"She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27

Friday, June 24, 2011

Canning Party

I hosted a Jarden Home Brands House Party.  This is the company who own Ball and Kerr jars.   They provided coupons for jars and all kinds of stuff!  They sent me pectin, a ball canning discovery kit, three ball books, gift bags, berry mashers, and more!  Here is a picture of the book which I used a LOT since I have never canned before.
We made apple butter, we had to core, peel and chop 20 lbs of apples.
I had my party at church since the kitchen is bigger and has two stoves.  My kitchen is a galley and you can't walk through if the dishwasher door is open!  We then cooked the apples and water until soft.

Make sure you turn on the right burner though, otherwise you will be cooking for a VERY long time!  Siouxsie then pureed the apples in a blender for us.
Whoops!  It's a good idea to use the clips that come with that particular blender!  At this stage we have applesauce.  Next we added 20 cups of palm sugar, cinnamon, and cloves into the sauce pot the apples were in.
While this was cooking down to thicken, we made end of garden "pickles".  Everyone brought a pound of veggies to add.  We had squash, zuchinni, fresh from the garden green beans and pearl onions.
I can't wait to try them!  Forgot to take pictures during this process!  While the apples were thickening we cleaned up.
Tabitha and Valerie cleaned with a smile!  Then we ate lunch while the sauce was still thickening.  We think it might have taken longer because of the palm sugar?
We took turns stirring that big pot!
Aren't my shoes cute?
Doesn't it look delicious?  It got a dark brown.

 And look at all that steam!  I got a great steam facial today!
Can you see the line on the pot from where it condensed down?  Now it is time to start the canning!  We had the jars boiling to keep them warm.
We had an assembly line going.  One person handing us the jars to fill.
Then two people filling the jars:
We took turns.  Then we had a couple of people adding the rims and bands. 
Then we put the jars back in the water for processing.
Then you need to lick the pot!
Here are the finished jars!
This is only half of them though!  Sorry about the long post, just had a lot to share!
Thanks for joining my party today!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sew Serendipity Tunic Dress

Sorry about the fuzzy picture, it was taken on my phone, and the one taken on my camera - I have a terrible look on my face!  I got a new book!  Sew Serendipity by Kay Witt.
MY BOOK!  This book is great!  It comes with the basic pattern pieces for a paneled skirt, tunic dress, and a jacket.  Then the book gives you directions on how to make five skirts, two tunics (tops), five tunic dresses and six jackets!  They all look different but use the same pattern pieces!  The book only costs $28 (you can get it at most book stores, Hobby Lobby, Amazon, or a signed copy directly from her website) It is like getting 18 patterns for only $28!  As ya'll know I'm still flubbing my way through sewing, but these directions were so easy to follow that, except for the zipper, I was able to make the whole dress by myself!  She tells you how to sew an understitch, topstitch, invisible zipper and more!  I learned a lot from this book!
The book also tells you how to adjust patterns and make custom fits.  I lengthened my dress and brought the neckline higher.
If you go to Sew Serendipity's blog she gives a tutorial on the invisible zipper, since this was only my third zipper ever, it wasn't too bad, but I still need practice.  http://blog.sewserendipity.com/2009/08/dont-fear-invisible-zipper.html  Be sure to check it out, it is a lot easier then the other way I've tried installing them! 
I made this dress for under $20!  I can't wait to try some of the other patterns, I've already bought the material to make one of the skirts! 
This was my last dress for the Summer of No Pants Challenge, I made three dresses and a skirt in four weeks!  Be sure to go to the link party to see some of the other dresses and skirts from this past month!

Have a great day ya'll!

I decided to add some better pictures I took while on vacation at Ft. Sumter

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cottage Food Bill has passed!

The Cottage Food Bill has been signed by Governor Perry!  Below is a summary of what the bill means.  We are still limited in how we sell baked goods, but we are allowed to sell them from our homes now!

SB 81 by Senator Jane Nelson

House Sponsor: Representative Lois Kolkhorst

Summary of sections 5 and 6 of the bill, which pertain to Cottage Food Operations.

Food must be sold from your home, directly to another consumer. No sales at farmer's markets, wholesale, or resale to restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, etc.

Foods are limited to non-potentially hazardous baked goods, canned jams, jellies, and dry spice mixes.

Annual gross income from sales of above food items must be $50,000 or less.

The local health department may not regulate these home cottage food operations, but they must maintain a record of any complaint made. This is a consumer safeguard, so that consumers can call the local health department and check for complaints on their "cake lady" before they purchase, if they wish.

The food items sold must be labeled with the name and address of the cottage food production operation, and a statement that the food was made in a kitchen that has not been inspected by the health department.

Food must not be sold through the internet. This simply means that these operations can't set up a shopping cart and let people purchase blindly. Our cottage food producers may still have a web site to promote their business. The "no internet sales" clause goes back to the fact that we ARE small "cottage" operations, and helps ensure that sales are local and face-to-face, which is in keeping with the spirit of the bill. Again, it does NOT mean that web sites are prohibited.

If it becomes law, it will go into effect 9/1/2011.

For a direct link to the bill go here:  http://texascottagefoodlaw.com/summary.htm

Friday, June 17, 2011

Easy casings

Remember my blue and white dress that I made here http://missyscakesandaprons.blogspot.com/2011/05/i-finished-my-dress.html  It was too big in the waist, so I added a big white bow.  It looks better, but I still need to lose weight, I remember when I was a size eight when I got married! 

All of my grass is dead, we have not had any rain in a few months here in Texas. It was pretty simple to make.  I cut two strips of material about 5 inches wide and guessed at the length.  Then I folded the strip in half long ways and sewed it (if you have a right side and wrong side make sure you have the right sides together.)  Here comes the hard part, you can use a safety pin, or a special tool from the store, I usually use a dowel rod or when my husband helps, he uses a gun cleaning tool that has a loop at the end that we attach a safety pin to then just pull it through.  This casing was wide enough that I was able to stick both my thumbs in like this:

(My seven year old neighbor girl took the pictures for me, she did a good job didn't she?)  Then with my forefingers I started scrunching the sides up like this:

I scrunched as far down as I could while keeping my thumbs inside. Then I pushed the remaining fabric up into the casing from the bottom with a finger like this:
I just kept pushing the material up through the casing while pulling down with my fingers on top.
If you have a long casing you'll get to where you have to grab the inside of the casing to finish pulling it through and you'll get this:
Iron the casing with the seam in the back, or underside.  Sew one end on each tie and the other end will be sewn into the dress.  I ripped the thread out on each side big enough to fit the tie through and then sewed it up!  Voila, ties that took fifteen minutes to make!
Please excuse the wrinkly dress, I had just gotten home from church.  I have to share one more picture with you. 
These are my nine month old kittens, Muffin and Tiger.  They already weigh ten pounds!  And my five week old kitten Pippi. 
I just wanted to leave you with a smile today!  I think this picture will become a favorite with me!  LOL
I hope my directions make sense, if you have any questions feel free to ask, but if you want an answer, you will need to leave your email add. for me!


ruffled apron tute

I found a really great ruffly apron tutorial that I thought I would share

It is really cute!

Here is one that is called fabric lovers apron


Friday, June 10, 2011

A few things I like to bake with

Doesn't everyone have their favorite things to bake with?  Here are a few things I find useful.  First put on your favorite apron, whether it is one you have made, or one you have bought - does not make a difference.
Unlike in this previous picture, always pull your hair back and plait it in some way.  When your hair is as long as mine, a ponytail can still shed!  LOL

I had been decorating a cake before taking this picture, and I am still wearing my bandanna.  I wear bandannas in lieu of hair nets.
Spatulas are a must also!  Both my spatulas are from Wilton and in my favorite colors, green and yellow!  Have fun in your kitchen and buy things that make you smile!  I use the small scoop from Pampered Chef for my cookies, mini cupcakes and stuff like that.  The ice cream scoop is for cupcakes and pancakes.  It is much easier to be uniform when using a scoop and the slider thingy (is that a word?) makes sure all the batter comes out easily.  No muss, no fuss!
Invest in a good sifter!  My husband bought this one for me.  Always sift your powdered sugar to ensure you do not have any blockages in your tips.  When baking with wheat flour, always sift and throw away the bits in the sifter, DO NOT pour them into your batter!  This will help in softer baked goods.  I prefer whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour over regular wheat  flour. It has the same nutrients, but it is a softer flour and bakes better without giving your breads a corn bread texture!   I love organic unbleached all-purpose flour.  Who wants bleach in their cakes?  So sift, sift, and sift some more!

Be sure to invest in some great cookbooks!  I have a ton of cookbooks that I love to use, including the cookbook my church has put out!
You should also invest in some great cake decorating books!  2 Timothy 2:15 says "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."  This verse is talking about the Bible, but you should also apply it to other aspects of your life. I do not want to be ashamed of something I have baked or created because I did not take the time to study about it! I love to study cookbooks and cake decorating books to improve my art.  No matter how long you have been baking and cooking, there is always something new to learn.  Don't forget to use the recipes out of your cake decorating books, after all who would have better recipes then the experts?
Now go bake yourself a cake!
"Oh taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him." Psalm 34:8