Sunday, August 8, 2010

Blog Re-Design Underway!

I have recently started a new blog for all my knitting, spinning and fiber related entries. You can find it here! The Star Box blog is therefore getting a MakeOver, so please excuse the mess while I reorganize everything. From now on The Star Box will cater to Paper Crafts and Rubber Stamping, while Michigan Spinning will cater to all things WOOLY!

Thanks for visiting ! New entries will be online soon!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Late Night Fiber Dyeing!

FINALLY! I was able to get some fiber dyeing done late last night and finished up early this morning. I have been so swamped with Rubber Stamp orders that my spinning, dyeing, and knitting have all taken a back seat to stamp carving. Not only was I able to accomplish a good batch of dyeing last night, but Friday night I was able to spin and ply 120 yds of fingering weight yarn in a Mohair/Angora that I blended up myself on my Fancy Kitty. I am going to make another Mohair Angora batt today and spin a bit.

But enough about that, let's get back to the dyeing you say? Well. I have a new little FELTING PROJECT KIT (more on that later) that I am putting together to sell in my Michigan Spinning shop and so I dyed up a whole bunch of corriedale wool that I have been stockpiling. My felting wool is basically the leftover bits from the combing/carding part of processing my raw corriedale. I do alot of needle felting and I don't like to waste any fiber. There may be small bits of VM in this fiber, but I hand card and pick it after dyeing to remove as much as I can.

I use Greener Shades Dyes for my fiber dyeing. I really like them. They come in 9 colors and I am like a mad scientist when I am dyeing and always mixing colors and trying to create different shades and vibrancy of color. I am very pleased that I was actually able to get 2 shades of gray from the black this time. Black has a red/blue undertone and sometimes I end up with purplish or blue tinted purple, but this time I think I got it right with the black. YAY!

My college age daughter was watching me dye and in response to my happiness over achieving gray she said rather sardonically
" all these colors and your jumping for joy over gray?" 

I am really excited when I am able to achieve a new color or shade of a color and so YES, this gray had me dancing and leaping about the kitchen like a crazy person. Maybe next time I will try for BLACK! I hesitate to dye for black because I know it is hard to achieve. I do keep natural black on hand in other fiber breeds such as Alpaca, Icelandic, Black Welsh Mountain, and I just got some Shetland from a friend. But I would like all the fiber in the kit to be the same kind, so I will either have to dye for black or find some natural black corriedale wool somewhere out there.

Once this wool is dry, I will hand card it into batts, pick out any remaining VM and then divide it up for the FELTING PROJECT KITS.  Still can't tell you what they are. You will have to remain in suspense until I get them all put together! No Hints......and No Peeking!

I still have more of this corriedale washed and ready for flick carding. Now that I have gotten a bunch of the felting wool ready, I need to get back to preparing the spinning wool again. It is a never ending process. But I love it nonetheless.

I think after I spin up some more of this Mohair/Angora yarn I may try my hand at dyeing skeins too. Stay tuned for that.

Once I get the FELTING PROJECT KITS put together I am going to do an instructional video for my YouTube channel showing step by step assembly of the project. I will post a link when everything is ready.

Happy Felting!

OOPS!Before I go I must share with you the pics of my new little baby bunnies. They are both 
German/English Angoras (mostly English, their daddy has an unknown amount of German in him and mommy is ALL English) They are only 6 weeks old and the cutest lil bundles of fluff I have ever seen!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

 Yesterday we went blueberry picking in the morning, today, I made homemade blueberry french toast casserole with homemade blueberry sauce.

My nieces thinks this dish looks good enough to be served at the finest of hotels. I pulled out my pretty blue and white china bowls and we had a lovely breakfast together. 

We went shopping last night for a few missing ingredients for blueberry syrup, and my little niece printed this recipe from a machine at the grocery store. It is called "Get Stuffed French Toast" and is available at Family Fare courtesy of Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.  It serves 8 and takes 10 min to prep and 1 hr to cook. 

I took a full loaf of french bread and cut it in slices and tore them into small pieces. I greased a 9X13 in baking dish and put down a layer of bread. On top of this I laid thin slices of Wisconsin Havarti Cheese, then I added a sprinkling of fresh picked blueberries. Next, I layered the remaining torn pieces of french bread and set aside. 

In a seperate bowl, beat 6 eggs, 4 cups milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup ( I used homemade syrup), 2 tbsp melted butter, and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Pour this over the bread and cheese mixture and press down on all the ingredients with a spatula. This will make the bread soak up the egg mixture. I then sprinkled fresh picked blueberries on top, sprinkled on some more cinnamon, and covered with tin foil. Bake this at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 30 minutes. 

Serve with homemade blueberry sauce and enjoy. 

For the homemade blueberry sauce, I put about 3-4 cups blueberries in a saucepan with 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar and brought to a boil, all the while mashing the berries with a potatoe masher. I let it simmer for a few minutes and then drizzled it over our french toast. 

YUMMY! We all loved it. I am sure I will make this again and again using a different fruit each time. 

We may be picking Raspberries next week. I think Raspberry French Toast will be Awesome!