Monday, February 25, 2013

Cooking: Bottling Rhubarb

Our summer this year (lots of rain, followed by lots of sun) has meant there's been a glut in the vegetable garden. Although we don't have one ourselves this year, we've received a bounty from generous neighbours, colleagues and friends who have more than enough to share! Often the amounts we've been given are to much for two people to eat in a short period of time. We don't have a big freezer, so I thought I'd give bottling a try.

I started with rhubarb, which I love stewed in strudel or crumbles, but not so much plain. I found some jars in the back of the cupboard with nice clean, resealable lids and got to work. It was surprisingly easy! It took less than an hour while I was also doing other things to bottle three jars (including sterilising the jars).

I used Microwave Bottling, by Isabel Webb for the recipe. It's an 80's book I picked up at a second hand book fair and has lots of gorgeous looking recipes for simple preserving. I think some apple puree might be next!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review: Crochet One-Skein Wonders

On my book blog I occasionally review upcoming titles and some of them are crafty! When those come along, I thought I'd share them here as well.

Crochet One-Skein Wonders, edited by Judith Durant & Edie Eckman

Crochet One-Skein Wonders is the latest in the one-skein series from Storey Publishing and the first dedicated solely to crochet. It contains 101 patterns over seven different weights of yarn, including scarves, clothing, toys, jewelry, bags and more.

There are lots of things to like about Crochet One-Skein Wonders. And I mean LOTS. It’s an extremely well-thought out book. Patterns are given in both text and diagram form, hook size is given in USA and UK terms and a pattern essentials sections explains the less common stitches used in each pattern, if any. There is useful information at every turn, such as the panel dedicated to adapting the toy patterns for under three year olds. The patterns are accompanied by a thorough appendix that is a useful flick-to guide for any crocheter, covering stitch abbreviations and diagrams, picture explanations of less used techniques, a glossary of yarn weights and lots more. The only true admission I could think of was a blocking guide – blocking is referred to in a majority of patterns in the book.

On the downside (like many in the one-skein series) the size of a 'skein' varies widely between patterns, from less than 100 to over 1000 yards. Although the pattern may be technically 'one skein' if the exact yarn called for is used, yarn switches would often require multiple skeins. I don't see this as a false statement, but it is worth being aware of. It's also never concretely stated whether the patterns are given in USA or UK stitches, which is a useful clarification for any crochet book.

The patterns themselves are unique and practical. To many modern crochet and knitting pattern compilation books fall into providing multiple patterns for items that haven’t been in common household use or worn since the 70′s. With the exception of three or four patterns, a tiny proportion out of 101, Crochet One-Skein Wonders keeps itself out of that trap . It was slightly disappointing that the entire lace-weight section is simply variations on scarves, but this is a minor complaint. Just flicking through seven patterns went on my immediate to-do list, which is quite a few for any single pattern book. I’m especially looking forward to starting the Bellisfaire Beanie and I need to find a small child just to have an excuse to try Niles the Crocodile (pictured on the cover, isn’t he cute!). There will definitely be something in here for everyone.

A solid 4 stars, this one is a great addition to any craft bookshelf.

Crochet One-Skein Wonders is released on 6th March 2013 in USA/Australasia and in April in the UK.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader copy of Crochet One-Skein Wonders thanks to Netgalley and Storey Publishing. I was not obligated to share my review.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kiwi Gets Crafty on Google+

Hopefully you're enjoying Kiwi Get's Crafty's fresh new look! I know that I am. As part of that fresh new look you can now find links to connect with me up on the right sidebar

Kiwi Gets Crafty is now on Google+. It's a new adventure for me and I'd love for you to follow along with me there.

You can also find me all the places I was before, including Pinterest, Ravelry and Goodreads. The buttons should just make me easier to find! Of course, you can also email me or follow me via RSS.

In other exciting new webby ventures for me, I now have a book blog. I started it as a course requirement for my Library diploma, but have enjoyed it so much I've decided to carry it on. I review a bit of every genre and share my bookish finds from around the web. If you love books too, you can join me at The Everyday Reader.

As it turns out, one of the perks of working in libraries and being a book blogger is that I occasionally have access to titles before they are officially released in exchange for sharing my thoughts. That includes some craft titles, which I'll be cross posting here. Stay tuned later in the week for my thoughts on an upcoming crochet title.

That's all for now!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I'm Back!

Yes that's right, Kiwi Gets Crafty is back. The hiatus was a much needed break and a good chance to evaluate where my bloggy life was and how to fit that in with real life! I'm feeling ready to start posting again (yay!) and you'll probably see a few changes around here in the next few weeks as I make an effort to freshen up the place a bit.

There's been lots going on with the crafty side of things. I've been stitching and baking etc as normal and have also been dabbling in a bit of dress making lately - I'll share some results of that soon. For now I'll leave you with some photos from a recent holiday on the Coromandel Coast - a beautiful part of New Zealand.

Cathedral Cove - that's me in the middle

See you soon!