Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adventures in canning!

Part II: can- kinda

Well,  I am sure that all  eight of my loyal followers have been waiting with bated breath for the second installment in my canning adventures, so, here you have it...
After my foible with jam I thought I'd move onto something a bit more manageable... TOMATO'S!  I bought a lovely bunch of various colored cherry tomato's at our local city market.  I layered the tomatos with garlic, basil, salt and pepper in my scrupulously cleaned jars and voila, I was nearly done!  (Already I was loving the vegetables way more than the jams!)
Because of some crazy acidic magic that happens with the tomatos and air pressure these jars did not need to be boiled in order to form a seal.  I put them on a baking tray and set the lids, loosely, atop the jars.  After a while (unfortunately I cant find the recipe and can no longer remember the exact time, dur), I removed the tray and screwed on the lids!  
This whole process was really simple and I would almost say that I was satisfied with my efforts, BUT.... unfortunately I did not pack my tomatos in the jars quite tight enough, so after the tomatos cooked and reduced size by about half, I was stuck with several jars of beautifully sealed half-full jars of 'maters!  ahh, woe is me and my kitchen catastrophes.  But don't worry, I did not give up on my culinary genius yet...there is still one more installment to come in my canning adventures... can you bare the suspense?!!!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Adventures in canning!

Part I: can-NOT....
This summer I felt the sneaking suspicion that I might be a culinary canning genius.  This assumption was completely unfounded as I have never before canned anything, let alone seen it done! But after reviewing several books borrowed from the library, consulting my friend, Lily (a seasoned canner), and borrowing a giant pot from my aunt, I tried my hand at making and canning strawberry jam.

 The part I was most apprehensive about was immersing the cans into the pot to seal, for some reason, this seemed really intense and stressful to me.  Well, it started off well enough... easy ingredients... strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, you mix and mash it together and then let it boil up.  It was at this point in my efforts that things went all awry.  The instructions told me to let the mixture simmer on the oven for fifteen minutes.  I took these fifteen minutes of down time and sat outside, where there was a breeze (much appreciated after the hot kitchen), and flowers to be watered.   When I walked back into the apartment I was overwhelmed by smoke and the sweet, sticky smell of burning sugar!  I rushed to the oven to see a thin layer of boiling red goop covering a thick layer of black caramelized char!  I quickly poured the so-called jam into my awaiting jars and tried in vain to scrape the chunks of strawberry from the bottom of the pan.  I was so flabbergasted and aghast by my situation that I just plopped my jars into my sterilizing pan and presto, my cans were sealed! (well, more like ten minutes later, my cans were sealed).  

In the end I had six jars of off-colored jam with a layer of foam on top (In my rush, I'd forgotten to skim the top layer off the jam, woops), and a giant, borrowed, pan with a solid layer of black char adhered to the bottom! 

Since this unfortunate first attempt at canning, my culinary skills have improved (but that is a story for "part II"), but I am still stuck with, what is most likely, inedible strawberry jam (without strawberries) and a woefully destroyed stainless-steel pan!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

angel math...

I'm tired and worn out from a great, fun-filled labor day weekend, so this one is gonna be short and sweet! I thought I'd give you a look at one of the projects I've been working on a lot lately over at the Kansas City Ballet...I am refurbishing the childrens angel costumes for the nutcracker performance by removing a worn out layer of black/gold netting and adding some seriously needed bling!  so....


minus this....

plus this....

equals this.....!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

work patterns

some of you may know that I started a new job this summer at the Kansas City Ballet.  My official title is "assistant wardrobe designer" but what I do is work in the costume shop making and altering costumes for the ballet dancers.  Each day is different, some days I am dyeing fabric, some days I am altering costumes that have already been made, or making brand new pieces by draping and patterning; most days I do a little of everything... I am surrounded by fabric and costumes and I've been noticing lots of beautiful patterns that I wanted to share with you!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

flying felt

In my free time lately (when I have any),  I've been fooling around with needling felting, yet again.  I love using roving as a medium, it's fairly manageable as a sculpture tool, and oh so gratifying (if you work in a small scale, like me)!

I made one of these little birdies (using wire for the legs, and neutral colored roving), and I decided that I needed an entire family of sweet little birdies.  They have each taken on their own personalities depending on their size and shape, such fun!  Any ideas of other sweet animals I should add to my felted friends?