Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Crochet Pullover with embroidery from Valentino


I already posted this one, but I found some more images and I think it is worth another posting in the middle of the winter.








Friday, January 23, 2015

Margarita Crochet Maxi from Free People

I like the skirt, but I don't understand why they made this patch up front? Back is good, front upper part is unfortunate.







Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Healthy living. My way of making home-made Greek yogurt in the multi-cooker.

Hi, everybody!
This is an unusual post for my blog and I am labeling it "Healthy living".

I am trying to eliminate as many chemicals from my life as I can. 
I already ditched many things, like anti-perspirants, commercial shampoos, perfumes, full of phthalates and parabens. I am sick of that waterfall of chemicals they dump on us without warning! I would like to spread a word, so more people stop buying that crap and we get more healthy choices in the stores! Sorry for the strong words!
Today I want to talk about  yogurt.
As you might know:

"Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is the largest selling dairy animal drug in America. It’s injected into cows to increase milk production, but it is banned in at least 30 other nations because of its dangers to human health.( http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/11944-banned-foods.html )

In that article you'll find 10 toxic foods that are banned in some countries, but in USA.
 


We are better off buying organic, people. My family doesn't drink milk, but we eat yogurt, which is very expensive if you buy organic ($1.90 a cup in our store!)
So I started to make my own and you don't need a yogurt maker for that. I think those are just useless for Greek yogurt, they are too small. I searched quite a bit and did not find a suitable one for me. Besides, almost all of them are made out of plastic!
Let's begin with math:
1 cup = 8.45 oz
1 yogurt = 5.3 oz / $1.99, so 1 cup would cost (8.45/5.3) x $1.90 = $3.03 
I get at least 7 cups of yogurt out of 1 gallon of organic milk ($5.99)
7 cups x $3.03 = $21.2 would cost me at the grocery store.
$21.2 - $5.99 (cost of milk) = $ 15.21 in savings. 
Besides, yogurt you'd make has much more bacteria because it's fresh. They say there is almost no bacteria in 1 month old yogurt.

You will need:
1. Electric cooker.
I own this one
http://www.amazon.com/Secura-Electric-Pressure-Stainless-Browning/dp/B008A852ZW
and it changed my life! I don't like cooking, but I cook, my family eats only home-made meals, including in school and at work. :))
So if you don't have one, and if you like me, want to throw everything in and forget about it and get a meal in 30 minutes, you need this thing!
If you have a Dutch oven, you can use that one too, though I don't have any experience with them. Google "home made yogurt in Dutch oven".
There are multi-cookers out there with "yogurt" mode, I think it's my next purchase. I guess it would make the process faster.
 
2. Organic milk - 1 gallon. I use 2% milk. Whole milk produces the same amount, but kind off thicker and more delicious yogurt. It's your choice.
3. 1 cup store bought organic yogurt for a starter (you won't need it every time, just once in a while) I buy Greek Stonyfield.
4. Big strainer.
5. Cheese cloth.
6. Big bowl to put a strainer on, so you have room in the bowl for whey to strain from yogurt.

Steps: 
 
1. Pour a bit of water in the cooker, turn it on on "pressure" mode for 10 minutes (to get rid of possible bad bacteria in the pot). Empty the pot.

2. Pour milk in a cooker, turn on "warm" setting for 10 minutes. Check that milk is warm, it should be 110 - 115 F (43-46 C). I don't have a thermometer and I just check if it's warm.

3. Turn the cooker off, close the lid, leave it for 24 - 36 hours. It's winter now and it's about 60 F in the house, so I leave it for 36 hours. In summer 24 hours will be more than enough, I guess. It's all practice.

4. Cover a strainer with cheese cloth, put it on top of big bowl so you have room for whey.

5. Pour yogurt in the strainer (I usually keep about 4 cups for the next time as a starter), leave it in the fridge over nigh. Enjoy your Greek yogurt in the morning! 

I use whey for making pancakes or they say it's a very healthy protein beverage. 

I buy new yogurt as a starter about every 4th time, but you can do it every time. You also can buy a dry starter for yogurt, but they are expensive.

So, that's it. 
You can add fruits in the yogurt right before eating.
You can use it to make salad dressings.
I add it to soups.
It taste so good, you will never go back to store bought yogurts, believe me!
Good luck and be healthy, my friends! 
Love to all,
Natalia
 



Monday, January 19, 2015

Charts vs written instructions. A few thoughts.

Hello, everybody.
I would like to say a couple things about charts vs written instructions.
I just sent my response to a person who asked me to write instructions for the Boston Proper long vest.
Well, I told here I can't do that because I already feel guilty that I made charts to somebody's pattern, so I am not making this pattern even easier to recreate and I am sorry to disappoint people.
On other hand, someone who would like to make more complicated garments, has to step out of her comfort zone and learn how to read charts. Ones it's done, it makes so much easier to follow patterns! I make my own patterns for sale when I have my work permit. I always include charts and written instructions, knowing that there will be some people who don't read charts, but with complicated garments, it's not always possible to explain everything in written instructions.
I start with  charts/diagrams, drawing them in vector graphic software "inkscape" (it's free, but you have to spend some time to learn the software), then I write instructions and get a bit angry at someone, who started that whole written instructions thing and made people not learn otherwise! Charts make so so so much more sense!
We don't write instructions for electrical circuits, do we? It's the same thing, sometimes it's acceptable, sometimes it's impossible, but it's never more efficient than charts.
It's like metric system! One crashed spaceship with people in it is a part of the price for that! If I had power, I would make all countries that not using metric system, transit to it. It's not so many of them out there!
There are people wired differently who can't read charts no matter what. They are a subject for a different discussion.
If one wants to take it further and crochet something more complicated and has nothing regarding mind ability that would stop her or him from learning how to read charts, the best would be to do that.
I am thinking of creating lessons on reading charts, because of my frustration when I open any magazine, published in US. very often it's pages of instructions that can be replaced by one diagram!
I ask the Universe, please, send me a work permit this year!
Best luck to all of you with your projects and let's find power inside us to learn something new! We push our children to explore and learn skills by not doing things for them and letting them do them on their own and get (let's face it) a bit lazy sometimes when it comes to our own. :)))


Believe me, this thing is easy and you can kick yourself and do that!


Love you all!
Natalia