I took a special interest in canning a while ago, but this last weekend was finally able to try it out for myself. My grandma used to can when my mom was little. She did it as a way to feed her family for very little and waste practically nothing. I admire her dedication. I personally just loved the idea of preserving food with out using gross preservatives, plus any time I can make something myself, it’s a win in my book.
I chose 3 basic recipes to start. I’m happy that I thought to stop myself there as I really could have easily gotten carried away. I opted for a cherry jam first as I had a whole bag of cherries sitting in the refrigerator just begging to be made into something.
I first had to pit the cherries and that was messy and time consuming, but really I didn’t mind as I did it while chatting and hanging out with my mom and sister. Time spent in the kitchen is never time wasted.
For the cherry jam, I followed this recipe.
The next thing I really wanted to make was pickles. My household goes through pickles like they’re going out of style. Plus it seemed like the best thing to pickle, you know a pickle. It was fun thinking that soon these cucumbers would be crunchy pickles. The terrible smell of vinegar in the whole house should be worth it. I hope anyways. These ones have to sit sealed for 4-6 weeks to lock in the flavor.
I followed this recipe for the pickles.
The last thing I made was apple butter. Growing up in California, we always had the best apple butter around so this one brought back memories too.
Here is the apple butter recipe I followed.
Here are a few things I learned:
-My canning kit was beyond worth the investment. I bought this one.
-Keep in mind that someday you’ll probably want to take off the lids to enjoy what’s inside. Use the lid tightener with that in mind.
-Don’t get over zealous your first try. 3 recipes took me a while.
-You truly have to wait for the jars to cool before they will seal. Don’t panic if you take them out of the water and it takes a while for the lids to pop. (That indicates they’re sealed)
Have you ever tried canning? Have some favorite recipes to share?
For my mom and my stepdad the 4th of July has a dual meaning. It’s also their wedding anniversary. I love that there every year they get to be surrounded by friends and family to celebrate their anniversary as well as enjoy a good BBQ like the rest of the country.
This year in particular was a big year. They celebrated 10 years. I thought that a milestone like this deserved a special gift and since I’m all about the homemade gifts, I went to work.
I’ve seen these family established signs around before and I thought it would be the perfect DIY for this special occasion.
I headed to the Re Store. I’ve probably mentioned this place before as it’s the best for projects. I picked up this cabinet door for $2.
Then I picked up some wooden letters at the local craft store. I bought enough of these to spell out their last name.
I could have just painted them black, but I opted for a bit of dark stain instead so you wouldn’t miss the wood grain on the letters completely. You could certainly change up your colors here by painting either the letters themselves or even by painting the door. I just wanted a simple black and white look for this one.
The stenciling was the most difficult part. I used a pencil to trace the letters directly onto the door and then used the smallest paint brush I had to fill them in with black paint. Let’s talk about having an anxiety attack. Painting small letters required me to be very still, employ a steady hand, and take my time. I got it finished and although it was stressful, I’m happy with how the lettering turned out. These stencils are available at your local craft store and they come in all kinds of sizes and typefaces.
I completed it by drilling two holes in the top and using thick rope as a hanger. I love the final look and it was the perfect gift for celebrating a decade.
I’m pretty excited for a long weekend. Thursday through Sunday will give me some much needed time to dive into some projects, finish up some lingering ones, finally clean my house, and even squeeze in some relaxing time.
In preparation for the actual 4th of July holiday, I thought it would be nice to make some homemade popsicles. Plus, I needed something to bring to the party at my parents’ house and I’m never content to show up with just chips in a bag. No offense to those chip bearing people. I’m just crazy out of my mind.
I checked around online and ended up finally just throwing some stuff together and creating my own.
Pureed frozen berry mix, lime soda, stevia packet, greek yogurt, and some coconut water.
Bottom layer: Pureed strawberries and lime soda. Middle layer: Greek yogurt, coconut milk, and a stevia packet. Bottom layer: Pureed blueberries and lime soda.
I hope you like my super technical recipe. Yikes. I kinda made it up as I went along with what I had. The layered ones took a bit longer as you need to at least semi-freeze each layer individually. Also, I only bought one box of popsicle molds yielding 4 popsicles at a time making this project take forever. I didn’t consider this when planning to bring multiple to a party. I really should think my commitments through all the way. Oh well. I think I’ll make these all summer long. What a nice treat and reward for surviving another 100+ degree day.
Every year I look forward to Independents Week here in Arizona. It’s a week long initiative, June 30th through July 7th, encouraging us all to go local by supporting as many locally owned businesses as possible. To give you a little push, Local First partners with hundreds of local businesses to bring you the GOLDEN COUPON!!! This coupon gives you 20% off at all kinds of amazing participating local businesses. Every year I like to pick one from the list that I’ve never been to and check it out.
Head over to Local First to get your coupon and see the list of participating businesses.
If you’re in Arizona I hope you’ll join the thousands of consumers and hundreds of businesses who participate in this statewide celebration of the local and independent businesses that are the backbone of the Arizona economy.
If you’re not in Arizona, Independents Week is part of a nationwide campaign facilitated by the American Independent Business Alliance. Check out their website and see what is going on in your area. Even if there isn’t a state official program yet, you can still support your local economy and the small businesses in your area this week and every week.
We’re crazy! There are so many amazing restaurants to choose from here in downtown Phoenix, and all of them equipped with air conditioning. That doesn’t seem to matter as Laura and I ventured out yesterday to Food Truck Friday.
Every Friday, Phoenix’s best food trucks get together at Phoenix Public Market and the hungry masses gather outside to enjoy some great grub. Food trucks have really become quite the thing here in the valley of the sun and most of the year it’s beautiful out and the perfect lunch time choice, but yesterday was record breaking heat. We were troopers and stuck it out under the misters and shade.
We went for a favorite called Short Leash Dogs. These are no regular hot dogs and the owners Brad and Kat are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. They always know my name when I walk up, which I find to be impressive every time.
I went for the ‘Aiko’ with mango chutney and Laura went for the ‘Lady’ with chipotle cream cheese … oh, and fried pickles, always go for the fried pickles.
Every order comes with a Dum-Dum, which is what we felt like for braving the heat on one of the hottest days of the year. Regardless, it was a great afternoon spent with good company.
Illustration via hellomila.com
Hey guys! I’m excited to share my first DIY post in this space! This one is SO easy you’ll kick yourself for not doing it sooner. Lately I’ve seen the old macrame style plant hangers pop up everywhere, and while they range from the basic one I’m about to show you, to extremely detailed and intricate ones, I thought it would be nice to start with a simpler design. Once you master this one, challenge yourself and go big!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Potted plants (for this project I chose lightweight plants in plastic pots; although twine is relatively strong, make sure your plant isn’t too heavy.)
The first thing you do is cut eight pieces of twine and knot them together, leaving a bit of fringe at the end. I wanted my hanger extra long so I made my twine 48in in length, but you can adjust accordingly. Next, divide your strands into sets of two, and knot together. Ok this next step is the trickiest part of the whole project: take one piece of twine, and tie it to its neighbor (not the guy it’s tied to, does that make sense?). Make a tight knot. You will begin making a net pattern this way. Repeat until you have two rows. Believe it or not: that is IT. You’re done! Place your plant in the center of your net, bring the twine together and tie in a knot about 3/4 of the way up, then again near the top, leaving a loop for hanging.
Like I said, this is SIMPLE. The finished hanger looks so great, and DIY is always best I can’t wait to try this same method using thicker rope. The possibilities are endless!
Today marks six years since I said ‘I do’ and made a life-long commitment to my very best friend. Today is for antique shopping, lounging on a patio somewhere, probably a nice dinner, and just some quality time.
Here’s to our last anniversary as a family of two and the new adventure ahead.
Have you heard of Thrifty Hunter Magazine?
If not, get on it!
Thrifty Hunter is a brand new online magazine that is all about vintage and thrifting style. Since I love both of those things, I couldn’t say yes fast enough when asked to contribute the wardrobe for a Fall submission.
I got the pleasure of witnessing Alex of Ave Styles and Michelle of Michelle Herrick Photography do their thing. I helped with a few skirt buttons and lent my glasses, but I was certainly there to learn. I asked a ton of questions and made the occasional input, but these ladies rocked it. When the issue is published, I’ll be sure to share the final photos.
*All images are courtesy of Thrifty Hunter Magazine, Spring 2013 issue.
You know what is the best? New friends are the best! Especially when it feels like they’re old friends. I’ve been following Laura online for a while and we seemed to run in the same crowd of people. A few blog and instagram comments later we recognized each other at a local event and before you knew it we were having the most amazing conversations and quickly realized we’re cut from the same fabric. It’s amazing when it just clicks! I feel like I’ve known Laura for years. We both have a love for community and were instantly trying to figure out how we could support one another. Having Laura on this space feels like the perfect fit and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
She is going to be sharing some amazing DIYs for you here, so be sure to make this a regular stop. You’re not going to want to miss anything from this lovely lady.
Read more about Laura on her bio page.