for dinner and it looked so impressive! Our picture did not turn out so I cannot show you, but here is a link to the recipe. This is really a very tasty, easy bread - just plan to get the dough started a day prior so it can sit for 12-24 hours before using. Steve was so impressed, really. This is a great holiday recipe!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hand Carved Welcome Post

Inspired by a folksy sign in Santa Fe, Steve decided to make a Welcome Post (or as Jennifer calls it - a Peace Post) out of his salvaged piano wood - see far right.

A little carving action in the sunshine (we are back in the 50s-60s!).


Folksy images...
After the carving and sanding, time for paint.


And voila!
Quite a cool addition to our porch we think. If you look close you can see Bounder in the door window on her tube.