Strawberry Jammin'

Sunday, September 23, 2018

2018 Strawberry Preserves
Strawberries went on sale for $2/lb, which is the right price for canning cherries & strawberries (& blueberries/raspberries, if you're lucky to see them so cheap!). Peaches, plums, apricots, apples, etc. you can usually get at slightly better rates.

So. Yes. Cheap strawberries. I bought six pounds and ended up with the following:

  1. Whole Strawberries in Vanilla Syrup from Marisa McLellan's Preserving by the Pint (of FoodInJars): I ended up with 1.5 pints of the preserves and 0.75 pints of strawberry vanilla syrup (which I also hot water bath canned). The recipe predicts 1.5 pints, so close enough! Some of the jars could've stood to use more strawberries, though. At least the sauce is useful for Italian sodas, ice cream, and yogurt.

    Haven't tasted these yet, but I'm sure they're amazing. You cook them, then let them sit overnight in the fridge, and then heat them up right before canning. So, they're a bit of a pain but hopefully worth the extra effort.
    Whole Strawberries in Vanilla Syrup
  2. Small Batch Vanilla Strawberry Jam from FiJ: The third attempt! In my effort to get 3 half pints instead of the typical 2, I didn't cook the berries as long. Instead of waiting for them to reach 220 degrees, I took them out right when the mixture started hesitating before filling-in the space left by a moving spatula. Apparently, this wasn't hot enough and the jam didn't set...so instead what we actually have is Small Batch Vanilla Strawberry Preserves. We tend not to use jam as a spread too often - I end up eating homemade jams straight out of the jar! So, having preserves instead of jam is no major loss here.
    Vanilla Strawberry Preserves
  3. Small Batch Strawberry Balsamic Jam from FiJ: I haven't tried this yet, so who knows how it'll come out! I ended up with 1.25 pints, instead of 1.5 pints, which is pretty close!
    Small Batch Strawberry Balsamic Jam
  4. Strawberries went on sale again for $2/lb, and I made FoodInJar's Strawberry Kiwi Jam, but with 1.5 lbs of hilled strawberries. I scaled up the sugar & lemon, but only used 3 kiwi. Should use more next time!! (although, I haven't tried it yet, so who knows how it tastes!)
    Strawberry Kiwi Jam
Vanilla Strawberry Preserves Whole Strawberries in Vanilla Syrup Macerated Strawberries & Strawberries in Syrup

X Puppy

Sunday, September 16, 2018

X on the ground
In my post announcing the arrival of our kitten ~6 years ago, I mentioned how the responsibility is frightening. Well. Here I am with a 10-week old puppy and my life revolves around trips outside to pee, and cleaning up pee, and pulling lotto tickets out of tiny little jaws, and waking up at 7am, and puppy-separation anxiety, and every interaction is a training experience. It's exhausting.

She is really cute. Basically, we have a stuffed animal for a dog.

X panting
X sleeping X excited
X running
X camo X leaf
X exhaused
X car ride X sitting
X walking

Painting Wooden Furniture

Sunday, September 9, 2018

When furniture is done curing, replace hardware
It's been 10 years since I last painted my entire bedroom set and updated its 90s-ness to something a little more neutral. That set was sold when we moved from PA to CA, and so here I am, furnishing a 2500 square foot house with a grad student furniture budget. We Craigslisted these two Queen Anne style end tables from separate sellers, and now I've painted them both Benjamin Moore Amarillo to match the Tardis Triangle Quilt. And they're very very cute.

One thing I wish I did, was involve the paint roller from the very beginning of the process, or to maybe purchase a reasonable paint sprayer. There is more old furniture to paint (and plenty of walls!), so it might come in handy more generally. Figuring out where we stored the power sander probably would've been helpful, too.

This round, instead of wood-filling and replacing the hardware, I chose to primer spray + paint spray the hardware a flat black enamel. They now look a little wrought iron-y, but it's pretty much the only color that would work with the sunny shade of yellow. Also, I skipped the layer of Polycrilic, and am instead having the paint cure for 30 days (it's in the guest room, this will work fine). The paint is in a pearl finish, so it should be pretty scrubbable and durable.

How To Repaint Wooden Furniture So It Doesn't Peel in 5 Years!
1. Remove furniture hardware and clean.
2. When dry, sand with medium-grit sandpaper until entire viewable surface is scuffed
3. Wipe off dust with a damp rag, let dry.
4. Apply primer with foam roller, fill in nooks/crannies with a paintbrush.
5. When dry, sand with medium grit sandpaper and wipe off with damp rag.
6. Apply paint with foam roller, fill in nooks/crannies with a paintbrush.
7. When dry, sand with fine grit sandpaper, wipe off with damp cloth.
9. Do not sand the last coat of paint. Let cure 30 days! (or cover in a coat or two of Polycrilic, similar to steps 6 & 7)

Light coats
First coat of paint, lighter than this!
Completed Repainted Yellow Nightstands
Completed Repainted Yellow Nightstands

Success: Mini Cannolis

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Filled & Dipped Cannolis
Maybe it was The Great British Bake Off churro episode, but here we are with a plate of homemade cannolis, using AllRecipes Cannoli/ recipe. The dough was intense to roll out. And then there's the temperature setting on the oil, the wrapping around the cannoli forms, the frying, the form-removal, the cooling, and finally the filling-making and filling. It's a bit of a process!

Reviews from the family were that they are pretty good, but the filling could stand to be a little sweeter.

Frying the Cannolis
Frying the Cannolis
Filling the Cannolis
Filled & Dipped Cannolis

The New House

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Backyard
That up there is the view from our first house's dining room!

Sometime around the post on our last apartment going up, we bought a house! No more moving! (Except, perhaps, in 5 years, depending on how things play out).

The House.
house-46
House Layout - the downstairs House Layout - the upstairs
It is a time capsule from the late 1940s, with a healthy amount of wallpaper. Some is metallic wallpaper, which means it's so old it's coming back into style. Although, it's also so old that it's cracked, peeling, and desperately faded.

Kitchen
Kitchen
Dining Room
Dining Room
Downstairs Bathroom
Den
Office
Office
Living Room
Living Room

The house has tons of space (2000+ sq ft) and the most amazing view from the backyard. It also happens to be biking distance from my workplace. Which means that, aside from being a ton of work, it's absolutely fantastic.

Stairwell Stairwell
Upstairs Bathroom
Guestroom
Guestroom
Bedroom
Bedroom
Basement
Basement
Laundry Room

Plenty of sunlight and space for a garden (which is now overgrown), and even well-established peonies in the front yard! The first time Jim mowed, it took 4.5 hours to trim the whole acre...

West Sideyard
Frontyard (east) - Peonies!!

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