Sunday, July 31, 2011

jam again- news on pectin

This isn't exactly a recent batch of strawberry jam. Back from the first of July I guess. These aren't berries we picked either.  That you can tell for sure.  These are from the grocery.  All of our picked berries have already been jammed or frozen... or crashed on the floor.

side note:  I picked up this sink strainer for a few bucks the other day and it's already proved to be a great tool for canning.

The real point of this post and the most exciting news all month has been the new jars of pectin.  No more double sided directions from the box!  The folks over a Ball wised up and are trying to make home canning look easy.  The directions for this are on the back of the bottle.  Easy peasy.  Also a smart move, they have made the directions so that you don't have to make a huge batch.  You can make as little as two jars of jam and just measure out the amount of pectin needed.  It comes in regular amount of sugar needed or low sugar, which I've been using this year.

Jam made easier.

Since I'm making more jam and jelly this year than I did last year, I had to pick up some new small jars.   Look how cute these are.  They are only 4 oz, so I ended up with bunches of these tiny guys filled with strawberry jam.

Bee takes her lunch to school this year and had become a vegetarian over the summer so I'm looking forward to making lots of PBJs.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

name this canoe

Last summer, I mentioned to my dad that if he ever saw a canoe for free, I was interested.  I've been watching myself for a bargain canoe for years with no luck.  It was practically the next day and he called that he had found a free one.  It had a thousand pin holes in it, but he was going to work on it.

He spent bunches of time on this and has now delivered it to me.  It's big and green and needs a name.   We are taking it to a friends lake next week and have to get it registered with the DNR before we can take it anywhere else.  I'm going to ask my buddy to cut out letters for me, so our boat's name can be seen.  

Bee's voting for Sweet Pea, since she's big and green.  Do you have any name ides for us?

Friday, July 29, 2011

other little projects

There's been several summer birthday sewing projects. Here are a few of them. These drawstring backpacks have been the go-to boy gift this summer.  I think we've made up half a dozen.

We might tuck a little gift inside.

Or fill it up with school goodies.  These laminated printables are from 1+1+1=1 preschool packs.  This little guy's mom tells me his present from us has been the favorite. 

This quick rag bag was made up for a little friend.  The seams are on the outside, clipped and washed a dried to get a raggedy look.

For the girls, we've been giving puppet curtains too. 

So far Bee and Lou are mostly ok with me making the gifts they give.  Once we had a busy week and both kids had parties to go to.  We did make a toy store run then and another time Bee asked if we could please give her friend a store bought present.  I think she was looking for an excuse for me to take her to the mall.  

As long as they'll let me, I'll be happy to make the presents.  Do you have a go to kids birthday present?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

couch skirt

Another new skirt.

I picked this fabric up at a church yard sale back in May for less than $1.  It's loud and bossy and I knew right away I wanted a skirt out of it.  It's a thicker (and admittedly a little scratchy) fabric.  I suspect it was going to be a couch covering or crazy curtains.  

I made up a little necklace to go with it. I just braided three long skinny torn strips for the band and rolled the strips and hand sewed for the flowers.  I didn't intend to make a 'bib' style necklace, but one flower turned to three, then a whole bib was in place.  I wore this last week and got several compliments on the necklace.  One was from the teller at the drive through window at the bank.  I wasn't even in the first lane closest to her.  She could either tell how styling I was from far away or it's a little too big and bulky and caught her eye from afar. 

The best part of the skirt is the side zipper.  I'm all about a zipper pouch, but had never put in a zipper in clothing.  Turns out it wasn't hard either.

I didn't get the top lined up right, but I know what happened and it doesn't show.  I do need to take the skirt in just a little and I might fix this then.  I didn't use a pattern, I just traced an existing skirt.  I didn't take into account that at the waist band, I'd need to fold in to make the finished top, that made the skirt bigger at the top than I had expected.  

I need to take it in, but at the rate I'm eating cinnamon roll pancakes, I might as well leave it.

Luckily there were several yards of this fabric because several of the panels I cut out had moth holes in them.  I ended up cutting up all the fabric to get enough panels to make a skirt.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

more bang for your buck

Here are four canning post in one.   More bang for your buck.  Not that there are any bucks involved. 

I put up 23 quarts of green beans.  Many were in pints, but it totaled 23 quarts.   It was 1 bushel of beans, which this year weighed 26 pounds.  I paid $25 for them.  Last year my bushel was 33 pounds.  I felt like there were more this year, so maybe last year I was not weighed properly.   

I made a batch of cheater style grape jelly.   It's so stinkin good.  I will make more of this as needed.  Cheater jelly lets you do that.

On a whim, I canned several jars of cherries.  They aren't especially local but the grocery was having a super sale so I thought I'd try them out.  I hot packed them to allow more to fit in the jars.  Normally I cold pack things because it takes a step out.

One jar didn't seal right, so we ate them that next day, cool from the fridge.  Bee and I went crazy for them, the boys were neutral.

I used my new tattler lids on the cherries.  They are reusable canning lids.  They are a little different to use but can be used dozens and dozens of times.  I did one batch of 7 jars and 6 sealed great.   Rather than reprocess the mystery jar, we just ate it.  I've only ever had one jar not seal the first time, so I hope that there's just a learning curve and I'll get this method down too.

When my oldest younger sister was visiting, she made her first batch of strawberry jam.  I walked her through it, but she did it all so she could give it as gifts this Christmas. 

I saw this graphic somewhere and thought it was fun.  I think she's going to drop a jar.  I would know how she felt.

Part three to the crash saga is that Hubby did decide to remove some of the basement ceiling to check for grossness and yuck after juice started leaking through.

So this is how it sits.  as it turns out, there is no grossness or yuck.  It just sits open.  We'll see for how long!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

tags - the most awaited package all year

I finally did it.  I ordered tags.  Real tags.  It took almost a month to get them, but they are safely tucked away in my top drawer ready to be sewn in.  I had decided that when I hit my 300th etsy sale, I'd look into it.  I ordered 300 to celebrate 300.  That and that's kinda the middle option for the number you could order. 

I am pretty much in love with them. There were many options, but I went with a fold over  tag that can be sewn into hems or seams.  They are pretty similar to my old tags except that they are embroidered rather than printed and pretty much rock.  They are exactly what I was looking for!

Here are my old tags. Nice enough, but not as awesome.

Monday, July 25, 2011

garden tales and tails

This post is really three in one... watermelon drama, wilt drama and grub drama.

So the rabbits were getting into our watermelons so the kids and I made up some cages to protect them.  Lou thought he was a pretty funny guy with a protected head.  The rabbits couldn't get him now!

A few of these guys and our problems should be over.

No rabbits, no problem.

The next morning, I found this same watermelon at the edge of the garden. 

We didn't count on the raccoons.  They ate the watermelon.  Every drop.  They ate the corn too, but as you may recall, we only had one stalk that was tall and ready.

The tomatoes though seemed to be fine.   Lots of nice tall healthy plants.

Tomatoes on every plant. 

Then two started getting wilty.  Yellow, droopy leaves.

The base of the stem had some debris sort of around it. 

I pulled up the two plants and brought in the green tomatoes on them.  I think it's wilt, which is a soil virus.  Maybe.  Hopefully it won't spread to the others.

That seems to have taken care of the tomato issue.

Then one of the cucumbers started getting yellow.  What's next?

What?  And both zucchinis fell over....

Thank goodness for google.  A quick search about yellow debris around the base of squash family pants and I had my answer.  Vine boarers.

 To confirm it, I sliced open a vine.  Sure enough a grub!   The moths land on the base of vine plants during a particular time in the season and lay their eggs.  The eggs hatch into grubs and then tunnel through the vine killing it.  There doesn't seem to be anything you can do at this point.  I sliced open the vines and removed as many grubs as I could find, but it's probably too late.  

Hopefully the pumpkins aren't going to get effected too.

And my good producer yellow squash plants.  Nest year, I'm going to consider chemicals.  Poison.  Lots of poison in my garden.  Being organic doesn't do me any good if we can't eat much of it.

There was a little to pick tonight.  These are the tomatoes for daddy.  The kids and I ate our two each in the garden.  The big tomatoes look awesome, but just aren't ready yet. 

I am hoping that this is the last of the garden drama, although it's probably not.  At least it's 2011 and I can just as well go to the grocery store. 

shared on:  Life as a schoolhouse

Saturday, July 23, 2011

yard sale post .... like number 87

I'm not sure we'll go out in the heat to yard sale this weekend, but here are last weeks finds.  

We didn't need these at all.  We have a pretty big collection of trains and tracks and such, but this set was only $2 and I figure it will bring value when we are ready to part with our train table and tracks.  Not sure why my son is sitting on them and signing 'surprise.'  He's a surprise a lot of the time.

This old school sleeping bag was $3, but I talked her down to that.  I just liked the fabric and thought it would make a nice blanket to lay down in the yard or to keep for picnics or whatnot.

There was lots of fabric.  Most designer.  Most priced too high for me.  These light colored ones are fat quarters but were not marked.  They were bundled in sets.  I bought two sets at $2 each. 

These two fabrics were in the 50 cent box and I just thought they were cute.  I'm sure they'll get used for something.

I loved this cool cucumber fabric.  Again, no particular intentions with this, but I liked it. 

This bright print might be my favorite and I was happy to give $1 for it.  There might be a full yard of it.  I do have a project in mind for a corner of it at least.

As I'm writing this, it's Friday night.  I'm very much thinking about these delicious looking cinnamon roll pancakes for breakfast in the morning.  It will be a good Saturday here even if there are no yard sales for us!