Monday, October 28, 2013

The Whimsical Witch-Hat

This fast, easy hat is designed with a floppy brim as well as a flopped-over point. Whip one up for yourself, and another for your favorite pumpkin. (Shown with neckwarmer from the Witch Warmers pattern.)

UPDATE:  To make this hat, please use US size L / 8 mm--or the hook that gives you the correct gauge.  I have replaced the downloadable file with a corrected version.

Skill Level   Easy

156-206 yds / 143-189m acrylic, wool, or blend worsted weight
in 3 colors

Schematic diagram included.

A free .pdf of this pattern is available as a download.

download now

You can find a tip and a variation for this pattern in the following posts:
Lil' Punkin Hats
Base Chain Circle
Felted Variation by designer, Daile Boulis

More Halloween crochet projects:
Witch Warmers in Crochet
Pumpkin Warmers
Halloween Treatwarmers

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book: Solviva

Solviva: How to Grow $500,000 on One Acre, and Peace on Earth
by Anna Edey

This is a marvelous book by a woman who has developed Earth-friendly ways of growing food, running a household, and making a living. She built a home and a big greenhouse on her land in New England, which are solar-heated and have an ingenious wastewater filtering process. After growing vegetables like gang-busters in her south-facing solarium that opens into her home, she built herself an amazing greenhouse and turned it into a salad-production business. If you are interested in saving the Earth, this is the book for you!

Friday, October 25, 2013

FO Friday: A Funny Witch Hat

I got this hat done, and it's the final prototype for The Whimsical Witch-Hat, a free pattern which will be done in a day or two.  I just need to make the Small size to get the yardage and dimensions... Medium and Large are done.  The pattern document and schematic are pretty much done, also.

In the photo, I'm also wearing the neckwarmer from the Witch Warmers pattern.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Microwave Oatmeal

This is an easy way to get your whole grains every day, without a bunch of gluten, white flour, or refined sugar.  Add some frozen blueberries, and you've got your antioxidants, too.


1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup water
toppings such as honey, maple syrup, butter, raisins, frozen blueberries, cinnamon, etc.


Put oats and water in a microwave-safe bowl--the one you will eat from.

In a 1000-watt microwave, heat on High for 1 minute.  Remove and stir in the toppings of your choice.

Let sit for about 5 minutes.

For thicker oatmeal, use less water.  For thinner, use more water.

Makes 1 serving.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WIP Wednesday: A Hat for Halloween

I know, this doesn't look like a work-in-progress (WIP).  But really, it is.  This is the second prototype for my upcoming free witch hat pattern.  The reason I consider it to be unfinished  is because it needs some tweaking, and I ran out of purple yarn and had to finish the point with brown.  The next  tweaks to the design will be to widen the brim and make the stripe lower.  With any luck, I'll have the pattern done in a few days.

Below is the first prototype.  While it looks pretty good flat, it looks very dumb on the head--the proportions just aren't right, and it's not stiff enough to stand up very well.  Also, this shot is of the back, showing the stripes' color change junctions.

You can find links to other WIP Wednesday posts online here and here.

Friday, October 4, 2013

FO Friday: Gray's Afghanatomy

It's FO (finished object) Friday, and I've got two for you.  Above, is a little lap-ghan made with my Circle Lap-ghan free pattern.  It's kinda mesmerizing, laid out like this.

And below, is the finished prototype of my new Diagonal Lap-han pattern.  It's free also.

You can find more FOs (finished objects) online here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Greek Yogurt

Once every week or two, I make Greek yogurt. We keep it in little covered bowls in the 'fridge, for a healthy snack or breakfast. My husband came up with the idea of flavoring it with frozen fruit juice concentrate, which gives it an intense flavor without adding a bunch of sugar. I like to add blackstrap molasses for an unusual flavor and some great nutrients.


32 oz. plain yogurt
1/2 cup frozen juice concentrate
    (optional flavoring)
    OR 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
Set a large strainer on top of a large bowl. Rinse a clean dishcloth well, and wring it out. Lay it in the strainer.

Place yogurt in the cloth-lined strainer. Cover and refrigerate for 6-24 hours.

Save the drained liquid whey in your refrigerator for other uses, or discard.

If you're adding ingredients, place the remaining yogurt (about 2 cups) back in the emptied bowl, and stir in the juice concentrate or molasses.  Put 1/3 cup yogurt in each serving container, such as a small jar or bowl with an airtight lid.

Cover and store in refrigerator.

Makes six to seven 1/3-cup flavored servings.


1. Apple juice-based fruit juice concentrates tend to make the yogurt a bit lumpy but it still tastes good. Citrus, pineapple, etc. work better.

2. To prevent drips in the refrigerator, lay the dishcloth corners up on top of the lid or plate covering the yogurt.

3. The longer you drain, the thicker it will be.  24 hours gives a nice, thick yogurt even after adding flavoring.  It also removes more whey, which some people have a sensitivity to.

4. The left-over whey can be used in place of milk for baking, as a starter for lacto-fermenting pickles or making vinegar, or you can water plants with it to add nutrients. My friend Absinthia, who bakes a lot of bread, says that she uses whey successfully in place of milk... but when I have tried it, the bread didn't turn out well--no idea why.

You can find more information here.