Tomato Preserving 2013

There is still time. Every year I take notes, but never feel like I get them done in time to publish this. Because when I started canning, recipes that list things like “12 cups of chopped tomato” aren’t very helpful while I’m at the market trying to buy the correct amount. Also, I tend to lose paper notes. But I hope someone finds this helpful.

Last week (8/25) I bought a 20 lb box of organic roma tomatoes. And throughout the week I worked on processing them with a friend of mine. They sat until Tuesday, at which point I took them out of the box and put them in a single layer* on three sheet pans (two half-sheets and one jelly-roll). On Wednesday I blanched and chopped 12 pounds in preparation for 2 batches of salsa (I divided these as I went). On Thursday I chopped everything else for those two batches, then cooked and processed one batch. On Friday I cooked and processed the second batch. And now its Sunday night and I started oven-dried tomatoes (4 1/8 lbs fit on my jelly roll pans that fit in my small oven). Sometimes starting a canning project can be daunting so I break it into chunks (a tip from Food in Jars blog). I had friends staying with me so we tried to fit canning amongst about-the-town and entertain-the-kiddos time. Another friend of mine powered through her box in one night.

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The short notes

  • 6 lbs tomatoes becomes 12 cups of tomatoes becomes 7 pints of Spicy Tomato Salsa from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  I seeded 2 jalapenos, used 4 with seeds, I used 1/2 cup of the dried-chile water to puree. Initial taste tests suggest an extra spicy version this year.
  • 5 lbs tomatoes becomes 10 cups of tomatoes becomes 5 pints of House Tomato Salsa from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I used 5 jalapenos with seeds instead of the green bell pepper and hot sauce. Initial taste tests suggest an extra spicy version this year.
  • 4 lbs tomatoes on their way to oven-dried goodness. This gets stored in the freezer – I highly recommend having these to perk up fall, winter, spring and early summer meals.
  • approximately 3 lbs haven’t met their fate yet.
  • We probably ate a pound with meals.

* This box came home on the under ripe side. Last year a lost several tomatoes because they went bad in the box and contaminated other tomatoes (“one rotten apple spoils the bunch” has merit) so this year I spread everything out. Keeping them on sheet pans made it easy to move as we dealt with other cooking tasks (like blackberry jam and dinner).

And now this week I came home from the market with 10 lbs of tomatillos. Salsa verde is in my near future. And next week I plan to split a 20 lb box of romas with a friend.

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September 1, 2013. Tags: , , . preserving. 5 comments.

Too much fun, too few photos

Over the weekend I participated in the second annual Pacific Northwest Modern Quilt Guild Meetup.  This year it was in Portland which meant I was familiar with all the places we went and just didn’t think to take photos.  I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the weekend.

If you prefer, the TLDR version: Thursday=fun, Friday=fun, Saturday=fun, Sunday=fun and exhausted. Everyday=lots of chatting, sewing, shopping, eating, drinking and general merriment. Oh and a smidge of learning. A few photos and many many more words follow.

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August 21, 2013. Tags: , , . Life. 8 comments.

Second Saturday in July

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The second Saturday in July is the Sisters’ Quilt Show. I’ve been lucky enough to go for the past three years but this seems to be the first year I actually managed to upload the photos and write a bit about it. The weather was just about perfect, hot but not too hot (well just a bit if you were standing in the sun for too long). It seemed a little bit less crowded than years past, but maybe I’m just adjusting my expectations. I got to wander the show with a few friends, that was nice and we took breaks for lunch, fudge, and ice cream. Kettle corn was also purchased. A bit of fabric shopping (I stuck to the fat quarters so I wouldn’t have to stand in line twice – once for cutting and then for paying).  This is a photo heavy post, so I’m going to make them smaller than usual, and if you click through to flickr you should find the accompanying photo with information about the quilt. There were many more quilts that I liked, but I tried to restrain myself with photos this year.

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Amy Walsh (L) & Betty Daggett (R)

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Hilde Morin (L) & Karla Alexander (R)

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Betty Daggett (L) & Besty Biller (R)

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Cathy Campbell (L) & Betty Anne Guadalupe (R)

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Tierney Hogan (L) & unlisted employee of The Stitching Post (R)

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Pam Bush (L) & Kristin Shields (R) (a better shot of the swing attached to the quilt)

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Kristin Shields (L&R)

And my own PMQG had a special exhibit (I did not enter anything in this – I keep saying “next year”). But I was an idiot who, since I recognized most quilts completely forgot to take photos of the tags. I’m sorry fellow guild members – if I managed to get all the info I’ll edit this so everyone gets credit for their quilt. Thanks to the PMQG post I was able to give attribution, and if you want to see larger photos of each quilt individually check out the PMQG post.

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Petra Anderson, Nancy Kennedy, Christina Lane (L) & Katie Sciarrino, Amber Wilson, Gail Weiss (R)

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Gail, Rachel Kerley, Linda Nussbaum (L) & Chelle Casey-Stevenson, Suzanne Gray (R)

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Jeri Bonset, Jen Carlton-Bailly (L) & Cris Pera, AnnMarie Cowley (R)

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Kimberly Lumapas, PMQG Collaborative Quilt

July 20, 2013. Tags: , , . Life, quilting. 2 comments.

Quickie Project

I see cute coaster projects on a regular basis, but I would always think, “that’s nice, but I don’t use coasters.” But recently I noticed the little wooden stool I use as a side table was looking sort of worn. Maybe I should make coasters… I took a pile a scraps and some small squares of quilt batting with me to SewDay.

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Since I had a few 2 1/2″ squares already cut I started by making four-patches. Then I put them on batting and did a bit of free form straight line spiral (echo?) quilting. And then sewed right sides together with a plain backing, trimmed any batting out of the seam allowance and flipped it out. Then I used the for the next month without slip stitching the opening shut.

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But I did that the other night – yay finished object.

July 10, 2013. Tags: , , . quilting, Sewing. 6 comments.

Great $1 sewing tool

I was tempted to title this “Best $1 sewing tool” but that started an internal debate regarding best and an attempt to remember how much I’ve spent on various doodads (how much is my favorite ruler again?)…

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I’m not talking about the iron, or the ironing board, I’m talking about buying a gallon of distilled water for your iron and keeping it stored as closely as possible. For a long time, a very long time I just used some of our filtered tap water, running downstairs the to the kitchen when I needed it, or pouring it out of my water spray bottle (which I think cost $1.60). Finally I bought a gallon and sometimes it is the little things – but it felt like a great improvement to my sewing space. My iron only holds about 4 oz of water (yup, I measured) and I’m a big fan of steam so it drastically cut down on water-gathering trips.

Additionally, I don’t think I ever wrote about my ironing station. In my last sewing space I didn’t have room for my ironing board to stay set up and not be in the way of something (the closet where my supplies were stored, the shelf the printer was and my futon were the usual things blocked). And I noticed that for quilting I wasn’t using most of the board anyway, so I re-purposed this cart (it fit in the space perfectly). I love that I can store things under the ironing space. When I need a larger surface I pull out my ironing board, when I need the narrow end I try using my sleeve roll first.

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ironing station in a former sewing space

The ironing surface is an unfinished wooden shelf I picked up at Ikea (the size and price were right), but they don’t carry the exact piece anymore (part of a discontinued secondary storage line). Then I covered it with insul-brite, two layers of cotton batting and light-canvas cotton fabric – in that order, using a staple gun to tack everything down. The covered board is just over 12″ wide and about 30″ long. I meant to fully attach the board to the cart but never got around to it and I find it stays put decently. Of course I don’t have little ones, or cats to cause it to go tumbling to the floor.

June 27, 2013. Tags: . Organization, Sewing, Solutions. 2 comments.

knit decisions

For the last month or so I’ve had the strong urge to buy yarn. I think I just have project fatigue, two projects out of sockweight yarn at the same time might not be the best idea for me. After fighting it for weeks I almost gave in – I found a cute pattern on Ravelry that called for 3 skeins of a yarn I know I’ve seen locally, I was hoping that my usual LYS carried it  – they didn’t. I almost bought something else that seemed appropriate but didn’t. I still have the 5 skeins from the last time I did that (and the yarn totally didn’t work for the pattern I picked). In fact I have yarn for at least 3 selfish projects just waiting (one from a failed and frogged project). So I started to focus my attention to new pattern possibilities.

Shiny pattern #1: Gemini from Knitty Spring + Summer 2012 issue (Rav link)

pros: I’m trying to add more casual (non-t-shirt) tops to my wardrobe, its new and exciting, upon first glance it feels like a more straight forward pattern and project

cons: I thought this was a pro, but on second look my yarn doesn’t seem like a good substitution for the pattern specified yarn

Shiny pattern #2: Miette by Andi Satterlund (Rav link)

pros: Cardigan, I love cardigans, 60 degree summer days need cardigans to bridge the gap between seasonal dressing and dressing for the weather. It has a wee bit of lace which I enjoy. I like the shape and slightly vintage feel.

cons: I have to modify the pattern for my gauge and size. Sometimes this is fun but sometimes this blows up in my face. (Gail has lots of posts on this, and it is her yellow version that makes me hopeful that I could get a cardigan out of my yardage). I worry I won’t have enough yarn. I worry that I can’t pull off a cropped cardigan anymore.

The yarn, GGH Linova (Rav link), I have 660 yards in my stash in a light purple. Originally I made it into Petrie but despite a huge gauge swatch (washed and blocked), and copious amounts of math to add waist shaping I somehow made a top that was far too big for me – plus I didn’t like the drape of the cowl neck with the turned hem edge treatment.

I guess the next obvious step is to just make a new gauge swatch since I probably shouldn’t trust my swatch from 2010 (if I even find my swatch notes).

June 21, 2013. Tags: , . Knitting. 2 comments.

Pink drinks for summer

A bit over a week ago I found this recipe for strawberry-rhubarb infused vodka and I knew I had to make it. I haven’t had luck with infusions in the past but I did like that this recipe made a small batch. Also rhubarb….I’m a sucker for rhubarb.

I meant to try the drink included with the infusion recipe, or the spiked lemonade. But this afternoon I realized I forgot to pick up the necessary ingredients. So a “simple” vodka & soda was made (really a better test anyway).

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1 1/2 – 2 oz infused vodka
6 oz soda or seltzer water
mint garnish optional

June 14, 2013. Tags: , , . Cooking, Life. 2 comments.

MMM’13 Days 1-5

Yikes, this is getting tough. I really hope I don’t repeat the same 5-7 outfits. This morning (day 5) while getting dressed I realized, due to the warm weather (seasonal anomaly) I had to pick between 2 skirts and 1 pair of pants. Knitted woolen items are not going to work when it is 80+ degrees. Also, I re-found these timely Already Pretty posts: How to Look Awesome in a Photo part 1How to Look Awesome in a Photo part 2How to Look Awesome in a Photo part 3. But since I found these tips on day 5 and am dealing with the self-timer function 90% of the time (ok more like 85.7%). Day one was a bit disastrous as I couldn’t find my camera or the piece that holds my camera to my tripod (nope not together, that would be too easy) so I used my phone camera (thank goodness it has that dual front/rear camera thing going) – except I’m pretty bad at it, we are lucky you didn’t catch my finger pulling way from the button. Day two I decided to take on Patty the Snug Bug’s (who has dropped off the face of sewing blogging) and vaguely Wonder Woman-ish pose. It feels pretty good. And I started distracting myself with Dog who was curious about what I was doing.

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I have one skirt and one pair of pants that I haven’t worn yet (plus another wool cardigan but that won’t work with our current forecast). And I still need to finish two skirts (hems, argh) and have two tops that are in process (cut out, partially together). That should help. I’m hoping something I make will soon become a TNT pattern but so far nada.

May 5, 2013. Tags: , , , . Me Made May. 4 comments.

I like picnics

Inspired by my friend Sarah’s May goal of going on a picnic (or maybe in attempt to inspire her).

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Last weekend we debated driving to the coast (above, September 2008) but decided to just enjoy the good weather we were having in town instead. We headed to the lilac garden since the lilacs were blooming all around us and I’ve been wanting to be in the park during the bloom for a while now. (I never had the timing right before).

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We actually ate on the benches since we though our sandwiches might be more tempting than grass to our sheep/cow dog. And then we chilled on the blanket with a good book. Check out all that purple (and blond lump grazing):

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We like picnics. I made a blanket/quilt just for picnics. Picnics are about food of course, but also…

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reading (September 2010)

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handcrafts (April 2012)

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people (or dog) watching (April 2012)

May 3, 2013. Tags: . Life. 2 comments.

Challenge Accepted

I, Michelle of Anotheryarn Crafts, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear one hand-made item each day for the duration of May 2013.

Eek! Since the first Me-Made month I watched along, envious of people diving into sewing clothes and loving their results. Clothes sewing was my first crafting love. I’ve wanted to sew my own stuff since I was 8 or 9. I used to do so (back when I naively skipped the muslim but garments turned out ok anyway), but in the last 10 years or so I’ve not been thrilled with my sewn results. However this year I realized that I do have some me-made garments and especially during “wool season” (in the PNW for lizard-me that is September through June at least) I often do wear handmade things (mostly hats and scarves but still).

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June 2009, I realized that I was wearing a lot of handmade: sweater, skirt and bag.

Anyway, I decided to give this a shot, I started tallying my handmade garments and have:

  1. purple corduroy skirt (seen above)
  2. grey twill skirt
  3. February Lady Sweater (seen above)
  4. Blackberry Cozy Sweater
  5. Blue peasanty blouse
  6. Amy Butler tunic
  7. Juniper pants (and I really want to make more)
  8. scarves/cowls/hats/jewelry/socks

Plus the two skirts that just need hemming. And plans, oh I have plans. I’ve been stashing garment fabric and it is time to stop treating them as too-precious to use (well, except the teal wool houndstooth fabric, that is still too precious). That seems sort of limited, but I don’t think my sartorial choices can get any more boring than they already are with the endless days of jeans + t-shirts + sweaters that I currently wear.

April 28, 2013. Tags: , , . Sewing, Thoughts. 4 comments.

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