Monday, November 02, 2009

Its been awhile...

So its been awhile since I have posted... I have been busy though. My main projects have been Christmas gifts which have been keeping me busy and of course I cant post since someone might see something they are not supposed to. However I can sow you things I am making for Katie since despite her best efforts she has not mastered surfing the internet yet. I got this project from the book Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for Baby. The idea was to make large letters that spell something, for example the child's name. This seemed and easy project and it was. I started by finding a font on the computer that I thought would work, I then printed them out a large as I could. I let Katie pick out the fabrics she liked and cut the letters. To assemble them the book suggests just using a zigzag stitch around on the outside around the edge leaving an opening to stuff them.

Once stuffed just sew them shut, easy. I think they came out good.

Saturday, August 01, 2009


I have been wanting to make some jam for awhile. A little over a week ago I made some strawberry freezer jam that Andrea recommended and had me sample when I was down in LA. That recipe came from here. When in LA I also got some boxes of glass canning jars from my mom. There have been some really good sales on strawberries to I had plenty of those sitting in the refrigerator. Mike however has been talking about picking blackberries and that sounded like fun. The week the three of us headed out to a local regional park and picked a big bowl of berries. That night I made a blackberry pie which went fast and was very yummy. Yesterday I decided to start some jam, blackberry and then strawberry rhubarb based on the recipes in the pectin box. I started with the blackberry yesterday and made the strawberry rhubarb today, the pictures will be of both since I forgot to take many yesterday.

First the berries had to be mashed, I needed five cups.

The set up needed three pans, one boiling with the jars, one boiling with the lids and one for the jam. I used my candy thermometers to make sure the jars and lids were staying at 180 degrees.

The fruit and any lemon juice goes into the pan.

Next the pectin is stirred in and you turn the heat all the way up.

Bring it to a full boil and add the sugar, it takes a lot of sugar!

Return it to a full boil and cook for one minute, you stir constantly through all of this. I noticed at this point I had to turn down the heat a little since it came close to going over with both jams.

After the minute turn off the heat and skim off the foam. The blackberry jam hardly had any, the strawberry had a lot.

Pull a jar from here.

Fill it.

Put the hot lid on it then a band just till there is resistance.

The jar goes back into the water and repeat with the next jar. When you are done put the lid on and gently boil the jars.

They need to cool for 12-24 hours. Here is the finished product.

Blackberry Jam

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam (not sure why the solids went to the top here)

We tried the blackberry last night and it was really good. Not too bad for my first try I think.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Crochet Hook Holder

For my Mothers birthday I decided to made her a case to hold her crochet hooks. I used the book Sew What!: Bags by Lexie Barnes. First I selected some fabric.

I did add another print after I took this picture. Now of course I got so into making it that I forgot to take pictures but it cam together pretty well.

Here is the inside of it completed.

The back.

And all folded up.

Green Beans and More

Here is what came out of the garden today. One zucchini, cherry tomatoes, the first yellow pear tomato and a bunch of green beans. We have been getting a fairly steady stream of zucchini and summer squash which I have been cooking up.

Today we finally planted my lemon tree which I received on Mothers Day.

It is in between the fence and the wood deck where there used to be a walking stone. I moved the stone and planted the tree. We plan on redoing the deck so it wont be quiet as close to the tree forever.

The compost bin is doing good and is almost half full. We had a small frog living in it for awhile but I have not been able to find it for the past few days. My other big project has been painting the third guest bedroom. Pictures of that will be coming soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

6 Months Old

Last week Katie turned six months old. Six months sure does go by fast. It seems like just yesterday we got this

She was so tiny!

Now look how big she is, almost 16 lbs!

This last week she had her first taste of solid food.

She took her first trip to the beach and really liked the waves and water.

She also got two kittens, Misty and Bruno, this past month.

She can roll over and sit (with a little help getting there) she loves playing with her feet and sticking her tongue out. Her laugh is one of the greatest sounds I have ever heard. Overall she is a happy little girl and the apple of her parents eye.


I have been wanting to start a compost bin and thanks to a discount offered by Waste Management we were able to get a discounted bin. It took quite awhile to arrive but this last week when we got home we found the box sitting on out door step, of course some assembly was required. This is what I had when I took everything out of the box.

Of course I had my trusty assistant looking on, actually I think she was just trying to figure out what I was trying to do.

I assembled the compost bin and got it in the yard. Of course then I needed something to put in it and had to rake the yard and bring out the scrap bin from the kitchen. It is now started and hopefully soon I will have some compost!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Garden Gone Crazy

The garden has gone a little crazy. Turns out we made a small mistake with the fertilizer. When we built the bed Mike added Nitrogen. Turns out that nitrogen is what causes plants to get really big, leafy and green. This sounds good but all of the plants energy is going there instead of the vegetables. Our radishes and beets were lost to this, they were huge leafy vegetables but hardly anything in the dirt. I have worked to add some potassium now to help balance things out but here is where the garden is now.

The carrots which actually have little orange carrots developing.

Spinach and lettuce which we have been eating, but bugs are really eating away at the lettuce.

The tomatoes which are pretty much covering the peppers and eggplant, they are almost taller than the fence. There are small tomatoes on the plants.

The tomatillo which is looking good.

The corn, cucumber and one parsnip.

Watermelon, beans and cantaloupe.

And finally the squash. These are doing good. We have a few small zucchini and it looks like some of the other squash may be coming in soon too.

The rhubarb I planted are growing. The herbs are also getting bigger and more productive. My Mothers Day lemon tree will hopefully go in the ground soon. The dirt is very rocky and clay-like to I am only getting a little of the whole dug each day. That's the garden so far!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Katies Room Makeover

Katie's bedroom has been on my list as the first one to paint and finish. We recently got a crib from Mike's cousins and so it was time to set up Katie's room. This weekend my parents came to visit so it was the perfect time.

Here is what we started with. The walls were a sage green color and the trim was wood. I referred to the room as the cave since it was usually quite dark even in the middle of the day.

The closet had only been half painted the green and in parts of the room you could see the bright blue and yellow that the room was painted in the past.

My Dad is a painter so he and I got started in the room cutting in and putting up primer. We used Kilz no voc paint.

Clearly one coat of primer was not going to cover this green we had to buy a second gallon and do a second coat.

It was looking much better now. The next day we got busy putting on the paint. The painting went much faster than the primer. I used Yolo Colorhouse paint. Yolo is a great small environmentally friendly paint company. I used Air 04 for the walls and Air 01 for the trim. At first I was afraid the color was too yellow but in the end it was just what I wanted.

One of the first things we brought in was the pieces of the crib, luckily my Mom knew what she was doing and was able to put it together.

Katie really likes it. Next we brought all of Katie's stuff in from the garage and unpacked some things she hadn't gotten to use. Also her books are now out where we can get them, before they were in a cardboard box.

The large rocking chair is the one my parents used when I was little, the small one was mine when I was young. The mobile was finally taken out of the box where I read it was for birth to 5 months but Katie loves it.

Overall Katie and I really like her new room, it finally reflects her personality, bright and cheerful.