Good afternoon everyone!
We in Canada were lucky this week to have Canada Day on Thursday. For me, it coincided with my summer hours week, so I got Friday off as well (at my job, we work 45 minutes more each day during the summer, which earns us every second friday off!). Faced with this long weekend, I wanted to get a lot done.
One result of weddings, that I hadn’t prepared for, is the mess. Firstly, you’re bringing home a bunch of stuff you didn’t have before (yay gifts! Oh wait, that includes ALL of the decor too!) and no where to put it. It also means all of those jars I used for centerpieces came home with flowers in them. I’ve been slowly working towards reclaiming our home. I feel that today, finally, I’ve made head way. All the flowers have been composted, water dumped, jars washed and sorted. I’ll be selling some of them, and keeping the few that I really love. Unfortunately, with these flowers, came some of the BIGGEST EARWIGS I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. Yes, they warrant caps lock. Seriously. Thank god I have a fearless husband manned with huge shoes to destroy them.
I know that that’s not a very Yay Nature! thing, but I have this understanding with creepy critters. In your environment, I’ll leave you alone. My house, however, does not welcome anything between 5-7 legged critters. Spiders I can handle, because they eat things I hate. And they are master weavers. Bugs though? No way. You know, I thought about posting a picture of an earwig just now, for those of you who don’t have them, and I just couldn’t do it. No way I’m letting one on to my blog! UGH.
They are truly my most hated critter. Unfortunately, I live in an area where they prosper. HATE. Ugh.
So, back to happy things: This weekend has been productive. I did some cleaning at The Big House (the family home), did some banking, cleaning and, completely unexpected: Bought my first vehicle.
My last car had been a gift. When my father died, my Mum gave me his ’96 Volvo so that I could get back and forth to work, and to her place to get her to her many doctor’s appointments. Unfortunately, as you might remember me talking about, I crashed it about 7 months ago:
I’ve only owned one other car before that, and it was extremely brief. And wasn’t really mine. My Dad bought a Volvo and was going to sell it to me. I took it on a few road trips and then decided that I didn’t want to keep it. In fact, even before we left I decided I didn’t want to drive it, so my best friend, Isaac, drove it on our road trip out East.
It was a great car, but I was having major stress issues dealing with it being a standard. You see, I never really learned to drive a manual car properly, and it was just too much for me to drive for 22 hours straight. So, I gave it back to my Dad when we got back from our Summer travels.
I’ve never actually purchased a car, had it put into my name and owned it, all on my own. Every since the crash, I’ve been needing a vehicle to get around. My Mum’s van has been useful the last few weeks, but we’re sending it back to the dealer soon and I don’t want a minivan. So, Pat and I started our searching and very randomly came across a 2000 Subaru Outback with a bunch of scratches and almost no rust. It’s in great condition and the scratches make me less worried about keeping it pristine. So, allow me to introduce my new baby, Betty Joan:
Her name is both a nod to Mad Men, as well as a reference to her license plate. I obviously can’t tell you much about it, but it does include the letters B and J. She’s a great car that will definitely serve our family as it grows. We aren’t planning on having kids right away, but certainly within the next five years. We wanted a vehicle that could handle all of our stuff (including our 85lbs dog) and any potential babies. I think she’s just great :)
In other news, I wanted to share some of my wedding crafts. Now that the wedding is over, I feel that I can finally share some of the things I made for it.
Heriloom Wedding Garter
Pattern: Knitted Lace Wedding Garter
This garter was actually a really fun quick knit. Because of the yarn I chose, I had to change the pattern quite a bit. It still ended up HUGE, but absolutely gorgeous. The yarn was just the most beautiful stuff I’ve ever knit with, though not the easiest to work with. The glitter separated from the yarn, and didn’t have the same stretch. Winding it was NOT fun. In the end, I only wore the garter for a little while, because it was just too big and too warm for me to wear at the end of June. It’s definitely going into my cedar chest for my kids though.
Jam Wedding Favours
I decided quite early on that I wanted to make jam for our favours. It suited our rustic and DIY theme. This was especially true once we decided on mason jars as the centerpieces. For the recipe, I used the one on the quick set packages. I found it too sweet for my taste, but it was also my first time using Quick Set (with sugar already included) as opposed to pectin. The jam was straight up strawberry. We made 85 small jars (I think they were 1/2 cup?).
How to make your own easy peasy jam:
1. Boil your jars and lids for a good 10 minutes at a rolling boil. This makes sure you get all the nasty bacteria out. Remember, when removing them from the water to use sterilized tools, and NEVER touch the inside, the mouth or the bottom of the lids with your bare hands.
If you have a pressure cooker, I’d definitely recommend using that to sterilize instead. But, boiling works fine so long as you’re careful and quick.
2. Cut up your fruit. In our case, a BUNCH of strawberries. We cut them pretty chunky, because I find it easier to mash bigger pieces. Depends on the consistency you like.
3. In our case, we just threw all the strawberry bits into a pot with some lemon juice and boiled them. Once they started to boil, we added the quickset. The key here is stirring. Keep on stirring and mashing up the big pieces.
4. Once the jam has boiled for some time (I think it was about 10 minutes, but I’d have to check), you remove it from the heat and start skimming the cloudy stuff off the top. Personally, I put the skimmed bits in to a bowl to eat with fresh bread or shortbread cookies.
5. Once all skimmed, ladle the jam into your prepared jars. Get the lids on quick, as it’s the heat of the jam which will pull the lid down into a seal.
For storage: If you plan on using the jam right away, keep it in your fridge once cooled (Hot glass + cold fridge = bad news!). Otherwise, you can store it in a cool dark place for about 3 months. Longer if you freeze it instead (which is what we do. We’ve used jam YEARS later, if its been frozen). When labeling, make sure to include the date made.
Some great labelling pages: Eat Drink Chic
What I did:
-Printed one set of labels on Staples Brand labels (Ours read Strawberry Jam. Handmade with Love. Heather and Pat, 26-06-19). Those went right on the jars.
-Printed another set that read “Spread the Love! Heather and Pat, 26-06-10”. These went on plain white tags, also bought at Staples. We then used some of my scrap yarn to attach those to the lid. We were lucky that our jar lids were so pretty, so I didn’t feel the need to add fabric, though you can. Just be aware that this has to happen as you’re closing the lids as it goes between the middle lid and the outer ring. Be careful that you’re spooning the jam in cleanly, otherwise you’ll get jam all over your fabric.
Hope you enjoyed!! I’ll be posting more of my crafts over the coming weeks.