canning adventures year 2

Sooo my garden actually worked out this year! Last year the only thing that was (marginally) successful were my peppers, but this year almost everything has been going fantastically. I’m very excited because I hope that by canning, I can enjoy these garden-fresh vegetables all through the winter. 🙂

I currently have 3 raised beds, plus a variety of container peppers and a single tomato plant. In my raised beds, I grew radishes while the cucumbers were growing and between the peppers. This was a bit of risk for such a novice gardener, but it worked great and I had enough radishes to enjoy them on sandwiches and to can five 1/2 pints!

The salad I made from the radish greens and arugula I also grew. 🙂

Now that it’s the middle of summer, my cucumbers have really taken off! I love growing cucumbers, because they’re so ridiculously easy to grow and keep alive. I’ve been enjoying picking a few for sandwiches every so often, and trying to time it so I have plenty to harvest in a single day for pickling. So far I’ve canned 5 pints of bread and butter pickles, but I have many many more still on the vine to pickle soon!

I make the sandwiches by mixing a bit of garlic, salt, and fresh thyme into cream cheese and then layering the cucumber slices on top. It’s not fancy, but it’s very good and refreshing for lunch.

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The best, of course, is how fancy my pickles all look lined up. 😀 I love the bright color from the radishes, hopefully they taste as good as they look! After more cucumbers, next up will be taqueria pickles. Or if anyone has a favorite canning recipe they want to share? I’m definitely going to have more cucumbers than I know what to do with!

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our kitten is almost a year old!

So remember this little fluffball?

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It’s his first birthday this April! We adopted him from our local humane society in June, when he was just 8 weeks old and weighed 2lb. It turns out we probably should have realized his little bat ears prognosticated he would be a giant cat. 🙂

The first picture was taken when he was 4 months old, the second is recent. He is now 14lb and absolutely giant! You can also see that his tiny kitten fuzz has turned into a huge fluffy coat—he has a mane and an absolutely absurd squirrel tail now. 🙂

I think he’s not quite done growing yet either. While he looks like an adult cat, he doesn’t have any muscle and is still very much a kitten in personality. It will be interesting to see how he looks in another year!

Sorry for the break from my usual crafting content, but I hope you enjoy the cat pictures. 😉

gardening journal

I know it’s still snowing in many places, but here we’ve had crocuses blooming for weeks now, so of course I’m thinking about gardening. 🙂

Last year I started a gardening journal, and I’m finally getting to the point where I can look to what I wrote last year to compare to my observations this year—it’s very rewarding! It’s also reassuring, especially in regards to my stairwell peppers plants. Last year I was so worried my jalapeño was dying, but now I can look back and see they’re actually doing a little better than last winter.

For my journal, I use a midori traveller’s notebook, which has a simple leather cover and replaceable notebooks. I got the passport size, because it fits in my back pocket. 🙂

I also got a cute mini printer for Christmas this year, the hp sprocket. It seems a little silly to print photos for a handwritten journal, when, after all, I could just add them to this blog, but I enjoy physical objects and flipping through books.

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You can see my indoor plants featured in this page spread. I just bought them in January, but my pothos has already grown! I would love for it to get all vine-y like some I have seen. I’ve been lucky so far in that my dog is not at all interested in eating them, but I suppose if he does I can put them up above my windows.

I hope this has helped everyone get excited for Spring!

kitchen cross stich!

I have a confession.

I am a very, very lazy person. I start a project—I almost finish it—and then, of course, I don’t. That was the tragic case with my latest cross stitch project, a very cute little pattern of tea cups and their accruements. 🙂 I finished the cross stitch, but properly framing it like a non-lazy person was another matter entirely. IMG_5653

Who can guess what’s wrong with this picture? (Yes, I taped up my cross stitch for months with painter’s tape. Months.)

Anyway I finally decided enough was enough, so I dug out a cheap craft frame, painted it, and now my cross stitch looks at least mildly more presentable. 😉 I’m sure I’ll still replace the frame eventually, but at least it’s a step up from tape.

Look at that painter’s tape blue! 🙂

So what are your laziest crafting moments? Anyone else use ‘temporary’ solutions that turn into semi-permanent monuments to laziness?

little heart wall quilt

I’m kinda addicted to these cute wall quilts, I already have a fourth one planned! Soon all my walls will be quilts.

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This one is truly tiny, only about 8×8 inches! I really enjoyed going through my scrap box for all the shades of pink and red. I did have to cut into actual fabric for a bit of the white (apparently I don’t often use neutral shades). I machine sewed the patchwork, and I have to say, I could use some work. Let’s just ignore those wonky lines, okay?
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See, it looks better without the close-up. 😉 I haven’t decided where to hang this quilt yet, so for now it’s up with tape next to my previous wall-quilt. They really do make my bedroom so much cosier!

I’m still looking for cute blocks or mini quilt patterns, so if anyone has any recommendations that aren’t too challenging, send them my way! I may even brave my sewing machine again to see if I can’t keep improving. 🙂

simple wall quilt

I am the kind of person who wants my bedroom to be as cosy as possible, especially during the winter. My favorite pieces of ‘decor’ are my down comforter, crochet afghan, and wool blankets. 🙂

So I decided to expand my love for cosy blankets, and use them to decorate my walls as well, which are currently depressingly blank. I think making little wall quilts will not only fill my room with cosiness and color, and help my practice my subpar quilting skills. 😉

I just used scraps for the stars, with a solid gray background. You can see there is some unevenness (I really need to get, and use, rulers). I really like how it turned out though! One of my favorite parts of quilting is picking out the colors and arranging them, and I think that turned out very well. I hand-sewed the top and hand-quilted it, more because I’m still afraid of my sewing machine than anything.

Anyone have recommendations for other beginning quilt patterns that would look good in mini form? Because I am excited to make more!

another pencil case :)

For Christmas I made my younger cousin a pencil case, to match my sister’s. She loooooves my sister (imagine shrieking little kid joy) and has just started school, so I thought she’d really enjoy a cute pencil case to take with her.

I used my sewing machine for it!! The stitching definitely isn’t perfect, but I was pretty happy with the overall look. I loved the Anne of Green Gables fabric I found for it—my cousin’s mom is a huge fan, so I knew she’d approve. I also thought the picture of Anne reading was just perfect for a pencil case. 🙂

I used a Spoonful of Sugar’s pattern again, it really is too cute!