Thursday, July 13, 2017

Slowing Summer Days

Here we are - mid July 2017!!!!
I have been intentionally trying to slow down these summer days.
How is that working for you ... you may ask!

It's been a busy two weeks, that's for certain and it seems to have 
gone a tad too quickly for that intentional slow down - sigh.

However, we packed it full and made some wonderful memories.
Our dear friends, Debi and Larry, came for their annual visit from Lexington, KY.
This marks the 33rd yearly visit.

A fun gift exchange is always part of the visit ...

Kentucky hats, bourbon, Ale8, etc.
along with these thoughtful gifts of essential oil, oil infusible necklace,
a beautiful hand made by Debi crocheted necklace - I love it!

This year I got busy and had fun making this "quilted by machine" bag (don't zoom in too close because my quilting is still very much at the beginner stage).

Egg Gathering Apron

Since Debi has some backyard chickens, I had to come up with a fun egg gathering apron for her!
This is made from one of the farmer's old jeans leg
(stains and all).

She was such a good sport and modelled the apron for us!

A selfie of our day trip to Tobermory, Ontario where we went on a glass bottom boat tour to the Flower Pot Islands.
Our friends Dave and Jan helped make this an excellent day.

Georgian Bay's Flower Pot Islands

In the meantime, the farmer had covered my red currant bushes with mesh to protect the berries from the hungry birds.
If I wasn't going to use them I really should unveil the bushes right!?
So today, I bravely headed out, slathered with insect repellent (the mosquitos are horrid this year),
and began picking those currants.

A bumper crop this year!

I had a strong feeling that the birds were watching me closely - eek!
I got a nice batch picked and then we unveiled the bushes to let nature take it's course.

I had Red Currant Jelly on my mind and this is the recipe I adapted:

12 Cups currants - including stems
(apparently it's best to cook them unstemmed to get all the natural pectin)
2 sprigs rosemary
1 Cup water
Sugar (1 1/2 Cups for each cup of liquid)
1 package (85 mL) liquid pectin

In a large pot, bring water, currants and rosemary sprigs to a boil
stirring and pressing the currants
with a wooden spoon till soft and juicy. This took about 20 minutes.
Strain this through a fine sieve gently pressing the pulp to drain all the liquid
into a large measuring cup.
Return the measured liquid to the pot and add sugar.
I had 4 cups liquid so added 6 cups of sugar.
Boil for 10-15 minutes.
Add liquid pectin and boil for another 30 seconds.
Ladle jelly into sterilized jars and seal.

Taste Notes - I'm not sure the pectin was necessary as red currants have lots of natural pectin. The jelly turned out a bit too jelled.
Next time I would put in another sprig or two of rosemary since the taste wasn't noticeable enough to my liking.

During the week, I also had a little helper love bug.
These are the days that I especially wish would slow down!!!

Till next time - how goes your summer so far?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Cement Leaf Reveal

It rained almost every day since making these (posted in my most recent blog post)
but that was perfect cement curing conditions!

This is how they turned out:

Hosta and Rhubarb - cemented leaves flipped over with leaves still attached

One very large rhubarb leaf (compared to my size 7 flip flops). Most of actual leaf removed.

We tried some different methods (ruffled edge, flat edge and hosta leaves) - all in bowl shapes.

Even though I really like the deep veins of the rhubarb leaves,
I quite liked, and was surprised by the pretty hosta leaf design!

This one was made many years ago, naturally rain water filled (smile)
with some river rocks.

Till next time -  bring on the sunshine...

Thursday, June 22, 2017

At Last - Summer!

This week passed with some cooking, sewing and crafting
over here!

She helped me bake a "Hurry Up Cake" inspired by
and then we did the dishes ....

We did a bit of colouring ...
I love these days with her!

She is growing up so fast and is a great little
She calls me Nammie and I love it!

My sister and nieces came to make some
cement rhubarb leaves .... the mosquitos kept us working fast to get it done.
The rain today generously kept them cool and wet so the curing of the cement
should be perfect.

I'll try to get some reveal pictures in a few days after they have dried and cured.

Photo taken by niece Amy

A down pour this morning promped me to finish my second fibre art piece.
The garden weeding must wait till it dries up a bit.

My first class was in November of 2016 and last Saturday I took the class again
to make the "other" tree piece.

I find this so relaxing and really enjoy the finished results (even though it
certainly is not perfect). Can you tell that I love trees?

taught these classes.
Her work is truly amazing and she has done many commissioned pieces - one which is on display
at Conrad Grebel College in Waterloo where I used to work.
So privileged to have taken these courses under her direction.

I love summer and weeks like this first week of summer in 2017!

Till next time ...... let's make summer last!