Tuesday, October 30, 2012

a clever little "burrito"

This year, for the first time in many years, Target's Halloween decor was really, really fun and totally up my alley. It was, admittedly, just their usual style of cheap knock-off versions of other brands. I saw similar and much fancier versions of Target's owl line at Pottery Barn, but that still didn't keep me from buying Target's totally affordable and much more usable versions.

So, all of this to say, I was a little bit silly(imagine that) this year and bought a whole set of tiny owl cheese knives. I'd seen them when Target first put their Halloween decor out, but knew I didn't have even one more tiny hidey-hole to store them in once Halloween was over. Lucky for me, a few weeks later I realized that I could just use them for everyday, because that's the kind of girl I am. We do keep bats and a few Halloween decorations up all year round, so the little owl cheese knives would fit in just fine with our usual tiny bat-cave ambiance.
They come extra reflective so as to show off my fabulous forehead.
Once I'd acquired the adorable little critters, I needed to develop a safe(to them and me) way to store them, hence the little burrito style wrap. I sewed this up last night with some old felt squares that I have cluttering up my sewing boxes. It was very easy to sew, since it is all straight lines. I didn't bother to pull out my sewing machine for such a small project and so just hand stitched these simple stitches. I decided to put ribbon ties on both sides of the pouch so that I can tie it up from either side, depending on how the knives roll up together. I also made one extra pouch so that I can fit another knife if need be, or just use the extra space to help cushion the other knives.

A ribbon tie on the right side
A ribbon tie on the left side, too!
The truth is, despite all the totally fun toys I make, I actually love working on useful sewing projects; it makes me happy to know that I'm solving a problem with my abilities, limited abilities though they may be. 

Fancy little cheese knives!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

a handful of blueberries makes all the difference

I'm am posting two different jams here today. The little jar in the photo contains my strawberry blueberry jam and the large jar contains my plain strawberry jam.

The two berry jam actually only contains a quarter part blueberry, the other three parts are strawberry, but that handful of blueberries makes the entire jam taste of crunch berries. It is completely delicious!

The plain strawberry is very good as well, but it has a much cleaner, more simple flavor. The color of the strawberry only jam is nicer though, and I love the brighter red color; it really has that classic "jam" look.

I have gone overboard stocking my cupboard with more jam than I need this year. A week ago or so, I made some figgy jam(much like last year's) and though I didn't do a water bath for it, I did turn the jars over for a quick seal to help it stay fresh for a little bit longer in the fridge. And, just a few hours ago I made some grape jelly out of my favorite Kyoho grapes from the Japanese Market. The grapes are a little bit expensive but have such an amazing flavor and sweetness. I added just half a cup of sugar to the entire 4 cup batch. I am worried about it's consistency though and may not post on the jelly if it didn't turn out.

All in all, a very jam filled autumn. I think I may need to start giving some jam away. Hopefully all of my friends don't mind jam made with either less sugar or even just honey. I simply love the extra fruitiness of jam that doesn't contain more sugar than fruit. It really tastes more flavorful.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Growing things...again...

I'm attempting to grow things again, but this time I've been a bit more successful than usual. I've discovered that the trick to making things grow is to water the plants more than once every week or two, especially when it's super hot out. It turns out much better for the plants and means I get to actually enjoy the freshness of a living plant, as opposed to my usual dried up old twigs sticking up from the soil.

I was surprised the spinach actually grew up nice and healthy, considering the seed packet was several years past its best by date and the packaging was warped from having gotten wet. Now, I really should pick it before the bugs eat it!

This giant tumble of radish greens is what is left from me thinning about half of what I originally planted. I think there are still too many radish plants in that one tiny pot. They'll never produce anything. Oh well, we did enjoy a good sized bundle of baby radish greens and now that they are too big and tough to eat, I am just enjoying the greenery of them when I walk up to my front door.

I also planted a whole mess of mixed micro greens but they have already grown up to be their delicious full size of about two inches tall and been consumed by a tiny hamster who lives next door.

Growing things is so much fun!!