Tag Archives: pickles

Catching Up

It’s been a while since I’ve posted so this blog is about catching up with friends, books, marbling and gardens.  After my return from the Folk School class, I had a huge crop of slightly over-ripe cucumbers.  I still have about two dozens pints of pickles from last year, but I just couldn’t let all of those beauties go to waste.  I made another dozen or so pints and vowed to have pickles on the table for every meal next year.  I decided that that was enough and I would NOT do anymore.  So far, I’ve held to it and have only picked cucumbers for eating.  Don’t know if I’ll hold out though!

We’ve had a stretch of cooler weather and while I love it, the tomatoes don’t.  The red cherry tomatoes just aren’t getting ripe. The orange ones (Sungold) are almost ripe, but not in the profusion they should be.  The full size are slowly ripening, but if we don’t have some hot sun, I might not have enough to can this year. Harvest from two days, minus the cucumbers!

Last week I had a delightful visit from a friend I’ve known for over 20 years.  We had rather lost contact for a while besides the annual birthday greetings and it was great to see him again.  It’s amazing how one can flow back into relationships with a friend one hasn’t seen in years and yet with other people it is hard to sync up even seeing them once a week.  People are strange and fascinating beings.  My friend had read about my marbling class and wanted to learn how to do it, so we spent a day playing with it!

Lots of fun, but I didn’t get much real work done.  After he left, I went back to the trays, but the carrageenan just wasn’t doing its job.  Not sure if it was the temperature, high humidity, my water or just random contamination.  Very frustrating!

Amid all this, my dehumidifier conked out.  My studio is in the basement so its very important that it stays dry, especially the area where I store my paper. I ordered a super heavy-duty model, but it took over a week for it to arrive.  More frustration.  To cap it all off, my hot water heater died. That replacement was fast and efficient, but not before I had to deal with a lot of water on the floor.  Not the time to be without my dehumidifier!

All is well at the moment and I hope to have pictures of some new creations soon.  I have listed my diskette books on Etsy, so I have a start!  More paper will be coming soon.

In another catch up, I talked a while ago about buying recycled odds and ends at a place in Durham, NC.  One of the pieces I bought was a broken slab of marble (not sure if it’s real or fake).  I’ve been using it as a base on which to pare leather and it is just the right size.  I’m thrilled with it! It’s hard to see in the picture, but the marble makes a smooth, hard surface to cut against while paring.  The edges of the leather need to be pared down to the thickness of a sheet of paper.  I’m not very skilled at it and it takes a lot of knife work to get them smooth even and the right thickness.

I hope to do some more marbling next week and hoping it’ll be more productive than last! In the meantime, lots of books to finish and hoping no more appliances die!

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Nibbled to Death by Ducks

Last week was one of those weeks where I was busy all the time but accomplishments seemed to be few.  Dental appointment, watch it rain, doctor check up, mow the high hay, watch it rain, finish up the “real” books from last week’s blog, watch it rain, pick and freeze strawberries, switch closet from winter to summer, finally finish cleaning up the marbling stuff, spend an afternoon as a sub playing cards, and did I mention – watch it rain.

The good parts are that the garden has started to produce. I just hope the cukes aren’t quite as prolific as last year because I still have a dozen or more pints of bread and butter pickles from my canning frenzy of last year.

The wild blackberries that grow all over my property are coming on.  I love being able to gather a handful every morning on my walk about.  The best are from a bush that came up next to the garage.  I don’t take care of it except to try to keep people who are helping me from tearing it out!

Here are the books I finished from the previous week.  Cased in and ready to go.  I’m particularly happy with the one with the leather spine.  After struggling with paring the leather, it went together very nicely.

After saying last week that I was tired of novelties, I returned to my cross laced long-stitch books and finished up most of the leftovers.  Because of the way the tabs are cut to interlock for the front and back, if you don’t use the same paper for both covers, you end up with either a lot of waste or an extra piece already cut.  Of course, I don’t like to waste good paper, so I had a bunch of leftovers, which became more long-stitch books last week.



Not sure what I’m aiming for this week – work in the garden for sure, no marbling but maybe some playing with the dos à dos format.  It’s close to a real book and I’d like to try it with a case-type binding.  We’ll see if it works!

I also have set up a Losing Her Marbles store on Facebook.  It doesn’t have many bells and whistles yet, but social media is slowly creeping up on me.


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Where Did That Week Go?

Busy, busy week. Not sure quite what happened, but I know that the painters finally came to start work on my porch, my company left and I finally mowed the grass.  To update the trifecta, first the pickles did get canned, another 12 pints. 

I finished one book as a sample for a potential customer.

The final bit was making more Treasure Towers with maps on the outside.  They are close to being finished, with just folding the interior boxes and gluing them to the outside.  Keeping the two blue/purple towers separated with their proper papers was a challenge, but I think I have them right.  It really wouldn’t make too much difference as their colors are very similar, but when I put a lot of effort into choosing just the right piece of paper, I hate it when I mess them up at the last minute.  That’s one reason I never work on more than four items at once.  There’s just way too much chance for papers getting switched.

Here are the towers and the paper cut and folded for the boxes.

On a totally different note, I’ve started harvesting potatoes from my garden.  There’s nothing better than a freshly dug potato!  Here’s the harvest for today.
The cherry tomatoes are overflowing.  I may have to figure out how to can them!

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Going for a Trifecta

This week is starting with a bang: papers chosen and started for four Towers with maps on the outside, papers matched for four books and the textblocks cut and folded, plus another gallon of cukes salted in the fridge.  Let’s see what gets finished and what waits for next week!

The cucumbers are just about over.  We haven’t had much rain in the past two weeks and they are getting smaller and smaller.  On the other hand, the cherry tomatoes are going like gang busters!  So sweet and juicy, nothing like the ones in the grocery store.  I may even try to can some, just to have a memory of summer next February when the snow has piled up and I’m almost house-bound.

I’ll take some pictures of the towers and books as they begin to come together.

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Home again with more boxes and way too many cucumbers

I arrived  home again and was immediately faced with a deadline.  Before I left for North Carolina, I had started five new Treasure Towers and assumed I would have plenty of time to finish them after getting home.  Of course, I hadn’t counted on delays caused by illness, weather and general negativity. Drop-off day for the new show at the Arts Center was Monday and it took a real push to finish the towers in time. I was pleased with the results: All the papers on the correct boxes with no last minute switches or upside downs.  Mistakes caused by pressure & rushing seem to be plaguing me recently.  I hope the jinx has run its course.  Here are the finished towers at the Arts Center. I didn’t have time to make “artsy” photos, but it gives me a record of what I’ve done.

The third tower has a print of a painting of Keuka Lake by Jane Terry on the outside instead of my marbled paper.  As I was photographing these, I realized there were none with maps on the covers.  I often put marbled local or area maps on the outside of the tower and these have been very popular.  I wasn’t planning on it, but I should probably do another set with maps before the summer people and tourists leave in September.  I hope I can find enough maps already marbled!

On the garden front, I came home to a jungle of tomato, squash and cucumber vines and even a couple of heads of broccoli.  First task was the cucumbers as they spoil fastest. The cukes are huge, but still sweet and fine for making bread and butter pickles. I did two more batches, 22 pints, if I’ve counted correctly (not counting the ones before my trip) and more to come.

The cherry tomatoes are just coming on, both orange and red.  They are oversized this year, but still sweet and flavorful.  For the first time I’ve been able to outwit the rabbits and actually harvest some broccoli and cauliflower.  I harvested one small watermelon just a bit early (still delicious) and a second will be dessert today.  Again, for the first time, the acorn squash has really gone to town and I’ll have quite a few that are good-size in the fall.  The potatoes are almost ready to be dug.

In spite of the late start and my intial pessimism, this looks to be my most succesful garden ever.

I am really pleased!


Filed under Boxes and Towers, Life, Marbled Paper

Accomplished! Pickles & Portfolios

The last few days have been very productive, both for me and for the garden.  When  I was in the garden, I started picking cucumbers and got seven or eight ripe ones.  Many too many to eat, so it was time to make bread and butter pickles!  This is the first time in about ten years that I’ve had enough cukes to make pickles, so I was happy.  Took them inside and got them sliced, but didn’t have any onions.  Unfortunately they are not quite in season yet so had to get them at the grocery store rather than the local farm stand. Sliced the onions and put them with the cucumbers to sit in the fridge and do their thing.  By late afternoon they had sat long enough, so I started cooking up the syrup.  I had forgotten to check on the canning supplies, so a frantic search for rings and new lids took place.  I knew where the canning jars were since I have boxes and boxes of them from the years that I canned in a major way.  I grabbed the canning kettle and a box of jars just in time to add the cucumbers to the syrup.  Everything worked out in the end and I now have ten pints of pickles for the coming year and I’ll probably have lots more, if the raccoons don’t get the cucumbers first.

On the Portfolio side, I finished my next set of portfolios.  I design a way for them to hold a pad of paper that I hope is strong enough!  There were, of course, some hiccups on the way – like cutting paper the wrong size – that happens when I’m pushing to get something done.  They all worked out in the end and I’m pleased with the final results.

These are all for sale at Long’s Cards and Books in Penn Yan, NY.

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