Miseducated | Whimsical Lifestyle Inspiration

make.kombucha

I decided to add a new category to Miseducated based on the wonderfully fulfilling and helpful work one of my best friends and I do together on an almost daily basis. Not only do we get together on weekdays to work (we both have jobs that rely on laptops, coffee and a strong WIFI connection) and encourage each other but we also do extra life-enhancing things like discussing hardships to find the positive hidden within, practicing yoga (she is an excellently encouraging yoga instructor so stay tuned for information about her business as the website is in the works) and connecting with our animals while incense swirls in the air and the music hums.

Lately we’ve began cooking together as we shared a home for a time and especially because Emma makes kombucha. I wasn’t even scared to try the drink because I was staying with her for a week and I figured I’d give it a shot. In one of my worst times I honestly felt good health-wise, which is not usually the case for me. I had been having a stomach ache and had been unable to eat much until I began drinking the drink and my stomach worries went away. I had issues with digestion and other women’s woes as well that seemed to clear up shockingly quick after enjoying kombucha daily. It wasn’t until later when I saw what went into this delicious vinegar soda I began to get skeptical. Extensive amounts of reading others experiences and recipes showed me that this is an ancient health elixir that has been made nearly everywhere and is only fairly new to our culture. So yes, I began to craft my own and we will teach you to do the same. All it takes is a SCOBY, tea (start with black or green) and sugar. Real sugar, not the chemical kind.

As always this is my experience, you are free to have your own and either dispose the taste or the entire idea behind the drink and that’s totally fine! I do not claim any magical healing benefits nor do I expect everyone to enjoy the taste. However I think trying new things is many times a good idea unless you have strong truth-based reservations about them.

So kombucha tastes nothing like tea or juice or regular soda or sugar. I figured I’d first throw that out there. To describe it at all, depending on what you add to it, it tastes like a carbonated vinegar. The carbonation and flavor depend on the amount of fermentation it does and what sort of juice you add after you bottle it. We have chosen to add mango lemonade but next time I believe I’ll try something new. I’ve heard of people adding ginger and that entices me.

Why kombucha though? Other than my own experience? Kombucha contains probiotics and multiple species of yeast and bacteria along with the organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, and polyphenols produced by these microbes. The precise quantities vary between samples, but may contain: Acetic acid, Ethanol, Gluconic acid, Glucuronic acid, Glycerol, Lactic acid, Usnic acid and B-vitamins. It was also found that Kombucha contains about 1.51 mg/mL of vitamin C. The acidity of kombucha resists contamination by most airborne molds or bacterial spores. It was shown that Kombucha inhibits growth of harmful microorganisms such as E. coli, Sal. enteritidis, Sal. typhimurium, and Sh. Sonnei. As a result, kombucha is relatively easy to maintain as a culture outside of sterile conditions. – Wikipedia on Kombucha

EMBER’S KOMBUCHA

by

Ingredients

  • 3.5 quarts water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 12 bags green or black tea / 6 tbsp loose green or black tea
  • 2 cups starter tea from last batch of kombucha
  • 1 healthy SCOBY per fermentation jar
  • Optional: when time for bottling add 1 cup fruit juice to bottle

Equipment

  • saucepan
  • 1 gallon glass jar
  • jars or bottles: 8 16-oz mason jars or soda bottles (with lids)
  • funnel
  • strainer

emma and our kombucha

Instructions

1. Make a batch of sweet tea: Fill saucepan with approx 1-2 quarts of water and add the bags when boiling. Add sugar and allow tea to steep until water has cooled. Add ice if impatient.

2. Add tea to 1-gallon jar. If still warm add cold water and leave only around 15% of jar unfilled.

3. Gently add your SCOBY and 2 cups of previous batch (without juice) being careful not to use metal to touch the SCOBY — we used bamboo tongs. Cover the mouth of the jar with a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band or tape if necessary (my jar was an oblong shape).

4. Ferment for 7 to 10 Days: Keep the jar in a cabinet by it’s lonesome. Store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and safe from being shaken or moved. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking it periodically to make sure the SCOBY is fermenting the tea and not succumbing to mold or ailments. (I like to check it and take a sniff to make sure it smells like vinegar and not anything rotten.)

You will notice the SCOBY may position itself anywhere around the bottle but usually a new SCOBY baby will form towards the top of the jar (in the liquid). You will also see brown strings settling on the bottom and around the SCOBY. These are signs of good fermentation. Feel free after 7 days to taste the kombucha with a teaspoon. If the tartness and sweetness are to your taste feel free to bottle, if not let it ferment up to 14 days (you can do a second ferment for 3 days in the bottles flavors added if you so decide).

5. Remove the SCOBY and prepare another saucepan with the tea recipe listed above. Without using metal transfer the SCOBY to a clean plate and remove extra layers if it has gotten too thick.

6. Now that you have your jar filled with only the kombucha, get out the stranger and funnel so you can pour it into the bottles/jars you prepared. Feel free to add fruit, fruit juices, flavors such as ginger, etc. We’ll add a feature on more kombucha uses and flavors in the future!

7. After the kombucha is bottle, store it at room-temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate and ferment further with the flavor you have added. Keep in mind that if you’re not familiar with the ingredients and time needed for carbonation the bottles could explore or pop open so keep checking and burping them everyday. After ready place them in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation and store for up to a month.

8. Use your tea, water and SCOBY to make another batch of kombucha as outlined above ready to continue the cycle.

* Too many extra SCOBYs? Put them in a jar filled with kombucha and feed them a cup of sugar every 2 weeks while waiting in the fridge. You can also donate them to a friend and teach them how to make kombucha OR you can start making multiple batches at once and experiment with flavors.

20 percent juice

Also view this recipe and how it relates to a yoga lifestyle at Emma’s ashtanga, fire and growth blog The Buddhi Blog and check out if your scoby has gone bad and other similar questions at Holistic Squid.

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ticktocktime

I read recently in a book that time does not heal anything, it’s what you do with that time. That is so accurately true and yet so opposite of what most others say (who are trying to be helpful) it scares me. So many people like to tell you that if you just get through it, time will heal your wounds. Time does nothing but prolong the issue if you’re not actively working on it. In fact time can even make the issue worse if you’re not working towards repair.

So.. write, read, talk, experience, explore, adventure, find people and things that are awesome and worthy of your precious time. Do that. I’m making it a point to knit more. I never really WANT anything I knit but I do want the meditative experience that comes with that. I think I may even go back to crocheting amigurumi for awhile and see what bears live inside my brain.

Another good idea? Make your home your castle.. so you can do all these things in your pretty kingdom and invite the special people over to feel and appreciate the magical energy you radiated into your walls. You may even share some tea and laughs that will permeate your home with even more of a sugar aura.

Inspired to knit away your time?

あみぐるみ & Yarn 糸

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Pop-Out Cake Rings by EnnaDesign

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Bamboo Wool Pastel Rainbow by LaFiabaRussa

I’ve been knitting with a magic yarn ball a penpal made me years ago that I never got to use… It has made the whole act of knitting that more exciting as I unwrap little gifts that fall out every 5 or so rows. Want to make one for a dear friend? Tiny Purrs has a feature on magic yarn balls here!

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kitties

For those who don’t know, my life mascot and furry soul mate, Hobbes, passed away in early June. He was 17. It was completely heart shattering. I felt closer to him than anyone, having him near me for 17 years, a constant in my life and losing him was very tough.

I allowed myself time to mourn and fall apart for several days and then began to pick myself up the following. In the midst of this was my daughter’s birthday and other activities so to be a good mother I took maybe one to two days to completely grieve (alone) and nothing else.. the next few days I maintained a positive outlook for our children before they arrived back home.

The days following that we began to speak about whether we would want another pet and if it would be a dog or a cat.. David was eventually open that he would want another cat because his bond with Hobbes turned him into a full blown cat person. We waited until we could have a family meeting about the passing of Hobbes and if we would want another pet. We looked online the next whole night for babies to adopt and found a little Manx which looked like a relative of Hobbes. We adopted the next weekend and David named him Calvin in honor of his big brother. It took him maybe one eve before he was completely obsessed with David and I. He is crazy, kittenish and hyper half the time while snuggly, cuddly and a nap lover the other half. He is officially our new baby boy.

So what is it about cats that steal our hearts and soothe our souls? We all know petting our cats helps us relax and feel comforted like no one else, unconditional love and admiration for every pat, but did you know they can also detect your feelings and even medical emergencies such as seizures? That they lower blood pressure and instill a feeling of safety and security?

I’ve read about quite a few cats detecting seizures on the web these days and I know my own cat always knew when I was upset or sad as he would meow to me and lay on me for hours if needed. I read up about this and scientists don’t really understand much about it other than the cats are able to detect biochemical scents. Many cats even alert family if an owner is beginning to have a seizure. Did you know cat purrs encourage the mending of broken bones? Cats have also been known to wake and alert families of house fires while they sleep. Yes, cats can save lives AND improve your health and happiness. In fact, read 8 Benefits of Being a Cat Owner by Mental Floss.

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greygardens

I’ve always enjoyed Grey Gardens. I love documentaries and anything concerning unique individuals and their points of view on the world. Especially former socialites (relatives of Jackie O) living in isolation within a house full of cats and costumes while reading astrology, talking of gossip, singing old songs and sun bathing on the beach. What’s not to love?

For those who have yet to see the 70s documentary, Grey Gardens is a film by Albert and David Maysles who filmed the documentary in a technique which allowed the women to tell their own stories. The film depicts the everyday lives of a mother and a daughter both named Edith Beale, who lived in a fall-to-ruin, cat and raccoon-filled mansion known as Grey Gardens located in East Hampton, New York. There has also been a broadway musical and an HBO movie created about the Beales due to the cult following of this interesting film.

If you can’t get a man to propose to you, you might as well be dead.
~Little Edie

Young Little Edie

Little Edie

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Little Edie: You can’t have your cake and eat it, too in life.
Big Edie: Oh, yes, I did. I did, I had my cake, loved it, masticated it, chewed it and had everything I wanted.

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I just stopped by to shove (delicately!) a spoon full of neon pink and pastel glitter down your throat on this glorious Wednesday. May you be inspired and enjoy the rest of your week! There are articles on the way so let’s meet again for tea real soon. xx

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kiddieland

lg67163This week and last week happened to be spring break for our children so one day we decided to cruise the craft store for fun projects. Among many things such as paints, beads, paracord and vinyl characters we got sewing kits for our two girls. Mary got a hanging bird for her room and Colette got a sew your own doll.

Upon investigating this new brand I hadn’t heard of or seen in the store before I was smitten. The products are adorable and teach kids to sew really cute little toys, create sculpted characters and even how to paper mach kokeshi dolls. I adored their display and product boxes and of course hoped the actual product was as well thought out as it appeared on the box.

Inside both boxes were very clear instructions for numerous stitches (though we only needed the double running stitch for our toys), a step by step guide and everything you need to create the toys. The fabric was a printed felt and very child-friendly with tiny holes all around it to teach them how to sew. It was like an advanced sewing lace kit with something you actually want to keep upon completion. To see how easy the kit was I actually let my 7 and 9 year olds sew parts they chose (they needed help occasionally and it gave me a chance to teach them to sew which I loved) and I assembled the doll by stuffing and sewing her body parts together. In the end our children exclaimed it was so fun that they wanted to do more (and I thought they’d give up after all the sewing!) while Colette was just excited to have her doll. She had previously held the box all through the store telling everyone she’s going to have a doll and it only made it more special that she and her family had a hand in it’s creation.

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William, 7, and myself sewed the arms and legs.

William, 7, and myself sewed the arms and legs.

Mary, 9, sewed the kitty friend and purse.

Mary, 9, sewed the kitty friend and purse.

The toughest part, though still easy, was sewing the arms and legs to the body. I did finished this up, the hair and her dress.

The toughest part, though still easy, was sewing the arms and legs to the body. I did finished this up, the hair and her dress.

I HIGHLY recommend this brand and the sewing kits they produce. I believe the perfect age for their sewing kits is around 7-9 as my kids could do most of it with supervision and help but learned a ton about sewing plushes and didn’t even prick their fingers once as the needles are small and thin plastic ones! Perfect for teaching and a great family project. We are all excited to see what projects this brand comes out with next!

Colette, 3, is very pleased with the outcome and was a huge moral support.

Colette, 3, is very pleased with the outcome and was a huge moral support.

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rose

So recently a rad clothing store by the name of Rose Wholesale with inexpensive wholesale prices asked me if I would review or model a few of their clothes. I of course said I’d be willing to give them a look if they could pick out something they thought was fitting to me (their stock size is ENORMOUS and I got lost in eyecandyland). They sent me a galaxy mini dress and a gradient cotton candy, fuzzy sweater. I love both items and have worn them at least a dozen times with no issues, wear or tear. The products, although inexpensive, hold up well in the wash and during normal activities (I still haven’t worn them during a marathon swim and will not be doing so because I am not a marathon swimmer!). I would highly recommend their shop to anyone looking for some unique and special items to cute-ify their wardrobe this spring at a very affordable price. My Mistereducated even has a sweater from there (several years old!) and will be doing a review from a man’s point of view as well.

All in all I’d have to say they have a great selection for both male and female and no matter what your style is you can find something to wet your tastebuds! I’m also wearing contacts by Pinky Paradise whom I will be reviewing next by vlog and my accessories are by Sanrio and my partner in crime’s brand, Sugar Junkie, whom we will be doing a feature on in the coming weeks! Stay tuned and stay cute this spring whether you marathon swim or sit and read your favorite book under a cherry tree!

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If you have a company or product you think we would love, apply to be reviewed.

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Because I can never decide which one is better so all of my pastel-coated paintings always have a little hot pink strewn through-out and same for my collages. Why choose one when you can have both? Have a hot pink Easter.

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Easy Neon Hanging Planters Tutorial by Brit + Co

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Candy Necklace Inspiration by Love the Day

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Chocolate Surprise Egg DIY for Easter

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Dip Dye Placemats by Design Love Fest

and lastly a breathtakingly beautiful home office and craft studio to inspire you to design your work space to fit your inspiration ala I Love Crafty:

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new office 31-1

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testworld

Who says the occult can’t be kawaii? For a long time I’ve loved tarot card art and the amount of dedication it must take to finish such a large deck. It’s a stretch, something totally new I never considered really doing. I know this is the next step!

So my next huge personal project is designing an deck of TAROT CARDS >> This is big for me to admit. Dedicating my next year/s to producing extensively designed mixed media tarot cards (78 in a deck) that will be available as very limited large prints until the entire deck is complete and then they will be made into decks of cards included as a lovely kit complete with a book written by a friend on interpretations.

I’ve also recently become obsessed with cute tarot cards such as those by Sanrio, Aya Takano (THE BEST: top of my wish list), the numerous cat and animal tarot cards, etc so I had to feature them! I’ve always wondered how I can add a totally different style/take into the world of the tarot.

The first of my new prints will be on show RAW located at the Murat on [official date announced!!] March 19th (buy a ticket ($15), you wont regret it! if not in the area comment and receive a free print at $30~). “XXI The World” is the first card and, as stated, will be first available at RAW.

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Once upon a time there was a kitschy Queen with a pretty, pretty princess and a bossy kitten that enjoyed the finer things in life. Things such as sugar, fluff, puff, stuff and more sugar sprinkled mayhem on top of that. In fact she thought the world might be a bit better if covered in sugar and so she spent her life running amok with her beautiful best friends while trying to make her dreams come true. Then the universe smiled on her and she met her King who had a couple princes and another pretty, pretty princess. They all 6 (her new lucky number) ran around with big handfuls of glittery love to throw onto the ground like petals at a wedding while the bossy little kitty sang the song of sunshine to all who would listen.

my pink cookie heart

popple baby

sugar plum cupcake

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Buddha at the Art Institute of Chicago

This is a beautiful Buddha from the Art Institute of Chicago where my King took me last week and it reminded me of old, happy memories. I love it and it reminds me of my home in Japan and our home here because we have mini Buddha’s all over the house.

Jamie and Amber Renee by ZambiCandy

ZambiCandy drew this of Jamie and I recently! I commissioned it for her birthday because I knew she loved Zambi’s work and because we had been playing our 3DSs non-stop together and talking about how fun it was just like the cartoon above! It was perfect because we each got each other sentimental prints and gifts this year. Absolutely excellent work by an even sweeter artists. I highly recommend her for any chibi or manga work you want done!

PST! See more daily photos like this via instagram. My username is: amberrenee — xx!

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