Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Plum Crazy

My aunt Lori, the one who owns and runs the beautiful Stage Coach Farm, gave me a bunch of purple plums. So I thought, how could I make something for Christmas with this? Hmm… plums, plums. Sugar plums! So I look up a recipe for sugarplums and it turns out not only are they a candy that would go bad before Christmas. They are not even made with plums. Most recipes call for apricots or dates. So I made spiced plum preserves. I call it preserves because like the strawberry syrup I’m not sure what the consistency will be. That’s what happens when you experiment. Here are the ingredients.

30 plums or 5 cups peeled and chopped (Tip: cut them in half and scoop out the innards with a melon scoop)

3 cups sugar

4 TBSP corn starch

dash nutmeg

dash cloves

big dash cinnamon

little dash ground coriander seed

Mix the sugar and cornstarch and set aside. Boil the plums till it is all juicy. Add sugar mixture and stir occasionally. When it starts bubbling, stir constantly. You’ll want to keep the temp at like 6 or 7. Do this for like 5 minute. Have 3, one pint jars and lids ready and add the spices. Once it’s all goopy it’s done. I suppose if you want it thicker you could cook it for longer but I have never tried it. Now put it in your jars, wipe the edges and seal in boiling water for 30 minutes. For details on sealing, read my older post Looks Like Syrup.

Officially I call it Sugarplum Butter because it has the consistency of apple butter and oh my gosh it is so good. I think it goes best on biscuits. Try it for thanksgiving dinner. Your family will love it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Second Stitch to the Right and Straight on 'Till Morning

I have always loved Halloween. Even as an adult I hope for a party or an event to dress up at. As a mother of small children I like to find fun ways to dress up together. For my sons first two Halloweens we went as a big mouse (me) and a little lion (him). Last year my daughter was only a week old and my plan was to go as the princess and the pea. (I’ll let you figure out who was who). I made a little pea costume out of the same green fleece that I used for Christmas last year (as was mentioned in My Handmade Christmas) My son wanted to be a frog and that fit.
This year we all agreed we want to go trick-or-treating as Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and Wendy. So, the first thing I did was go to goodwill and had a look around. I found a dark green ladies top with little brown beads on the collar, light green kids stretchy pants(meant for a girl I’m sure) and one big square satiny scarf with pink and green flowers. Now here’s how it all came together.
I cut out the back of the green Shirt between the back of the sleeves and sewed the ends together. With the spare fabric I sewed a little pointy hat and cut zig-zags around the ends with pinking shears. The kid pants flared out on the bottom so I sewed them tight against the leg. Add a braided belt, a little autumn leaf garland and a dollar store gold knife and I’ve got myself the cutest little Peter Pan this side of Neverland.
As for tinkerbell, I simply cut holes in the scarf for her head and arms, put a drawstring around the collar and added dollar store fairy wings. When I loop the elastic straps of the wings around her waist it holds the scarf together like a whimsical fairy dress. I may or may not fluff it up with some tulle. Either way it would be perfect for any fairy baby. Now I just need an adult size nightgown and we’re set. Then again, I might just skip that part.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Jacksonville Celebrates the Arts

So I figure I should actually post about the bazaar we'd been talking about. It was on Sept 2&3, so on Sept 1st I packed up my kids and my products and headed down to Southern Oregon (I live in Salem). It was a great trip visiting family. Oh yeah, this is about the bazaar. Well it was less than successful. I'm not sure how well advertised it was. There weren't very many visitors and I didn't sell anything. Oh well, I'll not write it off as a complete failure, it was a learning experience and I had fun hanging out with Shanna and Kate.

Our booth, Shanna and Kate had such a cute set up.

Mine was a little...blah!

Some of my favorite booths.
Live entertainment.

My favorite part,food. Italian Ice was so good.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just a little tip

Just a little tip for parents with toddlers. Try making bold letter flashcards of the alphabet on thin or normal paper. Then get a little magnedoddle type board (like five bucks at Walmart). Now show your child that when they trace the letter on the board it appears underneath. It was my son who actually figured this one out when he was two and it works great.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Handmade Christmas

Ah, autumn. Orange leaves, cool winds, thunderstorms. Southern Oregon is one of nature’s garden spots. In September you can actually smell the sweet harvest of so many different fields and orchards all at once. You need only to slow down and breath. It’s also the time I get started on handmade Christmas gifts. I know, most people are so annoyed to see red and green on the shelf this early but I prefer it. I want to have all my gifts made and stowed away by the time I’m trimming the tree. That way I have the time to enjoy all the bright eyed child-like wonder of Christmas with my family.

Last year I found myself in a situation where I either had to make toys or Santa got stuck in the chimney. I made a stuffed frog and a striped scarf out of fleece. I painted an ABC block toy box and purchased blank thermal pajamas, ironed on a photo of Thomas the tank engine and drew silver and gold tracks all over them. It was a success. My two-year-old loved it.

Making gifts is a wonderful way to treat your young children and to teach them the value of creativity. But don’t underestimate your older child’s appreciation for your hard work. A handmade gift from Mom or Dad can be cherished for a lifetime. Combining Christmas with handmade skills is a wonderful way to create family heirlooms to last generations. And all the more fun if they get to watch you make it.

This year I plan to make a blue plaid teddy bear, a black and yellow road sign scarf and maybe a stuffed monster. And that’s just for one child. My daughter will get a stuffed toy (like a bunny or a cat) and a new crocheted Christmas dress. I also plan to make scarves and shawls for extended family. Canning is a really fun way to treat your friends. I like to do sweets like jams, syrups, and pie fillings decorated with a piece of festive fabric under the ring.

So have fun, get creative and don’t wait 'till carolers are singing to get started. Make the season last. If you’re looking for patterns or handmade gifts on line, check out my etsy shop. It’s here on the blog. There’s more to come so keep checking. Peace on earth and good will toward men.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cinnamon Awesome

I don’t know if you have ever seen those little cans of pillsbury rolls, biscuits or cinnamon rolls with just four or five in each tube but if you have a very small family, like me, you may want to try them. Now, if you have, one thing you might have noticed with the cinnamon rolls is the difficulty in finding a pan that five rolls will fit snuggly in to. Oh sure you can bake them on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart like the package directs. If you don’t care for ooie gooie sticky sweet cinnamon rolls. So, through trial and err I came up with this cheaters recipe for the Cinnamon Blossom, or as my three-year-old calls it, the Cinnamon Awesome.
Put 5 pillsbury cinnamon rolls into a round greased 16 oz baking dish in a circle like a pinwheel (see photo 1).

Bake at 325 for 25 minutes or until golden brown ( see photo 2).

Ice and serve ( see photo 3).

So, give it a try. I hope your family likes it as much as mine does. And don’t be afraid to experiment to find something that works for your family. It took me three or four times to get this one right. Good luck and have fun creating something.

Super Easy Yummy Pork

One of my FAVORITE blogs is hosting an awesome giveaway. It’s a contest for the best recipe made with only 6 ingredients or less. The winner gets a $600 American Express gift card, hoorah. So this is my recipe that I’m entering. I just made it up one day when I was trying to figure out dinner. This is my super easy yummy pork recipe.

Super Easy Yummy Pork

You will need:

6-8 boneless porkchops

One large can whole or diced tomatoes(I prefer whole)

One can cream of mushroom soup

Salt to taste

Any preferred herb (I like Basil)

And about 4 cups of cooked rice

Okay so the rice in the picture isn’t cooked yet. You get the idea though.

And here’s how you do it- Season pork with salt and basil. Place pork in baking dish.

Cover with can of tomatoes.

Pour in soup,

mix it a little.

You may want to use a larger baking dish than I did, one that your food will all fit in perhaps.

Bake in 300 degree oven for about an hour to an hour and a half. About halfway through cooking mix it around so the soup and tomatoes come together to make a sauce. That’s it. It’s super easy and super yummy.

I serve the rice on the side covered in the sauce.

This is how my kids eat it.

We had peas with ours.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Almost Done

My quilt top is finished basted and ready to quilt. I thought I was pretty clever with my piece sorting system making the different patterns well dispersed. Instead I ended up with a whole bunch of "I"s or "H"s, whichever way you want to turn it. I'll figure out how to fix that on the next one. It still turned out pretty nice. Now for the fun part, hand quilting.

Don't mind the wanky coloring, I was having photo processing issues and didn't feel like dealing with it.

The kiddos seem to think it's a tent.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Can I Get a Blue?

This little lovely(okay, it's not so little) is a sampler afghan I've been making for quite some time. I'm almost done except for the fact that on my last blue square I ran out of yarn and I can't find more of it anywhere, urggh. If I ever find the right blue I will finish it and have it for sale at the bazaar. It's made up of 63 squares all done in a different stitch. It was a lot of fun to do and awesome to learn all the stitches. I'll be using them in a whole lot of new projects I've got in my head. Now to find that darned blue. And I just realized that this photo is of the backside of the afghan. Oops, better luck next time.

Work In Progress

This is a little quilt I'm working on for the Bazaar.

Oh yeah, and Kate reminded me that it is called "Jacksonville Celebrates the Arts". So this will be a baby quilt and it's taking forever, the only time I have to work on it is when the kiddos are napping. But it's coming along nicely and I think I will have the top and basting finished today. I'm so excited, this is the first quilt I've done completely on my own without help and it's turning out really nice. I'm finding out that my projects work out a lot better when I plan them our before I start cutting a sewing. It also makes for a lot less wasted fabric. More pictures to come when it's a little more together.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Looks like it’s Syrup

Hi, I’m Kate. I am so glad my awesome sister Sarah had the idea to make this blog. I can’t tell you how many times I have been taught, guided and inspired by my sister. Now this blog gives us both a chance to do the same for the world. They say that the best way to learn is to teach. I think it goes both ways. So maybe as we try new things, you may learn from our success and likely my failures. Well this is my first time blogging ever, so I’m more than a little nervous. Today I also happen to be canning strawberry syrup (or jelly. We’ll see how it turns out.) My friend Shanna, who will be at the Jacksonville celebrates the arts bazaar with us, inspired me with her delicious strawberry freezer jam. Well, I’ve blended the strawberries with my hand blender and I’m about to put it on the stove. The kids are entertained. Thank you Thomas the tank engine. Uh…

strawberries…sugar…corn starch… Here we go!

Ok, I think I’ve got it. 6 cups sugar. 2 TBSP cornstarch. I’m not sure how many cups of strawberries I used but it was 2 lbs. I just mixed all the ingredients in a sauce pan (don’t do that. Mix the sugar and corn starch first. That was heck getting the clumps out.) and cooked on number 6 or 7 on the dial (can you tell that I’m new at this). I continuously stirred it till it just seemed kind of goopy. I ladled it into jars (one at a time) wiped the edges, put on new Kerr lids and bands, sat them in boiling water for about 20 minutes (my mom says 30, I think it depends on the size of the jar) and removed them when the tops were popped up to were I can’t push them down easely. Now this is not the same as they will be later. As they cool they will loosen and eventually pop down and be sealed. I figured this out last month while canning blueberry pie filling. Give them a day to do this before you remove the lids. I like to put a decorative little peace of fabric under the band (above the lid) to give it a classic flair. I’m still not sure if it will be syrup or jelly. Either one could sell at the Jacksonville farmers market. I’m also going to have breakfast shortcakes, chocolate chip cookies, bran muffins, cornbread muffins and banana bread all made from local southern Oregon grain from the butte creek mill in eagle point Or, eggs from stage farm on Hanley road Or, Oregons Umpqua sweet cream butter and honey from Freeburne’s Honey in central point Or.

By the way. It looks like it’s Syrup.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Hi, I'm Sarah. Welcome to our new blog. This blog is dedicated to my sister, Katie, and My adventures in craftiness. And what better way to start off our new blog than to tell you all in blogland about our first big event. We'll be holding a booth at the Jacksonville Oregon arts Bazaar in September. Yay! I'm so excited for this. Our friend Shanna will be joining us. Here's the link to some info on last years bazaar. More info to come on what kind of items you will see there.

Loves to you all.