What I’ve been up to and adventures in upcycling

Does anybody else feel super guilty when they don’t blog for a while? Yes? OK, me too. Alack and alas, I’ve been too busy. I know that’s not a great excuse and I should find the time to blog, but, well, I’ve been too busy. My husband and I opened our brewery March 6, had a grand opening March 8, and have been getting into the rhythm of running our own business ever since. For those of you out there with small business experience, you know what it’s like to wake up, bound out of bed, try to get as much done as humanly possible in the shortest amount of time possible, realize it’s 3 p.m. and you still haven’t eaten anything, try to spend quality time with your child (because that’s more important than anything, and that includes blogging), work, work, work, finally eat something at 9 p.m., and collapse into bed. Welcome to my past few weeks. Whew!

Luckily I found some time today while the Peanut was sleeping to do something just for me. I’ve been missing having creative outlet nearly every day. Before March I was turning out crochet projects right and left. Since the beginning of March I’ve added about three rows to the ripple blanket I’m working on. So it was high time for a little crafty time.

I had an old purple knit sweater I bought from Eddie Bauer years ago. It has been very loved, but the shoulders were starting to fray from so much use. So instead of getting rid of it, I cut the back out of it to use as backing for a pillow case. Here’s the raw materials for my project:

Raw matieralsThe church my mother-in-law attends has been clearing out a lot of the yarn and material it has accumulated for projects over the years. It’s a sad thing, really, that so few people still attend services there that there’s no one to make blankets and scarves for people who need them. So Terry has given a lot of the fabric to me. It’s lovely stuff, too. I can’t wait to make all sorts of things with it. The two fabrics in the photo above both came out of the box she brought me when she and my father-in-law came to visit a few weeks ago.

The actual cutting of fabric and sewing it together took me about an hour while Peanut slept. It was nice to use my sewing machine again after not touching it for months!

Upcycled pillow frontHere’s the front of my upcycled pillow on our bed (the quilt is also something I made).

Upcycled pillow backAnd here’s the back of the pillow, using the sweater. Turned out pretty nicely, huh? Advice for anyone else sewing on knitwear: It’s stretchy, so let the sewing machine pull the knit material through instead of tugging it through yourself. It gets all bunchy and weird if you tug it.

Upcycled pillowI’m delighted by how my quick little project turned out! It feels nice to make something after several weeks of working all the time. It’s also nice to have something new (made from something old) to spruce up our bed!

Upcycled pillow  and room

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Bagels for breakfast

Using one of our bread recipe books, my husband made homemade bagels for breakfast this morning. They are whole wheat with cinnamon sugar and raisins.

In the above photo are the bagels before they’ve been cooked.

To prepare the bagels, one first cooks them in simmering water for three minutes, flipping them after the first two minutes. Then the bagels are transferred to the oven onto a bread stone. A broiler pan with a cup of water is placed underneath the stone to use for steam cooking.

Oh, and they were mighty delicious. Don’t think we’ll be going back to the store-bought kind!

A thousand words

OK, this post is probably not quite that long. But as the saying goes, that’s what a picture’s worth. Just wanted to let everyone know to check out the Gallery tab (far right, below the banner that reads “The Morning District” on the top of this blog). I’ve finally added some photos (and plan to add more over time). Check them out at your leisure!

In other news, this is my 30th week of pregnancy, and I have another OB appointment later today. Hoping again for a clean bill of health for both baby and me. I have been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions for a couple of weeks now, which I do plan to talk to the OB about, but hopefully that just means my uterus is just getting warmed up for the big event and will perform like a champion! I am planning on having a natural child birth (but if I have to have an epidural or an unplanned C-section because Baby C is in distress, well, so be it), so I’m trying to prepare myself. I’ve started doing special stretches a physical therapist at the childbirth class last weekend gave me to get my body open and supple. I’m also trying to find time each day to center myself and practice focusing. I’ve heard from other moms that being able to focus and concentrate through contractions and pushing is super important.

Speaking of the childbirth class Shawn and I took, I have to say that I’m really glad we did. It was six hours both Saturday and Sunday last week, but despite the length, we learned a lot. And I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with labor and delivery and breastfeeding following the class. There were probably eight other couples besides Shawn and me there, most of them due about a month ahead of me, though one lady isn’t due until the middle of February. It was interesting to see the range of bellies present! Mine wasn’t the biggest or the smallest, but right in the middle. Some ladies knew the genders of their babies, while others were waiting for the surprise. No twins in our class.

During the class, we learned about a wide range of topics. We did some physical therapy and were given a number of exercises to do, like I mentioned before. We learned about the different kinds of pain medication (still hoping that won’t apply to me!), about C-sections, about infant care in the first few weeks after birth. We watched a number of videos on the various topics. The dads got to diaper a “baby” (ours was a teddy bear… must’ve gotten mixed up in the nursery 😉 ), and learn to swaddle. We talked about breastfeeding versus formula. I learned all sorts of random little things too; for example, you’re not supposed to clip your baby’s fingernails for at least 10 days after birth because the nail hasn’t separated from the nail bed yet and you will cut their skin! We’ll need to pick up some baby mittens!

The most helpful part of the class for me was the breastfeeding information. I’ve been worrying about having trouble learning to breastfeed, and who knows, I may still struggle, but we went through ways to help the baby learn to nurse and nursing techniques. We even talked about proper breastfeeding posture! If anything, I’m more comfortable with everything now because I know a lot more than I did, even with reading books and chatting with moms. Plus the nurse who taught the class was a riot! She was so funny and made the class go by quickly. A definite talent!

The weekend before that, I got together with the ladies from my crafty club for some applesauce canning! It was a hoot! We canned about 40 pounds of apples, which came to about 40 jars of sauce. We divided the jars between us as well as the remaining apples (local Macintosh).

Here’s Camden showing those apples who’s boss! Camden and Sharie spent a long time chopping apples to toss in the pot to cook.

After the apples cooked down for a while, we transferred them to the chinois (a marvelous tool — pick one up!), where one of us ground them down with a pestle, which separates the skins and errant seeds from the sauce. Katie demonstrates below:

It’s messy but satisfying! To the sauce we added a little sugar (one or two cups, depending on the batch) and a some cinnamon. Then we filled mason jars with the applesauce and processed them in a boiling water bath for 15-20 minutes. We ate homemade pizza for dinner while listening to the pops of sealing jars. A great day spent with friends.

OK, according to my word counter thingie, this post is 797 words. See? Not quite 1,000.