Freezer Jam and Summer Fun

Ruby loves to cook and bake, and last year we experimented with jam recipes. Our neighbor Terri is a master-baking person, and when she brought over some home made jam we were almost rude about asking for more. LOL! So--it was time to make our own.

We went to a local farm and picked berries, which I highly recommend. There is something about berries warmed in the sunshine, fresh off the vine. I feel sad for berries picked before they're ready and trucked all over creation. It ain't natch. 

  I just read The Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver and man, that has me thinking twice about the food I buy. Home grown / small farming is the way to go 100%. I really miss living in England where we would shop the local farm and butcher for most of our food. It's so much better for you, and the Earth. But here I go off on a tangent so let me stop and give you the info.

The recipe we followed was from here on allrecipes.com 

We didn't change anything-- yes, there is a lot of sugar --but it's JAM people, live a little...LOL!

The jam is SO delish and wonderful the kids have been asking for PB&J for lunch for days. 


They make their own, because I claim I don't "know how".   I feel like this is Parenting 101,  a touch of street wisdom (survival in the wild), aaaaannnnd teaching them basic culinary skills.  At least I know they'd make it a week without Mom. Ya know?

 I have these worries. 

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It's comfort food too- so another bonus. 

If you want to get super granola, blend some organically grown peanuts yes I linked it for you, in a Vitamix with a touch of salt for your peanut butter. 

I've done it (once) --and never again, thank you very much. I thought I'd lost my damn mind over trying to clean that thing out. 
Image result for messy blender
She doesn't look very surprised if you ask me. No Oscar there.

It's been hot here so I've been moving my Summer Wardrobe to my easy access drawers. Gemma tanks, Ruby dresses, Mission Maxis, and lots of slinky self drafted skirts. 

I'm teaching the Ruby tunic/dress at Blue Bar Quilt Shop in July! Sign up now online here.

Printed patterns are available at the shop, reserve yours today by texting me or calling the shop. 
We'll need your payment to reserve you one.

I sell these like hot cakes when I work, because it's my FAVORITE. I'm like Buddy when it comes to Rae. 

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Kind of freaky. LOL.

One of my goals in 2017 is to finish the projects I've started. If it doesn't bring me happiness to finish them, I am donating the fabric/pile/pattern/anger inducer to local guilds or perhaps one of those green boxes found in parking lots accepting shoes and clothing. They are slightly creepy, no? I always envision falling inside and being stuck there, padlocked in, with no way of escaping, finally being eaten by a gang of ravenous tom cats. 

Too much? Image result for green donation container

Anywho, here is one quilt I've finished. I have three more waiting on me to muster energy for photographing them. 
But YAY--four quilts done! Clap clap!

It's mostly Cotton & Steel fabric, of course. I used an acrylic ruler thingy of 9" square shape and cut/sewed without thinking about much else. 
 I barely made it through that sentence.

I made some silky pillows to go with it. Hugenormous ones.

Oh, and I finished this QAYG quilt too. ALL scraps!!

When I have a day of free sewing..
I zone out listening to my Audible, or sometimes I'll watch Netflix and binge watch a show. Sometimes I feel like I lost a friend when the show ends though, which I'm going through right now. I have one or two episodes left of The Good Wife and I'm sorry, but Alicia Florrick is practically my BFF now. How to cut the ties? What do you do to ease the pain? 

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Queen of Poker Face.

ALL week I've been working on my Essential Oils case pattern to take it to print-- it will be available really soon. I re-wrote it with more photos and hints, and drew up new diagrams in Adobe suite. 

It's a gorgeous 9x6" booklet on glossy paper, professionally printed for me locally by a guy who has the patience of a Saint. Or Jesus. Go see him for your printing needs, or if you need a tutorial on In Design.  I'm not kidding, serious patience. I think I've sent him at least 20 drafts. 


Wisconsin Printing, Monona WI.  His name is Dan and you'll feel like you're best friends within about 4 minutes.

I'm really excited about this pattern being printed, it's my best seller now. In the next few weeks I'll be designing the printable pattern for the Essentials TOTE as well. I probably should name it differently, but OH WELL... I'm keeping you on your toes you see, memory recall and all that.

In the News:

1.  My BFF Lysa (pronounced Lisa) is hosting a sew along for her EPIC Boom Box sewing machine cover. Do it.


2.  Sara at Sew Sweetness has video courses now on several patterns, and more in the works. Here is a free 30 min Flyerion bag tutorial she has on her blog. 

3.  I've discovered Skillshare (dot com) and WHOA has it changed my designing life. It sounds so silly, but I have a hard time remembering the steps when using Adobe programs like Illustrator and In Design. For some reason, when a person shows me on the computer screen in real time, I get it. I love Skillshare--and plan on using it as much as possible. I created a quilt in Illustrator in minutes, ok, maybe it was an hour---rather than my usual week(ssss) of turtle paced drawing and messing up.  


School's out, so we have lots of Creative Play going on around here. Sometimes they amaze me with the things they come up with, through their own endeavors. I always ask to have a photo shoot, which about half of the time they oblige me. 

Before you go...

Try this tutorial I wrote for stashing cash, keys, headphones, whatever you need handy on your summer days of fun. Enlarge it to hold swim suits / toiletries / sunscreen / lotions.  My Tutorials page has loads of fun (free) sewing stuff so be sure to Pin it for later! Whoop whoop toot toot!

Happy Making!

Recent makes from YOU using 

Tracey made this Skull Quilt for her adult Son-it was her 
FIRST TIME piecing!

Santorini Tote by Paisley Lane Boutique

Essentials Tote by Pity the Spool Bags

Essentials Tote by BuzyBette


  1. Oh my god girl! Is there no end to your super powers! Us mere mortals are in awe of EVERYTHING you do. Which is A LOT and always amazing! xoxo

  2. I get tired just looking at what you do! Amazing Miss Natalie. A lot to take in with this one post! Keep on keeping on!

  3. Hello,

    Looks like the summer was spent well! I typically love homemade jams. They are fresh and of course without any preservatives. THanks for such wonderful post!

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  4. Your jam looks so sunny and delicious. It would surely get high rating from ThePensters. I literally can feel the ghost of its warm taste on the tip of my tongue.. yumm. Do you have the recipe here somewhere? How much sugar do you put? My mom puts equal parts of sugar and berries or sometimes even more sugar and.. it tastes like sugar with slight flavor of fruits...

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