Saturday, June 27, 2015

52 Projects (Project 16)

Courtship Journal

So, um. Over fifteen years later, I've finally finished the journal I kept while Kevin and I were dating.

When Kevin and I started dating, my dad encouraged me to start a journal. So I did. I have always had a hard time opening a book and writing directly into it. I'm worried about messing up! misspelled words! leaving something out! so most of the journal was accomplished by writing on notebook paper and then copying it when I was happy with what I had written down. By the time we got married, I had a lot of filled notebook paper and a mostly empty journal. At the beginning of our marriage, I worked on it here and there but then at some point set it aside and forgot about it.

So in May I spent just over 2 hours copying. And now it is done!

I'm glad I wrote things down. I wrote things that I was writing because I experienced or felt them, not because I was worried I'd forget them. As I copied my own writings into the journal, it felt a little funny because I had completely forgotten so many of the events and emotions of that time frame. It felt like I was copying someone else's writings, but no, it was my own handwriting.

These days, I keep a One Line a Day journal. That's more my speed. I keep it current - no notebook pages filled with writing to copy! :-) I've got 2 1/2 years worth of journaling in one convenient little book.

Cost: $0
Running Total: $43.55

PS Apparently "journaling" isn't a word. What word or words would you use in its place?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Canning Notes: Apricots

Apricots hit the grocery store earlier this month, and they were so good! I wanted to do something more than just eat them! So I scoured Pinterest and came up with these three ideas:

:::Apricot Salsa (eaten fresh, not canned)
I used my Pampered Chef food chopper to cut everything. It ended up being very spicy because I didn't seed the jalepeno, and very garlicky. It was also very delicious. I added a purple onion for texture and color. Yum.

:::Apricot Preserves
My goal is to use much less sugar in my fruit preservation. So when I found this jam recipe using only honey and no pectin, I was intrigued. Would it be sweet enough? Turns out, the answer was "no". I didn't want to add more honey, because it was quite tart and I wanted the overall flavor to be apricots, not honey. So I added 2 cups of sugar. I also added a vanilla bean for a subtle vanilla flavor. I got three half-pints.

:::Apricot Halves in Honey Syrup
I let the apricots ripen on the counter just a little more before moving to my next project. I got 3 pints of apricot halves. They look so beautiful in the jars! We haven't tasted them yet, so I'm hoping that they will be sweet enough! I referenced my Ball preserving book and the time for cold-packed apricots was 25 minutes, so I increased the time from linked recipe from 10 minutes to 25 minutes. They still look quite firm in the jar.

And there you have it! I purchased about 8 pounds of apricots from my grocery store for these three recipes. I haven't really looked to the grocery store for my canning projects before, especially with fruit, but the apricots were just begging to be put up!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Happy Things

I am in the midst of a summer cold (decidedly not happy!) so yesterday I took my camera around and took a few pictures of things that do make me happy!

I found this at Kohl's. I am excited about it and when I feel better I'm going to haul out the ladder and hang it in my kitchen.

In spite of not feeling well, yesterday I did quite a lot of housework. When I finished cleaning the bathroom, my daughter and I went outside and picked some flowers to put on the counter. 

My Asiatic lilies are blooming! I love them! And they are multiplying like crazy!

Our side garden is doing so well this year!

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Sewing with Children (Sewing Buttons)

This is such a simple sewing project, but it was fun for my daughter! I had some really large buttons left over from the shrug I made last year. I put some fabric in a hoop, and taught my daughter to sew buttons.

She was eager for me to leave her to her own designs (ie, do things her way ;-) ), and happily sewed for at least a half hour, if not longer. She picked out different colors of thread and I helped her by threading the needle and tying knots, but otherwise this was something that she did entirely on her own.

These buttons were perfect for little fingers! They are over an inch wide, and the holes are nice and large, making it very easy to find the button holes from the bottom of the fabric. This is something I did when I was little. I'm sure that my daughter would enjoy digging through my button collection to add more buttons to her fabric!

Friday, June 05, 2015

52 Projects (Project 15)

"hello" sign

I've been wanting something new to put up on the front porch by the door. After I painted my tray, I thought of using a frame and making a banner to hang in it.

For some reason, we have a lot of frames down in the basement. I don't recall ever having 20 pictures all hanging up in our house, but I guess it is possible. I think we just bought a new frame every time we got a new picture. But why, I'm not sure. So anyhow, old frame = free. I bought the pennants and yellow paint from Hobby Lobby. The twine is from a spool Kevin uses in the garden.

I started out with four pennants, and had to go back and paint another pennant. Clearly, "hello" without an "o" would not make an inviting sign for the front door.

The pennants are made of chip board, so they are sturdyish. I was able to use a hole punch to punch the holes. Initially I thought I'd have to drill the holes but the drill actually tore them up.

I've had the frame painted with the "hello" pennant attached for a few weeks, but I just wasn't satisfied with it. My sister suggested burlap or fabric behind the frame, and I mulled on that for awhile. I finally came up with the idea to put a piece of vintage sheet behind it. And now I'm happy with it!

Cost: $2.70
Running Cost: $43.55

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


Today Kevin and I are celebrating fifteen years of marriage. I feel so incredibly blessed to have spent the last fifteen years of my life as Kevin's wife.