Making Wool Dryer Balls From Recycled Wool Clothing


I love dryer balls.  They really do help the laundry dry quicker and more evenly.  Although we use our clothing line for a good majority of our laundry 3 seasons of the year and a fold up rack in the house in Winter, we still have things we need to put in the dryer.  Up until now I've used plastic dryer balls but I don't like plastic and have wanted to replace them.  Who would've guessed it would be so easy?

If you happen to have any 100% wool clothing or blankets lying around that you don't use and have, perhaps, considered giving away, this is the perfect craft for you!  If you don't, you can certainly pick these items up inexpensively at a thrift store.

A sweater makes quite a few which works out great with the Holiday's coming.  They would make a great gift for someone who is interested in making the change to natural products.  Pair the dryer balls with a jar of homemade laundry detergent  for a great gift set!

Although wool dryer balls can be made with all wool roving, all wool yarn or wool scraps paired with either yarn or wool roving, this tutorial will be on utilizing clothing with wool roving holding it all together.  I love recycling where we can.

Wool Dryer Balls

What you'll need:
Wool clothing/blanket
Wool Roving {found at a yarn store, craft store or online}
Old nylons/tights
Scissors

Amount of time:  about 15 minutes.  Really!  Not including washing/drying time.





In order to make a tennis ball-sized ball, this is what I found to be the most effective way.  Cut the sweater {I used a sweater, so I'm calling the wool item a sweater} into roughly 8 1/2" squares.  If you're a perfectionist, no need to get out the ruler or measuring tape.  Just make it approximate.  Really!  Keep all of the wool scraps as you cut your squares.  {strips work too, I just stayed consistent with squares}


Take the nylons/tights and cut off the legs in the crotch area.  Discard the top and keep the legs.  Set aside.


Take a small wool sweater scrap {maybe 1-2 inches x a couple of inches} and roll it into a rough ball.  Put your ball on the center of one of the 8 1/2" squares you cut and begin folding in the sides/corners to create a larger ball around your original ball.  Your original {smaller} ball now becomes the center of your larger ball.

wool roving


Take a piece {or pieces} of wool roving and wrap it around your wool ball to hold it together.  All of the areas where the wool is creased together leaving what would be a seam or gap, make sure you've got wool roving over it.  When it felts during the wash/dry, it will shrink up and hold the entire ball together.

Note- this will not be a perfectly shaped ball and will still be a bit loose.  Don't fret - as it felts it will create a ball.


Holding the leg opening of the cut nylons/tights, push the wool ball down to the toe and tie a knot around the nylon/tight to hold it in place.

Continue with the rest of the wool and continue placing them in the nylons/tights and knotting between each.


When finished you'll have an interesting looking collection of dryer balls.

Place the nylon/tights into the washing machine and wash {with clothing is fine, as long as you keep darks with darks, lights with lights, etc.} on hot.  HOT.  Throw them in the dryer, not removing from the tights/nylons, until completely dried.

Now is the time to check them out.  Remove one dryer ball from the tights/nylon and see if it's felted together.  If not, put it back in the nylon and wash and dry the entire collection of balls again.  I found they need to be washed and dried at least twice.

Ta da!!

You now have recycled wool dryer balls that can be used over and over and over and....

To use:  Place 2 dryer balls in the dryer with wet clothing.  {Darks with darks, lights with lights and whites with whites.}  As the clothing is spun around the balls will absorb some of the moisture helping reduce static and enabling the clothing to dry quicker.


Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

Apple Puff Pastry Tart


Yesterday I mentioned I was thinking of combining apples, puff pastry and homemade frangipane and, hooray, it worked!  It made a crispy, lightly sweet Fall dessert.

If you've never made Frangipane before don't fret.  It's a super simple thick nut spread, lightly sweetened, that is great spread onto a tart base.  It also stores well in the refrigerator or freezer, so making it ahead of time is a great time-saver.

Make sure you un-thaw your puff pastry the night before by putting in the refrigerator until ready to use.  If you want to push this delicious little dessert over the top, serve with vanilla or caramel ice cream, or drizzle with homemade caramel sauce!


Apple Puff Pastry Tart
Makes either 2 large squares or 8-10 circles/smaller squares

1 package {1 pound} frozen all-butter Puff Pastry
1 recipe Frangipane, see below
2-3 large apples {Granny Smith or Golden Delicious are good choices}, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare 2 baking sheets with sil-pat mats or parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a small bowl combine granulated sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.

lightly score the dough
Decide which size of tart you want - large or individual.  For large, lay out one sheet of puff pastry and lightly score about a 1/4 " in from the edge {I used a pizza cutter and pressed very lightly} - being careful not to cut through the dough.  If you want to make individual sizes, using a cookie cutter cut out 4-5 4" circles from one sheet of dough.  Score in the same manner, inside the outer edge.



Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with second sheet of puff pastry.

Distribute the frangipane evenly onto each piece of dough and carefully spread out to the scored edge of each.  Arrange apple slices on top of the frangipane, overlapping only slightly.  Dot the top of each tart with a bit of the butter, and sprinkle tarts with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Bake until crispy and golden brown, 18-25 minutes.


Frangipane
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts or almonds {if you don't have ground nuts, grind them in a food-processor, watching closely so they don't turn to nut butter}
1/4 cup powdered/icing sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, at room temp.

grind the nuts so they are still powdered, not yet turned into nut butter
Using an electric mixer, mix the butter, nuts, sugar and flour just until beginning to blend.  Add the eggs and mix until smooth.

ours is very yellow from our farm-fresh eggs!
Frangipane can be transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated up to 2 weeks or put in the freezer for up to 1 month.



Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

Weekend








tomatoes stolen from the garden mean big excitement!





Work.

That one word sums up our weekend.

We are working very hard on this one full weekend we have "off".  When I say off, I mean no craft shows or farmer's markets to attend.  But that means we need to get products made for the start of the Winter Farmer's market season as well as the Holiday craft shows.  They all start next weekend.

How is it the end of October already?

We were at the craft store yesterday picking up a few things and lo and behold there were Christmas items out.

sigh.......

Christmas?

I know, it's nice to get started with shopping and crafting early but it just doesn't seem like it should be that time already.

My attempt at making caramel apples this weekend was a bust.  I had no luck finding caramel.  How can that be???  It's Fall!  Rather than making it from scratch, because of lack of time, I thought for sure I would be able to buy it in the store.  Wrong.  Instead, I went online and ordered it so we'll be enjoying them next weekend.

I do have puff pastry in the freezer and almonds in the pantry so I'm thinking of a possible apple tart on puff pastry with a smear of freshly made frangipane.  It seems like it would be delicious - fingers crossed it turns out that way.

Despite the fact that we've had a few frosts, we are still enjoying the last of the tomatoes {and the Coop Girls are enjoying stealing them while they "help" around the yard}.  Broccoli is continuing to produce and the carrots we planted for an early spring harvest are looking great.

Speaking of the Coop Girls, they are producing very few eggs between molting and the seasonal change.  We had a production meeting the other day because we are receiving 1-3 eggs a day between the 14 girls.  I told them I think we could at least get a couple more.  After all, some of the girls are younger and not molting much this year.  During the meeting I think Allie scoffed at me and dared me to follow through with my threat of bringing in more girls.  Their expected arrival is Wednesday this week.  She'll have more soldiers to do her digging for worms since although she enjoys eating, she doesn't enjoy the work to get them.

Jack had on his grouchy pants for most of Saturday.  Seems the little man got up on the wrong side of the bed and was tired and cranky.  Today, however, is a new day.  Jack has discovered a new trick.  He's always up for new discoveries.  He has a cat perch a few feet from the bottom of the stairs.  He figured out this morning that if he runs down the stairs at top speed and jumps onto his perch that it will rock back and forth, just short of falling over on it's side.  He hangs on, ears back, with his claws.  It seems this is fun for him, although he looks like a stressed-out mess while it's rocking back and forth, so that's what he's been up to for entertainment today.  As long as it keeps him out of trouble.....

Soup has been in full production for lunches since the temp's have dipped for Fall.  Chicken and Rice, Cheeseburger Soup, Tortellini/Spinach/Sausage Soup, Baked Potato Soup and Chicken Tortilla Soup have all been on the menu these last couple of weeks.  Soup and homemade bread.  Is there anything better?

On the dinner menu this week:  Lasagna with salad and Pizza Dough Rolls; Chicken and Biscuits; Pulled Pork Sandwiches in the Slow-Cooker with Mac & Cheese and Broccoli; Grilled BBQ Chicken Quarters with Rice and Squash; Grilled Steaks with Homefries and Squash; Chicken Florentine with Creamy Kohlrabi.

We're hoping you're having a wonderful weekend!!


Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

Light Shades of Green: 10 Tiny Changes You Can Make On Your Path To Green Living


Why "light shades of green"?  You hear it all the time, "go green".  Product packaging often promises "green" which is supposed to mean buy it, this is good.  Many times this is true, however, as we often see things listed "organic", "natural" and "heart healthy" when it's not necessarily so, the term "green" can be misused as well.  People often associate going green with spending big bucks and inconvenient changes.  

This series is about the small modifications, habit-changing if you will, that can lead to huge personal and planetary rewards.



10 Tiny Changes You Can Make

  1. Use motion-sensor lighting for outdoors instead of leaving non-sensor lighting on throughout the night.
  2. Use organic, natural, fertilizer rather than chemical/synthetic fertilizer.
  3. Plant fast-growing shade trees on the East and West facing sides of your home.
  4. If you use your dryer, clean your dryer lint screen after every load to enable it to run more efficiently.
  5. Open curtains on sunny days in cool weather and close them on sunny days in hot weather.
  6. Use caulking or weatherstripping to fill gaps around doors and windows.
  7. Instead of pre-rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher, try just scraping them.
  8. Use a bucket {or 2} to gather the water in the shower that runs while you're waiting for it to heat up, then use it to water plants.
  9. Fix a running or leaky toilet.
  10. Brew your homebrew instead of buying it.  Go a step further and buy the equipment secondhand.



What are some of the small things you do?
Click here for more Tiny Changes.


Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

Weekend














Happy Sunday!  Fall weather is back - pretty excited about that.  It was quite warm and humid throughout the week, not Fall-ish at all, but the air has found it's crispness again.

Friday was our last trip back to Rhode Island for the year.  That's the reason for all the beach photos.  It's a 4-hour drive for us each way, but it's a place we can just relax, clear our minds, and reset.  Winter is going to be extremely busy for us so we decided we were in need of this little day trip.

The weather was amazing - breezy but the sun was shining brightly.  We walked the beach in Galilee, had fresh seafood for lunch, and sat to watch the boats coming and going.  The surf was just starting to get pretty good because of the hurricane in Bermuda so we enjoyed watching the surfers for quite some time at Point Judith as well.

Saturday was a rainy day and our last day at the summer Farmer's Market in Ballston Spa.  Despite the rain and the very poor vendor appearance {only 5 of us showed up}, we had quite a few happy customers that could at least cross some items off of their lists.  Our winter market starts November 2nd giving us 1 full weekend off to prep products.  We spent the time between customers on Saturday discussing our gameplan for the winter market as well as next summer's market{s}.  We were cold from sitting in the rain so we turned the pellet stove on and made a quick stovetop version of Chicken Tortilla Soup when we got home.

Today we're making soap and filling orders.  We're also on our way down to the Sunday market to find out where our space will be when we start that in 2 weekends.

If you don't follow our facebook page, then you missed the link I shared to these yummy and adorable Bloomin' Apples shared on the Gunny Sack blog.  It's been a pretty popular link.  I'm going to give the recipe a try this week.  Some of the readers have already tried them and shared that the tartness from the apples mixes so well with the creamy caramel to make a scrumptious little bite.

On the menu this week:  Pot Roast with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy and Carrots; Baked Cod with Seared Scallops, Rice and Roasted Broccoli; Chicken Teriyaki with Pot Stickers and Vegetable Stir Fry; Honey-Soy Korean Cut Ribs with Risotto and Sauteed Squash; Chicken Relleno Bake with Mexican Rice and Corn; and Cider-Braised Pork Tenderloin with Scalloped Potatoes and Green Beans.

Hoping you're having a wonderful weekend!!



Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

English Muffin Bread


I've thought about trying this recipe for some time.  I enjoy english muffins for breakfast during the busy workweek with a dab of nut butter and/or jelly and of course homemade bread is divine.  But would a recipe that combines the two actually work?

Well, it's delicious.  It's the best of both worlds.

Easy to make, it's something I can throw together on a Sunday evening and have available for quick breakfasts all week.


English Muffin Bread
source:  Cooks Country
Makes:  2 Loaves

Cornmeal
5 cups Bread Flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups hot whole milk {120 degrees Fahrenheit}

Grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans and dust with cornmeal.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda.  Stir in the hot milk until combined, about 1 minute.  Cover dough with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until dough is bubbly and has doubled in size.

Stir dough and divide between prepared loaf pans, pushing it into the corners with a greased rubber spatula.  Cover pans with greased plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rise, in a warm place, until dough reaches the edges of the pans, about 30 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Discard plastic or towel and transfer pans to oven.  Bake until bread is well browned and registers 200 degrees Fahrenheit, about 24 minutes.  Be careful not to overbake or it will be very dry.

Turn out bread onto wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.  Slice, toast and serve.



Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.

Weekend


chilly mornings require being wrapped in blankets

butternut squash



so many leaves!

Sam

Hattie

Wilma
Cait

always together
We've had some very chilly mornings in these parts lately.  Our second light frost happened last night.  Our remaining veggies are still hanging on.  It's the beautiful changing of seasons.

I adore all things Fall.  The colors, the scents, the clothing, the food - love it all.

Speaking of Fall, our home is filled with a yummy apple goodness.  I am using up the rest of the apples we purchased last weekend.  I have applesauce cooking in the crockpot, and I made pie crust this morning to throw together an Apple Galette later today.  I also have Sausage-Tortellini Soup simmering on the stove for lunch.

Today is also chock full of making products.  I'm filling an order for 100 jars/bottles of body butter and lotion as well as soap orders.  Also on a business note - those of you who are local can find us at the Sunday Saratoga Farmer's Market starting next month and going throughout winter.  We're excited to give this market a try with our products.

I've given up on our logo development.  At least for now.  We tried helping someone out who is local and trying to start his own business.  We began talking with him in June about creating a logo for us that we could use interchangeably with our farm products and our skincare/bath line.  The preliminary drawings we finally saw in July looked great.  And that's where it has halted. We've seen and heard nothing since.  We're moving on.

The Coop Girls have halted egg production for the most part.  They are molting and the weather is changing so they're taking a break.  We're lucky to see 3-4 eggs per day right now.  It actually works out well since we won't be selling eggs, except to a few customers, throughout winter.

The garden is also almost completely halted for the year.  The eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and broccoli are still hanging on and providing us veggies for the week.  I'm guessing this may be the last week for harvesting any of them.  It's always sad when the growing season ends.  But it's also a sign that it's time to start planning the next growing season!!

On the menu this week {a week of comfort foods!}:  Crockpot Pub-inspired Beef Short Ribs with Rice and Corn; Roasted Herb Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy and Roasted Carrots; Spaghetti and Meatballs with Salad; Ham with Scalloped Potatoes and Broccoli; Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce over Pasta with Broccoli; Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Baked Mac and Cheese and Salad.

Hoping you're having a wonderful weekend.




Disclosure: In an effort to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and please know that I will only feature products I love.