Weaving 101

image from: greensquiltingandweavingshop.com

Rag rug image from: greensquiltingandweavingshop.com

There are different methods of weaving such as the simple basket made out of wicker or reed both of  which I have had little practice making. However, people throughout time have found ways to manipulate raw materials through weaving to form various textiles, baskets and products to improve the quality of life.

This past week I took the opportunity with the aid of a partner to weave a rag rug on a Sears and Roebuck loom at the local art guild. At first I  was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the loom,  it seemed a difficult contraption to configure/work. Yet after planning, gathering and cutting down our rags. The task of weaving began with the help of a guild member.

Working the loom can definitely be a workout for all four appendages; hands work the shuttle & beater while your legs work the treadles. Luckily the warp had already been setup before we started.

It was fun to see how the rag material came together. Many people use all sorts of materials in these rugs including: sweatshirts, panty-hose and plastic bread sacks. It took us around three hours to weave an 55″x27″ rug. Overall, this was a fun process I can’t wait to weave another!

Image from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/concise-images/72190.htm

Check out this video from a real – weaver! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vd43O9qUcWs

Book Trailers

The PBS show Reading Rainbow was probably  version 1.0 of this new literacy tool for students. After stepping into a reading class I was surprised to see students eager to find out their new reading choices. Despite their geniune enthusiasm, to me the cause seemed unfounded, really reading? Moments later the teacher introduced a new  instructional unit. A Prezi presentation was opened and five video linked images appeared on the screen one for each book choice. Students listened while video trailers played a synopsis of each book complete with music, imagery and some voice overs. Afterward the instructor read the back of the book and held a copy in the air for all to see. There were multiple reactions to each one indicating individual taste. Who knew book choice and a simple introductory video could get students excited about reading?!

Although, most trailers you find on-line are perhaps not movie quality they give students a sneak peek of what will be found within the 100s of pages of their newly chosen text. Many publishers have started to make  trailers to accompany and promote their new books. Here is an example of one such trailer:

Craft ~ Yarn Eggs

When I was perusing my Pinterest account I found a very lovely Easter wreath made out of plastic eggs wrapped in yarn. Instead of making a wreath I decided I would make several individual eggs to display around our living room. I quickly learned that some yarns are better to use than others. The process utilizes hot glue to adhere the yarn to the plastic egg, so the heavier weight yarn not only helps to protect your fingers but also takes less time to wrap. Although, I usually avoid using hot glue, I thought the result was well worth it! What do you think?

Eastereggs

*Guest Blog* On Brewing

beerI asked my husband a few weeks ago if he wouldn’t mind guest blogging about one of his new  hobbies. He agree and so here is his entry on brewing (although it is written as if I wrote the entry I did not, as you can tell he had fun writing about his hobby from my perspective). Enjoy!

With the price of absolutely everything rising these days, I thought I’d share with you all one way to save a little money and pick up a wonderful new hobby all at the same time.

About a year ago, my darling, dashing, and devastatingly handsome husband (who may or may not be the author of this particular piece) began this new pastime by brewing a batch of autumn amber ale. Since then he has brewed a variety of different ales. With summer in Kentucky only a few short weeks away, he has an extra hoppy IPA sitting in the fermenter allowing the yeast to perform their magic. I knew he’d find a use for that chemistry minor!

The beer-making process takes at least four weeks, with brewing and bottling periods lasting a couple hours each. Brewing is actually quite simple. Crushed grains are steeped in 2 gallons of water (like a giant bag of tea); from there malt-extract is added, followed by hops. After boiling for an hour, it is quickly cooled, and added to a bucket of water. Now he adds the yeast, seals on the lid, and the five-gallon batch of young beer sits in a closet for a handful of weeks. On bottling day, sugar is added, the slightly more matured beer is bottled, and these filled and sealed bottles sit for at least another two weeks to finish fermenting and to carbonate (thanks to the sugar).

Daniel has found that there are three keys to this process. First, as every brewers guide says, is sanitation. If there are any bacterial contaminants in the beer, it goes skunky and is ruined. Thus anything that even goes near the beer must be cleaned and sanitized in a bleach bath. Second, follow directions. It is because of this that he has yet to make any rookie mistakes of brewing (*knocks on wood*). Finally, he also manages to avoid common mistakes because he is patient. The beer-making process takes time, but in the end, it is worth it.

The initial startup cost for equipment was about $150, with smaller purchases here and there; ingredient kits run close to $40. But, when one considers that each batch makes a whopping five gallons of tasty beer, it is worth it. (All of his materials and ingredients have come from Midwest Supplies out of Minnesota.) The rule of thumb is that homebrew costs about one-third of store bought (after a couple of batches have been made to offset the startup cost) and in our experience, it tastes better too!

So, when you come to see us in Kentucky, be sure stop by and sample the latest creation from the Murray brewery.  Happy brewing!

2013 Perennial & Annual Wish List

Spring is officially here! The purple crocus has once again sprung up in our front lawn indicating the new growing season. Although our last frost is not until mid April, I thought I would at least start getting together a list of ‘must haves’ for this season. So here are my gardening thoughts for 2013:

Perennial, Red hot pokerImage from: www.qvc.com

Perennial, Red hot poker
Image from: http://www.qvc.com

Annual, Bells of IrelandImage from: www.sowseeds.co.uk/

Annual, Bells of Ireland
Image from: http://www.sowseeds.co.uk/

Annual, DahliaImage from: www.mooseyscountrygarden.com

Annual, Dahlia
Image from: http://www.mooseyscountrygarden.com

Maidenhair fernImage from: joystclaire.blogspot.com

Perennial, Maidenhair fern
Image from: joystclaire.blogspot.com

English delphiniumImage from: home.gci.net

English delphinium
Image from: home.gci.net

LisianthusImage from: www.w-weddingflowers.com

Lisianthus
Image from: http://www.w-weddingflowers.com

Annual, Poppy

Annual, Poppy

Wax flower(c) Nelson - Blue

Wax flower
(c) Nelson – Blue

Annual, Stock flowerImage from: flowerpictures.org

Annual, Stock flower
Image from: flowerpictures.org

Golden shrimp plantImage from: magilkey.com

Golden shrimp plant
Image from: magilkey.com