Thursday, August 29, 2013

Capturing Summer || DIY Freezer Jam

Fall is in the air in Seattle, the rain started this week!  So in one last ditch effort to capture summer and save a few bucks while at it....I made 2 HUGE batches of Freezer Jam that will get us through the winter!   
We eat a LOT of PB and J's in this house and I typically spend $6 a jar on the organic Jam...ouch!!!  I just LOVE that my own Freezer Jam jars came out to about $2 a jar for Raspberry Jam and under $1 a jar for Peach Jam!!!   Wahoo gotta love saving money and still being able to each organic!
So here is a quick photo gallery of the process, followed up the the recipes that I used for Raspberry Freezer Jam and Peach Freezer Jam.

First things first...pick your poison!   I love peach and raspberry so these were obviously my picks....but I did find a fig jam recipe that I thought would go wonderful this fall with a cheese plate....mmmmm.
Then you prepare your fruit!  Wash (cut if necessary ie. apples, peaches, strawberries) and mash.
Measure out appropriate amount of fruit and gobble down any left overs. Then add Sugar and lemon juice.   Try not to judge while adding the sugar....I have to admit I was shocked at how much sugar goes into this!
Cook your box of Sure Jell according to directions then add to the fruit mixture and stir.
That's it...your Done!!!! Divide and pour!   I used Tupperware specially designed for freezer jam, but Canning Jars or Tupperware are both great storage solutions.
Your finished product keeps in the fridge for 3 weeks for freezer for up to 1 year!

Peach Freezer Jam (recipe from Southern Plate)
- 2.5lbs peaches (or enough to produce 3 pounds of mashed up peaches)
- 4.5 Cups of sugar
- 1 Box of Sure Jell
- 3/4 cups Water
- 2 T of Lemon Juice

Raspberry Freezer Jam (recipe from Tastes Better from Scratch)
- 6 Cups Fresh rapsberries
- 5 1/4 Cups Sugar
- 1 Box of Sure Jell

First wash, and prepare fruit (cut if peach, apple etc.)  Place in a large bowl.   Then mash with a fork of masher.  It's ok to leave some lumps.  Measure sugar and add to the bowl.  Stir.  (for peach recipe add Lemon Juice).   Stir and set aside.

Cook Sure Jell according to directions on back.   In a sauce pan place 3/4 cup of water and the pack of jell. Bring to a boil and stir constantly for 1 minute.   Pour in to the fruit mixture and stir until dissolved.

pour into your clean jars.  I used 8 oz containers.  make sure to leave space at the top about 1/2 inch.   Then store.   Your jam will last for 3 weeks in the fridge or up to 1 year in the freezer.  

And up next on the Blog...I'll be sharing Fall Table Inspiration!   This Tuesday MyDIYhabits and 4 other bloggers have teamed up to bring some great inspiration to you guys!

My DIY Habits

So thanks for reading and I'll try not to be absent!  Check back next Tuesday!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

DIY || Glam Magnets

Thank you everyone for the truly kind words about our little man Teddy.  Little update, he has started his medication and although I haven't seen a direct improvement...I'm hoping that internally he feels some relief!   
So...I finally have a project completed and I am just totally digging it.  I whipped up some supper snazzy DIY Glam Magnets or as I like to think of....fridge bling!
A little back story is that in the 5 years Andy and I have been living together...we have never owned enough magnets.  In fact a common thing we say under our breath is ....ugh we need more magnets..but alas in the past 5 years, I still never made it out to the store to buy them!  This type of behavior is not uncommon for me...I go many months complaining about batteries being out in clocks and often have a light bulb or two blown out in my house.  I find the simple solutions can often be the most challenging :).
These Glam Magnets came about when I was at Old Navy and saw some really adorable costume Jewelry.  I still long to wear the funky accessories I was once able to rock...back in the day when my attire didn't consist of Yoga pants and tank tops.  So I decided to live vicariously through my refrigerator and let that bad boy rock some fab bling.

DIY Glam Magnets Supplies and Price Breakdown:
Heavy Duty Magnets:  JoAnn's $2.50
Costume Jewelry (check out your thrift store, Forever 21, Old navy for earnings  bracelet  necklaces) $10
Wire Cutters
Adhesive (I ended up using Locitite Construction Adhesive)

Total Cost: $13  (but you could make these really inexpensive if you founds thrift store goodies)

The project literally took 10 minutes (excluding shopping time).  Literally a 2 step project; snip and glue.  Such an easy project for a major reward and I just love to look at them...they make me feel fancy!  
Thanks for sticking it out through my week of silence...I hope you are all having a fabulous week!   But one question anyone else itching for fall?  I'm aching for pumpkin spice lattes, squash and the weather to start changing around here!  Don't get me wrong....I love summer but there is nothing I love more than Fall!!! 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thoughts on Teddy...

What a week...well absent week I should say.   I wish my "absentee" excuse was that I was out doing crazy fun things with Savannah or that it's because I am sooo busy on a super secret project...but the truth is I'm just bummed out.   Last week Andy and I got some really sad news about our little guy Teddy.  
So here's the long story...over the past month I've noticed that our little guy had developed a cough.  I thought nothing of it since he has had major bouts with allergies in the past, but then I gave him a bath.  He did his usual frisky boy, "go crazy", running up and down the hall and he started coughing uncontrollable.  So intense that he fainted, it took him a while to regain strength in his body.   Needless to say this was incredible scary, but again I didn't connect the cough as educing this "seizure like" experience.   Finally my mom urged my to take him to the vet, thinking that he might have kennel cough and what they found was quite severe.   Overtime one of his heart valves has degenerated which caused a murmur and his heart to enlarge.   His heart is now 3 times the normal size and the result is that it's crushing his tracheae.  His heart his basically suffocating him.   His vet and cardiologist (yes my dog now has a cardiologist) are all very methodical about the diagnosis saying with medication he could live a long time....but it's just not keeping me motivated.   Terms like stage 3 Heart Failure (it only goes up to 4) and moderate to severe tracheal collapse...just make the reality of it all very present.   I feel like I've been morning the future loss of my special guy for the past week. 

Teddy has been such a gift to our family.  Just under 4 years ago we rescued him from a local agency that found him on a kill list in California.  I mean look at this face, who could ever pass up this guy...
We loved Teddy instantly, and it took him and our other dog LeBron only a few days to get adjusted to a cozy life, just the four of us.   
 But shortly after he arrived to our house this little guy took a turn for the worst and after a very expensive trip to the Doggie Dermatologist we discovered that he is severely allergic to Humans, after 3 months of human injection therapy he was almost cured.  
Fast forward 5 month...Savannah was born and we were very skeptical of how our 2 dogs would react to the new baby.  And to all of our surprise Teddy, the rescue dog, that we still didn't know a ton about quickly became Savannah's guard dog, he was with me for the midnight feedings, and was always an active participant in tummy time.  As torturous as a two year old can be to a dog...he truly loves her.
 Our little LeBron...did not fare so amazing parents adopted him and he now lives in paradise where every day is stay away camp.  He even learned how to ride a motorcycle this summer.  Andy likes to say "LeBron decided to take his talents elsewhere".   Having Teddy around certainly made that loss much less difficult on me.   

Although bringing a dog home that you have no medical history on can be a gamble and we prove this theory correct....I'll NEVER regret rescuing Teddy as I think it was fate that he found us.  Me a crazy dog woman who goes to any means to give her doggies an amazing quality of life and Andy who just knows how to say "yes dear".   If another family had rescued him I wonder if he would have gotten the medical care that he needed, or the unconditional love that we give him...and although his time with us will be shorter than any of us expected...I know we gave him some amazing years.   He's had a wild life; he grew up with abuse, roamed the streets of California,  lived on puppy death row and now is King of our Castle!   This little guy is living in the lap of luxury, well excluding his vegan diet, he basically gets what ever he wants. 

I just wanted to share with you all, as I'm finding it hard to be motivated to project and then when it comes down to writing...I just don't feel like being cleaver or interesting.  Loosing a family pet is always so difficult...but I am lucky in life to only have this as my concern.  When I think about how sad the loss of a pet is for heart aches for every one with sick family members and children.     I know this hasn't been the lightest of subjects and I do try to keep things light...but hey sometimes life just throws a curve ball.   Keep Teddy in your thoughts and hopefully with his medication he can stay with us for a while longer.



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Den Project Begins || Adding Drywall to Brick

And so it Begins!   The Den is officially getting some werk done and there isn't one moment that goes by that I'm not second guessing myself, super stressing about my ability to knock this project out of the park, or just plain giddy that this room should and will eventually look amazeballs.    
So to remind all of you, here is the money shot of the totally ambitious and photo-shopped Den Upgrade Idea...
and here is the starting point...
So getting down to business...Andy and I have officially completed the first step of the Den Upgrade project and that is Hanging Drywall over the Brick.  To start I was crazy stressed about this part of the project and I have to was surprisingly easy and will be the lest expensive portion of the project!  

So here is a quick re-cap /tutorial...
How to Dry-walling over a Brick Fireplace:
Just a hint...there is only 3 parts to this project!   Prep, adding Furring Strips (also known as wood), and adding Drywall!
For the Prep Work...we removed molding and the oh so random scraps of carpet! 
Andy removed the fireplace about a dirty job!   
Then Andy cleaned, I cleaned and I still have one more round of cleaning!   So dirty and so painful I seriously had to channel my inner Cinderella to get this one done!  I'm currently using a wire brush and blue dawn...if it's good enough for oils spills I can only hope it will get the job done here!  I have to get this brick spick and span for the future tile laying!
Next we added the furring strips (which are actually just 1x2 pieces of wood)  I used these concrete anchor nails which are awesome.  The package of screws comes with a masonry drill bit too...totally awesome!   
Sorry for the booty shot...Andy is still working on his photo taking skills!
From the picture you can see we framed the fireplace and placed stripes 16 inches apart.  I also added a wood strip across the top, it's just not in this picture.
 Next up comes the Dry Wall!
Special Tip:  2 sheets of drywall do not fit in a Mid sized SUV.
That was pretty took me and 2 car loaders to figure this out and in the end we just cut the sheets in half!  Then after the drywall debacle I drove across the parking lot with a bunch of stuff on the roof of my car...I'm a Total Hot Mess.
Adding the dry wall is very simple...measure, make sure everything is square and use a sharp blade to cut.   Flip over and the drywall breaks very clean for you.
For the sides of the fireplace I just used construction adhesive (my favorite Locitite Power Grip) and glued straght to the brick, secured with concrete screws.
Then I started adding my drywall securing with Drywall screws.
And here we have the final product!

 Here is a quick breakdown of the next steps to take in the project
1)  Putty, tape and add corner bead to make this baby seamless!  
2)  Tile over the remaining Brick
3)  Build a Mantel
4)  Wood Working (columns, accent molding, crown molding) make this fantsy pantsy!

Then after all is finished here I'll get cracking on upgrading the built-ins with cabinets and lighting!!!