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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A New Banner Coming Your Way! February Valentine! And a Give-Away........

Prairie Cottage Corner "Banners of the Month"

We are never weary, are we? Well, yes, we are, sometimes, but Sunbonnet Sue is always there to cheer us up and help us forward. In our current campaign to get all of our promised "Banners of the Month" out on the market, we've produced our next one: February.

Here's February's Valentine Banner



Like all the banenrs, the center applique piece is a 12" block, several borders and a simple, pieced corner block. It's made to be a wall hanging, a banner to hang on the porch or to be part of a larger quilt. It's up to you.



We added 1/4" heart buttons to Sue's bonnet, pinafore, pumps and kitty. A small piece of lace trims her pinafore. She's all set for Valentine's Day. Is there a Sunhat Sam in her future? I think so. He's waiting in the wings.



The block is simple and fun to piece. This banner requires just four different fabrics but can be made from scraps, too. You can embellish it any way you wish. You can buy this pattern HERE.

And don't forget to go over to MooseStash Quilting and tell Joan what a wonderful sample of this banner she has made for us! Quilter Cum Laude, yes, indeed. We love you, Joan.

To Enter the Give-Away, just leave a comment on this post of your favorite thing about AUTUMN. The contest is open until 5 PM, Monday PDT, October 20th. The prize will be your pattern of choice from Prairie Cottage Corner.























Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Welcome Katrina!

Our most elderly friend, Norman, passed away a few weeks ago. He was in his 14th year and had been failing for the last six months. He was a happy cat and he often told us so. Rest in peace, Norman, until we meet again.


Not wanting Bodecia, who had known Norman almost all of her life, to go into a deep mourning, we looked around for a likely kitten to join the family.

We found Katrina.


Ahem, Katrina! Hey, Katrina! They're introducing you. Sit up and look pretty!


She's got Norman's old white rat, as you can see, on the floor of the workroom. Why she wants to roll around down there like that, I have no idea. She'll be hours getting all that dust off of her.


She's developing quite an effective rabbit kick, we'll have to give her that..... 



and good balance on the haunches......


seems to understand rat anatomy......


knows the head from the tail...... Yes, she's doing quite well in RAT101.



Now, to see if she can pass BIOLOGY101 by removing the rat's brain.....


it's a serious fight, folks.


She's got him down.....


did you hear that? The rat cried uncle! Katrina wins round 1!


This is exhausting, raising kittens.


I'd rather be upsidedown.


Or, asleep, at last. Bodecia. Age 9.


And Katrina, too. Sleeping dustmop. Age 12 weeks.


ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

GAD ZUKES!

Yup, they're taking over the kitchen.....Zucchini!

Last week, I opened the last pint of Zucchini Relish from the batch I made in 2012. I panicked.....really.....I did. I panicked because my zucchini plants had done nothing but drink water since May. Not a thing. Not the green one, anyway. The gold zucchini had put forth a few fruits. Not a lot, though, and not very fast. 

Where was I going to find enough zucchini to make relish?

I went off to my sewing day, thinking about zucchini. While there, I mentioned my dilemma. What was I thinking?

By the end of the afternoon, I had all the zucchini I needed! One should never forget that, while one's own zucchini may not be fruiting out, someone else might be having the opposite problem. TOO MANY ZUKES!

So, next day, the saga of Zucchini Relish began.


My friend, Laura, gave me a box of zukes, including these giants. For relish, small zucchini are lovely and easy but the big ones, which not too many people want, are really great.


I sliced the biggies in manageable lengths and trimmed off any scars or discolorations. These were fresh from the garden, which I recommend, when canning.



I cut the smaller ones in the right size for our grinder.


The large ones....


....needed seeding....


....with a tablespoon.....


....to get them ready.


All set.



I had two big kettles of zucchini.


Aren't these gorgeous?



Peppers all cleaned, trimmed and cut, ready for the grinder....




....with the onions.



I attached the grinder to the Kitchen Aid mixer.




And my DH, did the grinding for me. It goes really fast. You can use a hand grinder, too, or a food processor.  Mix the veggies with salt, at this point, to help the product release water.


Here it is, in our biggest stainless steel bowl, lined with four layers of cheesecloth.



Cover it with plastic wrap.



Let it stand for 2 hours. Then, I transferred it to a very large collander....



....to rinse well....



....and squeeze.....





and squeeze.....



....until it's almost dry.....



....ready to cook.



Mix up the vinegar, sugar and spices in your largest stock pot....



......and mix in the veggies, well.


 

Bring it almost to a boil and simmer 10 minutes until all is steamy and lucious yummy. By now, even the neighbors two houses away know you are making pickles.



Wash your jar lids in hot, soapy water.



Sort out your rings.


Inspect your jars and toss out any with nicked rims or cracks or chips.


Here's my assembly area with a plate to fill the jars on and a canning funnel to make filling easier. I use the damp, clean cloth to wipe the rims before placing the lids and rings.



All set to go.



Here are the filled jars in their rack at the boil.


Cover and process ten minutes. I always add a little vinegar to the canner water to keep the jars from gathering lime during processing.





They come out quite clean and pretty. Whew! I don't have to do that for another couple of years.

Here's the recipe:

Zucchini Relish

Grind fine:

2 c. chopped zucchini (about 3 medium)
 1 c. chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1/2 c. chopped sweet green pepper (about 1 small)
1/2 c. chopped sweet red pepper (about 1 small)

Mix well in a very large bowl and sprinkle with

2 T. salt

 Mix well again and cover with cold water,

Let stand 2 hours. Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly. 

Measure the product and add, for every 4 cups of product:

1 3/4 c. sugar
1 c. cider vinegar
2 t. celery seed
1 t. mustard seed

Combine remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Add vegetables; simmer 10 minutes.

SPECIAL NOTE
If the product doesn't seem wet enough, add another mix of the vinegar/sugar/seasoning recipe to it and cook it again. You don't want it too dry for fear the veggies won't get pickled properly. Better a little too wet, than too dry. If too wet, you can adjust it as you fill the jars.

Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. Yield: about 4 half-pints.

Obviously, I used a lot more zucchini. I had about 16 cups of product  (zucchini, onion and peppers), after soaking and rinsing, so I multiplied the recipe for the vinegar mix accordingly.  My effort yielded 15 1/2 pints of relish.