Monday, June 27, 2011

Jam Time!

So this weekend my mom and I made 3 batches of jam. This is something I've been wanting to do this year. I was hoping to go pick some strawberries at a good price and be able to make lots of jam and also freeze some. Unfortunately here in OK the strawberries aren't doing so well this season.

But my mom saw that Aldi had strawberries 1lb for $1, which was the best price we'd seen, so we decided to make some jam. We also picked up some plums, because David loves plum jelly.

I'd found a recipe for a Strawberry-Honey Jam recipe a couple of months ago so we were going to try a batch of that, a batch of plum and a batch of strawberry-blackberry-raspberry. We just used the recipes that came on the insert with the pectin.

This would be the part where I was a good blogger and took lots of pics of the process but I wasn't and I didn't. It took us a few hours to  do and my mind was not on taking pics, SORRY!! This was my first time making jam but my mom has done it tons of times, so I just helped or did what she told me to do.

We started by putting our canning jars in the dishwasher to make sure they were sterilized and then put the new lid tops (not the screw on part) in a pot of boiling water.

Then LOTS of washing, cutting and crushing the strawberries. We used 2 packages of strawberries mashed (with the potato masher) minus 3 cups and then added about that much of blackberries and raspberries (my mom just had some frozen that we threw in at the last minute).

Then lots of stirring adding in the pectin and sugar and more stirring and boiling and wa-la we had jam! We filled jars and put on lids. Then on to the next batch.

We made the Strawberry-Honey recipe next. It called for lemon juice and honey instead of sugar. It was basically the same process but boiled longer. However it didn't make as much jam because it didn't have all that sugar taking up room. I think it made about half what the berry recipe did. But I'm excited about it because I won't feel so bad about eating it!

The plum jam was last. We had to cook the plums first then put in the pectin and sugar and somehow we ended up with more plum than the berry.

We were really tired after making all that jam but I'm really happy that we did it! I came home with 12 8oz jars of jam and that was my half of what we made. I don't really think it came out to save me much money, after buying the jars, fruit, sugar, pectin and honey but the amount was spread out over time. I bought the jars months ago and the honey weeks ago. The fruit wasn't a bad price but it would have been better to get it even cheaper. Next year it will be cheaper because I will already have the jars.

My other reason for making homemade was because buying jam at the store without high fructose corn syrup is expensive. I wanted to have some jam with regular sugar or organic sugar or honey. So while the berry and plum jams have regular sugar in them they don't have HFCS which is bad for us but it hurts me too. I want to enjoy eating my jam and nothing beats homemade!

I have plans to can other things as well but I'll share how that goes when we get there.

Have you canned anything or made homemade jam/jelly? Do you have any recipes to share?

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Good Intentions

Well, I had good intentions on researching and writing yesterday. But what happened was that our computer decided to go to sleep and not wake up....
Obviously there was no researching or writing. It has now been fixed and today my plans include sewing! I've already made myself a new skirt (I'll show it off later) and plan to make another one and some other projects.

SO, I will be catching up on my writing interesting posts this weekend as well as yard work, hopefully some painting, and just hanging out with the family!
I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My New Desk

So I told you about my Goodwill trip where I found the framed painting. Well, on that trip I also went looking at the furniture.

I love furniture! I even have a few pieces in our storage shed because I love them but don't have room in our current house. I love to get banged up pieces and make them beautiful again! I love it!

So, in looking in the furniture department I found an old wooden desk. I was talking to David on the phone when I spotted it and I said something about loving it and that I was wanting to get a new desk. Then I paid for my stuff and left.

That was a Friday, then Monday David says he wants to go look at Goodwill. That's not unusual, when I go without him and find some stuff, he usually wants to go and look too. We couldn't go Monday for some reason so we went Tuesday night. After looking around for a while he asks where the desk is that I liked. So I showed him and he asked if I wanted it. He wanted to get it for me as an early birthday present.

I said yes so he went to find the manager to talk price. Turns out it was half off that week. We brought that baby home for $35! WOO-HOO!!!

I have been feeling the need to change my desk situation since Christmas. I've changed the way I scrapbook so what was once a mainly scrapbook desk set-up was turning into a sewing, crafty, scrapbook set-up. So it just wasn't working. It looked cluttered all the time which drove me crazy! And it just didn't have very much surface room considering how much space it took up.

Here's my before pics of the desk set-up.

The desk itself didn't have any storage so I had to keep adding when I needed to and it ended up looking cluttered to me.
Here's my new desk.

It's hard to see in the pics but the desk has 3 drawers on the left and 2 on the right and both sides have a little pull out surface which gives me even more usable space. The desk is very beefy and took both David and our good friend "Mr. K" and taking the legs off and the drawers out. I think I can use it as a tornado shelter!

It is in need of some love. The top has scratches and it just looks tired. I'd like to paint it and change out the hardware but not right now. For now I'm going to live with it and see what inspires me.

Because of the storage in the desk it looks WAY less cluttered to me. I had to keep the little white cabinet but I hope to replace it someday with a kitchen base cabinet with doors and more storage. But it works for now. If I can keep Trey out of the lazy susan thingy!

I wanted some brighter colors in the area so I went through my stash of scrapbook papers and pulled out some that I just loved and hung them up. A little bit of summer and inspiration! I love it and plan to enjoy it!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Long Weekend

Yesterday was my birthday so I had a long weekend of celebrating with friends and family. I went out to eat a few times at nice places, you know not Chili's! I got to see a movie, Green Lantern. I got to go shopping and I got to hang out and relax. I had a great weekend.

I wanted to show off something I got this weekend with some birthday money.
I went by Joann's to look at fabric and found a bunch that I needed to bring home. The top pile is for playing with and to have on hand. The bottom pile is for specific projects which I'll share as they are done. I really put the guy cutting fabric through his paces with this pile! I think the people behind me in line hated me!

I'm excited to get sewing and play with my new fabric! I'm going to be doing some looking around online for some fun projects! Happy Birthday to me!

On another note, I have some more projects to show off soon and I'm going to start a vitamin and mineral series as well. More on that one sometime this week.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

So, I walked into Goodwill

So, a couple of weeks ago Trey and I went to our local Goodwill. Sometimes I just want to look around and see what cool things I can find. I had a few bucks so I was ready.

I love the housewares area the most and then the furniture and then the clothes. The housewares has the most variety of stuff. If you don't go then here's what you do, or at least what I do. I look through everything. Sometimes you find stuff that's good just the way it is but a lot of times you have to look at something and see it from a different perspective. You can't judge something by it's color, because almost everything can be painted! And forget it's original purpose, some stuff can be used in a totally different way (and get painted) for a whole new life.

So, I found a couple of small things but I was really on the look out for a large frame (more on why later). I was looking through the bin that had some large pictures and pulled out this mountain scape painting. And I mean painting, like on a canvas and it was framed in this wood frame. I didn't think the frame was big enough for what I wanted so I put it back. But then remembered that David loves the mountains lately so I texted him a pic of it to see if he wanted it. I didn't think he would but I thought I'd check. Turns out he loved it! So, for $10 (not counting the discount) I brought it home.

Ok, so I wanted a frame because I wanted to make a chalkboard for our kitchen/dinning room. We have this awkward little hallway that connects our connected kitchen and dinning room (I know it sounds crazy but that's what it is). Anyway, I wanted to find a big old frame that I could paint and turn into a chalkboard. I didn't want to pay much for the frame so I kept looking at Goodwill. Oh and it needed to be chunky, I didn't care what finish it had because I was going to paint it.

So I hung the newly found painting frame on the wall to see if it was the right size (we want to re frame the painting, the frame is ugly) and it was! I was so HAPPY! For less than $5 (it was $10 but David got the painting and I got the frame, so it's split) I got a big frame that I'd have paid more than $20 for at like Hobby Lobby. I also had this bare wood 12x12 frame from HL ($5 thanks to 50% off) and I wanted to put it in the kitchen too.

Here's a close up of the frame. I like the chunkiness of it and a little white linen border.

So, I needed to prime them since I was painting them white and one was bare wood and the other a dark wood. I had some Kilz in a spray can so I used that. It's so much faster and easier. I didn't tape off the linen border because I didn't care whether it stayed the same or not.

The linen border basically stayed the same, it didn't look painted. So I brushed on the white and then used a stiff brush to clean up the linen boarder. Then hung them up in the kitchen! The chalkboard frame isn't completed yet but I hung the frame anyway. I'll share how that goes when I get it done.
I don't have any specific plans for this frame right now, so I just put a piece of scrapbook paper in it that I'm using as color inspiration for the kitchen/dinning room.
Here's a close up of the finished frame with linen border.
Here's the frame hung in it's new spot in the crazy little hallway.
I'm hoping to get the chalkboard part done soon and then I can share it with all of you!

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Monday, June 13, 2011

I Won!

I recently found out that I won a blog award, my first one!
Thanks to Paige at The Crunchy Mamacita for the award!

So Here is How It Works:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award by linking back to them in your post.

2. Tell us 7 things about yourself.

3. Award a few recently discovered bloggers.

4. Contact those bloggers and let them in on the exciting news!

7 Things about myself
1. I'm an organizing freak! I love doing it and even talk others into letting me organize their homes. For me it's addicting and when I do one area and love how it turned out I want to jump into another project immediately. I will run myself into the ground (not take breaks or eat) while working on some projects. Sometimes projects are so rewarding to me that it gives me a sort of high that's hard for me to come down from. I will occasionally reorganize parts of my house if I haven't organized in a while.
2. I love color. Although if you looked at my house you wouldn't guess it. I'm trying to push myself creatively by using more vivid colors instead of my go to safe neutral colors.
3. While in high school my Grandpa would take me out flying. He was captain in the army during WWII and Korea. He'd fix and fly planes. I had an interest in learning to fly so he'd take me out and we'd practice. I never truly learned but I did get to fly the plane several times. Maybe someday I'll really learn.
4. I've never mowed the yard, ever. Growing up my younger sister learned how (she was always more outdoorsy than me) and then when I got married I told David there is one thing I don't do and that's mow and so of course he does it. I have no intentions of ever pushing a mower, although I may ride a mower someday if needed....
5. Come this August David and I will be celebrating 13 years of not being apart for more than 24hours. It's something we cherish and work hard at. It hasn't always been easy but for us it's super important. We really enjoy being with each other and want to be together and so we are proud of this streak.
6. I love reading blogs, books, articles, whatever that show me a different perspective on things. It makes me reevaluate how I feel about things. It either solidifies how I feel or my eyes are opened to a new way of seeing something or I change my mind. No matter what I like to learn new things and see things from a different view. 
7. Out of all the furniture in my home we have only bought 5 pieces (current furniture): Desk, leather chair, family bed, recliner and tv dresser. All our other  furniture was either pieces we brought to the marriage or have been hand-me-downs or my Dad made. I don't mind a bit either because these pieces have a history, they have character and they don't look like something I'd find in most stores.
I tried to share 7 things that I haven't written about here.
Ok so I need to share the love. I'm awarding Nina from Shalom Mama she writes on natural health, being a mom, Godly living, living on purpose (of course I'd like that!) and creativity. Please go check her out and learn something new!
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Friday, June 10, 2011

Pink Pretties

Just a few pics of my pretty pink flowers in my new Goodwill vase.
Enjoy and have a Great Weekend!

100th Post!!!!


I can't believe I hit my 100th post! When I first started this blog last June I wasn't sure if I'd be able to keep it up. I wasn't sure if I'd have enough to write on. Turns out I did!

I just want to thank all of you who read my blog. It means a lot to me to know that there are people out there that want to know what I think of something or what I've learned or what projects I'm working on!
Thank You!

If there's a post that I've written that inspired you or you learned something or you just love. Please leave me a comment letting me know. I'd love to hear from you!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Clear Face?!

I've battled breakouts most of my life (you can read more here). The last several months I've been working on several things to try to stop them or figure out what's causing them. I've only recently realized that I have sensitive skin and that was a break through for me.

Here's some things I've learned

Skin products contribute. I used to try all kinds of products in hopes to clear my face. However I've learned that fragrances and the chemicals in those products could be contributing to my breakouts. I also learned that my skin isn't oily but dry. So I was treating the symptom not the problem.

Foods I was eating. When I went off sugar I saw a decrease in breakouts. Now I do eat some sugar but it's very little now. I also changed from 2% milk to raw milk. Since most milk sold in stores has hormones in it and pasteurized it makes sense to conclude that extra hormones in my body was contributing (ever hear of puberty!). I also started eating more fresh produce which was adding more vitamins in my body. Carrots especially for the vitamin A.

Vitamins. I'd been taking a good plant based multi-vitamin for a long time and some Vitamin B12 and C. I upped each dosage and added in some omega-3 pills as well.

So I first took out sugar, then changed the way I cleaned my face, then added healthy foods to my diet and vitamins. And lastly I changed my milk. This combo for me is working. My breakouts have decrease to almost none, my skin is so soft and smooth and it looks healthier.

I'm no expert on this, but I've done a lot of trial and error. Personally I think the biggest contributor was the milk. I saw the most change within 2 weeks of drinking raw. But the combo of all of these seem to be my golden ticket!

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Project Time!

Here's a little project that I totally borrowed from the Nester. She made these way cool looking little canvas's using old maps. I loved it so much I even pinned it on my Pinterest so I could reference it again.

So as I was going through all the stuff in the living room to see what to keep and what to move out I was looking through this book from the National Geographic Society: Isles of the Caribbean. I bought it a couple of years ago from a library sale for $1. I love beaches so I got it. It was put out in the early 80's so the pics aren't the best.

I was flipping through it and came across a 2 page spread photo that I loved! It had gorgeous colors and no people in it. And I thought it would be perfect for this little project.

I used an exacto knife to cut the pages out of the book. Then measured it to see what size canvases I needed. I used 2 5x7 canvases. Sorry I was a bad blogger and didn't take pics of the process.

The Nester describes in better detail how to attach the picture/photo/map to your canvas. I did the whole use what you have thing. So I used Modge Podge instead of the adhesive she used. If you are going to do this project I recommend either using the adhesive she used or if using Modge Podge put a coat on both the canvas and the print. I only put a coat on the canvas and it bubbled up after drying.

If you look real close you can see bubbles but since the canvases are small you can't tell unless you are looking really close. Anyway, just wrap your canvas like a present and let it dry. It didn't take long at all for mine to dry.

I LOVE them! I love everything about them! The colors especially! Now I want to go scour more books for great looking photos!

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