Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gardens and Grounds

I've been busy weeding some of the gardens this week and thought I'd show you some of my hard work. I've yet to figure out how to post a picture and write under underneath, so until I learn that little trick (anyone willing to help me?) I'll just tell you what all the pictures are and then just scroll down.
The pic with the Blessed Mother is in the front of the house. It was overgrown a bit and in need of weeding so I did that the other day.
The pic with St. Francis is a strip in front of the fence by the pool. I did that strip yesterday, both on the outside and inside of the pool area. It was HOT! I went for a swim after doing that patch. I still need to go around the rest of the perimiter, but not today. We have a beautiful garden withing the pool area that is in need of some weeding, so I'll take a pic of that as soon as my hubby gets to that area. It really is just beautiful with all perenials.
The pic of the blue/purple flowers is in the same area. Those flowers are different and very pretty.
The fence has some pretty flowers that come up every year and I do very little by way of weeding there.
The yellow flowers at the edge of the woods come up every year and I just admire those... I never tend to the outer edges of our property... too many woods that harbor all kinds of wildlife, including bears... honest!
And last but not least half of the veggie garden. The other half needs weeding so I won't show that until it gets weeded. The garden is coming in very nicely and I'm patiently waiting for our first ripe tomatoe!

Wild Blueberry Jam - Recipe Needs Fixing!

The Wild Blueberry Jam is DELICIOUS, BUT Michelle from Scribbitt is right... you need to use 2 boxes of Sure-Jell or Certo. I don't understand where I went wrong as I read the directions off the box and used Michelle's recipe except for the number of boxes. Regardless... if you make the recipe use the two boxes and not one!
I labeled the jars as Blueberry Syrup and will use it to top ice-cream, pancakes/waffles and the inside of crepes. I think I will make an oatmeal/brown sugar dessert with the blueberry sauce in the middle...mmmmm.... So not a total flop!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wild Blueberry Jam

I went blueberry picking while on vacation in Rhode Island thinkig I would make some jam. Yesterday I went to Sussman's Blueberry Farm in West Granville, MA where I go each year and buy 20-40lbs of blueberries. So today was the day to make blueberry jam. My problem was that I couldn't decide to make the jam out of wild blueberries or domestic. So when I googled it in for some advice I once again came across the I've run in to Michelle's blog several times and love it! Take a hop on over for lots of things to do and read about.
Anyway, Michelle had a recipe that she uses half domestic and half wild blueberries. Sounded good to me. I used most of her recipe but changed it just a tinch. Where she used Certo Fruit Pectin (2 packets), I used Sure-Jell (1 packet). I think it's just packaged differently but is pretty much the same thing. The other change I made is she didn't process her jam where I did. So following is Michelle's recipe (although I worded it a bit shorter...hers is more precise)that I used and I'll 'pencil in' my changes:

Blueberry Jam
4-1/2 cups prepared fruit
2 TBS fresh lemon juice (I used bottled - hope it's O.K)
7 cups sugar, measured into a seperate bowl
1/2 tsp. butter
2 pouches Certo Fruit Pectin (I used 1 pouch Sure-Jell)

Crush blueberries with masher in saucepan to measure exactly 4-1/2 cups. Stir in lemon juice.

Stir sugar into mashed blueberries in saucepan. Add butter to reduce foaming. Bring to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.

Ladle jam immediately into prepared jars (see insert on pectin box), to within
1/8" of tops. Wipe jars and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly.
*Michelle inverted jars on top of a towel for five minutes then tip right side up once again. This causes the jam to seal properly.

*I brought jars to canner and processed for 10 minutes for jam. If you want jelly instead, then process for 5 minutes. Remove from canner and let stand.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bulky Knit Bag

First, please forgive the blurry pictures I've been posting lately. I thought it was my lousy picture taking skills but I think now I can blame the camera, since my son took the pictures this time, and usually he's pretty good. I'll have to get the camera problem worked out.
Anyway, when we were on vacation we visited a yarn store and saw this bag. We saw it last year too, and I didn't buy the yarn for it. Kaleigh picked up the bag this time and I asked her if she wanted to make it. She said she would but had that guilty sound in her voice of "what if I don't finish it?" I assured her I would like to make it too, so really it wouldn't be a waste to get it. Well, I got the yarn and the pattern was free. She pulled out the yarn on Monday and finished the bag on Wednesday! Granted, she did spend several hours a day knitting, but she finished it and it's really, really nice. Perfect for the winter as it's quite heavy. It's made of cables and baubles (I think) and out of Encore super bulky yarn. If you'd like to make it I'm sure you could call the shop and they'd be happy to send you the yarn and pattern. The shop is Knit One, Purl Too in Wakefield, Rhode Island.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Itty-Bitty Baby Dress & A Rosary

One of my Mother of Divine Grace families that I consult for were blessed with a new addition to their already large family. The kiddoes mom is terribly sweet and I wanted to make her a little something to welcome the new little one. With so many cute baby things to make I just couldn't make up my mind until I came across the Itty Bitty Baby Dress by You can go to her blog by clicking on her blog name on my side bar. What a delight to make... easy and fun. The matching baby shoes can be found at I could go crazy making those little things as there's so many possibilities for cuteness.
My daughter, Kaleigh, made the rosary beads for the baby. Amy has an adorable picture of her baby at the Christening holding onto the beads. It surely warmed my daughter's heart when she saw that. You can get a glimpse of their adorable 9-plus pound baby and the rest of their clan by going to my side-bar and clicking Ekblad9. Um... Amy, you've got to change that to Ekblad10 now, don't ya?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Cassidy!

Happy Birthday, Cassidy! My little girl is eight years old today. Birthdays always make me feel bitter-sweet. I remember nearly every detail of the day each one of my children were born. Cassidy holds an extra special place in my heart as she is our fifth child, yet I suffered three miscarriages between Kaleigh (no. 4) and Cassidy. My Faith grew stronger during that time, and in God's time, not mine, we were blessed with our Cassidy!
She brings a smile into the room every time she enters, as she always has a smile on her face and a hug to give out. She is truly a sweetie...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back from Vacation

I'm back from Rhode Island... we had such a great time! The weather couldn't have been better for a beach vacation: hot and humid with a slight breeze. We mostly spent time at the beach and at night walked the Narragansett Wall, which is a long sidewalk right against the ocean. It gives off a glorious breeze and there's lots to look at while you walk - people-wise! We had Del's frozen lemonade every day, a couple campfires with s'mores and just plain 'ol family fun. Two of my boys even went deep sea fishing.. they had a great time! I did bring my camera, even packed it in the striped knot bag (see earlier post), but I didn't take one picture... not one! I can't believe I did that! But I will post some pics later of the beautiful beaches in Rhode Island... we'll go back a few times for day trips before the summer is over. We bought a seasons pass for $60.00 so I want to get some more use out of it!
Anyway, when we came home I had lots of laundry and had to bake too, as Cassidy's birthday is tomorrow... I kept Caressa busy for quite awhile washing dishes on her picnic table.
Also, take a look at my herbs from my garden. There's some basil and dill. I just picked them and will hang them to dry.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

And We're Off...

to the beautiful beaches of Rhode Island! Catch up with y'all next week!

Friday, July 11, 2008

One More Sun Hat

I just finished this one under the wire! We're heading out tomorrow and despite my efforts to get this hat completed before we left for vacation, I just couldn't do it. Amidst packing, laundry and the usual chaos the day before vacation, I finished the hat! I probably would have just put it off 'til we came home, but Kierra asked me several times if I had it done so she could wear it at the beach. So that was the incentive I needed and it's done.
The pattern is different than the one I did for Kierra and I didn't follow the directions for this one, either. I just did my own thing and it turned out pretty good.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bags, Bags, Bags!

I whipped up three more Japanese Knot Bags. I'm tellin' ya, they are so easy to make and so cute! I'll bring the pink and lime green floral with me on vacation. To me the fabric just screams "beach" and it'll be nice and small to carry around with me! I'll use the striped one as a sock bag; perfect for portable sock knitting, and the blue sparkled one is for Cassidy for her birthday. The other day she was carrying around a pocketbook Corey got her from Disneyworld. She carried it around all day. Finally, I asked her what was in there as she was pretty protective of it. Inside: two sticks of her older brothers' deodorant! I asked her why she had those in there and she said because it filled up the bag good. Duh! Who would've known?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Noah's Ark Free Stitchery BOM

What fun I'm having stitching up these little squares. Once a month, Lynette Anderson designs a Noah's Ark Block of the Month. These adorable patterns are free if you visit her blog: You will find many beautiful designs of hers for purchase, too. Her designs are so homey and I've found a lot of inspiration just clicking around her blog.
These blocks are quite small and eventually will make a mini-quilt. I think I may add another block and stitch in Caressa's birth stats as I never made her a birth sampler.

Monday, July 7, 2008

An Award Nomination!

Guess what? Alicia of Curiosities (see side-bar)has nominated me for an embriodery award! I'm tickled pink just to be nominated and I think that was so kind of her. If you'd like some inspiration and some great tutorials, visit Alicia's blog. She's full of original ideas!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Summer Fun!

What a gorgeous day we have here in the foothills of the Berkshires; sunny, hot and humid but breezy... typical summer weather. My kids are enjoying the pool and so am I. As soon as my three year old settles down for an afternoon movie, maybe I can lounge on the raft for a little while. Sounds good, eh?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My Girlies Are Busy, Too!

Kaleigh and Cassidy have had a few projects in the works themselves. Kaleigh beaded a pair of flip-flops that I picked up at Target. Her favorite color is green and they'll go very nicely with her bathing suit. The project is in the Simple Sewing magazine, but really, once you see a pair made, there's no reason to buy the magazine unless you want to make something else out of there... like a cute market bag ;)
Cassidy has been pretending to sew at machine for the past few days. She's nearly eight, so I thought a simple project was in order this afternoon. I love the Sewing With Saint Anne book from Catholic Heritage Curricula, but for the life of me couldn't find it, sooo I needed to come up with something. That something turned out to be a Kleenex holder. It was perfect... quick, easy and usable.