Saturday, March 19, 2011

making vanilla extract

I finally got around to buying some plain vodka to make vanilla extract. My extra vanilla beans from the vanilla syrup project were going bad, so I ordered more from the same seller.

Vanilla extract is so simple to make. I cut the beans lengthwise (leaving the top and bottom attached), put a handful of these cut beans in jars, then filled the jars with vodka. I keep them in a dark cabinet, and every now and then I give them a shake.

Here they are just five days later.

I'm thinking of letting these steep until the winter holidays. Might make for interesting homemade presents.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

garden dreams

We're moving at the end of this month into a bottom-floor apartment. Our new place is in a triplex on a residential street. I have been given permission by the owner to garden to my heart's content. And so I shall.

I will start with herbs in containers. Baby steps. At some point, probably not until the summer, I will build a simple raised bed outside. It might not happen this year, but I have dreams of small theme beds. Can you guess what theme I'm going for here?

spanish roja garlic

My favorite place to look for seeds is the Territorial Seed Company. The images above are from their online catalog. The links will take you there.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

two sweaters

Last month I started knitting two sweaters. I know what you're thinking. Isn't knitting one sweater hard enough? But the sweaters are so very different, and let me exercise different parts of my knitting brain. So some days I work more on my February Lady Sweater, and others I work more on Joe's tree sweater. And some days I don't pick up either sweater.

The February Lady Sweater is knit from the top down. The top portion is rather plain, but taught me how to do raglan shaping. I'm now on the bottom part, which is a 4-row repeat of the gull lace pattern. My Ravelry notes here.

Joe's tree sweater is a seamless hybrid sweater from Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Without Tears book. The tree part of his tree sweater is an intricate, cabled tree that I am attempting on the front of his sweater. His sweater is knit from the bottom up, so I am currently working on the roots section of the tree.

I hope to have the February Lady Sweater finished by summer, since it'll be a light and airy sweater. Joe's sweater will hopefully be complete by his birthday in September. Although, they both very well might take me a good deal longer. I've been known to stretch a project out for years.

What crafts are keeping you busy this Spring?