Saturday, September 19, 2009


Someone at church sent an email out whether a few people might like to make sauerkraut together. Home-fermented kraut is very healthy. The vitamin C level actually goes up. There are beneficial bacteria from the lacto-fermentation. None of us had ever done it before. Prior to meeting, we read lots of online recipes and watched a number of videos. From what we could tell, it's the kind of thing you can't screw up too badly.
This morning three of us gathered at one of the homes. We used a food processor to slice the cabbage. We used pickling salt and pounded the cabbage using a potato masher, and of all things, canning jars. It was more fun than doing it by myself at home. Instead of buying a food-safe plastic bucket, I decided to pack it into this gallon jug. It seemed to be the best container I had. (I do not plan to use the spigot on the bottom.)

Sauerkraut has to be weighed down so that the cabbage stays under the juice. I put in a red coffee can lid which could be folded to get into the jar. I used tuna cans as weights. They are in plastic bags for cleanliness reasons.

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I fermented it in a bottom kitchen cabinet for about 2-3 weeks. It didn't smell great. I thought of putting it in the basement laundry room, but I wanted to keep a closer eye on it. Once I thought it was done, it was kept in the fridge.

It turned out crunchy, too salty, and kind of beery. My cousin, Alison, makes sauerkraut often. She says beery is good. So there you go! Mostly, I used it in soup. After I took some out, I didn't keep a weight on it. By January, it had fuzzy white dots on the surface. I threw the rest away, which was only about 1 1/2 cups. Time to make some more!

Tie Dye 2009

The Unity Church of Crystal Lake has an annual Tie Dye Sunday. I first attended in 2007 and every year I have gotten more enthusiastic about it. Last year (2008) I borrowed Tie Dye 101 from the library. I made matching tiger stripe shirts for the whole family. I was taking the picture, so I am not in the shot ;).

This is the family photo of the shirts I made at the 2009 Tie Dye Sunday.

The kids made a shirt each for themselves. The big theme this year was the spider pattern. Beth did a bunch of bullseyes. Her shirt is so vibrant. Ben's spider looks like a maple leaf (or some other kind of leaf...).

It was so much fun, I purchased a tie dye kit from Dharma Trading Company and invited Jim's sisters over on Labor Day weekend. I wish I had taken pictures of the fun we had but my hands were dirty most of the day. It was a lot of work setting up, mixing the dyes, and trying to keep everything clean.

This was supposed to be a star. The example in the book looked so much better. The more I wear it, the more I like it, though.

When Jim made this, he had a landscape in mind.

Here is Jim's patriotic spider.

The kids' spirals turned out well. I particularly like the rainbow spiral. I coached Ben with the instructions from the book and it worked like a charm. Beth was going for a spiral with only 2 colors and lots of white around them. The instructions were not clear as to where to put the dye and she isn't so pleased with the result.

I haven't photographed everything we made. I'm saving a mistake for Halloween ;). I did figure out how to make peace signs. There's a very good video on youtube. I made one for myself and two patriotic peace signs for Jim's sister & brother-in-law. We gave them away before we took pics. They turned out awesome. Maybe I'll get a snapshot when the two of them wear them on the same day. So that's for another post....

More Shopping Bags

Below are two shopping bag patterns. The first is patriotic mostly because I have a LOT of red and blue newspaper bags. The difference with this one is I managed to continue the colors on the sides. It was kind of tricky. The second bag is made entirely of bread bags and other food bags. I used a few frozen vegetable bags as well. These two bags are the same size but photographed differently.

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