Archive for May, 2009

Blueberry Soda Pop

May 26, 2009

Or fizzy pop, as my boyfriend has taken to calling it.  I usually refer to soft drinks as ‘pop’ but this stuff is something more than your average pop, and, being home made, isn’t excessively fizzy, so I’m sticking with soda pop.  What, exactly, am I talking about?  My new hobby!  I came across this recipe while wasting time on the interwebs one evening about a month ago, and thought “Hey, neat!  Sounds like fun!  I’ll try it!” except probably less articulately than that, as it was rather late at night.

Skip over the cheesy introduction about how healthful it is (it’s all true, but she spins the hippy health nut angle a bit too far for me!) and go straight to the recipe.  Takes about a week and a half.  And it’s fun!  It’s like magic.

There are a few things I’d like to add that she didn’t mention, however:

1:  Be sure to sterilize your equipment!  She only mentions this once, in passing, and it is rather important, if you don’t want to end up with a mouldy mess.   So – boiling water and/or bleach for all you bottles, pots and funnels.

2:  When bottling, fill them up all the way.  Leave about an inch of air at the top.  This didn’t even occur to me until my boyfriend pointed it out, but exttra air space means extra room for the gas produced in the fermenting process to build up lots of pressure.  Seriously increasing the potential of exploding your bottles.

3:  You might want to serve it to somebody else at first.  You’ve gone through the whole process mucking around with ginger and berries and filtering out the icky goo, and (at least for me) somewhere in the back of your head you’re thinking “But it’s week-old berries!  I saw the goo!  It was icky!”  So it’s ok if you don’t like it at first.  By the end of the batch, it has quite grown on me.

4:  If you’re under 19 (or 18, or 21, or whatever) don’t read this.  It’s also tasty with gin.

Blueberry Soda Pop

So there you are.  my new hobby.  I’ve got a second batch on the go already.

But wait – what does this have to do with fibre arts, you ask?  Well, look at that pretty colour!  Isn’t it pretty?  Not only that, but the cloth used to strain the berries turned a lovely shade of purple to match.  Too bad berry colours don’t really stay that way . . .  Also, I figure it’s good practise for when the woad is ready to harvest and I try out a fermentation vat.

Textiles in the Garden

May 18, 2009

Last year in my sculpture class, I made some CD spindles, did some research on various kinds of lace making, and made a bunch of lace ‘webs’ and hung the spindles from them like spiders.  It kind of worked, but the setting was wrong, my pins didn’t stick in the weird walls so I had to use tape, which was ugly, you couldn’t really see the yarn, and most of my class thought it had something to do with music.

But it stuck a bug in my head that large-scale lace making can be fun.  So for experiment #2, I decided to play in my garden.  We planted some sugar snap peas a while ago and hadn’t gotten around to putting up a support for them, and they started to try to climb up the nearby dandelions, each other, and themselves.  Something had to be done!

I got some bamboo chopsticks from the dollar store, carved notches in them to hold the string, and stuck them in the ground next to my toppled-over peas.  I stuck some thumb tacks into the fence above each stake, and proceeded to weave my Pea Support Net of Awesomeness.  Or something.  Up and down, then back and forth, then up and down again.  Here it is:


Functional, maybe not exactly pretty, but I think I can call the experiment a success and if the cotton string holds up all summer, then next year I’ll try something a bit more elaborate!


Now THAT’s a full bobbin.

May 9, 2009



May 6, 2009

The woad has grown massively since I last wrote about it, and I transplanted it into the garden on the weekend.  Due to a late sprout, there are now seven plants, although one of them is a bit sickly.  I was originally going to dig a new section next to the vegetable garden in the back yard to plant it in, but ended up putting it in the front, because there was space and nothing else to put there.  Despite being the same plant, they are each quite different and seem to have their own personalities, so I have given them names.  So without any further ado, allow me to introduce Norman, Claire, Jingles, Bobo, Stan, Frank, and Junior.



Norman hasn’t quite fully recovered from the transplanting yet.  He’s sensitive, has shapely leaves, and is, as you can see, a bit off-kilter.



Claire is very pretty.  She has lovely shiny, paler green leaves, and is waving at Bobo, her favourite little brother.



Jingles is suffering a bit from the attentions of an infatuated beetle, and may soon lose a leaf.  However, he is staying strong, shooting up more to replace it as fast as he can.



Bobo is a bit lopsided.  That one leaf on his left grew too small, and now the next one coming in will be too big in compensation.  Oh well, he’s trying.



Stan is the biggest.  He amuses the others by talking to them in a fake English accent and singing “Suzanne Is A Funnicle Man” at the top of his lungs.



Frank is the beautiful baby boy, the surprise late germination.  Despite his late start, he is shaping up to be the nicest of them all.



Junior is undoubtedly the runt of this litter.  He’s not dead, but hasn’t grown at all in almost a month.  I’ve put him next to the rose that has recently come back to life in hopes that it will inspire him not to give up.

Now you know my little family.  They’re all set up to grow and grow and eventually evolve into pretty blue dye!