Spoon Butter

Perhaps, like me, when you read the title of this post, you thought of actual butter, the kind you can eat. I was very excited, and thought it was a quick recipe for homemade butter. I couldn’t wait to find out how to make it.

Well, my happy balloon was quickly deflated when I clicked on the link and read more. However, my happiness quickly returned, because I still got a recipe for something pretty cool.

Spoon butter is a mixture of mineral oil and beeswax, and it is used to keep all of your wooden utensils and cutting boards in tiptop shape.

I discovered this lovely little concoction at Marisa McClellan’s blog Food in Jars. This blog is really great, filled with tips and recipes that mostly center around–you guessed it–canning. If you’re a canning fool, you should really check it out. I found it by a happy accident, and I wanted to make sure to share.

Since we at C&D know that a ton of our readers love woodenware, we thought this recipe would come in handy. (We also featured Jane Guthrie’s woodenware collection in our June issue. Okay, end of shameless self-promotion.)

As I said, you only need mineral oil and natural beeswax. Put a quart-sized jar in a small saucepan and fill about a third of the way up with water. Put a quarter pound piece of beeswax in the jar and gently bring it up to a simmer. As it melts, slowly drizzle in a 16 ounce bottle of mineral oil. The contents should come together; if it needs some help, simply use a wooden spoon to stir together.

Once the mixture is cool enough to touch, you can use it! Yay! Smooth it on every wooden implement that you have in your kitchen, let it sit for a few hours (even overnight), and when most of the butter is absorbed, rub everything down with a clean cloth.

Spoon butter will keep in a closed jar under the sink or in your pantry for “quite some time.” Marisa also suggests making a gift of a beautiful wooden spoon and a jar of the spoon butter. Attach a tag with instructions for use. It will also keep your hands nice and soft. Bonus!

To read more, click here.

Somebunny to Love

You have requested crochet, and Caron International has stepped up to the plate to deliver this sweet Bunny Blanket in perfect time for spring, and baby showers—now hop to it! 🙂

Bunny Blanket

designed by Deb Richey

Materials

Caron International

Simply Soft Yarn(100% Acrylic) in 18 oz. No. 9701 White (A), 5 oz. No. 9945 Sunshine, (B), 5 oz. No. 9705 Sage, (C), 5 oz. No. 9719 Soft Pink (D)

Simply Soft Brites Yarn (100% Acrylic) in 5 oz. No. 9609 Berry Blue (E)

One size US J-10 (6mm) crochet hook, or size to obtain gauge.

Stitch markers, yarn needle

Instructions

(See placement diagram below)

Notes:

Gauge: In pattern stitch, 16 sts and 15 rows = 4”/10cm; One Square measures approximately

5-1/2” x 5-1/2”/14 x 14cm.

Stitches used are chain (ch), double crochet (dc), half double crochet (hdc), single crochet (sc), slip stitch (sl st), treble crochet (tr).

Special terms are:

sc2tog: Single crochet 2 together—Insert hook in next stitch, yarn over and draw up a loop, (2 loops on hook), insert hook in next stitch, yarn over and draw up a loop, yarn over and draw through all 3 loops on hook.

crossed-tr: Crossed treble crochet—Sk next st, tr in next st, ch 3, tr in st before skipped st.

To change color, work last stitch of old color to last yarn over; yarn over with new color and draw through all loops on hook to complete stitch. Proceed with new color. Do not fasten off old color until instructed, leave old color on WS of work until next needed.

Finished size of piece is approximately 32”/81.5cm wide x 43”/109cm long, including edging.

Solid Square (make 26 – 10 with A, and 4 each with B, C, E, and D)

1. Ch 22.

2. Row 1 (RS): (Sc, dc) in 2nd ch from hook, sk next ch, *(sc, dc) in next ch, sk next ch; repeat from * across to last ch, sc in last ch, turn—21 sts.

3. Rows 2 – 20: Ch 1, (sc, dc) in first st, sk next st, *(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st; repeat from * across to last st, sc in last st, turn.

4.Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

 

Checkerboard Square (make 9)

1. With B, ch 22.

2. Row 1 (RS): With B, (sc, dc) in 2nd ch from hook, sk next ch, [(sc, dc) in next ch, sk next ch] 4 times; change to C, [(sc, dc) in next ch, sk next ch] 5 times, sc in last ch, turn—21 sts.

3. Row 2: With C, ch 1, (sc, dc) in first st, sk next st, [(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st] 4 times; change to B, [(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st] 5 times, sc in last st, turn.

4. Row 3: With B, ch 1, (sc, dc) in first st, sk next st, [(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st] 4 times; change to C, [(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st] 5 times, sc in last st, turn.

5. Rows 4 – 9: Repeat Rows 2 and 3 three times.

6. Row 10: Repeat Row 2; change to E in last st, turn. Fasten of B and C.

7. Row 11: With E, ch 1, (sc, dc) in first st, sk next st, [(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st] 4 times; change to D, [(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st] 5 times, sc in last st, turn.

8. Row 12: With D, ch 1, (sc, dc) in first st, sk next st, [(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st] 4 times; change to E, [(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st] 5 times, sc in last st, turn.

9. Rows 13 – 20: Repeat Rows 11 and 12 four times.

10. Fasten off.

 

Ear (make 20)

1. Beginning at tip of ear with A, ch 4.

2. Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, dc in next ch, sc in next ch, turn—3 sts.

3. Row 2: Ch 1, (sc, dc) in first st, sk next st, (sc, dc, sc) in last st, turn—5 sts.

4. Row 3: Ch 1, (sc, dc) in first st, sk next st, (sc, dc) in next st, sk next st, (sc, dc, sc) in last st, turn—7 sts.

5. Row 4: Ch 1, (sc, dc) in first st, sk next st, [(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st] twice, (sc, dc, sc) in last st, turn—9 sts.

6. Rows 5 – 10: Ch 1, (sc, dc) in first st, sk next st, [(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st] 3 times, sc in last st, turn.

7. Row 11: Ch 1, sc in first st, sk next st, dc in next st, sk next st, [(sc, dc) in next st, sk next st] twice, sc in last st, turn—7 sts.

8. Row 12: Ch 1, sc in first st, sk next st, dc in next st, sk next st, (sc, dc) in next st, sk next st, sc in last st, turn—5 sts.

9. Rows 13 and 14: Ch 1, (sc, dc) in first st, sk next st, (sc, dc) in next st, sk next st, sc in last st, turn.

10. Row 15: Ch 1, sc in first st, sk next st, dc in next st, sk next st, sc in last st, turn—3 sts.

11. Round 16: Ch 1, 3 sc in first st, sc in next st, 3 sc in next st, do not turn; work 14 sc evenly across the side edge; working across opposite side of foundation ch, sc in first ch, (sc, hdc, sc) in next ch, sc in next ch; work 14 sc evenly across other side edge; join with sl st in first sc. Note: The (3 sc, sc, 3 sc) at the beginning of Round 16 forms lower edge of ear. Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

 

Inner Ear (make 20 – 10 with B, and 10 with D)

1. Ch 11.

2. Round 1: 3 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next ch, hdc in next 2 ch, dc in next 2 ch, hdc in next 2 ch, sc in next ch, 3 sc in last ch; working across opposite side of foundation ch, sc in next ch, hdc in next 2 ch, dc in next 2 ch, hdc in next 2 ch, sc in next 2 ch; join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing. Center one inner ear over each ear and sew in place.

 

Eye (make 20)

1. With C, ch 3.

2. Round 1 (RS): 9 hdc in 3rd ch from hook; join with sl st in top of beginning ch. Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

 

Nose (make 10)

1. With E, ch 5.

2. Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each remaining ch across, turn—4 sc.

3. Row 2: Ch 1, [sc2tog] twice, turn—2 sc.

4. Row 3: Ch 1, sc2tog—1 sc. Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing.

 

Finishing

1. With RS facing, arrange squares as shown in Assembly Diagram and whipstitch together. Sew ears to A-colored squares in direction shown in Assembly Diagram. Sew eyes onto A-colored squares. With B, embroider whiskers and sew noses onto the A-colored squares, centered under eyes.

 

Edging

1. Join A with sl st in any corner.

2. Round 1: Ch 1, *3 sc in corner, work 20 sc evenly across first square, work 21 sc evenly across next 3 squares, work 20 sc evenly across first square; repeat from * 3 more times; join with sl st in first sc—508 sc.

3. Rounds 2 and 3: Ch 1, hdc in each sc around, working 5 hdc in center sc of each 3-sc corner; join with sl st in first hdc—540 hdc (at end of Round 3). Fasten off.

4. Round 4: Join A with sl st in center hdc of any 5-hdc corner, *sc in next st, hdc in next st, sk next st, tr in next st, ch 3, tr in same st as last hdc made (crossed-tr worked), hdc in same st as first tr of cross st, sc in next st, sl st in next st; repeat from * around—90 crossed-tr.

5. Round 5: *Sc in next 3 sts, 3 sc in next ch-3 sp, sc in next 3 sts, sk sl st; repeat from * around; join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.

6. Using yarn needle, weave in all ends.

This project submitted courtesy of Caron International.

“An egg is always an adventure; the next one may be different.” – Oscar Wilde

Having a creative spirit, when I am given the opportunity to play with new product, I’m like a kid in a candy store. (To be honest, though, I still get excited when visiting a candy store.) This weekend I experimented with two beautiful cookie molds from House on the Hill, who specialize in Springerle and Speculaas cookie molds. The cookie molds are made of a resin and wood composite, each individually hand cast and finished. Most of the molds are replicas of antique carvings, and therefore intentionally have imperfections to the surface that add character to the pieces. The molds are beautiful enough to simply display, but once you have them in your hands, the creative ideas start flowing—cookies, candies, gift tags (oh, my!).

For the pieces shown in the photo below, Prang DAS air hardening modeling clay was used. The clay was worked into a small ball and then lightly pushed into the mold with my fingers. After the mold was filled, the excess clay was carefully trimmed away. The exposed clay surface (the back of the piece) was then smoothed. I chose to leave the clay in the mold for about 30 minutes so the exposed edges would dry slightly. Then the edges were carefully worked away from the mold with my fingers, and the clay form gingerly lifted out of the mold so not to disturb the tiny imprinted details. I then ran a threaded needle through the tops of the eggs, and tied a knot so that the finished pieces could be hung. The clay took about 36 hours to dry completely. I was pleased to find out that I could smooth out a few rough edges with a metal file. My intention now is to paint them in soft colors, or use a simple wash of sepia.

Although the molds shown are intended for Easter foods and decorating, you will find a delightful selection of molds to order on their website, including their awesome rolling pins that create multiple images on the dough with one swipe. The House on the Hill site shares cookie recipes and baking tips for use with the molds as well as numerous crafting ideas.

The possibilities of creative uses for these molds is only limited by lack of imagination, and let’s face it—crafters have an abundance of that!

Stop in for a visit with House on the Hill at www.houseonthehill.net.

“What is it?” #8 The answer

The answer to this week’s puzzle is (drum roll, please) an antique wooden shoe form! This one is for sizing a child’s shoe, and seriously creeps Noelle out. Especially when I made it walk across my desk. 🙂

You are all so smart—there were many guesses this week (click here to read them). So, would like us to continue with this game, or come up with a new one? Please leave a comment to let us know.

“What is it?” Wednesday #8

Hello friends! Welcome to our 8th “What is it?” puzzle. Noelle and I are wondering, now that we have been serving you a fun little puzzle every Wednesday for two months, if perhaps we should put the game on the back burner for a bit. Is it time for something new?

While you are contemplating, here is today’s “What is it?” puzzle piece:

Kinda looks like a smiley face, doesn’t it?

Please leave a comment with your guess, and come back and visit us when we post the answer and your guesses this Friday. (If there are enough requests, we will post a clue. We are too familiar with the item to know if the puzzle is easy or difficult!)

Recycled Arts Contest

All you crafters out there know how important recycling, reusing, and thriftiness are. Y’all are pros at making do and saving and looking at a pile of who-knows-what and turning it into something great.

So to showcase the ingenuity of crafters everywhere, Delphi Glass and Diamond Tech Crafts are sponsoring a Recycled Arts Contest. Entries are fun and diverse, including smudge pot mosaics, barbed wire sculptures, and a mosaic mirror made of plastic gift cards.  Holy cats—now that’s what I call regifting!

Of course this contest coincides with Earth Day (April 22nd), and it couldn’t be simpler to enter: create something using old items in a new and interesting way, then post a photo of your creation in Delphi’s Artist Gallery, where you may also comment on other projects and gain inspiration.

Acceptable projects include anything in mixed media, collage, stained glass, fused glass, glass jewelry, flameworking, mosaics, and ceramics that contain at least one recycled element. Ten winners will be chosen at random to receive the new Generation Green (G2) Bottle Cutter. (This is a really cool item–trust us!)

Entries will be accepted April 1 – 30, 2011–click here to enter. Winners will be announced May 6th. To enter or learn more about the Recycled Arts Contest, click here, or contact Delphi at (800) 248-2048.

Come on, let’s show ‘em how creative us C&Ders are!

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket—hang them up instead!

Our friend, coworker, and creator of many things stitched (who answers to the name of Vickie, and is the Assistant Editor of Knit N’ Style magazine), always has a fun display in the window of her workspace. Vickie is happy to share her cute egg garland design with the Create & Decorate blog readers! Leave a comment, if you like, for us to share with Vickie.

The most important part of this instruction? Create the eggs in yarn colors that will make you smile.

Spring Eggs and Cable Cord Garland

Designed by Vickie Zelizo

Cable Cord Garland

Size 7 dpn

Cable needle (cn)

After working each row, do not turn; slip the stitches to the right end of the needle.

CO 5 sts

Rows 1-4: Knit

Row 5: K1, slip next st to cn, hold in front, K2, K1 from cn, K1

Spring Egg Pattern

Materials

Lily Sugar ’n Cream Cotton Yarn

Size 7 double pointed needles

Size G/7 crochet hook

Fiberfill stuffing

Yarn needle

Instructions

CO 12 sts, leave a 6” tail.

Join in the round.

Rnd 1: *K1, Kf&b; rep from * around

Rnd 2: *K2, Kf&b; rep from * around

Rnd 3: Knit

Rnd 4: *K3, Kf&b; rep from * around

Rnd 5 & 6: Knit

Rnd 7: *K4, Kf&b; rep from * around

Rnd 8 – 15: Knit [36 sts]

Rnd 16: *K4, K2tog; rep from * around

Rnd 17 & 18: Knit

Rnd 19:*K3, K2tog; rep from * around

Rnd 20 & 21: Knit

Rnd 22: *K2, K2tog; rep from * around

Rnd 23 & 24: Knit

Rnd 25: *K1, K2tog; rep from * around.

Cut yarn leave a 36” tail. Thread yarn through remaining stitches. Pull tight.

Loop

Using the crochet hook pick up a loop from the top of the egg. Chain 25. Slip stitch to top of egg, creating a loop. Weave in ends.

Finishing

Stuff the egg with fiberfill from the bottom. Use the tail that was left at CO to sew the bottom shut. Happy Spring!

“What is it?” #7 – The Answer

Boy, oh boy, you guys are good! Many of you guessed correctly that this week’s puzzle was a vintage fan. There were many other worthy guesses as well. (Click here to read them) Thanks for playing. I think this is as fun for Noelle and me as it is for you! Here is our full photo of this week’s puzzle item:

Ta-daaaa! Join us next Wednesday for yet another puzzle! Happy weekend, all!

Contemporary Artists–Come one, Come all!

Ok, so you know how we’ve been posting the Most Famous Oil Paintings of the year for the past two years, provided by our buddies at OverstockArt.com. Well, they have a new artsy kid in town—a website called ArtistBe.com, a new online community for contemporary artists around the world. The site provides tools and resources to enable artists to pursue their artistic and professional goals.

Artwork found on the site may be purchased as an original piece of art directly from the artist, or as an affordable canvas transfer painting. Reproductions come in a variety of sizes, and pricing is dictated by the individual artists. Artists get royalties for every reproduction sold. It provides a unique means for emerging artists to be discovered, and to assist established professionals in finding new clients without relying on agents.

Some cool paintings to check out are Ruth Palmer’s Autumn Bleed

Jeffrey F. Pierson’s Less I Forget Myself

and Marlene Wood-Rose’s Smashed Grapes

Click here to check it out and wander around—it’s like your own personal tour of a new art gallery! Enjoy 🙂

“What is it?” Wednesday #7!

We can hardly believe that it is April, let alone the first Wednesday of the month! Here’s the new game photo folks:

Please leave a comment with your guess, and come back and visit us when we post the answer and your guesses this Friday. If enough of you request one, we will post a clue.