Incorporating Change Into Crafts

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1239797514_da842fa7c0_zsource: John Kannenberg

I’ve en­joyed three comp­lete­ly dif­fer­ent crafts over the last 10 years, two of which I rare­ly work on now. What has hap­pen­ed to all those years of know­ledge and exper­i­ence? Are they now worth­less?

The an­swer is a de­fin­ite NO. While it’s true I might never go back to en­joy­ing needle­point or scrap­booking, the rem­nants of my past interest show up on frequ­ent oc­ca­sions.


There may be sev­eral subtle an­swers to that ques­tion, like in­flu­ence on style (scrapbooking) or wil­ling­ness to pro­gress slow­ly on a pro­ject (needle­point). But I like a less subtle answer. More of­ten than not, when I work on graph­ic de­signs, they are usual­ly print­able for scrap­books or pat­terns for needle­point pro­ject. Those old hob­bies  haven’t dis­ap­peared from my life, they just mani­fest them­selves dif­ferent­ly now.

An­other ex­ample. When I was young­er I used to eat only marga­rine or but­ter. Later, for health reasons I switched to olive oil. Now I use a mix of olive oil and yogurt as a fat on potatoes, pasta, rice and vegetables. It’s de­li­cious, but I would never have start­ed this new prac­tice, if I didn’t al­ready have a love of creamy (from the but­ter) and olive oil (from my low-fat days).

Here are my questions to you:

How have your interests changed over the years?  And, how have you cur­rent inter­ests been im­proved by the rem­nants of your past?

To merge your new inter­ests with your old, con­sider the fol­low­ing ques­tions…

…Can you use the skills learn­ed from a pre­vious hob­by in a new en­dea­vor? A lover of sew­ing and cross stitch­ing can com­bine pre­vious­ly mas­tered skills to create hand­sewn baby out­fits with cross stitched col­lars.

…Can you use the sub­ject mat­ter from an old in­ter­est as the mo­tif for a new? A sew­ing and golf­ing enthus­iast can use golf themed fab­ric to make sofa pil­lows and awning for a porch swing.

…Can you com­bine two or more inter­ests to make a third comp­lete­ly new inter­est? A hard­core fab­ric dyer and rub­ber stamper can  exper­iment with using fab­ric dyes to stamp on cot­ton.

I’d love to hear your answers to these ques­tions. Please write a comment to let me know what new and exciting projects you came up with!

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Not Your Granny’s Yarn: A Whole New World Of Yarn Alternatives

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knitting-granny-mdReady to shake things up a little?  Take your  next project to a whole new level by experimenting with fun alternatives to store bought yarn. Each of the fibers I list can be used  for both knit and crochet projects, and as an accent or for the entire piece.

Here are some of my fav­or­ites

1. Plarn – Popular for the last few years, Plarn is an acronym for plastic yarn. Grocery bags and trash bags are recycled into placemats, tote bags and wash clothes.

2. Pet Hair Yarn – Spin yarn from cat hair, dog hair and even rabbit fur. The resulting fiber makes sweaters and hats with a novel story to tell.

3. Recycled Newspaper Yarn –  At 20 yards of yarn from a single sheet, newspaper yarn enables you to do a lot, with little. Turn recycled newspapers into floor mats, wall hangings and other decorative objects.

4. T-Shirt Yarn – Since t-shirt yarn is both durable and bulky, it makes great trivets, rugs, washcloths. If “country” is not your style you may want to dye the t-shirts before using them.

5. Wire – Working with wire is not too different than working with yarn….just a bit harder on your hands. Combine the wire with beads for some seriously wonderful jewelry designs.

6. Raffia –  These fibers will all be a lot more difficult to use than yarn, but the interesting texture will make the extra effort worthwhile.

7. Denim – Denim is extremely hardy, so it’s perfect for rug making, shopping bags, trivets and pot holders.

8. VCR VHF Tapes – When I first heard about crafters using VCR VHF tapes for knitting and crocheting, I thought the results would appear juvenile  and unattractive. Not any more. You’ll be surprised at how nice tape projects turn out.

9. Polymer Clay – Create amazingly beautiful jewelry using an easy- to- master faux knitting technique…Not real knitting, but so wonderful, it was impossible to resist!

10. Repurposed Sweaters – With today’s emphasis on economy and reuse, it’s not surprising if we look back to our frugal ancestors for some “new” ways of recycling. Unravel your own out-of-style garments or thrift store garments when your yarn collection gets low.

Other ideas?

How about string, thread, ribbon, discarded silk clothes, sheets, narrow rope, curtains and pantyhose. Virtually anything goes.

Just remember the saying. If you can think it, you can do it!

Read More: Knit or Crochet or Home

Amazing 2-Ingredient Carrot Soup

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Amazing 2-Ingredient Carrot Soup

source: Debs

Amazing 2-Ingredient Carrot Soup is as delicious as any recipe  in a complicated cookbook.  Plus, it’s low-fat AND low-calorie. Try it…. you’ll love it!


vegan chicken bouillon powder (enough to make 4 cups)

1 heaping cup frozen carrots

salt (optional)


In a very large pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add bouillon and carrots and allow to return to boil. Turn down flame and simmer for 20 minutes.

Allow soup time to cool, then, using a hand blender, blend soup.

Add salt to taste.

Note: The recipe purposely calls for five cups of water to be added to the bouillon,  because one cup will boil out.

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Sabbath Dinner Party In 2-3 Hours

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Sabbath Dinner Party

source: Sweet.Eventide

Fancy dinner parties are dying out.  Due to women working, the economy, and a ton of other factors, people have found other, easier ways of entertaining.  It seems like there is never enough time or money to make big, elaborate meals anymore.

Stop! Wrong! Party meals can actually be quite easy,  as long as they are done systematically.

I have made and served two fancy, company meals a week, for 31 years.

Please keep in mind that my husband and I work over 80 hours a week combined, don’t have a car, have very limited cooking facilities and a moderate income. In addition, we live in Israel, where most fresh foods  (including grains) need to be soaked, checked, and cleaned carefully before using. So if we can do this, anyone can.

The two meals are made and served to celebrate the Sabbath so the foods are mostly traditional Jewish dishes. In addition, the menu rarely varies since over the years these are the dishes we have grown to love.

If some of these dishes don’t appeal to you, Eggs and Onions can be substituted for the Deviled Eggs and Sweet Challah Kugel can be cooked instead of the Apple-Raisin Kugel.  Coleslaw, Quick And Healthy Tomato Salad, and corn salad ( 1 can drained corn, Italian dressing to taste, 2 heaping tbsp. diced red onion, 2 heaping tbsp. green pepper) are all easy sides,  if you don’t care for the green salad or the Israeli salad.


First Course

Challah: Purchased

Vegetable Salad: Made with prepackaged greens. I add cut up cucumbers, sliced carrots and cherry tomatoes. Served with a wide selection of dressings.

Hummos and Crackers: Purchased

Israeli Salad

Deviled Eggs: Boil one egg per person. Cool and slice length­wise. Remove the yolks and combine with mayonnaise, mustard and black pepper to taste. Scoop the mixture back into the whites using a watermelon scoop. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.


Second Course

Vegan Tastes Just Like Chicken Soup: Recipe will be added later this week.

Low-Fat Matzoh Balls: Recipe will be added later this week.


Main Course

Chicken And Soy Cutlets: Delicious but very inexpensive to purchase

Beef or Vegetarian Cholent (on special occasions)

Potato Kugel: Purchased

Broccoli Kugel

Low-Fat Apple Raisin Kugel: Recipe will be posted in a few weeks.

Annette’s Classic Pasta Salad

Jerusalem Pesto And Pasta Salad

All-Year-Long Passover Rolls


Dessert Course

Cake or Cookies: Purchased or gifted from guests

Coffee Flavored Hard Candies: Purchased


After Dinner Snacking


Annette’s Almost Fat-Free Popcorn or purchased popcorn: I hate our hot-air popcorn maker so lately I’ve been buying an enormous bag of popcorn

Bag of Pretzels


Time and Money Saving Tips For Entertaining

Save work wherever you can. Notice we used prepackaged greens to avoid having to soak and check our lettuce.

Combine cheap foods with expensive foods. We added lots of inexpensive carrots and cucumbers to the expensive, prepackaged salad to make it go a lot further.

Serve small only amounts of expensive foods. American crackers are pricey in Israel, so we only serve a handful.

Share the work. My husband does the shopping, makes the soup, the bread and the muffins. My son helps with the serving and cleaning up.

Double up on the food. Since we usually have different company on Friday night and Saturday lunch, I can serve the same dishes twice.

Don’t wait till the last minute to prepare. By early Friday afternoon, my house is clean, the food is purchased and easy prep work is well underway.

If someone offers to bring a dish, always say yes. We frequently skip purchasing a dessert because a guest tells us they will bring a cake or a plate of cookies. However, as plans sometimes change at the last minute, we always have the ingredients to make a fruit salad as a backup.

Buy pre made when necessary. I have lived in Israel for nine years, and I still have been unable to master dessert making with the local ingredients. Therefore, all my cookies and cakes all have to be purchased. I also buy potato kugel, since I don’t own a food processor, and hand grating depresses me.

Don’t schedule any other big projects for the day. Dinner parties are quite doable, but they do take time to prepare. Save your errands, home repairs, etc, for another day.

Keep the dishes super simple. Almost every dish I serve, can be prepared in 10 minutes or less (minus cooking time).

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