Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Flea Market and Thrift Store Finds

blog july 09 002 I found some needles!  I found some needles!! For over a month I have been bidding on numerous lots of knitting needles and crochet hooks on ebay, but I kept getting outbid at the last minute.  Finally at a flea market, I hit the jackpot!  Two lots of needles and hooks for less than what I had been leaving as my maximum bid!!  It’s been fun to sort through them and match them up.  Some were brand new and still in their original paper sleeve.  Look at those huge yellow needles – what will I ever knit on those!??  I wonder if they all came from the same person?

Then, on another thrifting adventure,  my luck continued, as I found this .blog july 09 006 ..  10 skeins of virgin wool from Scotland, along with a piece of wool fabric!!!  The picture doesn’t do justice to the gorgeous indigo color of this wool.   And look at the original price tag, $70.00!!



blog july 09 004 

I got the whole bag for $6.00!   I would love to make this into a shawl for the fall.    I think there is enough fabric for a skirt, too. 


I love it when I find great stuff like this!

Happy Thrifting,


Friday, July 24, 2009

In a pickle

A farmer’s market recently opened in our neighborhood.  It is open every Friday from 3 – 7 and I try to stop by even if it is just to browse.  We live in the city, but we grew up in the rural, agriculturally-centered, Midwest.  Now, although I love the market dearly, –especially for the sense of community it is promoting in our neighborhood- I still have a hard time paying big city prices for fresh produce!  Yet, on the other hand, it is hard to not drool over the freshness and quality that I just can’t get at the grocery store.  So, as a compromise, each visit I try and treat our family to one item that is at the height of its season.  This week it was pickling cucumbers.  They looked nice and the price was right:  3 for $1.  Pickles 001

I used a standard freezer pickle recipe.  It uses only a few ingredients and makes up quickly.   I made a batch and a half which used only 6 of my pickling cukes.


Freezer Pickles

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 cup white vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

5 cups cucumbers sliced very thin with skin left on.

In saucepan, combine water, sugar, vinegar, and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Turn off heat and let cool.  Meanwhile, wash and slice cucumbers.  Place sliced cucumbers in freezer containers leaving 2 inches headspace for expansion.  Divide syrup amongst containers, (do not overfill, but make sure cucumbers are mostly covered).  Crumple a square of waxed paper and place over syrup-covered cucumbers (see picture below), cover with tight-fitting lid, and freeze.  Thaw to serve.  Makes about 5 pints.

Pickles 006

  These are going to be a sweet, bread & butter type pickle.  They are good by themselves or excellent on a hamburger, tuna salad, or a cold roast beef sandwich.

Happy Pickling!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Slowly, but surely…

I am working on my quilt-a-long projects.  Slow and steady, steady and slow has been my mantra for the last few weeks.    I have finally gotten my strips sewn together and cut into blocks for Old Red Barn's quilt-a-long.June July 2009 103   Whenever I sew more than 3 or 4 strips together, I get some distortion.  I always make sure I alternate sewing direction with each strip, but it doesn’t seem to help.  The next time I do strip piecing I’m going to try sewing  groups of three strips together and then join them with another group of three (or two, etc).

Of course, I started another project, too.  This one is giving more immediate gratification - I am almost done!  It is for a small, strip-pieced  bag found hereJune July 2009 104

The pattern is intended for use with the pre-cut Moda HoneyBun strips, but I simply cut my own.  I also didn’t use the fusible fleece called for in the pattern (simply because I didn’t have any), but instead used a sew-in, heavy weight interfacing.  I really like the “body” that the interfacing gives to the bag and will definitely use it again if I make more of these.  (I am thinking of making several  for Christmas gifts.)

Summer is flying by, although we haven’t seen much of summer weather here in the New England states.  It is hard to believe August 1 is just around the corner!  The girls have been a big help this summer and, as a result, I have let them experiment a bit more in the kitchen department.  DD#1 made this dessert a few weeks ago.  Since it uses the crock-pot (and, in my humble opinion, is one of the greatest inventions known to man!), it’s nice for the summer months as it doesn’t heat up the kitchen! 

Triple Chocolate Mess

1 package chocolate cake mix

2 cups sour cream

1 small package chocolate pudding

1 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup oil

4 eggs

1 cup water

Grease or spray crock-pot with oil/butter.  In large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients.  Pour into crock-pot.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.  Serves 8.