good parlor pets are hard to stuff....

I can't even say I've finished my parlor pet because I haven't even closed the stuffing holes yet or put on the eyes and nose.  This of course requires hand stitching which like many sewists I avoid as much as I can.  Even so, it's finished enough and I can say i'm really ready to move on now.  This project was extra fiddly and totally foreign to what I'm accustomed to working with.  Yeah sure, I learned a lot...  but was it stuff I needed to know?  I did two videos for this week, a regular BrianSews episode and since I was on a roll, a separate video review of McCall's M5676.

On another completely unrelated note.  I made my first batch of cheese!  How amazing is that?  No no it's not anything fancy, more like cream cheese than anything else.  I've been really into fermented milk lately, sounds gross huh?  Seriously though.  I really dislike milk, the idea of drinking it straight makes me shudder.  So how the heck am I all of a sudden obsessed with it?

The kefir:
It all started in Brazil......   I, like many people, tend to have some digestive issues especially while traveling.  Foreign foods, unstable schedule, weird water, it all adds up to.... discomfort.  Well, when I was in Brazil they seemed to sell kefir all over the place.  Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that's similar in flavor to a thin yogurt and drank like a smoothie.  Unlike yogurt which only has a handful of beneficial bacteria kefir is PACKED with 41 different beneficial strains.  Simply put, it had amazing effects on my well being this last trip abroad and I got hooked.  Click the links for more info.  Anyway, I've been brewing it up in mass quantity since I got home using organic milk and leaving out all the sugar and flavoring of commercial brands.

The cheese:
A friend of mine was telling me he made some cheese and I thought that sounded pretty cool so I bought some vegetarian rennet on ebay and tried my hand at it.  It's about as easy as it gets!  Heat milk to almost boiling, quickly cool to room temperature, add in a little kefir and a few drops of rennet.  This sits on your kitchen counter for 24 hours to firm up.  Strain the curds from the whey using cheese cloth, I cheated and used a woven polyester, by hanging the mixture for another 24 hours.  Mix some salt into remaining curds and stick in fridge.  That's it.  The longer it sits the more favor it develops.....  simply amazing and yummy.

The yogurt:
On top of all this a good friend just gifted me her very special yogurt starter that was brought all the way back from India.  I made my first batch and WOW, that's some good starter.  If you've ever had Nancy's organic yogurt it's like that, but way stronger.  This stuff will curl your eyelashes, it's so sour and thickened up beautifully.  I'm much more into kefir than yogurt now but this starter is worth keeping up.  Besides Nancy's, the American yogurts are designed for the masses.  Super sour and strong would not be a good selling point in this country.

So with all this milk fermenting I've been at the store almost every other day picking up a new carton!  Yikes, that's a lot of milk...

This first video is your weekly BrianSews episode:



This second is the McCall's M5676 review:

6 comments :: good parlor pets are hard to stuff....

  1. It's snowing and you're making a swimsuit! That's awesome!

    I made a doll once, and it takes the patience of a saint to stuff things like this. Never attempted another one. It is cute tho. Are the seam allowances a sensible 1/4" or the normal 5/8" that pattern companies like to use?

  2. you know, they were a 1/4" but needed to be trimmed down the the nubbin to make it look right. 5/8" would have been insane!

  3. I love your comments about questions from people when they learn you sew. I have become really good at saying no when someone says will you......? Then I explain to people I make things for fun and the idea of them standing in front of a full length mirror critiquing my work would not be fun, they understand. But I am still really amazed at how forward people are about it.

  4. A Hawaiian-style parlor pet named "Norma Valentina?" Lol! Missing you in Sac!!

  5. I love the little dog -- it's almost as cute as Pookie. Nancy

  6. I'm with you Fred. A colleague of mine asked me a few weeks ago, if I would repair his trousers and some fraying on his favourite tie. I told him 'No!', as I only do stuff for myself as a hobby, and suggested he take them to a tailor near his house. Here in Germany there are tailors everywhere, so there's no excuse.

    I suppose, though, it's my own fault, as I had bought a pair of Bugatti Jeans which were half price (€49,95). They were a perfect fit in the waist, but the length was about 10cm too long. I watched videos on YouTube as to how to adjust them while retaining the original hem. It only took about 20 mins in total to do both legs. When I got into work I was showing everyone my Jeans shortening project! D'oh!! My own fault!

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