Archive for August 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

i think i can - peach pie filling and other canning accomplishments

I have been a canning maniac this month. Not that I've had time for any of it. I've stayed up until the wee hours of the night washing, skinning, slicing, boiling. . . Sometimes I forget how much work canning really is when I'm ordering huge boxes of summer fruit. Usually the deal through our group buy is just too good to pass up. Like 25 lbs. of peaches for $7.50. Seriously, how could I not can this year? It's been a marathon push, but with only 24 lbs. of pears to go, I think I can can a little more!

Out of this crazy canning spree the Three Birdies have collectively canned cherry pie filling, apricots, raspberry jam, strawberry jam, plum sauce, peaches, peach pie filling, salsa, pizza sauce, and more. And Jessica even used her dehydrator to make some yummy fruit leather! As tired as I get of spending countless hours on my feet in a steamy kitchen, you can't beat the taste of home-canned fruits in the dead of winter. That's really why I do it. It really makes me and my family happy.





This simple fresh veggie salsa was really good, but it would've been a lot easier if I had a food processor (what a great Christmas gift that would make--hint, hint, Christian). Chopping all those vegetables by hand took for-ever!


These are my half-pints of pizza sauce. I found the recipe at recipezaar.com. This was really easy and the half pints are just the right size for two homemade pizzas! I'm also loving the new silver lids and rings from Ball. Look how cute the design is on the top of the lids!


And these new jar shapes (also from Ball brand) are so cute for jam. Just add a ribbon and a tag and they're ready for gifting!


I'll be canning these sweeties tonight. I mostly just do quarts, but last year I also tried Ball's recipe for pear butter. It's yummy on toast or English muffins.



Last year we told you about Stacy's awesome peach pie filling, but she couldn't find the recipe! It disappeared for a while, but we finally found a copy of it online and can finally share it with you. I made up a batch and prettied-up the jar for a thank-you gift. Super easy and sweet. Just layer patterned paper on coordinating card stock and wrap it around the jar. I used Tacky Tape or Glue Dots to secure it. Then tie a pretty bow and attach a coordinating tag. I also traced the inside of the ring on patterned paper and cut it out and adhered it to the top.




So, without further ado, here is a link our beloved peach pie filling recipe. It comes to you from PickYourOwn.org, a wonderful pick-your-own produce guide and canning resource. They are wonderful--so much good info on their site. I made pie-in-a-jar with this filling this week, and man was it delish! So good that my husband and I each had a half-pint of pie for breakfast. (I know, we're terrible, but it was THAT good.)

Canning is a wonderful skill to have--it helps us to be self-sufficient and frugal. We're lucky enough to have friends, family, and a church organization that have taught us these skills, but if you don't have these resources, there are tons of books and Web sites that offer step-by-step instructions for all types of canning recipes. We especially recommend the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. It's a good canning "bible." If you haven't tried canning but would like to, we suggest starting small--watch for bulk orders from your local farmers and try at just one type of fruit this year. Have any canning accomplishments you'd like to share? We're always looking for new ideas, so share it with us in the comments!

It's been a lot of work, but I love breathing a sigh of accomplishment as I stack my jars in the pantry, ready and waiting for a crisp winter day. I think I'm going to make myself a little present after the pears are done to congratulate myself on all that hard work. Can you guess what it will be?

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Friday, August 28, 2009

grilled salmon

In case you haven't noticed, the three birdies love fresh seafood. What do you expect? We live in the Pacific Northwest! This week the fall salmon run is in full swing, so my husband went out to catch us some dinner. He fished the river for some pink salmon, which only come every other year. He got one, and it became my job to figure out how we wanted to cook it up.




We had two large fillets, so I decided to put a different spin on each one. For the first fillet I used Tom Douglas' Salmon Rub. You might have heard us mention this famous chef in our crab cakes post. This rub is amazing and after coating the fillet with it, we grilled it up on a cedar plank until flaky. Perfection!



For the second fillet, I used a recipe that we got from a wonderful friend of ours, Debbie Kimball. The recipe is so simple and the salmon tasted amazing with this finger-lickin' sauce.

Grilled Salmon with Secret Sauce
1/2 cup butter
3 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. fresh minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 cup ketchup

Melt butter over low heat. Add remaining ingredients and heat through. Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place salmon fillets skin-side down. Brush generously with sauce. Close grill. Grill hot with smoke chips for 12-18 minutes or until fish begins to flake.

Note: This makes enough for about 1 1/2 pounds of salmon. If you like it a little sweeter you can add a little brown sugar.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Extreme Glitter and Texture Paint Giveaway



We were so pleased with our Modge Podge giveway response we decided to throw another one. A few of you lucky readers can win a package of Extreme Glitter and Texture Paint. Yep, you read it right. There will be more than one winner! If you need ideas on what to do with these, take a look at our past fairy wand and cupcake invitations posts.

Just go on over to the Plaid website and register for their newsletter here. Then come back here and let us know. Already a newsletter subscriber? Well, just leave us a note saying so. This will enter you into our giveaway. These items will come in handy as we all get ready for holiday crafting.

We will pick the lucky winners on Wednesday, September 2nd. Good Luck!

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

scratch-off tickets

You know those silver scratch-off tickets that you rub with the side of a penny to reveal your prize? I've always loved those things. I knew my kids would, too. I wanted to come up with a fun way to reward them for things, and I knew this would be just the ticket. I made some tickets to give out to them whenever they go the extra mile at home or as payment for doing chores. I followed this tutorial on how to make a scratch ticket.

You could put anything under the silver stuff. A prize, a dollar amount, or a fun activity, like going to a movie or staying up 1/2 hour later. We think the rewards will go a lot farther with a fun presentation like this. Check out the tutorial from Art Mind!

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Monday, August 24, 2009

school schultüte gift cone for back to school


I spent a large part of my early youth in Germany. I loved every minute of it. One wonderful tradition the Germans have is to present their children entering their first year of school with a Schultüte. I used to ooh and aahh over the beautiful cones in the stores in downtown Weisbaden. These cones come in so many different colors and styles and are filled with fun treats for the child.

This year all three of us birdies have a little one, er...I mean big one, entering Kindergarten, so I think it is appropriate that we made our own version of a Schultüte.

Schultüte Tutorial

Supplies:
One poster board
Wrapping Paper, card stock or poster of your choice
Mod Podge or glue
Hot glue gun
Two sheets of tissue paper
Scissors


1. First, cut your poster board into a pizza shape (aka a triangle).


2. Next, Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to one side of your poster board and lay your wrapping paper down. Use a brayer to get out any air bubbles. Trim the wrapping paper so the wrapping paper is one inch bigger than your poster board on all sides. Turn the poster board over and Mod Podge down this one inch edge.




3. Using a hot glue gun, on your "inside" side of your cone, hot glue the tissue paper to the top.


4. Roll your cone up and apply hot glue to the seams and seal the cone shut.


5. Fill with goodies and tie the top off with a bow.

Now, the kids should not be the only ones getting these wonderful cones full of treats. Don't forget the teachers. If you are looking for a smaller teacher version, check out what our friend Tammy made over at the Lasting Memories blog.


Hurray for back to school! We wish all of you nothing but wonderful memories as you pack in as much fun as you can these last few days of summer. Best of luck to your families, too, as you gear up for the upcoming school year.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

make a fabric flower and a flower tutorial round up

Thanks to all of you who have joined us all week for Flower Week! We had several other great flower ideas on our list, so we'll have to have a "part two" sometime soon. To end our week, here is one more cool flower we made and a bunch of other fabulous flower tutorials that we found out in blogland. Enjoy!


This fabric flower was made in a similar fashion as our ribbon flowers. We started with a 20-inch by 4-inch piece of fabric and folded it in half lengthwise. Then we sewed down the side to make it like a long piece of ribbon. We proceeded with the ribbon flower tutorial, pulling the strings to bunch it up a bit. After that, we rolled it, starting with one end as the flower center and wrapping the other end around until it was full enough. You can cut off the end if you have too much left and want a less-full flower. Then we stitched a few stitches through the layers on the bottom until it was secure. That's it! Sorry for the lack of photos--this was made and sent off to my sister a while ago. These are great as pins--just sew or glue a brooch pin to the back. This one was to pin on a nursing cover, but they'd also be cute on a bag.


Some other fun flower projects to try:

Lifelike ribbon peonies from Make It Do.


Gorgeous "hammered" flowers from BuildMakeCraftBake.


Tea cup flowers from the object project.


Ribbon rose bouquets from The Storque (courtesy of BurdaStyle).


Ribbon and button flowers from Hope Studios.


Easy fabric flowers from Wise Craft (we tried it and loved it--see it here!)


Fabric roses from Calamity Kim.


Painted newspaper flowers from Imagination Station.


More newspaper flowers from Ruki Duki.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

how to make torn paper flowers


We continue Flower Week with another super easy flower. Paper flowers make sweet embellishments for cards, scrapbook pages, and other paper crafting projects. This is probably the easiest flower you can imagine. Oh, and if you want to see more of my work with the cute October Afternoon paper above, check out the projects I've posted on the Lasting Memories blog. There are tons of great ideas there!


Simple Torn Flower Tutorial


What you'll need:
*Paper or card stock
*Brad or button (optional)
*Hole punch (optional)
*Ink for distressing (optional)

1. Start by ripping four circles out of your paper. The should get progressively bigger. I actually drew loose circles on my card stock so I could make sure they were not all the same size.



2. The fun part: crumple them up into little balls!


3. Flatten them out again and arrange on top of each other from biggest to smallest. If you want the distressed look (like my red flower above), ink the edges with an ink pad first.


4. If you want to use a brad for the center, punch a hole with a hold punch and put the brad in. You could also sew a button on or create another center.



5. Attach to your card, page, or project! This really must be the easiest project we've EVER posted.


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