Craft/DIY Ideas, Parenting Tales, Recipes

Wild Violet Jelly

Is this not a beautiful sight?

Seriously, this may be the prettiest jelly I’ve ever made.

What gives it that gorgeous color? Wild violets, straight out of my backyard.

As my little guys have now named it, “flower jelly.”

I stumbled across the recipe for it on another blog and had to at least try it once.

Luckily I had lots of helpers to pick the violets for me.

This is Andrew, my 3rd grader. He was by far the most diligent of my little pickers and also helped to separate all the blooms and stems. The kids were all pretty into helping though. So, if you have any crazy little projects like this, I would be glad to hire them out! Just kidding. Sorta. (They’re also great corn huskers and pea/lima bean shellers.)

Anyway, after they had bunches of violets picked, this is the recipe I used to make the jelly:

2-3 Cups Violets

Juice of 1 Lemon

2 1/2 C Boiling Water

3 1/2 C Sugar

1 Package Sure Jell

Pick flowers and separate the blooms from the stems. In a jar, place the blooms and pour the 2 1/2 C boiling water over them. This will help to make an infuson. Allow to infuse until the water color is a dark blue/purple. (I even pushed the blooms around to help with this.)

Once you are satisfied with the color (it doesn’t take very long), strain and add the lemon juice to the liquid. I wish I had taken a picture of this step, for this is when it changes into such a brilliant color! Pour all liquid into a heavy pan and turn on high heat. Add the package of Sure Jell. Bring to a rolling boil and add in the sugar. Bring to a boil again, allow to boil for @1 minute, them remove from heat. Pour into jelly jars and process for 5 minutes. Allow to set for 24 hours. Enjoy!

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the taste. If you are not too weirded out by eating “flower jelly,” it really does taste fine. I have to admit that I was a little nervous–was it going to actually taste good? Or gross? (Almost all of my jelly-making experience has been with berry-based ones.) Well, we tried some with our Easter breakfast and the closest thing I can compare it to is a light grape-y flavor. Nothing strong, just a light, pleasant flavor.

Wouldn’t this make a pretty little gift as well?

Hmmm….I may have to send my little workers out with their baskets to pick me another batch.

Craft/DIY Ideas

Vintage Hankie Table Runner

Do you ever come across bunches of these at antique and thrift shops?

Ever wonder what you could do with them?

I have, so I’ve bought a few here and there (they’re usually $1 or less) and have finally come up with an idea to display them in a pretty way.

A table runner made exclusively of vintage hankies and doilies. Perfect for your Easter table or just for spring.

This was incredibly simple to make and probably took me 30 minutes to pull together. It only takes a minimal of sewing skills too.

Here’s a rundown of what I did to make this:

First, I chose which hankies or doilies I wanted to use. To be honest with you, I didn’t use several pretty ones because they had too much staining on them. Once I picked some out, I lined them up in the order that I wanted them displayed. Notice that I overlapped lots of the edges on purpose. Many of these items are a very thin material, but have such pretty and feminine detailing.

Then I cranked up my sewing machine. Basically I started at one end and pinned two together where I wanted them to join. I chose white thread so it wouldn’t show too much and sewed several straight lines to connect them. Then I would move on to the next one, join that, and moved down the line until everything was sewn together.

I also want to note that I placed one doily entirely on top of a larger hankie that I felt had a lot of blank space. I sewed a few lines to attach this and you really can’t see the stitches at all.

I laid this on my much-loved kitchen table and topped it off with a vase of frilly daffodils. Love it!

PS-These hankies always remind me of my sweet Mom-Mom, who passed away last fall. She always had a hankie tucked up her sleeve, sometimes rolling the end of her sleeve to hold it in place. We would sort of tease her for doing this, but it is a fun memory of her.

Craft/DIY Ideas, Recipes

Lego Birthday Cake

I thought I’d share a quick post about the birthday cake I made for my twin boys’ birthday. Well, I actually made two cakes. One was a double-layer chocolatey chocolate (it was SO yum!) and one a basic yellow cake that I decorated in a Lego theme.

Nothing fancy, but I thought it was kind of cute. It had actually been awhile since I had decorated a cake and I had debated about doing different things. However, I found these cute Lego block candies and thought they may be perfect for the job. Our local bulk foods store carries them and they really do look like Legos. So, all I did was bake a basic yellow cake, iced it with white icing, and made a number 5 with the candies and put them all around the perimeter of the cake as a border.

Easy peasy and a big hit with my 5 year old boys.