Thursday, July 9, 2009

Making Goat Yogurt

So, I was talking to Seana about making goat cheese today and telling her that while my children love goat yogurt and goat cheese, they HATE goat milk. I have several cans of it at the house and don't know what to do with them. She gave me directions on how to make goat yogurt and so I am putting them here:

take a two quart glass jar with lid and fill it 3/4 of the way with cold goat milk. add 1/2 of a small container of store bought plain goat yogurt as a starter. set the milk and starter in a small cooler (she said 6-pack size cooler) filled with warm water. close the cooler and place it on the kitchen counter. in one hour, take out the warm water and replace it with fresh warm water (since the goat milk will have cooled it off) and then close it again and put it back on the counter and leave it overnight. in the morning, you will have made goat yogurt!

This morning we put the finishing touches on the hairstyles for our doll heads, added eyebrows, cut the hole in the neck for the dowel and glued in the dowel, felted the hands, and went shopping for fabrics. We had a total blast in the fabric store! Imagine -- if you can -- a group of women with doll heads of various hair colors, eye colors, and ethnicities all excitedly trying to choose the perfect fabrics for the costume of their puppets. We needed 1/2 yard for the main body of the doll, plus accessories (such as a cloak, lace collar, apron, or bonnet) and a piece of fabric to swaddle the baby in. I chose a lovely textured 100% linen piece in white for the swaddling cloth. Several others found a delicious 100% bamboo fabric which was very flannel-like and cuddly. My doll has a lavender, plum, and bronze print fabric and I got a piece of celery 100% silk fabric to be a bonnet. We had a fun time chattering and searching and advising one another! Several people found buttons which made lovely accents -- one ornate button is being used as a brooch, one flower button is being used as a hair accent. The staff was very friendly and helpful (and patient!) and the shop is right next door to a knitting cafe, where you eat and knit and chat. We plan to go back to both, to the fabric store to show off our completed puppets to the interested staff and to the knitting cafe to have a look round and eat a little something.

After lunch we sewed the main body onto the doll and added the first hand with the loop of elastic (hidden inside the body of the doll for the puppeteer to manipulate). This took quite a bit of time! It is lovely to see them all come into being, though, especially considering that each of us began with exactly the same pile of raw materials (white batting, a felting needle, a large sponge to use as a felting base, and a pile of roving in eye, mouth, and hair colors). They are VERY different! After classtime, we all went together to the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse which was spectacular. It was actually constructed in Tajikistan, taken apart piece by piece, shipped over to Boulder, and reassembled. The intricate hand carvings are amazing. My personal thought is that it would be a perfect place for a wedding reception. Not that I'm going to be having one any time soon, but it was the first thing that popped into my head.

I have other assorted notes from today.

Here are some book recommendations that came up today while the group was talking:

Another tip that I got was from a parent whose child attended the Tara Performing Arts High School here in Boulder. She said that when they do their end of year play, the children all needle felt small figures which are then sold at intermission. It is a fund raiser as well as a souvenir for parents and other family members. For example, when they did "The Sound of Music", the children all felted goats. This doubled as an activity for children to do when it was not their turn at rehearsal. Baskets of supplies and examples of the finished project were provided, and this kept little hands busy. Actually, I say little hands but we are talking high school students here! However, I think this is a terrific idea and one we can use at Tidewater. Each winter the students put on a performance of the Nutcracker and we could all make white wool Snow Fairies.

We all discussed how much we love Living Crafts magazine, a publication to which Suzanne regularly contributes, and one I highly recommend. The projects are of a very good quality and variety, the directions are clear, the lists of Waldorf vendors are handy, and the magazine doesn't come frequently enough that I get overwhelmed -- which is important to me! While we were talking, one person shared a craft idea that I really liked. She said that her friend (who is also a teacher) asks the parents of each child to go to a thrift store and purchase a large pure wool sweater, which the students then felt in the washing machine. The arms are cut off (and the teacher does basket stitch around the raw edge) and the children decorate their new vests with buttons and pockets. We were saying that this can double as a project which parents can begin at a back to school or parent/child night and then the children can complete. It helps people feel a part of the community, gives a good opening for the teacher to begin a conversation about the importance of warmth, it's a project which is simple enough for adults and children to share, and the children then keep their vests in their cubbies all year long. At this school, it is done as their first craft project of the year. I thought it was a great idea.

Also speaking of craft ideas, I asked Suzanne what silks she thought people should buy to be a backdrop (on their laps) for puppetry if they are just starting out and can't afford a large collection. She said silks in seasonal colors (so you could buy one every few months which represents the colors of the season you are currently in) and a rainbow silk is a good all-purpose silk. I asked her about a nighttime silk, like the blue one with gold stars that is often sold in Waldorf catalogues. Her response is that she has one and uses it occasionally but that she has a blue silk which she sewed sequins onto to be a night sky. This is softer than the harsh machine-printed pattern. Then we began to discuss Nuno felting (wet felting wool onto silk gauze) and how this opens up new possibilities for storytelling settings. I mentioned that you can do this same technique on cheesecloth if you can't afford silk gauze and so that is also a possibility for a beginning storyteller.

Here's a tutorial on How to Make Nuno Felt.

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