Sunday Afternoon and Learning about Canning


I wrote in my previous post that I was entertaining the idea of canning and preserving food after inspiration from Whole Living’s July/August issue. I was thinking something along the lines of peaches, plums, tomatoes, and maybe my own fruit jam. This idea also made dig up my copy of "Canning and Preserving for Dummies" for more detailed instruction of how to can and preserve. The article does give three different canning and preserving recipes, one of which is sour pickles. I am interested in canning tomatoes and making plum jam. The cost for the canning and preserving supplies is between $40 – $80 for a complete boiling-water canning set including the boiling-water canner or similarly deep pot in way of lobster size. You can get the supplies at hardware stores, supermarkets, or Amazon.com or Freshpreserving.com. It is good to note that jars can be reuse, but the flat lids are one-time use only. I think it is great that you can give your preserves as gifts. I am going to make a trip to Ace Hardware store that is about three blocks away for my apartment (love having stores within walking distance) to see if they the canning supplies I need. Of course, making a trip to the farmer’s market for tomatoes, and plums is forthcoming. It is good to keep in mind that before using the jars, you need to sterilize them in hot water even purchasing them for the first time. If you have a dishwasher with a sterilizer component, then you are good to go, if not, having a deep pot of boiling water will work just as well. This is my little lesson in canning, but have more to learn and finding how easy it is do. It is a bit time-consuming and does take up space on your counter, but it is worth doing because you have control of what you are eating and it is great to have tomatoes during the winter months to make sauces and soups.

There are other methods of canning and preserving, but I think the boiling-water method Is the one for me at the moment. There are the drying and freezing methods I probably will learn later on down the line, but I am going to start growing herb inside my apartment. I am going to start out with growing basil, thyme, and rosemary for starters, then branch out with growing parsley and sage if I am successful with growing the first three and if I have enough space on my windowsill. There are many things to do with so little time in which to do them. Ciao for now!



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Vacation Season Almost Over


I am coming toward the end of my vacation, and have to say that I end enjoyed have this time off to relax, reflect, and relate. I had the opportunity to visit the King Tut exhibit, making jewelry, and managed to get in some knitting. I also managed to get some wedding shows and one of the shows I really enjoy watching is “My Fair Wedding” with David Tutura on the We Channel because he manages to take a bride’s wedding off the wall concept and it into a beautiful event. One my favorite episode is the woman who wanted to have candy as a theme for her wedding who was going to carry a lollipop boutique. My first thought was how in the world was going to toss that boutique because it had to weight anywhere from eight to ten pounds, she could actually hurt someone just by throwing it. I fear of getting a black eye from the lollipop boutique if were to stand in to catch it.

Another interesting show is “Battle of the Wedding Designers” on TLC. I have only seen a couple of episodes, but the concept of the show is a couple will see three different wedding themes from three different wedding designers. The designers have to plan a wedding with the couple’s budget that varies from couple to couple. I like seeing each designer’s conceptualization of the couple’s wedding, and the winning designer goes from conception to reality with the budget, and some have small budgets.

I had some inspiration over my vacation time. I received the July/August issue of Whole Living aka Body and Soul Magazine, and read the article about canning and preserving food. There is a great recipe for pickling pickles, and canning tomatoes (they are actually in a jar), and making plum preserves. I thought about the idea of making peach and plum preserves. I think that would be a good combination, but will make just a sample batch. I probably will do some more on-line research about preserving. I actually have a book “Canning and Preserving for Dummies” in the apartment that came with a book order, strangely, the company sent the wrong book and I just kept it. The magazine also has a very good article on” 50 Ways to Eat Sustainably”, and how it is important to eat food in season making it better for the environment and saving some money at the same time.

My next blog entry will be about a knitting book review, so it is ciao for now.

King Tut and What’s Up with Nail Polish


Day two of my staycation, and I am off to see the King Tut exhibit.  I am excited about going to see it because did not have the opportunity to visit the exhibit when it came to New York City more than 25 years ago.  Perhaps I will be able to take photos on my G1 phone and upload to a blog entry later.  I am also going to try to see the American Woman exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but that will depend upon how much time and if I want to the upper east side.

I have a question.  Why is nail polish so damn expensive?  I went into a CVS Pharmacy the other day and Sally Hansen cost $8.00.   This is a short post as I am off.  Ciao for now.

Budget Monday – Fabric Shopping


On the first day of my staycation, and I finally had a chance to visit a fabric store in my neighborhood.  This revelation could be precarious for me with the consequence of having a huge fabric stash before I know it because the store sells fabric wholesale prices.  I purchased five yards this nice cotton black and white fabric for $3.00 a yard.  The store also has blue and white strip fabric for $3.00/per yd as well, and I doing everything in my power from not returning to the store again today because I am thinking PJs with that fabric.  I am thinking about a dress with this black and white print, and probably will have some left over to make something else.  I am not wasting any of this fabric.

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I also purchased three yards of gray fabric for a pair of trousers or a pencil skirt, and the fabric cost $4.00/per yd. 

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I watching the Martha Stewart today, and saw a segment on making your own craft table.  Martha has a partnership with Home Depot where you can buy Martha Stewart Living Alder 35.88 In. High x 24.13 In. Wide x 11.89 In. Deep Laminate Stackable 6 Cube Organizer for $44.97 each.  Martha demonstrated on the show that you can buy a hollow door for $25.00, paint or tack oilcloth and you can have a craft table for under $150.00 compared to the Pottery Barn craft table priced at over a $1,157.  However, I have to note that BP’s table is on sale for $959 (still too much money).  The great thing about the craft table on Martha Stewart is that you can make it portable if you are like me living in a one-bedroom apartment and space is valuable.  Use as storage and a table, great idea.

There is another project on Martha Stewart online for dyeing wooden beads for necklaces, and found a couple of websites where you can purchase beads.  One site is Craft Parts where beads can come in quite a few sizes.  You can also buy wooden craft buttons, and dowels should want to make a bag or your own knitting needles.  Another resource is American Wood Crafters Supply where beads are sold at a good price.  You can purchase the dye from Rit Dye, and instructions for dyeing beads are at Martha Stewart.  It’s time to get crafty, so I am going to end this blog and get ready a craft extravaganza at the library (I will not return to the fabric today).  Ciao for now!

Staycation and Some Creative Ideas


Reader beware!  This is a long post entry with quite a few photos!

It is that time of year for me again, staycation!  Every year in mid-June, I take a two-week vacation where staying at home is the thing to do when money is tight in this rough recession.  I also have a chance to make more blog entries during this time, and catch up some finishing and starting some knitting projects, reading, and visit a museum or two.  I also have the time to listen to some podcast and just relax during the two weeks.  The previous year came with me having the flu and lying in bed for almost two weeks, this year comes with a stiff lower back if sitting for too long.  However, I it will not prevent me from relaxing or going to see the King Tut exhibit (looking forward to seeing that).

Yesterday, while doing some web surfing and listening to a couple of knitting podcasts, I came around this vintage knitted “Blood Red Dress”.  This 1940s vintage dress was knitted by ChopChop of the My Spicy Yarn blog.  She purchased a Corticelli Hand-Knits Fashions no KP 27 that she purchased from E-Bay.  I tried to find this pattern book without success, but did asked if she wouldn’t mind selling me this pattern.  She also mentioned in her blog that this pattern was a quick knitting, but think she is a fast knitter.  I think it would take me a while to knit considering one would have to use lace weight yarn for the project.  However, I think she did a great job with knitting this dress and who would love to add a knitted dress to her wear closet.  The color and style of dress just screams out sexy kitten without having anything hang out.  I am amazed at that even though this dress is vintage, yet feels modern and stylish to wear now.  This dress is eye candy and may give me enough inspiration to create a knitting pattern with this style in mind since I am unable to find the pattern.

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Yesterday, I went to a jewelry-making class at my local library.  I typically go to the class to meet other crafty people than learning anything new.  The class is mostly bead stringing, and I would like to get more into bead weaving and some wire work.  I always to go for the more challenging and pushing my creative side.  I met a woman there who wanted to know if I have sold any of my jewelry.  I told her no, but I could end up with more bracelets and necklaces I could possibly wear.  Who I am kidding, one could never have enough pieces of jewelry, but I can still sell jewelry by making extra pieces.  It is a win/win situation.

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Friday, I could not leave for vacation without making a trip to the yarn store.  I went to the Lion Brand Studio in New York City with a co-worker of mine who needed to purchase yarn for cardigan she is making for a couple who just had little baby girl.  There is nothing like making a little baby pink cardi, well certainly nothing precious.  I decided to knit a shawl for the office while on vacation because my workplace is a like being a side of beef hanging in a meat locker.  It is freezing and you need to wrap yourself in a blanket, but a shawl is more practical.  I love this yarn with the copper highlights and could see making a fabulous shell to wear on a night out.  I was just thinking how great it would be to wear that vintage dress on a first date, I digress.  The yarn is Vanna Glamour and it comes in a few more colors including platinum and topaz.

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I am fortunate to have a magazine store that carries Burda Style Magazine near my job, and managed to get the May and June Issues.  I wear plus size clothing, so finding clothes that are great looking is difficult to find (reason for making your own clothes).  May’s issue had Italian inspired dresses what are very sexy, especially the red dress.  The collection in the magazine is entitled “La Dolce Vita”, and think it is the perfect title for the dresses.  There were only a couple of things that caught my eye in June’s issue like the the tunic and pants.  There is a jumpsuit that I am going back and forth on liking it or not.  I think the problem is that the model is wearing a terrible hat and it makes her look like a cougar.  The jumpsuit has a 70s feel, perhaps too much so.

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My back is beginning to relax, and I am coming to the end of writing this entry.  I am going to start knitting my shawl and watch some TV on a Sunday with Drop Dead Diva, and My Fair Wedding with David Tutera.  I love that show and it is great to see a wedding show other than Bridellizas, and besides he does fabulousity with receptions.  I will able to write quite a few entries during my staycation, but Ciao for now!