Monday, August 18, 2014

How to Can One Hundred and Eleven (111) Jars of Tomato Sauce in Seven Hours

My parents, like so many others in Canada, continue the tradition of canning their year long supply of tomato sauce for Italian cooking.   My Mom is Austrian, but she has been part of this tradition since she married my father (over 50 years ago.)
 To begin, it is really nice if you can work outside on a nice day in a beautiful garden.  My Dad has a major green thumb.  He can plant a stick and grow a tree.  So the work environment is very nice.
 Over the years they have collected numerous pieces of equipment for tomato canning.  Here is our makeshift outdoor washing station.  We washed six bushels of tomatoes in about an hour and a half here.
 Once they are washed, they get boiled.  This is the outdoor sheltered stove my Dad built.  We can boil/steam about 3/4 of a bushel at at a time in this big pot.
 Once the tomatoes are cooked, they need to be drained.  This is the next station.
 While tomatoes are draining we pick (from the garden) and wash fresh basil for each jar.  The smell is just wonderful.
 Then the work begins.  Happily we have a machine that separates the tomato pulp from the skin and seeds.
 My Dad loves to operate this machine.  My Mom and I are in charge of loading stewed tomatoes and then pouring the fresh sauce into jars.
 When they first started making their own sauce, they used to do this by hand.  
I can't imagine how!
 We made 111 jars!
 The last step is to then add the jars to this metal drum with water.  This final boiling seals the jars.  I went home after this was set up with about 60 jars and my dad patiently sat and babysat this until 11pm.  Today, they'll be boiling the second half of the jars we made.  

So that was Day One of Tomato Sauce Making 2014.
We have six more bushels to make next weekend....
come on by if you want to see this in action!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Embroidered Handkerchief to Pendant


This gorgeous embroidery will now find a permanent home in my jewelry collection.
Ordinarily, I am a bit on the squeamish side about buying old handkerchiefs.
This one was used to showcase this pin which I did want.
Once I was home, I could see that the handkerchief had probably never been used.
Who could use it?  There is so much work here.
It was however stained with age marks, so I cut away the best part and turned it into my pendant.

I am making buttons this week, so many more examples to come.

This weeks crafty and beading links.


Check out Brandi's art bead palette of the month!

Are you wearing sparkle today? Would you give up your exercise time to make something sparkly?

Andrew shares the Reveal for the latest design challenge, Dark Bloom.

Tips for organizing or not organizing depending on how things go!

Super easy coasters with resin and glitter!

Here's how to DIY bead fringe repair or find a pro. BTW, craft repair is a very nice niche especially as a supplement to selling items you make from scratch.

Cyndi has a review of Irina Miech's new book, Finding Style. You'll love all t he new components that are available now!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Crazy Cuff Ten - Homage to Oscar Wilde

 My summer project to learn to enjoy beading by working without patterns or sketches continues to be enjoyable.
 This cuff took many nights of night time TV time beading.
 I used A LOT of tiny beads.
“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.”― Oscar Wilde
It will be fabulous to wear this Autumn!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pinterest and a Few Great Crafty Links


This is one of several projects I created for Michaels this summer. It is a unique way of showing people how to work with resin.  Pictures and a little bit of text.
The Michael's DIY Jewelry Pinterest board is just full of great mini tutorials!

Lisa shares her love for tiny little jewelry making elements. It doesn’t take much for her inner child to make an appearance!

Antiquing a decoupage project is very simple, but it’s important to do steps in the proper order.

Learn to make the Charming Charlie Keepsake Bracelet - Created for Scrapbooking.Com Magazine

A closer look at my resin projects published in Tammy Powley’s “The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making.”

The princess puts herself out there in her pilot podcast!

Buttons make a wonderful accent on a bead embroidered bracelet!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Queen of The Night - The Flower That Rules!

 This is not the most attractive plant to be showcasing in your garden.  
The leaves are not very pretty.
It is this strange bud that eventually unfolds to become a spectacular flower...in the middle of the night.
My Dad has been looking after this plant for several years.  It belongs in a tropical climate, but he is growing it in the middle of Toronto, Canada.
We've been anxiously waiting for the flowers.
Here are the first three I photographed on August 7, 2014.
I knew they were big, but I could not believe how spectacular they truly are, when you see them in person.  We have witnessed that the flower only blooms the one time.  These three closed by dawn and now appear to be finished.
This is the blossom now.  It really is a "one night only" flower.
I am not the least bit knowledgeable about gardening.  My Dad however, has a green thumb.  So, I depended on Facebook friends and online research to learn more about this unusual night time blooming plant.  
"Night-blooming cereus is the common name referring to a large number of flowering cereus cacti that bloom at night. The flowers are short lived, and some of these species, such as Selenicereus grandiflorus, bloom only once a year, for a single night."

Here is my Dad.  He has already grown a second plant with a cutting he took and planted in the spring.  August 8, 2014.
Last night the Queen truly gave is a show!  More than a dozen flowers opened!
 We were so excited!

"While some night-blooming cereus are grown indoors in homes or greenhouses in colder climates, most of these plants are too large or ungainly for this treatment, and are only found outdoors in tropical areas."
This is a wonder.
We still have a lot of unopened flower.
These night time viewing will continue!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making


I was thrilled to get my advance copy of the new edition of "The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making" by Tammy Powley last month.  The resin chapter features three of my projects and I wanted to give you a little peek at what I created.  This book is ideal for anyone interested in learning more about jewelry making because of the gorgeous step by step photo instructions.  It is like being in a workshop.  I often turn to the book when I need to know a new way to complete a project.  This is a comprehensive reference book on all aspects of jewelry making. This book provides a reference for all methods, including bead stringing, wire work, metal fabrication, metal clay, polymer clay, fiber, and resin. Includes step-by-step instructions for all the basics.

Tammy wrote "No matter what your style, you will be able to find a type of jewelry that meets your needs.  Plus, there are many different methods for making jewelry, it is just impossible to master them all.  This leads to broad possibilities in jewelry designing, and that is what this book is all about: visually showing, through a comprehensive guide of photographs, a variety of jewelry techniques available to all jewelry crafters.  If you are a novice, you'll find an assortment of jewelry techniques to help get you started.  For more experienced jewelry designers, the collection of jewelry methods presented may inspire you to try a new form of jewelry construction."


These are the three projects I submitted.

This is the mold I love working in.  
My projects were made using this.
 In the Inspirations Section of the book several more glazing projects were featured.
You'll also find these extra cabochons I made and set in the Inspirations Section as well.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

The Queen Of The Night!

 I am just home from my folks where we are preparing for the biggest event of 2014.  
I am now "on call" and on alert for a night time call about this plant; 
The Queen of The Night.
Then, I will be speeding to my parents to document this very rare, night time blooming plant.  
Some people refer to this plant as a vampire, since it only comes alive at night.   I keep jokingly asking them after the vampire in their backyard.
The Queen of the Night cactus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) has frequently been the guest of honor at late-night parties, since it performs only during the dark hours. It flaunts fragrant white flowers up to 1 foot long.   Apparently, it is worth waiting up for. 
Rumour has it that they will only bloom once, 
so I can't miss this.
 My Dad has a very green thumb.  How he managed to grow this plant in our Northern climate is beyond my comprehension.  We are so excited to see what will happen this year!
They live smack dab in the middle of Toronto.
This flower should be a foot wide!!
I'll happily keep you posted.
I call my Dad's garden:
The Island of Misfit Garden Ornaments.  
He has many ornaments scattered throughout the back yard and truly enjoys planting strange and odd groupings.  The ornaments even seem more alert in anticipation of this flowering.
Benny's Garden 2014