Friday, November 13, 2009

Etsy Update Part 2

This is a bag I made from the sleeve of an old suit.  It's super cute.  If you'd like to see more pictures it's listen in my Etsy shop!

Etsy Shop Update

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rag Rug

I wanted a little rug to put in front of the sink, I had some t-shirts from the same pile of old clothes that I used to make Sam's bag, so I made this:
It's a rag rug.  I remember seeing these a lot when I was little, and I don't mind that it's sort of old fashioned and lop-sided.  It's surprisingly comfy for the feet!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Making Apple Butter

Apple butter is such a misleading name for the delicious spread isn't it?  It isn't butter at all, but a glorious topping for biscuits and scones.  And pancakes.  And toast.

Last week Sam came home with a giant bag of apples that he received from one of his co-workers.  The next best thing to actually having an apple tree in your own garden is knowing people who do.  I couldn't justify making more than one apple pie (which I only justified making anyway because it was experimentation and research for the Thanksgiving meal I will be making for my first-timer English family members in a couple of weeks), so I had a little thinking session about what else to do with the heap of apples I had left.  It didn't take long to settle on apple butter as the correct route to go with these puppies, so I did a little of my usual online research and came up with this method which is a combination of several and a lot less work than some:

-Peel, core and slice the apples (I had about 12 giant ones)

-Put them into a slow-cooker on medium heat overnight

-In the morning add a reasonable amount of sugar, cinnamon, and cloves (about 3/4 cup, 1 TBSP, and 1/2 TBSP respectively, in my case)

-Turn the slow-cooker on low and leave it all day

I would stir the concoction whenever I happened to be in the kitchen, and by morning it was an incredible dark color which only became more rich as I added the spices and let it cook all day.

I also used a non-traditional way of canning them, and I hope it works.  I always save jars these days, so I chose a few that had lids and put the jars in the oven at a high temperature for about 20-30 minutes, and boiled the lids.  Then once I had filled the jars and put the lids back on I boiled them for an additional 5-10 minutes.  I used a set of sterilized silicone tongs to remove and attach things and to save my fingers.  I have no idea if this is in any way a good way to jar things, but I figured they are sterilized enough right?  Uh...

**By all means, do not follow my canning method if you are at all uncomfortable with it, I am just relaying what I did:)**

Anyway, the apple butter turned out wonderfully, and I'm so glad that I tried it!  It's so exciting to make things myself and to learn how things are done.  I have been inspired lately by Jimmy Doherty who is a farmer with a tv show on the BBC.  His programs are so interesting to watch.  He has this new one where he has designed a "food factory" (which is actually just a barn on his property) and he makes all kinds of things that are mass produced and sold in supermarkets, just to see how it's done, like  corn flakes, instant coffee and even coca-cola--the sorts of things that you would never ever think of making (and also probably shouldn't).  Anyway, it's so cool!  

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sam's Bag

I recently confiscated a bag of old clothes from Sam's parent's house that was about to be sent to a charity shop.  Sam has been asking me to make him a new bag to take his school books in to work since the one he has is torn and needs to be taken to someone who knows how to sew leather.  We came up with this design from an old pair of Gap corduroy cargo pants!
The big pocket on the front was once the cargo pocket on the side of one pant leg.  It's huge and can hold all kinds of stuff like wallet, keys, ipod, phone, calculator and other geeky items like protractors and compasses.
Sam required that the bag be big enough to fit A4 sized papers and books.  He is completing a math degree (maths if you're from the UK) so he has lots of workbooks and packets to carry around.
The inner pocket was once the back pocket of the pants, sized down to fit inside of the bag.  It's a really good size for pens and pencils and erasers.
The strap was part of Sam's snowboard bag that he never used, and is attached to the bag by two of the belt loops.  

I must say that this bag was designed to Sam's specifications, and it was 99% percent his idea--all I did was put it together.  I did not know that my husband had a hidden talent as a handbag designer!  I will put him to work more often and maybe one day we'll make a business out of it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009