Last week I bottled up my elderberry wine. I put it into 300 ml bottles that are just big enough for two glasses each. A single glass can last me all night. I tend to sip it a savor it. It is more of a dessert or apertif wine. I gave a bottle to Alex and brought two to my mother's house. One to share and one as a gift. I definitely will try the recipe again, but first a ginger wine.
Rebecca and Josue gave me a deer leg. I started with a marinade of thyme, rosemary, juniper berries, coriander, and a dry red wine. I carefully removed steaks that did not have fat, tendons, or membranes. I will marinade this over night, grill, and serve with morels.

There was still quite a bit of meat that was difficult to to remove all the connective tissue. I decided to stew this for minced meat. I started with seasoning with salt, saffron, juniper berries, coriander, peppercorn,rosemary, and mustard seeds. I added a bottle of my stout to the water. I will stew this until tender, separate the meat and discard the whole herbs and spices. At that point I will add the ground nutmeg and other spices.
I have to admit that I have been very concerned about my first brew. I don't think I sparged enough sugar from the grains. I worried that I did not sanitize well enough. The stout started off vigorously and then stopped after two days.

I did a little research, and found that it was fairly common for an inactive airtrap. The yeast may still be doing its job and I should just wait. Today was the moment of discovery. I took another gravity and it turned out to be around 5% ABV. Not as strong as I was hoping, but better than I feared. I primed it with maple syrup and bottled it. It made nine bottles. I had a sip of the small amount left.

I am not a beer drinker, so I was looking forward to the coffee and coconut flavors. I was also worried it would be too week and not be a proper stout. It is still unfinished as it is still slightly sweet from the priming sugars and needs to carbonate and mellow the flavors. What I did find was that the coffee did not disappoint, it is definitely there. Coconut has a more subtle flavor which I did not pick up. That doesn't mean it isn't in there. Mostly I tasted the bitter pungency that I got when I tried Guinness. It definitely has some elements I was hoping for. As my taste buds are as undeveloped, when it comes to beer, as my stout is I will need to get second opinion when it is done. I already have one enthusiastic volunteer.
Raised embroidery, or stumpwork as it was named in the 1800's was the ultimate example of a lady's talent. I am more of a dabbler. I have studied a few basic stitches and played with them. I have never attempted anything too complicated or time consuming.

When I discovered stumpwork, I knew I had to give it a try. I read about and watched demonstrations of various techniques before starting this pattern freehand. It isn't perfect and it would be a poor testament to my talent and prowess as a woman. I do however find it charming.

The question now begs, what do I do with it.
For my first attempt at brewing I purchased a kit from The Brooklyn Brew Shop. They prepackage all grain kits for one gallon brewing. After starting my wine i wanted to try something that finishes earlier, but I wanted to stick with the same size equipment.

You can find the recipe in their Brooklyn Brew Shop Beer Making Book, by Erica Shea, Jennifer Fiedler, and Stephen Valand. Or you can purchase  complete kit or ingredient kit at

I tried to follow the instructions exactly. i did have trouble keeping the temp exact during the mash. I also realized that I did not have any brown sugar. I only had raw sugar. I looked up the conversion rate and the raw sugar converted to slightly under 1/3 cup.

I did take the gravity measurement before adding the yeast. It was 1.062, I am not sure if that is good for a stout. I need to get another book. I will find out in four weeks.
I racked the wine today and topped off the saurkraut that I started yesterday.
During a craft night I learned  how to make artisan bread. The recipe is from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

It is as simple as taking a large bowl with a lid; mixing warm water, yeast, and kosher salt. Then mixing in the flour, resting for two hours, and refrigerating over night. The next day you take a portion, shape it, let it rise, and bake. Very little actual work but very tasty.
I am making my first attempt at wine. I have made ginger beer, but I have always wanted to try something more sophisticated. This is the recipe I am using.

Elderberry Wine
  • 4 1/2 cups Elderberries
  • 12 cups water
  • 5 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 3 campden tablet
  • 1 teaspoon pectic enzyme
  • 1 teaspoon yeast nutrients
  • 1 package wine yeast
  • Wash Berries. Remove stalks. Crush and place in primary fermenter. Dissolve campden tablets in 2 cups hot water. Add to primary fermenter. Stir in lemon juice and pectic enzyme. Leave overnight.
    Add 10 cups water and yeast. Let sit 3 days, stirring daily. Make sure fruit stays submerged. I used K1V-1116, Lavin Montpellier wine yeast.
    On day 4, strain out the fruit. Add sugar and nutrients. Put into secondary fermenter and attach airlock.
  • For a sweet wine, rack at three weeks. Add 1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup wine. Stir gently, and place back into secondary fermentor. Repeat process every six weeks until fermentation does not restart with the addition of sugar. Rack every three months until one year old. Bottle.
I am curious how it will turn out. I am also making more preserved lemons. Alex helped me salt one lemon to try out last year and I really liked it. My next experiment will be sauerkraut.

I bought a new rigid heddle loom. It is a ten inch practice loom. It is just big enough for scarves. It is different from my inkle loom. I think I like not having to tie heddle strings, but the warping is interesting. I could use a warping board and it is helpful to have an extra hand. I did order an extra heddle, hook, and pick up stick. I am considering upgrading to a kromski harp next.

Here is my first attempt.
Charles and I created this art doll out of mostly recycled materials. You can view a full list of materials and back story at