Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tomatillo Green Salsa to Can

The forecast for our area is overnights in the low 30's by the end of the week. That means any garden stuff that is still growing will most likely be frostbitten later this weekend. I still have quite a few tomatoes, albeit mostly green ones, on my plants. Usually I cover my tomatoes once or twice in the Fall before I give up and let the frost take over. However, I am feeling a little lazy about that, even though it does make me crazy to think of them going to waste.

So here is a recipe for canning Tomatillo Green Salsa, which is a favorite with our cousin Tiffany and her family. This is a good year-end garden recipe as it says you can use green tomatoes instead of tomatillos. Perfect for my situation right now.

Tiffany doubles the recipe and uses green bell peppers instead of green chili peppers. And she then also uses serrano peppers instead of jalapeño--but DOES NOT double the amount of serranos in her recipe.

She also adds 1 bunch of cilantro--chopped up finely--to a double batch recipe. The original recipe doesn't call for that, but you could add it if you like that flavor. Or you could also add it fresh when you open a jar.

I did double the jalapeños when I doubled my batches because even when doubling the recipe it is only 1 cup of jalanpeños. That is nothing, in my opinion, for 10 pints of salsa.

The canning directions are for 15 minutes in a Hot water bath canner. I used my Pressure Canner instead, as I can double stack pints in mine and therefore do all 10 pints at once. I pressured it at 6# for 10 minutes.

Tiffany uses this salsa for the 2 recipes listed below. She says it is also good made fresh, she just uses lime juice instead of lemon juice if making a fresh batch. Note: You cannot use lime juice when canning. It isn't acidic enough.
Mexican Pulled Pork
3-5 lbs. pork roast
1 pint Tomatillo Green Salsa
1 c. brown sugar

Combine all in crockpot and cook 6 hrs. on HIGH or 10 hrs. on LOW.
Pull pork apart.
Serve in tortillas for tacos.
4 Bean Salsa Soup
1 pint each: (or a 15 oz. can) all UNDRAINED
White Beans
Black Beans
Kidney Beans
Pinto Beans
Tomatillo Green Salsa
Stewed tomatoes

Dump all together in a saucepan.
Serve with tortilla chips and sour cream.
You can also try the recipe from Ball® Canning for their version of Tomatillo Salsa. This recipe can also be found in the Ball® Complete Book of Home Preserving on pg. 212. And there is a slightly different version for Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa on pg. 213.
Here's a couple other places to look for green tomato recipes.
Google "canning recipes green tomato" and you'll come up with all sorts of hits.
Tipnut--25 different green tomato recipes from pickles, relishes, chutneys, soups....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

First Shipment of Bags

Yesterday I received the first package of bags for our Zihuatanejo Bag Project.
2 denim bags and a fun print that my daughters were eyeballing.

Thanks, Beth!
We appreciate the help.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Back when it was still new...

My mother in law sent me this picture recently.
It is of my brother-in-law the day they brought him home from the hospital in 1962.
Check out the quilt in the background. It's the one I rescued from her closet.
See how vibrant the colors were back then?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Purge Out

Sometimes there comes a time when you just have to "cut your losses" so to speak. I have reached that point where no token cleaning of my sewing room will work. And really, I'm o.k. with that. (For me it takes time to reach that point)

Spring cleaning doesn't have to happen in just the Spring. Fall works too. I don't know about you, but once I decide to get rid of something it usually leaves the premises rather quickly, never to enter my home again. No remorse, no guilt...even when the kiddos complain.

Round 1
Here are a few things that have left the building....

  • New patterns bought in previous times when I thought I might actually make that item.
  • Patterns that I have used to make something but now no longer fit my kids or me.
  • Fabric--most to be donated to the thrift store.
  • Half-finished projects that hold no motivation to be completed and/or if completed wouldn't fit who they were intended for anyway. (a few can be refashioned into something else useful--but not too many) I'm all for removing the guilt altogether.
  • Fleece that I don't want to look at anymore and it takes up way too much space on my shelves. I did quickly make 1 tied fleece blanket while watching Letters to Juliet one afternoon that I will give away somehow--even though the kids thought we should keep it along with our I don't know how many other blankets. Uh,!
  • Bags of knit collars given to me in years past. (I still have one 10 gal. bin completely full of ribbing for t-shirts)
  • Costumes that are too small for my girls (why they were in my sewing room and not the costume bin I'm not sure.)
  • 20+ baby quilts that have been accumulating during the summer that will be donated to a local hospital next week.
  • 35+ knitted stocking caps that I will either try to sell at a craft show at the end of Oct. or donate them somewhere.
  • Jean/denim scraps that I don't want to see anymore. Just kept the big stuff.
All's good when even my kids notice and tell me I've done a good job picking up my room. It feels so good to purge.
Then yesterday, right before this was ready to post, I went into Round 2 of the purge. I was sewing and realized my carpet was wet from some serious rain we've received this week. And so I ripped out the wet, already slightly moldy, piece of carpet. (We just had a piece that we were covering cement basement floor) And then we also had to remove a storage cabinet that was moldy inside and rotting out the bottom. Obviously not from just this week's rain. Lovely!

After moving ALL my stuff out of the room I got rid of even more stuff that I didn't want to put back in. And lucky for us, next weekend is the city's free drop-off at the recycling center. See ya stuff! Now it looks like I'll be searching for a throw rug to put in my room, or maybe I'll take this opportunity to lay down peel and stick flooring....hmmm....maybe this wasn't such a bad thing to have happen.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Scrappy Zig Zag Quilt

For a long time now I've been trying to use up scraps that I have while cleaning out my sewing room. I'm making some headway, I think....I hope....anyway....back to the subject. After making a number of baby quilts I wanted to try something different other than the basic 36 square kid quilt I've done most of the summer. (I'll be posting later about some donation quilts I've been working on with the young women from Church.) So I based this little baby quilt off of Leslie's Zig Zag Quilt and this tutorial.

This is what I started with, all 6" squares:
12 squares of Red Plaid
20 squares of Airplane print
14 squares of Tan Check
18 squares of Navy Polka Dot

I then had to cut them all down to 3" x 5 1/2" rectangles.

Then it was just a matter of laying it out and trying to see what I liked. You'll notice that I'm missing some Red Plaid sections at the bottom right.
I had extra Airplane print and Navy, but the other two fabrics I completely used and even had to piece slightly at the end after squaring off the points of 2 sides. This was a little more putzing around than I normally like; however, I do love how the quilt turned out.
I decided to go ahead and put a border around it to make it slightly bigger, and because I had plenty of brushed denim for the backing.

I don't know that I LOVE the color of the border (or maybe it is because it is too close to the color of my rug). It matches more closely with parts of the Airplane Print. However, since this is a scrap quilt I didn't want to go buy anything new--so I just used what I already had.
Navy binding and all complete. O.K. the border looks better out in the natural sunlight. That's good.

Last photo courtesy of Mr. 4 yr. old who wanted to help so badly. Taken while he was standing up on the swingset tower.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pink and Orange Party

I recently finished some crib quilts for my two girls.

M's quilt (more orange)
I've been liking her version more for some reason

a little technical info
Each quilt is made from twelve 4" strips with 1" white in between.
Finished quilt measures 41 x 56.5 inches

L's Quilt (more pink)

I won't deny that I motivate L to attach herself to this. You know, because I made it. I say things like, "Don't you want your pink quilt?", "Let's go get your pink quilt" or "Here's your pink quilt". She has a favorite blankie (it made an appearance here and here), but I'm hoping over time mine will become the fave.

I pretty much love how the quilting looks on the back. So clean. And subtle.

Detail view of the binding and back fabric on both quilts.

More quilting details

By far the easiest quilts I've made. I love this layout.

I'll leave you with Miss cutie patootie.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Project Million Amigos Bag Tutorial

This is for anyone who needs specific instructions on how to make a bag for the bag project we are working on. 

Finished Dimensions:
14" W x 16" H (doesn't need to be exact)
Mitered corners at the bottom to square off (optional)
1 1/2" W x 26" long handle (approximate length--can go up to about 30")
Basic Zihuatanejo Bag Directions:
2 pieces of fabric cut 15"x 18"
Handle piece cut 3-4" wide x 28-30" long

  1. RST sew the 2 sides and bottom of the bag.
  2. Finish seams (serge or zig-zag or pinked edges). Based on what was shown me in the past as an example, they were not even finishing the seams. This personally makes me a bit crazy as I know what I am capable of producing. Also, thinking to myself, just because we are sending it to a 3rd world country doesn't mean we have to send shoddy workmanship. Do what you are comfortable with. I promise I won't judge, because really, they can use whatever we send.
  3. Miter bottom corners of the bag. I do this by matching the bottom and side seam and then measuring about 1 1/2" from the point and sewing across. I also clip off the excess and finish edge. This too could be optional. I just like the shape of the bag better if it is squared off a bit on the bottom.
  4. Sew strap by folding in half lengthwise and sewing 1/4" seam.
  5. Turn strap RS out and press and topstitch. I like it topstitched to keep the strap from "rolling".
  6. Press down the top hem about 1 1/2".
  7. Turn hem under one more time.
  8. Position straps at the side seams sandwiched into the hem seam. Make sure the strap isn't twisted.
  9. Sew top bag hem at about 5/8" to 1", making sure the straps are sewn in.
  10. Flip straps up and topstitch down on outside of bag to secure.

In the past I've pieced fabric together to get the 15"x18" size. I've also added a pocket at times, or I've done a little ribbon trim or embroidery on the bag if I think it is too "boring".

Be creative!

Once again check HERE for more info and details on how to participate.
Don't be afraid to email us if you have any questions.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Are you radical?

I was talking to our mom the other day and she shared with me an article from the Omaha World Herald about a "radical" movement back to traditional homemaking. (She also shared it with the rest of the daughters.) We sort of laughed---we didn't know we were "radical". Slightly weird maybe, but not radical. We've been doing most of what we do for years and years now. Glad to find out we're already on the cutting edge of a "revolution quietly taking hold across the United States". Here

Here's a little blurb from a portion of that article, entitled "Radical Notion: traditional homemaking".
Shannon Hayes offered these suggestions for making homemaking more radical:
  • Hang laundry out to dry.
  • Dedicate part of the lawn to a vegetable garden.
  • Get to know neighbors so you can cooperate to reduce spending.
  • Shop at a farmers market each week before heading to the grocery store.
  • Donate things you don’t need to help others save money and resources.
  • Have reusable bags with you on all shopping trips.
  • Learn how to preserve one local food item for the winter.
  • Get your family to agree to spend more evenings at home, preferably with the TV off.
  • Cook for the family.
  • Focus on enjoying what you have and whom you get to share it with rather than on what you want or think you need.
I don't do everything on the above list, but we do a good portion of them. Apart from those Emily raises chickens. My husband & kids hunt and we process our own venison. We all know how to make our own clothes. Earlier this week I canned 21 qts. of peaches that my friend Mary Ann brought back from Idaho. That was my "radical" moment this week.

So anyway, that got me thinking: what "radical" homemaking skill or activity have your incorporated into your life? I'd love to hear what other "radical" homemakers are doing. We know you're out there...we've seen you quietly in scrap quilters, refashionistas, thrift store junkies. Let us know what you're doing to further the revolution.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blueprint Quilt {love/hate}

Inspired by this dress

from May/June 2007 Blueprint Magazine
****so sorry about the quality...the page got really beat up during quilt process.
This is the original article it appeared in, but does not include the photo of this dress.

The Quilt

Finished size measures 71.5 x 50.5 inches

I kept track of my costs this time around for those who are curious

all solids purchased at my local Joann's using 40-50% off coupons
prints purchased at local quilt shop
1 yard Kona cotton solid in "Navy" $3.19
1 yard Country Classic cotton in "Kelly" $2.15
1 yard Quilter's Cotton in "Honeydew" $2.64
1 yard Country Classic cotton in "Artesian Blue" $2.15
3 yards Kona cotton solid in "White" $9.57
3 1/2 yards Lattice Urban Green by Fabri-Quilt (sale) $10.50
5/8 yard polka dot $6.00 (this one hurt after getting all the rest so cheaply, but it was so perfect)
1 2/3 yard Warm and natural Quilt batting $11.oo
TOTAL COST = $47.20

I didn't take as many photos of this quilt. Probably because I go from LOVING to HATING it about every other week. I'd do a lot of things different if I had a do-over. #1 though is a less literal translation.

But......It was just one of those things I had to get out of my system.

(click to enlarge quilting detail)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Introducing: Project Million Amigos

My kids attend a Spanish Immersion School here locally. Each Spring Break a group from our school community travel to Zihuatanejo, Mexico for a service project organized thru Project Million Amigos. They take school supplies, clothing, toys, hygiene items, and while there have also helped build classrooms and bathrooms for the community.

The last trip they made was March 2009 due to the influenza scare this past Spring. And although our family has been unable to participate by way of traveling to Mexico with any of these groups I have tried to help by making school bags to donate. If nothing else, I can sew! Each year they take anywhere from 500 to 600 bags to give to local children and families. The bags get used daily back and forth from school as well as going shopping daily at the mercados.

Due to the postponement this past year they already have approximately 300 bags ready, but need another 300 more. We are hoping that you all will want to help us help them reach their goal of 600 bags.

Here is some basic info to get you started:

Any non-stretchy fabric of any color will work--cottons, upholstery, denim, ticking, etc. The bags do not need to be lined. Basically the bags are messenger style bags without a flap.

Finished Dimensions
14" W x 16" H (doesn't need to be exact)
Mitered corners at the bottom to square off (optional)
1 1/2" W x 26-28" long handle (approximately)

So, spread the word, leave a comment, or email us! We want to know whose with us and how many bags you are making. We'll email you the address of where to mail your completed bags.

Finished bags will need to be received no later than March 1, 2011. The trip will be the week of March 28, 2011. You can send them anytime before the deadline.

Note: I'll be posting a tutorial in the next couple of days of how I make them if you need a little more direction.

UPDATE (Nov. 2010): Due to changes in the trip we already have the amount of bags that will be allowed for this trip. Thanks to those of you who have already sent bags or are committed to send bags.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Scalloped Quilt, Bias Binding, And One Huge Repair

I recently acquired this quilt from my mother in law. It has a long and storied past...

I was helping her clean out one of her storage closets when we ran across it. She had forgotten where she was storing it and thought that maybe she had thrown it away without remembering. It was made by her mother in 1951 as a wedding gift. My MIL never thought it was big enough for daily bed use so she put it away and never really used it. She has many quilts made by her mother, so none of them were particularly special above the others. And when a quilt isn't big enough for a bed it gets put in a closet.

When we pulled it out it was severely damaged. The top and bottom edges were moth-eaten and torn. She wasn't sure what to do with it so she said I could have it and "do whatever you want with it." In the back of my mind I knew exactly what I was hoping to do with it but I didn't tell her for fear that she wouldn't let me have it.

When I got it home I spread it out to inspect the damage. There are definitely lots of places where it is worn, but I could still see the beauty of it and wanted to fix it.

So I cut off the two edges that were so badly damaged, tore off the remaining bits of the binding, and set off to rebind what was left.  I found an almost perfect match to the original green binding in a country cotton.  The color is called Honeydew.

My MIL has asked me about the quilt since bringing it home, so I got up the nerve to tell her what I was doing. Surprising enough she was very excited that I fixed it and am giving it new life at my house.

I was a little bit nervous that I'd end up ruining the quilt, but in the end I figured it was better than leaving it in rags. I am SO happy that I did this. The quilt is still very beautiful to me even if it's not in perfect shape.

I think I'm going to hang it in my living room with the others.  I'm hoping my quilt club ladies will get excited about it when I show them this month, too.


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