Friday, September 17, 2010

Fun With Food

If you are friends with me on Facebook, you know that I've been having fun learning how to put up food. I've been making jam for years, but have always wanted to try other things, specifically tomatoes. When a friend asked if I was interested in taking a canning class in late August, I was there. At the class, we made jam with no added pectin, salsa, and canned whole tomatoes. Doing the tomatoes was just the boost I needed to start on my own.

I've belonged to a CSA (Springdale Farm) for about 5 years, and every year, we get lots of cucumbers. I don't really like cucumbers. This year, we also got dill once in a while, and in the weekly newsletter, they sent a recipe for refrigerator pickles. Both Calvin and David like pickles, so I gave it a try. They declared it a success! Next year I might try a cooked recipe that is canned.

I made basil-garlic tomato sauce (from the Ball Blue Book) using tomatoes from my garden, CSA, and the farmer's market. I needed 20# of tomatoes, and when I told the farmer I was making sauce, she offered me a price break if I would take the 'ugly' brandywines. Yay! The sauce took forever to reduce, but it was worth it, and I now have 9 pints sitting on my shelves.

I also put up tomatoes for the first time. These are Clint Eastwood Rowdy Reds, from my garden. I managed to keep the late blight mostly at bay this year.

Outpost had a truckload sale last Saturday, and one of the specials was an 18# box of organic peaches for $20. I bought one and put up 13.5 pints of sliced peaches in a light syrup. Unfortunately I dropped one pint on the floor. I learned that I should always wear shoes when canning (I was fine, but it was close!).

I have to say, I love that I can take this...

...and end up with 7 quarter pints of really really good ketchup.

Friday, September 03, 2010


I have been so bad in posting! We had a wonderful, busy summer, and, as all good things do, it has come to an end. School started on Wednesday.

Caleb started high school. I can hardly believe he is a freshman!

Calvin is at the top of the totem pole this year, starting 5th grade. Middle school next year!

Connor is in 1st grade, and will be having his first experience going to school all day. He's loving it so far, telling me it's fun to eat lunch at school, and that he LOVES recess.

As for me, I am now home alone during the day for the first time in a long long time. I do go to the elementary school every day for noon hour recess supervision, but otherwise, I am on my own. I have grand plans for my time. Maybe I'll finally get those living and dining room curtains finished, the halls repainted, my sewing room cleaned, and some clothes made. :D

Friday, July 02, 2010

Ankle Surgery

Remember when Caleb broke his ankle? It healed well, but about 6-8 months ago, it started hurting again. He also twisted it pretty badly in a soccer game in May. We went to the doctor to have it looked at. The x-ray didn't show anything, so they sent us to get an MRI. After the MRI, we got referred to our doctor's partner, who specializes in ankles. On the MRI, the entire back of Caleb's ankle was swollen and inflammed. The culprit? A bone in the back that was pushing on either a tendon or a nerve, or both. The treatment? Surgery. So last week Friday, Caleb had a posterior talar exostectomy done on his right ankle. Basically they took some bone out.

It was bigger than we thought it would be. That's my pinky finger you see. No, they didn't let us keep the bone (we both asked).

Caleb woke up in time to catch the last minute or so of the Brasil/Portugal game. Portugal lost. :( (oops, I got confused. too much soccer lately. :) Brasil/Portugal had a draw, Portugal lost to Spain. When your opponent controls the ball 60% of the time, it doesn't matter how good your defense is, the odds are against you)

He had a boot on after surgery, and on Tuesday we went to the doctor to have the bandage removed. The steri strips fell off soon afterwards. Now he wears the boot only if he needs the extra support, and is to walk and flex his ankle as much as possible. He'll start PT at the end of next week.

In other news, I also turned 40 on Tuesday, and had a great evening out with my girlfriends.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vogue 7488

Caleb's 8th grade promotion ceremony was last night, and here is his waistcoat. He picked Vogue 7488; I made a size M. I was to make a suit as well, but we decided it would be too hot to wear, plus probably wouldn't fit him come winter anyway. So, I'm going to take that wool and either make a suit for him for fall/winter, or I might find a topcoat pattern, as he wants a formal coat. (sometimes I think aliens have taken my real son)

Modifications I made were to cut the back out of the fashion fabric (the pattern calls for the back to be made from lining), I eliminated the back belt, and all four pockets are functional (top two are faux according to the pattern. I do my pockets like this). He was very pleased with how this turned out.

I don't really like finishing vests this way, preferring instead to stitch the shoulders and armholes completely by machine, turning through the lining side seam. However, there is no back collar on this (! I didn't like that part), so I had to do the armholes according to the directions, which meant hand stitching the back shoulder lining over the seam.

There is a nice split at the side seams.

The front inside has a hem facing. There is also a small pleat where the lining meets the facing -- it's not really needed, IMO. I'd eliminate that next time.

My boy is in high school now!

Full review for this pattern is here, at Pattern Review. I've entered it in the Sewing for Men contest.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Single Welt Pockets

Four months since my last post. Sorry!

Caleb's 8th grade promotion ceremony is coming up, so I'm working on some clothes for him. While making the vest, I thought I'd show you how I do a single welt pocket.

First, I stitch around the opening, shortening my stitch length on the corners. You can see I bring the top part of the opening in about 1/4" on each side. This vest front is underlined with Texture Weft. If where your welt pocket is going isn't underlined, fuse a piece of interfacing on it to reinforce that area (I prefer knit fusible interfacing).

Make your welt, checking to be sure it is exactly the correct length for your opening (I was a bit off on this one). Baste the seamline. Place the seamline on the bottom stitching of your opening. Baste the welt down and then trim the seam allowance.

Put your pocket lining over the welt and stitch just the long edges of the pocket opening. Do this from the wrong side of your garment, so you can see the stitching that you did in step one. Stitch right on top of your previous stitching, starting and stopping exactly as you did before.

Cut through the pocket lining and opening, clipping just the garment diagonally into the corners. See how I stopped and started exactly on my previous stitching?

Turn and press the pocket to the inside. I don't press the triangles to the wrong side. It makes a smoother pocket, they are bias and won't fray, and no one is going to see them anyway.

Edgestitch the welts down, and you have a finished welt pocket! For this pocket, I was a bit off on my welt length and if you look on the right side, you can see a bit of my original pocket opening stitching. The damask hides a lot, and yes I know, I am being very picky. :)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

KOTC - my bedroom

KOTC = Kick Out The Clutter

This week I worked on my bedroom. I figured this was a good room to start with, as I could get it done fairly easily, plus it's my sanctuary at the end of the day. I usually sit and read in bed before going to sleep.

Here's what I did this week:

- did all the laundry, including folding and putting most of it away. I say most because my husband has a ridonkulous amount of clothes and so there are 2 stacks of folded sweatshirts and shirts on the blanket chest. Hopefully I can figure somewhere to put them.

- cleaned and re-organized the bookshelf.

- dusted everything, including the ceiling fan

- cleaned and vacuumed the entire floor, including under the bed. there is NOTHING under the bed now, except for the box of gift wrap. :D

- went through my clothes and filled a bag for Goodwill.

- cleaned out my nightstand.

see? I have a stack of books to take to Half Price Books, a bag of clothes for Goodwill (already gone), a bag of blankets/sheets for the Humane Society, and a bag of garbage (also gone).

Monday, February 01, 2010

It's War

on clutter, that is:

I am IN. How about you?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

LaFleur Meet

A few weeks ago, on January 3, Calvin had another meet (yeah, I'm behind in getting the videos up). He did pretty well, improving on his previous scores.

Para la familia del sur: Aqui estan los videos de la gimnasia de Calvin. Está era su segundo competición de este año. ¿Él es muy fuerte, no? Mi papá quisiera ver su nieto. Una trabajo perfecto sera diez y seis puntos. ¡Ganó su equipo primer lugar!

Los videos! ;)

First was floor. He scored a 13.4, and I think this was good for first place in his age group (I forgot to write down his placing on the events):

Next was pommel horse, where he got a score of 12.0:

On rings he got an 11.4:

He got a 14.5 on vault:

His p-bar routine got 12.5:

On high bar he got 12.9:

His all around score was 76.7, which was good for 5th place in his age group (10-11). Best of all, the team won first place! They were pretty thrilled: