Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pre-canning Berry Picking Goodness

We're getting so close! I have pretty much everything we need. My family has been so generous, dropping of canning supplies and cookbooks, and I'm almost ready. I tested out the pressure cooker on Monday too. Not for canning but just a normal meal to get comfortable with it. I was nervous at first but I'm still alive to tell the tale, and the food didn't come out half bad either.

The husband and I both had the day off today, so we drove up to Green Bluff to pick berries. We stopped at Knapp's Berries and loaded up on raspberries and blackberries. We had a good time and picked about five pounds in all.

There were bees but they didn't seem to be bothered by us too much. No stings. It got really hot towards the end, so I think next time we'll have to leave much earlier in the morning.

My husband was much better at picking than me too. He attributes this to his Iowa roots. I'm not sure if I'm convinced. We only picked enough for a small batch of each jam, so if things go sour we won't have too much to cry about.

As much as I love Spokane, its nice to get out of the city, even for just a few hours. Green Bluff is a community of growers just north of Spokane, and its nice for a day trip. Its beautiful up there and have you ever noticed how things always taste so much better fresh picked than from the super market? Hopefully we will be able to go back for pumpkins in a few months.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thrifty Thursdays: Matryoshki Madness

I Just wanted to share a find from last week. Its a five piece matryoshka doll set that I found at a local consignment shop.

Have I ever mentioned that I collect matryoshkas? They're so peculiar, I absolutely love them. Something about their little hand painted faces. It seems the smaller the dolls get, the cuter and funnier they become. And no matter how carefully you close a doll, the design never seems to line up quite right. Unfortunately these dolls are fairly new, so they're missing the USSR stamp that I love to see on the bottom.

I'm particularly excited about the style of these dolls. Most of my current collection is made up of Semenov dolls, and these are so different. The wood is left unfinished, and while most of the Semenov are brightly painted, the gold and woodburned design on these really make an impression. They're also a little more cheaply made. The larger dolls fit together very snuggly and once I opened them in the store to check for all the parts I couldn't get them together again. Nothing a little sanding couldn't fix. Anyways, I  just wanted to share. There's really nothing like finding a part of your collection on a whim.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Mysterious Little Book

Last week this little book showed up at my door. No note or anything. It was just there when I got home.

Putting Food By

This book is awesome. Its all about the different methods of preserving food. It has instructions on canning, freezing, drying, and some other things I've never heard of (Root cellaring?), plus a bunch of recipes for pickling and making jam.

I'm really excited about this because 

1) The cover art is awesome. Enough said. 2) I've never been able to go small with food. I grew up with a lot of siblings and as such I never really learned how to cook in small quantities. This is a bit of a problem in a two person household. We always end up with a ton of ingredients that I can never figure how to use up or a refrigerator full of leftovers that no one really wants to eat. Learning to preserve some of the ingredients should help to reduce a bit of the waste. 3)  I've been wanting to try canning for a while now. Over the weekend I acquired a garage sale pressure cooker from my uncle, so... anyone up for a trip to Green Bluff to pick some raspberries?

Thank you to whoever left this on my porch. If you fess up you might even get some homemade jam out of it. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Kit Cat Klock

Remember those slightly creepy cat clocks with the wagging tail and shifty eyes? I am happy to say that I am now the proud owner of one. An early birthday gift from my sweet husband. These unique clocks have had a special place in my heart since I was a kid. I remember my mom having one when I was growing up, and my seven-year-old animal loving self was just enamored. I'm not sure what happened to that clock, but this one is all mine.

I'm usually not that much into the whole unboxing thing, but I have to share because the packaging is actually pretty awesome. I haven't been this impressed since I got my iphone. Clearly, this is where Apple got its inspiration for artful presentation. Ok, maybe not, but its still pretty good for a product that's been around since the 1930's.

I'm just now realizing that the kitchen is starting to get a pretty strong animal vibe. Owl cookie jars, pig trivets, deer antlers and now a kit cat clock. I guess some things never change.

Monday, August 6, 2012

How Not to Hide Power Cords

Cords are ugly. Its a fact. The most that we can hope for is to hide them behind a desk or table, or even sweep them under a rug like some horrible secret. Even with our best efforts, cord ends and outlets seem to pop out at every opportunity.

Although I love our modern comforts, I'm not huge on the aesthetic that goes with. Recently I found this awesome little GE clock, I'm guessing from the 70's. Its in great condition and perfect in every way-   except that it doesn't run on batteries. It has a cord running down the bottom.

Really cute. Its not that bad, right?




My solution? Let those cords show in plain sight and have a little fun with it. I used this really great example from as my inspiration, though I wanted something a little more organic and free flowing to match the fun style of the clock. I went to work with a little double sided tape and super glue.

Luckily the tape I used is only slightly cooler in tone than the paint in our kitchen. From a foot away it blends in really well. You can follow up by trimming any excess with a blade so that the tape is hardly visible at all. The double sided tape doesn't really have the surface area to hold the cord on its own, so a little bit of super glue between the cord and tape helps to keep everything in place.

 The end result...

Much Better!

I'm considering painting the cord so it pops from the wall even more. Maybe black or yellow?

Just goes to show sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too. (Not totally sure if the saying applies, but I do love cake)