Posts tagged ‘Perler Beads’

Apple Butter!

As promised, here is my first canning experience, the joys, fun, and wonders of APPLE BUTTER :D, fully documented in pictures!

My recipe is based on the Sweet Apple Cider Butter Recipe at FreshPreserving.com πŸ™‚

If mine looks a little different, it’s because mine is out of a beginner’s canning booklet put out by Ball:

The Sweet Apple Cider Recipe is on the next to last page:

My el-cheapo apples! I was thrilled to see these in the store πŸ˜€ They had all kinds of apples lined up in 3 lb bags at $3.99/bag, and I had my hands on 2 bags of Gala apples – when I saw these lovely Golden Delicious, BOTH bags on sale/clearance for $1.20/bag! That’s not a problem, I’m gonna use ’em up real quick-like making apple butter πŸ™‚

The apple cider – and that, folks, is my raw ingredients!

3 lbs of apples peeled, quartered, and cored, another 1/2 bag to go

4-1/2 lbs apples, ready to go!

The peels, cores, and stems from approx 4-1/2 lbs of apples – can we say “compost pile”

The lonely 3 apples that didn’t go in the pot – LOVE the leaves still attached!

(There were actually 4, but Teddy couldn’t help himself and snacked on an apple – kid LOVES apples!)

I was wondering how that many apples and only 1-1/2 cups of cider would get the apples soft in cooking – that’s how! After about 5 minutes, this is what it looked like πŸ™‚

After about 25/30 minutes, they’d cooked down to this, and are good and soft and ready to puree. I LOVE the effect the steam gives the pic!

This, folks, is my handy-dandy, super-duper, WONDERFUL, Tupperware Quick Chef – otherwise known as a hand-cranked food processor!

And since it was my brand new toy, I pureed the first batch (one downfall, it only holds 4 cups, so for maximum efficiency, you can only puree about 1-1/2 cups at a time), but Teddy was oh-so-willing to demonstrate and be my model for batch #2

6 cups of apple puree – aka applesauce if I’d stopped right here! Had to do some quick math in my head for the next step, because the recipe called for 9 cups of puree. So I’d figured then that I’d only get 2 pint jars instead of 3 😦 Don’t know if I let the initial cook-down go too long, or if I just should’ve used more apples. It just tastes yummy wonderful, though, so I’m not complaining too much πŸ˜‰

bubbling away, with sugar, cinnamon, and cloves added – I was starting to wonder if it was ever going to thicken enough!

So while I waited, here’s what I did:

Got the jars warming and the lids simmering….

And took pix of (some of) my new Tupperware! This is a small canister (got my coffee in it) and my Quick Shake Container. The canister is from a set of 4, it’s actually labeled Hispanic collection or something like that because of the flowers. I just know I liked it, and it will go wonderfully well with my (future) Coca-Cola kitchen – loving that the Tupperware colors right now are RED and WHITE!

This is the Chop-n-Prep, and if you wanna fine-dice some herbs/onions/etc, THIS is the way to go. It even comes with the lid so that you can take the blade out and store whatever you finely minced in it. Teddy calls it the lawnmower because you pull the little cord (the white handle thing in the pic) like when you crank a lawnmower πŸ˜‰

This is the SmartSteamer (I got it as one of my 1/2-priced items). The microwaves are directed away from the food and only into the water tray at the bottom, so that the food is truly steamed. Best broccoli I’ve EVER eaten! I love broccoli raw, and I usually like it cooked – but drowned in sauce. This was just straight, steamed broccoli, with only the occasional flavoring that dripped from the marinaded chicken in the top tray. DELISH!

And so you can see the two cooking trays and lids, here ya go πŸ˜‰

I got two sets of these Empanada Makers/Pie Presses (total of 4) – can’t wait to make my own Hot Pockets! So much healthier πŸ™‚

Teddy wanting to get in another pic

For now at least, this is what I’m using my Thatsa Mega Bowl for – Perler Bead storage! Also, I got 4 sets of the Midgees (2 oz shot glasses, essentially), but they are perfect for sorting and storing the different colors of beads πŸ™‚

Tupperware not pictured (already put into storage): the other 3 canisters, the measuring cup and spoon set (Why is Tupperware the ONLY company that includes the 2/3 and 3/4 cup measuring cup?), the Mix-n-Store pitcher, the Saucy Silicone Spatula, and the Double Colander. (Yes I know, I made out like a BANDIT! Thanks so much if you helped make it possible by ordering from my party!)

This is another round of Pumpkin Yumminess ready to go in the oven. And yes, that’s a Perfect Brownie Pan. No, I’m NOT thrilled with it. This is only the 2nd time I’ve used it, and it was a Christmas gift last year. At least this time, the batter didn’t leak out onto the cookie sheet. But I still had to bake a LOT longer than the time listed on the box in order for the middle square to be done. In my opinion, it doesn’t turn the inside brownies into “corner” brownies as advertised. Now is it cool because everything’s evenly cut? Absolutely. But I’m just not thrilled with it.

By now, I THINK the Apple Butter is about ready….

See how much it’s cooked down? The question is, does it “hold its shape on a spoon?”

and about 8 seconds later…

looks good to me!

(If that’s not what “holding shape on spoon” is, PLEASE somebody let me know if I need to let it cook down longer ;-))

ahhh …. finally! The moment I’ve been waiting for πŸ˜€

My 2 jars of apple butter, processing away!

2 jars of apple butter, steam canned πŸ˜€

And there they are! All done and cooling and resting and such. AND SEALED!

And I leave you with oven-baked Pumpkin Yumminess
Had to do 2 pans worth – pay no attention to the “hole” in the back pan; had to test for quality, ya know πŸ˜‰

And it’s SO much better baked in the oven than the microwave!

God bless!

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Perler Bead fun, with promised pix :D

Perler Beads in a nutshell

Perler Beads are small, evenly sized, cylindrical shaped, colored pieces of plastic. You take them and arrange them on reusable peg boards of various shapes and sizes to make different designs. Then you take the reusable ironing paper that comes with pert near every Perler Bead anything you buy (bead sets, pegboards, kits), place it over the design, and iron (in a circular motion) for 10-20 seconds; it helps me to hold the iron flat on the design for about 5 seconds before moving circular, or I wind up having to put my beads back where they belong on the pegboard because I’ve accidentally knocked some askew…. Peel the paper off, let the design cool (on or off the pegboard – for me, it depends on if I need to reuse the peg board immediately or not), then iron the other side for 10-20 seconds. Discovered today it IS important to peel the paper off right away and not let the design cool with the ironing paper on it; if you do that, the design doesn’t lay flat when finished. Why? I have no idea. So I re-ironed for about 5 seconds (enough to make it go flat), immediately peeled the paper off, and Viola! my angel wasn’t bendy anymoreΒ  when she cooled back down πŸ™‚

I got most of my patterns from the Perler Bead website; they have lots of patterns you can choose from. Some, like the piano below, are 3-D which makes them freestanding.Β  Others are flat and can just be left laying around, or (more frequently, at least in our household) have magnets glued to the back. Note on magnets: even though I buy the little peel-and-stick magnet strips (18 per pack,Β  1/2 a strip is just the right size for the small board designs), the stick-em isn’t sticky enough. I still have to hot glue the magnets on. Also, the website says to use craft glue and shows a bottle of what looks suspiciously like Elmer’s, but I haven’t tried good ol’ school glue. I kinda like knowing that with my low-temp glue gun, I can use the design immediately πŸ˜‰

BIG NOTE!!!! DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy the Melty Bead brand found at Wallie-World on the Crayola aisle. I bought these first as we don’t have a local Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, or Joann’s (not that Wallie’s is all that local, either, but still…). The directions state (just like with Perler Beads) to iron for 10-20 seconds per side. But, the designs don’t stay stuck together unless you totally fuse the beads top AND bottom, no nice pretty little holes you can still see through, and it takes forever to iron. If I even come close to 30 seconds on the Perler Beads, they are totally fused together with no visible hole, and just about flat! We have ONE design I managed to salvage from the Melty Bead brand and it’s because I ironed it like crazy, at least 5 minutes on each side. It was Teddy’s first design – cute little fishies in a bowl – and I didn’t want to give up on it. So, just fair warning if you decide to try this fun and wonderful craft to NOT buy the Melty Bead brand!

3-D Grand Piano

The piano pictured above is to be a gift (shhhh – hope she’s not reading this; doubt very seriously she is…) I’m going to use it as a Gift Tag on the package, but also include a note stating it can be left sitting out as a decoration or used as a Christmas Tree ornament.

Angel

The angel I created the pattern for myself πŸ˜€ It’s loosely based on the one offered at the above-mentioned website; it’s intended for a small square pegboard and the pattern is from the religious bead bucket. I started by just up-sizing it, and then really played around with it. I really like her. I’d love to order some of the gold beads they sell on the website and use those for her halo. The 3 pictures of the angel are the one on the pegboard before ironing to show the pattern, just after ironing, and then I held it up to the light so the translucent/glitter beads would show πŸ˜‰ (I know, I’m such a girl!) I plan to make myself a garland of angels, large and small, in a variety of colors. And I did try to give her a face, but she actually looked kinda creepy with one; if I get more of the interlocking pegboards and up-size her some more, I might, but there’s just not enough room for a face yet, IMO.

“Liz”

“Liz” is what Teddy has decided to name the very colorful lizard. He received the “Swamp Things” pack as part of his birthday from his other grandparents – in addition to more beads, it included a lizard, frog, and turtle shaped peg board. The lizard (at least as shown just upon completion of ironing) is exactly as one of the patterns shows that came with the set. The additional 2 pics show where I made it 3-D by just making more feet (2 more sets) and hot-gluing them on to the original feet, plus 4 magnet pieces to the new feet bottom, and now she stands proudly off the ‘frig! (Mama’s refrigerator is shiny; that’s why you can see the flash in one pic and Liz’s reflection in the other.)

Taking the plunge!

Hi! This is my very first experience blogging, so here goes. I’ve been thinking about blogging for a couple of weeks, and now I’m diving in! This is my first post about me Pursuing Life. *Deep breath*

*The Pursuit of Life More Abundant

Most importantly, I’m a Christian – a child of God, a sinner saved by grace, by no means perfect, and DEFINITELY a work in progress.Β  God is still working with me, convicting me, bringing me to my knees in tears at times, but He also gives me plenty of reasons to rejoice when I stop to count my blessings, like today when I get to see a 5 week old niece and a 2-day old nephew for the first time!

Next, I’m a mom – to a wonderful 9-year-old son, whom I love very much and who drives me absolutely CRAZY! But I think that’s why our kids exist πŸ™‚ But Teddy is my precious, precocious gift from God, and he is treasured. He is an amazingly smart 4th grader, and we’re just starting 4-H – he’s talked me into Shooting Sports, which means BB for his age. The other extracurricular activity he participates in is piano. We plan to do the Rec Dept Baseball in the spring.

In order to enable me to better take care of Teddy (read: get a decent job with benefits), I’m going back to school in January. I’ve got my Associates degree, but after 12 years out of school, it’s going to be mighty weird being a 33-year old sophomore! (Thanks, Mama and Daddy for insisting on the A.S.; at least I don’t have to repeat any core classes!) I’m looking forward to it, though, even though the school I feel God is leading me to is 1-1/2 hr drive one-way, and none of the classes are offered online. If God is bringing me to it, He’ll provide the resources, too. Having faith isn’t always easy, but taking the leap when I feel God’s urging has never failed me yet!

*The Pursuit of Liberty

Over the past few months, a dream of mine has been to become more self-sufficient and live more sustainably – grow my own food, waste less, take better care of this beautiful Earth God has given us to be stewards of, make better use of the resources He’s provided. I’d also like to pursue natural building; I’d LOVE to build myself and my son a passive-solar bale-cob house – make use of active solar too, of course! And rain-water catchment, and have chickens, and goats, and maybe bees. Still thinking on the bees, though; I live far enough south I can grow my own sugar cane, and grind it using the donkey who will double as guard “dog” for the goats.

Building the house will most like a few years; at least 2 to get it started – finish up college first. But I plan on starting now with the being more self-sufficient part. I’m going to start growing some of my own food! As I had back surgery only 13 weeks ago tomorrow (and stopped smoking – woohoo!), bending is NOT on the to-do list. So I’ve acquired some pallets and have built a raised-bed garden. (There will be a post about this in the very near future, complete with pictures.) I do still have to fill it with dirt, and then I’m going to plant broccoli, spinach, and garlic. I’m also working on a composting tumbler – again, minimize bending and back-strain.

*The Pursuit of Craftiness

My favorite hobby is crochet; expect to read a lot about that here. My absolute most favorite thing to crochet are baby clothes/toys. I utterly dislike making blankets; if I’ve ever made you a blanket as a gift, you know you a truly special person!Β  I’ve just rediscovered, and my son has discovered, the joy of Perler beads/fun fusion. I like that almost as much as crochet, and anybody that knows me knows that’s an awful lot! There will also be the occasional blurb about me sewing something, usually by hand; not sure why, but I LOVE to sew by hand, instead of by machine.Β  Just like I finally worked up the nerve to start a blog, I’m trying to work up the nerve to start an etsy.com store.

*Pursing Life

So, in a nutshell, that’s me and what my blog is gonna be about πŸ˜€ Life is crazy, life is unpredictable, and we never know what it’s going to throw at us next. And I’ve learned the better/stronger my relationship with God is, the better I’m able to handle life’s curve-balls. So hang on with me for the ride as I blog about pursuing not just life, but the life more abundant that Jesus came to give us all, liberty in the form of not being as dependent on this undependable economy, and my own personal brand of craftiness!

God bless – Beth