Sunday, August 23, 2015

Elderberry Simple Syrup

Hello friends! I feel like it's been forever since my last post. The girls are officially back to school and I'm slowly getting back into the routine of things. Home projects and work (the paying one) has taken up so much of my time, that I literally can't remember the last time I got to sit and sew. Since Autumn is right around the corner, I've been spending any free time making plans and progress for next years gardens ~ both flower and vegetable. Am I going to sound crazy when I say I really can't wait for cooler weather? I'm just so ready to call it complete and head indoors! But the prime fruits of all this labor should not go unnoticed. Take for example the lovely elderberry (sambucus nigra). Those flowers turned into some gorgeous, deep purplish pink pods. And even though I could've made pie, I opted for some simple syrup ~ a little daily vitamin for the family! Here's how I made it:)

I started off with a pint size of elderberries. Wash them thoroughly.
Place them in a shallow cooking pot. (Just a side note ~ I love to use enamelware when making syrups, jams, & jellies. I love that you can see the color & consistency better.) 
Add 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water.

Bring these to a rapid boil and then let it simmer/slightly boil for 30 more minutes, like the picture below.

It's hard to skim off the foam while the syrup is cooking, because the berries are so small.
Using potholders to protect your hands from the heat, pour the syrup through a strainer and into the jars.
Discard the berries and skim off any foam. You won't be able to get it all but try to clear as much up as possible. If you leave the foam, you have the potential of getting mold much sooner since it is trapped air. 

While hot, place the lids on as tightly as possible. As the syrup cools you will hear a pop. This is your seal!

Keep your cans in the fridge after they have cooled off. I'm thinking this will be enough elderberry syrup to get through the winter and flu season. Take a teaspoon of this syrup every couple of days with some lemon water. Elderberries are beneficial for so many reasons. They fight upper respiratory infections, yeast infections, asthma, allergies, and cholesterol. These are two pretty precious cans!!

Happy Trails till next time!

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Shattered Chevron Quilt Top

Oh my, has it really been so long since my last post? I guess so.... Well. Summer is moving rather quickly and we're already getting prepared for the back to school season. Do I dare admit I chuckled a little when I wrote that? 

On Instagram, quite awhile back, I posted the start of a really pretty quilt pattern. A shattered chevron layout with the 'arrows' off center. Even though it was extremely easy to make and piece together, I didn't complete the quilt top till this past week. And I'm going to tell you why.

When I buy fabric, I usually get it because it's on sale or it's one of those 'gotta have it' moments. Is it horrible that I'm admitting not all my fabric purchases have a purpose or project planned? Talk about a fabri-holic..... Anyway, I originally purchased navy kona cotton just 'to have' with the possibility of starting something new. Little did I know I was going to learn a tough lesson... I did start something but as the project progressed, I saw that I didn't have enough navy left. So, I went back to Joann's and to my surprise, the navy swatch from home and their current bolt were 2 different shades. Seriously. I asked the store clerk how it could be and she said something about when the manufacturer mixes the dyes, every batch may slightly differ in color. What!?!?!?!?! You mean, I'm half way into this project and now nothing! No, no, no. I didn't want to turn this into another table runner. I went to all 3 Joann's in the surrounding areas and no luck. All I did was waste a bunch of gas! Until.... I went on and noticed that they have every kona color out there!! And I probably shouldn't be advertising this to the public but I messaged Kimberly and asked if I sent her a swatch, could she match it for me? To my surprise, they did!!! She matched it perfectly and within 10 days I was finishing up my project. Yahoo!! Thank you thank you thank you so much Kimberly and Kim for helping out! This is just another reason why I love this online shop soooo much!

The contrast on this piece is stunning and I already have family wanting dibs on this one;) Quilting lesson learned... always buy more fabric than you need.... I don't think my husband likes the idea of that:) 

And I almost forgot to tell you how fast you can make one at home. For this project, I cut 8, 9" squares of each art gallery fabric pattern, (except for the top and bottom ~ I only cut 4 of those prints). 32 ~ 9" squares of the solid color.  Solid on print, with right sides facing, pin the block and draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. Sew a 1/4" seam on either side of the line and then cut on the drawn line. I got 2 hst's from one pinned square. 

The total quilt top measures 65 x 65:)

Happy trails till next time!