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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cottonwood Buds- spring stuff

Geese back in Anchorage
Sorry I haven't been updating. It's spring and my garden calls and the stuff I like to wild harvest is starting to come up.

One of my favorites is cottonwood buds to make a cottonwood bud salve that's just as good as commercial aspirin containing topical creams but smells a lot better for my arthritis.

Cottonwood Buds

Black Cottonwood grows literally like a weed in the Anchorage area. During what my family refers to as "tree sex" season, the fluffy seeds are everywhere, almost like snow in the middle of summer. Really sticky snow that is hard to get out of carpets and drives my housekeeper husband completely nuts on the job. (He recommends alcohol to dissolve the sticky. And patience. And putting up a lot of signs for people to wipe their feet)

But in spring, the branches are covered with buds that will become leaves, and those buds have a fair amount of salicylates in the resin. If you can't identify cottonwood, mature trees have a thick, gnarled, grey-ish brown or grey bark and buds smell medicinal- like camphor. The buds will also leave a reddish-brown resin on your fingers when you roll them between your fingers. When you wild harvest anything- my family goes with a strict 1 in 3 method with everything except willow. So we pick one out of 3 buds on a tree and never the ones at the tips of a branch.

This is widely considered the tree to make Balm of Gilead from, and my ancestors used it as a medicine by dissolving the resin in animals fats.

Well, I'm not going to use rendered tallow or lard for my balm. Fortunately, while half of my ancestors probably had no idea that olives even existed, I can go to the grocery store and pick up olive oil.

Generally you want about 2 parts oil to one part cottonwood buds. My family picks from trees in our neighborhood and goes to state parks- our state parks allow reasonable harvesting for personal use as long as you harvest responsibly and it makes a nice hike.

So you put the oil into a jar with the cottonwood buds then top with a coffee filter or a piece of clean fabric. The reason you use the permeable top is because there is some water in the cottonwood buds and you want that to evaporate. Stir daily until the buds sink. Then leave sit for 1-2 months. That's where I'm at now-
As you can see, as the resin dissolves into the olive oil, the buds are getting more green looking. The oil is a gorgeous dark gold color at this point. In colored jars that's hard to see.

Cottonwood oil is considered liquid gold by the people who use it.

After another month, I'll strain the oil, pressing to get as much oil as possible, and then I'll add 2 tablespoons of grated beeswax/cup of oil to make a balm and melt it gently over a double boiler then pour into some of my husband's old pomade tins and mark them clearly.

It might be too late to pick cottonwood in your area, but there are people on Etsy who sell buds and completed oil, and there is a possibility that next year TG and William may be among those sellers.

This year, this is all for me. :)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

1st Amendment coloring page- Bill Of Rights series

1st Amendment coloring page- available in jpg and transparent png
Today I'm starting a new series that I hope you will enjoy as much as you liked the birthstone/birth flowers series. It will be the Bill of Rights in simple to color patriotic layouts.

The first one is the First Amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Click the images below for a larger version to print and color.
jpg version:

1st Amendment coloring page- available in jpg and transparent png #FirstAmendment #Coloring #1a #Patriotic

transparent png version:
1st Amendment coloring page- available in jpg and transparent png #FirstAmendment #Coloring #1a #Patriotic


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Peace Symbol- coloring page

Peace symbol




It's been a while since I've drawn anything this delicate, but I'm really feeling the spring vibe right now. There are seeds started on my shelves and in mini-recycled greenhouses on my porch and the weather is getting warmer even if there is still a ton of snow.

So I hope you enjoy this simple spring inspired quick coloring project!


Click the images below to print and color.

Small jpg version:
Peace symbol to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png format #hippie #spring #peace


Large transparent png version:
Peace symbol to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png format #hippie #spring #peace


Get this peace symbol on a shirt in my Redbubble shop!

Also just for fun- yesterday my husband took me out to see the ducks because it always makes me smile.

And this one of my little recycled greenhouse seed starters-




Sunday, March 19, 2017

Alien mandala to print and color

Alien mandala  with blank version to color

Oh I hope you like this!

A fun alien mandala to print and color-

Click the images below for a larger version to print and color.

Small jpg version:

Alien mandala to print and color available in jpg and transparent png formats

Large transparent png version:

Alien mandala to print and color available in jpg and transparent png formats


Friday, March 10, 2017

Shamrock printable box



Here's the printable box!! I used slightly different colors for it, and hope you enjoy it.

Click the image below for a larger version, print on card stock, cut out, score fold, fold, glue!

Shamrock printable box for Saint Patrick's Day

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Shamrock coloring page- 2017

Shamrock knotwork

It's that time of year again!!! Shamrocks!

I'll be putting the example above on a printable box in the next day or two.

Here's the coloring page though! I hope you enjoy it! Click on the word shamrock in the tags to see more shamrock projects, click on knotwork to see more knotwork.

Click the images below for larger versions to print and color!

small jpg:
Knotwork shamrock to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png

large transparent png:
Knotwork shamrock to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Nevertheless She Persisted coloring page

Nevertheless, She Persisted coloring page


I hope that a lot of you enjoy this coloring page! I'm offering it without commentary, except to say that it's dedicated to my mother, who was a feminist, and raised me to be the same.

All comments on my blog are moderated- that's not just this post. It's been that way for years.


Click the images below for larger versions to print and color.

small jpg version:
Nevertheless she persisted coloring page available in jpg and transparent png

large transparent png version:
Nevertheless she persisted coloring page available in jpg and transparent png


By request- because I posted the original design on my Facebook page for feedback, I did put my colored version in my Redbubble store.
Nevertheless, She Persisted shirt



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

#BreakfastMonth Breakfast for Dinner

Last month I got an email asking if I wanted to participate in Breakfast Month. I asked my daughter because she's the really enthusiastic cook in the family and she got really excited. By really enthusiastic cook- I mean she kicks me out of my own kitchen regularly and tells me she wants to cook.

Then I caught a really bad cold and spent half the month reading trashy novels, drinking loads of tea and eating great breakfasts for dinner. Today I finally got all the photos of the breakfasts.

So it started with a great big box from Krusteaz (who doesn't love Krusteaz?)


She thought carefully about various things she could do for breakast, ways to include vegetables and fruits, what kind of proteins she wanted to serve with them.

Baking and cooking with Krusteaz is easy, and you get fantastic tasting results.

The first meal, she decided on buttermilk pancakes with locally made reindeer sausage, because that's a family favorite all the time. She served it up with pears and oranges.

Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix

Yes. It's every bit as good as it looks.

Then she got into the muffins!! Oh my goodness.. 

For these, she went with a basic lunch idea that could be easily packed.  

Krusteaz Blueberry Muffins Mix
Hard boiled egg, some blueberries to go with the blueberry muffins and a banana. Easy, convenient, no silverware needed!  My husband snagged the last two muffins a day later and asked us to make more soon. Don't forget to drain the blueberries that come with the mix! She made the first batch without draining and they tasted fantastic but were a strange shade of blue-green. :) 

She loves waffles.We don't have a Belgian waffle maker, but we do have an old-fashioned cast iron waffle maker. (we have a LOT of cast iron). She's also pretty sure that pepper bacon cooked crisp is one of the best things on earth. 

Krusteaz Belgian Waffle Mix

The big hit though, with my husband?
She made porkchops cooked in cherry soda and onions, a salad with feta cheese and apples and cinnamon crumb cake as a dessert and side dish. 

Oh my goodness. 
Krusteaz Cinnamon Crumb Cake Mix
My husband was blowing on his fingers and juggling to get it out of the mini paper loaf pan. "It's hot, but it's so good!" 

Yes Michael, it is so good.

Having that cold in January was awful. Having amazing breakfasts for dinner and the leftovers? Was fantastic. 

You can like Krusteaz on Facebook here.
Follow them on Twitter here- Krusteaz on Twitter
For ideas and recipes! 

I was provided with free products to create these breakfasts. 


Friday, February 10, 2017

Little Kitty Charm- crochet pattern

Crochet kitty charm


Right now I'm working on a knitted scarf for my husband. He wears scarves throughout the winter then they get misplaced in the summer. I had to take a short break and hooked up a bunch of these little charms last night.


You will need:
A small amount of size 10 thread in your choice of colors
size 6 steel hook (1.8 mm)
tapestry needle
scissors
stiffener (optional, I didn't use it)

Terminology is American

sc= single crochet
ch= chain
dc=double crochet
sl st= slip stitch

Chain 6

Rnd 1: Ch 6, dc in first ch, ch 16, dc in 6th ch from hook, ch 2, sl st to join
Rnd 2: ch 1 (does not count as first stitch), sc 3 times in "ear", ch 3, sl st in first ch (picot made), sc 3 times in ear, sc 16 times in big loop,  sc 3 times in "ear", ch 3, sl st in first ch (picot made), sc 3 times in ear, 2 sc in top of "head". Sl st to join.

If you want to add a loop, sl st back one stitch, chain 5, sl st in next sc in top of the head. If you're going to put it on a safety pin like I did, you might want to break off the yarn to pull the chain through the bottom loop before the final slip stitch.

Weave in ends. Block and stiffen if desired.

They are so quick. I'm going to try one later with beaded single crochets!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Shield Knot to Color

Captain America inspired knotwork

So lately I've been caught up drawing knots that are inspired by some of my favorite geeky things. Since most of them are very recognizable trademarked logos, I'm using them for personal use only. This one though, inspired by Captain America's shield, is just inspired. So I'm uploading it for you all to color and looking forward to seeing how you'll color it!

Click the images below for the larger versions of the knotwork to print and color.

Small jpg:
Knotwork shield to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png versions

Large transparent png:
Knotwork shield to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png versions

This is the knot I'm using as my profile picture on Facebook right now:
Rainbow Rebel


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Knotwork heart boxes in 4 colors to print and make

knotwork heart printable boxes in 4 colors

Yay! New printable gift boxes. And yes, there will be a coloring page with this knot later.

Click the images below for a larger version, print the box, cut out, score folds, fold, glue.

Knotwork heart box in black and white:
Knotwork heart box in black and white

Knotwork heart box in pink and white:
Knotwork heart box in pink and white

Knotwork heart box in blue and white: 
Knotwork heart box in blue and white



Knotwork heart box in purple and white:
Knotwork heart box in purple and white






Monday, January 23, 2017

Kitty Mandala

Kitty mandala with blank version to color

Hey everyone! I hope you have fun with this kitty mandala to print and color.

Click on the images below for a larger version to print and color.

small jpg kitty mandala:
Kitty mandala to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png format.

large transparent png version:
Kitty mandala to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png format.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hamsa coloring page

Colored example of a hamsa coloring page available to print and color

Happy 2017!

Sorry I didn't update in the last couple of weeks. A couple days before Christmas, my whole family came down with horrible colds THEN our hot water heater broke. So my husband was outside in 10 degree weather, with a cold, replacing it. The last couple of weeks turned out pretty good regardless, but there were parts that just weren't fun.

Anyway, this is the first coloring page for 2017, I hope you enjoy it. Click the images below for larger versions to print and color.

Hamsa coloring page- small jpg version:
Hamsa coloring page- available in jpg and transparent png

Hamsa coloring page- large transparent png version:
Hamsa coloring page- available in jpg and transparent png



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