I will calm down back into my more normal sedate manner now. No photos this post, by-the-way.
I have been making items for sale for the upcoming holidays. I know some people think the Russian Needlepunch and beaded boxes are pricey, yet I am only making about $3 an hour, and that does not take into account the cost of supplies. Wally World prices are expected, not quality handmade items?
I have a few fulled knitted bags with beaded trim I need to photograph and post. I like how they came out. Right now I am making book weights to hold one's book open while reading. I knit and read. I eat and read. I read whenever I can everywhere I can, except in the shower and while sleeping. Being able to have my book stay open while doing something else is a necessity for me. Many people are similar. I do like my Kindle 2 but I love my real books more, especially when color is a necessary part of what I am reading. Gray-scale sucks for gardening books, especially when the colors of a bug or disease is being viewed.
I have also been canning and dehydrating many food items. With all of the disasters- tornadoes, flooding, drought and the failure of Monsanto's piezon crops (not drought-resistant and super weeds, besides being filled with pesticides and herbicides that are appearing in people's blood now), food will become even more expensive next year. Besides, home-grown is higher in nutrition, tastes much better and very satisfying to produce on your own.
I had some canned milk a few months past its sell-by date. Note- one really should make sure it is no more than 1/8th of an inch deep and to very lightly oil the leathers. I did neither and lost a batch. I may try again another time. Why dry milk? Have you priced it lately? Dried milk is excellent in breads and to add richness in some soups and gravies.
I canned some applesauce and rose hips in apple juice. The former came out well. The latter... Well... It is a sweet syrup. Good to sweetened coffee or tea, maybe. I sweeten neither. (sigh) The rose hips smelled like artichokes while cooking. Even the addition of applejuice as the cooking liquid did not take away the slight taste of artichokes. Weird, huh?
The pickles came out beautifully and we finally got to taste them and the dilled carrots. Yum! All the jams came out tasty, what is left, that is. I need a whole room to hold jams and jellies for Himself to imbibe, I swear.
I also learned to dehydrate potatoes. I steamed the slices for about 7 minutes, then sprayed with cold water, being impatient and wanting them to cool quickly. I dipped the slices in a mixture of 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 tsp. citric acid and 1 3/4 cups of water. I then dehydrated them. They came out lovely. That finished, I decided to try mashed potatoes. Ahem. First, I should of made them soupy with water like fruit leathers. I only added some lemon juice to keep them from browning and looking ugly. When dried, I broke up the sheets and ran through the blender to a small granule-like texture. At worst, they will be great for thickening soups and gravies. I have not had the nerve to try them reconstituted back into mashed yet.
Fruit Leathers and (sort-of) RecipesI made my first fruit leathers, too. I had two cans of jellied cranberry sauce. (Hey... I like it.) I mixed the cans with a bottle of cranberry and pomegranate juice and a package of pectin. I brought it to a full boil, then cooled it in the refrigerator. I poured the mixture on barely-oiled leathers and dried. (American Harvest/Nesco dehydrators take 1 1/2 cups liquid-y mixtures per sheet, btw.) Oh man, tasty! I then tried cherry juice with puréed cooked apples and 2 tbsp. of pectin. It came out rough on top and the flavor is sweet, but not cherry-tasting. A bust. (sigh) I used applesauce last night with cinnamon added. They are also rough on top because I did not liquefy the applesauce first. It is cooling. It should be tasty. I need to make raspberry for the grandson, and try strawberries too. I found wrapping them in plastic wrap is Not A Good Thing. It gets too moist, though it was properly dried. I had to unwrap all the cranberry leather rolls and re-wrap it in waxed paper. I then used a piece of masking tape to hold the roll in place and wrote what flavor it was on the tape. Parchment paper, the top pick for most people who make fruit rolls (leathers), is very expensive and the tape will not stick to it.
Now... I must peel up the applesauce leather and get it wrapped. Tomorrow we may go to a "You pick" apple orchard to get more apples. It is also the last day of our local farmer's market. That sucks. There is so little left in our garden now except for the tomatoes trying to ripen. The ability to walk outside the door and pick our dinner has spoiled us. The canned and dried foods will do, but... Ah well.
Oh yes... I was attempting to double knit a bag using the method from "Double Knitting" by M'Lou Baber. A Very Cool Book. Cool method. I was trying to do too many things at once and ended up ripping it apart. I will try again when I have less to distract me, like a garden and such.
I have not put the button eyes on the grandson's hat and must get that done. I know there was something else I wanted to make before we went down for our Hallow-Thank-Mas (all-in-one holiday before winter hits up here) with the kids, but I have seemed to go into brain-fart mode at this point.
I have bored you all too much...