Blog Archives

Glow-in-the-dark Craft Eyes

glowing-adglowing-adglowIt’s that time of year again.  Fall is almost here, and Halloween is less than 2 months away.  Click the image above to shop for your glow-in-the-dark craft eyes.

Happy crafting!

Making cream cheese & freezing eggs

My oldest son has moved out of the house to his own apartment, and I finally have the house to myself.  This comes after having my friend and her family living with me for 6 months.  I am so ready to be alone, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

This week I experimented with making my own cream cheese.  I was reading a recipe that seemed almost identical to making yogurt.  Since I make yogurt in my programmable rice cooker, how hard could it be to make cream cheese?  Not hard at all it turns out:

All of the recipes I read said that the leftover liquid would be whey.  Maybe it’s because I’m using cream from my local dairy, but the liquid I got is more like creme fraiche, which is fine with me!

On the chicken front, my oldest chickens are almost 1-1/2 years old.  That means they should be moulting soon.  When chickens moult they either slow down or stop laying altogether.  Since this is the first time these chickens will be moulting, I have no idea if they will keep laying or stop completely, or how long they will moult.  It could be a month, it could be 3 months.  That’s why I’m freezing eggs now in case there aren’t enough once they moult.  I have an herb freezing tray that I’m using to freeze raw eggs for baking.  Today I started frying eggs to freeze.  I’m flash freezing them and then putting them in freezer bags with parchment paper in between.

Suncatcher Craft Eyes updates soon!

Make your own glitter craft eyes!

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Introducing the new paint-your-own glitter craft eyes kit!  Rather than only offering glitter craft eyes to you for a few months a year, now you can make your own anytime!

The kit includes everything you need to get started, including:

A 6-compartment palette for easy painting and blending

5 Pair of premium clear craft eyes in your size choice

✿ A good paint brush in the appropriate size for the eyes you order

2 Ounces of glitter paint in your choice of color

Detailed instructions and tips that I’ve learned working with glitter paint over the years

There’s even a special kit just for cat eyes.  Everything in the kit is high quality.  The palette is washable and reusable.

Clear craft eyes are available separately, and I’ll be adding glitter paint separately as well over the next few weeks.

Hope you like it!

 

Today’s project: Bottling kombucha!

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My very first batch of kombucha was made without a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) using my homemade apple cider vinegar, and it took about 3 weeks to do its thing.  Now that my SCOBY  is big enough, the kombucha only takes about a week to make.  I think I’ve found the perfect recipe because each bottle usually makes it’s own little SCOBY.  Those baby SCOBY are great chicken snacks.

I reuse these kombucha bottles that I’ve been saving.  One gallon of kombucha makes 7 bottles plus a little extra to keep with the SCOBY in the refrigerator between batches.  This time I added diced strawberries in most of them and a bit of minced ginger in the other.  They will sit on my counter to ferment a bit and get bubbly before going in the refrigerator.

Each batch only requires 8 organic black teabags and 1 cup of organic sugar plus the gallon of water.  Much more cost-effective than paying $4 a bottle at the grocery store.

My kombucha recipe:

1 gallon of water

8 organic black teabags

1 cup of organic sugar

Bring the water to a boil and add the teabags.  Remove from heat and steep for about 10-15 minutes.  Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.  Let the mixture cool to room temperature.  If your SCOBY (mother) has been in the refrigerator, take it out and let it come up to room temperature.

Once the tea mixture has cooled, add it to a clean gallon-size glass jar.  Add your SCOBY and the liquid from the SCOBY container.  Cover with cheesecloth secured with a tie or rubber band.  Set it out of the way out of direct sunlight (I put mine in an open cupboard above the stove because my house is on the cool side … this way it gets a bit of heat).  Check your kombucha every few days.  You’ll know it is ready when it has a slight vinegary smell.  You can also pour a bit into a glass and taste it.  If there is no sweetness left from the sugar, it’s done.  How long you leave it is completely up to you.  You can determine how strong it is by how long you leave it to sit.

Bottle the kombucha in clean bottles.  If you want a bit of fizz, leave the bottles at room temperature until they have the amount of fizz you want.  After that they can go in the refrigerator.  I’ve kept mine easily for a couple of weeks with no problems.

My Garage Coop

This weekend I’ve been building the new coop for my chickens.  A lot of the wood was salvaged from my basement and garage, a local business that gives away pallet wood.  I bought the pine boards and some of the 1x2s and 2x2s for framing.

The coop is on the back wall of my garage for double security from predators and insulation against the cold.  Here in Maine it can go as low as about -10 F in the winter.  There are 3 nesting boxes with a big area on top for the chickens to sit in the sun.  Attached to that is a perch that runs the whole length of the coop.  The perch is about 6 feet long and has been in the garage since I bought the house 15 years ago – I finally found the perfect project for it!  It’s the perfect width so they can sit on their feet in the winter and keep warm.  (The plywood with spray paint were my son’s practice boards when he was into graffiti art – I don’t think the chickens will mind).

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The coop has a door on the front wall in the left bottom corner that’s about 2 feet tall so I can get in there and clean.  Besides the window to outdoors that lets in some sunshine, there are 2 screened-in windows with perches in front of them so they can get some light that comes in through the garage doors, and so I can see in.  They’re covered with hardware cloth to keep the chickens in and any critters out.  Those windows will be covered in the winter to help the coop retain heat.

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There’s going to be a door on hinges outside the nesting boxes for easy egg collection (tomorrow’s project) and a 4-foot-tall door at the other end for cleaning.  There are 2 windows covered with hardware cloth (wire mesh) so they can see out.  I cut about 2 feet off it and put that piece in front of the big screen window for more perching pleasure.  The final project tomorrow will be putting on the roof with ventilation.

Next weekend I’ll be adding a 6×6′ run area for them in the garage (for rainy, cold, and snowy days) with a little chicken-size doorway to outside and then install 100 feet of fencing outside for them to free range.  It works out perfectly because that will give them a week to get used to their new home so hopefully they’ll figure out how to get back home once they’re let outside.

This is my first construction project, and while it’s anything but perfect, it’s the perfect little coop for my chickens and has all the features I wanted.  I love it.

These are a few of the orders shipping today

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Opaque value pack headed to Maryland.

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Translucent value pack headed to Alberta, Canada.

Cat eyes now available in 7.5mm

ImageAfter a few requests, we now have cat eyes available in 7.5mm.  The new size is available in the drop-down list for size selection.  

Suncatcher Craft Eyes could be included in your kits!

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These packs of Suncatcher Craft Eyes are on their way to one of my favorite crochet designers to include in amigurumi crochet kits.  They even include a custom coupon code for a future purchase.

Would you like to include Suncatcher Craft Eyes in your crochet or softie kits?  Contact me for more information at support@suncatchereyes.com.

New faces in our gallery & your chance to win!

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Send in a photo of your project using Suncatcher Craft Eyes, and it will be added to our gallery along with your website/Etsy/Facebook link.  You will also be entered in our monthly drawing to win $20 to spend at Suncatcher Craft Eyes!  *One photo per project please.

Our Amazon Products

amazon storefrontDid you know Suncatcher Craft Eyes are available on Amazon.com?  The reason I created a Suncatcher Craft Eyes storefront on Amazon was to broaden our reach and get exposure to a wider audience of crafters.  You will recognize some of the products I sell on Amazon, but there are some new value packs that are exclusively sold on Amazon like our cat eyes pack of green, brown, sky blue, and blue and the 5-pair pack of green, sky blue, blue, purple, and brown shown below.

5pr value pack Amazon

As always I welcome your feedback and comments.  If you would like to see other products or value packs added to Amazon, just let me know.  Comment below or email me at suncatchereyes@roadrunner.com.