Archive | August 2013

“The Midnight Jammer”

My kids have started calling me “The Midnight Jammer.”

"Drunken Fig Jam"

“Drunken Fig Jam”

August around here means figs. I don’t know if these figs are just happy because they know I bought two fig trees… oh and a house to go along with them, but they are expressing their appreciation in abundance, and these trees are producing 4-5 pounds of fruit every day.

My Happy Fig Trees.

My Happy Fig Trees.

I have been up three nights, just this week, canning. The jam I have chosen to make is called “Drunken Fig Jam.” It is made with brandy and lemon and it is delicious. Here is the link to the recipe and I tweaked it a little:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Drunken-Fig-Jam-350120

I love canning things you can’t really get at the store. Canning is relatively easy if you invest in a few essential tools and it is like summer in a jar. If you have ever opened a quart of homemade applesauce in January, you know what I mean. Or tomato soup. Or apple butter. There is truly nothing like it.

Summer in a jar.

Summer in a jar.

One side effect of canning is learning a little science along the way. Don’t worry, it isn’t that much. But you may learn how to create a vacuum seal, how to sterilize with heat, and how to keep a good acidic balance to your ingredients in order to safely preserve them. This is science in a nutshell, and useful science at that.

Fig-Brandy Jam

Fig-Brandy Jam

It is addictive. Of course, if you’re anything like me, just about anything is addictive. However, there is some thrilling danger involved in canning and one is likely to get hooked.

Boiling Pot.

Boiling Pot.

I am already thinking about the next item on my canning agenda: Basil Jelly.

Basil Jelly.

Basil Jelly.

This recipe for Basil Jelly is from the blog Sweet Domesticity.

http://sweetdomesticity.blogspot.com/2013/07/basil-jelly.html

The fall apples will be here soon and… Yum!

Epilogue

Here is a list of ESSENTIAL canning tools:

  • Canning pot
  • Jar lifter
  • A basket do-hickey thing-a ma-jig that comes with the pot
  • Funnel
  • Food Mill
  • Pectin or Sure Jell (You can buy this in bulk from an Amish Market.)
  • Always use new lids and don’t forget to sterilize your jars and lids and rings in boiling water before you fill and process them.
  • The freshest, most amazing home-grown or farmer’s market fruit and veggies you can get your hands on, including zucchini. It makes great pickles, I promise.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

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An Old Church Cornice

No babies were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Healthy baby.

Healthy, happy baby.

My friend, who will remain nameless to protect her identity, and I had an adventure. On a recent excursion to Community Forklift, we spotted treasure: Antiquities!

Antiquities!

Antiquities!

Or something like it. It was definitely a cool piece of architectural…. something. Something that I knew I had to have. It turns out it was a cornice from an old church. A very dirty old piece of plaster, with foils and a cross in the middle.

The Art Piece.

The Art Piece.

Possibly, I was just delusional after loading 500 pounds of gravel into my friend’s car in 95 degree heat. But there was no price and I had to leave it behind. They let me put it on hold and wait it out until I was quoted a price.

They called me as I was almost home, to give me the price. I pulled over, sleeping baby in the car, and called my friend. I agonized for about 30 seconds about whether to go back and get it as it was slightly over the price I had decided was the limit. I had just helped her load 500 pounds of gravel, so she owed me a favor, and we both headed back to Community Forklift.

In the Dining Room.

In the Dining Room.

 Her simple statement, “it’s really beautiful” rang pure and true in my head.

Cleaned up.

Cleaned up.

When we got back to Community Forklift, I thought it would be easy. Baby was asleep. I ran in and paid for the antiquities in question. The air conditioning was still running in the car. Only I soon discovered it was too fragile and too big to fit in my enormous station wagon… together with the baby.

Ahhh the dilemmas we so often face in life. I considered whether or not to leave the baby behind. How do I manage to fit the art and the baby together in the car? The answer was clear: The art came home with me, and the baby went with my friend and the gravel.

A little worried.

A little worried.

The funny thing was, the baby was not the least bit alarmed by it all. Well, maybe just briefly, when she was sitting in her car seat in the parking lot; she did look a tiny bit worried. But I reassured her and said, “sometimes we have to go to extreme measures for art.” A valuable lesson indeed.

Old Church Cornice.

Old Church Cornice.

 And she was fine. Together we acquired a great piece of old art from an old church. And it was a perfect day, gravel and all.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

“Become a Possibilitarian”

I am quoting a piece of fabric.

"become a possibilitarian"

“become a possibilitarian”

This whimsical lampshade grabbed my attention; “become a possibilitarian….” what does this mean? I felt drawn to the oblique shape of it, the colors and the bird, and the word “possibilitarian” stimulated my imagination. This was the perfect light for hanging over my desk.

A whimsical lampshade

A whimsical lampshade

A few additional accessories have given my office and sunporch a finished look. I hung my beloved peacock feather wreath on the window frame, bracketed by two old English-countryside landscapes. I hung them on top of the trim, creating a layered effect, and adding to the casual feeling of this space.

Peacock feather wreath.

Peacock feather wreath.

The art in this space is completely eclectic. A true reflection of me. The Vogue on the opposite wall, near my storage desk-hutch, is sleek and shiny, and a bit on the funky side.

Vogue.

Vogue.

The details are what make a space unique. I love this room and am thrilled to have such a creative place to work in. The possibilities are endless.

My office.

My office.

What is your definition of a “possibilitarian?”

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.