Thursday, October 24, 2013

Taken captive by the canning bug!

Yes, this fall I really got into trying my hand at canning different things. It started with the peaches; I'd been at a friend's house while she was canning peaches and it looked simple enough that I decided to try it. After that I did 4 different kinds of jellies, some apples, and most recently pineapple! :-) I was shopping in Aldi, and found a good deal on pineapple. (99cents each) I bought a bunch! I mean like over 30 of them! Somewhere between 30 and 40 pineapple. Several were eaten fresh...there are still a few to be eaten fresh. Yum! A few were chunked up and put in the freezer. About 19 of them went into quart jars, and they were sooo pretty!!! See pictures below v

 Canned in a light syrup and water bathed for 20-25 minutes like the ball book says.

I wanted to share this blog post mostly to show what I did with the scraps and cores of the pineapple. I wanted to see if I could make pineapple juice from the scraps. So just like I would cook down apples, mash them, and strain out the juice, I tried the same thing for the pineapple. Since I had been also making apple butter, I had apple scraps too, (apple cores and peels) so I cooked down apple and pineapple together. When they were done cooking I mashed them with a potato masher and then went on to my straining. And this is what I took pictures of because its a great way to do this that I'm not sure many people are aware of. Use...get ready for this...panty hose! My sisters did this a couple years ago when they were making blueberry jelly. It works wonderfully if you don't have a super nice juicer. See pictures of the process >>> (oh! I just remembered that I have the pictures from when my sisters did this too! I might have to share!) 

After I'd cooked the pineapple and apple until soft, I put it in the food processor and liquified it. 

Then, taking knee high panty-hose, I stretched it over a pitcher where I was going to dump the liquified fruit.

The pitcher's purpose was mostly to hold open the panty-hose while I dumped in the fruit. I moved to a bowl in the sink where I had more room for squeezing.

 Works like a charm!

Okay, now onto sharing pictures of what my sisters did too :-)

 As I was looking back through the pictures, its just mind blowing the mass of blueberries they had that year! This was in 2009. I went picking this year and I tell you what, it was a really bad year for blueberries. I hadn't been since 2010, which was a good year.

They started with a pot full of blueberries, filled water just to the top of them and boiled them down until they were mush.

 Ooh, swirly!

I know....I know, I KNOW!!! How in the world did they ever have that much blueberries! I can't get over it. This year I had next to nothing in comparison :-P 

On to Juicing.... 

Pour the cooked down berries into a panty-hose knee high and squeeze!

 Its nice to have help when you're doing this.

 Blueberries will stain your hands!

Good grief! 

lol! :-)

 This year I learned that since blueberry is so strong, you can make it go really far by doing a ratio of 1 to 4 of blueberry juice to apple juice. Yay!!!

Well that's it, please do pin and share!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Where the seamstress went...

Here and now...and some past

**A few thoughts I had started to share in a group on Facebook turned into a news update lol! I actually moved the *now* thoughts near the bottom, after the last picture, because it didn't make much sense to have them at the top. I'm posting this in the sewing blog as well as my personal...just so everyone knows where I went! Its been a while since I've written anything!**

Between January and July I had more sewing orders than I needed/wanted. It was a good time of being really busy, but by the time June got here I was in over my head with more work than I could do sewing wise. My mom and sister, Isabel, took on some work too. When I got so many...I guess I could have kept them going but I just felt swamped and needed to slow things down. Orders have been closed since the end of June, but I didn't get them all out until the end of July. I became busy learning about canning different things (other than salsa which I'd already achieved in previous years) Here's a picture of what I've done this year... Its not much compared to lots of crazy canning people I've come across in the canning groups on Facebook, but I'm slowly working on learning more. On top its all Jelly. Blueberry-Peach, Blueberry, Peach, Apple Blueberry. The second shelf is peaches and apples. Bottom shelf, and what is beside the bottom shelf is all salsa. Random jars off to the far left are more of what didn't fit on the shelves.

 (later realized that a hand full of jars didn't make it into this picture)

We went on vacation to the beach early this month. My whole family went. It was different this time, my little family was tagging a long with my big family. *Being the oldest of 9 makes it a big family* :-)  I remembered as a kid/unmarried person, when going to the beach we always made sure we took at least 2 swimsuits with us. (the girls would anyway) We'd come up from the water and change into a dry suit, wear that until we went back to the water. I remembered that we even slept in them :-) Those suits always were so comfortable. Good memories.
 Jubilee had 2 suits this year. I had one. But I didn't need more than that. I didn't spend near the amount of time in the water that I had in my younger, more care free years :-) This time I would go up to the room at mid day, do lunch, put baby down for a nap, do some cooking... yep it was different having my little family at the beach. 
In 2011 I had gone to the beach with my family, and without my husband (who was working in another state). At the time I was expecting Jubilee. So this year was the first year that Jubilee and Josh were actually with me at the beach :-) Here's 3 of my favorite pictures we took one evening at the beach... 

 I got lucky catching this one, they were playing peekaboo behind the tree and the camera kept wanting to focus on the tree. Its still not the most clear on Jubilee's face.
 More peekaboo. Jubilee was being a stinker and wouldn't smile.

Josh and I

At the moment my house is a wreck. I know its mostly because I'm in a phase of pulling out maternity clothes and putting away ones I know I won't wear for a while. Also putting away summer clothes, for my daughter, Jubilee, and pulling out fall/winter things. And getting ready for baby in the new year...and lots of other organizing things. But man, is it nuts here right now! I really wanted to get house in order for hubby coming home tomorrow night...but who knows..he may not get to come home until the weekend if he's slammed at work anyway.

My most recent project is training panties for Jubilee. We started on Thursday, and I'm really pleased with how well she's doing. I got into the training panties sewing project and found it to be a bigger pain than I'd thought. Having my machine act up on me really compounded things for me. (I don't want to talk about it. Not now anyway) From where I sit now, I know that I could very easily be happily, busy with preparing for baby, sewing some maternity clothes, and whatever other projects I felt like until baby comes...and never even get a back to swimwear. (I do have several friends expecting and I need some time to make baby shower gifts!!!) BUT...I really wanted to get a pattern out before baby came. So I'm still going to try for that. But gee, I'm busy! I am thankful to the Lord for my little family, our church family, and I am especially thankful that this pregnancy has been much easier on me than my first. It is what I asked for after all lol! I asked the Lord for an easier pregnancy, and He certainly gave it to me :-) Really I was mostly asking for an easier birth and recovery...and....I'm still praying for that! Goodnight all!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Impressive job by my Mother-in-Love

I'm going to take a minute to bragg on my Mother-in-Love, Jackie, and share some pictures of a swimsuit she made for her Daughter, Amy. Last Spring my Mom and I hosted 2 sewing classes for several friends and family members. I demonstrated one style and my Mom did another. This spring Amy was in need of a suit for camp. With only a few days to spare, Jackie whipped one together. She sent me pictures of the finished work.

I didn't take the time until I was about to write this to ask Jackie how she'd gone about this, since I knew she didn't have a pattern. So I've just gotten off the phone with her. I didn't know if she'd taken the suit Amy had used in the past couple years or if she'd just taken a tank and pair of shorts that fit Amy, and gone by those. She said she had the suit out to look at, but mostly went by a tank and shorts that fit Amy snugly, just as my mom had taught the ladies to do in the sewing class last Spring. This is also how I was taught to make swimwear. Only later did I develop and use patterns.
 Jackie said she'd used a pair of knit shorts from Target, and an under shirt type tank. Jackie also viewed a picture of the girl's ice skater suit to get an idea of how full the skirt was to be. She did a really great job of recalling all the sewing steps, and her work looks very nice! The belt is different than I've seen before. Jackie said Amy had been given a pair of swim bottoms at one point in time which had this scrunching effect. Its cute. I was pretty impressed, and so was my mom.

Polka Dot Suit with Solid Skirt

I'd had this suit in a bag, unfinished, for a while now... too long really. Yesterday my sister Isabel helped me finish it, and then modeled it for me. Sisters are great aren't they? :-)  I wanted to share the pictures to show how the print is used for the top and pants, but the skirt is solid. Its just a bit different. Sometimes you can't imagine how something will look until you see it. Just another cute version of modest swimwear :-)

Foldover Band (with better pictures)

I've posted about this Foldover Band before, but the pictures I had were not very good at all! This is another option for a waist band which doesn't use elastic, just the stretchy swimwear fabric doubled over into a 3" waist band.

This option is very comfortable, and its really great if you've just had a baby, or if you have a bit of a 'fluffy' middle. This won't cut into the waistline like an elastic band would. Even though I use 3/4" elastic which is a nice thickness, this is even more gentle with the waistline.

Shown here with the nursing top the bottoms were ordered with.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Girls Scrunch Top and Bottoms

This is something new I decided to try this year. I wanted to try something a little different for my little toddler. Something other than the regular modest swimwear tank and skirt top with shorts under it. I've done the women's scrunch top with bottoms and loved the way it looked. I wanted to try the same thing for girls, only slightly less complicated. This one does not have adjustable ties. Not that it couldn't, I just figured it didn't need them. I mean, think about bow ties that other children might pull on, that might get caught somewhere, and they'd never stay tied nicely I'm sure. I eliminated all those probable issues by substituting with elastic added to the inside seam. Here are the pictures in the order I made them.

At the lake

At the beach!

I was about 5 months along, expecting baby #2

I was lounging in a chair, taking a mini nap, when I looked over to see my girl mimicking me haha :-)


This next one I made for my little cousin

I'm still working on this so that its made in sizes from Tot to Teen

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Evolution of the Swimsuit

My mother-in-love sent me this video and I would like to share it with everyone. Its a little long, but very worth watching. Here is another woman, perhaps more accomplished than I, who has a swimwear making company. I have seen her suits online, and though I would not be comfortable in them (just because I've been so well covered my whole life, I can't seem to do less :-) And my husband wouldn't want me to), they do cover more than many modern swimsuits. Her message is great! It comes with some research about how men view a woman in a bikini, pretty interesting stuff. I think my favorite suit she has is the Holly:

 Unfortunately I couldn't get the video to embed here so here's the link from youtube: Evolution of the Swimsuit

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Busyness (not exaggerated)

Wow! That's about all I can say about the volume of emails and orders I've received this year. I guess I should say "Praise the Lord!" My dream of selling modest swimwear online definitely came true. I'm hoping my next dream comes true in the beginning of next year...stay tuned :-) In May of this year I had more orders than I had the entire previous year. Recently, as in 2 weeks ago, I had orders coming in every day, 1 or 2 each day for more than a week. Now, really, I'm not used to having so many so close together. Maybe 4 most in a week. Not 10 orders with over 15 one week! My turn around time has gotten pushed back a bit and at the moment I've put a hold on orders until I get these cleared out. Its been really crazy. Some very late nights and no time to do a few things I really want/need to. Like tend my garden, (its over run with weeds, and if I get it will take a lot of work) and teach my daughter (20 months) to swim. We did get in the water some today, though I'm not pushing the swimming thing quite yet. My swimming teacher (the best teacher in the world!!! Shawn Morgan) says that the first step is to get them comfortable and enjoying the water. So that's what we worked on today. And I'm getting off track... lol! Back to the busyness... 

Now, my mother, the one who taught me to sew swimwear has come to my rescue in this busy season. She started with a lady who wanted a rush order of 3 girls ice skater suits. I knew I had no time for anything else, so I called her up and asked her if she wanted to take the order and make some money sewing?? We worked out a little deal, I would cut the suits out and she would put them together. She did a great job! See her work... 

My mom is really awesome, what more can I say? :-) She did these and 2 others in the past 2 weeks, and she'll be doing another this week :-) My sister, Isabel, has also been helping out. She's kind of in apprentice mode. She's doing really great with some things. Like, there was this other lady in Costa Rica last week who wanted a rush order. Again, I had no time for such things. She wanted a nursing suit. Isabel hadn't done one of those before but she'd done several scrunch tops. Isabel spoke up and said she'd like to give it a try. So she sat down next to me on the living room floor, with her fabric and pattern. I also had fabric and the same style pattern in another size. We sat side by side and worked on the cutting. We sewed at the table going through all the steps together. She did great with every step up until the very last step..which was turning the neck binding in and doing the decorative top stitch. This, she messed up royally. Frustrated I dismissed her for the night and decided to finish it myself. I didn't have the time to do this suit, let alone rip out the neckline. And oh my word...she used so many tiny stitches that it took over a half hour! Needless to say, I was NOT thrilled. Frustrated though I was, she had been a lot of help lately and I knew I should look at all she had accomplished and how far she'd gotten the project. It was after all, on its last leg. Its finished now and we got that one out ahead of time. Not so with a couple that I couldn't get to this week. A first for me and I'm definitely not happy about it. I will probably have 2 ladies asking where their suits are. Darn! This is why I'm taking a little bit of break on orders. I like to get the suits to the customer in 3 weeks or less. This week, that's not going to happen for 2 of my orders :-( I either have to accept a certain number per week/month, or just tell people when I have a pile that the timeline gets pushed back. Working through it, and I'm glad to have a mom and sister who sew and can lend a hand if needed. Mom is getting one more order this coming week. ...oh Isabel did these... 

I'm signing off now, its late and I'm not at home at the moment. I'm at the lake :-) My Honey is probably wondering if we're going home or staying over at the lake with my family like we did last night. I'm not yet sure which we'll do. I better go work it out with him :-) Night!