Canning and Slow Stitching

Two days in a row with no sewing, and the kitties can hardly believe their eyes. What is this world coming to? Sadie settled herself on the Wine Country quilt to contemplate what it might be like to take up drinking.

Smitty already has the market on catnip cornered, and so she thinks wine might be her only refuge from no-sewing days.

As for Smitty, he keeps parking himself in front of the glass door, hoping it will open again for him some day. He hasn't had a good gopher in weeks.

On the other hand, we did have some excitement yesterday. Smitty was out on his catio, minding his own business when, out of the blue, he came flying in through the kitty door, hair on his back standing on edge, back arched, tail up, eyes wide. So, I wondered what he’d seen, and I stepped outside to see a small bobcat heading off down into the woods. He was just a little guy. Even Smitty might have been bigger. The bobcat was no more than 10 feet from the catio. Smitty was completely safe, but I’ve never seen a bobcat come that close to the house. I suspect he was curious at seeing Smitty sitting there.

Smitty's reaction was priceless. I didn't get a picture yesterday, but here's one I took on a previous bobcat sighting:

If that isn't a "Holy Sh*t!" look, then I don't know what is. So all's well again, although he ran upstairs and stayed there for hours yesterday morning. I'm actually kind of surprised he was so freaked out, but then, I didn't see exactly what happened.

Okay, so while all of that was going on, I was starting on Tree #6. I had all of the trunk and branches finished when I quit for the morning. It was first chain stitched in variegated brown, and then the whole chain was whipped stitched in a light green.

After that, I got busy with my canning. As expected, my yield on the pickled beets was low...just 3 pints. Don't think I'll be sharing any of these with the kids, unfortunately. Maybe I'll get some more beets at the grocery store and do a few more. They're pretty easy. These are about half CSA beets and half grocery store beets.

The beets are pretty easy. You must first cook them and skin them. You can boil them, but I prefer roasting. Then they're packed into jars along with whole cloves, allspice berries, cinnamon sticks, and some pickling salt. Pour over the brine and process in a boiling water bath. Honestly, once the beets are cooked, the rest goes pretty fast. I'm using a recipe from a book entitled, Small Batch Canning, and you can find it right here.

That was followed pretty quickly by 10 half pints of Cranberry Orange Chutney. There are only eight pictured here, which is the maximum number of jars my canner will hold. Since I knew I was going to open some for Thanksgiving and beyond, I refrigerated the two extra jars. This is another easy recipe, and takes just about a half hour to cook. It's really good on turkey sandwiches, and also makes a good spread on crackers with cream cheese. The recipe is from the National Center for Home Food Preservation, and you can find it right here.

And that's a wrap for Canning Season 2019. I'm not completely ruling out the possibility of doing more pickled beets...or something else if I see an irresistible recipe...but I hope I'm finished for the year. This is a list of all the canning I've done this year. I keep a list on my phone so I can tally it up and feel accomplished, but it also makes a good reference for subsequent years.

After that, I did some housework. We had leftovers for dinner, and it was nice not to have to do any more cooking for the day. While the leftovers were heating up, I finished off Tree #6. I'm telling you these are addicting. 

If you're wondering about the two blurry smudges in that image above, it's where I tried to edit out some Sadie hairs. She's my stitching cat, and I end up with her furs all over my stitcheries. I must remember to use my lint roller before taking pictures.

Here are the six I have so far.

This morning I read on Mary Corbet's Needle and Thread blog that she is coming out with a similar series of snowflakes. You can see some examples at her post right here. She says it will be available in the next "few weeks," and you can count on me to be first in line when they come out. The trees have been so much fun. The snowflakes should be fun too.

But snowflakes aside, now I've traced out the next tree. With such fine lines, they're harder to trace than they are to stitch. I'm thinking this project might benefit from the use of some Sticky Fabri-Solvy, but it's too late now. This one is done in a stitch I've never even seen before.

Her ebook for the trees contains excellent instructions and images that describe the stitches beautifully. This stitch, however, was left out. It's called a braid stitch. Fortunately, she's done a nice little video, and I suspect that's why it was left out of the book. You can see it right here. It's probably easier to show and tell rather than to explain in writing.

Okay...so...gulp. I'm heading off to work on that right now. Wish me luck.

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

Anonymous said...

Your trees are so beautiful that I am tempted to take up stitchery. ;-)

djquilting said...

Such a funny Smitty story...and the look on his face is priceless. Love the trees too.

Julierose said...

Your trees are so pretty--each one more lovely than the next!;)))
Your canning prowess is amazing...hugs, Julierose

Katie said...

Holy cow that's a big list of canned items! You'll be eating well this winter. The little trees are so cute, but a Sadie hair would have been overlooked by me...seems I have cat hair on all the things here, so I'd better not judge! And our youngest, Freddie, puffs up at everything. I'm currently battling the stomach flu, so this morning, when I was using the commode in a new way, he puffed up big as could be and then couldn't decide if he wanted to be in the bathroom where the action was or to run and hide. He chose to pace in the doorway. If I hadn't been so miserable, I might have laughed.

Ruth L. said...

Hey, you've got this. The instructions for the braid stitch are excellent. Just leave yourself some "give" in the hoop. One of our formerly-feral cats, the one we took in as an adult and converted to an all-indoor cat, got spooked one night by something in our back yard/patio and wouldn't hang out in the vicinity for almost a week. Could have been almost anything from an armadillo up to a coyote pack. FYI, I don't let mine see pictures of your catio as I would never hear the last of it.

Sandra W said...

That's a new stitch for me. I'd have to have the video on though if I tried to do it. It looks easy enough until you try to remember it. But I can see it's an impressive stitch.
Bobcat! Wolves! You're living in a zoo lady. Perhaps there is a kit somewhere.

bcarlf said...

Well,Smitty is a very brave cat and that bobcat must have been intruding on his territory. I love the kitty stories. And I can hardly wait to see that braid stitch on one of your trees. They are really pretty. You have inspired me to try some stitching. I have bought a pattern but haven't done anything yet.

piecefulwendy said...

Your little tree farm is growing quite quickly; they are so darn cute! Poor Smitty (athough that pic made me giggle) -- wonder why he was so freaked. Maybe the bobcat came closer than when you saw him. Yikes. At any rate, glad he wasn't out exploring.

SJSM said...

I’d say Smitty has good common sense. Retreat to a safe place. And yes, I do find the previous sighting picture quite a keeper. Love your little trees but I refuse to consider another stitching project until the current ones are done. Too many UFOs as is.

Enjoy your pantry full of deliciousness this winter and spring. I did not preserve any of our garden this year and am disappointed in my dereliction of duty. All that work and not one thing preserved. It is a time in my life where there are too many items going on for me to spread my focus into canning. Perhaps all will settle down for next year.

Louise said...

What a neat stitch! I wondered how that loopy tree was going to get embroidered :)

QuiltGranma said...

What a wonderful tutorial you found for embroidery! I've written down the site so I can reference it when I finally get around to making a -- close to historical reproduction of a Crazy Quilt! Thank you!

QuiltGranma said...

Oh, and last night about 12:30, soon after I got into bed I heard some animal out side make a sound... a very high pitched sound that I puzzled over at first. There are coyotes in our area, and their yipping and yodeling did not sound like this. It just sounded like one animal making vocalization, and it was a scream type of sound, so decided we were being visited by a cougar! So glad to have our tin home around us, the last time we heard that we were in a pup tent up in the mountains! That was MANY years ago!

quiltzyx said...

Smitty is a smart cookie, coming in to the most safe zone.
The jarred beets look beeyouteefull! Such a great shade of red.

All the tiny trees look so good. That braid stitch looks interesting. I'm sure as I catch up, I will find it is lovely as well!