Category Archives: General

Hummingbirds, Knitting and Creativity

I love how the creative process gets the mind working and ideas keep popping up, some of which actually turn out to be useful!

I have a new knitting project on the go which I am very excited about. This is my own design and I have been playing around with it for a while. It all started because a friends Mum asked if I could make her a pair of speciality gloves. She needed to have warmth as well as dexterity. I must admit I thought it would be very simple to do! just adapt a glove pattern and we are good to go….well that is mostly true, but I needed to factor in specfic measurements. Well I have made a few proto types and I think we are on our way to designing something worthwhile, more on this soon.

second snowfall Hummingbird at feeder

Now for something quite different, here in South Western B.C  we have a hummingbird that stays all winter. That just amazes me, we have had surprisingly cold weather lately and this little bird will start nesting in February…brrr. The hummingbird is the Anna’s and here is some information about them from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Anna’s Hummingbirds are among the most common hummingbirds along the Pacific Coast, yet they’re anything but common in appearance. With their iridescent emerald feathers and sparkling rose-pink throats, they are more like flying jewelry than birds. Though no larger than a ping-pong ball and no heavier than a nickel, Anna’s Hummingbirds make a strong impression. In their thrilling courtship displays, males climb up to 130 feet into the air and then swoop to the ground with a curious burst of noise that they produce through their tail feathers.

annas_hummingbird_glamorThis is the male Anna’s, isn’t he just spectacular! The female Anna’s  has a stout body with short, straight black bill
central iridescent pink throat patch  Some females show several scattered pink feathers on face.  White above and behind eye.

We have a hummingbird feeder ( seen in the above pic,  Anna’s female is on it !) in our garden and have such pleasure from seeing two of these wonderful birds daily. They are quite fiesty and do not allow each other to drink at the same time. By the way the sugar water solution for these birds is one cup of boiling water and 1/4 cup of plain white table sugar. Mix up and allow to cool before placing in your feeder. DO NOT ADD FOOD COLOURING to this….it is not good for them. Also do not change the ratio because you think they may need more sugar, it can be hard on their kidneys and could kill them. The sugar solution should be changed regularly I clean my feeder out once a week in the cool weather and twice a week in the summer. We have the Rufous hummingbird here in the summer more about them later.

Have a lovely day and take time to enjoy the small things 🙂

 

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Merry Christmas To You

snow That time of year is here! and I am not really ready for it yet,but I would like to wish you all a very happy healthy and fun filled year ahead. May you create new and exciting designs and most of all enjoy whatever you do. All the best
from Woolbrain

Solar Dyeing

Trying my luck to-day with a little solar dyeing. Easy peasey! just put your choosen flowers, leaves or other into a glass jar fill with (rain water if you have it) tap water. Place your piece of fabric inside with the flowers and water screw on the lid and leave in the sun for at least a month….let the magic begin.

 

Eco Dyeing

A mad frenzied attempt at eco dyeing. It all started when I was busy making blackcurrant jelly, once the mash has been squeezed of all the juice, generally I just put it in the compost and keep going with the jelly making process. But this year I had a bumper crop of fruit so I made the jelly in two batches. When I looked at all the mash I thought I could use this for dyeing or at least try it out and see what happens. So these are the results.
I used cotton fabrics and alum mordant for some and not others,old steel fire pokers and a mixture of chopped up burdock and dandelion leaves in rain water, plus the blackcurrant mash!

Birthdays, Sunshine and Flowers

Although I do not really have much to say to-day, I wanted to show you some wonderful pictures from a recent trip to the Sunshine Coast here in B.C only a short ferry ride away. The weather was perfect, the company grand and I spent a lovely day in Gibsons B.C on my birthday puttering around funky little shops and admiring the boats in the harbour. The sky was blue and life was good!

A big thank you to all those who sent birthday wishes, I really loved them 🙂 Last but not least I wanted to share with you two presents that I received and have amalgamated. The lovely green teapot was a great thrift shop find by my dear friend Sue, she knows how much I love this colour, and the flowers came from my boss at work…don’t they look great together ?

I hope you are having a lovely summer whatever the weather and keep on being creative! Yes I am knitting when time allows…only it is a surprise so I cannot share it just yet.

Black Bean Brownies, British Car Meet and Floral Beauty !

Well, I have a few things to show you today one being the All British Car Meet that was held at the Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver B.C. I have always wanted to go to this show and finally, “my husband and I” (imagine it being said in a right royal “Queenie ” voice !)had a wonderful day out to the gardens, by the way always a great place to visit if you love flowers, trees and a vast expanse of serenity.
The cars show up early so being there by 8:30- 9am was a real plus and we could still find a parking space! The day was hot and sunny with a lovely breeze blowing. Now in truth I am not a car aficiando I go simply to see the few cars I like and remember fondly, but my nearest and dearest loves old british cars I’m not sure why but he loves them! So we spent a good portion of the day there. I wandered around some of the lovely gardens and enjoyed the glorious colours on show and the beautifully manicured lawns.


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Now to a fabulous recipe that a friend sent to me: DELICIOUS Chocolately black bean brownies.

This recipe is from the best-selling new book Spilling the Beans (White-cap Books). Canadian authors Sue Duncan and Julie Van Rosendaal say these brownies are the real deal, and nobody has ever detected the merest hint of a bean. Use good-quality chocolate; you’ll be happy you did.

Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 28 to 30 minutes

Makes: 16 brownies

1 cup rinsed and drained canned black beans

11/4 cups pecan pieces (optional)

1/2 cup butter

2 oz. (60 grams) unsweetened chocolate

1/3 cup all-purpose flour pinch of salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2/3 cup good-quality chocolate chips, or a 3 ½ oz. (100 gram) bar of good quality bittersweet or semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the rinsed black beans on a double thickness of paper towel and blot them gently to remove as much moisture as possible.

Leave them uncovered on the counter until later.

Spread the pecan pieces (if using) on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant and lightly browned, about six to seven minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a small saucepan set over very low heat, melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate, taking care not to let the mixture scorch. Whisk to combine, then remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt together and set aside.

Place the dried-off beans and cooled butter/chocolate mixture in the bowl of a food processor and process until very smooth, scraping down the bowl once or twice.

Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla; process again until combined. Scrape the mixture into the flour mixture and fold gently, leaving streaks of flour still visible. Add the pecans and chocolate chips and fold to just combine.

Pour the batter into a lightly buttered (or sprayed, with non-stick cooking spray) eight-inch square pan, and smooth the top. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes: the batter should no longer jiggle when the pan moves, but any toothpick inserted would be very chocolatey. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
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I have yet to get hold of the book Spilling The Beans but from the LONG wait at the library I gather it must be popular and let’s hope really good. I love these brownies and in place of the wheat flour I used brown rice flour and just a bit more than the 1/3 cup. Next time I make them I think I will try using a blend of flours maybe quinoa and brown rice. Let me know if you like them too!
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Not much going on in the way of knitting or felting I seem to run out of time and energy after work and household chores. But I have been reading mostly novels that I can pick up and put down easily during quick 30 minute lunch breaks and 15-20 minutes before I fall asleep at night.

I have been able to sew up a few skirts, one of which is my first Alabama Stitch Project trial. Very plain natural coloured organic cotton made with six gores instead of four. Stitched with purple thread ! I have not been able to take any photos of it yet but when I do I will post them 🙂 I promise.
I have three more different skirts ready to sew, one in a floral linen which just needs the waistband and hem to be finished. Another in dark purple organic cotton a different style again in A.S.P but I cannot decide on the stencil design for that one so it may be a while! and I completed a short A-line skirt in a lovely floral indian cotton. Can you tell I am hoping for warm weather here in B.C
I hope that you are enjoying whatever creative project you are working on at this time, that’s all for now.
With Love ❤

Thank You

Thank you to all of you that came out to the craft fair last w/e even in the pouring rain. There were lots of booths and over 2,100 people came through the doors. I had a good day and with the help of my daughter I was even able to get around and see some of the other wonderful crafters.
Now it is on with the family and friends Christmas gifts I always like to make as many as I can. I really need to get on and bake my Christmas cake as well. Does anyone have a really good wheat free Christmas cake recipe? if so please drop me a line.
Thanks again and have a happy holiday time with friends and family.

Upcoming Craft Fair

My goodness what a lot of time has passed since my last (confession…) oops! blog post. I have an excuse, really I do …I have a new job and I am making regular money … so I don’t have as much time to felt, knit or blog. But I would like to share with you my upcoming craft fair date.

http://dunbarcentre.ca/special_events/craftfair.htm

I have lots of new items this year as well as some favourites. I look forward to seeing you there and hope you have a lovely day browsing and buying handmade. You will find the most amazing array of crafty wonders with over 140 vendors and all in time for your Christmas shopping. Please come an introduce yourself at the Woolbrain booth.

November 26th Saturday 10am -5pm Dunbar Community Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia. Canada

Gluten Free Bread Machine Recipe

Here is a great recipe for gluten free rice bread to make in your bread machine. Now not all bread machines are the same so I can only speak for the one that I use: Black and Decker All-In-One Horizontal Bread Maker

1 cup of buttermilk (I often use soymilk or Almond Milk and add a tbsp lemon juice.
1/4 cup of butter or oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups of rice flour ( I change this up every now and again and use one cup of quinoa or cornmeal plus the one cup of rice flour, for a different texture and flavour)
1/3 cup potato starch flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/4 tsp of sugar ( I use brown)
3 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3 eggs
1 1/2 tbsp bread machine dry yeast

Mix buttermilk,rice,vinegar,butter and salt in the bread pan. Mix all the dry ingredients except the yeast in a bowl and whisk well. In a separate bowl beat the eggs lightly.
Place half the dry ingredients in the bread pan. Add the egg mixture. Add the rest of the dry ingredients; sprinkle the yeast on top. Select Light Crust setting and press Start.

Watch the dough in the kneading cycle and add more flour if needed using a rubber spatula to assist.
I have found that if I change to flour mix sometimes I need to add a little more flour to the kneading cycle.

1/4 cup of strong cheese grated adds good flavour. I like to add a teaspoon of dried mustard with this combination.

I hope you will enjoy the pleasure of making your own gluten free bread. This loaf freezes well if you slice it first.

Happy baking 🙂

From Felt To Friendship: A Great Little Book

I have been meaning to write about this wonderful book for weeks now but somehow time seems to get away on me perhaps it is the beautiful summer weather that has me lulled into a stupor!

The book is by Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown both very creative felting artists. There is lots to chose from here from basic flat felting to more detailed works including nuno felt, clothing, vessels and bags to name a few. The instructions are easy to follow and there are lovely photos showing the steps along the way plus many helpful hints and ideas. Each of these talented artists gives a little insight into their felting experiences and their inspiration with lovely photos of their home area. Both Chrissie and Nicola have on-line sites; Feltingfibres and Clasheen respectively.

I have wanted to wet felt for sometime now and have played around with different types of wool. As some of you may know I have even washed and picked some of my own fleece, which by the way I am having professionally carded as I write! I am very excited about having beautifully carded batts of Romney and Merino.

I have been busy making flat felt pieces plus a few vessels and now I have more ideas for felted jewellery. I love this book and the fact that it is a delightful size and fits easily in my bag for shopping and doesn’t take up lots of space on the felting table. All in all I think this is one of the nicest felting books on the market especially if you are just starting out on the grand adventure of wet felting.

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The Procrastinator Dyer's Diary

A Journal of Observations

rosiepink

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

The Creative's Tribulations

From the perspective of a frustrated creative.

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

lil fish studios

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

Attic24

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

FeltUnited

Uniting the world wide felt community

feltingandfiberstudio

An international collective of felt and fiber artists

dyefeltsool

documenting the process

tremblinginsidethecocoon

Just another WordPress.com site