pendleton scrap wool rug

Here's a new small rug I made from Pendleton wool selvadges.  It's super thick.  The strips varied in width, and it created a bumpy fabric.  I have it for sale here on my Etsy page.

hanging orchid box

I made this orchid box for our bathroom window, based on a project I saw in the really cool book Cultivating Life.  The wood I found on a Columbia River beach.  I drilled holes in each end and then assembled the "log cabin" by running wire through the holes. I glued 4 slats across the bottom with JB Weld (best adhesive ever!), hot glue or super glue would work too I'm sure.  Moss was picked up off the ground in a nearby forest. Twine and wire came from the hardware store.  

This planting supposedly resembles an orchid's natural environment, as a parasite up in the treetops.  The roots need lots of air circulation to not rot, and I think pots can encourage that.  Planted this way, the roots will grow outwards, eventually feeding off of the box itself.  This window is in our shower.  The extra humidity I'm sure will be good for them too. 

I like hanging house plants in windows.  It frees up counterspace, and the plants get more light- especially important for the sunless winters here in the NW.  I love this DIY post on Design Sponge about a window hanger made from leather. 



kim chee

I made kim chee!  I've been curious about home fermented foods.  I used the recipe in The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. (great book!)  You mix napa cabbage, garlic, ginger, chilies, sesame seeds, and salt and let it ferment for several days at room temperature.  This was great, next time I'll add more chilies though.

fruit preserves and garden vegetables

I made four batches of preserves this summer- red plum, blueberry, strawberry, and wild blackberry.   I used the recipe in the Tartine Bread cookbook, which has a 75% sugar to fruit ratio (by weight).  I doubled the recipe (ended up using 2 kilos of fruit per batch) which fills all 12 of the half pint jars that come in a pack.  I used Pomona's Universal Pectin.  All of these came out great.  The plum was surprisingly delicious.  The blackberry is fun because they're free and everwhere at places like Kelley Point and Sauvie Island beaches, and you can feel like you're doing nature a favor by harvesting an invasive plant.

I like to use as little sugar as possible so the flavor of the fruit comes through.  I like the reicipies in Jam On, which have a 50% sugar to fruit ratio and several that use only honey.   Does anyone know how little sugar can you safely use?  For these batches I used cheap white sugar.  I would like to use something more high quality next time.  Does anyone have any suggestions for a natural sugar?

Some things I grew this summer: 

spring greens- mizunte, red russian kale, swiss chard
lots of zuchinni
old german tomato
butternut squash

orca beans are the coolest ever.   I experiemented with planting some of these that came from the grocery bulk section.