making my own napkins and loving it


jam packed
June 29, 2009, 8:45 pm
Filed under: crafts, food | Tags: ,

it’s been a really long time.  color me ashamed.

the sad truth is that there has been little crafting going on lately.  plenty of reading, and apartment searching, and trips with friends, but precious little sewing and knitting.  weighing it all out, i can’t say i’m all that upset.

recently, however, my crafting has experienced a rebirth.  this is partly due to the fact that my sister-in-law is out of work for the summer, and horribly bored.  even more exciting, however, is the fact that i’m moving into my new apartment in approximately 40 hours, and things like placemats and curtains don’t just make themselves anymore.

so, in an attempt to make up for months of not posting, i will be posting several projects at once.  be forewarned.

first of all, jam.  what can i say about jam?  not much, really.  i don’t eat that much of it, nor had i ever been super inspired to make it myself.  but alli needed some company, and i bought all of those cute jars in canada, so i figured, what the hell.  let’s make some jam. so on wednesday alli and i headed out to new jersey, to a farm much praised by local canners, only to find that their berry season was long over.  blerg.  so we bought some corn and peaches, and headed to linvilla orchards.  i think the last time i went there i was 12 and picking pumpkins with a friend’s family, so it was a little weird, but fun to return.  we spent an hour and a half in the beautiful june sunshine, picking strawberries and rhubarb, trying not to think of the pesticides as we popped a few choice berries into our mouths.  live a little.

with two full boxes of strawberries and rhubarb, and after checking out the farm store, of course, we headed back to philly for the jammin’ action.  i don’t have the patience to go into all of the details here, so enjoy this short summary:

– we washed and cut over 8 pounds of strawberries, preparing some of them with sugar and vanilla to be stored, and leaving the rest out to make jam the next day.

– on thursday, the jamming commenced.  we decided to start out with the rhubarb, because neither of us had any real idea what we were doing, and we figured that we’d rather waste rhubarb than berries.

– the rhubarb was cooked down, pectin was added, and we ended up with some delicious, yet quite sweet, rhubarb vanilla jam.  too sugary for me, but a beautiful purply-red color.

– rhubarb was combined with strawberries to make a strawberry-rhubarb compote, which will no doubt be sinfully delicious on ice cream or pancakes.

– strawberries were cooked down into strawberry jam, which is delicious but also too sweet for me.  i’ve been giving away jars of it as ice cream topping.

in the end, it only took us about 3 hours to make 3 separate batches of goodies, and there was only one significant skin burn (mine) and one significant stove explosion (see pics).  and, despite my general lack of love for jam, i’m totally sold on canning now, and want to can anything and everything i see.  the jars are just so damn cute.

here are the pictures:

alli always knows how to dress for the occasion

alli always knows how to dress for the occasion

IMG_6541IMG_6553

how tart is your rhubarb?

how tart is your rhubarb?

rhubarb vanilla jam in the making

rhubarb vanilla jam in the making

luscious berry murder

luscious berry murder

balls to the wall

balls to the wall

the final products

the final products

you better like it

you better like it

big black dog seal of approval

big black dog seal of approval

ethyl loves to jam

ethyl loves to jam

so that’s the story of the “no, we’re not sisters” jam company’s debut line of jams.  more pics are available here.

in less exciting crafting news, but way more exciting personal news, i’m moving into my new apartment on wednesday, and there are many many things to be done.  instead of doing those things, i’ve been making placemats.

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the fabric is from ikea, and i added some fun little kicks of color.

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if i have time tomorrow, bird-themed napkins will follow.  who am i kidding?  i’ll totally make time.

finally, since i am at long last moving out of the family domicile and into my own place, it occurs to me that i’ll need a new theme for this blog.  i’ll stick with apt2b, but the whole “just mom and pops and me” doesn’t work anymore.  not that i ever wrote about living with them.  you didn’t want to hear it anyway.  but if you have any ideas for a new tagline, send ’em my way.