CROOK

Yarn Along - Never-ending Overalls


Joining Ginny for her Yarn Along!




KNITTING: Overalls!!  These overalls will  be finished...I promise you.  I have been working on these (on and off) since last November.  The plan was to make them for Baby C for Christmas.  Check out the pattern at The Purl Bee.  Aren't they adorable?  I bought this lovely Euroflax linen yarn and started knitting and guess what?  I hate it!  The linen is so rough on my fingers.  I can seriously only knit a few rows and then I'm over it.  I know once the garment is done I'll be able to wash it and dry it and it will get that lovely silky slougchiness we all love linen for...but for now it sucks to knit with!  Any suggestions for knitting with linen, or am I just a big baby?

READING: Lasagna Gardeningby Patricia Lanza.  I borrowed this from the library, but just bought a copy off Amazon.  I will be starting a new (much larger) garden this Spring and in order to get it ready to plant by late April, this is the only way to go.  It's basically sheet composting, but Patricia's book is so easy and fun to read, you really feel like anyone can be an amazing gardener.  Plus I just love her intro...so sweet and heartfelt.  Anyone done this type of garden before?  Any tips?

FINISHED OBJECT:  Here's the scarf I made for my Mother-in-Law.  It turned out lovely and I did enjoy the pattern!



Happy knitting!

Dehydrator Diaries - Jamberry!

**I am truly missing my time in Blogland lately...I'm working on something, kinda small, but kinda taking up a lot of my time.  I hope to share it in this space soon, but until then my posts may be more sporadic!**


This Dehydrator Diaries post is inspired by one of our favorite children's books, Jamberry!




Here in Southern CA strawberry season has begun, yay!  Even our own backyard strawberry garden (now up to 8 plants) is in full swing!  Just a few short weeks and we'll have our own supply.


For now we are enjoying them in one of our CSA boxes.  F requested the strawberries be put into our next batch of raw cereal, and E requested we add chocolate.  So that's what we made!


We made our regular raw cereal recipe (from Raw Food/Real World) and just tossed in about 1.5 cups of strawberries and 1/4 cup carob powder.


Mother's (my favorite health food store) had a sale on fresh blueberries, so we swooped up about 8 packages.  Froze some, devoured most and managed to make some yummy Grawnola too!

Someone's chubby little fingers kept grabbing blueberries!

It's basically like this one we made a while back, but with fresh blueberries instead of dried. We all agree that the fun pop of the fresh blueberries is way better than using the dried.  They get semi dehydrated, but keep some moisture.  I recommend keeping this in the fridge...not that it will last long!

3 bowls for 3 little girls...

What have you been dehydrating?  What are your favorite berry recipes?
I'd love to make this soon!

Yarn Along - Finally!


After like a year, I am finally joining Ginny with her Yarn Along!  I kept meaning to...but, you know...
Actually this is the first ever joining or linking I've ever done!
I really love the idea of sharing what I've been knitting and reading...it can open up such wonderful dialogue!  

KNITTING:
I am working on a scarf for my Mother-in-Law as a birthday gift.  I am using Manos Maxima yarn in the Fire colorway. She bought me quite a bit of yarn for Christmas and I wanted to make sure I made something for her out of it.  I am really enjoying the simple pattern and the rows it creates are wonderfully tactile.  I found the pattern here.

READING:
I love the Ashley English books.  Full of info, pretty to look at and simple to read.  Thank you Ashley!  This is actually my second time through her Keeping Beesbook as we prepare to get our bees (soon!).  More posts on that later...



FO (finished object):
Using some more of the Manos yarn (Peach Melba), I finished my first clothing piece.  Yay!  I've made countless hats, gloves and toys but had yet to make a piece of clothing.  I chose Kelly's In 3's Cardigan.  It was so easy!  I highly recommend it to any knitter, novice or expert.  It knits up quickly and effortlessly.  This one I made is for E, but I now have a request for one from F.  As soon as I can finish C's overalls (which are giving me a headache), I'll cast on another.



What are you knitting/reading these days?


Crooked Sidewalk Paint

So we were having one of those days...you know...the kind where the kids needed an activity, STAT, or someone was going to go crazy...mostly likely me.

I recalled seeing on Pinterest a recipe for sidewalk paint.  I looked it up and decided to make it happen.
The original recipe called for food coloring...um, no.  We don't have food coloring in our house usually and I certainly wasn't in the mood to pile the children in the car and go to the grocery store to spend money on something I'd use 3 drops of and then discard. So I fudged with the recipe a bit and made our own natural versions using beets, turmeric and chlorella (just like our play-dough).



Crooked Sidewalk Paint
Inspired by The Idea Room

Yellow
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 tsp turmeric

Pink
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 tsp beet juice (boil fresh beets, when they're done, pop them in a container and put them in the fridge.  Condensation will happen and create "beet juice" perfect for coloring play-dough and sidewalk paint)

Green
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 tsp chlorella powder

(sorry, no cute picture for "green", by then the children were chomping at the bit for the paint!)

Just whisk the ingredients and paint away!



It dries nice and chalky, but seems sort of "wet" when first applied.  You also have to use a lot of paint for a little drawing, so be prepared to make up a couple more batches if you have exuberant painters!

The color washes away easily, so no need to worry about your fancy concrete, although it may stain clothing, so err on the side of caution with that.

I can totally imagine doing this for a birthday or graduation message on the driveway...

Winter Nature Table Swap

Here's another post about a swap, but I figure it's fun to see all the crafty Bits Of Goodness, right?

This was the Winter Nature Table swap...

Felt snow-woman by Barb D.

Needle felted campfire by Sandra.

Wooden polar bear by Rhonda

Felt deer by April.

Felted rock with embroidered accents by "unknown".


I was still in my beeswax candle craze...so I made these for the swap.  100 pure local beeswax with cotton wicking:

Pinecone candles


and

Fir tree candles.


Did you join any seasonal swaps?


Simple Rainbow Skirt

Follow the rainbow to the tutorial! 

I was asked to do a guest post over at Homespun Waldorf for their Winter Carnival. They asked me to write something for their "To Make" series. I had been meaning to make one of these skirts for E, so that was a great push to get it done.  I love how blogging can be such a help in finishing all of those little "to makes" I have floating around my head. Although I guess thanks to Pinterest,  now they are all organized and categorized!!

A diverse collection of bloggers bring
 warmth to the cold days of February. 
We're sharing winter ideas on making, pondering,
 nourishing and playing to kindle and inspire, and you're invited to join us!
~Homespun Waldorf


Anyways, hop on over to Homespun Waldorf and check it out.  There's a Mr. Linky at the bottom of the post, so do join in and link up to your own posts.  Make sure you bookmark or subscribe to the page as they'll have a new post every day this month!  Join their forum for some inspiring discussions on implementing "Waldorf" practices in the home, anthroposophy, Waldorf homeschooling and more.

It is now her preferred ballet cover up.

Let me know if you make the skirt...it's so easy and takes less than 2 hours start to finish!

Tangerine Dreams


We've been getting a lot of tangerines lately in our CSA boxes, but last week we got 137.
Yup.
137.
My kids go through tangerines like peanuts, but I started worrying that we wouldn't be able to go through them fast enough, so I thought I'd do another 32 Avocados in 3 Days type of post.


Silly me.  The whole house looked like this and really by day 3 we were down to only 30 or so.

Sad that the bounty is shrinking...

 I did manage to set some aside and make what we ended up calling Clementine Quinoa.  Basically I cooked the quinoa in my veggie stock, then tossed it with black beans, corn, green onions, cilantro, the segments of about 10 small tangerines and a splash of my raw BBQ sauce.  Then I set it in the fridge overnight and it made a yummy cold quinoa salad lunch for the girls the next day.



I also used a bunch in making these delicious muffins...


Crooked Tanga-Carrot Muffins

1/2 cup fresh squeezed tangerine juice
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup coconut oil (warmed up so it will incorporate)
1 cup freshly grated carrots
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup coconut sugar 
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour*
3/4 cup spelt flour* 
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt

* or 1 3/4 cup your flour of choice...this works well as a Gluten Free Muffin using Mama's Coconut Blend Flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and either put liners in your muffin tin or grease it with a little coconut oil.

Mix the wet ingredients together.  Mix the dry ingredients together.  Dump the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined. Then fill your muffin tins and pop them in the oven for about 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.



This is just my normal carrot muffins using tangerine juice instead of almond milk.  I often like to use fresh juices in my muffins and see how the taste changes...these were a hit!  Baby C ate quite a few...



Not that there are any left now, but I am sure we'll get more this week.  What are your favorite tangerine recipes?

A Mud-Winter Day


Southern CA is known for it's great weather, but these last few days have been exceptional!  We had a bit of rain Monday to wash all the crap smog away, then it quickly warmed up to the high 70's and even into the low 80's!  A bit odd when our circle time in the morning consists of snowflake songs and winter verses...but whatever!

We were in the midst of changing our sand box into an herb garden when we found ourselves in an impromptu mud party...




Baby C was not impressed with the mud pit, but was happy to cart clean water back and forth.




Good clean fun!


Save Your Seeds, Save Yourselves


Seed saving is quickly becoming popular again.  Monsanto is scaring even the smallest urban farmers into the practice of saving their seeds!  That's a whole different post altogether, but if you're interested here's some links:

Lords Of The Harvest
Food Inc.
Stolen Harvest
Millions Against Monsanto


Last year we took part in an online seed saving exchange that Lisa over at Earthmama hosted.  I am not sure if she's doing it again this year, but we've been busy saving seeds anyways.  Let me know if you're interested in exchanging some!

Watermelon
Green Beans
Lavender (not seeds to plant, buds for herbal goodies!)
Orange Cosmos
Mammoth Sunflower Seeds
Holy Basil (also known as Thai Basil)
Calendula
Ruby Red Okra
Pumpkins (or pumperkinnys, as Baby C calls them)

Fails:
1.My attempt at saving tomato seeds was foiled by over fermentation (so stinky!).  
2.I tried butternut squash, but did not dry them properly and they grew mold. Sad face.  That was some of the tastiest butternut squash!
3.Butter lettuce didn't work because a crazy windstorm uprooted the lettuce tree that was just about to flower.
4.Beets...those poor beets never had a chance.  We eat them up instantly. I may have to "hide" some in the garden so they can be allowed to go to seed.

The girls really got into it and are excited to plant our baby seeds this year.  I look forward to learning even more about seed saving and creating our own Crooked Moon Seed Bank.

For more information on seed saving check out these books (hopefully they're at your library!):
Seed to Seed
Seed Saver's Handbook

Seed Saving Websites:
Native Seeds
Seed Saving Institute


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