Friday, 30 September 2011

End of September already....i'm not ready for it!

Wow this month just flew buy didn’t it. It seems like just yesterday I was complaining that it was the end of august!

On Wednesday night I finished up my tomato sauce. I let it boil for 3 hours this time. I think it got a bit thicker, but still not what I was expecting. I wanted a thick sauce like you would get in the grocery store. However, since I have never actually bought tomato sauce before I guess I don’t really know if it is thick or not. I used the pressure canner to process them again. I could have used the water bath, but I need practice using the pressure canner. I was able to get my time down to 59mins. So not to bad at all!

I still have a bit of cleaning before the party tonight. The kitchen and maybe the basement bedroom and I have to scrub the toilet...lol trying to take it semi- easy though! However, I better get my butt in gear so I’m not running around like a crazy person later...I’m good at that!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Stupid is as Stupid Does....

If my memory serves me right that is a quote from the wonderful movie Forest Gump and it pretty wells sums up what I did last night!

In preparation for Friday’s party I was cleaning the house again yesterday. I know still cleaning...you must think how darn messy is that house? Well the answer is very. I try my best but with my health failing it doesn’t always work out the way I want it to. I have only finished the laundry room and the upstairs spare bedroom which means I still have A LOT to do today and tomorrow.

So with all that needs to be done I kept thinking yesterday morning that I sure need to do something with all of my tomatoes. I had appointments in the city that afternoon so I figured I would do something when I got home. Well at about 8pm I decided to make tomato sauce. I figure how long can that take. Core 35lbs of tomatoes, boil slightly, put though food mill and then just boil the sauce till the thickness I want. Well Stupid is as Stupid Does.

It took me till 10pm to core all the little buggers and then till 11 to put them through the food mill. I then ended up with too much “sauce” to fit into one pot and with only one big burner available things were not looking good. So I will have to do the other half today..I boiled the sauce for an hour and a half and even though it reduced to 2/3 it was still runny like soup. Since I still had to process everything and it was 12:30am I figured it was just going to have to be good enough. I put it into jars and started up the pressure canner......and by 2:10am I was finally able to take the jars out and go to bed.

I was able to get 9 500ml jars and 1L jar (which I didn’t process and will be used in the next day or today)
I am going to try and cook the heck out of my next batch and hopefully it gets thicker. I am thinking that too much pulp got left behind in my food mill. If anyone has any helpful hints I would love hear them via comment or e-mail.

So now of course the kitchen is a disaster zone which doesn't help...lol Stupid is as Stupid does!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Harvest Monday September 26th 2011

Well unfortunately all I have to show for harvest Monday is this

All of these potatoes are from one plant and there are 16 in total. I think that a pretty good count for one plant. This year I thought I cut down on potatoes, but I just realized that last year I had 2 rows and this year I have 3...oops! 

Our potatoes always seem to go rotten before we can eat them all. I think that is in part because I forget to use them. They go down into the cold room and I think it’s the old out of sight out of mind scenario. Starting today I have made a weekly menu and I am going to try and keep that up every week. That way maybe I won’t forget about the potatoes or all the other lovely veggies I have canned or froze.

The rest of my potatoes and carrots are all still in the ground since I need to do something with all my tomatoes first! So there may be a few more harvest Monday’s in my future yet!

My canning is falling a bit behind since I am trying to get the house cleaned for my party on Friday. In 2 days I have only managed to get the laundry room and about two thirds of one guest bedroom done.  It always seems that I make more of a mess when I clean up then actually clean. Oh well I am sure it will eventually all get done. I want to try and make a few of my appetizers for the party tonight so that will push canning back a bit more too. We’ll see though since I don’t know how much longer the crab apples can wait.

Thank you to our host of harvest Mondays Daphne from Daphne's Dandelions. Please check out her blog and all the other wonder harvest from around the world.

Weekly harvest total for September 26th
Potatoes, Red 9lbs
Grand total to date 708lbs

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Liebster award

I was greeted with a big surprise while reading Robin’s blog The Gardener of Eden. She went and awarded me the Liebster Blog Award. Now there is something to put a smile on your face. Thank you for the award Robin.

Robin is a wonderful lady that lives in a 6B zone down in Pennsylvania. I love reading about her and “The Italian’s” amazing gardens and am envious of all the amazing fruits and veggies she can grow! Check out her blog and I am sure you will love it as much as I do.

“Liebster” Is a German word meaning dear, sweet, kind, nice, good, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

The Liebster is awarded to spotlight up and coming blogger who currently have less than 200 followers. 

Here are the rules: 

1.       1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you. 

2.       2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog 

3.       3. Copy and paste the award on your blog. 

4.       4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers. 

5.       5.And most of all- have fun!

Now this was a little hard for me. Not because I couldn’t pick 5, but because I haven’t been blogger for that long and haven’t built up familiar relationships with most of the blogs I read. I also don’t have a lot of blogs that I follow with under 200 followers..lol Nonetheless, I was able to pick five I apologize if I don’t know your first name or that much about you, but I do think you deserve this award. Now in no particular order

1.       1.  A Diva’s Garden- I cam across this blog back in July just as she was starting her first canning adventures. I enjoying reading about her latest canning conquests  and her excitement about using fresh produce from her garden.

2.        2. Gingerbreadshouse7- Ginny is a kind hearted blogger from NC. She generous in sharing her wisdom about life and gardening. I have enjoyed reading about everything from homemade sauerkraut to smoked beef tongues and everything in between!

3.       3. Welcome to My Random Garden- Is a new blog that I have come across. I enjoy reading about her varied harvests.

4.       4 & 5 A Midwest Garden and Adventure in Food land are both blogs by David P. Offutt - The Gastronomic Gardener. In his blogs David takes us from the garden into the kitchen. It is always a treat to see what kind of wonderful meal he is able to make from his harvests.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Happy First Day of Fall

Happy First Day of fall. I say that rather sarcastically, but it is what it is!

This week we are experiencing a heat wave of sorts with temps hitting the high 20’sC. It is nice to step outside and be fooled into thinking summer is going to stay for awhile. Unfortunately what usually happens after that is one morning you wake up to -5C with heavy frost covering everything. You think that’s not too bad the daytime high is still in the teens and then whammy the next day they call for rain and you get snow. You then think oh that’s okay too it will melt by tomorrow and then it doesn’t and you bitch about the weather for the next 6 months..lol

And that is what it is like to live in Saskatchewan J

I finally used the pressure cooker/canner on Wednesday night. Mr. Pickles stayed to help me do a dry run of sorts before he went back to work. The whole time he kept saying oh I think it’s going to explode...and then laugh...what a dork. I was convinced that it was going to kill me so I wasn’t laughing a long with him.

I decided to do some 1L jars of whole tomatoes and it took me about an hour to blanch, peel and core them all. I thought I had done enough tomatoes to fill 7 jars, but ended up with enough to do 5. I had planned to pack them without liquid; however I couldn’t get the juices to fill in the gaps like the book said so I ended up packing them with boiling water. I got 10 tomatoes in each jar, but they still ended up with a lot of extra room after I processed them. So note to self more tomatoes next time.

So how did I manage using the pressure canner on my own you ask? I think it went okay. I put in the 3 quarts of water like it called for, put in my jars, put the lid on and turned up the heat. It seemed to take forever for it to start to steam. However, once it did start to steam I let it vent for 10mins like it told me to and then put on the little vent cover thing and waited for the pressure vent valve to pop. On the dry run once I put the regulator on the pressure button popped right away. When I did it on my own it took almost 30mins and I freaked out for the whole 30mins. It then took another 10mins to reach the right pressure and 10mins processing time. Then I took it off the heat and had to wait another 30mins before I could take the jars out.

So I survived, the jars survived and I think I would use it again. But here’s the thing if I would have processed these jars in a water bath canner they would have taken 90mins. With all the heating up and venting and what have ya the pressure canning process took about the same about of time. So why use the pressure canner?

In other news I am trying to  figured out this whole blogger design thing and get a picture in my header with my blog title. So if you notice things are a bit wonky bare with me as i try to figure out what to do :)

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Week 19

I cannot believe that it is week 19. I think I say that every week, but it just seems like this summer flew by. When I planted the garden in May I couldn't wait for everything to start growing and then I seemed to will the weeks to pass more quickly so I could start to harvest veggies. And now 19 weeks later I am wishing it was May again so I could experience things more slowly this time. That is the curse of gardening in a Zone 2 climate there is just so little time to cram a growing season into. Nonetheless, I cannot complain too much the garden was pretty good to me this year.  This was the first year that I kept track of everything coming out of the garden so this could have been a horrible year and I just don’t know it!

When I look back to week 8 when I noticed that the leave of some of my veggies were not looking all that great I for sure didn’t think I would be sitting here at week 19 with a cold room, freezer, porch and kitchen full of produce. I am very lucky that things turned out better than what I was expecting.
Tomato leaves I was sure had blight

Final tomato harvest of the year

This year has had some good things and bad things in the garden. The good would be the tomatoes did not get blight and produced their little asses off. The garden firsts of spinach, cabbage, lettuce, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower did amazingly well and I was over whelmed with all of them at one point or another.
One of many buckets of spinach
Planted way too much lettuce

Kolhrabi did just fine

Cabbage 
cauliflower above and broccoli below both planted from seed  in may and produced great numbers!


Some of the bad would be the garlic that never produced along with the leeks that didn’t amount to much of anything. The radishes got worms and the second planting of spinach was a total bust. The strawberries flowered, but never fruited and the cucumbers over produced yet again.

All in all I think it was a pretty great year. I am already getting excited about next year’s garden and what to plant or what not to plant. I also think I am going to mix things up with my rows. I am still trying to see how that will all work and will have to think more on that subject come winter

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Its a lovely day for canning, or sewing or cooking oh my!

Well last night I did not use the pressure cooker to can tomatoes like I had planned to. When Mr. Pickles left to go to work for the evening I told him I was going to use it and he proceeded to give me a long list of things I needed to do to the canner and then asked me if I really thought I could do it on my own. So that freaked me out and I didn’t want to use it. When he comes home for lunch today I think we will have a dry run and then I will feel more confident about using it. The plan for tonight is getting those tomatoes canned no matter what!

I may try and get some crab apples canned this afternoon too. They are getting pretty ripe in the porch and i still have almost all the ones i picked a week ago. I will have to look online to see what else i can do with them!

Yesterday my Ghastlies fabric finally arrived. I was so excited I jumped up and down. It’s even lovelier than I thought it would be. The only downside is that now I think I should have waited to choose my accent fabrics, because I am not sure if I like the way everything looks together. I’ll make it work though either way. It’s my first big project and I am just going to be happy that I get it done and now how it looks. I say that now, but wait for an upcoming post called it’s not what wanted it to look like...lol

Here is just a screen shot of the fabric from my invoice from Quilt Taffy on Esty.com. Its just lovely! 

The sewing will have to wait until the tomatoes and crab apples are taken care of. I still have to get in there and clean up my craft room too. In addition to all of that I also have to plan out a menu for my b-day party and make all the snacks I can and freeze them.  Everything seems to be happening at once! So unfortunately I think sewing is going to have to take a back seat for the rest of the month. As long as I have something ready for the blog hop on the 24th of October everything will be just fine!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Preserving Tuesday

I think I am repeating myself every week here, but I didn't get as much canned as I would have liked to. I have been lazy or let’s say run down cause that sounds better. I have had my new pressure canner a whole week now and it is still sitting on the floor. I am kind of afraid to use it too so that doesn't help!

The week I was able to can 7 250ml jars of crab apple Jelly. I did not wreck the stove this time. I was smart and used my large pot instead of my medium pot..I am still slapping myself over that.

I also made 11 250ml jars of Peach Zucchini jam. I think I could have made it 12, but I ran out of jars. While I was pouring the mixture into the jars I realized that I had forgotten to peel the zucchini before I grated it! So it doesn’t look as pretty as it normally does, but hopefully it still tastes okay. I guess I could have thrown it out and started over. However, I was out of sugar, pineapple and cherries. So that would not have worked.

Tonight I am going to have to start canning some tomatoes or at least pick all the ripened ones out of the box with all the green ones. I am going to try and use the pressure canner to do some 1L jars of whole tomatoes. I hope it goes well.

Okay my ever growing list of things to can this week
Whole tomatoes
Tomato sauce
Crab apple butter
Whole crab apples
Bruschetta in a jar
Beetroot relish
Beets
Carrots

Monday, 19 September 2011

Harvest Monday September 19th 2011

Well here we are at what is likely my 2nd to last harvest Monday post for 2011! It seems like I just planted the garden and now it is all done. Well almost done the carrots and potatoes are still in and I don’t plan on bringing them in for a little while longer!


This past week brought a few nights on the minus side of zero and some wonderful fall daytime highs. The frost however decided that much of the garden was done, even if it was still ready to grow some more. The zucchini were still flowering on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning they were mush. The frost also took the cucumbers, sunflowers, crab apples and cherry tomatoes (even though I covered them).

On Monday evening I pulled up the rest of the Roma tomatoes. I didn’t think that there were many still out there after the big haul the week before. However look at all these tomatoes! I think I will be making tomato sauce after all!

Monday was also the day that we tried to pick as many crab apples as we could. We ended up with all these. There are likely another 3 of these bucket thingys still out there. However, I had no idea what to do with all of these and the frost got the rest. I think that was a good thing.

I was able to harvest 1 sunflower and got 1cup of roasted seeds. The seeds were a little too small to really enjoy though so that was a bit of a disappointment.

On Thursday I went out and pulled up the remainder of the beets. I think I am going to can these. However, I am not sure what the benefit of canning over freezing would be. I am guessing shelf life?

I would like to thank Daphne from Daphne’s Dandelions for hosting Harvest Mondays. Please stop by her site and visit some other great blogs as well.
Week totals for September 19th 2011
Tomato, Roma 59.2lbs
Crab apples 49lbs
Beets 16lbs
Weekly total 124.2
Grand total to date 699lbs

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Sewing Saturday

As much as I would have liked to wowed everyone and showcased some amazing project I made for my 2nd sewing Saturday that just wasn't in the cards this week. With all the horrible issues with the In-laws and all the canning that I have to do there hasn't been much time for sewing. My craft room looks like a tornado went through it so that must be cleaned up and then turned into half a sewing room before any real sewing can start
.
Last Sunday I purchased the fabric for my Ghastlies Blog hop project. Well to be more specific the accent fabric to go along with my Ghastlies project. I am still waiting on my Ghastlies fabric from the states.  I have drawn out what I want to make and now it is just a waiting game as to when I can start making it. I hope it gets here in time!
The Ghosts glow in the dark!

I have also been looking online for patterns to go with the prize I won on the wanttobequilters campaign. What I won was this...just lovely!

Madame Samm threw in a few patterns for me as extras. They are suppose to be easy, but my brain is having trouble processing what to do..lol My mother agrees that they are very easy and that she can help me, but i am still the  little kid that wants to do it on her own without Mommy's help. And then I will go running to her when I can’t do it...lol

I checked out the Modafabric site and in their Bakery they have quite a few ideas for using Jelly rolls. I even found one that I like. However, it is for a huge queen size quilt and I don’t know if I would ever put it on my bed. I just spent a big chunk of change on a new duvet cover ...but my fabric is Christmas Themed so maybe. I am going to have to think a bit on that. Maybe a table runner or wall hanging would be better.

Well I'm off to make crab apple jelly and hopefully this time I wont be wrecking the stove top!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Friday's thoughts

Wow I cannot believe that it is Friday again already. This month is just flying by too fast for me. Last night I told Mr. Pickles that it was almost 3 months till Christmas...he told me to shut up..Lol

I have to get through my birthday at the end of the month...the Big 30 on the 30 first, then Thanksgiving the next week-end after that and Halloween before I can even start to think about Christmas! We’ll that is a lie I am obliviously thinking about Christmas already since I am typing about it. Let just say I am not ready for the weather that goes with the holiday season more than the holiday season!

Today it is only 12C and it is raining. I was hoping to get out in the garden and haul away everything that I had pulled out. However, that is going to have to wait for another day.

Yesterday I did check the sunflowers to see if I could harvest some sunflower seeds. Only one was ready. I have been soaking the seeds in salt water and soon I shall be roasting them in the oven. I have never done this before, so I am hoping for the best!

I used the last of my cucumbers last night to make fridge pickles. I would say that more than half of them were too yellow to use so they will end up out back. I feel bad about that, however no one wanted them and we are just pickled out here. We have been looking for another fridge, but I still cannot rationalize spending 500+ for a new fridge just to hold fridge pickles and carrots! There are a lot of older ones online that we could buy and put in the garage, However I hear that they can really jack up the power bill so I am not really interested in doing that.

Speaking of cucumbers this is now what my cucumber patch looks like....frosty and crispy!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Week 17 and 18

I just realized that I forgot to blog about week 17 last Thursday. I had been do good for so long and then it just slipped my mind!

Well nothing really important happened in the garden for week 17. The onions were all pulled from the garden and either braided or frozen. The tomatoes were still ripening and everything else was still growing. I had given up on the cucumbers as I still have over 80lbs in the porch rotting by the min. I should do something with them today! The flowers were all in full bloom and the sunflowers were slowly reaching their end. That reminds me I need to go out today and chop them down so I can process the seeds.

Week 18 is a little more interesting. The Roma tomatoes are now all out of the garden and sitting the porch. I covered the cherry tomatoes best I could and the frost doesn’t seem to have gotten to too many of them, but there is frost damage for sure.

I left the corn all in the garden. They were pretty gross tasting so I figured why save them. I may go out and take a look at them today and bring some in, but more likely I will just pull them out and throw them out.
The remainder of the beets will come out today too. We should be getting frost every night now and unlike the potatoes and the carrots I don’t think the beets will last in the ground.

The leeks and garlic never resulted to much this year. I am going to dig up the garlic and see if there is anything there and then replant. The leeks are still so tiny, but I might pull them and at least get one batch of leek soup!

I have taken the dill seed and tossed it around the garden. I am either going to love that I did that or I will be swearing at myself come next summer

So to sum it all up besides the carrots and potatoes everything else in the garden in done for the year. I will likely wait another week before i take the rest in. Unless we get snow!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Winter Wednesday!

I awoke to a frosty morning today...ahhhhhhhh winter is on its way!! Right now I am in my jammies with my coat on and the small heater blowing on high! I am tempted to put on a toque! Last night it went down to -4C and when we went to sleep it was only 16C in the house...lol We both wanted to turn on the furnace, but it just seems wrong. The week-end is supposed to warm back up to 20C, but still getting cool at night!

Mr. P and I had a nice anniversary. He spoiled me as usual which always leaves me feeling stupid for not getting him more...but oh well. I got a big surprise when I opened my eyes and there was a huge 23qt pressure canner in front of me!  

I have never used a pressure canner before I have this idea in my head that they are supper dangerous and I will blow the house up if I use one. However, I can put a lot of jars in there and now even do 1L jars on the stove top! I am very excited to try it out. I am not sure about canning meat products, but I will do soups and tomatoes for sure!

I also had another surprise yesterday. My Aunt came up for a visit and brought me all these jars! I won’t need to buy any for awhile and now that I can process 1Ljars on the stove top I can actually use them all too!


Last night I tried roasting cherry tomatoes for the first time. I am not sure about them and Mr. Pickles was sure he hated them. I froze the 2 cups I made and now I am not sure what I will do with the rest of them. With the temp dropping to -5C tonight I don’t think I will have to worry about the 100 or so more outside I think Mother Nature will be snacking on them!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Preserving Tuesday

First off Happy Anniversary to my amazing husband! It seems like I should still be planning for the wedding and here it is 3 years later. Good thing I planted a smaller garden back then or might not have been able to show up for the wedding!

This week was another slow week for canning. I lost my motivation somewhere and cannot seem to find it! Also only having one burner to can with....sucks...lol Oh well my list of things to preserve is getting smaller so I am happy with that.

On the 9th I made a batch of canned whole tomatoes in tomato juice. I think they turned out pretty good. One jar didn’t seal, but I will use it this month so that wasn’t too bad. The only thing I hate about canning them in tomato juice is that you have to process them for 90mins...too long for me; however, I prefer them this way than using just water.

On the 11th I made another batch of salsa. I only got 8 500ml this time and half a 250ml. I felt like I had more tomatoes this time and ended up with less jars than the time before. Sometimes canning makes me think too much!

Last night I made crab apple butter for the 1st time ever. The recipe said to leave the seeds in and then after cooking just puree in a food processor. The whole time they were cooking I was thinking...is this going to be full of seed and taste like crapapple butter instead...lol I processed 1 scoop and figured I wasn’t going to be happy with that. So I brought out the food mill. It worked great! It kept out the seeds and skins and left me with wonderful puree. After I added the rest of the ingredients and gave it a taste and guess what it was pretty darn amazing. Tasted like apple pie in a jar. I don`t even like apple pie and still thought it was good.

Let’s see what is left on my list of things to make
Tomato sauce- I think I may just make my usual tomato sauce and freeze. I don`t see why that wouldn`t be okay. If it is a no no please let me know!
Crabapple fruit- I have a lot of crabapples so I may give this a try. I may just freeze some apples too.
Roasted Cherry tomatoes
Peach Zucchini jam
 That is about all I can think of right now I am sure there will be more later...oh no!!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Harvest Monday September 12th

This week was a scorcher which was a good thing cause I think it gave everything in the garden the final push it needed. On Wednesday they are calling for an evening low of -1C so I better as much as I can out of the garden.

Last night they were not calling for frost, but I think we got a little bit. The cucumbers, potatoes, and tomato plants are all a bit crispy.

I was finally able to weigh my onions that I was curing. They came out to 9 lbs

The Roma tomatoes are still doing very well. However, I did notice some little black dots on the tops of a few. I am thinking frost got them. I threw them away just in case it is something else. These are all the ones I picked today. 23.9lbs. they are not quite ripen but with frost coming I picked anything that was starting to turn. I think I just may pull up the plants tonight and bring in everything else to ripen indoors.

The cherry tomatoes are still producing albeit very slowly. I was able to harvest 1.10lb today, the rest might just get lost due to frost

Monsters I mean carrots are ready. I am thinking that I should have harvested them a month ago. They are HUGE. However, I have always had to wait  until late September so I didn’t think to do it sooner!

The purple carrots are along the same line. I only pulled 3 since I have too many other things to can, cook, or freeze tonight. Take a look at that crazy one..soo funny!

Beets are moving into that monster category as well. I had to leave them in since I didn’t know what else to do with them. I brought in enough to make borsch tonight and the other 15 still in the garden are just going to have to wait.

Zucchini are still flowering...good for them..lol I picked anything I could find today so this may just be the last of them.

Cauliflower and Broccoli......well they weren’t doing much of anything for awhile so I left a few in. I had 2 heads of broccoli flower on me so I pulled them. They sure were pretty though. I also pulled out the rest of the cauliflower. The ones that were left...well I am not sure if we will eat them or not they look a little gnarly!


I would like to thank Daphne from Daphne’s Dandelions for hosting Harvest Mondays. Please stop by her site and visit some other great blogs as well.

Weekly Harvest totals for September 12th 2011
Onions 9lbs
Tomato, Roma 23.9lbs
Tomato, Cherry 1.10lb
Carrots 5.8lbs
Carrots, purple 1.3lb
Beets 9.10lbs
Zucchini 6.2lbs
Cauliflower 4.10lbs
Broccoli 1lb
Weekly Total 61.5lbs
Total to date 574.8lbs

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Sewing Saturday

As the garden is winding down my thoughts are turning to what the heck am I going to do with myself in a couple of weeks or over winter!

Unlike some of my other blogging buddies I won’t be planting a fall crop. Well I am thinking of planting some garlic since our local university says September is the best time to plant garlic in Saskatchewan. However, that will be it. I know there are a few veggies that they say you can plant in the fall so that they will be ready come early spring, but I don’t know if that applies to Saskatchewan. Our winters are pretty darn brutal!

I do plan on doing some indoor planting come February so that I can plant seedlings come May instead of just seeds. I would like to do a lot more succession planting next year instead of everything being ready in September.

So what do I do with myself between fall and spring........Sew Sew Sew. Or at least that is my plan hence the Sewing Saturday’s. Okay beware the rest of this post is long winded and without pictures...lol

I fell in love with sewing back when I was 12. My family had moved to England and the school that I went two had this program where you spent 2 months out of the year in either Textiles, Wood work, Art, Ceramic or Cooking.  It was pretty neat when I reflect back on it and that is where I fell in love with sewing. I think the 1st thing I ever made was a pillow. Nothing fancy, but it had me hooked. We couldn’t afford a sewing machine so my parents bought me a little hand held one and a made a few more pillows. Over the next decade and a half I always wanted to learn how to sew more, but need for a sewing machine versus cost never matched up.

About 3 years ago I took a sewing class with my mother and had all these aspirations of wonderful things I was going to make, however, I am ashamed to admit the only things I have made are a pair of PJ pants for me and one for Mr. Pickles and that was part of the class . Nonetheless I was still in love with sewing and started to fall in love with quilting. I probably have about 20 or so quilting magazines and books, but not one quilt. My mother on the other hand has one quilt, 1 wall hanging, 8 placemats and 4 other projects she is working on now.  Gesh what a show off....lol Nonetheless, I know that the fact that my brain isn’t working well with the rest of my body makes trying to sew more than a little difficult so I try not to beat myself up too much.

Well I plan on changing things. A few months ago I came across a few quilting sites and joined 2 sites Sewwequilt.com and quilttimes.blogspot.com that are getting me back on the sewing path. By chance a day after I followed sewwequilt.com I was reading on a new contest that Madame Samm was going to be hosting for Wantobe quilters just like me. I thought wow how lucky am I. And then I noticed that you had to sign up with a sponsor and wouldn’t you know it Sue@ quittimes was sponsoring newbie’s like me! It seemed like it was meant to be. So I took part in the contest every MWF and thought there isn’t a chance I would ever win anything, but getting to find new quilting sites was still winning for me. And then guess what I won!! WOW I never win anything...I was so happy I danced around the house for days.

Whilst following Madame Samm’s other site SewIquitnow.com she introduced me to the Gastlies fabric line by Alexander Henry. I was obsessed at once.  I told her that I was going to make something out of that fabric line and she invited me to be part of the blog hop. That is why I have the button on my blog now.

So if I wasn’t motivated to start sewing before now I have a whole group I cannot let down. I am terrified and excited. I just hope I can actually sew something and if not then maybe I can just blanch and freeze the fabric or can it...I’m good at doing both of those...lol
Thanks for listening

Friday, 9 September 2011

Whole lotta tomatoes

Today we are still in the middle of a September heat wave..Yeah here in Saskatchewan! I know isn't that just crazy, but sometimes it happens. The other day we had a daily record breaking temp of 34C. Last year we had a daily high of 15C on the same day so that is huge difference. They are calling for frost next week though so I better enjoy this weather while I can.

Last night I finally got around to canning whole tomatoes. I didn’t get as many as I would have liked since I can only get 5 tomatoes into each 500ml jar. However, I still got 8 jars. 

I am going to get out the ole turkey fryer tomorrow and see if I can get my canner that holds 1L jars in there and can some more. However, part of me still wants to try and make tomato sauce so we shall see..lol

I thought I would put in a little tutorial on how to blanch, peel and core tomatoes. I am sure most people know how to do that already, but this is the first year I am doing it the right way so I thought I would put this in here to remind myself for next year! The pictures are not the greatest. its just me with my phone and one clean hand..lol

First step is to get some tomatoes and wash them.


Next score an X into the bottom of each tomato before you put it the pot. This one a scored a little deeper for the picture

Place tomatoes into boiling water. I usually do 5-8 at a time. Boil tomatoes for about 30seconds or until skins start to break.

Remove from pot

Place into a cold water bath to stop the cooking.

Peel tomatoes. The skins should come off easily pull from the corners of the X you made

Final step core the tomato. Insert a paring knife around the stem end and cut around it and pop it out.

Then you can get all these babies on the stove to can.

I still have these beauties left and I am going to pick some more tonight. I think I shall make some more salsa!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Stove woes

Well I find myself sitting here and not having a clue of what to write about. It’s not that I have bloggers block, but that fact that so many bad things are going on in my life right now I cannot seem to get out of the darkness. However, I don’t really want to write about all that crap...so now I have to think of what to write about...lol

Well I did wreck the stove :0 Mr. Pickles finally found a razor in town to remove the wonderful sugar ring off of my glass stop stove. It came off pretty easy and I was overjoyed, until I took a closer look and saw that the burner was now heavily pitted. 

Now I have no idea if I can still use that burner or not, but I am thinking probably not. So this means that we either have to get a new cook top or a new stove. The trick is finding someone in the area that can fix it, since it is pretty pricey to have someone come out from the city. We have had this stove for 5 years and we only paid 500 for it new. So unless it costs fewer than 200 bucks to fix I am just going to get a new one and learn to be more careful!!

The only other thing I can think to talk about is this huge red menace that stares back at me every time I look out the front window...lol

Now that’s a lot of crabby apples! I am going to have to get Mr. Pickles out there and start picking some before they all go bad!