Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jam baked in a bread machine

A fellow blog reader asked me recently if the jam I made was baked in my bread machine. It was not, but it got me thinking about those that do like to use their bread machines for that purpose.

So, I searched around and found a few recipes to share with you.

The bread machine I used to own had a specific jam feature, but I never did try it out. Sadly, it died last year and I just haven't bothered to buy another one. We don't eat enough sweets or bread anymore to justify buying one. It was nice to stick outside on a hot day though and bake some dessert or bread.

Here are some recipes for you to try:

Bread machine jam
Strawberry jam



This jam needs to be stored in your freezer or fridge or in your belly! Not on a shelf.

If you want to learn to can jam, here is a great place to start! I do not recommend open kettle canning. I have family members who do this and it's just not safe! I wouldn't want to play around with my health just to say I canned some jam!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Felted pouch

I haven't been in the mood to knit lately but was looking through my yarn stash and found a skein of Lamb's Pride Worsted yarn.

So, I grabbed some size 9 dpn's and knitted this:


It's waiting to be felted and embroidered. I'm curious to know how much it will shrink as I've not hand felted this brand before.

I didn't pay attention to how many I casted on or how long I knit for. One reason I like these pouches is for that reason. No counting rows or stitches.

But should you want to make one for yourself- simply cast on any number of stitches- just make sure that it's an even number.

Keep in mind it will shrink when felted so make it wide enough.

These pouches are so easy to make. You knit the front and the back at the same time. To make- knit first stitch, then slip the next stitch as if to purl. And repeat to the end. Then, start over. It will feel and look a little funny at first as it's double thick, but keep on going. After a few rows you'll be able to see it coming along.

To end it, you just slip the knit stitches on one needle and the slipped stitches on another. One at a time. You can then knit a flap if you choose or just bind off. It always looks a little strange but the good news is that it will all be felted and not be seen.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Will I ever stop sewing bags??

I'm not sure when I'll stop sewing more bags, but right now I'm having too much fun to stop!

Here's a collage of what I made last week!


They range in size from snack size to medium sized.

The pattern can be found here.
She has a freebie version to try out the pattern. I recommend it!

Strawberry jam

I went to the local strawberry farm a few weeks ago and picked a whopping 3 1/2 pounds! lol. I froze them for later jam making and finally got around to making some jam last week.

I made one batch of canned jam and one batch of freezer jam.


This was the first time I've used Ball's Low Sugar/No Sugar pectin. I like it better than Sure-Jell brand, but I've always preferred Ball brand over Sure-Jell for some reason. Probably because that's what I used when I first learned to can.

Anyways, the jam turned out great and looking forward to making more this summer.

This week I'm going to pick at the local blueberry farm and blackberries are next on the list!

I found some recipes for blueberry spice jam, blueberry mango jam and of course, blackberry jelly! Yum! I can't wait!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

More bags!

I sewed two more drawstring bags last week.



The pink one was supposed to have outside pockets in the same accent color as the top. I don't know how I did it, but the pockets ended up on the inside. I'm still trying to figure out how it happened, but I'm stumped!

Here's another one I made for a friend:


I love this material so much I sewed some curtains out of it for my kitchen window. 

These are two tiny sized bags I made from this pattern. It is totally worth it. The bag sizes are great and I plan to make several of each size. 


She offers a freebie version, here. 

The tiny bags are great for holding notions inside your regular knitting/crochet bag. That way they don't get lost at the bottom.

Sewed another cherry print boxy bag. I sure like this material! 



The sheep material was RAK'd to me by someone on Ravelry. It's so cute! I hope to have enough leftover to make a larger drawstring bag for a friend. 


How to sew a boxy style zippered pouch

I've had a lot of people ask me how I sew my boxy style zippered pouches, so I thought I'd show you.

I found two tutorials that I liked but realized I liked bits and pieces of each one. So, I've combined the best of both and made this. 


Here's how I made this one.

I cut out my pieces which are 10 by 12 inches. I cut out two outer pieces, two liner pieces and two interfacing pieces. I ironed on the interfacing to my outer pieces. 

 pieces ready to go. 



Then, I laid my lining piece (which is orange) right side up and laid the zipper down. Note the zipper pull is right side up and on the right hand side. Then, I laid the outer piece (owls) wrong side down and pinned the edges. This picture above simply shows how the pieces are arranged. 

To do the actual sewing part, you line up the raw edges with the right sides facing together and sew along the top. I sewed where you can see the pins. I just used a 1/4 inch seam allowance and didn't bother with a zipper foot. 


This shows another angle of sewing the zipper. I use a piece of tape to mark my 1/4 inch seam allowance to give me a more accurate line. I make sure not to let the piece of material go past the edge. Remove pins as you sew! 


And here I am sewing to the end. 


If you lift the top, this is what you'll see. 


 Just take the top piece and place the orange part underneath it like this: (below)


Now time to sew the other side.
Make sure the zipper pull is on the left hand side this time, right side up. Then, place the liner piece right side up underneath the zipper. And place the outer side on top, so that right sides are facing. The photo below shows the placement but I've left a gap so you can see. When you get ready to sew, place the top piece along the upper edge like before.

Now, when you get ready to sew this down, the zipper pull may be in your way a little. You can either move it over or leave your pressure foot resting on it so that it bumps down as you sew.

Sew along the edge where the pins are. (except move them out of the way, of course!)

Now top-stitch on both sides for a neat appearance.

The first few bags, I did not sew the interior with the top, but found that sometimes the material would buckle and pinch when I opened the zipper. So, now I sew both sides at the same time.

Next, I take both the exterior pieces and sew them along the raw edge right sides together. Repeat for the interior pieces except leave a three inch space in the middle to turn inside out. Don't forget! (I did, and had to rip out, lol!). It helps to iron the seams flat. This helps so you can prepare to sew the tabs in place.




You'll want to line up the seams on both sides to the middle of the zipper area.  I also press the sides to lay flatter.



Next, sew the tabs in place. You can sew the tabs however you want. I make mine different each time. Sometimes they are wide sometimes they are skinny. This picture shows the raw edge of the tab against the raw edge of the material.




I've made some boxy bags without it and I definitely prefer the tabs. They make it easy to pull the zipper open and they look cute! I sew just the tab in place, back-stitching a few times to make it secure.



Now, you will sew each piece four times worth on each side.



See, the above picture, I am sewing the ends together. There are four separate flaps to sew. When you get to the part that you sewed the tab down, just back-stitch a few times and stop. 


This picture shows all four flaps sewn. The most important thing to remember is before you sew the side with the zipper pull to unzip the zipper to about the middle. I always start with the non-zipper side first. I have forgotten this step before and had to rip out which is not fun! So, DON'T forget! :-) Otherwise, you won't be able to turn it inside out. 

Now it's time to make the boxy corners. You can go here, to learn how.  And another way.I found it hard to explain and take pics at the same time. This is a video on how to do it. You don't have to use her tool. Although, it does look pretty cool! Hmmm.. Something to look into it, lol! mo




I cut it so it measures 2 inches to the point. The first time I made a boxy bag, I did not have one of these cool clear mats and each one of my corners were a different size!. I think they are totally worth it! But if you don't have one, you can just use your ruler to measure the 3 3/4 mark. 

I mark the line with a pencil since it's on the inside and doesn't show. I used to stand up, measure, press and sit down and sew each time. That's getting up and down 8 times! (which is exhausting after awhile) I found I could save energy and pin and sew all at once. 


Sew along the line. Then cut with scissors above 1/4 inch above the sewn line. Do this for all eight corners. 

Now comes the fun part. Trim all the loose strings and turn inside out. I press the liner corners first so they are creased. I found I have to check that everything is sewn right before I sew the lining closed. Otherwise, more ripping out. ;-)





After you sew the lining closed, turn the rest of the way inside out and press! there you have a boxy bag. These are so much fun to make!



I hope I've not left out any steps. If you have any questions, just ask! 

Embroidered birds


I've been promising pictures for awhile so I thought I'd finally post some. 

I've done a lot more since I took these pictures, but here they are:






White Clover Jelly

After I made the honeysuckle jelly, I picked some white clover. About a full ice-cream bucket worth. I made it the same way as I did the first.

Jars steaming waiting to be canned:



White clover "tea" in pot steaming, waiting to add pectin and sugar:



They came out similar in color to the Honeysuckle jelly.





Monday, June 2, 2014

How to make honeysuckle Jelly

This week I made a batch of Honeysuckle Jelly. We've got a ton of it that grows in our backyard and it smells so good. Eating it on toast captures that lovely smell and the taste can't be beat!

Here's how I did it:

Picked honeysuckles. Rinsed them. Pinched off green tip on base of each one. Placed in pot and poured boiling water on top (about 2-3 cups). Let steep for several hours. Poured "tea" in jars and let sit in refrigerator overnight. (I could have canned it that day but was saving it for the next day)




Poured the "tea" in pot (2 cups), added lemon juice (1/4 cup) and heated up. It turns a lovely yellow color when you add the lemon juice. Then, added one box of Sure Jell Pectin to the pot.



 Brought to a full rolling boil and then added 4 cups sugar (which I pre-measured) and brought to a full rolling boil. Timed for one minute and then removed from heat and skimmed off foam and ladled into jars. (follow standard canning instructions)

This is what I got:



It's so yummy!

It made 4 jelly jars worth.


Making Plantain Salve- Dried leaf to salve, Part one.

I decided to dry some excess plantain in the yard today. I picked almost 2 gallons of plantain. Rinsed and blotted dry. Filled my dehydrator and dried it. It sits in jars waiting.

Now all I need to do is get some olive oil and I'll be ready for step two.

I've blogged before how to make plantain salve from fresh leaves. This post is about how to make it with dried leaves. I prefer this way over the other but it does take longer.




Old Shale Scarf and fabric

I bought some yarn this week but could not bring myself to start another project until I finished at least one of my current WIP's. So, ...