Thursday, November 27, 2008

Apricot Jam

Since my last post, I've whipped up two more table runners, with the edging problem fixed. Just waiting for backing fabric to arrive before I can finish them off and post them on here. In the meantime, I've just made a huge batch of Apricot Jam, and want to share (the recipe at least, the jam's all mine!)

Take 1.5kg of apricots. A mix of ripe but firm, and slightly unripe fruit works best. The unripe fruit have a higher level of pectin which helps your jam set better. Give your fruit a good wash, particularly if your supermarket is like mine, and people like to grope the food a little too much...

Cut your fruit up; I find quarters work best. Remove the little bits of stalk from the top, and any major blemishes.

Now is the time to get your jars ready; give them a good wash, rinse, then pop them on a tray and into the oven. I usually have the oven around 140C. At the same time, pop a saucer into the freezer.
Pop your fruit in a pot, and add 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. The juice adds extra pectin to help with setting. Bring to the boil gradually, and cook the fruit until tender, to your liking. Some people like chunky jam, some not so much. I leave mine chunky, but by the time its "jammed", there usually aren't major chunks left.
( Put a chair near the stove so Bella can watch)
When happy with the chunkiness of your fruit, add 1.5kg white sugar.

Stir until is dissolves, then bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for about 15 minutes. Make sure you stir the jam regularly, as apricot has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan, and burn. If it does stick, make sure you don't stir these bits up into your jam as they will darken your jam.

Now is the time to check if the jam is setting; this is what the saucer in the freezer is for. Take the pot off the heat, and dollop some of the jam onto the saucer, and put it back in the freezer. Wait a couple of minutes, then check to see if the jam is set. You should be able to drag a finger through the jam without it moving back to the middle. If it isn't ready, boil another minute or two, then test again, until it is ready.
When you are happy that your jam has reached setting point, turn off the stove and get your jars out of the oven. I use a jug and a nifty funnel to fill my jars. Pour jam carfully into jars (don't burn yourself!), and pop the lids on tight. Allow to cool and set.

And look, barely burnt it at all (for a change)! This is where I lick the pot...just make sure you don't burn your tongue!

Now to clean all the sticky marks off my camera.... and isn't Bella such a cutie!

Friday, November 21, 2008


The little project that I gave a sneak peak of the other day is now finished. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, though I think it needs a little fiddling so that the ends of the sashing don't end up under the binding...

This was just a practice-run, so now I've got to put together a couple more as christmas presents. This one is all mine!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sneaky Peak

After a mild panic on the weekend about the lack of christmas shopping/crafting taking place in my house, I did a trial run for some chrissy presents. Just showing off a little sneak peak until I get it finished, probably in the next day or two.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cotton Blossoms 2

By popular demand, I've taken a quick pic or two of the backing for the Wallflower quilt. It's a bit windy here today, but it should be enough to give you an idea of what it's meant to look like.

You might also remember a couple of months ago that I posted a picture of potatoes that I had growing in a tub.... I had a bit of a dig around in the tub today, and harvested our first potatoes! Most of the spuds I uncovered will still quite small, so I covered them back up, but I did pull out a couple to have with dinner.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Imagine and Other Giveaways

I got an actual pressie in the mail today; an "Imagine" quilt kit and a couple of other goodies from Carrie of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. Carrie was nice enough to give away goodies to everyone who commented for her blog giveaway, and I was one of the lucky ones!

The bundle also included a pouch to keep my project in, a ruler, and some Miss Rosie ribbon.

On the topic of giveaways, Camille of Simplify and Thimble Blossoms is having a fabulous giveaway on her blog; go and check it out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cotton Blossoms

I got back into the sewing over the weekend, and finished off the flimsy for "Wallflower", done with a Cotton Blossoms jelly roll as per the pattern. I'm very happy with how it looks, particularly my blanket stitch, as its the first time I've used the machine for that. Usually I do it by hand, and it doesn't look particularly good when I do...

If you are wondering where the rest of the jelly roll went, it's on the back of the quilt. I think the backing of this quilt took just as long to put together as the front!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Crabapple and Cake

Finally I can show off the completed Crabapple quilt! It was very hard (impossible) to get the whole quilt in a single photo; I hung it on the washing line, and had to stand in a hedge to get most of it in. Any further back and I would have gone through the fence. But hopefully you get an idea of what it looks like!

Top 2/3 of the quilt:

Close up of centre block to show off the quilting:
Couch-drape photo to fit in whole quilt:

While I was finishing off the binding yesterday, my Mum and I baked a lovely boiled fruit cake; very easy, and very tasty, so if anyone wants the recipe let me know!
Lastly, today is Melbourne Cup Day, which means a public holiday for most people (not me unfortunately). We had a sweep at work, and my horse won! Mostly makes up for having to work while the rest of the state is having a day off...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bugs, Blogs and Bindings

It turns out that what I thought was going to be a minor common cold is a little bit worse, and I've been feeling pretty miserable the last few days. My mum dragged me off to the doctors this morning, and they were nice enough to fit be in between appointments as they were fully booked. I'm on antibiotics now, so it should clear up in a few days, and I'll be able to get back into the swing of things.

What I do want to mention is the new blog of Carrie of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co, called LaVieEnRosie. Pop across and say hello when you get a chance, and also check out her gorgeous patterns!

I've finally been feeling ok enough this afternoon to get that binding happening; it's only taken me a week! Still got a way to go, but here is a sneak peek.

Another day or two, and I'll be able to do a full "reveal" (hopefully).