30-Minute Craft: Cute Pincushion!

Yesterday my husband and I were antiquing (It was my husband's idea!) and I came across an old homemade pincushion that looked pretty simple to make. It was basically a round beanbag with yarn wrapped around it -- kind of like a stuffed Trivial Pursuit piece.

My rendition turned out cheerful and totally useful. I'm happy I finally got to toss my cheapo Wal Mart pincushion.

And here's how to make it.

a 6- or 7-inch bowl
a small amount of fabric
4 14-inch lengths of yarn
1-inch button
a cup or so of uncooked rice
pillow stuffing (I used chunky yarn cause I was out of stuffing)
Tapestry needle (make sure it can fit through the holes of the button)

Trace your bowl onto the wrong side of your fabric. Double up the fabric and cut out the circles.

Fold one circle in half and crease the center of it. Draw a 2-inch line in the center of the crease and make a cut on this line. This is where you will stuff the pincushion.

Put right sides together and sew all the way around the edges. Cut small slits along the edge so that the fabric won't ripple when you have it right-side out.

Turn the pincushion right side out through the hole you cut in the center. Stuff the cushion till it's about halfway full. I didn't have any stuffing so I just used scrap chunky yarn.

Using a funnel, fill the cushion with rice till it's stuffed but not too tightly stuffed.

Stitch up the hole. It doesn't have to be perfect because this seam will be on the bottom and yarn will be covering it.

Take a piece of yarn and double it. Then wrap it around the pincushion and tie it tightly with a square knot on the bottom of the cushion.

Do this with the other three pieces of yarn so it looks like a pie chart. Trim the ends of the yarn.

Thread your darning needle with a piece of yarn and push it up through the bottom of the pincushion so it comes up in the center of the top. Thread the button through and push the needle back down to the bottom. Tie this tightly and secure it with a good square knot. Trim the edges.

Now put pins in your new pincushion and enjoy!


How to Make Salmon Caviar

Last month I posted a short recipe for salmon caviar, or roe. In the past week we've had record salmon numbers run through the Kenai River. You couldn't pass a person in the grocery store without hearing the word "salmon" escape his lips. I had coworkers whose fishing group caught 160 reds in two days. My friend's family caught 60. Basically, if you had a dipnet and you dipped it in the Kenai River Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you're probably patting your belly because it is full of grilled salmon right now.

In the spirit of all things salmon, I thought I'd post a more detailed tutorial on how to process and then eat salmon roe. So now when your friends go fishing you can have them save their roe when they are gutting and then you'll reap all the benefits -- all the tasty, tasty benefits. And it's nutritious too!

Thanks Todd and Josh!

What you'll need:

  • A piece of 1/4-inch wire mesh grate
  • Lots of salmon eggs
  • A carton of kosher salt
  • Cold water
  • Large mesh strainer
  • One gallon freezer Ziploc bag
  • Rubber spatula
  • Non-aluminum mixing spoon
  • Small mesh strainer
  • Two large bowls
  • One small bowl

Place a large bowl in the sink and put the wire mesh over the bowl. Start pushing the eggs through the mesh. This will help separate the membrane from the eggs. You'll smash some of the eggs, but it's not a big deal. When you've pushed the eggs through as best you can, pick up the membrane and scrape off as many eggs as you're able. Discard the membrane into a small bowl.

When you've pushed all of the eggs through the wire, use a rubber spatula to scrape off the eggs from underneath the mesh. Set the mesh aside for cleaning.

Now fill the other large bowl with very cold water. Add a ton of salt so that there is still salt visible on the spoon when you stir it. This is a basic brine.

Carefully pour the eggs into the brine and stir. Let them sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Put a spoonful of eggs into a small strainer and rinse them off with cold water. Taste them. If they don't taste salty enough, let the eggs brine for a few minutes longer until they are salty to your taste. If they are too salty you'll have to soak the eggs in plain cold water till they become less salty.

When the eggs are to your liking, pour them into a large mesh strainer and run cold water over them for a couple of minutes, while stirring. You want to remove the salt water as best you can without overflowing the roe.

Be sure to wear your amethyst tennis bracelet while preparing this delicacy

Once the roe is rinsed, place the strainer in a large bowl. Make sure the bottom of the strainer doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl by inverting a small saucer or plate in the bowl. You don't want the roe to soak in the water. Rather, you want the water to strain out of the roe.

Fill a gallon bag with water and seal it up. Place the bag on top of the roe, which is in the strainer, which is in the bowl. Place in fridge overnight or for 12 hours. This will remove excess liquid and compress the roe, which means tastier roe!

When the roe is ready, place it in small jars with wide mouths.

Wide mouths mean easy roe access


From here you can distribute your roe to all of your gourmand friends. It will keep in the fridge for three days, but really, you shouldn't be storing this stuff. You should be stuffing this stuff into your mouth as fast as possible because it's so delicious.

In case you have a surplus of prepared salmon caviar (my parents will be processing 40 pounds of it this weekend) the best thing to do is to vacuum pack the jars themselves. Your caviar can keep for a few weeks if vacuum sealed.

Before vacuum packing, poke a couple of holes in the tops of the jars. This will get the air out of the jars while in the vacuum packer.

Store your roe in the back of the fridge where it's coldest. Eat your caviar with Carr's crackers and white wine.

Officially YUM. For more caviar answers and insights, I recommend this site. For a more detailed tutorial, click here.


Button Booty!

My mom and I went on the search for buttons this weekend and we found some seriously awesome ones. We took apart some dresses and sweaters, but the best haul was a woman we found on Craigslist who was getting rid of her button collection.

Check these ones out!

Summer Flower Fun

We've had some beautiful days this summer. It totally makes up for last year where it rained nearly every day (although the mushrooms were excellent last year). I thought I'd show off some of my flowers.

These ones grew from seeds that were left behind last year

These were teeny tea roses that grow on the side of the house

These roses grow on their own all around our property

These violas are my fave!

Not sure what these are, but they grow on their own each year

Wild columbine growing out front

Kelly transplanting

That's me!


Homemade French Fries

Our wedding anniversary is coming up so I forced Stephen to bust out last year's gift from me to him: our deep fryer. I mean, who actually uses a deep fryer? It is somewhat a waste of space, but we have a lot of cabinets. Even though it was only the third time we've used it and the oil reeked of falafel, we ended up with some tasty fries:

I made sure to soak them in super cold water and to dry them off as best I could before dunking them. 

Button Quest

I'm in the search for buttons. I've always been a collector -- a collector of stickers, patches, My Little Ponies, stamps, stationery, coins, buttons, pint glasses, Fiestaware, and basically anything shiny I find on the ground. It's hard to keep my collecting habits to a minimum so now I keep them more focused. I no longer collect any old notecard, but only ones I'd actually send to someone. Instead of buying every single piece of Fiestaware I see, I only get ones with minimal scratches and in colors I actually like.

I'd put my button collecting on hold until I started knitting my braided headband. Now I need three 1-inch buttons for each headband. I have a hard time finding good buttons unless I want to spend a bundle of money, by which I mean $1 or more each. I looked at Etsy yesterday and although there were oodles of gorgeous buttons at a reasonable price, they also tacked on shipping charges.

Here comes my brilliant and somewhat wasteful idea...buy thrift store clothes just to collect their buttons.


Oooh, powder blue suit jacket. No thanks.

But seriously, who would ever wear these garments? That's why for $3 I purchased these hideous pieces of clothing, clipped off the buttons and tossed them.



Wild Alaska Strawberries -- I love this state!

My family has secrets. And I don't mean the deep, dark kind. We have mushroom secrets and berry secrets. Our best kept one is our patch of wild strawberries. My husband and I came across this anonymous patch a few summers ago and we've gone back every year to pick the small, pale, sun-sweetened fruit.

My mama and I picked nearly a gallon today and there are even more unripe ones to pick in about a week.

Life is good. 


Nom Nom Popcorn

My friend Ashley spent all last week raving about her incredible maple cayenne popcorn. She gave me the recipe she used from December's Cooking Light Magazine. I'm not one for carmel corn, but holy moly was Ashley right. It's sweet, salty and just the right amount of spicy. This popcorn deserves some kind of professional Nom Nom Award. First prize!

1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/4 cup unpopped popcorn
1/4 cup cashews
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add the popcorn, cover and shake till kernels are popped. Stir in the cashews. Meanwhile, add the sugar, syrup, butter, salt and cayenne to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for one minute, stirring frequently. Pour syrup over popcorn and cashews and stir. Spread out on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and let cool at least 3 minutes. I stirred the mixture around on the cookie sheet to combine everything better.

Chow down!


Grilled Pepper Steak with Salt Baked Potato and Baby Greens

I am currently lying on my couch completely full and satisfied. I have finally learned how to grill a steak! Tonight I grilled steak and made salt-encrusted baked potatoes (fully loaded with homegrown chives) and I even was able to serve a small salad with greens from our very own garden! Here's what I made and how I made it:

2 thick steaks (I got the pre-peppered kind from the store)
2 baking potatoes
Baby salad greens
white of one egg
kosher salt
olive oil
1/4 lemon
2 strips of bacon
pickled jalapeños
shredded cheddar cheese
chives or green onions
sour cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Poke your potatoes all over with a fork. Coat them with egg white and cover them all over with kosher salt. Place in a baking pan and bake for one hour. Meanwhile, chop up your bacon and fry over medium-low heat until crispy. Drain on a paper towel.

When there is 20 minutes left on the potatoes, heat up your grill so it's around 600 degrees, or super hot. When there is 10 minutes left on the potatoes, put the meat on the grill. Grill four minutes on each side, then remove from grill and cover with foil.

When the potatoes are done cut a slit down the middle and puff them up using potholders. Add the butter, cheese, jalapeños, bacon bits, sour cream and top with chives.

Drizzle your greens with olive oil and then squeeze a wedge of lemon over them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serve with a glass of Mariette Old Vine Red and then go into a meat coma.

My First Garden

My husband and I rent a house on about a half acre-sized bit of land. It gets lots of sunlight in the summer and this year we finally got it together and built some garden boxes. We used the knowledge from www.squarefootgardening.org and in May built three square foot gardens. I couldn't afford vermiculite, so I used a mixture of top soil, peat moss and horse compost.

I planted beets, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, chives, basil, radicchio, radish, lettuce, mesclun, cilantro, kale and Swiss chard. Not everything was successful, but the things that are growing are starting to be edible. I made a small salad this evening.

Here are some photos of my first garden:

My biggest cauliflower

Little lettuces

Radishes have grown the best so far

My tiny salad!

Broccoli just starting


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...