Wednesday, November 13, 2013

C's Tower


Ever since I babysat for a family with a "learning tower" I've looked forward to having one for my own children. Fast forward to a few months ago, I was quite taken aback by their three figure price tag. 

Lo and behold, Ana White (one of our first stops for inspiration, when looking to build anything) had plans for a helping tower. A quick trip to the lumber section and the skills of an awesome daddy (C's) and we have a perfect helping platform.

She already helps chop vegetables and helps with splashing in dishes - so many things to learn!

Daddy altered the plans to fit our counter height, small kitchen, and young child, raising, shortening, and omitting as necessary. It truly is wonderful to watch our not-even-one-year-old helping with meals and being a part of such and important piece of nourishing our lives.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Perpetual Calendar with Friends


I have quite a list of posts waiting on the back burner. This morning, I finally got time to snap the pictures for this one. 

Several months ago I came across this link/pin, and was inspired to make our own perpetual calendar.

I needle felted seasonal clothing for four wooden peg dolls. I'm excited to gain greater awareness of days, months and seasons passing through this simple ritual of keeping our daily calendar current.

In case you're thinking, "ok, two blocks, six sides each... waitaminit..." 

Here's how it works. Both blocks have 0, 1, and 2. One block has 3, 5, and 6, which doubles as 9. The other block has the 4, 7, and 8, to complete the set.

Now we just have to decide where we shall keep our calendar!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Introducing Wee Willow Catkin


Inspired by this doll and its poem that reminded me of a similar poem, and sewn with a materials kit from this shop, I made C's first doll. 

As a crafter, I always hope that the recipient will like my creation, but as a mama I was trying to keep that hope in check. I wanted C to be free to play with a doll (or not) as she chose, without pressure from me. I cannot tell you how my heart began to sing when she couldn't keep her eyes away as soon as I'd sewn on the eyes, before hair, before a body. Now that I've finished, Willow is well loved, and C smiles when she sees her.

I can recall a poem in English about "Wee Willow Catkin" from my childhood and remember vivid images of the catkins (also knowns as pussywillows) that played through my head. I cannot for the life of me remember more, or even enough to find it. It may have been a proper translation of the German poem but the rough online translation didn't ring enough bells for me to be sure.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Going Back to Basics - Use Your Scraps


There are many things that past generations did as a matter of course that we are just beginning to bring back now - such as bringing bags to carry goods home. I am so thankful that  throwaways are becoming less and less favorable. 

For many reasons I've sought to minimize my use of plastics and have always preferred natural materials. When buying or making toys or other stuffed objects I've always tried to use cotton or wool, but due to cost have succumbed to the ease of poly-fill on more than one occasion. 

Just over two years ago I made a scrap bag to collect the little bits and ends of fabric and yarn leftover from any of my various endeavors. Finally, the "something delightful" I threatened to stuff has come along. 

Rag dolls of yesteryear were made with leftover scraps and stuffed with even more of the same. Today we can just as easily use our extra bits of fiber instead of buying new material.

To make your own scrap stuffing, save the odds and ends from your projects as you go. Cut your scraps/rags into pieces one inch or smaller. This will allow them to shift and move with washing.

Rag or scrap stuffing works like a dream, is completely machine washable, and will not shrink or clump like many natural stuffings. It also reduces and recycles perfectly good fiber that would otherwise end up in a landfill. 


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Changing Directions here at Myrrhmade


As I mentioned back in February, my life has changed drastically and I'm still mulling a bit as to how to update this space without having it become a documentation of our children (present and future). I've been struggling to figure out what I want to put into and get out of this blog. I'm not going to abandon it altogether but need to update the use of this blog to better fit my life and myself.

What to do now, what to change, what to keep, and many more such quandaries have been occupying my thoughts and I've yet to come up with any definite answers. So, for now, I'll have to content myself with a slight change of directions. 

One of my original purposes here was to document my adventures, whether they were in my kitchen or half way around the world. Before becoming a parent, there was inherently energy that I could devote solely to my own interests and my own person. As a single person, I was the center and main consumer of my own attentions and energies.

The new addition to our family has charged me with a great responsibility - the stewardship of another being until she is able to take care of herself. This moves the center of my energy away from my own person and focuses it on giving to others. I find myself wanting to reflect that direction here as well.

In the past I've sometimes added recipes or directions in case someone else was interested in trying their own hand. Going forward I want to share what we do that might make a difference for other people. I hope to make this blog less about documenting my own exploits and more about showing what has worked well for us and how easy it can be to make improvements. 

There are also some side projects in the wings so look forward to other adventures!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Homemade maple teething necklace


Even before I had an amazing child of my own, I saw and admired beautiful carved teething necklaces.  They seemed like such a simply beautiful piece of craftsmanship and yet their hefty price tags always turned me away.

Until I realized I could make my own. 

Using a piece of leftover maple, I sawed, drilled, carved, and sanded until I arrived at this.

This post has been waiting for almost two months in the hope 
of getting a good picture of it in use. She is just starting to teeth at almost 
five months and I've got better things to do than wait for photographs. 
So here she is figuring out her fingers.

In the interim, this mama-made toy has come in handy at restaurants, on walks, in the car, and helping to set a world record!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Paleo Popovers (grain free) - part 2 - individual popovers


As promised, I decided to try my popover recipe using muffin tins (instead of a baking pan) and it turned out even easier than I'd expected.

I used the same amounts of all ingredients and split them up into the twelve muffin compartments. If you're using butter it's quite easy to cut each tablespoon of butter into quarters which equals 3/4 teaspoon (three tablespoons divided twelve ways) per popover.

Plus it looks cool. 

The butter melts much quicker so pay close attention. Notice the brown flecks in the photo below as they came out of the oven.

In our oven at 400f these took about 25 minutes. 

After cooling they get a little shorter.

Advantages of individual popovers: Using a dozen eggs means that each popover is one egg and that nifty well in the center is perfect for jam!

Disadvantages: it takes a bit longer prep time, you have to pay closer attention and I find muffin tins take longer to clean than a baking pan.

Overall they are delicious whichever way they are cooked.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Brooks Homestead


Since purchasing our home and land over four years ago, we have undertaken a great many projects and have a great many more in mind. We strive to produce more of what we consume each year, from our gardens, to our backyard chicken flock, canning and freezing to handmade goods.

Introducing The Brooks Homestead

At this point we offer eggs to friends and family. If you are a friend (or even a friend of a friend) and are interested in eggs (we love to barter too) contact us and we'll work something out!

In the future we hope to expand our operations but for now we'll keep things simple and small.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Signs of spring - croci (or crocuses if you prefer)


With Blizzards followed by balmy days preceding days of "wintry mix" it has been hard to tell what season it actually is. These past few days have brought new evidence! We are turning the corner into spring.

I have always loved bulbs. Seldom has a year gone by where I didn't force at least a few. They wait on windowsills as little promises of spring that get me through the winter.

We bought our house in the midst of winter and to my delight we had many flowers throughout the lawn come spring. Since then I have tucked at least a few more bulbs into the ground each fall and daydream of their blooms in the darkest winter days.

A few days ago we were blessed with the first blooms - our croci are trumpeting, heralding the coming of spring!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Comments not being posted


It has come to my attention that several people (and who knows how many people haven't let me know) have submitted comments that have not made it to me for publishing. I'm looking into the issue but so far have come up empty handed.

I love your comments and would be thrilled if you would try again. I've changed a couple of settings which means more work for me but hopefully comments will go through!

Thanks in advance and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Paleo Popovers (grain free)


Our chickens have started laying again, which means we have an abundant supply of eggs. Several of our customers went on vacation and at one point we had more than eight dozen and hadn't yet collected that day!

While I've previously made egg-based almond flour cakes that use at least a handful of eggs, I wanted to make something that would be less of a dessert while still being a treat. My thoughts turned to popovers and I came up with the following:

Paleo Popovers!


1 dozen eggs
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
3 Tablespoons butter or coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)


Preheat oven to 400f 

Melt butter in an 8" square baking pan in the oven 
while the oven comes up to temperature.

Mix eggs, coconut flour, and maple or honey.

Pour mixture into melted butter in the preheated pan.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Full height after 20 minutes.

While it will reach an impressive height about half way through the baking process, it will continue to brown and then collapse a bit as it cools. 

Perhaps someday I'll try this recipe in muffin tins. Until then I doubt we will have a hard time eating it like this. I've now made this recipe more than once and each batch doesn't seem to last even two full days at our house! It's a great protein-rich snack that feels like a dessert. 


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Baby knitting and looking forward


It's been two and a half months since the birth of our daughter. These months and this incredible person light up my life and are teaching me patience, and so much more. While many things fall to the wayside with a newborn, I was able to sneak in some knitting. 

I have challenged myself to only use yarns from my stash. The blanket is a simple log cabin design. The red and brown jacket (ravelry notes here ) fits her now and the pink and brown jacket (ravelry notes here) should fit her in a couple of months - her weight has more than doubled since she was born! There is also a premie sized knit cap but it's already packed away and I don't seem to have a clear picture of it being worn. 

It feels as though a bit of the new baby haze has lifted over the past week or so and I find myself more productive than I have been since the first weeks of my pregnancy. My thoughts have once again turned to this space as I think about how to move forward. 

Becoming and being a mother is such a wondrous experience and no doubt it will color what I post. I do not, however, want to completely alter the nature of this blog - I want to respect C's privacy and keep mainly to my own creations and experiences. Expect to see posts more often and I look forward to your comments!