Oops! Catching up with crafts and jam

Pretty Little Folks voileWow, it has been a busy summer.  I don’t know how it is mid-August already.  Between house projects, syllabi, and article editing, the months have really flown by.  I hadn’t crafted in ages until yesterday, though I tend to make a lot of stuff in the summer.

And this is one easy craft, so I’m not sure how much it counts, but I’m taking it, anyway.

Right there is a little pile of voile–super-soft cotton–in the Little Folks line by Anna Maria Horner.  It’s adorable with little houses, trees, deer.  When I saw it on sale at Sew Mama Sew, I thought it was time to buy myself a little something to make myself a little something.

So I made this:
Little Folks infinity scarfIt’s called an infinity scarf.  I know it’s hard to see here, but I take awful self-portraits.  Essentially you make a big tube.  And wrap it around your head.

Here, have a tutorial:  http://thecottagehome.blogspot.com/2011/05/lightweight-spring-infinity-scarf.html

I sort of fudged sewing the short ends together to make the tube, but my sorta ugly seam is well-hidden when I wrap it around my neck.  This whole project took me all of a half an hour, and the payoff was faaaaantastic.

If you like easier projects, I think you should also take a stab at canning.  A lot of people find canning intimidating.  It can be, I suppose–sometimes you have to be fast on your feet and you do spend a lot of time in a warm and humid kitchen.  But the recipe at Food in Jars for this particular jam takes a  lot of the chaos out by making it in the slow cooker.

Blueberry ButterFirst you have to have a LOT of fruit, in order to make 8 cups of puree in your food processor/blender.  I think I used nearly 4.5 pounds of berries.

Then you put them in the cooker with a little sugar and, if you want, some spices.  I didn’t want any–the reason I was trying this recipe is because I wanted a spread (technically this is a butter) with pure blueberry flavor.  My other blueberry jams tend to taste more sweet than blueberry-y.  This recipe uses less sugar and no pectin, and the results were amazing.  It cooks down for several hours and then you process it in a water bath.

Don’t take my word for it–Marisa at Food in Jars has legions of happy commenters on this recipe!

As the summer winds down, I’m planning on making some salsa verde and canning it; we made a half-batch of three pints last year and this year I’ll make a full, as we loved it.  I did make seven pints of sweet pickles that are now in the basement with the cherry jam and this butter.  With the fall I’ll make apple sauce and maybe some vanilla/pear jam in between.  That’s it, though–a leaner canning year, but that’s ok.  I’m hoping to find a cheap chest freezer on craigslist and step up the preserving next summer, or get some tattler lids (bpa free, reusable plastic?  sweet!) and do tomatoes (last year a bunch of my lids got rusty spots on the inside–the tomatoes were probably fine, but it made me nervous).  It’s almost time to start planning Christmas gifts, so the less time I spend over the canning kettle, the more I can spend on that.  And in two weeks, it’ll be time to reunite with my eager students and start another semester.  Wow, the time goes so quickly.

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