Apple Chips Recipe

Apple Chips recipeWell, this being my first weekend since June without a farm market, I had a little more time than usual (not that there isn’t always something to do), so I decided to make some apple chips. I’d been dying to try them and they turned out being really easy, and REALLY tasty. Continue reading

Wheat Weaving: Heart-shaped Wedding Favor

Wheat WeavingThis one was a request I got from someone wanting to make heart-shaped wheat weavings as favors for their wedding. The hearts are woven around a wire core which allows you to bend the finished weaving into any shape; in this case a heart.

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Wheat Weaving: Easy Harvest Braid

Autumn time is usually when I start getting heavily back into the wheat weaving, but thought I’d start with something simple. A harvest braid is very traditional wheat weaving. It’s also very easy, as the “hair braid” is the only plait you’ll be needing. The trick to making this braid look good is to ensure the straws all stay in the same order and remain flat as you’re weaving, otherwise it tends to look messy.

How to Make Flowered Gourds

flowered gourdsThese are something I make every year. They’re just cute little table decorations and look great in a bunch. They can work for any of the autumn holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. Usually they’ll last all the way through Thanksgiving before they start to rot (so long as they’re not kept in a very warm spot). Although one year I gave one to my grandmother and it dried, so she kept it right through Christmas!

The nice thing about these is that everything on them is real, except the silk leaves. (I tried real leaves one year and they ended up a crumpled, powdery mess by the end). You can usually find them by the bag at Michael’s or Joann Fabrics. If not, you can cut the leaves off one of those holiday leaf garlands.

Wheat Weaving: Dreamcatcher

Traditional wheat weavings designs had many meanings in ancient times. Some were used as courting favors, some were meant to bring luck, and many were used to ensure a bountiful harvest in the next year. Traditional designs abound in plenty, but even with the multitude of classic wheat weaving designs, it’s still fun create one’s own patterns. I created this dreamcatcher to blend the Celtic tradition of wheat weaving with the Native American tradition of dreamcatchers.

Begin by soaking a few dozen wheat or rye straws without heads.

Take a length of bailing wire (or a wire of  similar thickness) and bend it in a circle. Cut it to your desired dreamcatcher size. Unbend the wire and slip a piece of straw over the wire, add a second if needed, until the wire is completely covered. Tie five long straws to one end of the straw-covered wire, bend them out at an angle, so that one straw points north, east, west, and two straws point south. Take the left-hand south straw and bend it over the right-hand south straw so that it lies flat next to the straw pointed east. Then take the original east straw and bend it over the new east straw so that it lies flat next to the north east straw. Continue on in this manner, with the left-hand straw always bending out the right-hand straw (rotate the weaving so the straws you’re bending are always south if it makes it easier). When one straw gets short, just put another in its place.

Continue until the entire wire is covered, then bend the entire design in a circle and secure all the ends with white thread. This is your dreamcatcher hoop. To make the “string” peel the leaves off a few straws of wheat or rye and soak them. Twist the wet leaves together to form a string (keep adding leaves into the twist until the string is about 3 feet long). String the dreamcatcher as you would any normal dream catcher. (See here if you need instruction). For the hanger, take two wheat straws with heads and tie them together. Bend them down so they are at a right angle to each other, and proceed to fold the two straws over one another until the chain is two inches long.

Do the same with two more straws. Tie both ends of each chain together to form a loop, then tie it to the top of the dream catcher hoop.

The feathers are each made by braiding 7 straws together, then slowly cutting them off one at a time, so that the ends taper away. Twist the remaining two ends around each other and tie each feather to the dreamcatcher. It’s a bit harder to make than a traditional dreamcatcher, but I’m sure it keeps nightmares away just the same.

Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf