Thursday, November 13, 2014

Holiday Pop-Up Shop

The time has come to begin thinking about Christmas, gathering with family and friends and maybe braving the shopping malls for gifts to buy.  If you're like me, you enjoy this time of year and thinking of that perfect gift for someone.  I also really like handmade gifts, whether I'm making something up for someone else or I'm buying something handmade.  It may be more expensive and yes, you can just run to your local big box store, but making or receiving a gift made with love, is just better. At least in my opinion.  Lately I've been working on some quilts, stockings and some other orders that have come in.  But I also was accepted to the Handmade Promenade Pop Up Shop in Indianapolis.  I'll get to sell my items this holiday season at a shop on Mass. Ave with many other local artists.  Here is the flyer to check out!

Displaying 2014HPWebPoster.jpg
I've got to get busy making some more items to drop off there next week.  Should be fun!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

New chick in town

I got new baby chicks a couple weeks ago at Agrarian.  Love this store so much! They were getting ready for their Tour De Coops event and had three little Barred Rocks left so... home they went. I have named them Pepper, Sage and Nutmeg but cannot tell them apart.  Anyone know where you can buy safe little colored bands for their legs? Don't mind the water, they constantly kick shavings up, so I finally raised it up on a paver until they go outside soon. Got that vintage waterer at an antique store!
 I haven't visited that store in awhile since it's not too close to me, but I saw something new this time - a chicken buffet bar.  Perfect!  Whenever I go to PetCo, I always go to the treat bar for Mollie so this is great.  I got a large mixture of flax seed, barley, oats, cracked corn and rye.  And I have the perfect little metal pail and tin cup to hold it- another antique find.
I also thought I needed something for me from Agrarian and saw that they now carry Beeswrap! It's a fabric covered in beeswax and it softens with the warmth of your hand to replace plastic wrap. After you've molded it around the food, it then hardens again.  I've seen this stuff on other blogs, so I got the assorted sizes pack and it really does work well.  I made a BLT the other day and just wrapped up a tomato and was able to put it in the fridge.  You just wash the wrap off when done and reuse again! I think I want to buy more and eventually only use this and foil since I can reuse foil several times, too. 

Here's the backyard farm in full swing!  This weather has been great and I'm loving the fall nights and summer days. :) 
Luffa gourd growing like crazy in the raised bed and my Meyer lemons are finally turning yellow!

Some of my canning this year- sauces, pickles, jams and relish. 

Now, back to sewing for the busy Christmas season....

Monday, August 11, 2014

Summer pasta recipe

This time of year, I'm up to my ears in tomatoes and zucchini so I like to make a summer pasta.  Pretty much any veggies I have growing, can be sauteed and thrown in here. You can customize the dish with flavored salts, herbs, different vegetables, whatever you like! It's simple, just saute some chopped onion and garlic in a little oil in your skillet.  After the onion is translucent, I added some chopped yellow bell pepper and herb butter.  Make it, so easy and great for cooking.  Take a stick of softened butter, put in food processor and with chopped up herbs from your garden.  I think my combo this time was basil, thyme and parsley.  Then scoop the butter out onto some waxed paper and roll up and twist the ends.  Store in the fridge and it's ready whenever you need to slice some off!
 Back to recipe- Ok, I sliced up some grape tomatoes and zucchini from my garden and added that to the skillet, too.
 Meanwhile, I was boiling water and added a couple cups of some pasta I had.  This one is some whole wheat penne from Trader Joes.  Salt the water and once it's to a rolling boil, add pasta and let cook until al dente or just a little chewy, about 7-9 minutes.
 Then drain pasta, reserve a little pasta water if you like.  I pour the cooked penne in the skillet and stir everything around, add plenty of salt and pepper to taste and some grated cheese.  I had some Asiago and it added a great flavor.  Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Craft show season

Started the craft show season this past Saturday at Arbuckle Acres Park in Brownsburg, IN.  Had a great show, met lots of interesting people and saw some good talented items and artists.  My booth looked good using my new EZ up tent.  Turned out to be a hot, sunny day so was nice to have a good covering.  My family also showed up, which always helps the day go by better instead of sitting there all alone. Plus, it was my dad's first outing since his surgery so that was also great! :) 

What shows have you crafters been to?  I'm going to set up a booth in Lebanon at the Back to the 50's Festival, but want to check out some more, either to sell or buy from!

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 4th!

The Fourth of July is definitely one of my favorite holidays.  I spruced up the coop and added a homemade bandanna bunting, planted some marigolds to keep the pests away and added a little picket fence.  I think the girls loved it.  My mammoth sunflowers in the back have really grown!

We had the Symphony at Sunset, checked out the new park pool, parade, cookout, water balloon fight, went to the carnival and watched fireworks that night.  Perfect!

I was off work that week and really caught up on sewing for my next craft fair - July 19th in Brownsburg, IN if you're nearby ! Sounds like there will be a lot to see and do!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Birds of a Feather...

Here is my garden in progress now!  Just had to be patient but finally with the warm weather and rains, everything is blooming and doing great.  I'll have some great veggies to put up soon this summer and have already been eating lots of salads with radishes and carrots.

While I was watering and weeding the other day, I kept hearing a bunch of  peeping.  I was gathering some good garden peas and look over to see this.  See it?  A cute chicken clucking away and looking inside the dog house?
No, look closer...
How about now? 
Yep, a baby robin perched away on my beagle's doggy bed.  Probably the same baby bird that my boyfriend recently rescued after he fell out of the nest and was hopping around to follow one of my Bantam chickens.  I was worried he would get pecked to death, so he put him back in the nest while I flapped around the yard to keep Momma Robin away.  

So, cute and all but the chickens all kept trying to find the baby birds and Momma again was squawking and trying to peck my eyes out when I would go anywhere.  I was able for the most part to keep them away and I think he learned how to fly later and took off.  Good thing, because I've read that wild birds carry some bad diseases like Newcastle disease that can wipe out my whole egg laying flock! Anyone else have good ways to keep wild birds out of your yard?  I usually knock down their nests in the beginning and have all the birdfeeders in the front yard to discourage them from finding the back yard. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Saving all those strawberries

My family went strawberry picking this weekend and I came home with so many strawberries!  We went to Spencer Farm in Noblesville, IN and I highly recommend it.  Such a nice place with lots of berries to pick!

Yum, but then what to do with them?  Here is a little glimpse of how I start preserving and saving them until I'm ready to bake.  First, I wash them in a vinegar bath, leaving the caps and hulls on.  Just add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to 3 cups of water.

Let them sit for a minute or two and swish them around to get all the dirt and grit off them.  The vinegar will kill the mold spores and this helps them last MUCH longer in your refrigerator and not get moldy and mushy.  After they are washed, drain them in a colander while running a little water over them to rinse.  Then, just lay them in a single layer on a towel to dry.  I chose red for obvious reasons and since berries stain, wear some old clothes too!

Now I was able to store some in a cute little berry container in my fridge for snacking this week.  You can also place them on paper towels in a container, but don't seal it completely or all the moisture will build up inside and make them go bad faster.

I also like to flash freeze some of them whole and chopped on a baking sheet.  Just freeze for about an hour and then you can place them all in a freezer container or freezer bag without the fruit sticking together in one big frozen mess.  The whole ones are perfect for summer smoothies and the chopped ones are good for scones.  Using frozen berries, they stay together while baking and don't spread out in the dough. Save those strawberry tops for your compost pile or chickens! Mine love them!

Another way to save the berries is frozen with sugar.  Halve a quart of strawberries and then sprinkle 1/2 cup of sugar over them and stir together.  The sugar will break down the strawberries more and create a yummy syrup.  Once frozen, just thaw later and use for ice cream toppings and strawberry shortcakes!

And then, if you still have more berries, use them up for some good jam!  There are countless recipes out there for traditional jams and also other variations.  Always use a trusted recipe that has been tested and follow canning directions carefully.  It's not hard at all , but you don't want to go through all the work to not have your jars seal or go bad.  You can also make freezer jam that does not need to be processed in a canner that will last up to a year!  Tonight I made just a regular strawberry jam from the Ball Book of Canning and ended up with 10 half pints.  You really can't beat a fresh jar of jam on some warm homemade bread.  I think I'll have to make some of that tomorrow night! 

Happy Berry Pickin'!