How’s your summer so far? Mine has been completely devoted to kids and swimming pools and let’s not forget the World Cup. Ohhhh I so wish one day to see Brazil and US playing a final game! Sewing has been slow and haven’t had much time for it lately. Actually, I am taking a bit of a sewing break. It is nice to do other things and clear the mind up.
I made a bucket list for our summer and number one item was to cook with my oldest daughter. Allowing children in my kitchen is not something I enjoy, but I know I must do it. Cooking for me is relaxing, if children are properly entertaining themselves elsewhere. My oldest is finally at the age where the culinary tasks I give her get completed, without me having to spend an afternoon cleaning up the kitchen. Have I told you how much I enjoy age 7? It’s such a breath of fresh air. She’s so eager to learn and has the motor skills to do it. We have been doing our cooking while the youngest naps. That way we can share quality time together without little sister’s shenanigans.
A couple of weeks ago we three girls went to a local blueberry farm and picked a bucketful of goodness. We ate lots of fresh blueberries, made several bags to freeze (for smoothies or muffins later), and reserved some to make jam. Please note: I am at war with sugar. And so far sugar is winning. Moderation, right?
So here’s the recipe for this delicious jam.
6-7 cups of fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons of lime juice
2 tablespoons of lime peel
3 mint sprigs. it is best to tie them together using cotton kitchen string. The taste of mint is very pronounced in this recipe. If you are not a fan of mint, add one more tablespoon of lime peel and omit the mint. You will get yummy blueberry lime jam.
3.5 cups of pure cane sugar
1.75 ounces (or 3.5 tablespoons) of powder fruit pectin
7 half pint jars, bands, and lids (be sure to boil the jars in a large pot to sterilize them). Leave them in the hot water because you will want to fill the jars while the are still hot. And you can reuse this water to seal the jars.
Large heavy pot (8-quart) for the blueberry mixture
Canning jar lifter
Pressure cooker or very large heavy pot. You won’t need it to have pressure, you just need a pot with enough room to accommodate all of the jars. I use the same pot to boil the empty jars and to boil the filled jars submerged in water.
Crush the blueberries in a 8 quart heavy pot using a potato masher. Add a cup at the time until you have crushed all of the berries. Combine the lime juice, lime peel, and pectin. Stir the mixture well. Add the mint sprigs.
On the stove top bring the mixture of a low boil, add sugar and stir until well combined. Continue to stir until mixture has reached boiling point. You will want for it to maintain boiling point for about 1-2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and skim off the white foam at the top of your mixture. Using a ladle, fill the half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 headspace. Do not overfill jars. Clean the rim of the jars, place lid and screw the band. Submerge jars in boiling water. Time boiling once water begins to boil again. Boil for 12 minutes. Carefully remove jars from boiling water and cool them on a wire rack. Once you hear the jars pop (seal), tighten the screw band.
Once jars are completely cooled, dress them up pretty. Keep a few, and give a few away to your neighbors and friends. Enjoy!
10 more weeks, 10 more weeks. Heartburn will go away! And baby will get to sleep (oh I hope she sleeps, like during the night) in her little corner. I think this bit of sewing I did for her, little quilt and crib bumper wraps up my baby sewing. I’ve got about five other quilts to finish, the big kind of quilts. But before I get there, let me tell you about the things I did for this baby girl.
I painted an ugly wooden shelf white and it magically got pretty. Then I gave the vintage crib a little paint too. Funny fact: I went to the little shop to get another color of paint then, I saw this paint color names Florence. This is my baby’s, I declared! And suddenly, I just had to make a quick change. Serendipity! My husband doesn’t believe me though. He thinks I knew all along that color was called Florence, to convince him further that this is indeed a great name. I DID NOT KNOW! And Florence is a pretty awesome name. We will chat more about this after she gets here.
Surely by now you already know about Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint. This stuff is DIY crack. No sanding, no priming, just paint and ta-da! After the paint dry you seal it with the wax and you’ve got a “new” piece of furniture. Just like that. It isn’t cheap. But worth every penny.
The tiny old crib has held my previous two babies until about 4 to 5 months. I bought this crib when we lived in Missouri for a whole $10. So glad I didn’t pass it because it is perfect to keep a baby close by, for the zillion nighttime breast feedings. And it takes up little space.
Let’s just call this color intuition. You know you like certain colors when without much planning everything comes together in a particular palette. I started on my Florence quilt before I got the paint for the crib. Now looking back, it was all just meant to be. Add the super cute Texas Alphabet I purchased at The Tinderbox in Houston and baby has her own little space.
I am in love enough with this quilt that I will make the pattern available for you to purchase, soonish. You will LOVE piecing this. And how about this quilting. Don’t even get me started. I am can’t get enough of it.
This about wraps up what I needed to do baby wise. Aside from washing all of the clothes and swaddling blankets. Phew, no more nightmares about a baby coming into this world to an unprepared mother. And there’s still plenty of time to pack my bag for the birthing center. Hooray!
Happy Saturday friends, I am off to find myself a freaking coca-cola . I can’t take this heartburn no more (neither the gross heartburn chalky pill thingies). Until next time!
DISCLAIMER: I am not a chef. I just like to cook. And I am not a food blogger. My cooking instructions are usually as clear as mud because I don’t measure stuff, I just add a little of this and a little of that. But, hopefully you will understand me.
I promised this recipe to about 10 people. So here it is, my glorious pot roast. It’s really delicious!
Ingredients: All ingredients are organic or backyard grown, and the meat is grass fed.
2-3 lb chuck roast. We get our grass fed beef from Younder Way farm.
1 small sweet onion, chopped
7 small Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice from 2 small limes.
2 tbsp of Plugra butter
6 red potatoes cut in fours
3 cups of chicken stock
Enough sea salt to rub on all sides of meat
A few sprigs of oregano
A little bunch of green onions, chopped
Water as needed
Kosher salt to taste
1/4 cup of good Red Wine, optional. I have made it both ways. Sometimes I feel like the wine makes the meat too rich.
A heat proof french oven
Direction: Heat your oven to 350F. Pat meat cut dry with paper towel, rub sea and lime juice salt on all sides. In the same pot you will put in the oven, melt butter and sear meat on all sides, you will want it fairly brown and sticking to the bottom. This will give your sauce a nice taste. Remove meat from pot and reserve to the side. Mix garlic to the butter/meat juice and lightly saute. Once garlic is fragrant and slightly brown, add onions, cook until translucent. Now add tomatoes and stir as needed for about 5 mins. Once the tomatoes start to cook, add the chicken stock and wine (if you are using it). Bring it to a light boil for about 5 mins, add more salt to taste. Place roast back into the pot. Scoop some of the tomato/onion juices and pour over the roast. You don’t want all of your tomatoes and juice on the bottom. Place potatoes around the meat, making sure they are also coated in the juice. Top with green onions and oregano. Cover the pot with a lid and place it in the oven. The roast will cook for about 2.5 to 3 hours on 350F. Check every hour and add water if meat is getting dry. The roast will be super tender and moist once it’s cooked. You should be able to pull it all apart with a fork. Just remember to remove the oregano before you shred the meat. I usually serve this with Brown Rice and a green salad.
If you do not have a french oven, you can use a slow cooker. You will do all of the steps in a regular pan, then place meat, sauce, and all in the slow cooker to continue cooking. Should take about 3 to 4 hours.
Lately, I have tried to spend any free time (read kid free time) in my studio, even if means getting up at 5:40 AM. I love spending time here. And I have loved putting this space together for not only myself to enjoy, but also to serve as a catalyst to my girls’ creative pursuits. This is all a part of the process I dearly crave.This week I took a few minutes to photograph some areas I had not photographed yet and let you take a peek around. In the many years I have been sewing, I have had several “studios”. Like the one in the kitchen, with the sewing machine on the dinning table, and the dark one in the basement, eww. The current studio is a culmination of time and lots of antiquing. What you are about to see is my favorite place in all the land. Its a mix of industrial and vintage, with white walls, and pops of color everywhere.My father-in-law built the pipe shelf for me. It’s the perfect place to store things I don’t use often. He also got me to fox mount, Erwin. I know, everyone thinks creepy, I think, how awesome. The dresser I picked up from my neighbor’s drive away. Free furniture is the best, isn’t it? Especially if it has dovetailed drawers. I stripped it down to the raw wood, re-stained it with a dark stain, and added some Anthropologie glass knobs. The barrister bookcase came to live with us last year. I had been looking for one for at least two years and every time I came across what I wanted, the price was out of range. Finally, the day came when the price was right and it was exactly what I was looking for. Antiquing is a form of patient zen life and torture all at once. There’s never any way to predict what you will find next.
A bit of work in progress. This one has been making me smile lately. I just got the back ready and the batting cut to size. It’s my next top to quilt. My list of projects to complete is long and deadlines are looming. My goal is to finish five quilts in the next two months. And my prayer is that I will have enough energy to accomplish all of it. While the demands of family life are a constant, I do savor each little minute, however small, that I can create something.
The scissor collection was a magazine inspiration. Sometimes images stick to my brain and subconsciously, I start to collect whatever item it may be. I adore things in groups. They hold more power and make for interesting vignettes. These are all usable scissors, which is a must for me. I am one to collect things that just look pretty, but have no use.
I would say the favorite thing, besides having tools on hand, in my studio is the natural light. Even in cloudy days I still get beautiful light filtering through the large windows. Light and creativity are essentials for me. I can’t function in a dark room.
The paper and twine holders are a new addition to my creative life. I finished putting this together a few days ago. They are part of the theme I have been singing for a long while, One day I will own a quilt shop. I have the entire shop in my head and little by little I find the pieces I want for it. I don’t know where it will be or when it will be, but it will be. Or maybe, my studio is my quilt shop. Who knows. I reply on God’s timing while doing my part to be ready. Ain’t nothing ever been accomplished without Hustle.
“Making art has taught me that the tiniest smidgen of progress is something to be cherished. – Julia Cameron
I hope you enjoyed this little tour. Off to quilt now. Hugs, and until next time.
UPDATE: THANK YOU all who entered my giveaway. I truly appreciate all of your nice words!!! Winner for the book, fabric, and other goodies is @__wifelife. I didn’t tell you this before, but I thought I’d pick another winner for a fat quarter bundle only. So, winner is Michael Ann. Please email me asap and I will post the goods!!
We have been busy, really busy. Spring is my favorite time of the year and there’s plenty to do and explore. Oh so many ideas, so little time. My sewing machine has been on fire, but much of it I can’t show just yet. Shhh. Lots of secrets going on. But, I can show you a little spring-y mantel I’ve put together. Who doesn’t love some fresh cut flowers. If only, they’d live for long.
I have also made some updates on my website. My about me page remains blank. Argh, inspiration will come for that one. I need it. One day I will learn to talk about myself. My husband says I need to. Save me. Someone.
Here’s my present to one of you. Your very own copy of the Artisan Soul, a bundle of 15 delicious fat quarters, a seed package from Botanical Interests, tea (of course), and CHOCOLATE! I have left the comments section open (I normally have comments closed because of spam.), I will pick a winner on Friday, May 2, 2014. For an extra chance to win, you may repost the image I will put available on Instagram. You have been one AMAZING bunch of people and this is my small way to say THANK YOU! Thank you for every email, for every, I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!, for every question, for every tip. You all rock!!! So, if you want a chance to win, leave a comment. U.S. entries only, please
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