Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Give Thanks & Burlap Tutorials

Here we are, two days away from the first day of Fall; and although I appreciate the arrival of each new season, I LOVE Autumn and Winter best!

Ahhhh... how I love Fall!
Fall is full of the cozy's:  sweaters, apples, candles, baked goods, teas & lattes, roaring fires, crock-pots, books... my list goes on.

Oh, and I love to decorate for Fall! However, I do make myself wait  until October. If I do not wait until then I am tired of it all by Thanksgiving- which is when I want to appreciate it the most.

So, while I wait.... I decided to try my hand at some projects!

I loved {and so was then inspired by} Dear Lillie's "give thanks" pillow.

Here is how I went about it:

Give Thanks Ruffle Pillow Cover -

First- I grabbed one of my tired pillows off the couch, removed the pillow from the cover, and then used that cover as my "pattern" for cutting.

I folded the fabric {some type of canvas I found in the utility fabrics at Joann's} so that I would cut two equal pieces. Then I gave myself about 1/2 inch all the way around for the sewing, and just started cutting.

Then I cut a third piece, equally wide but half as tall.
This third piece will work folded on the back side of the cover, to insert the pillow.

Next, I grabbed some beige, jeweled wedding-veiling. Yup, I just so happened to have that lying around. Going to make a ruffle out of this. 

Since the veiling is so sheer, I folded it in half to double-up my ruffle. Then  I started cutting what I guess to be about 5 inches wide. {guessed being the key word}

Now here is where I forgot to keep taking pictures... {so I'll just give you a sneak peak as I explain}
I was distracted by the fact that my normal method for sewing ruffles using a high tension on my machine was  not working! Disastrous story short... the easiest way to ruffle veiling is to bunch/scrunch it and then pin it. 

So I scrunched, and bunched, and pinned it to my cover fabric as I went. 
Then I sewed a straight stitch down the center, attaching the ruffle to the cover.
{Sneak Peak}

After attaching the ruffle, I knew where to write. First, I used a pencil to freehand script "give thanks"... I followed Dear Lillies and then added some little curly-q's of my own. Then I went over the pencil writing with a Sharpie Paint marker.

Next, I took the two back pieces for the cover and folded the bottom of each to just about 3 inches; and ironed that fold.

Then I pinned the larger back piece to the front cover piece. Pin: Right sides together or it's wrong. {Thanks, Sue} And after that, pinned the small back piece {overlapping the larger back piece} to the front cover. Again: Right sides together or it's wrong.

Now, I sewed all the way around, using a 5/8 seam. 
Yay! Done!
So I folded the cover right-side open and stuffed it with the pillow. Pretty cute I think. 

Fall Burlap Candle Wrap-
I was inspired by my sister- Laurin- who is preparing for a burlap Christmas, and recently started wrapping her candles in burlap.
I cut a strip of burlap {long and short enough to wrap my favorite BBW candle- Leaves} and then used my Sharpie paint marker to write out "fall" in the center of the strip. Then I wrapped the candle, using a piece of Scotch tape to temporarily secure the wrap while I tied some twine around it. I double wrapped the twine on top to make a little bow, and once on the bottom to secure the wrap on the candle.
Done. Love it.

What do you think?

What are you working on for the Fall???

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Peaches and Cans

Back in the day {before babies} Mom was quite the canner.  Mom canned almost everything, and at a great price; free! She and her friend, Teri, knew the "right people" who would allow them to come glean. {Very Ruth of her, if I do say so.} This went a long way in helping with my parents then tiny budget.

This year I asked her to teach me.. and she was more than delighted!

 Mom had a pressure-cooker explode on her when she was young, so she is very anti-pressure-cooker. We used the water bath method to can peaches. 

First we sterilized our jars and rings, and placed our lids in a small saucepan with a little water to simmer. {Not boil. That is important for some reason, but I can't remember why}

Then we rinsed the peaches {fresh from the Yakima Valley- where all the best produce comes from :) }and placed them into a pot of boiling water to blanch for 30-60 seconds.

After blanching, we tossed the peaches into an ice bath to cool. After this the skins just slipped right off. We then halved our peaches. 
{Mine were a little ripe, so some weren't as firm as you'd like}

We started the light syrup... 9 cups water, 2 1/2 cups sugar: bring to boil in a medium saucepan.

Then we packed our peaches face-down {pit side down} in our warm jars. Mom was fast at this; I was distracted by how pretty they looked. 

We packed the jars just to the top curve and then covered with syrup, leaving 1/2 inch of space. We used a butter-knife to get out the air bubbles; wiped the rim of our jars; then screwed on the lids. 
"Tighten with your fingers, not you whole arm."  - Mom

After this we placed the jars evenly on to the rack of the canner, and lowered into warm water, with just about an inch of water covering the jars.  {Pic is pre-water. Sorry} 

Then we waited. And waited. And waited for that large pot to boil. It was a long time. {It probably just felt longer.} You have to wait for the water to be boiling before you can even start the clock. 

By this point Hadley was tired of all this...

{couldn't help the cute baby pic}

Once boiling, you then start the timer base on altitude. I believe we set the clock for 25-30 min. 

After they were done, we carefully removed the rack and lined the jars up about an inch apart on a towel to cool. As the jar lids seal they making a popping sound.. this is Mom's favorite part.. but since I had fans going I missed it. 
I left the cans on the counter overnight to cool. 

I've already been mixing some of these in with my morning oatmeal. YUM!
I think I may love canning. Jellies, Apples, Apple-butter, Applesauce and Garlic Pickles may be next. :)

{Family- expect some for Christmas}

A Special Thanks To:
Mom- for teaching
Rachel- my in-house photographer
and Nick- for keeping an eye on the baby.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Summer and Avocado-Corn Salsa

By the school calendar, summer is over! And  although I am ready to get back into a more structured routine, I miss it already.
Our summers are usually a whirlwind of trips, activities, and projects; this summer did not disappoint!
We did, however, stick pretty close to home. {With the exception of a church Camp-out and a few Eastern Washington trips.}

Some of our summer favorites...

Our Family- Independence Day

Hadley Grace

Hadley's first Fourth of July!

Favorite recipe of the summer...

Grilled Chicken with Avocado -Corn Salsa

  • 3 1/3 tbsp fresh lime juice {I use 2 limes}
  • 4 tbsp chopped cilantro {or more}
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt & pepper {to taste}
  • 4 {6 oz} Boneless/skinless chicken breast-halves
  • 2 ears fresh corn {we use white}
  • 1 large ripe avocado
Combine 2 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp cilantro, and Salt & Pepper in a large Ziploc bag; add chicken. Now, shake around a bit to coat the chicken, then refrigerate at least 20 minutes. Grill Chicken.

To prepare Salsa- Grill corn till tender {or microwave in a  shallow dish with 1/4 cup water and covered for 2 min.} Use a large knife to cut the corn from cobs. 
Combine corn kernels with avocado, cilantro, lime juice, and salt & pepper.. then serve over grilled chicken!
{This is really so yummy that the salsa could be eaten as a salad.} 
{I do ;o)}

What did you do this summer?


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