Friday, July 27, 2012

Miss Lexy's DIY Projects & Adventures

Farm Fresh Homemade Strawberry Jam
Your blog doll is definitely a homebody. I spend most of my weekend spare time doing things like pickling, jam making, writing and cooking recipes for Vegan Miss, sewing homemade cat toys, bread making, making soy candles and vegan soap, amongst other things. In the near future, I'm trying out wine making for the first time. I'm also going to try to make vegan bath bombs. Many of you probably know about Pinterest already, but this website is such a great resource for a variety of DIY projects. Vegan Miss is on Pinterest if you are not following yet! I thought I would write a picture post with the variety of things I've made in the recent past.

Emily & I at Hill Prairie Winery
I'd also like to mention some fun things to do in the Midwest (beyond Chicago - I could write pages on fun things to do in Chicago!). There are a lot of awesome vineyards in Illinois. Many of them are in southern Illinois near Carbondale. This website has a complete list of vineyards in Illinois separated by region. I don't go down to southern Illinois often, so I'm not versed in vineyards down there. In central Illinois, there is Hill Prairie Winery which I went to with my friend and fellow vegan blogger, Emily. You can read about the awesome spinach & artichoke hummus dip she brought to the vineyard. Super nom!

Trio of Dips at Obed & Issac's
Also to mention in central Illinois, Springfield has recently opened a really fun microbrew downtown. It's called Obed and Issac's. Emily and I had vegan brunch there one Sunday (they made us veggies, potatoes, and toast) and their menu always has at least 2-3 vegan appetizers (or can be made vegan), as well as salads, and a vegan burger. Emily blogged about some of our trips to Obed & Issac's as well. Up north, there is Valentino Vineyards and Winery. I have yet to go here but I recently bought a Living Social deal for a tour, wine tasting, and wine pairing seminar which I plan on using in the next month! Vineyards (and microbrews) are a nice place to relax and enjoy some local, quality wine or beer. It's also nice to be able to escape to nature from the city for an afternoon. 

In Wisconsin, there is a lovely bed and breakfast inn called Inn Serendipity. It's the only vegetarian B&B I am aware of in the Illinois and/or Midwest area. The breakfast menu can also be made vegan upon request. They use their own produce from their organic farm or local food. All energy at the inn is powered by wind or sun. I've been meaning to go to this sustainable inn for some time now and plan on doing so in the near future! I will blog about my adventure to Inn Serendipity once I go.

Homemade Bread 'n Butter Pickles & Pickled Garlic
If you are interested in canning, pickling, or jam making, there is a great book made by Ball called the Complete Book or Home Preserving. Of course, there are many books out there that teach you and give recipes for preserving. If you're a beginner, I recommend this book and if you think you're going to continue to can, that you get a large pot and other utensils for canning. There are kits that come with everything you need. I have the kit made by Ball that I picked up at Lowe's. When summer hits, most home improvement stores and even grocery stores will carry canning items. If you plan on canning whole vegetables, though, you'll need a canning pressure cooker in order to assure safe handling and sterilization. Other items you may need are pectin and pickling salt.

Soy Candle in Antique Teacup
Candle and soap making are fun hobbies! I really enjoy making candles from scratch. It's also incredibly cheap once you have all the appropriate utensils. You can make 30 candles for the price of a couple nice candles at a store. You can get everything you need at CandleScience. I think making candles in antique teacups, tea cans, or jars looks really neat. There are a ton of great antique malls in central Illinois which is where I go to get that kind of stuff. If I tried to get nice teacups in Chicago, I'd spent a fortune. For Christmas last year, I got 17 antique teacups for $15 (granted, without the saucers). They make such cute and personal gifts! Soap making is a little more involved. I'd recommend one start with candle making first. You can get soap making kits and materials from Bramble Berry. You'll probably need a soap mold box too. I do cold process soap making. Palm oil is commonly used to make soap, but you can substitute it out for other oils. Be very careful with lye! You want to be completely covered when you handle it (goggles and gloves too) and make sure all children and pets are in different rooms where they will not disturb you. The stick blender and crock pot you use should be only for the soap making (you don't want to cook with something that's had lye on it, do you?). I don't have any pictures of my soap just yet, but when I do, I'll post an update with them!

DIY Sushi Cat Toys
The sewing projects I do are pretty basic. I'm not the most amazing sewer, I'll admit. The bread bags are really cheap and easy to make and would make such a cute gift once freshly made mini baguettes are in them! You use kitchen towels or scrap fabric to make them. The cat toys are just a quirky hobby of mine. As some of you may know, I am the proud mom to two eyeless kitties. Lucy, a runt Maine Coon (only 8 pounds and 2 years old!), has no eyes at all and Popeye, my main man, has one eye that is about half covered with scar tissue. I've thought about making dog toys but decided that dogs are just too destructive for me to even give my time to it. I'm sticking with homemade dog biscuits instead! Vegan Miss has a doggie carob cupcake recipe from long ago on the website too, just FYI. Cat toys are super adorable and fun to make. I would see them on Etsy and think to myself that I could make that too! I'm a huge fan of vegetarian sushi and Japanese culture (minored in Japanese in college and studied in Tokyo!) so naturally sushi cat toys would be my passion. This website has a tutorial for the sushi toys. Make sure you stuff them with a bit of organic cat nip and/or store them in a box of cat nip to let the toy soak in the scent. My cats adore these toys. And your kitty owner friends will think they're super precious too.

DIY Bread Bags
Some other projects I have in mind over the next 6 months or so beyond wine making and bath bombs are: DIY bath scrubs, homemade vanilla extract, homemade infused alcohol and olive oils, fabric magnets, coffee sleeves, and wire hair bows. If you would like, feel free to follow my personal Pinterest board. Most of my pinning is DIY projects and my dream hobby farm home I hope to have one day! Side note: this book (Vegan Food Gifts) looks totally amazing and I can not wait until it comes out! I hope some of you found this post useful and inspiring. DIY projects are so much fun and can be very rewarding experiences.

Photo credit for the Trio of Dips and Hill Prairie Winery photos: Emily at Running on Vegan.

No comments:

template by : background by Tayler : dingbat font TackODing