Friday, August 10, 2007

That's Clever!

My sister-in-law made me one of the cleverest cards I think I've ever seen. She sandwiched a magnet between two pages on the front of the card. A paper flower with magnet attached to the back sat on the front cover. (It's now beautifying my fridge!) Thanks Mary :)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Prize Fabric!

I was excited to see a package in my mail today. It was this wonderful pack of fabric from Sew, Mama, Sew. This is my prize for winning second place in their July Bag Contest. I received ten 1/2 yards of Katie Jump Rope fabric by Denyse Schmidt. I've been admiring Denyse Schmidt designs but have yet to buy any, now I have a chance to try out this gorgeous fabric! Thanks again to the folks over at Sew, Mama, Sew!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Crock Pickles

Making crock pickles is an annual tradition in my family. As a kid, it was always exciting to test the first pickle. As an adult I still find the first crock pickle of the season to be a joy. My Grandmother, who is going on 93, doesn't make the pickles anymore. The family 5 gallon crock has been handed down to my Dad who so graciously brings the crock to my house every year to set the pickles up (thanks Dad). (honestly, I don't know what my Dad would do with 5 gallons of pickles. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with 5 gallons myself, but they always seem to disappear pretty quickly.)

One of the secrets to good crock pickles is freshly picked firm cucumber pickles. Personally I prefer the smaller pickles, but traditionally the rounder medium pickles are used. It's one of those recipes that you can easily tweek to your liking.

Main ingredients:
Fresh picked firm cucumber pickles
Fresh dill (I use 2-3 bunches for 5 gallons)
garlic, cloves peeled (I use 2 heads for 5 gallons)
pepper of some variety. (half sharps, sharp, jalapeno, bannana) (I use one-half sharp of 2 jalapenos for 5 gallons )
Canning salt
White vinegar
a crock, a plate, and a quart jar filled with water for a weight

Brine: make enough brine to fill your crock (for my 5 gallon crock I make 2 1/2 gallons of brine)
1 gallon water
1/2 C canning salt
1/2 C vinegar
-Bring brine to a rolling boil
After washing your pickles and dill, it's time to fill the crock.

The first layer should line the bottom of the crock with dill (about 1/3 of your dill), then add about half of the pickles with garlic and pepper. Add another layer of dill, pickles, garlic and peppers, finish with the top layer being dill.

Pour in the brine, making sure all the pickles are well covered. Invert a plate over the top of the pickles and place your water filled quart jar on the plate. Cover with a towel and let sit at room temperature for about 24 hours.
Taste a pickle to see if they are ready. Larger pickles may need more time to set up. Once you're satisfied with the flavor transfer your pickles to jars with some brine and refrigerate. YUM!

Friday, August 3, 2007

WIST Christmas in July swap

Our WIST street team had a Christmas in July gift swap and I'm the lucky new owner of a piece of pottery made by EarthElements. This business card holder will be perfect for art and craft shows! Kathi makes the most beautiful nature inspired pottery, I love how she incorporates wood into her work. Thanks Kathi!!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Sewing Excitement!

I was thrilled to learn that my convertible wristlet won 2nd place in the Sew,Mama,Sew bag contest. My bag was in the "other" category, there were also winners in the tote, shoulder bag, and handbag category. There were so many wonderful entries, it must have been fun to judge this contest. You can read all about it in their blog. Thank you Sew,Mama,Sew!!
Here's my matching wrap skirt.