Salt Preserved Citrus 


Month 2 of the food in Jars Mastery Challenge was just right for me. I have always wanted to make salt preserved lemons but never had a reason to. This February I decided to make both salt preserved lemons and key limes. 

For the lemons I used a recipe from The Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila. I can. It wait to try them. 


I am the most excited about the key limes. I can not wait to add these to some tacos. I’m dissapointes that I’ve never tried salt preserved citrus before considering that it’s so simple. 


Salt, sliced fruit, salt, sliced fruit, salt and you are done. I did have to add a bit of key lime juice just to avoid air contact on the top layer.

February Make Nine 2017 Update 

Month 2 of 2017 is almost over and I have knocked out 2 of my planned make nine projects for the year. This one is near and dear to my heart , literally and in terms of my sewing skills. 

      With February being the month of love I figured it was the perfect month to start my operation lingerie drawer project. I started with the Boylston Bra from Orange Lingerie. I searched a lot for the right pattern and from the reviews to the gorgeous versions I have seen all over it was clear that this was the pattern for me.

       I ordered a kit from Tailormade Shoppe  on Etsy and then put those gorgeous fabrics and the pattern in my WIP pile and walked away.  Then Orange Lingere and Tailormade linked up and offered kits specifically for the Boylston Bra and I was smitten so I ordered 2 more kits! My reasoning being if I’m going to revamp my Lingerie drawer I might as well get the right tools and materials. 


  It took me a while to get up the guts to cut into the fabric and even to read the instructions. It was all so silly, once I got started I was immediately confident in my skills and could see that this was going to be a smooth process. My first wearable muslin was not the best sizewise so I readjusted a bit and got started. My first completed Boylston is far from perfect, the topstitching  is a bit wonky but it’s wearable and a whole lot prettier than anything else in my Lingerie drawer. 


Even after my fit adjustments I still feel I can get a better fit the next time and I can not wait to start in my next one. I had such great success with this first finish I know I will be making loads more. It’s a relatively quick finish as long as you have all the materials you need. This went so well it may have inspired me to fill out my Lingerie drawer with even more styles and types of garments, keep your eye out for some silky, pretty things coming soon.   

January Quilt Nine Update 

January has been moving along and I have been sewing a little bit every week. I don’t have any finished projects to show off this month but for me my quilt nine plan was to have a slow sewing year. I have spent most of January planning and thinking about what and why I want to make things this  year.


First up is my progress on the collection quilt. I was trying to decide how I was going to plan out this amazing quilt and the answer almost fell in my lap. 



If you are on Instagram I’m sure you saw a few make light posts that included a breakdown of the colors in your Instagram feed for 2016. When you signed up to get your colors you also get a breakdown of your most frequently seen colors. As soon as I saw the breakdown I knew I needed to make a quilt. The collection quilt seemed an easy fit as I wanted to play with pattern and colors mixing.  So the planning and coloring began. Not too long after I ordered my fabric. Now it’s time to get started.

Next up is  “The epic mega hexie quilt “.  I started this quilt about 2 1/2 years ago and didn’t do much with it the past year. This project is very near and dear to my heart. It is not only a very personally important quilt it is kind of big  i.e. Larger than King size. It s a really big quilt made of very small pieces, 3/4 inch heroes to be exact. I have a plan to get the top done this year and would love to at least start the quilting this year.


I’ve been collecting and selecting fabrics for my make do quilt and my pineapple blocks are sitting by my machine ready to go. I have the fabrics picked and waiting to get going on my galaxy done quilt. The only quilts I haven’t touched or planned for are the on point quilt and the xmas quilt in my quilt nine. Over all I’m extremely happy with where I am for the first month of 2017.

I am also in a few swaps and just wrapped on up. I’m in the MQG swap, the pink swap , and the word swap. I recently finished my mini mini for the pink swap and I’m halfway done with my MQG swap mini. Still on my to do list is the mosaic for my word swap partner. Thanks for checking in and I hope you are moving along on your list of things to achieve this year too.

January Make Nine Update 

One make nine project in the closet.


I started off 2017 with a plan to introduce more handmade items into my wardrobe.I was really inspired by the clean, easy idea of the Make Nine hashtag that has been floating around this year.  This was a plan that I wanted to start last year but I felt a bit intimidated by the idea… so I froze and just made 1 or 2 things as the year went by. 2017 will be the year I am going to make a handmade wardrobe a priority.  I loved the idea of committing to 9 items for the year. It’s not an item a month so I don’t feel time pressured and it made me really think about what I need in my closet. A few of the items in my make nine were projects I planned or started last year. My goal this year is to keep a monthly update going with whatever I’ve been working on.


The first Make Nine 2017  project has been put in my closet. I had  started this over-sized bomber jacket in 2016. It has been sitting in my W.I.P. pile for about 3 months.

I was browsing patterns one day and ran across Mimi G’s pattern for this over-sized bomber jacket and snagged it during pattern sale. I have been wanting a relaxed over-sized bomber jacket for a few months but never found anything that I liked in a store. Browsing through the store I saw this print and was sold, I bought the knit, lining and all the notions that day.

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Overall the pattern was easy to follow and well written. I made a few mistakes in my excitement  to get sewing in the beginning and ended up having to unpick a few stitches out of black  stretch ribbed fabric. Talk about a pain,  but that’s what I get for rushing through and not reading all the instructions.  I made a few changes to the pattern to make it fit the way I was looking for.

Updates to the Pattern

  1. The over-sized slouchy feel was really important to me as well as making it very soft. I thought the quilting and extra batting would create a more substantial garment than I wanted, so I cut them out and just used my heavy weight textured knit on its own.
  2. i was looking for a slouchy feel but I got  a bit more than expected with the cuffs. They slid right off my hand and I looked like I had borrowed my dads jacket. I was looking for a tighter more traditional tight cuff on my bomber to accentuate the over-sized feel.trimming them down by 1.5″ helped a lot. After wearing it now I would probably go 2 to 3 inches smaller if I make this again
  3. To give the jacket a more finished feel i stop stitched the zipper. I think if I had used the fusible fleece this would have worked out better. I think this is part of the reason I’m having more buckling than I like on the zipper.

I love this jacket and can not wait to try out a few new ideas on another. It’s just enough print and texture to be fun and still functional. I love the little details I was able to add with the mustard lining, buttons,  the collar detail, tighter cuffs and the softer feel and weight. It is also the first garment that I can sew my own labels into! And have I mentioned how much I love the mustard lining?  It’s such a nice bright pop and when I turn up the sleeves it adds so much to the jacket.


I ordered them from Dutch Label Shop and I love them. The labels are especially wonderful since you can custom design them. I am already planning another order soon.

Next Time:

  1. Next time I would use some  batting or possibly fusible fleece around the zipper. My hope is that  there would then be a bit more body to keep the zipper from buckling quite as much.
  2. Defiantly use a fun lining like I did with this one. Maybe a great printed lining fabric inside a solid felt with great quilting lines. Maybe even a slightly different lining inside the pockets.
  3. Make the cuffs smaller to have  a more over-sized feel to the sleeves.
  4. Add quilted elbow pads in a different fabric or of a different tone.

 

2 snow days = marmalade 2 ways 

I was so excited to see that Marisa from Food in Jars is hosting a year long challenge on  her site. The Food in Jars Mastery Challenge  is meant to push you to learn new skills and techniques with a new focus each month. This challenge gets to the heart of what I want for my Mean Lean 2017, cut out distractions  and really challenge myself to stop saying no to what I want to do. Canning and preserving has become such a big part of our lives now I really wanted to spend this year improving my skills and learning new ways to put food up for our family.

January’s challenge is Marmalade. I have never been a fan of marmalade, all those chewy bits of rind and the overpowering bitter flavor. It’s never been something I’ve wanted to eat let alone make myself. In the name of learning new skills and techniques I was not going to back out of the first challenge. Just before we had a big snow storm last Saturday I went out citrus sourcing. One of my favorite jams is grapefruit and vanilla so I thought about making a pink grapefruit vanilla marmalade might be manageable. My back up plan was to get some Cara Cara or Blood oranges.  I was able to find Ruby Red grapefruit without much of a problem but I didn’t like the look of the Blood oranges available that day and went with Cara Cara  oranges instead. On my last stop of the pre-snow errand run I stumbled on some Satsuma Mandarins. I picked those up thinking that we could at the very least have a great snack while we were snowed in if they didn’t make it into marmalade.


For my first batch of marmalade I wanted to use a simple recipe to see if it was marmalade itself or  commercial marmalade I didn’t like. Food in Jars has several small batch marmalade posts that will give you a head start and explains the different processes that you can use.  I used Marisa’s Cara Cara Orange  and Ginger marmalade recipe , with a few adjustments.

  1. I boiled the rind for the full 25 mins to remove as much extra chew as I could.
  2. I switched out the ginger juice for the same amount  of  the water I boiled the rind in.
  3. I added the scrapped out seeds and pods of 2 vanilla beans to the pot when I started to cook the marmalade.  ( don’t forget to remove the pods before to put it into your jars)

Everything else was exactly the same as the recipe. I did get a looser set than I remember commercial marmalade being, but I prefer a looser jam texture anyway. It took quite a while to reach 220 almost 40 minutes I’d say. In the end I had 9 half pints plus  a small portion to test. The flavor is more bitter than the grapefruit jam I love but it was delish and I immediately started thinking about how I could use it.


The next day I couldn’t stop thinking about those satsumas and what other flavors I could combine with them. I have always loved the smell and flavor of clove and orange. It always feels so warm and cozy. I was dreaming about a warm wintery  marmalade with a little hint of spice from the clove on top of a warm clementine cake or English muffin. I got to cooking almost immediately.  


Satsuma and Clove Marmalade

  • Prep Time: 30m
  • Cook Time: 1h
  • Total Time: 1h 30m
  • Yield: 7 Half pints

You will need

  • 9 Medium satsuma mandarins
  • 4 c Sugar
  • 1/4 c Lemon juice
  • 10 Whole cloves
  • 2 c Reservedrind boiling liquid
  • 1 tbsp. Powdered pectin if needed

How to make it

  1. Peel the rind off of all 9 mandarins and cut to the size you desire.( I prefer very thin strips) Cut enough rind to make about 2 cups. Fill a pot with 4 cups of water and the chopped rinds. Make a cheesecloth bundle for the whole cloves and put it in pot with rinds and water. Boil for about 20 minutes.
  2. While you are boiling the rind, purée the manadarins and lemon juice by using your food processor or with immersion blender. Once rinds are done strain into pot with your mandarin purée place Clove/ cheesecloth bundle to the side for now.
  3. Into the pot with your mandarin purée add sugar* and reserved boiling liquid. Stir to combine. Place clove/cheesecloth bundle in the pot and bring ingredients to a boil. Heat until mixture reaches 220 degrees
  4. Always test you set as some fruit has less pectin than others, I generally prefer a loose set in my jam and now my Marmalade. Fill jars leaving a 1/2 inch headspace and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  5. * if you want to use pectin, whisk it into your sugar before you add it to the marmalade

 


See those little guys floating around in the half pint in front? For this batch I didn’t taste an enormous amount of Clove flavor so I did a test half pint with 3 whole cloves in the marmalade. My plan is to taste test in about a month or so to see if there is a more warm and cozy flavor or if I just wasted 3 cloves. I will let you know either way.

 

2017 Quilt Nine Plan 

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Introducing the other half of my Mean Lean 2017 Plan. I thought that the Make Nine Challenge was such a great way to jump start my year why not use it to inspire my quilting too. This is my Quilt Nine Plan, some of these are things that I want to finish or start. Some of them are just things that I am inspired by. Looking at my picks,  I was surprised  that I have quite  few seasonally inspired quilts in the mix.

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  1. Donut Quilt by Pen and Paper Patterns and  for Love Pathcwork & Quilting 

This one is part request from a special someone and part inspired by a book. I can not wait to see what this one turns out to be. If you are looking fro the pattern you can find it in Issue 37 of Love Patchwork & Quilting

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2.  The Make Do Challenge, I love the idea of using what you have and continuing to love it after its original use has ended. The idea behind it is inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood  and trying to do a small part to eliminate textile waste by using salvaged clothing or textiles to make a quilt.

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3. The first  of my seasonally inspired quilts to pop up. I love the way that Nicole of Modern Handcraft interpreted this great pattern by  Sherri K. Falls from her book Holiday Wishes. We have very bright and cheery holiday decorations with a mid century feel, aluminium tree included. this Quilt is the perfect holiday quilt for our house and I cant wait to stare at my color card for hours deciding on the perfect shades to use. this is also a bit of a challenge to my self to try and use mostly solids.

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4. I am going to call this my 2nd seasonally  inspired quilt. I participated in the #pineapplequiltblockswap on instagram and I have 20 pineapples all stitched up and ready to turn into a quilt.

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5. In my opinion you cant have pineapples hanging around without flamingos. I have been dreaming of a flamingo quilt fro a few years and this year I want to at least get a solid plan together.

 

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6. On-Point Quilt by Sew Fresh Quilts 

I bought this pattern, picked and bought  and fabric last January. I even cut all the fabric last January. Then it just sat and sat and sat. This year I will finish it.

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7. The Collection Quilt by Carolyn Friedlander

This quilt has been on my wishlist for a while, I can not wait to get started on this and spend the year truly slow stitching.

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8. Stars and Stripes by Thimble Blossoms. 

I absolutely adore this quilt and can see it being used for picnic after picnic.

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9. The Quilt by Me

Last but not least is this lovely monster. This quilt is truly a labor of love and sweat and tears and  a few years. I would love to have this finished by November so that we can use it this winter.

My Make Nine plan for 2017

My plan for a mean lean 2017 includes starting with a make nine challenge. I love the idea of picking nine items that you really want to make for the year.  There are a few patterns I have bought already and a few I have yet to buy. I can not wait to LOVE my clothes again and by making things the way I want them and not settling for what’s available I am going to get that loving feeling back.


1. Bomber jacket by Mimi G for Simplicity Patterns 
For about  3 months I have had this fabric and pattern sitting in my UFO pile but just haven’t started on it yet. I have been wanting  to have an over sized slouchy bomber in a great print and was having the hardest time finding one that I liked. While I was shopping for another pattern one day and stumbled upon this bomber and it was love at first sight.


2. Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case Patterns 

I have been looking for a great Pajama pattern for myself so that I can make matching sets with Lu for Christmas. I also have been crushing on the luxurious silky versions I’ve been seeing on Instagram lately too.


3.Talvikki   sweater by Named Clothing

I love the seams on this collar almost as much as I love the idea of making a simple sweater that is classic and streamlined.


4. Concord T-shirt by Cashmerette 

Long sleeve, shirt sleeve, with rolled sleeves who cares? I’m gonna make them all.


5. Kelly Anorak  by Closet Case Patterns 

I love the Nylon versions that I’ve been seeing as well as the cotton versions, I would adore a handmade Anorak that I can customize with a bit more color and pattern than you can buy.


6. Harrison Shirt by Cashmerette 

Another great pattern from Cashmerette that I’m sure I will continue to make and make again. I would love to have a few in chambray  a few in various plaids and who knows what else.


7. Boylston Bra by Orange Lingerie

Making my own bras has been on my mind for a year or so and just haven’t gotten around to doing it. I’ve heard that it’s very hard to stop once you find the right fit and style for your self. Most of all I want to make something pretty just for me.


8. Long cardigan and wide leg pant by Mimi G for Simplicity Patterns 

This pattern and fabric have been burning a hole in my UFO pile. I can not wait to make this one. It should be the perfect punch of color and clean style that I’m looking for. I have an idea for the pants but haven’t found the right fabric yet. If you know where I can find a magenta or fushia trouser weight fabric, please please let me know.


9. Morgan jeans by Closet Case Patterns 

I bought this pattern last January and cut out the fabric but never got around to stitching these up. This year I’m hoping to make several pair of these.

My plan for a mean lean 2017

I don’t know about you but my project plan for 2016 got way out of control. It seemed like everyday there was an endless supply of things I wanted. There were  too many swaps to join and too many fabrics to buy and way too many great patterns to try.  My goal for 2017 is to keep myself more accountable by sharing my plans with everyone.

2017-planning-page

 I love the process of planning and drawing out my projects.. Unfortunately I don’t always have enough time to plan a new project and actually sew or make an old project. My sketchbook from 2016 is full of a zillion different ideas.  Although I only have a few finished projects to show for all my planning. As a result I have decided to do even more planning to make 2017 more productive. By changing my planning process I will be able to get started faster while still enjoying the process.

In order to make sure I can remain productive I want to balance what I need and what I thought would be fun. While being more selective I hope to also focus on what is realistic and has a purpose. Don;t worry I wont be cutting out fun little projects, I just really want to focus on what matters the most this year.  Check  back in soon to see how things work out.

 

  Realistic, Simple , with Purpose

  


                           

Mini Polaroid Quilt Blocks


I joined a quick  fun quilt swap this fall and can’t wait to get my blocks in the mail. The idea was that we would be placed in groups of twenty and each of us would make a Polaroid block for everyone in the group. The blocks are very quick and easy to put together.  Follow along  if you like #polaroidgreetingswap.

I start all my swaps and projects by sketching them out ahead of time. For this swap I sketched out the basic shape and size for all the pieces I needed to cut then made a  graph to keep track of each swap partners likes and color preferences, then I numbered each box to make it easier to keep track of.


Then I made  a little Polaroid template to use as a viewfinder when I was looking for the snapshots for each person. This part was the most fun, since I got to shop a bit for each persons likes and find the best fit in my stash. It was nice to have a wide range of different colors and a few “surprise me” ideas mixed in too.

 

After fussy cutting my little snapshots out I only used about a fat quarter of white to cut out the strips for all the  sides of my Polaroids. I used 12 – 1″by 20″ strips and  4 – 1.5″by 20″ strips for all 20 Polaroids. I chain pieced them 5 at a time with a 1″ strip (1)  on each of the sides of the snapshots (2). Then trimmed and pressed them open with the seams away from the center of my snapshot (3). Then chain pieced them 5 at a time to the top of the snapshot (4). Then trimmed and pressed the seams away from the center of the snapshot(5).Then stitched on the final 1.5 inch strip to the bottom of the snapshot (6.)

your first little polaroid

Press your seams away from the center of your snapshots and you have your first mini polaroid. Trim them to 3″ by 3.5″ once all complete and you are all ready to ship out or turn them into something for yourself!

all ready to ship out

I’ve been trying to figure out what I am going to do with my polaroids  from my partners and have been eyeing these ideas lately, what do you think?

Love in Polaroids with do. Good Stitches

I love this quilt from http://www.stitchedincolor.com/2012/06/love-in-polaroids.html its got such a great scrappy feeling and seems so happy to me

Rainbow polaroid quilt block

and this one from http://wherejanecreates.blogspot.jp/ it’s the ultimate in happy and you could make it really fun if you combined the top quilt and the bottom quilt somehow.

 

a piece of toast a day…

Toast

toast with 2 toppings

Just before we moved I started to bake fresh bread and have toast for breakfast almost every morning. Each morning I tried to have a couple of different options for topping my toast and now I have a pantry full of fantastic toast toppings. I like to mix it up between savory and sweet. I tried a few different bread recipes and types and have settled on an english muffin bread that I love and it holds up to even the heaviest choices like shrimp and sausage. It’s also still subtle enough to let delicate flavors shine.

I do have some favorites, country ham and cheese with mustard, fresh tomatoes and cream cheese, strawberry jam and cream cheese and plain old cinnamon and sugar to name a few. You can see all of my toast on instagram  #thistoastisbetterthanmost . Do you have favorite toast toppings? I’d love to hear about them and give them a try.

 

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