Monday, September 14, 2009

Not a One-Craft Girl

Sometimes I wonder exactly why I never seem to finish as many projects as some of my friends. My list on Ravelry of completed projects hasn't been added to in months, and my cheerfully optimistic idea to start on Christmas presents early is still not acted on.

Why can't I get more done?

Gee, it couldn't be due to the sheer number of crafts I try to undertake at one time, could it? Let's see: knitting, crocheting, quilting, sewing clothes, cooking and now canning. Oh, and learning a musical instrument.

I'm working on a knitted gift that I will hopefully be able to post about next month (and which actually may be done before the birthday of the person I'm making it for! Shocking, I know). I'm working on a doll quilt for an internet swap (due to be sent out tomorrow-ha!), as well as two virtual quilting bees (it's my month in one of them, so I actually only have one block due this month). And Halloween is quickly approaching, and I just bought fabric and a pattern for Viv's costume. Add that to the fact that I want to make some fall clothes for me & Vivian, and I feel like I am a mess!

I have finally completed something that I can show off, though: Vivian's big girl bed quilt. I started on this several months ago, before she moved out of her crib and into the toddler bed. I finally finished over the weekend, and can make a big check mark next to this item on my to-do list!

Viv loves her new quilt! I love making things for her because she's so appreciative. "My mommy made it for me!" I know this state my not last forever, so I'm taking advantage of it while I can.

I've also been making good strides with canning. I made plum jam with cinnamon -- 6 lbs. resulted in 6 pints of yummy jam. So tasty and easy. I really love doing this, taking advantage of the fact that here in California, we are overwhelmed with an abundance of quality produce.

I just have to come to terms with the fact that I am not a one-craft girl. What's that saying? "Jack of all trades, master of none?" Oh well. I do love mixing up my crafts. I never get bored! So I will continue to work on 18 different projects at one time, but I guess, ultimately, I'm ok with that. It is an awful lot of fun!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Yes I Can!

Reading the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is rather intimidating. They (rightly so) hammer home the importance of sterility and proper techniques, so you know, you avoid botulism and other nasty contaminations. But I'll be honest, the book frankly scared me out of canning for more than a year. It just made it seem like canning was something I just wasn't cut out to do.

But two weekends a go, I went to a canning demonstration at Surfas, put on by the people behind the Saving the Season blog. And despite almost going postal on a woman who got on my case because Vivian was crying, it was very helpful, if only because it showed me that canning is not, in fact, rocket science.

Fast forward to this last weekend. We went up to Kingsburg to visit the family, and while there, we took a side trip to the Fresno State Farmers Market. While there, I picked up 8 lbs of fresh peaches to can. Monday night, I finally decided it was time. I followed the rustic peach jam recipe on StS, and added 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of ginger. And after much tribulation and swearing (the darn skins would not slip off the peaches!), here is what I ended up with:

No, not the cans of PBR. Six pints of jam! I didn't add pectin, and frankly some websites scared me about cooking the jam past the jell point, so it's rather loose. More like chunks of peaches in a thick syrup. But I think it tastes divine!

Hearing the jar lids pop to signal that they are properly sealed was like music to my ears!

Now I just have to think about what I want to put up next. Hmm, plums are in season...