Thursday, May 2, 2024

DIY Preserving Made Easy - Raspberriy

Putting up delicious Raspberry Preserves for home, gifts and craft fairs

Every spring I begin to think about the Annisquam Sewing Circle Christmas Fair. Each member is asked to donate items for the Gourmet Foods Table. Preserves are always some of the first items to sell out. This year I am hoping for a bumper crop of raspberries from our ever bearing variety. Ever Bearing Raspberries can have two crops each year. I have chosen to only have the late season crop by pruning the plants in the spring. By pruning then there will be more raspberries in late summer. Our plants came from Corliss Brothers in Ipswich, Massachusetts, a wonderful nursery nearby. My suggestion is to plant the first year about half the number you think you would like. They will spread every year which will give you plenty of plants as the years go by.

I found the best recipe in America's Test Kitchen's Foolproof Preserving: A Guide to Small Batch Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Condiments & More. The recipe is well laid out, easy to follow including beautiful photographs. The results - fabulous. A must have on your cookbook shelf! I have never made the raspberry preserve from frozen berries. Others have tried with good results. Of course there are many other recipes in this book. I will add a post on DIY Orange Marmalade soon.

You may have some of these items or be able to purchase them locally. If not here are some links to those items on Amazon.

Other items I have found super helpful:

  • Small digital scales - I have the OXO Good Grips 5-lb Food Scale. Easy to read. It is very helpful to have the tear option on the scale. I was able to buy one locally a number of years ago.
  • Preserving kit - There are a number on the market. I have had the Norpro Canning Tools for years & am very happy with it. The pieces I find indispensable are: the jar lifter, the magnetic lid lifter and the extra wide mouth funnel which fits the opening in the preserving jars perfectly.
  • Eight ounce Preserving Jars - I prefer the plain jars that are easier to add a label to but are not always available. Also ask your family and friends to save the jars for you. Then you will only need to buy the lids and perhaps the bands next time! Lids only.
  • Ladle - You may have a favorite ladle on hand. This one with the pouring spouts for right and left-handed cooks would be handy.
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Friday, April 12, 2024

One-of-a-Kind, Andean Style Hat Sold!

The story of Grace's Andean style hats 

My dear friend, Grace Murray knit over 400 hats and gave them all away to friends and to local  organizations. 

It all started with a trip one weekend to a yarn store in Maine where she bought a book with a knit hat on the cover. The book told the story of the author's travels and of collecting the knit designs on the Andes. The next weekend she went back to the store in Maine and bought enough yarn for one hat. Shortly after that she and her husband, David were on their sailboat, stuck in the fog in a harbor in Maine where Dave read the instructions as Grace knit the edging for her first hat. She was hooked. Dave helped Grace layout different patterns for special hats depicting a sailboat or another design personalizing many of the following hats.

When Grace could no longer knit she gave me her patterns, the book that started it all and the left over yarn. In her memory I started to knit my version of the Andean hat. All were sold at the Annisquam Arts and Crafts Show or the Annisquam Sewing Circle Christmas Fair.

The sailboat hat was custom made for a member of the Annisquam Village as a result of the Auction shown in the video.

 AA&CS Auction of Hat

What to Add to Your Wardrobe?

 The word from Paris!

Will it be Ballet Flats or a Cardigan or perhaps the 2024 version of the Culotte?

Wouldn't it be great to have someone join you to assist in reviewing your wardrobe, help get rid of the items so should never wear again and organize what you have left? I have a number of items in my closet that i take out because I like the idea of them. But after trying them on back into the closet they go. I justify that decision by saying to myself, "Once I loose some weight, or have a tan...?" or some other reason.
As a "petite" myself there are a lot of trends that do not work for me: wide shouldered jackets, billowy pants and large scale prints. The question is, "What works?"

A bulky sweater with a turtleneck jersey goes well with a slim cut trouser or jeans. A well fitting jacket color coordinated with a spot of color using a long scarf. Keep the bottom garment trim and express your self with the top. A vest in an interesting fabric or design over a turtleneck jersey works well from fall to spring, first alone and then as a layer. Tall boots with slim jeans and your bulky sweater give a younger look. 

Find your colors and build your closet around them. That allows you the flexibility to make several combination with fewer clothes. When I am shopping I look at the color, touch the fabric, try on the garment before I look at the price tag. 
No matter what the cost, it is not a bargain unless you love it.


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Many Moons

Calendar - Guide to Planting

Some of us consult the current calendar for the cycles of the moon before planting our seeds.

This beautiful calendar was published in 1617.

Article by John Kenny

... despite the distractions of the modern economy and commerce, many farmers can still be found walking their fields after dark, listening to the ripening of fruit in the full moonlight or the hidden scuffling of creatures among the coops in the emptiness of a new moon.

From Rhode Island School of Design Newsletter

Hans Hofer, publisher
German, 1540–1617
Farmer's Calendar, 1617
Woodcut with hand coloring on paper
Plate: 29 × 17.1 cm (11 × 6 3/4 in.)
Museum Works of Art Fund 52.286

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

What is trending in women’s wear?


These loose, flowing pants are both comfortable and chic, making them a popular choice for many women. In 2024, we will see an increase in the popularity of culottes, with many women choosing to abandon traditional pants in favor of these bolder silhouettes.

Watch for them at the Annisquam Arts & Crafts 2024 Show in October!

DIY Preserving Made Easy - Raspberriy

Putting up delicious Raspberry Preserves for home, gifts and craft fairs Every spring I begin to think about the Annisquam Sewing Circle Ch...