Saturday, September 3, 2011

Shampoo bars!

I have been loving the shampoo bar I got at whole foods, and have been using the bar with a vinegar and water hair rinse for the last 2 months. I love the way my hair feels, and the bar gives back a bit of texture to my super-uber-straight hair that bobby pins fall out of if I stick them in any other way but from the top down unless I use half a can of hairspray on it. Anyway, I made a batch of soap last month and it came out OK - so I figured I'd make a simple shampoo bar! Searched for a recipe that required no calculations and would make a small batch in case I wrecked it or I hated it (scroll to the bottom)..... Here is what I made:
I used a junk-drawer organizer thing from Target for the mold, and it was the absolutely perfect size for the volume of soap, I lined the container with parchment paper, poured in the sludge i mean soap, let it sit overnight covered with towels so it would cool SLOWLY and not leave an unappetizing white layer on top. This morning I turned it out and cut it into one inch sections - each "bar" weighs in between 2 and 3/4 and 2 and 5/8 ounces. Now it has to sit for 3 or 4 weeks then I can give it a try! Here is the recipe for a one pound chunk of soap. I found it at (if you leave off the "/soap" you end up looking at a ton of cool tape and adhesives!) where they have a bunch of smaller volume recipes designed to be made in a blender - I used a hand-held stick blender and it worked great.
Lavender Delight Shampoo Bar:
4 oz Coconut oil
6 oz Olive oil
6 oz Castor oil
2.3 oz Lye
6.5 oz Water
1 tsp. Lavender EO

Friday, June 17, 2011


Very busy spring this year - not good for blogging. Here are two videos of the chickens.

Aggie and Ethel take a bath together on a hot June morning:

Bathing Chickens from Lisa Stockebrand on Vimeo.

Lulu, Mavis and Mini discover a new snack...

Jumping Chickens from Lisa Stockebrand on Vimeo.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Seeds in the Ground!

Today I am home with laryngitis. Yesterday, I got seeds into the ground! Now I have to figure out how to keep the chickens OUT! Right now the seeds are covered with a cloth which is supposed to let in air, light and water, hope it will discourage the chickens! They tend not to go into the garden if the gate is closed, but it is only a matter of time - if food is involved - until they figure out that they are indeed birds and can actually fly over the fence -- shhhhhh, don't tell them!

I have been scooping the compost out and tossing it onto the beds a little at a time for the last couple of weeks and letting the chickens go at it - you can see in the left-hand bed that they do a pretty good job!


There are new pretty flowers- these are the best tulips! They are super bright, early and last!


Crocuses -

and of course, forsythia-

Can't forget the chickens - here they are in their prison run waiting to be let out

If you are needing a good dose of spring - go check out the Lambcams - yes they now have THREE over at Juniper Moon Fiber Farm. The babies are coming and nothing says spring like baby sheep and goats! Two cams look into nursery pens, the third (cam 2) looks out into the small nursery field. So far there is 1 lamb (bird names) and 4 kids (apple names)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What a Beautiful Weekend it Was!

This was the first line-dried laundry of the season:

My plan was to begin planting, I have planting charts from the Penn State Extension Service, Burpee seeds, maps of my beds, square foot gardening plans...

My first job was to dig out the compost bin that has been sitting all winter and get a pile ready for pole beans, and sprinkle a nice coating on the garden beds etc. As it turns out the only thing happier than a pig in shit is a chicken in compost!

We don't get to see a lot of Ethel, she is a pretty independent hen, but she had just as much fun in the compost as everyone else.




But the day was so lovely I got sidetracked and while I did get the chickens got the compost spread, I lolled about a lot and watched the flowers!

Lenten Rose (hellebores)



We are expected to get cold and a "wintry mix" on Wednesday, so planting can wait until next weekend! Spinach, collards, peas, shallots and garlic will be the first to go in!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How to Knit: Casting On

These tutorials were originally posted at the Juniper Moon Farms blog. I want to thank Susie for letting me post on her terrific blog, and encourage you to go visit it - nothing beats Juniper Moon for photos of puppies, pigs, chickens, llamas .. and if you have a hankering, they are looking for a Farm Manager......

When Susie put out the all-call for possible blog contributors, she probably figured nobody would actually volunteer to embarrass themselves publicly on video demonstrating knitting done their way! Well, I figure, what the heck! So I am here laying out my knitting skills for all of you to see – please be gentle!

I really love teaching people how to knit, but what I really like is knowing why something works, or doesn’t work. Why are there umpteen million ways to cast-on, decrease, bind off? How is knitting constructed? Why do some ways to knit work better than others? I was taught by my mom, who was taught by her Aunt Addie, when I was pretty young, I don’t remember learning. I do know that I was a very successful knitter for many, many years without being able to follow certain lace or stitch patterns before I realized I knit “backwards”. I took a class and saw how my knitting was constructed differently, and presto- a light went off in my head and I became so much more aware of how knitting was actually constructed, stitch patterns were developed and why there are really no mistakes or wrong ways to knit.

Anyway, I plan on a series of videos, hopefully one set every month, which will show you not only how to do something, but why you are doing it that way, and why that way and not another way. I hope that will help de-mystify knitting, and make you not afraid of your knitting, and not a captive of instructions.

So, here we go, with the first four videos of Knitting According to Lisa: Casting On!

Long Tail Cast-On: the basic all-purpose cast-on edge

Long Tail Cast-On from Lisa Stockebrand on Vimeo.

Crochet Cast-On: where you don’t run out of yarn and which you can also use to decorate a hanger

Crochet Cast-On from Lisa Stockebrand on Vimeo.

Knitting-On Cast-On: just how the heck do you cast on in the middle of your knitting?

Knitting On Stitches from Lisa Stockebrand on Vimeo.

Provisional Cast-On: my favorite because I tend to be hard on my knitting and this one does not fall out!

Provisional Cast-On from Lisa Stockebrand on Vimeo.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm a Guest blogger!

If you look down my blog list over there on the right, you will see a Guest Blog post over at Juniper Moon Fiber farm, well, that's me! I am working on a series of how-to videos on knitting: "Knitting According to Lisa" and the first set of 4 - Casting On are up!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Beautiful Saturday

Yesterday was beautiful - as in yes maybe Spring is on it's way beautiful!

Forsythia buds:

Snowdrops and Hosta

Teeny Crocus



Aggie on the rocks

And that Betty, such a ham - er - chicken!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Waiting for Spring - BEST tutorial ever!

Check out this tutorial about making your own bias tape! It is a GREAT tutorial. Bias tape is stupid easy to make and yet I NEVER think to do it myself! Ran across this tutorial and am all inspired - in fact, so inspired I ran out and bought a bias-tape maker and whipped up this little bit here!


There are only 2 things (ok - 3 things) I would add to the tutorial (which is amazingly good!) -

First - a fat quarter of fabric makes a generous 5 yards of 2 inch wide bias strip which translates into 1/2 inch double fold bias tape.

Second - USE SPRAY STARCH when you iron the strips. When you iron fabric cut on the bias you are fighting both the warp and weft thread so you have twice as much trying to unfold on you. Ironing along the grain, you are aligning the fold with either the warp or weft so those threads, parallel to the fold, not across it, don't fight the fold, only one set fights. Starch is a wonderful thing for beating fabric into submission.

- pay attention when sewing the bias strips together- you sort of zig-zag them, and may have to pick and choose a bit to get the strips to fit together. Not the best activity after a glass of wine!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WINDY Weekend

Check out the result of last weekend's wind-
Just peeled the plastic right off the chicken run, blew over rain barrels - not much water in it, the full ones were fine - tossed all the trash cans! We were lucky and did not loose any major tree limbs, roof bits or electricity!
The next day was lovely! The chickens were very happy to be out and about- here are one of the Bettys and Ethel enjoying the sun-
Say What?

I have added a project to this spring's list, my backyard neighbor has a great bat-house, I'm thinking of adding one to our house

There are the first signs of Spring just beginning- Lilac buds and fig buds

Friday, February 11, 2011

Faux Fair Isle with my Handspun and Napkins!

I finished it and I love it! I am going to work out the "pattern" such as it is and actually measure quantities next time - I have some hand-spun and some bare wool all ready to be dyed up - I did have some help though:

All nice - I like this lower squarish neckline:

In other "backyard" news - I have hoarded collected a bunch of fabric for napkins -

It began with the totally cute "French" chicken fabric though - and I tried mitered corners. There are a lot of really good tutorials for mitered corners - I copied from one of my Martha Stewart books, but next time I'm trying this method from Design Sponge, or this one from The Purl Bee for beautiful hand-sewn napkins. Anyway - here is the Martha-ish way:

Fold your hems over twice and iron the heck out of them (Martha has you measure a 1/2 inch and iron it, then an inch and iron that):

Then you unfold it you will need to see your fold lines since they will be your guide for the next step:

With the right side up, keep the first fold, unfold the second one and fold the corners back so the lines match up and the fold is right at the intersection of the second fold lines - you are making a diagonal across the square made by the ironed folds which will be your sewing line:

Fold the fabric across on the diagonal, and line up the edges:

Sew along the diagonal line, trim and turn inside-out:

Sew nicely around the hem (remember to make the bobbin thread a pretty coordinating color because that will be the top of the napkin)


For the next set I figured, heck, these are just napkins, is there a quick and dirty way to miter the corner? So for the under-patient who can over-look a bit of sloppiness - because it just is not as accurate:

Fold over the edge on all sides about a quarter of an inch:

Fold the napkin along the diagonal and eyeball measure about an inch (for a pretty small hem) along the diagonal from the tip of the folded bits and place a pin:

Sew a seam perpendicular to the folded middle edge of the napkin, starting at the place you marked with the pin - use the sewing machine as a guide because the whole point of doing the corners this way is because you are too impatient to mark anything!:

Clip and fold back right-side-out and fix by pressing the heck out of them!

Sew around the edges and they are done! It is REALLY HARD to get a good miter this way because when you are sewing the corner, you are sewing along the bias of the fabric and it wants to shift around. Sewing that perpendicular is harder than it looks! But hey! They are napkins!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Juicy Rovings and Giveaway Sweater

2/11/11 EDITED TO ADD: It's finished!

First - I finished the body of the sweater I am donating to Juniper Moon Farms massively huge most amazing giveaway ever in support of Pete's Greens:



I am really liking this sweater - basically I used the pattern "Faux Fair Isle Raglans" from Shannon Okey's book Spin to Knit: the Knitter's Guide to Yarn Making, but I added underarm gussets, and I think I added short-rows on the back of the neck so it would not ride up.... I'll have to double-check that bit!

Rovings! Dyed rovings!

Also - I dyed up four 4 oz chunks of roving, again the beautiful Cormo from Juniper Moon Farm- the first brownish grey was sort of a voo-do dyejob. I piled up the soaked fiber and randomly poured mixed red, blue and yellow dyes.

This next I am not so excited about, though the blues are nice, but it may spin up nicely:

This one I love! I painted two of the rovings the same and they are most juicy!