Archive for June, 2008

27th Jun 2008

How to: Make a Dog Bed in Less than an Hour

And it won’t cost a lot either!

Oh, and it doesn’t involve sewing…

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 yard of 58″ wide fleece
1 20″ x 28″ x 2″ pillow

Start by cutting the fleece in half along the fold. This will give you two pieces of fleece measuring 29″ x 36″.

Create a fringe along all four sides of each piece of fleece by cutting 3″ long cuts, 1″ apart. You will end up removing a 3″ square piece of fleece from each corner. Once completed, your fleece pieces will look like this:

Fleece fringe

Next, put your fleece pieces on top of one another, lining up the corner cutouts. Form knots along one short and the two long edges using a single fringe piece from each side. Leave one short edge unknotted for now.

Knotted fringe

Insert the pillow into the fleece and knot the remaining fringe pieces together.

Voila! Dog bed…

Streaka's new bed

Posted by Posted by jen under Filed under gone to the dogs, how to Comments Comments Off

24th Jun 2008

Design Tip: Making Swirls in Illustrator

Thanks to Jessica Jones over at How About Orange, I can now make really funky swirls in Illustrator. Jessica linked to this tutorial at Bittbox and this was the result of my first kick at the swirly can:


How fun! You know, I’d thought about printing a leaf design I’d done as part of my “safari” images on some pillowcases:

Jungle Leaf

Now I think I might just do swirly things instead!

Posted by Posted by jen under Filed under how to, my designs, on the web Comments Comments Off

15th Jun 2008

Oops! The Beet Pickle Recipe

I should have included this in yesterday’s post, shouldn’t have I?

I got this recipe from the Spouse’s grandmother way back, even before the Spawn was born. Every year, I’d do up at least one batch (sometimes I did several batches as they were consumed) and, for as long as we lived in Metchosin, I entered a jar of them in the Luxton Fall Fair. I’m happy to say that these beet pickles won first prize at said fair for four years running.

The yield of the original recipe is 4 pints; I have doubled, trebled, and even quintupled it (yes, I had to look that word up!).

4 quarts of small beets
3 cups vinegar
2-1/2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 tsp. pickling spice
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. pickling salt

Cook beets until tender; drain and plunge into cold water. Slip off skins and trim if necessary.

Heat vinegar, water, sugar, spices, and salt to boiling. If spice bag is not used, strain out the spices. Add beets to pickling solution and bring to boiling. Pack into clean, sterilized jars, cover with solution, and seal immediately.

That’s the original recipe. I think it wise to add a ten minute spin in a hot water bath (85C) to the recipe. And, it should go without saying to follow all food safety procedures when making any home canning products.

Posted by Posted by jen under Filed under Food, glorious food Comments 2 Comments »

14th Jun 2008

Making Pickles

After our meeting this morning, book club headed off to the farmer’s market to buy the fixings for making pickles…both beet pickles and dilly beans. Leigh was good enough to document our afternoon with her camera.

Beans and peppers

Dilly Beans, up close and personal

I’ve put all the photos in a Flash slideshow (powered by Flash Slideshow Maker) which you can see here: click!

At the end of the day, we ended up with eleven pints of beet pickles and one pint jar plus 5 half-pint jars of dilly beans. Yum!

Posted by Posted by jen under Filed under Food, glorious food Comments Comments Off

03rd Jun 2008


Yesterday, I decided to try making something totally new for me…a ratafia. Initially, I was going to make an entirely vodka-based liqueur but then I found this NY Times article by Pete Wells: Bottling the Bounty of the Season. Google pointed me to this article because I had searched for recipes using loquat seeds. After reading it, I found I rather liked the idea of using wine instead of liquor to make the beverage. And so it was out to the garden to harvest some loquats!

Loquat Tree

This was taken this afternoon so, obviously, I didn’t need the entire crop …

I added a bit more fruit than the Times article called for and also added some of the loquat seeds. This is what ended up going into my fridge:

2 cups chopped loquats
1/4 cup loquat seeds
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vodka
750 ml Pinot Grigio

I also saved a whack of the seeds, just in case I do want to make the vodka-based liqueur after all.

If this turns out, it could make a really interesting way to capture the seasonal flavours. I reckon this will make a great beverage for midsummer; I bet it would be super made into a Pimm’s Cup sort of drink too…

Posted by Posted by jen under Filed under Food, glorious food Comments 2 Comments »