Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Spiced Fig Preserves

While the boys were at tae kwon do last night, I decided to do something with the figs coming ripe on our tree. Our tree is a mystery white variety, and I find them a bit tasteless.

The birds had started on some of the ripest figs, but there were plenty left (4 pounds worth). But the fig beetles aren't out yet, so there are actual whole ripe figs (yay!).

I made up a recipe using about 4 online ones as guides. The labels came from All About Orange. I used the blank label, printed on full-page stickers on my inkjet printer, then covered in contact paper and cut out with my circle cutter.

Spiced Fig Preserve

3.75 pound washed, de-stemmed figs
4.5 cups sugar
4 cups water
3T lemon juice
1.5 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
.5 t ground cloves
.75 t vanilla extract

Chop figs, there will be about 9 cups worth. Set aside. Put water and sugar in large Dutch oven, cook until sugar dissolves. Add figs, lemon juice, spices, and extract. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a heavy simmer. Cook down for about 45 minutes, mixture will thicken, and be about 200°. Put in sterilized jars, water bath process 10 minutes.

More figs!

Linked to: Sew Darn Crafty

Monday, July 16, 2012

Red Scarf

It took me three years, but  finally got my act together and finished the Emerald Scarf from the spring 2009 Interweave Crochet. In plenty of time for fall! Done in Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk in Really Red. Full details on Ravelry.

Linked to: Sew Darn Crafty

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Vacation Shadowbox

2011 vacation highlights
Now that it's summer 2012, I have finished my 2011 vacation shadowbox—and given that all the stuff I saved from our 2010 vacation is still in a bag, I did good this time! (I did have to wait and wait and wait for my husband to email me some of his pictures from his laptop, as some of his were much better than mine.)

The shadowbox itself is about 16" x 20" (display is slightly less). I cut a piece of foamcore to fit, and got a map of California at AAA. Then I used Scotch photo mount to attach the map to the foamcore, and trimmed.

Next I traced our route in highlighter. I used small tags and map pins to mark the significant places.

Then I had to go through my bag of stuff—maps, info sheets, campground paperwork, rocks, tickets, and miscellaneous random things—to choose the best. This was actually really fun, if difficult. I forgot that kid 2 completed junior ranger at both parks we visited, and forgot I had saved a feather. I picked about 15 pictures and had prints made.

I got out my newish circle cutter (bought at Michael's with a coupon, as yet unused), and began arranging everything and cutting pictures as needed. I used double-sided dimensional papercrafting sticky squares to give dimension. To attach the rocks I used jewelry wire (and a needle to poke holes through the foamcore). I twisted the wire together on the back, and then taped over it to (hopefully) not damage anything—like the table I was working on.

This was a fun project, and it was even more fun to be running 10 months behind. I got to revisit the trip. And now the boys are begging to go back to Carson City.

Some of the goodies
Why is there a picture of a bug? That's a 10-lined June beetle. They are an inch or more in length, and many immolated themselves in our campfire at Grover Hot Springs State Park. Kid 2 hid in the tent when they came out. The Stellar's jay feather came from the same campsite—they were everywhere, and they are one of my favorite birds. The pumice Kid 2 found along the trail from Devil's Postpile to Rainbow Falls (national forest land, for the sticklers out there). Again, it was everywhere—coming right out of the ground, which was pretty cool.

The shadowbox is now hanging in our entryway.

Linked to Sew Darn Crafty.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Casserole Carrier

All closed up

Velcro closures
I bought this fabric at Sew Modern (on sale, at the storefront)  few months ago just for this project. And then I determined to finish a skirt first. So, a couple of weeks ago I finally got to this. The skirt? It's done, in theory. I am not really happy with it, and have a plan to add a couple of hooks and eyes to see if I can fix it. Basically, at this point, it makes me look old and fat.

This casserole carrier, on the other hand, does not. It makes me look like I am going to a potluck. Which I have been both times I have used it, ta-da! The pattern is a tutorial from 2 Little Hooligans. I pretty much just followed the tutorial—though I was sure to pay attention to the directions my patterns were facing. I also have not added the spoon holder yet. So far I have actually only used it to keep deviled eggs cold—so I haven't tried it out on heat, now with anything requiring a spoon. When you have six chickens and a 12-year-old who has decided he no longer likes eggs (except in cookies), deviled eggs quickly become your go-to potluck food. And who doesn't like deviled eggs? (Both of my kids.)

I have washed it once, and it came out fine. Woot!