Thursday, May 10, 2012

Home-made, Hand-made

I have really embraced making things from scratch.  For those who don't know, I'm a baker at heart.  I make quite a few cakes for family, friends, and folks who are referred to me from family and friends.  There is a 'joy' from making something from your heart.  And I truly believe that.  
As I get older, (that sounds funny to me) I enjoy the simpilier life.  I enjoy a really good, home cooked meal.  As well as the process.  I still make my turnkey stock the old fashion way.  I still brine that holiday bird.  And I still enjoy the 2 day process of it all.  (Thanksgiving dinner is an absolute feast for my family.)  
A few years ago, I found a recipe for Blueberry Maple spoon fruit.  Its fresh blueberries that you cook and can.  The blueberrry mixture is so thick and rich, you spoon it on whatever your heart desires: ice cream, waffles, pancakes, you get the idea.  I never canned before, so I was pretty excited to try.  Well, the spoon fruit came out wonderfully and the experience I had canning (all by myself) was wonderful.  My full attention was on what I was doing, and the mere process of it all, was rather therapeutic.  
A few weeks ago, my oldest granddaughter asked me if we could cook something.  After several questions as to what she wanted to make, I discovered that she wanted me to teach her how to can.  Isn't that just precious?  Well, she wants to make cherry jam.  Ok, I have to admit, the thought to pitting all those cherries, was not an excitement I wanted to endure.  So, we agreed on Strawberry Jam.  
I can buy Strawberry Jam at any grocery store.  Heck, we all can.  So, let's use our time and efforts alittle more productive.  We made Strawberry Lemony Jam, and Vanilla Strawberry Jam.

The recipe for Vanilla Strawberry Jam, calls for a Vanilla bean cut in half and length wise to be added to the strawberries when you are cooking them down.  The Strawberry Lemony Jam, calls for the grated peel to be added to the strawberries when you are cooking them down.  We also cut our sugar from 7 cups to 4 cups.  I added a half a pat of unsalted butter to the cooking strawberries, so it wouldn't foam.  We canned these wonderfully delicious jams in these little jars.  The write-on labels will come right off in the wash.  I wrapped this beautiful red striped baker's twine around the lid and made these cute tags.

Note: these were canned 4-25-12.  I wrote the wrong year.
To make the tag, I colored a strawberry stamp with red and green markers and stamped on a wood sheet from Stampin' Up!.  I used a 1 1/4" circle punch to punch out the tag.  I used a fine tip sharpie to write the canning date.  I punched out a tiny white cardstock blossom, added a yellow brad to its center, and attached to the baker's twine.  On the back I wrote on three lines:  3 weeks opened ~refrigerate~  1yr on shelf.  Some of these little yummies will go along with hand-made, hand-stamped Mother's Day cards I made.   It's easier for me to mass produce, so here is a sample of the 26 cards I made.

I made them in a variety of different colors, but they are all the same.  I don't have 26 mothers, but I know 26 very special ladies who are mothers.  So, these will go out in today's mail.  I'm hoping the buttons don't make the postage crazy high.  Typically a flat card (which is hard for me to make) costs 64 cents to mail using the U.S. Postal Service.  A card with bulk, but fits in a regular envelope costs $1.24 to mail.  So, hopefully this one is closer to the 64 cents, and not more than a buck.  We'll keep our fingers crossed.  
For more details on the making of this card, please look at this post.  The change I made was adding the banner piece for the sentiment, and the button center paper blossom.  But, the technique remains the same, as well as the large background stamp I used.
Thank you for stopping by.  I hope that your week holds a chance for you to express yourself creatively.  Take care!
Note, I don't want to sound lazy, but we opted for Jam versus Jelly because of the whole cheese cloth and measuring the liquid process.

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