Sewing Adventures: Machine embroidering a lunch bag with the Brother Designi0 DZ820E

Although I still haven’t got my mojo back for completing my ruffled shirt, I’m going full steam ahead with the machine embroidery. Last evening, I decided to start making an updated lunch bag for my daughter’s Zojurishi lunch jar.

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Machine embroidering with Brother Designio


And so I sat behind my Brother Designi0 DZ820E and let the machine take over…

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Machine embroidered creepy doll

It feels strange watching a machine do all the embroidery. The only thing I need to do is swap colors and make sure nothing went wrong. I still have another panel to embroider, perhaps I’ll take care of that later today.

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Cauliflower and soybeans

My daughter and I love cauliflower! Especially cauliflower that’s freshly picked from the garden… nothing compares to the fresh slightly nutty taste.


Cauliflower and soy beans stir fry

Cauliflower and soybean stir fry


A few weeks ago, I made the above dish. In addition to the cauliflower it has soybeans, tomatoes, carrots, garlic and onions. We don’t regularly consume soybeans. In fact months and sometime years have gone by without us eating them, however we had a bag of soybeans in the home and I decided to add them to the above dish. I must say it was a wonderful choice.

With the addition of a few herbs and spices, that were freshly ground with my granite mortar and pestle, this dish was fragrant and flavorful. My daughter came back to it later to consume more. Next time, I make something similar, I’ll puree and use as a sandwich spread.

Fermenting Adventures: Water kefir grains are multiplying!

Earlier this week, my daughter and I consumed a bottle of kefir. That was an apple kefir and my daughter loved that a lot. It’s “lighter” than the kombucha. It looks like she’ll stick to the water kefir while I happily swap between the two.

Initially, I wasn’t seeing any growth with my water kefir grains, but four days after receiving the grains, I’m thrilled to say that they are multiplying! I’m thinking that changing the location of my water kefir grains made all the difference! Of course… I can’t show you how the grains originally looked since I did not think to take a before picture of my water kefir grains. However, moving forward, I promise I’ll start documenting the progress.

Water kefir grains are growing!

Water kefir grains are growing!


Initially, this sieve wasn’t overflowing with water kefir grains, but look at it now! It’s so nice that this healthy bacteria is very active. Because of how healthy my water kefir is doing, I was able to make three bottles from one quart of water kefir grains. This is an advanced post. It was written yesterday, 10/27/14. 

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Flavored water kefir


What you’re looking at above is the second ferment. These bottles will be ready to consume in about 14 hours. I still have them setting out in a warm spot, but after 12 hours, I’ll move them to the refrigerator. They will still ferment in the refrigerator, but at a much slower rate. Curious as to what flavors that are featured in the above picture? Starting from left to right, the first is a combination of the kefir water, apple juice and a tiny amount of hibiscus tea. The middle bottle is plain kefir water… which I find to be quite yumalicious and the last bottle is kefir water, hibiscus tea and a small amount of organic apple juice.

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Fresh batch of water kefir


Of course, I went through the simple process of making my water kefir again, which simply meant adding water (just shy of one quart) to my mason jar. I also added 1/4 cup of organic sugar. This is much simpler than the other water kefir bases I’ve made. I figured since my Big Berkey leaves the minerals in the water there was really no need to add more to the water and so I left out the egg shells, pinch of Himalayan sea salt and Blackstrap molasses.

Have I noticed any positive effects from drinking the natural water kefir soda? I think so… it has been touted to be great for gut health and I can tell you that first thing this morning I did have to have a bowel movement.  No need to be grossed out by that, it’s a natural bodily function. Perhaps if people talked more about colon health, we would not see the many diseases/deaths related to digestive issues. Just something to think about… ;)



Sewing Adventures: Machine Embroidery – Book love…

You know… I still haven’t finished that top that I started sewing. I feel that there’s something lacking and so I’ve set aside that project until I know what else I want to add to the shirt.


Embroidery Book Lover_1

This past weekend, in hopes of getting my sewing mojo back… I created this lovely embroidered shirt for my daughter. Being that she loves books as much as myself, I think it’s appropriate, don’t you?

Embroidery Book Lover_2

Machine Embroidery – Book love


I most likely will add some additional embroidery to this shirt, perhaps a saying on the other side? We’ll see! While I was embroidery the above shirt, my daughter was working on her drawing. She finished her drawing about an hour before I finished her shirt. In total, it took her nine hours to complete her picture and I must say it’s lovely! It didn’t take me nearly as long to finish embroidering her shirt. Perhaps a few hours…

Fermenting adventures: Water kefir – location is everythng

water kefir grainsWell… as I mentioned in an earlier post, my water kefir grains arrived a few days ago.

I must say that even with my packaged water kefir grains the process to get a batch of natural soda up and running was much quicker than my kombucha! To be fair, I had to grow a SCOBY, but if I ignore that part, it still was much quicker to get a natural soda with water kefir grains than with a Kombucha SCOBY ferment.

Once my water kefir grains arrived I rinsed them off thoroughly with some of water from my Big Berkey. I then added the grains to a one quart mason jar. In that mason jar I added  raw organic sugar, blackstrap molasses and about one quart of water. I skimmed a bit off the top so it would the mason jar would not be filled to the brim.

Location for Water Kefir

I placed my newly housed water kefir grains in the cabinet over my refrigerator. I saw a few bubbles. When I checked on them the next day, I saw some fizz. I poured out the kefir water into a jar and poured it down the sink. It was still too sweet for me.

Purchased  Water Kefir: Setting up a routine

From my readings, when you acquire water kefir grains from someone else it’s a great idea to rinse them daily until they become active. After rinsing, I repeated the above process but this time I added part of a boiled eggshell. From my research water kefir grains love this, because of the minerals found in eggshells. I also added a few raisins… perhaps five? Again for the added minerals. The next day, I saw that the water kefir water was very fizzy. Still a bit too sweet for my taste, but it was starting to get a bit of tang that I loved.

New location – Magic Happens

I repeated the process with my new grains and decided to place them in a new location. Right near the woodstove. Water kefir grains seems to do well around the 70F range. Later that day, I took a peek and Whoa!!!! There was an explosion of bubbles and fizz inside the jar. The above video isn’t mine, but it gives you an idea about all the bubbling I was seeing. Tiny water kefir grains had risen to the top of the jar and if you listened closely you could actually here the fizzing. I can’t wait to put this water kefir in a second ferment, let it sit for 24 hours, and try my first home made water kefir soda. ;)

Whole Foods: Peeking into my Natural Pantry

Curious as to what’s lurking in my kitchen cabinets? Well I’ve opened one so you can see.

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My whole food pantry

This is what you’ll see in my cabinents, whole food goodness. I purchase my spices, herbs, roots, leaves, etc., in bulk and it’s whole form. In doing so I increase the freshness of the various items and the nutrition content is much higher.

I’m also big on recycling, many of these items you see above were taken from their bags and transferred to glass containers. That had originally been used for something else. Some of these recycled items I purchased myself and others jars/containers were given to me.

Fermentation adventures: Finally making my sourdough starter…

One of the challenges a person can face for wanting to prepare everything themselves, is finding the time to do just that.

Take myself for example, I love that I’m so self-sufficient. When it comes to meal preparation, clothing and skin care products. I really don’t have to rely on someone or a company to make the things for me. I’m perfectly capable of doing them myself. However, I don’t always get things done when I want. After all, there’s only so much time in a day.

Sourdough was one of the projects that fell through the cracks.

Initially, I’d written about making my own sourdough starter on September 1, and while I’d had every intention to start my own sourdough starter, that never happened.

If you remember, I mentioned that I’d heard about sourdough from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book, By the Shores of Silver Lake….

“But how do you make the sour dough?” Mrs. Boast asked. “You start it,” said Ma, “by putting some flour and warm water in a jar and letting it stand till it sours.” “Then when you use it, always leave a little,” said Laura. “And put in the scraps of biscuit dough, like this, and more warm water.” Laura put in the warm water, “and cover it,” she put a clean cloth and the plate on the jar, “and just set it in a warm place,” she set it in its place on the shelf by the stove. “And it’s always ready to use whenever you want it.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder: By the Shores of Silver Lake

It hasn’t been laziness that has kept me from making sourdough, instead I’ve been having numerous other fermenting adventures with the most recent being Kombucha! Not only did I create my own SCOBY at home, I’ve successfully made kombucha. I just haven’t gotten around to drinking it yet.