Do It Yourself

I Just Could not Leave Her Behind!

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A friend of mine is permanently relocating to another state. She had an Estate Sale recently and while I was browsing I spotted a sewing machine case on the driveway. The case was quite dirty and appeared to have been stored, probably in a shed, for quite a while. The price tag was $5.00. I peeked inside the case and the machine looked fairly clean. For five dollars, how could I leave such a pretty, unloved machine behind? After all she’s PINK!

 

Singer-Merrett-2404

I brought her home, cleaned and oiled her, and found out that she runs just like new. Sadly, she has only one cam, but it is for the zigzag stitch, so I am happy about that. I can do all the fancy stitches I need on my Brother machines. My internet search tells me that she came into being around the late 80’s, but I cannot seem to find her serial number anywhere, not even on the Singer site. Oh well, she is pretty, runs well, and did I say it? PINK! (Oh, and I love the little heart drawn on the side of her base!)

If you know anything interesting about the Singer Merritt 2404, leave me a comment. I would love to learn more about her.

Until Next Time,

Toni

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A Saturday Surprise

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I usually check on my gardens every morning. I am always on the lookout for marauding bugs, or plant issues. This time I was greeted by this:

berry-blossom

One of my strawberry plants has a blossom. Quite unexpected, since they are relatively new. I bought two 3″ pots on sale after Hurricane Irma. I brought them home and split each pot into two plants. Hopefully, the resulting four plants are the beginning of a border for one of my raised bed planters.

These are Quinault strawberries, the only plant available locally. From the plant propaganda it will be a hardy perennial that is everbearing, meaning that it may produce fruit from Spring through Fall. This year, I am not planning on harvesting any berries, I am much more interested in the plants producing new baby plants from their runners.

Have you grown Quinault strawberries?

Until next time

Toni

Where Does Time Go?

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I can’t believe that it has been a month since I last posted! I am retired but that doesn’t mean that I am sitting in my rocker doing nothing. It seems that my time just flies by! I keep myself busy every day.

Since this isn’t actually a sewing blog, but more of my personal journal of what I like, and see, and do, I am just going to post my random stuff. Today, I am going to show that I have been expanding my sewing to include bag making.

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When Life Hands You…

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Bananas. Lots of bananas. That’s what we have from hurricane Irma. Lucky us, we made it through the storm with minimal damage, except for our poor banana trees:

Poor-tree

We were pretty sure this would happen, so before we evacuated, we cut 4 of the most vulnerable stalks of bananas. Now, in case you don’t know, those clusters of bananas that you find in the market are called a hand, and are just a part of the entire stalk, which can have several hands of bananas.

This stalk has about 100 bananas. These are small bananas called Manzana, or Apple Bananas. Guess what flavor there is an undertone of…

20170720_175441

Right! A tasty banana with a slight apple flavor. Delicious! There is only one problem with a STALK of bananas… they tend to ripen all at once! A hundred or so, ripe bananas is a lot for a family, but we are just 2 people. Even after giving some away, we still have two stalks of bananas. Enough for a Congress of monkeys! (Yes, that is what they are appropriately called!)

In a day or two this is what we had:

ripe-cluster

Don’t let their looks scare you! These are Blue Java or Custard bananas. Yes, they have a sweet creamy flavor. Fortunately, even when they are this ripe they retain firm consistency. Peeled they look like this:

peeled

They are perfectly firm for slicing (and eating). These have a very thin peel and extremely tiny, rudimentary seeds. They remind me of the seeds found in vanilla pods.

sliced

You can see a few on the outside of this one. I once grew an unnamed banana cultivar that would have an occasional fully developed seed in it. The seed was black, extremely hard and about  the size of an unshelled pistachio nut. What a surprise that was the first time I found one!

So, you ask, what did I do with about 200 ripe bananas? First I sliced them lengthwise into thirds. Remember these are small bananas.

mini-seeds

Wondering why they are so shiny? Its because they just got out of their lemony bath.

lemon-bath

There about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in the bowl. Not enough to change the banana flavor, but enough to keep the slices from turning brown.

I put about a third of the banana slices into my freezer. I spread them out singly on racks from my old dehydrator, so that they would freeze individually. When they were solidly frozen I transferred them to plastic, zipper, freezer  bags to use later. Believe me a frozen slice of banana is wonderful on a hot, Florida day!

But, I can’t have just bananas in my freezer, so the rest of the slices were spread out on racks and dried in my dehydrator. They make a very satisfying chewy snack!

dried-bananas

All of those bananas filled 2 pint and a half canning jars, a quart canning jar and a pint jar. With a few leftover for snacking. I will seal the larger jars with my vacuum sealer for longer storage.

By the way, Irma did hand us some lemons, too! Our little Meyer lemon tree looked like we didn’t water it for months. A really bad case of windburn from those monster winds! To give it respite, I cut it back . I cut off about fifty smallish unripe lemons and gave it a couple of gallons of fish and kelp emulsion. I hope it helps!

Not one to waste anything, I washed and squeezed the juice from most of those lemons. I remember my Mother every time I use my electric juicer. She gave it to me years ago, when my now 40ish children were very little.

I was pleasantly surprised that the  lemons were (mostly) juicy. Instead of my usual yellow juice, the juice is decidedly green. I poured it into some ice trays to make lemon cubes for later. Guess I will pretend that it is Key Lime juice!

What would you do with 200 little bananas?

Until Next Time,

Toni