French Yogurt, update.

Earlier this year ago, I wrote about my experiments in making homemade French yogurt (January 15, 2020). Since then, I have continued to make my own yogurt. Each week, I make anywhere between 20 and 48 jars of yogurt.

While making yogurt, I have continued to learn more about what works best for homemade yogurt. Here are a few tips:

  1. Yogurt cultures can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days if not making yogurt each day. I have found that the four days of storage is the longest that I would recommend. After four days, the cultures do start to spoil.
  2. Frozen yogurt needs to completely thaw before starting a new batch of yogurt. If not thawed, the frozen culture will take an extra 4 hours of incubation for a good outcome.
  3. A small amount of sugar (1/4 tsp) added to each 8 ounce jar of yogurt prior to incubation helps tremendously in creating the creamiest yogurt I have ever tasted.
  4. Homemade yogurt, strained through cheese cloth for an hour creates a very good base for tzatziki sauce as well as a good replacement for sour cream in baking recipes.

I have also found ways to use the Oui jars that I had accumulated. The most common use has been for making candles. Using glass etching, I have given candles to many friends and family. I have also made candles for each of our staff at my dental office (48 in total).

Recently, I decided to do some more glass etching to make storage for my button collection. Storing buttons in a large jar meant that each time I needed a specific color, I needed to sort through the entire jar. The last time I needed a button, I sorted all of them by color. Then I created vinyl stencils to etch several Oui jars with a label.

Having found some lids that fit these jars, I now have a well organized button collection in my sewing room.

I still have about a dozen empty Oui jars. I need to find some other projects to use these for.

Wind chimes from wine bottle.

IMG_1933When I started making fused glass mushrooms, I had to ask friends for empty wine bottles because I generally don’t drink any alcoholic beverages and so we had none at our house.  In doing this, I was received several colors of bottles – dark green, olive green, clear, blue, brown and amber.  Since the green are the only ones that worked well for mushroom stalks, that left me to think about other ideas for the different colors of bottles.

So, last week when I needed something to recognize an outgoing president of one of the organizations I am a member of, I decided to use one of the clear wine bottles to make another unique recognition item – a wind chime.

Supplies:IMG_2678
  • Clear Wine Bottle
  • Kinkajou bottle cutter
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Adhesive Stencil
  • Armour Etch Glass Etching Paste
  • Craft stick
  • Gloves, eyewear, apron
  • Drop Cloth
  • Coe 96 white glass
  • Heat resistant wire
  • Wooden Disks/Beads
  • Chain
  • Various Beads
Instructions:
1. Following the directions for use, cut the bottom off of the wine bottle using the Kinkajou bottle cutter.  I scored and cut about one inch up from the bottom.  Smooth the edge with glass file or glass sanding pads.
2. Clean the surface of the glass with rubbing alcohol, making sure to remove all finger prints.  Firmly adhere the cut stencil on the bottle.
3. Apply the Armour Etch paste to the glass following the suggestions in my original post about glass etching.

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4. Create a wind scope or wind sail.  I cut two tooth shapes out of white fusible glass.  These were full fused together with a wire loop at the top to facilitate assembly of the wind chime.
5. Using wire and pieces of chain, string together the beads to a visually pleasing length.  I used a wooden wheel shape for the striker and a wooden candle cup turned upside down to keep the beads from pulling out of the bottle.
The resulting wind chime creates a pleasant sound and a unique piece of visual art!

Glass Etching

 A few days ago, I realized that I had forgotten to order a plaque in recognition of the President of an organization that I am the Secretary/Treasurer for.  Since I only had a week until our spring meeting, I thought that it would not be enough time to order an engraved plaque.  So, I started thinking about what I could make to recognize my colleague.  After spending a couple hours thinking, I came up with an idea.

For a while now, I have been wanting to try glass etching. So, I thought this might be a technique to create something nice for my colleague that would be different than any other recognition he has received.
I checked out several tutorials on-line and decided to give it a try.

Supplies:
  • Glassware – 4 ounce juice glasses, glass mug, rectangular vase
  • Armour Etch Glass Etching Paste
  • Contact paper or stickers
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Painter’s tape
  • Craft sticks
  • Gloves, eyewear, apron
  • Drop Cloth
Instructions:
1. Clean the surface of the glass with rubbing alcohol.  Make sure to remove any finger prints because the oils in the prints will interfere with the etching process. Do not  use window cleaners because they have other chemicals that may interfere with the etching process.
2. Purchase or create a stencil for your design.  I digitized the logo from the organization and created a cutting file on my Cameo stencil cutter.
3. Place the stencil on the glassware. Use a craft stick (popsicle stick) to make sure that the edges of the stencil are firmly stuck to the glass so that the etching paste will not leak under the stencil.
4. Work over a towel or drop cloth to protect surfaces from potential acid damage. Wear gloves to protect your hands. Use protective eyewear to protect your eyes and an apron to protect your clothes. This is important because the etching paste is a strong acid that can cause burns.
5. Shake the etching paste bottle to mix the contents. Use the craft stick to apply the etching paste in a thick, even layer over the exposed glass.  Note: the manufacturer’s directions recommend a brush.  I found the suggestion for craft sticks on-line and liked the idea.  The etching paste is a strong acid that can quickly damage brushes.  Whereas, craft sticks are inexpensive and can just be thrown away rather than trying to clean the brush.
6. The etching paste does contain crystals that are part of the chemical process. These may cause a blotchy etch, so pull them onto the surface of the contact paper so that you have a smooth layer of paste in contact with the glass.
7. Allow the paste to etch for five minutes.  This is another change from the manufacturer’s directions.  The directions say that one minute is sufficient.  However, I found numerous comments that the etching time is insufficient for a good etch.
8. Two or three times during the etching process, move the paste around on the surface to remove any trapped air pockets to create a uniform etch.
9.Wash off the etching paste with hot water.  Be aware that the etching paste can remove the glaze in ceramic sinks.  So, rinse in a stainless steel or utility sink. Remove the stencil and continue to wash until all of  the paste is removed.
10. Dry and use.
For my first attempt, I used 4 ounce juice glasses that I already had in my kitchen.  I cut a snowflake stencil out of contact paper. Turned out really well, so I was ready to create the recognition item.
For the President recognition, I decided to use a vase. This vase is rectangular and measures 6″ tall, 4″ wide and 2″ deep (I masked over the name to avoid getting his permission to post this). I think this turned out really nice and will be a unique way to recognize our out-going president.