Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Saving Strawberries For Later

Sally and I got up bright and early this weekend. Why? We had a date with a strawberry field. The night before we went had included a big storm and the morning we went was on the chillier side. In short, it was the perfect conditions for slugs! There were slugs of all sizes on the berries, on the leaves of the plants and on us. The field was really wet, but the brilliant people at Bauer Berry Farm had spread hay between the rows of berry plants. We stuck with it and both ended up with a heaping flat of berries. I took mine home and spent a big part of the rest of the weekend processing them.

I cleaned, hulled and froze almost 2 gallon bags full. My plan is to pull these out for smoothies long after berry season has ended.

I put my new canning supplies to use with a batch of strawberry jam. In the process I learned that there is actually more sugar in jam than there is fruit! I was not thrilled with that knowledge and actually wish that I could unknow it. Next year I will look for some preserve recipes that are lower in sugar. Despite my realization about the sugar content, I am still pleased with how it turned out. I made enough for use now and some to store for later.

I also dehydrated a batch of strawberries in our food dehydrator. Drying them doesn't really give you the most bang for your buck but I enjoyed having them on hand last year. I mostly used them in steel cut oatmeal, but this year I'd like to try them in baked goods and/or homemade granola.

In addition to all of this saving, I had enough left to bring some to work for coworkers and enough to leave a bowl in the fridge for eating this week.

Next up: pesto!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Project! Vortex Shawl

Ahhhh. I had a very blissful evening recently when I ignored all of the things that NEEDED to be done in favor of doing what I WANTED to do. Paul had a friend over and grilled us all a lovely dinner. After dinner, they watched the NBA draft while I went out to the deck with the dogs. I drank wine and knitted on a new project.

Vortex Shawl in a raw silk yarn from Carpool

The yarn was working gorgeously in the stitch pattern, the pattern was intriguing yet easy to memorize, the wine was the perfect accompaniment (garnished with a little lime and a few raspberries from my yard), the weather was perfect, none of the neighbors were making a ruckus, Jack napped underneath my chair and Tchazo explored the yard. Perfection.

Monday, June 28, 2010

First Peapod and a Big Storm

Pea season and storm season have both started in earnest here in Minnesota. Last week we had a big storm with ominous skies and strong winds (tornadoes in the state). This week we had 2 big storms with hail, green skies, heavy winds, torrential downpours and flash flooding.

Last week's storm caused one of our tree branches to split off and land in the neighbor's yard.

In the photo above you can see the spot in the tree where it split apart from the tree. We thought it might have been lightning but the neighbor kids were outside and said they didn't see any lightning. They did see sparks as it went down though, because it hit our power line and our neighbor's line.

In this photo you can see that the tree is resting across the neighbor's yard and on top of their lines (the top of the tree is being held up by their lines). Luckily it didn't land on any fences, buildings or cars. While we were on the phone with the electric company, the neighbor came outside and hoisted the tree off of the cable and power lines. He touched it! Live wires! It wasn't the smartest move, but it did help with the immediate situation. The power company made 3 visits to our block last week to fix the issues with our lines and with other lines that were also damaged in the storm.

I have learned that storms are a lot scarier when you own a big tree and a house. We experienced a little water in our basement with the most recent storms and the tree situation with the storm before that. Luckily nothing too awful, but I never used to worry about this stuff before I was a homeowner!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Made in the Shade Weekend

tags for the sale

Now that it has been a whole week since the sale, I should really get this post up! It seems my computer is on the mend so I can finally show you these photos of the sale.

Tarnish and Gold's building reminds me of a home in California. They converted the space from a raw, garage space into a mixed use, studio and exhibition space. The artisan fair shared the gallery with a Chairman Bob show that was already hanging on the walls.

Jessy and Paul in Jessy's space with a bit of my table and a glimpse of Missy

Jessy, Missy and I had our spaces by each other so we could hang out together when things were slow. I would say two of the major elements that made the sale so fun was being table neighbors with these ladies and being paid visits by lots of friends and family.

It was slow enough that I got plenty of knitting and chatting done, but busy enough that it was worth being there. I sold statement necklaces, earrings and lots of resin necklaces (no takers for the stitch marker necklaces!). Missy and Jessy had successful sales, too. Maybe there will be another fair in our futures.

In addition to the Made in the Shade sale, last weekend I also attended the Etsy Craft (Birthday) Party at Crafty Planet. There were lots of crafty people, lots of sweets and a little bit of crafting.

After a full weekend of socializing, I was pooped! It was totally worth it, though.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Just a quick note to let you know that I am having computer issues that are preventing me from putting up a proper post with pictures. I like posts that are accompanied by photos best, so please bear with me for a bit longer. I should be back up and running again soon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Made in the Shade: Sneak Peak

This coming Friday and Saturday (ETA - Oops! It is Saturday and Sunday!) I will be participating in a local artisan fair. Tarnish and Gold, a new non-profit gallery in NE Minneapolis is hosting the event. I know I will be in good company as my sister Jessy and my friend Missy will also be vendors there. I have been very busy making things for the fair and have come up with a stock of jewelry I am really excited about. Here is a little sneak peak for you.

There will be a wide assortment of stitch marker necklaces

A fun variety of earrings including stones, pearls, glass and metal charms

A few select statement necklaces like these two with carved rosewood and stone

Resin pendant necklaces with vintage sewing notions, fabric, buttons, lace and much more

As I mentioned, my sister Jessy will also have a booth. She will be there with her mixed media wall art made from found materials. She includes lots of awesome rusty bits and you know how I love rusty bits! Her resourcefulness amazes me and the end results are both beautiful and gritty.

I don't have any pictures to show you, but Missy will also be there with handmade handbags, clutches, wallets and other assorted sewn beauties to hold your things.

If you would like to visit us at the fair, here is the info:

Made in the Shade
Tarnish and Gold Gallery
Saturday June 19 and Sunday June 20
1511 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis

If you aren't able to make it to the fair, please stay tuned! I will be posting a lot of new stuff to my Etsy store in the next few weeks.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Getting 4 (FOUR!) raspberries today has helped me forgive Tchazo for his trespasses. And so begins the daily visit to the raspberry patch. I need to pick daily in order to get the berries before the neighborhood creatures (or the dogs) get to them first.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


The story:
This morning I went outside to check how all of the plants are coming along and to pull up a few weeds. Upon inspecting the raspberries, I noticed that a few of them were starting to turn pinkish. I found one in particular that was farther along than the rest. This one was big, plump and nearly ready to be picked. As I held it between my fingers, I decided that with one more day of ripening this would be the sweetest and tastiest little preview of the berry season. I thought that I could pick it today but it would be better if I waited another day. I let go of the berry and turned to the next branch to continue my survey. Mere seconds later, Tchazo came up and SNATCH! He ate the first berry! Pulled it right off the branch! I was stunned. And then I was ticked off. Damn berry thief!
The scene of the crime:

The criminal:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June State of the Garden Report: Potted

To save space and to prevent the problems that invasive, perennial herbs can cause, we elected to plant all of our herbs in pots this year.

On our deck we have:
Rosemary - plant from Mother Earth Gardens
Chives - transplanted from my mom's garden
Spearmint - plant from Mother Earth Gardens
Parsley - plant from Mother Earth Gardens
Cilantro - plant from Mother Earth Gardens
Garlic Chives - transplanted from neighbor's yard
Marglobe Tomato - heirloom plant from my dad
Sweet 100 Cherry Tomato - plant was a gift/hand-me-down from neighbors

Earth Box of Sweet Basil
started from seeds
The seed packet was from 2005. I wasn't sure they were going to sprout, so I planted them really thickly. Sprout, they did. We are working on thinning them out so they have space to grow big and full. Pesto, here we come!

We are borrowing a few of my dad's Earth Boxes and custom made cages so we can grow a few things on our driveway where the sun is strong.

2 of of the boxes have tomatos in them. The varieties are:
Pear Tomato (plant from dad)
Sweet 100 Cherry Tomato (plant from Mother Earth Gardens)
2 Marglobe Tomatos (heirloom plants from dad)

1 box contains all of our pepper plants, including:
6 yellow bell peppers (plants from Menards)
1 sweet red bell pepper (plant from Mother Earth Gardens)
1 green bell pepper (plant from Mother Earth Gardens)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June State of the Garden Report: Fruit Bearing

Last year I had a pretty good crop of raspberries. By last fall, I had researched the variety enough to know that it is everbearing and that pruning them requires good timing. I didn't want to mess it up, so I didn't prune them at all. They seem to have thrived in the neglect with the tallest shoots measuring over 6 feet tall!

There is a solid wall of berries forming on them.

I am looking forward to the bounty of berries to come. From my experience with last year's crop, I know they freeze really well. I used my frozen berries throughout the winter in baked goods, smoothies and oatmeal. I am sure I could find plenty more things to do with them if this year's crop is bigger.

We are also going to let our apple trees fruit this year. Last year I picked the apples off. Hopefully it will pay off this year. I have noticed that a bit of the apples have become shriveled and yellow. I am not sure what that is about. Upon the advice of a tree guy I talked to, I did hang sticky red balls in the trees. Fingers crossed that I get enough apples to make Paul that apple pie I promised him!

This year we are limited to these two fruits. In the future we hope to add a strawberry bed and a rhubarb plant or two.
Late breaking news! Last night we harvested the first thing out of our garden: a radish! We shared it. It was zesty and so very fresh.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June State of the Garden Report:: In the Ground

Are you prepared for lots of green and brown? Now that the planting is done and the growing season has begun, it is time to document the state of the garden. We are splitting our gardening space this year between an in-ground garden, various potted plants and our existing fruit bearing trees/canes. Through the rest of the week I will be posting a status report on our various gardening projects. We've been spending a lot of time and energy in our yard!

Overview of the garden: left side.

Overview of the garden: right side

Broccoli, Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts
Started with plants from Mother Earth Gardens
Marigolds planted throughout for their rumored pest deterring qualities

Approximately 300 onions - red, white and yellow
started from onions sets (bulbs)
white and yellow from Menards
red from Mother Earth Gardens

Beans - Bush Blue Lake 274
These are the second planting. The first round were from seeds I had bought 3 years ago and stored improperly. They never sprouted. These seeds popped their heads up suddenly and aggressively in the time between my morning and afternoon weeding sessions.

Cocozelle Squash, Buttercrunch Lettuce and Grand Rapids Leaf Lettuce
all started from seed

Heirloom Sweet Peas
started with seeds from my dad
pea trellises built as a collaboration between my dad and Paul

Homemade Pickles Cucumbers and Mesclun Mix Lettuce
started from seeds

Straight Eight Cucumbers
started from seeds

Fiskeby Soybean (Swedish variety of soybeans, Seed Savers Exchange)
started from seeds
We planted a row of these and only 2 came up.
Hopefully we will have better luck with a second planting.

This last shot is a doozy. We planted a bunch of 4 foot rows from seed. In those rows we have:
Collards - Vates Non Heading
Swiss Chard - Red and White Mix (Organic)
Kale - Dwarf Blue Curled
Radish - French Breakfast (Heirloom)
Carrots - Touchon (Heirloom)
Carrots - Carnival Blend (Organic)
Beets - Chioggia (Heirloom)

Total in ground garden space is 11 feet by 29 feet
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