Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Homemade Apple Cider

It's that time in Michigan when the leaves are turning color and my thoughts turn to apple cider and donuts.  But until last year it never entered my mind to make my own.  

When we bought our place out in the country there were four apple trees.  Over the years I've made apple pie filling and applesauce to store in the freezer to have through the winter.  Two of the trees eventually died but we discovered two more had grown where their seed was dropped so we have those two out in the field.

But I had gotten to that point where I didn't want to store up on apple pie filling and applesauce.  And yet, I hated to see the apples go to waste. This year my two older trees were nice and green however no apples.  The two out back had just a few.  I breathed a quiet sigh of relief that this year, at least, I didn't have to do anything.  Enter my friend.

"Our trees are loaded.  You've got to come over and get some apples."
"We've taken what we want.  Do you know how much applesauce I have made?  The neighbors have been here, the kids . . . get over here!  The branches are still weighed down."

Mumble, mumble.

I brought a bag home and looked at my husband.  "Should we try our hand at cider?  We talked about doing it last year, remember?"
"Too expensive."
"Actually no.  I found a press for around $60."  We discussed it.  I researched it further.  From the reviews the press worked well however, there was a lot of cleaning involved.  Not a fan.

And then I opened a magazine.  How to Make Cider Without a Press.  I read through.  It sounded easy.  Actually my biggest problem was finding cheese cloth.  Every place I went was sold out.  Eventually I found it and we were in business.

 The two of us worked for an hour and fifteen minutes and then we were done.

 I wrapped up the cloth tightly and laid a dutch oven on top.  My husband filled a water jug full of water and set that inside.  Now it's got some weight on it.  Leave for 4 hours or over night.

I got the jars ready!

And then the next morning:

Hmm.  Okay.  So you get a lot more with pie filling and applesauce, but . . . this was delicious.  

My husband thought that for getting 26 apples ready there should be more.  He tried his hand at squeezing.

                                                             Okay, doubled our profit!

We don't know why it's a different color but it's also delicious, even though it's a slightly different taste.  He thinks it's sweeter, I think it's less apple tasting.  

Went back to my friend's house and got two more bags.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Handkerchief Quilt

I have been given several handkerchiefs and wanted to do something with them.  Here is my first start.  On the outside edge I have appliqued fabric plus machine embroidery.

Although I sewed around the outside of the handkerchiefs there are two that have a fancy corner and I wanted to showcase this somehow.  So I hand embroidered a little surprise underneath each one.

                             I have over 100 handkerchiefs to go!  Need some new ideas!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

My Kind of Trees

Recently I was reading someone's comment on a quilting blog that they had had to help someone clean out their relative's fabric stash as the person had passed on.  She talked about what a daunting task this was (?) (Personally I'd love to go through someone else's stash and check it out          however . . .) Her recommendation was that if a person had that much fabric they should be using it.  At least make the top.  It was a lot easier to go through tops than fabric.

I thought about that.  I do have plenty of fabric and recent events have given me time on my hands.  Nobody ever said I had to make these tops into actual quilts.  What if I did go through all my books/magazines/printed off instructions and made the tops?  What a concept!

I have several boxes full of scraps and I love making these into diamond shapes.  The thing is I have 3 quilts made exactly the same.  They look different as far as scraps and background however, the same pattern.  I need to find a new pattern and I found this one in American Patchwork & Quilting, February 2018. Here it is.  In case you can't tell they are trees.

The butterfly background I have had since I worked in a quilt shop in the '90's.  And it's now small enough that it can go in the scrap box (Yay!)

I am also making my quilts, for the most part, smaller.  I don't need more quilts on my bed.  I have three spots in my house where I can hang and change out quilts/tops at will.  If I do decide to make it into a quilt it won't cost me as much as a king size and it won't take me as long to get the binding on.

Also, since I have an embroidery machine -- put that thing to work!  I have a couple of designs that form a frame.  I'm going to do up those and attach them to my tops. I've seen so often someone finding an old, beautiful quilt while they're out shopping and they have no idea who made it or any of it's history.  The time that someone put into that, lost forever.  So your family isn't interested.  Someone out there will be. When I'm gone and my kids take these to the Salvation Army or Goodwill or wherever, my name with information will be there for the person who finds it and actually wants it.

Can you imagine 100 years from now someone saying they have an old quilt by J. R. Armstrong.  'Oh, I have one, too.'  'So do I!'  'How many do you think are out there?  Maybe we should compile them in a book?'

Hey!  What if one of my quilts ends up living on Mars?