Sunday, September 28, 2014

Harvesting Hops!

It was that time of the year again... time to harvest our beer!
Well, the hops that will go into the beer.
Last year we were newbies, and didn't really know what we were doing. All the same, DadB made some great tasting beer with them.

We have been so busy lately, we were probably a couple weeks late on harvesting the hops. Some of them are a bit more dried brown than others, but the pollen is still inside the cones, and that is the important part that flavors the beer.

We set them out on screens to dry for a few days. (They dry in the bright pink and yellow room that was painted by the previous owner.) We will get around to painting it eventually...

Once dried, we weighed them on a kitchen scale so we could seal them in 2 ounce packages. (I guess that is about how much you need per batch of beer.)
When weighing the dry hops they were a little smaller than a volleyball, but after vacuum sealing, they turned out to be about the size of a magazine.

I had never used a vacuum sealer before, so Eva was kind enough to help figure it out.

After a successful trial run, we started to get the hang of it and packaged 9 full bags and one more half full for a total of 19 ounces! Quite the harvest.  Into the freezer they went, to best preserve them until they can be used.

All that work called for a reward of a puppy-cuddle on the couch.

With hops season comes football season! Since everyone else in the family has a jersey, Dear Husband (DH) decided Eva needed one too! She looks adorable in it. I even caught a picture of her mid-yawn.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Crafty Tea Party Invites

It has been forever since I have had a chance to blog! I have been so busy!
It doesn't happen very often, but I have been feeling rather domestic lately. First I filled up 4 boxes for donation, mastered the blind hem stitch on my sewing machine (... ok, learned and tried it), gardened, and made invitations, favors, and decorations for SisX's bachelorette tea party. Whew!

We are so fortunate to have wonderful family able to travel and visit us. Last week alone, I cleaned the guest bed/bath rooms 3 times! We had three siblings over for the long Labor Day weekend, an Aunt and Uncle came Thursday for the football game, and two more siblings came the following weekend for the bachelorette party. All this during my birthday week! Are we blessed or what?!

The fox was a birthday present from Eva... who then promptly "borrowed" it and destroyed the squeaker for me.
Dear Husband (DH) was so sweet, and surprised me with a birthday weekend before all our guests came. He took me out to a special fancy dinner, got me flowers, and gifted me a new Chromebook to replace my old Netbook. The new Chromebook is so fast and I am loving it, especially the cool touchscreen!

Here are the invites I made for the bachelorette party. Since it was a tea and wine tasting party, I tried to make the invites look tea-stained.
I cut a teacup shape out of some floral craft paper and made a slit for a "pocket." Inside the pocket was a teabag shaped invitation.
I put a layer of velum over the top attached with a grommet to make it look a little bit fancier. Then I attached a little tag with a bit of string just like a tea bag.

Some stamping and ink around the edges made it look a little aged. Add a couple fancy stickers and a bit of washi tape for embellishment and added interest.

The back had a silhouette stamped on it that I cut out of some craft foam. Believe it or not, it is pretty tough to find a stamp of a pin-up girl pouring tea. Go figure.

I had also stamped the envelope to give it a little pizzazz.

For the party itself, we first stopped at a shop that has flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars to taste, then moved on to two different wine tasting shops.  Once back home we had three or four different teas and many tasty treats made SisV, a masterful chef in disguise.

It was a wonderful outing and I really think SisX, the bride-to-be, enjoyed herself. Although she, along with everyone else, was skeptical of the green-apple dessert wine!