Thursday, 22 August 2013

Mustard Making!

We made mustard! This was something that had been on our to-do list for a while, and with sausage season just around the corner, we decided it was time to give it a try. How we usually do things in the Beehive is that we choose a recipe, make a list of ingredients, and then call dibs on whatever we have already in our homes. We had everything that was needed on hand except the actual mustard seeds, which were purchased from Dilly’s at the Farmers Market (the yellow seeds) and Nations (the black seeds).

We all sat around the table, passed around the ingredients, and put them into our little jars, each making one cup of each mustard. This whole process took…about 15 minutes. For some silly reason we thought this whole mustard-making-process was going to be intimidating and tricky, but it was literally just measuring ingredients into a jar…and that’s it! So we ordered some pizza, grabbed our crafts, and had an impromptu Beehive meeting.

Then we waited 3-4 days, blended our concoctions at home, and reported on our findings. A few people found the lavender mustard a bit acidic, which might be because we substituted the water for white wine (assuming everything is better with wine – maybe not?), but other than that, the mustards turned out just lovely. I blended the yellow mustard and it was perfect (so flavorful!) but I’ve left my lavender mustard unblended for a few weeks, just to see what happens with some more time.
Here are the recipes we used:
Know of any tried-and-true mustard recipes? Feel free to share them in the comments!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

A Crafty Long Weekend: Natural Tie-Dyeing at the Cottage

This long weekend I took advantage of some time off and good weather to head up to my family's cottage on Lake Simcoe. I've found that the distractions and responsibilities of everyday life disappear while I'm up there, so it's an ideal place to work on crafty projects. This weekend I decided to focus on natural dyeing!

I've done some natural dyeing before, but had yet to venture into tie dyeing in this medium. When people think of tie dye, they often associate it with psychedelic bright neon colours and the hippy dippy fashions of the 1960s/70s. A few weeks ago I picked up Tie Dye: Dye it, Wear it, Share it, a book by fashion designer Shabd Simon-Alexander. This book is totally inspiring, and shows you how to use tie dye in more modern, wearable ways. I was confident that the soft, often muted colours of natural dyes would result in some lovely creations.

Hollie and Meg joined me on Sunday and Monday, but before they came up I got started on preparing some fabric to be dyed. To create polkadots I wrapped corn kernels (the only small uniformly round thing I had on hand) with fabric, then covered that with saran wrap, then elasticated it in place. I quickly ran out of elastic bands, so I scrunched the rest of the fabric and secured it with elastics.

The wonderful thing about tie-dye is that you can't go wrong! Sure there were some techniques we loved more than others, but everything we did looked great! It was all about experimentation. Some of our favourite techniques were folding and rolling (which creates stripes), and scrunching. "You can't go wrong with scrunching!" was an oft-heard phrase repeated throughout the weekend.

The best thing about natural dyeing at the cottage is being able to rinse everything out in the lake. Easy peasy! 

Peggy was present to inspect (and lick) our handiwork.

We rigged up all sorts of devices to try to get the dye patterns that we wanted. In the case of the above and below photos, Hollie wanted to only dip half of her bundle in the logwood dye bath, so she used a stick and some string to suspend it in place. 

We dyed with logwood (purple), madder (pink) and pomegranate (brown-ish). Using hot plates makes it possible to do this outside, which is great in the summer when the kitchen can be sweltering. It would be amazing to dye over an open fire one day.

Peg is an excellent supervisor.

We had a wonderful productive weekend, and now have lots of beautiful fabric to turn into napkins, scarves, blankets, tanks, and tees.