Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monogrammed Manly Beverage Coozie Tutorial

I have been bitten by the sewing bug lately, not that I don't always have some project in the works, but I've added several new clothing items to my Etsy shop over the last few weeks! Yay! While my shop is  still definitely still dominated by crochet, summer is great inspiration for sewing! 

My Sweet Girls in their Green Fox Farms Summer Essentials! :-)

Along those lines I have created this fun and easy project:
Monogrammed Manly Beverage Coozie Tutorial

This is my first ever sewing tutorial, which is both exciting and unnerving! :-) Hopefully this will serve to be useful to someone during these lovely summer months, even if it is too late for Father's Day! ;-) Unfortunately I decided to make it the day before in the midst of my Giveaway, so this one had to be postponed until I had time to write up the instructions. 

First things first: This Coozie is designed to fit either a standard sized can or bottle. My hubby uses both so I wanted it to be versatile. A standard bottle measures 7.5 inches around and cans are 8.25-8.5 inches around. My finished dimensions were 8 inches x 3.5 inches, not counting the elastic. I opted to use elastic and a button to secure the coozie, but you could easily use velcro, just add about 2 inches in length to your original outer pieces and sew the velcro on to the side without the fusible fleece before you stitch them together.

Materials list:
1. Fabric of choice for outer and inner 2 pieces each 9 inches x 4.5 inches
 (I used home decor fabric, but corduroy, denim, quilting cotton or similar would work as well)
2. Fusible fleece 1 piece measuring 8 x 3.5 inches
(You don't want to catch this in the seam and it will stretch a little as you iron)
3. Fabric of choice for Monogram 1 piece measuring about 3.5 x 5 inches
(I used an old jeans leg I cut off to make hole-in-the-knee pants into shorts, but again any fabric will do and if you choose felt or fleece you can skip the interfacing as they don't fray!)
4. Small piece of fusible interfacing to cover monogram 
(This serves to both stabilize and reduce fraying on your appliqué)
5. Small piece of 1/8 inch elastic about 2.5 inches in length
(If your button is much larger than mine I'd add another 1/2 inch of elastic)
6. Button of choice at least 1/2 inch wide (Mine was 7/8")

Start by assembling your materials and iron your fusible fleece to the wrong side of one of the main fabric pieces according to the manufacturers directions.

Next we are going to create our Monogram Appliqué. You want it to be less than 3 inches tall and no more than about 5 inches wide. I drew my own letter on a scrap of card stock, cut it out and then held it over the fusible interfacing to cut that out. I then ironed the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of my appliqué fabric following the manufacturers instructions and cut out the appliqué along the lines provided by my interfacing. This is NOT necessarily the simplest way to approach this… ;-) 

Instead you could opt to draw your monogram (or print one out if drawing is not your strong suit!) and trace it onto you fusible interfacing using tailor's chalk or a permanent marker (air erasable pen will not last you long enough here!) and then iron that piece onto the fabric and then cut it out just once. But it's up to you if you like to cut 3 times like me or one time like those who plan ahead… :-D

Next you will want to center you letter on the piece of outer fabric on which you have NOT ironed the fusible fleece. Trust me, it is much easier not to sew through that extra layer! I have centered my monogram evenly on the vertical plane, but about one inch over to the left of center to allow space for my button. Well it seems I'm capable of planning ahead sometimes! ;-) Once you have chosen your spot, pin your letter down well (knowing you'll be unpinning as we go to keep them out of the way of our needle) and get ready to sew on your appliqué. 

For stability, I usually appliqué using a zigzag stitch because I am used to appliquéing onto garments. This coozie really has no need to stretch so a simple straight stitch would do just as well, you decide! Anyhow, sew all the way around the outside of your letter (and the inside if you're lucky enough to have selected a letter like A, D, O, etc) making sure to backstitch at the beginning and end.  

Next we are going to place our elastic on the slightly shorter side, with the rough edges lined up with the edge of the fabric and the button loop facing toward the center. You can opt to pin or baste it in place by putting a couple stitches down. I find basting far easier, but pining works too. Then pin your two sides right sides together around the outside, leaving a roughly 2 inch gap on the button side that we will use to turn our coozie right side out. 

Starting at one edge of our 2 inch space, and using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew all the way around to the other edge of the gap, being sure to backstitch at the beginning and end. I like to then go back and do a few extra stitches to secure the elastic as you really don't want it come out, rendering your hardwork, well, rather useless… ;-) Then clip the corners to help them look crisp when we turn the coozie right side out.

Turn your coozie right side out, using the tool of your choice (chopstick, point turner, or old clay tools like me, etc.) to poke the corners as nicely as possible. Then turn in the edges of the opening we left to lie flat along the edge. You should be folding in roughly 1/2 inch, the same as your seam allowance. Press well on both sides with a nice hot, steamy iron. Next we will top stitch all the way around the edge of our coozie about 1/8 inch from the edge, effectively closing the aforementioned gap and giving it a nice finished look. You are almost finished! 

Next you want to sew on your button on the opposite side from your elastic. Try to line it up at roughly the same height as your elastic, but if you can tell mine snuck up a little higher and guess what? It still works great and I sincerely doubt my husband noticed! ;-) I used my machine, but hand sewing would be just as effective. Again, just make sure to knot it securely when you're done. That's it!


Now go wrap that gift up and give it away or strap it around the nearest cold beverage if you made if for yourself and go enjoy a hot summer day outside! YOU'VE EARNED IT!! :-)

Come check us out on ETSY and FACEBOOK

Thank you so much for sewing along with me! I hope you enjoyed my first tutorial and that it all made sense! I had a lot of fun making this and will be adding a girly version for myself soon! Maybe with a little crochet involved or some reverse appliquéing… Sure to elicit Ooohs! and Aaahs! either way! 

Please share what you've created or feel free to ask questions. I welcome you to join the fun and share your creations with me on our Facebook page! Let me know if I made any goofs too. See you soon! :-) 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Our Basic Ice Cream Recipe!!

One of my favorite things about summer, well spring and summer, is making homemade ice cream and ice cream cakes! I confess that I love my homemade ice cream so much that I rarely eat ice cream out anywhere because to me it is just not as good! :-) We were lucky enough to find a great deal on the Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt and Ice Cream maker at Costco last spring. It makes one and a half quarts, which is a good amount for our family and is the volume that our recipe produces. Don't have an ice cream maker? You can find the newer version of ours here or you can check out this great No-churn Ice Cream recipe from Food Renegade here which we used before we got our ice cream maker and which inspired some of our ingredients and ratios. :-)

Our basic recipe produces a delicious vanilla which is still my favorite, and I NEVER liked vanilla ice cream before I started making my own. You can also add any topping of your choice or cocoa powder to make chocolate. I love the versatility of this recipe and we are continually experimenting with new things to mix-in to it! This is a great recipe for kids to help with, and the various steps lend themselves easily to differing abilities so that even the youngest helpers can contribute! :-) Ready to get started?

Our ingredients for this batch - we are making Strawberries and Cream Ice Cream so our ingredients are yogurt, cream, raw honey, vanilla, eggs and diced, macerated (1 T sugar) strawberries. I am using pasteurized cream here, but my raw milk farmer has offered to save me some raw cream soon and I am so excited to try it! 

1 cup of yogurt. Homemade yogurt works just as well here too, I just haven't made any recently.

1/2 cup of delicious local, raw honey from our CSA farm! I am really liking using honey this year. Not only does it produce a creamier, softer set ice cream, but it requires less sweetener than sugar so its a win-win in my mind! :-)

Yogurt, honey, 4 egg yolks and vanilla added to mixing bowl to process first. If I were making chocolate, I would also add 3/4 of cocoa powder at this time. If I were making a fruit ice cream for which I wanted the fruit flavor to blend with the ice cream, rather than function as an add-in, I would also add some of the fruit at this stage for blending. 

Mix the ingredients until thoroughly blended in mixer or food processor.

Next add your cream (2 cups for vanilla, 1-1/2 cups if you're adding anything else!) and blend well.

At this point you can add your additional ingredients before placing your mix in the ice cream maker, or you can wait until the ice cream is processed for a while. This is something we have and are still experimenting with, to find the best timing, and truly it depends on what you are adding. The earlier you add it, the more it will incorporate into the ice cream, which is better with fruit, not as great with say chocolate sandwich cookies ;-)

My assistant cutting strawberries :-)

After he finished I went back and chopped them even smaller than I'd originally asked him to cut them and added a tablespoon of sugar to macerate them a little. You really want to add very small pieces of your add-ins as they will freeze much more solidly than the ice cream, especially if you use honey.

The finished product ready to go in the freezer and hard set. I usually make my ice cream in the late morning or early afternoon so that it has plenty of time to set up before dinner and I have plenty of time to take care of the dishes before I make even more cooking dinner!

YUM! I loved the Strawberries and Cream Ice Cream, as did my daughters. My helper on the other hand liked it "Ok" and requested Chocolate Ice Cream for next time. :-)

Here is the official recipe in easy written form:

** DISCLAIMER ** I use raw eggs and dairy products in my ice cream. I know my sources and totally feel comfortable with their safety. You need to make this decision for yourself :-) 


1 cup yogurt
2 cups raw or organic heavy cream (use 1-1/2 cups to accommodate additions)
3-4 egg yolks (strongly recommend local, free range or at least fresh, pastured organic)
1/2 cup raw honey or 3/4 cup sucanat, rapadura or organic sugar 
2 tablespoons vanilla extract (use 1 Tbsp for other favors)
1/2 - 3/4 cup addition of your choice (make sure to only use 1-1/2 cups cream!!)

1.) Add yogurt, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla to mixer or food processor & blend well
2.) Add cream and blend well
3.) Add additional toppings (EXCEPTION - cocoa powder should be added to yogurt in first mix)
4.) Add to ice cream maker & processes until soft set (about 30 minutes for our machine) according to manufacturers directions, then transfer to freezer until hard set (generally at least 2 hours). 

It is just that easy and fun and delicious! I'd love to hear your experiences trying out this recipe. Please tell us what you think and what delicious flavors and add-ins you tried! I'd love to hear your feedback and thank you for stopping by Green Fox Farms! :-)

Green Fox Farms on Etsy

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dandelion Fun and Natural Tick & Insect Repellant Recipe

It has been a really fun week around here! It is finally getting warm enough out to call this season spring… Just in time for summer to officially begin next week! ;-) We've been spending lots of quality time outdoors, working in our garden and playing.

The dandelions are loving this weather too and have gone from cheerful yellow petals to seed rather quickly with the warm up. We hope to find time soon try some of these great recipes from Mother Earth Living!

We are very glad that the weather has decided to catch up with the seasons, because our busy schedule of summer activities has begun. Evan is finishing up 2 week tennis clinic and really enjoying it. Zoie has started her summer-long soccer twice a week, to which she has really been looking forward.

At home they participate in a wide range of outdoor play. Favorites for Evan include gardening, swimming, riding his scooter and imaginative play. 

Zoie loves riding her bicycle, kicking the soccer ball, playing in the sandbox and being pulled in the wagon. 

Izze also loves riding her tricycle, being pulled in the wagon, digging in the dirt and drawing with sidewalk chalk. What are some of yours and your kiddos favorite outdoor summer activities?

Playing outside in the spring does have one downfall for our family - lots of ticks! Ticks are most active in the spring because the nymphs are out feeding once the weather begins to warm up. Here in Minnesota, ticks do not seem to like very hot or dry weather and mostly disappear in the heat of the summer, reappearing during cool, rainy spells. We have only found Wood or Dog ticks here, which are not known to carry diseases. Deer or Black legged ticks are the known carries or Lyme Disease and several other pathogens, and are unfortunately much smaller than wood ticks. 

So what do we do about these unwanted ticks? We do not spray for insects or any other pests, and we view them as unsafe and extremely detrimental to the environment. Instead we use deterrent practices and one of the recipes I detail below. Read on to find out the details….

1.) Shake well before use
2.) Use liberally on exposed skin 
3.) For ticks focus on the neck, ears, hairline, under arms and groin as places they like to attach, as well as legs, waist and back as access points to skin.
4.) Wearing long pants, especially tucked into your socks, is a very effective combined effort to keep ticks at bay and be sure to check for ticks after being in woods or tall grass!
5.) For mosquitos focus on exposed areas of skin and hair.
6.) Avoid getting these repellants directly in eyes or mouths, rinse thoroughly if these areas are exposed and contact a physician for further instructions if irritation persists.
7.) These recipes have been effective for us but are not guaranteed! ;-)

Rub-On Oil Based Version (My preference for ticks)

In a bottle with squirty top combine the following ingredients well:
- 8 Tbsp Almond, Jojoba or Olive Oil
- 4 Tbsp REAL Aloe Vera Gel (like this one)
- 40-60 drops of Essential Oils of choice

We use the following oils:
20 drops Rose Geranium EO 
15 drops Tea Tree EO
10 drops Lavender EO
5 drops Lemon Rosemary Lemongrass Blend EO
5 drops Citronella EO
 5 drops Grapefruit EO

Spray-On Witch Hazel Based Version (My preference for mosquitos)

In a bottle with spray top combine the following ingredients well:
- 4 oz. Water
- 4 oz. Pure Witch Hazel
- 1/2 tsp Vegetable Glycerin
- 40-60 drops of Essential Oils of choice 

We use the following oils:
20 drops Tea Tree EO
10 drops Lavender EO
10 drops Citronella EO
10 drops Lemon Rosemary Lemongrass Blend EO
 5 drops Grapefruit EO
5 drop Cedar EO

That's it!! Simple, easy, and effective ways to reduce your family's exposure to insects and arachnids this summer! Ticks are arachnids - Did you know that? See now you learned something else too!! :-) Wondering where to purchase or learn more about Essential Oils? We buy our oils both locally at our co-op or online. Mountain Rose Herbs has an extensive collection of high quality Essential Oils. You can learn more about Essential Oils and Herbalism on the Mountain Rose Herbs Blog as well! Another good choice for high quality Essential Oils and information about their uses and properties is Aura Cacia.

Thank you so much for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts or questions! Have a favorite method for insect protection? Please share!! Hope to see you back soon! :-)


Saturday, June 15, 2013

One Year Anniversary Giveaway Winners!!

First off I want to thank everyone who participated, shared, looked, liked and otherwise joined us in celebrating this event!! :-) I wished I could giveaway more prizes, but I am one woman with 3 kids to care for (and a garden!!) so I tried to pick some of my most popular items and keep it manageable for myself instead. :-) One thing I have learned this week is that I greatly prefer writing blog posts to promoting my business, so I have several posts in queue for after this giveaway and sale concludes, of which I am rather proud!

Also, a quick reminder that the sale is still going through Sunday at midnight CST in my Etsy shop. You can pick your sale and use either the code GFF1YEAR for 25% off of your purchase or code 35OFF100J13 for $35 off of your purchase of $100 or more. Both codes are exclusive of shipping charges. Feel free to contact me with any questions about how to use or where to enter the codes!

So without further ado, drumroll please….. Here are the WINNERS!!!!

Winner of the Crochet Beanie is: 
Sara Hammond McCloud!

Winner of the Crochet Crown is: 
Amy Davis!

Winner of the Crochet Fingerless Mittens is:
Ellen J Ward! 

Winners have been contacted. Thank you to everyone for participating!!

THANK YOU!! Please let me know if you enjoyed this giveaway! I would love to hear your thoughts and feel free to follow us if you would like to keep up with all the fun here at Green Fox Farms!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Green Fox Farms One Year Anniversary Giveaway & Sale-a-bration!

Hello world!

I have been sadly absent these last few months, busy with life amongst three active kids and running my Etsy shop. :-) I made the decision to invest in a DSLR camera a couple months ago and have been diving into photography and learning how to use this complex and amazing machine! More gorgeous pictures are promised soon! I have also been working very hard on expanding our garden to double the size this year and trying to cook wholesome real, whole foods meals from scratch for these adorable faces.

Meal planning does NOT come naturally to me, nor does the organization required. I kid you not that this has "eaten" up a lot of my time and yes, that pun was intended! I am happy to say that we have gotten into a rhythm with this and though slip ups happen (are are likely to continue with our busy summer schedule!) I have been able to keep on track quite nicely. I will graciously credit PlantoEat.com with aiding me greatly on this journey. It is a comprehensive recipe storage and meal planning site that is both quick and easy to use! They have a great system set up that allows you to easily copy recipes from websites and even blogs. You can also type up recipes from your favorite cookbooks too, which I have done for some of my favorites. Meal planning is a breeze too as you can queue your recipes then drag and drop them onto the day of your choice. I can easily plan 2 weeks of meals before we make a shopping trip in 15 minutes, and it will generate an editable shopping list based on the dates of my choice! :-)  (That smile is because grocery lists are the other bane of my existence, true story!)

We are officially unschooling for now, having a Waldorf curriculum to pull from as we desire (especially the stories!) but mainly following each child's interests wherever they lead. This is working very well for now, and I am interested to see how having many mornings filled with summer activities will affect our learning style. We will see very soon as tennis starts on Tuesday! ;-)

So as I mentioned early my Etsy Shop Green Fox Farms has been keeping me wonderfully busy. I have been adding a few new things here and there but mostly just taking care of orders as they arrive. I am excited to announce that Saturday, June 15 marks the One Year Anniversary of my shop opening! To celebrate I am offering a discount code in the shop all week and a giveaway on my Facebook Page! I am adding a copy of the Rafflecopter giveaway to the bottom of the page here as well. There is a Facebook Giveaway Album that has pictures and details about the prizes you can win! You are welcome to enter however you prefer! :-) The giveaway will end Saturday at midnight and the winners will be announced here, on my Facebook Page and in the Facebook Giveaway Album. Winners should contact me via my blog or Facebook to claim their prizes.

The sale code GFF1YEAR will provide a 25% discount. Coupon is good through Sunday, June 16th.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you join in the fun. Please share your thoughts. I'd love to read them!! :-)

Come Check us out! GreenFoxFarms.etsy.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway