Tuesday, September 27, 2011

blog #488 >> Homemade Catsup

This weekend my mom gave me a bunch of tomatoes from her garden to make homemade catsup with. I haven't had homemade catsup since I was a little girl, but I've found that I still really love the stuff. It hardly even tastes like regular catsup, it's like a whole different condiment.
This batch turned out fantastic, even though it made twice as much as it was suppose to. (I'm still not sure why.) I was worried that I didn't boil it down enough, but it's only slightly thinner than regular catsup, and it's perfect for dipping. So I suppose I shouldn't worry about it. Last night I made home-fries and a corndog just so I'd have something to eat catsup with. It was not a disappointment.

I also made a batch of my favorite pickled carrots, and I threw the turnips into a shepherd's pie. I tired preserving the eggplant in olive oil. We have so much eggplant this year! But I've never tried it before so I'm hoping for the best. And those are the sunflowers I got from the little flower stand when I was out and about this weekend. They are quite lovely, but I wish they didn't make me sneeze.

Monday, September 26, 2011

blog #487 >> Bella Beach

Yes, I know... I'm very late in getting these up, and I've been an extremely lazy blogger. As always, I forgot to take pictures on my vacation. (To be precise, I took four!) And I was waiting for my family members to post their pictures first... so I could go and steal them! (I bet you're glad you watermarked your photos now Carrie!) Now that I think about it, I haven't posted a single blog since I've been back from the beach. There's always that point in which I get so far behind, it's hard to get caught up. I imagine this will be the first of many blog updates to come within the next week.
Anyhow, here are a few pictures of our trip to the beach. My grandma rented a beach house for a week so my entire family could spend some time at the coast. The weather was beautiful and I wish I could have stayed longer.

Some pretty rocks I found, because I'm always picking up pretty rocks.
The driftwood graveyard at the end of the beach.

Cool tree growing over cliff-cave.

Sinking in the mire.

A crab we caught, only we had to let him go.

Tangle of sea cucumbers.

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For a bonus post, I have Scotch Eggs: a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage, rolled with bread crumbs. They're quite delicious, (I skipped the bread crumbs, but I'll add them next time.) I served mine with Irish Soda Bread. I realize, that's not a culturally proper combination, a bit like mixing Sweet n' Sour Chicken with Sushi, but they do taste great together, so I hope it will be overlooked.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

blog #486 >> I Love Flow Charts!

I was bored, so I made this flow chart.
Have you ever been at a yard sale and thought, "Should I buy this?" Now if you're ever in a state of doubt, you can look it up on this handy flow chart. Just follow the questions to the correct outcome.

(Click image to enlarge.)

You can see other awesome flow charts here.
Flowchart: Understanding the Web, for Fans of Charles Dickens
The 30-Second Rule, A Decision Tree
So You Need A Typeface
Sheldon's algorithm for making friends - Big Bang Theory


Sunday, September 4, 2011

blog #485 >> The Slant-O-Matic

...The greatest sewing machine ever built!

And I didn't just make that up, that's actually what it says in the manual. And I'm sure it's true. How could such a lovely machine NOT be the greatest sewing machine ever built? It was made in 1961 and was one of the last models of Singer sewing machines to be made entirely of metal. It even came with an a "Multi-Slotted Binder," "The Ruffler," and a good variety of feet. Also, the manual has tons of helpful notes, whoever originally owned this machine, really loved it.

Yesterday, my sister gave me her old Slant-O-Matic. A friend gave it to her, and she's never used it. Recently she got a cute old 60's Singer in a table from Mike's for $45, so she's passing this one on to me. I LOVE it! But I'm afraid it's going to need a little work. It runs well and sews nice, but not as smoothly as I had hoped. I think it needs some oil and the timing adjusted. I fussed around with the tension and pressure and it helped quite a bit, but I'm probably going to take her into Montavilla for a tune-up anyhow. Today I'm going to sew up my muslin on it. Sewing machines, like cars, don't like to sit around for years and years and not be used. They bind up, so after I oil her up, I'll see if I can work out the kinks and get her to run a little more smoothly. (I named her Evette.) And I just can't part with my grandma's old Kenmore, Margaret. She's just such a great machine! It's perfect for heavy weight fabrics and I like that the plate comes off for sewing collars and cuffs. And I recently learned (while reading my manual) that it has a faux surging stitch, that I'm excited to try. I think I'll keep them both and use them for different things. Margaret and Evette, they sound nice together.

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And here is some swell plaid fabric I ordered from Sew Weekly. It's a fantastic sewing blog. I can't wait for it to arrive. I'm planning a darling skirt.

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And just to make sure everyone knows, JoAnn's is having an amazing sale this Labor Day weekend. Their McCall's patterns are $1 and the Vouge are $3.99! I spent about $14 yesterday and saved over $100! Normally I like Simplicity patterns better, but they are on sale all the time, the Vogue patterns are rarely on sale and I love the Vintage Vogue patterns. And $1 for a new McCall's pattern is just a really great deal. I never actually follow a pattern anyhow, I just piece them together like ingredients in a cookbook. Take a sleeve here, and skirt there, a collar from over there... I'm more of a Frankenstein sewer. Here are a few of the patterns I got, and I want this one from Simplicity when it goes on sale.

(McCall's M5591 Misses' Skirts and Sash- It's a pleated skirt WITH POCKETS!)

(McCall's M6446 Misses' Capes - It's the perfect coat to wear over a coat. Wouldn't it be cute in a dark red?)
(Vintage Vouge V8728 - Misses' 1946 Dress and Belt)
(Vintage Vouge V8686 - Misses' 1933 Dress Suit)


blog #484 >> Dilly Beans

Earlier this week I made a batch of dilly beans with the green beans from my parents' garden. I LOVE dilly beans, but this batch got all shrivelly. I think I might have over processed them. I suppose they'll taste alright though. I can't wait to open a jar.

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And as a bonus post, I've been working at taking pictures with my telescope this summer, so hopefully I'll have some great telescope pictures to post soon. I'm still trying to master the manual focus on my camera.