Monday, March 14, 2011

A Little Bit Domestic Isnt Such A Bad Thing

Last summer we were surrounded by tons of blueberry fields, and at some point, I decided why not make blueberry jam?! Its all tied back in to my desire to eat less processed foods, and simply to know whats in the things we eat. Now, dont be confused, I did not have any spiffy tools or big pots. I just used what I had. The result, AWESOME BLUEBERRY JAM. Probably the best Ive even. (Well, expect maybe my Great Aunt Dot who used to make it years and years ago. Somehow I have always remembered it!)

Just starting to cook down the second bath. See the apples and blueberries?? YUM.

In all the excitement about moving home to Florida, I was a little bummed to have access to the those blueberries...... Until I remember Florida has STRAWBERRIES. Probably my all time favorite single piece of food. I think anyone in my family can attest to this.

This is the second batch waiting to set.

In Geneva there is a great little Strawberry Patch called Pappys that always has the most divine berries, but I havent quite made it out there yet, although I plan to this week. We purchased a flat (6 pints) of strawberries from the Winter Park Farmers Market this past weekend. They were only $7! The Farmer's Market was awesome. Really a one-of-a-kind experience, but more on that another day. :) Back to strawbs.

This is the second batch waiting to set. See how the blueberries made it so much darker?

We usually have at least one project on the weekends, and yesterdays was the jam. Blake spent all morning researching and reading through several cookbooks that had recipes. We decided on a hybrid recipe combining several. Blake's grandfather gave us a cookbook called "Stocking Up" (c. 1977) that gave some great advice. One of the things they suggested was using honey instead of sugar. And even back in 1977 they said it was due to wanting less processed foods. We thought this was a great idea! Long story short, Im not a hundred percent sure how it turned out. Its just now been 24 hours after sealing the cans, they havent set all the way (theyre still a little giggly--lets be technical). But I havent tasted them yet. Today, with more strawbs left over, I followed a recipe for a smaller batch using strawbs, an apple (natural source of pectin, the alternative to adding packaged pectin like we usually do), a few blueberries, sugar and 2 table spoons of Grand Marnier. Mmmmm

Of course I tasted it before I sealed the jars, and it tasted awesome, it was a little sweeter than yesterdays batch. So, we'll see which turns out better. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Bedroom

We have lived in our new place for almost a month now. After having moved three (or maybe four..?) times in the last few months I have intentionally not been decorating/ projecting. Knowing we will be here for almost a year, and having a small yard to work in, means its time to get busy!

Our bedroom is slowly coming together, piece by piece. The headboard lived as a door in another life and we picked it up at this cute place in Swansboro, NC. After we got it, we cleaned it up, sanded the crap out of it, and painted it. Blake had painted the teal squares while I was at work one day, and they turned out a little too teal. (I know, its hard to believe). Last week I took the sander and went to town. It definitely helped.

The most recent additions are the cedar chest (you can view its original condition here) and the blue throw on the foot of the bed. The cedar chest has done a 180. Its still not in fantastic shape, but we stripped all the veneer off the top and restained all of it. Its a good solid piece, and at least it looks great!

My sister Ashlie is always sending me links during the day (Does she even work...?? jk!!) of projects to do. I liked this one so much I actually decided to do it! Kojo Designs did a great job at showing step by step instructions that made it look so easy! However, I made it even easier. Instead of cutting 12" x 12" squares, sewing the knots onto them, and then sewing the squares back together, I just left it whole, graphed out my knots and went to town. Granted, she had way more control over the end size of hers, I was still pretty satisfied with mine. After all, I wanted it more as a throw than the actual blanked for the bed.

This dresser has been every color. Literally. Just about anyway. I remember it being Ashlie's probably 12 years ago before it became mine. Its old, solid, and wonderful-- it had been another family members previously. I can remember it being white, crackle-paint-green, white with sunflowers all over it, black, and teal (to name a few). My friend Meredith came to visit this weekend and she thought it was new! We were friends from college and she spent many of nights at my house, so I laughed that she didnt remember it. But, oddly, it had been living in a closet.... This one of our first projects a few years ago, and I still love it!

It took everything in me to keep her off the bed while I was trying to take the first few pictures. Silly Monsters. I cant keep anything in my house dog free. But shes so sweet!! Look at that face!