Monthly Archives: May 2010

Cherries!

Yesterday I looked out the kitchen window, and saw a beautiful robin sitting on the branch of our cherry tree, tugging at a ripe yellow cherry. While its a treat to have cherries and robins in the yard, we already have a bird feeder and I have no interest in also offering our cherries as an all-you-can-eat to the local wildlife. So yesterday afternoon, with a break in the rain, we harvested the cherries.

I felt a little like Anne of Green Gables as I walked across the roof of the shed to reach the high branches, and we worked out a good picking system that involved me on the roof with the rake and Hubbs on the ground with the pool net…

We washed and pitted, baked some into a cobbler and canned the rest into 4 mismatched jars.

Canning is really so much easier than I thought. All it takes is a big pot of boiling water and and a colander insert so the jars don’t touch the bottom of the pot. Boil the empty jars you’re going to use to sterilize, pull them out, fill them with cherries, pour in simple syrup, screw on the lids and boil again for 15 minutes. And there you go! Canned cherries. (there are a few more details to know before you start, but that’s about how simple the process is) I really like canning in small jars in small batches – you can start and finish the project in less than an hour.


So cherry cobbler last night for dessert, and cherry cobbler again this morning for breakfast, cherries in the freezer and cans of cherries in the cupboard.  I think I’m going to like cherry season beginning in our backyard.

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A Clever way to Organize Paper

Along with valuing cleanliness, it is apparent that the previous owners also valued organization. An engineer lived here with bulky blueprint rolls to store, but he didn’t settle (like me) for cramming his important paper in a box under the bed. He came up with a way to keep rolls of paper easy to see and access, while protecting them from becoming crushed or dog-eared. It is also easily customizable so that multiple sizes of paper can be accommodated.

His solution was easy: 2″ x 3/4″ boards, with holes drilled in them at 2 inch increments. The ends of quarter inch dowels are shaved down so that they fit snugly in the holes, but are easy to wiggle out and rearrange. The dowels can be moved farther apart to hold wider rolls, or moved closer together for smaller ones.

The two boards are screwed onto the walls about 11 inches apart, being sure that they aren’t walls that get direct sunlight. I was so excited to move my art paper to a place where I can see it all and be inspired by it! These organizers are mounted above a counter, which will also make for a wonderful wrapping paper station with all the paper  sorted and organized. What a simple solution.

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The Best Bath Yet

Its evident, by the stellar attention given to the details in each of the bathrooms in this home, that the previous owners valued cleanliness. The master bath came with not only a fancy bathtub, but 3 manuals on how to … Continue reading

The Flavor Bible

My Hubbs loves unusual foods. He is super-sensitive to smells and has a high appreciation for a stinky Blue Cheese or a good nose on a wine. This makes him so much fun to cook for – the less conventional, the better!

For his birthday I gave him a book called the Flavor Bible, which I knew he would enjoy. The book is divided up in alphabetical order by any type of ingredient you could imagine, and it gets pretty specific. For example, under L,  you will find separate entries for:

Lettuce, General

Lettuce, Bibb

Lettuce, Bitter Greens

Lettuce, Mesclun

Lettuce, Romaine

Whew- I never considered that all those types of lettuces had different flavors! The authors have taken each ingredient and described its taste, its weight, and other characteristics, and then they lists of flavors that pair well with the entry. The flavor combinations are ranked by how well the flavors combine, the best of the combinations being designated as the “Holy Grail” pairings, and are quite familiar. (Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter – no surprise there)

Its been fun to find new ways of cooking common ingredients by looking them up and seeing what the book has to say. They put together food combinations together that I never would have considered like recommending pineapple with rosemary, lavender with ice cream, and highly recommending chicken with cinnamon. Sounds like I’ve got some kitchen experimenting to do.

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Saying Goodbye to the Cottage

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Well friends, Hubbs and I have bought our first house. Its just across town, and its wonderful. We had a great run in our little cottage and so its sad to say goodbye to the cozy adobe rooms, the tomatoes … Continue reading

Inside Out Wrapping

The antique pin I showed yesterday just didn’t look right sitting on the generic jewelry gift box fluff-square that the store gave me. And I wanted the pin to be nicely presented as Mom opened the box. So I chucked the fluff and wrapped the inside of the box instead of the outside.

Some glue, paper scraps and memories of 2nd grade diorama book reports took care of the inside. Small boxes can be so tedious to wrap, it probably took the same amount of time to glue paper to the inside as it would have to fiddle with the tiny paper folds on the ends of the box.

Rather than let the pin rattle all around inside, I put a puddle of Elmer’s white glue on the bottom, and set the pin on the glue. (If I had had more time I would have propped it up so that it dried perfectly straight- but that just wasn’t in the plans) It dried overnight and I didn’t hear any rattling when I shook the box. (phew!)

When Mom opened the box, the pin was nicely framed on the paper, like I wanted, and it was very easy to pull out without damaging the brooch. Gluing the gift to the inside of the box wasn’t such a bad idea!

More to do with Lavender + Rosemary

My rosemary wreath still hangs on my front door: the leaves have all dried to a beautiful silvery green and the lavender heads look like small clusters of grapes – it makes me smile every time I see it. When I went out into my garden yesterday morning to collect some flowers for a Mother’s Day Corsage, I thought of herbs as I passed by the wreath and remembered how wonderfully fragrant the combination was. I picked a small bouquet and wrapped it tightly with some grey coated wire. Then I snipped all the stems nice and short and grabbed a pin.

Making a corsage out of herbs makes it a little bit sturdier than out of a big delicate flower. I knew Mom would be getting lots of hugs and so wanted to give her something that wouldn’t get crushed or fall apart. And when she’s done with it, she can hang it upside down to dry, or put it in a small muslin bag to toss in with her winter clothes as she puts them away for the summer.

Here it is along with her Mother’s Day present (the vintage brooch). Love you Mom!