Crab Apple Butter Part #1

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This evening marked the end of my procrastination. My friend had dropped off 3 grocery bags full of crab apples last week and I had ignored them for long enough. They were like the people you invite to a party to be polite… and then they actually show up …and then they borrow your toothbrush and NEVER LEAVE.
I can’t stand wasting food, so I rolled up my sleeves and set to work after the kids were in bed. This process always starts off happy and optimistic for me. I have visions of wearing an adorable apron, my hair in a scarf and little kitchen heels on my feet.

First… get some crab apples. People GIVE these things away. Seriously…… Delivered. To. My. Door.

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Put on a big pot of water to boil. This is my favorite big pot. It’s super green. It’s super heavey cast iron with enamel coating, and it’s super huge. The lids is missing somewhere safe. You don’t need a lid for this process anyway.

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Put crab apples in the pot. It’s not an exact science. One layer deep and not too tooo toooooo many. You have to fit them into a colander/strainer after they’re cooked so use the size of that as a guideline. 

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Boil them. A lot. They will start to Crack,  then go all mushy.  Approx 10 minutes (give or take a few). You want them mushy and starting to fall apart, but not completely fallen apart. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon. Make sure you let all the water drain back into the pot before transfering them into the colander. You don’t want runny applesauce!

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Put them into a pot with a colander that is nested inside of a bigger pot or big bowl. (You need something under it to catch the applesauce).

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Next is child’s play… squish the apples around and through the holes with a spatula. This takes a while… about 10-ish minutes. I put a new batch of apples in the pot to cook while I squish the current batch through the colander. It seems to be effective time management.

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Squish them A LOT…. really…. Until there is no more sauce left to squish out.

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The left over cores, peels, and stems can be discarded. I put mine into the garbage. You could compost them if you’re one of those super-organized-save-the-earth types of people (I’m totally not there yet).

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This is where the optimism starts to wain… this was all he sauce that I got from my first boil…

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But plod on! It gets better. I promise! Remember to clean off the bottom of the colander every once in a while.

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See… it starts to accumulate. Batch after batch. Soon you’ll be finished a whole bag and feel sooooo accomplished.

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That is, until you look over and see you aren’t even halfway through. Gah! 2 more bags to go!

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Keep at it! Do some more! Drink a beverage of choice…. chat on speaker phone to your mom/bestie/boyfriend… listen to some tunes… do whatever it is you have to do to break the monotony.  Just keep at it… besides, your kitchen is a disaster already, so no sense in stopping now. The end result will be worth it!

I kept pouring the crabapple sauce into my favorite antique mixing bowl. I like things to look pretty.
Voila!

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After a couple hours my task was complete and the sauce was covered and tucked away safely into the fridge. Ready for part #2 tomorrow…. The transformation into “Grandma Kay’s Crab Apple Butter”!
–Miss Missy

Made me some Apple Crisp

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I’m going to just say this… I’m a roundish girl, and I can cook. Today’s task was to make an apple crisp. It was a tester one, and the recipe isn’t quite perfect yet. I’ll try a few more versions before I put it out there, but here’s a little teaser pick of today’s contraption.

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I made it too sweet (I know…. IMPOSSIBLE entirely true!) But it had a nice Carmel taste to it. I’m sure my family and friends won’t mind being my guinea pigs for the upcoming trials. ;)

–Side note… something I realized today: being a kind person is important,  but it’s okay to be selective in who you focus your energy on. —

Duckling to a Swan

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Tonight I tackled a completely new adventure…. upholstery! 
This little chair is a client’s piece. She bought it 8 years ago for $8. Right away she got out the staple gun for a little DIY and did the green layer.

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First thing I did was remove the green fabric. It didn’t want to cooperate so I had to use my girl muscles!

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Underneath there I found pukey floral lovely orange and gold original fabric. And staples.

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There were soooooo mannnny staples. So. Many. Staples.

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This side cutter tool was my weapon of choice for staple extraction. I only managed to get 1/4 of those lovelies out before I gave up. Out came the hammer and I flattened the rest level with the wood on the chair. Badaboom. Badabing.

What fabric is going to transform this piece you ask?

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^^this.  Found at the local Walmart. Check out their selection. This was from the precut/prepackaged pieces area. SWIRLS OF HAPPINESS is what I’d name it if I had naming privileges for this pattern.

Drumroll please……….. the process (I was so involved with the process that I didn’t take pictures. I will get better at that, I promise) may or may not have included a staple gun, a glue gun, and burnt fingers………..

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TADA!!!
Here is the “AFTER”. What a beautiful swan this duckling has turned into. The whole thing from start to finish took 2.5 hours…. Maybe take some time away, because the kids had bedtime routine in there. (The whole house stops for stories and end of evening snack negotiations).

I love it and so does she!

Stay tuned for a post about those lamps in my daughter’s room that I had promised you I’d post a bazillion months ago (derp!) Now that I know how to post from my phone you all are going to get SICK of how often you’ll hear from me.

Flower Letter Thing-a-ma-jig

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Okay, I am an epic blogging failure…. but that’s okay. I recently shared a photo

(this photo)

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on an uber famoso phototographer’s facebook page as a comment reply to a beautiful flower wall she made this week. Well…. much to my amazement people liked it and want to know how to make it. Whaaaat???? So here it is.

Get supplies and tools.

flower-1 A cardboard letter from a craft store This one is from Hobby Lobby. 24 inches tall. You can use any size that you want. You could even build one. But I didn’t.

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Glue Gun and Hot Glue Sticks….Buy one glue gun and like 5 bags of glue sticks. You will use more glue than you think is humanly possible.

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Whatever types of small flowers you want to use. I chose these fake-o hydrangeas from the dollarama. flower-12

I’ve also seen them today at the Dollar Tree for CHEAPER (shop around people. shop around). I only bought 3 because I’m using them as a guide today. YOU NEED MORE!!!!!!! LOTS MORE!!! When I did my favorite daughter’s “J” I used probably 20-25 of these flower bunches (at least).

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The key is that they have to be able to ‘pop’ off the stems. Pick flowers that you can pull off.

That’s it folks. All the supplies you need!

Prepare your flowers. Put your beverage of choice into the fridge. Wine, beer, soda, water, juice, coconuts… I don’t care what it is, but this is a LONG PROCESS. You will need sustenance.

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Now pull all those little pretties off the stems. Make piles. Pretend we are organized artsy types. Throw the stems away, we don’t need them (keep them if you are a better woman than me, but I can’t dream up a use for them).

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Now use a ruler and a pencil… or if you’re lazy and/or can’t find one in your crazy house use some painter’s tape…. and mark off a line about 1/3 up from the bottom. This step is only important if you are doing an ‘ombre’ effect with 2 colours. If you are only using one colour of flower don’t do this.

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I made notes on mine of where I wanted my colours. At the top I put ‘pink only’….Then ‘mostly pink’… Then ‘mostly purple’… Then the bottom says ‘purple only’.

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Now glue those babies down! Simple.

Don’t make this part too complicated.

Don’t do rows.

Don’t be too perfect.

This step will take you HOURS longer than you thought it ever could.

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You can see the ombre starting to show. Just follow your guidelines. You can leave the tape on or remove it, it will all be eventually covered anyhow. Cover every square inch of the front and sides of the letter. No cardboard should be showing when you are done. Stuff them in tight, the more the merrier.

When you are done the letter can be simply put on a shelf, or if you want to hang it on the wall as I have, you can attach your favourite hanging hardware (or a loop of ribbon) onto the back with a glue gun. For the “J” I had to use 2 loops onto 2 nails so it didn’t hang funny on the wall.

You will get a blister on your glue gun finger! Be prepared to whine….

People will ask you to make these for you. I recommend that you practice your best belly laugh in the mirror before you post your finished masterpiece to facebook and keep the link to this tutorial handy…… Only crazy people will make more than one of these in their lives. Seriously.

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Here is a picture (screenshot from my facebook account sent straight from my phone. Ya… I’m classy like that) that shows the scale of the finished product if you use the 24 inch letter. This was her bedroom when she was 5…. Now she is 11 and still sporting the flowery “J”…. She is going to be taking this thing to college with her, if I have my way!

Thanks for checking in here. My next project is an adorable set of coordinating lampshades for my little’s room that her and I cooked up today…. Her’s a taste of what’s to come:

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— Melissa

Pinterest Famous?!?!?!

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So much can happen in life. I came to delete this blog (because let’s face it, I didn’t get into the blogging spirit in the past year and a half) and found out that I’m PINTEREST FAMOUS! Who Knew? The backdrop storage solutions I dreamed up are pinned to boards far and wide (well… more like all over Canada and the United States, but that’s pretty big for me). So I guess I’ll have another go at this blog world. I really love that people like my idea. Onwards and upwards. More to follow!

Backdrop Storage

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I found my blog!

I’ve totally lost my mind and am starting up a CHLIDREN’S PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO. The bain of my existence hardest part of this whole thing to figure out is how to store my backdrops. I’m lazy, I don’t like to iron those things every time I take one out. Idon’t like the tube storage system because if I can’t see it I don’t use it…. what is a girl to do?

Solution: Figure it out simply and cheaply (is that even proper use of the english language? Oh well, this is the internet, no one will notice).

Close up of a bazillion backdrops. This one has approx 20 hanging on there. Impressive!

Close up of a bazillion backdrops. This one has approx 20 hanging on there. Impressive!

This is a pull back of my shooting area. You can see the black backdrop stand holding the current 'in use' backdrop. 
Behind it is the second rack of backdrops (suspiciously empty looking... only 7 on this rack... I may have to go shopping...)
I have the floordrops sandwiched laying on the floor, I just switch them around as needed.

This is a pull back of my shooting area. You can see the black backdrop stand holding the current ‘in use’ backdrop.
Behind it is the second rack of backdrops (suspiciously empty looking… only 7 on this rack… I may have to go shopping…)
I have the floordrops sandwiched laying on the floor, I just switch them around as needed.

I use a clamp to hold the current 'in use' backdrop to the bar. Light duty so it doesn't mangle the backdrop.
You can see the stick that the backdrop is stored on just hangin' out in the back. I don't bother taking it off of that stick, it's an easy up, easy down system.

I use a clamp to hold the current ‘in use’ backdrop to the bar. Light duty so it doesn’t mangle the backdrop.
You can see the stick that the backdrop is stored on just hangin’ out in the back. I don’t bother taking it off of that stick, it’s an easy up, easy down system.

This is the setup of my shooting area.

This is the setup of my shooting area.

This is the main rack (one of two). It's mounted up on the wall, and is holding about 20 backdrops there. It's a dead simple concept, just two big hooks, a rod pocket sewn onto the end of each backdrop, and a piece of wood trim to hold it up there between the hooks.

This is the main rack (one of two). It’s mounted up on the wall, and is holding about 20 backdrops there. It’s a dead simple concept, just two big hooks, a rod pocket sewn onto the end of each backdrop, and a piece of wood trim to hold it up there between the hooks.

Please note the ladder in the corner.... I'm short... like 5 foot 2 inches. So I need very strong muscular man like Channing, or a ladder to get my backdrops down. Sadly Mr. Holoboff would be miffed if I had Mr. Tatum at my beck and call, so I bought a ladder.

Please note the ladder in the corner…. I’m short… like 5 foot 2 inches. So I need very strong muscular man like Channing, or a ladder to get my backdrops down. Sadly Mr. Holoboff would be miffed if I had Mr. Tatum at my beck and call, so I bought a ladder.

Well there you have it folks, my version of an organized, easy to use backdrop system in a teeeeeny tiny photography studio (did I mentin it’s 13×14 feet) TEEEEEENNNNYYYYY.
–Melissa

Skipped Church Today…. and had pancakes at McDonalds!

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Alright, so I’m “churchy”…. but sometimes I just want to go to McD’s with the kids on a Sunday morning. No shower. No makeup. Ballcap on head and whatever clothes were on the floor beside my bed.

It was a great day and nobody died from not getting pretty, and I prayed in my head and I’ll do better next time…. well, I’ll try to do better next time. :)