Rub-a-Dub-Dub Crochet Facial Scrub Pattern

I spent all of Wednesday cleaning and cooking since the Other Half was going to have a friend over. And I don’t just mean cleaning – I mean scrubbing the baseboards and dusting picture frames kind of cleaning. That is not my usual fare, I have to admit. So, the OH insisted I take Thursday off (I think he felt guilty, especially since he got a Moroccan lentil pie out of the deal).

I’m not really great at taking a day off, it would seem, because I spent all day making cheese and crocheting. I didn’t feel like doing much thinking when it came to crochet, however, and so I decided to make the OH a face cloth to use in the morning.  I just wanted something simple, square and nubby but thick enough to hold water (and something that would use up my cotton stash).  So, I’m sharing the pattern. Please let me know if it’s at all confusing!

By the by, the “rub-a-dub-dub, three men(maids) in a tub” nursery rhyme is a really inappropriate rhyme. However, as a kid I just thought it was about three silly & fully-clothed men taking a bath together. Hence the name of this pattern.

Rub-a-Dub-Dub Crochet Facial Scrub Pattern

Materials: worsted weight cotton/3.5mm hook

Finished Size: (approximately) 8.5in x 8.5in

ch 31

Row 1: turn, sc across – 30 sts

Row 2: ch 1, turn, insert hook into 1st st, yo & draw up loop, insert hook into next st, yo & draw up loop (3 loops on hook), yo and pull thru all 3 loops on hook, *insert hook into last st used, yo & draw up loop, insert hook into next st, yo & draw up loop, yo and pull thru all 3 loops on hook,* repeat from * to * to end, ch 1, turn – 30 sts

Row 3 – 30: repeat Row 2

Row31: repeat Row 2 to end, Fasten Off

Basically, the stitch is sc2tog but, in order to not decrease, instead of moving on to a new stitch, you work the last stitch worked together with the next stitch. Also, remember that, at the start of each row, you insert your hook into the very 1st sc (usually, when you chain 1, that chain counts as the 1st sc but not in this case).

Drop me a comment if you make one!

On Being a Housewife

There’s a lot of talk these days about being a stay-at-home mom but what about us gals (and guys) who are “just” homemakers? There isn’t a lot of talk about that, let alone recognition, and I’ve noticed amongst the girls a generation younger than me a lot of confusion about the subject. So, seeing as I’ve been holding down the fort at home for a few years, I thought I’d share some thoughts.

So, here are some things that most people with “real” jobs don’t understand.

1) Housewives are never off the clock.

That’s something I certainly wish I’d known going in. Yes, we don’t have any set hours, which is nice, but we also never get any real time off. It might be the weekend but if there’s laundry to be done, it’s still my job. We still have to eat, which means I still have to cook. It never stops.

2) Just because we don’t work outside the home doesn’t mean that we’re free whenever you need a babysitter, help moving, etc.

We actually do have things to do and schedules to keep. We can’t drop everything to help just because we don’t “actually work.” This applies to the self-employed as well. So, please, don’t just drop by and expect us to be gung-ho. We deserve a few days warning just like those who get a paycheck.

3) Being a housewife is slightly akin to factory work, i.e., it’s not as happy-go-lucky as it sounds.

Sometimes, most of the time, it’s a lot of drudgery. It’s a lot of the same thing over and over again, just like any other job, paid or otherwise. While we might eat the occasional bon-bon, we’re still also scrubbing toilets and washing dirty underwear and trying to make meals out of frozen peas & leftover meatloaf. And we’re doing this day after day after day after day. Which brings me to my next point.

4) Lack of self-worth.

We don’t get paychecks. We don’t get pats on the backs. In fact, most of us get looked down on when someone asks what we do because, simply put, we don’t “do anything.” Society as a whole sees our choice and our job as inherently worthless and sometimes our significant others see it as that as well.  Which also brings me to my next point.

5) Loneliness.

It’s pretty self-explanatory but we get lonely. It’s not like it used to be pre-feminist revolution. There just aren’t a lot of us out there anymore, not enough to mix with socially. And we don’t get the same amount of social interaction as most people with paid jobs do. We remain fairly isolated and that can make us downright frustrated, to say the least.

And here are some things that housewives need to understand.

1) The house isn’t going to fall apart without you (at least not for a few hours).

It’s okay to have down time. It’s okay to go out to lunch. It’s okay to let the dirty laundry sit for a day and skip mopping the kitchen floor. Sometimes, because of several of the points made above, housework can become our whole world and we feel this overwhelming compulsion to make sure everything is done before we relax. Stop, take a deep breath and go have a cup of coffee. The world won’t end, I promise.

2) You don’t need to put in the same amount of hours as your significant other in order to feel like you did a full day’s work.

Being a housewife is simply different than other jobs just as other jobs are simply different than other jobs, as well. Doctors don’t work the same hours as a construction worker. Retail managers don’t work the same hours as lawyers. And, statistically speaking, just because your significant other is at work doesn’t mean they’re actually working. There’s a lot of downtime with paid jobs as well. But, unlike a lot of paid jobs, remember that as a housewife you’re never actually off work. So, just because you only worked four straight hours instead of eight doesn’t mean you are working less hard. Chances are you put in more hours than you think you do.

3) It’s perfectly okay to take the day off even if your significant other has to work.

I’ve had several chicks tell me that they actually feel guilty taking a day off if their significant other is working, even when they’re sick. That’s just silly, girls. You’re allowed to have sick days. Heck, if you were getting paid, the law would require you to have them. Anyway, chances are that you’ll be sick longer if you try to push through. Better to take the day off and rest up so that you can get back to it more quickly.

4) Your significant other is perfectly capable of feeding themselves/doing their own laundry/shopping, etc.

Granted, the longer your significant other has someone feeding them, taking care of the house, etc the more they’ll get out of the habit of doing it themselves. That doesn’t mean, however, that they’re incapable, especially if you need to take a day off. As I said, the house isn’t going to fall apart and neither are they. And if they can’t figure out how to do it themselves, that’s what Google and fast food are for.

5) Get a hobby. Seriously.

If you want to save your sanity, find something fun to do so that your life doesn’t become just about the house and your significant other. It’s important to maintain an identity of your own, especially since you don’t get to exercise your personality quite as much as someone who socializes at work. Find something you love to do and it will really keep you from wanting to tear your hair out when you’re swimming in laundry and dirty dishes. It can be anything from the typically housewifey stuff like sewing or knitting to something that completely takes you out of that head space like roller-derby or skeet shooting. But do find something or you’re going to burn out.

6) You are doing something significant.

Perhaps you believe in the feminist idea of complete equality amongst the genders. If so, skip this part. Perhaps you’re a religious fundamentalist. If so, skip this part. Otherwise, let’s talk science for a minute. From an evolutionary point of view, the male gender is better at some things and the female is better at others. I’m not saying that men can’t raise children and women can’t have careers. I’m just saying that it’s a relatively modern idea that women not remain within the home or within the tribal setting. Men go out and hunt. Women, well, let’s be honest – they do everything else. So, this idea that taking care of the home and your significant other is meaningless or lacking in worth is also relatively modern and, honestly, bogus.

Just like your significant other’s job provides shelter and money to make your job possible, your job makes it possible for your significant other to function and happily so. There are very few of us who have never worked for a paycheck. Just imagine how happy you’d be if, after coming home from work, you didn’t have to worry about food or dishes or laundry. It makes the idea of being at work not as torturous, now doesn’t it?

However, if you still struggle with self-worth even after recognizing that there is inherent worth in what you do, then go volunteer. Join a women’s club (do those exist everywhere or is it just a Southern thing?), run a canned food drive, crochet some afghans for your local elderly population. Do something that does make you feel significant. Let’s face it, most people hate their jobs, whether they get paid or not. Luckily, as a housewife, your schedule is a bit more flexible. Plus, it will make you feel a lot less lonely and that’s important, too.

Healthy Green Hummus

At the end of my bagel recipe the other day, I posted a photo of a glorious bagel sandwich with fresh farmers cheese, pickled onion and green hummus. Today I thought I would share what I would call a starter recipe for the hummus, i.e., the basic ingredients and methods for making it. I highly recommend adding your own personal flair to fit your unique taste buds. Tahini always adds a depth of flavor and I am loath to make anything savory without a bit of garlic. The beauty of this recipe is that you can add just about anything you’d like.

Ingredients

2 green onions, sliced

1 lime, juiced

1 chili, sliced

5g mint

5g flat-leaf parsley

10g cilantro

90g fresh spinach

425g chickpeas, soaked & boiled to softness

1tbl oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Optional

2 garlic cloves, minced

ginger root, grated

lemon juice

tahini

1) Soak chickpeas overnight or for at least eight hours. Rinse and boil in fresh water for approximately one hour or until soft.

2) Rinse and drip-dry mint, parsley & cilantro. Combine, along with lime juice, green onions & chili, in food processor and pulse until thoroughly minced. Add spinach and oil, pulse to combine. Add chickpeas, 100g at a time, and pulse until a smooth paste forms.

I prefer a thicker hummus as I often use it for sandwiches. If you prefer a smoother and thinner hummus, add 1/2tbl of oil to the mixture at a time and pulse. You can also substitute water or lemon juice to achieve the same effect.

Bagels! A Recipe

I had a ton of whey left over from making farmers cheese this week and so I thought I would experiment with my usual bagel recipe. I’m an experimenter at heart when it comes to food but, if I nail a bread recipe, I usually leave it be. Really, once you’re certain you’ve got the perfect bagel recipe, do you really want to mess with it? Still, as I said, I was floating in whey and I had to do something with it. It turns out that I made the right choice. These bagels are still wonderfully chewy with a slightly crisp crust and now they’ve got a fantastic hint of sourness to them as well. Plus, whey is incredibly healthy, especially compared to tap water.

Ingredients

240ml whey (water can be substituted), warm (105° to 115°F/40° to 46°C)

1/3tsp active dry yeast

3/4oz honey

1/4oz granulated sugar

1/2tbl salt

17oz bread flour

Poaching Liquid

128oz water

6oz honey

1) Dissolve yeast in warm whey. Add honey, sugar & salt, mixing briefly. Add bread flour to the yeast mixture slowly, mixing as you go, adding just enough flour to make a stiff, smooth dough. Knead briefly (one minute) to ensure all ingredients are combined.

2) Cover tightly with damp towel or cling film. Let dough rest in a warm place until doubled, approximately one hour.

3) Punch down the dough gently and divide into eight equal portions, approximately 80 grams each. Between your palms, roll dough back and forth to form a rope. Length of rope is dependent on size of bagel you wish to achieve, though I usually roll mine out to nine inches. If you have trouble rolling the dough out to achieve desired length, roll as much as possible and then let dough rest for ten minutes to let the gluten relax before trying again.

4) To form, overlap the ends of the ropes about 1/2 inch and rock the dough back and forth between your palms to seal. Try to achieve uniform thickness throughout your ring (although, clearly, I didn’t). The rings do not have to be perfect, just close to it, otherwise they won’t bake uniformly.

5) Place on a lightly floured surface and let rise until less than slightly doubled in size. As they rise, prepare the poaching liquid by combining water & honey and bringing it to a boil on the stove. Preheat oven to 420°F/216°C. Prepare your baking tray with parchment paper.

7) Once the dough has risen sufficiently and the poaching liquid has come to a boil, reduce the temperature to a simmer. Carefully, with a slotted spoon, lower a bagel into the liquid and poach for approximately two minutes.  I usually poach two at a time, depending on the size of the pot I am using. Halfway through, flip the bagel in the liquid to boil the opposite side. They are well-boiled when they are puffed and shiny. They will reduce in size, slightly, once out of the water but will retain their rubbery appearance.

8) Place bagels on baking tray one inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they begin to just brown and then carefully flip the bagels over and continue baking for approximately 10 minutes longer. Remove bagels from oven when they are baked through and browned on the second side. Let cool on wire rack and try not to eat all in one sitting.

Tutorial: Irish Crochet & the Ribbed Edge

Sorry it has taken me so long to post this tutorial. I meant to put it up a couple of days ago and then life went all wonky. Found out this week that – on top of already being overwhelmed by work and training a new employee – the Other Half has to work twelve-hour Saturdays for the next three weeks. One of those weeks he has to work one of his days off, as well. So, needless to say, we’ve both been a wee bit stressed.

Now, in my last post, I posted a couple of photos of the leaves that I’ve been working on as well as a chart for the larger one. Both feature a ribbed edge stitch, the exact name of which I have no idea. I just wanted to post a quick tutorial for it, as it can appear to be trickier than it actually works up.

1) This trim is, essentially, worked backwards instead of turning when you get to the end of the row or round. Still working with your dominant hand, you twist the hook and insert it into your next stitch, twisting the loop on the hook as well.

2) The yarn you’re working with will be in front of your hook and your piece so you need to bring it over and cross the stitch you are working.

3) Once you’ve brought your yarn across your stitch, you wrap it under and over your hook counter-clockwise. Then simply pull it through the stitch as you would a normal single crochet to create two twisted loops on your hook.

4) Bring your yarn, again, counter-clockwise across your hook and pull through the two loops on your hook to complete your stitch. Continue working “backwards” and slip stitch with first ribbed stitch to join.

I hope this tutorial helps! If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I’ll get right back to you!