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The humble jar 19 January, 2008

Filed under: Thoughts,Weekly useful stuff — makeityourown @ 10:18 am

I love January. It’s the time of the year when too much tennis is never enough. No, you won’t catch me out on the court slicing and aceing and chasing a little bright green ball. I’ll be on the couch spectating my way through the Australian Open. In the less exciting matches I might do some knitting. If it’s exciting though, I’ll have my eyes glued to the telly. Tennis is the only sport that I really love watching aside from the Winter Olympics but that’s only once every four years. Consequently, not much gets done around the place during the Australian Open…

That said, I’ve got plenty of work to do at the moment. I’ve recently finished a pattern and a column for the next Yarn and I’ll start some tech editing for it next week. I’m working on designs and columns for the next 3 Yarns after that too. I’m particularly excited about the pattern I’ll have in the winter issue which is a men’s garment in some wonderful yarn. I’ve got a boy’s jumper design and a men’s sock design just about done that are Yarn potentials or maybe another magazine. I’m also in the middle of doing three patterns for Live 2 Knit. Goodness me. I’d like to try and get a pattern or to into Interweave Knits or Crochet but we’ll see what happens. My notebook seems to be overflowing with potential pattern ideas too…Good thing I love my job hey?

Knitting is not really my hobby any more. If I’ve been knitting for five hours during the day, the last thing I want to do to relax is more knitting so I’ve been engaging in some other activities lately. Since Matthew suggested that maybe we should get rid of the piano to make more space in the house (what a horrifying thought!), I’ve started playing the piano again. After four or five years of barely playing it, I feel like I’m back at the beginning again. Lots of scales and Hanon exercises are in order. The same goes for learning French. I learnt it in high school, spoke it a little in Morocco twelve years ago and barely used it since. The Coffee Break French podcast took me right back to bonjour again which is just what I needed. We were on holiday last week and I didn’t knit a stitch for almost a week!

The garden is still dry as a bone. My drought tolerant perennials are coping well and still looking fairly green though. Dad, if you are reading this: I’m pleased your vegetables are going “gangbusters” but you’ve had tonnes of rain over there on the east coast! We are jealous! I hope all that rain is falling in the catchment areas.

THE HUMBLE JAR

A couple of weeks ago my cousin and her husband came over for dinner. She brought salad and some home made dressing mixed in a jar. It was a great salad and lovely company and it got me thinking about jars…

I’m fond of jars. I used to keep and collect just about every jar I could lay my hands on; jam jars, pasta sauce jars, coffee jars, mustard jars, honey jars, round square, flat or tall. I thought that every jar could be re-used in some way, particularly as I’m fond of home made jam, marmalade and chutney. After a while I decided that some jars are better than others and I put lots of glass jars in the recycling bin now. Here’s what I do with empty glass jars and what I think are the best ones to keep and what to throw away.

What can you do with an empty glass jar?

Fill them with home made jam, marmalade, chutney and sauce

Fill airtight ones with dry pantry items such as nuts, spices, dried herbs, rice, seeds, tea or dried fruit

Mix up salad dressing ingredients in the jar, put on the lid and shake

Keep pens, knitting needles, crochet hooks, cooking utensils in them

Grow alfalfa sprouts in one

Use as a vase

Fill a nice jar with lollies for a gift

Keep craft or stationary items in them, such as paper clips, tacks, rubber bands, beads, stitch markers, bobbins, pins

Keep hardware items in them such as nails, screws, staples, washers

Use for planting seeds: part fill a jar with sand and some seeds, poke a large hole in the lid of the jar, pour the sand mixed with the seeds along a furrow in the ground. This helps space the seeds and the sand provides a growing medium

When doing colour work in your knitting or crochet put each ball of yarn into a jar to keep them from tangling.

Let me know any other brilliant jar ideas you have

The best jars to keep

Lots of food at the supermarket comes in glass jars with coated metal screw on lids. The inside of the lid usually has a extra rubbery bit of coating to make the jar airtight. Most jam jars are like this. These are the best jars to keep because they are airtight, strong and can be sterilised in boiling water or in the oven. They come in standard sizes so the lid of one jar will often fit another jar. I have a Kraft Lite Cheese Spread fetish so I end up with loads of 250ml glass jars with blue lids. They don’t make the Lite version in a big jar for some reason.

Jars to recycle

Here is a list of jars that I don’t keep and the reason why:

Vegemite jars: plastic lids are not as airtight as coated metal ones

Moccona jars: they might look nice but they don’t close tightly and don’t stack in the pantry. The rubbery bits make them difficult to sterilise. I do keep the tiny ones though for spices

Salsa jars: no matter what you do, you can’t get rid of the salsa smell. You don’t want your strawberry jam having a vague salsa flavour.

Pasta sauce and Kan Tong jars (not that I EVER eat the stuff anyway): these jars are way too big to do much with and will smell odd, especially the lids.

Oddly shaped jars: tall skinny jars are too hard to get a spoon into. Unusual jars may be hard to find a lid for if you lose the original. A pretty jar that might have a use is an exception to this rule.

ANOTHER FREE PATTERN

Thought you guys might like another free pattern. I’ve added a pattern for 8ply ladies socks to the Free Patterns page.

HOLIDAYS

Here are a few pics of our holiday with friends at Blanchetown on the Murray River last week. We had a blast!

Blanchetown holiday

Blanchetown holiday

Blanchetown holiday

Blanchetown holiday

While I’m here I mustn’t forget to send a great big thankyou to everyone who has a link to me on their blog. You guys bring me more traffic. Also thanks to the people who have made me their friend at Ravelry. You can find me there as SarahGolder.

Have a great week everyone.

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Happy New Year 3 January, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized,Vegetable gardening,Weekly useful stuff — makeityourown @ 11:39 am

Hi everybody and happy new year to you all. Thankyou to those who wished me a happy new year and Christmas too.

We had a lovely day on the 25th. We went to church at 11pm on Christmas Eve and saw Christmas Day arrive. We slept in and then went to my Aunt’s house for lunch with 12 others and had turkey, ham, baked vegetables, pudding, custard, champagne, Christmas crackers and gifts! It was nice to see a couple of Sydney relatives that I hadn’t seen for a while too. Later in the day we went to Matthew’s brother’s house and had a small Golder family dinner with roast lamb, salad and Christmas icecream. The weather was a perfect 28 degrees and as far as I could tell, everyone was happy with the gifts we gave them.

We spent New Year’s Eve at a friends’ place with lots of other friends. They very sensibly had a wading pool with a few inches of water in it in the yard and after a 43 degree day it was quite refreshing to stand in it with a drink and have a chat.  Thanks David and Tiff! I think I haven’t recovered yet from staying up until 3am.

I’ve been far too busy to do any craft projects or interesting cooking to tell you about this week. When I say busy I mean when I haven’t been writing a column and preparing patterns for YARN and working on a couple of patterns for Live 2 Knit I’ve been reading, watching the tennis and playing Super Mario Galaxy on Matthew’s Nintendo Wii.  It’s a hard life! When Matthew goes back to work on the 14th of Jan I’ll have to start working a bit harder!

IN THE GARDEN

We’ve made the bold decision to stop vegetable gardening for the rest of the summer.  It’s just too hard to keep plants alive when the weather is over 38 degrees several days in a row and we’re only allowed to use the drippers for 3 hours a week and have to use a watering can the rest of the time. We’ll probably keep the pumpkin patch going though. They seem to be managing okay so far and watering one patch is much more manageable than five! We will not give up on our fruit trees. They can manage with the 3 hours once a week and can be supplemented with grey water. I’m very glad I decided to plant the rest of the garden with drought tolerant perennials when we established it a few years ago.

Here are some drought tolerant plants you might like to try in your garden. (Remember that they are only drought tolerant when they are established. For the first 6 months to a year, you’ll need to keep an eye on them and water them reasonably regularly.)

Lavenders, salvia, santolina, curry plant, rosemary, roses, pandorea, bulbs, plumbago, buddleija, agapanthus, erigeron. There are so many varieties and colours of lavenders, salvias and roses that your garden need not be boring. I’ve got about 8 different colours and sizes of salvia and they stay looking good in the hottest of weather.

CHEAP CARDS AND WRAP FOR NEXT CHRISTMAS

Early January is an excellent time to buy Christmas cards and wrapping paper for next Christmas. I always buy them this time of year because they are almost always half price. They don’t take up too much space in the cupboard and you can get the expensive good quality ones pretty cheap.

That’ll probably do for today… the tennis has started for the day and I want to watch Australia play the USA in the Hopman Cup. I get quite a lot of tv knitting done in January…

Have a good week and a happy new year. Sarah.