Before the canning of tomatoes, we made freezer jam. I was really shocked to see strawberries at the farm in August! My friend and I bought the last three flats and made jam with most of them while the remaining berries were frozen whole. Earlier this (short) Summer I was convinced I had missed strawberry season and was feeling disappointed at the prospect of having no delicious summery jam in the freezer for the coming winter. But alas, my fears were put to rest after this fun afternoon of hulling, smashing, mixing—and tasting, of course! When I think of my many jars tucked snugly into our chest freezer, I can’t help but smile a little.
(We also made peach jam, which is equally delicious and fragrant, although I didn’t get any photos of that.)
P.S. The toast in the top photo is “Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread” from this book and it’s excellent! So yummy and easy, my kids had store-bought bread in their lunches last year a total of three times. They love this bread and so do I.
Hello, poor little long-neglected blog! (And reader friends, too).
We have been soaking up every sliver of Summer around here. This week we’ve been enjoying the bounty that our little corner of the world provides. Wednesday was spent on Sauvie Island visiting twofarms. We were on the hunt for blueberries, peaches and tomatoes. Those last two we found, but the blueberries not so much.
Today my friend and I canned thirty pounds of tomatoes. We got a super deal on them because they were so ripe—much too soft for slicing—and a few looked sort of nasty, but perfect for canning. I have never canned tomatoes before and was somewhat intimidated. It was so easy! We used this method, which requires no boiling of the jars. I have enjoyed the sound of jars lids pinging all afternoon.
What a fun and satisfying day—especially with a friend and kids’ friends playing nicely in and out all day. And oh, how I look forward to popping open a jar this winter to make fresh soup or pasta sauce.
I was all set to show you some photos of our week in Mexico but I couldn’t resist sharing these images of our snow day instead. It’s pretty ridiculous what passes for a true Snow Day here (Portland Public Schools shuts down) and I know many of you out there in the middle and eastern parts of the country will scoff at this light dusting. Hey, I scoff at it myself—I’m from Utah and know a real snow storm! But up here in the balmy Pacific Northwest, we all get very excited about a day like this, especialy our little people. The flakes outside right now are big and fluffy and it’s just so pretty.
Getting a tree always marks the official start of our Christmas season, and this year we did it in style by chopping our own! Before now, this seemd a little daunting because we thought the kids might not be able to tolerate being out in the cold and rain, (and we may not have been able to tolerate the whining and crying). But the weather lately has been delightfully dry and bright—and yesterday was especially so. We decided it would be a shame to waste such a gorgeous day at a tree-lot.
We went to Oxbow Rim Tree Farm, about a half hour’s drive from our house. They have a cafe there with treats and cider and cocoa, as well as a gift shop with the largest variety of ornaments I’ve ever seen in one place. At first I was a little bummed about there being so much commerce involved, but the kids loved it so I ended up loving it too. The fresh air felt amazing and the smell of the trees was wonderful. Lauren had a hilarious routine going where she’d say she found the perfect tree and when we all came running, she’d point to a stump. Brilliant. I though she was going to wet her pants from laughter.
After we loaded the tree on to the top of our car we went inside and the kids each chose an ornament. I probably took about 150 photos of ornaments. It was hard to stop.
We had a big group of friends over for dinner and music last weekend and it was so much fun! Music Night is one of the activities that helps us get through these long and dreary Portland winters and now that another is upon us, we’d best not forget.
I was reminded of how much I love the song Long Black Veil. It really is one of the most perfect songs ever written. Lots of people have sung and recorded it but the version by Neko Case and Carolyn Mark (as The Corn Sisters) is by far my favorite. Check it out. Neko Case is so cool. I wish I could sing like her. I wish I could sing, period.
Thank you, Oliver + S, for making me a better seamstress.
This coat was finished over the weekend, and just in time, too! It’s pouring outside and my muchkin is plenty cozy. And dry too, thanks to the water resistant canvas I used—which I ordered from here. It’s lined with a crossweave pima shirting and interlined with organic cotton fleece. I am always impressed every time I use an O+S pattern at how smart and simple the designs are and how flawless and thoughtful the construction and finishing techniques are.
The only challenge we are having (which could be considered a flaw in design) is that the button tabs are a little fiddly. Lauren had trouble buttoning them without getting them twisted and it took her a little too long to get them undone and the thing off. The first time she wore it was to a movie with a friend and she couldn't get it off in the dark and had to sit through the whole show baking. I guess she was too shy to ask for help. As soon as she got home she said she wasn’t going to wear it “ever again!” Determined to avoid having my hard work rejected once more, I put some velcro on those button tabs and have convinced her to give it another try. So far, so good…
A little more about the fabric. It’s beautiful and soft and not too stiff for a canvas. It has a nice drape to it and was really easy to work with. I’m not sure about the water-resistant feature though. It is apparently not permanent. I’m thinking it will work well for our quick trips to and from school or for running errands, but not for a long walk in the rain. We’ll see.
Couldn’t resist posting this last shot because I think it’s just so darn cute.
Besides finishing Lauren’s coat over the weekend, I also had the great pleasure of attending the Little Winter market and enjoyed it so much. I bought a gorgeous necklace and earrings from Sulu Design, and a couple of really lovely gifts from My House Party. The highlight for me was meeting and chatting with Elly Fales, of Garment House who could not have been more kind and gracious. Some very nice photos of the event here and here.
The Ice Cream Dress is—not surprisingly—a delightful pattern. I used a Liberty lawn for the body, lined with a white voile, and used a dark brown voile for the contrasting pieces. Lauren wore it many, many times throughout the summer—especially on our vacation as a swim cover-up. Seems the perfect outfit for studying cicadas don’t you think?
And while we’re on the topic of Oliver and S patterns, I should tell you that I’ve got this in progress and am crazy for this new one. Exciting stuff!
Now that summer is finally and at long last here, this little number is getting quite a bit of use. Though admittedly we haven’t gone to the pool as much as I had expected (sooo crowded), it has seen lots of action in the backyard of the sprinkler variety and will see more on our upcoming vacation.
Making a swimming suit was fun! The stretchy fabric is so forgiving—it just zings back into place, right where it should. I used Kwik Sew 2725 . Because this is a leotard pattern (the only proper swimsuit pattern my store had in stock had a racer back, which I don’t like) the straps are wider than they should be for swimming, but Lauren has not complained so far. And the leg openings are a tad high for my tastes. Other than those two small items, we have a winner!
We are off to spend two weeks in the land of Lincoln and the Ozarks with Kirk’s family. I may pop in with some photos during that time but if not, I’ll be back here toward the end of the month. Until then, have a great July!