Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hibiscus after the rain.

On Thursday morning August 29 the sun came out after the rain, I took these photos with my iphone 4s.
This hibiscus bush is a houseplant.  My poor plant was infested with spider mites.  After trying unsuccessfully to treat it in the house with dish soap and water.  I put it outside in late June, beside our Saskatoon bushes, where it grew back all its lovely, shiny green leaves and starting blooming again.
Then we had a couple of very cold nights in early August, so my plant was put it in the garage overnight.  The last time it was returned to the backyard in a flower bed instead of by the Saskatoons.  On August 26, I noticed the leaves were turning yellow and falling off again. 
Oh dear there are spider mites in that flower bed.  This time, I bought insecticidal soap, sprayed the plant , then relocated it in front of our deck.  In September, I hope this hibiscus will back in our dinning room and spide mite free.
 These photos were taken inside on June 2, 2013.
 These wonderful blooms only last twenty-four hours.
 A wee bit of Hawaii living in the house!
My double bloom hibiscus in our master bedroom had this bloom on it today.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Lacto Fermenation Dill pickles - with some zip!

Last year I made these pickles with an awesome recipe from the late Alice Andrusek (my great aunt).  Of course, I view most recipes as a guide with ample room for creativity and uniqueness.  I modified her recipe last year by adding raw carrots and fresh hot chili peppers.  This year I was unable to purchase any chili pepper plants.  So I bought dried whole chili peppers.

These Pickles are made by the process of Lacto Fermentation
Recipe for 1 Quart sealer
Put a fresh Dill seed head and one clove fresh pealed Garlic in bottom of a
clean 1 Quart sealer
Add 1 tablespoon of pickling spice if desired
and half a crushed up red chili pepper seeds and all if desired. 
  cut 1/4" inch off both ends before putting Cucumbers in sealers.
Pack Cucumbers in sealer and put more Dill and 1 clove Garlic on top
(Note:  Cucumbers may be cut if necessary to fit into sealer)
Add to sealer:
            1 tablespoon pickling salt
            1 tablespoon granulated sugar
            1 tablespoon white vinegar
Fill sealer completely with cold water, and tighten lid, being careful that rim of sealer is clean. 
Turn over and shake until salt and sugar have dissolved.
Put sealers in a room temperature location such as the kitchen counter, out of direct sun.  Place the sealers on a tray or a towel in case they leak.  It’s normal for the brine to turn cloudy during the fermentation process.
Pickles will be ready to eat (mild stage) in about 4-5 days. 

Open sealers carefully in the sink, or in a large bowl.
  The brine becomes very fizzy (almost like it’s carbonated) because of the fermentation process, and may ‘gush’ out of the sealer when it’s opened.  If there is no fizz at all and/or the brine has not turned cloudy, suspect something may have not worked quite right…but the pickles may still be just fine.
 
Refrigerate after opening.
 
Unopened sealers can be stored in a cool, dark place for several months, and pickles get even better if allowed to get stronger.
In Brandon we are enjoying a bumper of crop of cucumbers.
My laundry tub with this morning's picking from my friend Cindy's beautiful garden and the four plants in my garden.  The white handle with black cord is my vegetable scrubbing brush.
New-to-me three gallon crock purchased in Winnipeg for $25 and freshly washed 4 litre jars given to me by the Salvation Army Dinsdale Personal Care Home.
 
Today I made another four and a half gallons or 17 litres of dill pickles.  Holy smokes!  I sure hope that I'm finished making dill pickles this year.  In my defense, I have given away and/or eaten 16 litres or 4 gallons of them.
These were made in a two gallon crock on Sunday August 25th.  The sealer of water is weighting down a pottery plate to ensure the liquid completely covers the cucumbers.  They are ready to eat.
 Don't they look yummy?
I sliced this one up for my lunch.  It is partially pickled and reminds me of the kosher pickles available in grocery stores.
These three gallon/four litre jars were made on Tuesday August 27th.
I plan to make sauerkraut this fall as well as beet pickles and beet/horse radish relish.
Happy Labour Day weekend all.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Designer Shopping Bags - wedding gifts

I've been sewing reusable nylon and polyester shopping bags for years. This is a stack of ten is ready for cutting.
The ones made now are enhanced with embroidery designs.
This flower was stitched on sideways, it should have been rotated 45 degrees to the left.
Ooops!
 Save the planet!
Machine embroidery video.
For reasons I can't explain, there was a tiny bit of thread looping on the final colour.  I'm sewing another twelve or more of these bags, so hopefully this issue will be resolved shortly.  I tried putting a piece of cotton fabric along the thread path between the spool and the machine, which was supposed to create a little bit more drag.  This was suggested in pattern review, it did not make any difference.  I am using a plastic thread net on the thread and feeding the thread vertically.  Any ideas on how to fix this problem would be welcome.
I do like the finished product.
 
Our nephew's wedding was in Barrhead, Alberta on August 10, 2013, below is their wedding gifts!
Four grocery shopping bags, six tea towels, five red chicken napkins, four knitted dish cloths, four pottery bowls and a cheque.  I made everything except the pottery.  My homemade gifts are made with tender, loving care.  You just can't buy that in a store.
The wedding was most excellent, we had a blast. 
The happy couple.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Singer Featherweight - denim extension table cover.

This is the first thing I sewed with Tinkerbell.
Michelle at Life with Lou suggested that I a make a cover to prevent the extension table surface from hitting the screw in the middle of the faceplate while in the fold up position.
The cover was pieced with scrap denim and the thread that came with the machine.
Michelle is correct the cover does provide a nice cushioning to protect the smooth extension table from that little screw.
 
Here she is all packed in her black box.
Thanks Michelle that was  quick, fun project.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Singer Featherweight - Tinkerbell

Well what can I say?  For a few years now, I have been telling myself not to buy any more sewing machines.  After all, even the most avid sewer can only use two or three machines at once not ten or more.  So my goal has been to own only eight sewing machines and one serger.  From January 1, 2013 until the end of June 2013 I did not buy even one sewing machine.  Then in July, I fell off the wagon buying the Elna 62C and a Brother that hasn't been blogged about yet.

Now along comes August the 1st, and I add this one to my sewing machine family.  It seems that everyone I know who dabbles in vintage sewing machines eventually purchases this model.  My new-to-me Singer Featherweight 221 was for sale locally on ebrandon.
The case is in good condition, I just need to find a key for it.
The little shelf box on the left hand side was not in place, it was missing a screw.  After taking these photos, I got another screw and reinstalled the black box.
 Here she is my tiny Tinkerbell!
The machine base and decals are in excellent condition.
  Complete with accessories and manual.
At only 11 pounds (24.2 kilograms) this black beauty is easy to transport.
 The off-white spool of thread came with the machine.
The bobbin thread is light brown.  Tinkerbell's tension is excellent.
 Her motor runs smoothly and quietly.
I set up the thread guide for a scant 1/4 inch seam for piecing quilts.

The next quilt I make will be pieced on Tinkerbell.
Dear Readers,  Do you have a Singer Featherweight?  If yes, how did you acquire it?  What do you sew with it?
Sigh ~ once again, I am back up to a baker's dozen sewing machines and one serger.
Happy stitching all.