Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yay for Orange Marmalade!

Thanks to Barefoot Contessa I have successfully made orange marmalade.  On Monday she made it on her show and I was so intrigued that I had to try it.  Other than the sheer time it takes to make the marmalade, it was actually quite simple.  The recipe is as follows:

4 large seedless oranges
2 lemons
8 cups of sugar

Cut the oranges and lemons in half crosswise, then into very thin half-moon slices and discard any seeds.  Place the fruit slices and their juices into a stainless steel pot and add 8 cups of water.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often.  Next remove from heat and stir in the sugar till it dissolves.  Cover and allow to stand over night at room temperature (8 to 12 hours).

The next day, bring the mixture back to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours.  Turn the heat up to medium and boil gently, stirring often, for another 30 minutes.  Skim off any foam that forms on the top.  Cook the marmalade until it reaches 220 degrees on a candy thermometer.  If you want to be doubly sure its ready, place a small amount on a plate and refrigerate until its cool not cold.  If it's firm (neither runny or hard) then it's done.  If it's too runny continue cooking and if it's too hard, add more water.

It will be a golden orange color.  Pour the marmalade into clean, hot mason jars.  Wipe the rims thoroughly with a clean damp paper towel, and seal with the lids.  Store in the pantry for up to one year.

Well that's the recipe as its written at  I used 1/2 pint jars and was able to fill eight.  I'm not so sure about the storing in the pantry without really canning them but then what do I know.  This was my first time.

During the long cooking  (and waiting) time I spent some more time sewing more diamonds.  I went through my stash for setting fabric and borders and hit the jackpot.  I can't wait to finish this one.  Hopefully by the weekend.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Look What Santa Brought (sorta)

...a HQ16 ProStitcher! 


For the past couple of years my DH has been mulling over the idea of learning to longarm quilt so when he retires he can have an extra income.  Well that is not for a long time.  But recently we were offered an opportunity to purchase this machine for a VERY good price.  It had only been used three times and it came with the ProStitcher which is a computerized quilting unit that'll do the quilting for you.  It's a great little machine.  My only criticism is the rollers.  They're pretty skinny and bendy.  We're looking at buying a better frame for it and in the mean time are putting dowels in the existing bars to minimize the bending.

We've had it for about a month now.  DH has quilted four quilts already.  He hasn't tried out the ProStitcher yet but he's not far off from doing it.  Me?  I've quilted none.  I have too many other things I want to to do.  Standing at the longarm just isn't one of the them.

Yesterday I spent the day in my room playing with 60 degree diamonds I cut from a batik jelly roll. 

I still have 12 sets to sew then I'll decide what to do with them.  For now I'm just enjoying looking at them on the design wall.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Still Snowing

Three hours later, its still snowing and looks like this outside.

The winds are gusting like crazy outside.  The Weather Channel says gusts from 20 to 30 mph winds. Its expected to continue snowing till at least 9 pm so it looks like we'll be having a white Christmas afterall.

It's Snowing in Texas!

Yesterday it was in the high 60's and today its snowing with a Winter Weather Advisory!  Go figure.  The unfortunate part is nothing is sticking which is a shame 'cause I would love a white Christmas.

Here is a picture from my back patio...palm trees and snow.  You gotta love it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My How Time Flies

I can't believe I haven't blogged in over a month.  Well yeah I can.  I've super busy since before the holidays started last month.  What have I been doing?

- I cooked for 12 for Thanksgiving...a long yet wonderful day.

- I baked DOZENS of cookies for 12 of my husband's coworkers. 

- I baked and decorated DOZENS of cut out cookies for the first time.  They were for a cookie exchange party of which I won a prize for the best decorated cookies.  Each cookie was decorated differently (minus the gingerbread men).  The stars, hearts, etc. were chocolated flavored cookies.  It was a lot of fun (and work) to make them.  I don't think I'll be doing it again anytime soon.

- I've been working on several quilt projects.  Here are pictures of my few works in progress.

- Finally, I've been making handmade ornaments...hand embroidered and salt dough for an ornament exchange tomorrow night.  I still have a ways to go with the sald dough ornaments.  After they've dried, I'll add glitter and paint to the plain ones and finally spray them with a sealant so they'll last a long time and be protected.

That's all for now.  I'll post a picture tomorrow of the finished dough ornaments.