Tuesday, June 12, 2012

DIY: akongesque

alright. On the left is Akong London's Regalia Necklace, which is being sold at Anthropologie for $468. I liked it; I was charmed by the whimsy, the bright colours, the innovative use of ribbon, trim, and chain. But $468? Not on my grad student budget. So, for less than a tenth the cost (with materials left over), I made my own (on the right). I also used three layers of brass curb chain, hooked together with brass jump rings, two layers of rhinestone chain (though I swapped in pale amythest and orange, colours I liked better). I was looking at faceted resin/crystals like the pink ones in the original when I stumbled upon these vintage green glass beads and went for them instead. I also went for a much larger brass spacer bead, because I found these gorgeous old ghanan trade beads and decided I'd use them instead. I did find the same black gimp trim (I was sure that would be the stumbling block, but lo and behold, I found it).

I have to say, it was a LOT harder to put together than I'd thought. Layering rhinestones in over brass chains and trying to link them all together is a major pain in the butt. I understand now why it is almost $500; I have a lot of experience with basic wire work and this required patience and a lot of time and fiddling. But still, I love the results.

If you're thinking about making one yourself, let me know if you want some of my leftover black gimp trim. I can send you the 6" or so that you'll need ... because I really don't think I'll be making these for holiday gifts this year. Nope, this is me spoiling myself.

Friday, June 8, 2012

homemade yogurt

homemade goat's milk yogurt (unsweetened) with pomegranate molasses and walnuts: tangy!

A friend-of-a-friend runs this great food preservation blog called Food in Jars and with the release of a new book and my friend's facebook posts, it caught my eye. I've been really excited to try out some of her techniques, including a simple process for culturing your own yogurt! This batched turned out a bit runny, more like Swedish yogurt or kefir; I wonder if it's different using 1% or skim instead of whole-fat milk? Or if goat milk doesn't perform like cow's milk? I'm going to try again, and increase the temp slightly on the warming phase AND in the cooler for the 8 hours of culturing. Still, this was good! I was a little worried I'd make myself sick or something - much like the first time I tried jams I'd canned and put up, as a preteen - but all seems to be well! I think if I can get the formula down, I'll just make my own yogurt from here on out; it's a much cheaper way to get into goat and sheep yogurts, which are easier for me to eat, as they have much less lactose. Plus, you know, it's just plain cool to do.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

harvest 2012: salmonberry jam

can you believe it's that time again already? I can't. I really can't. We had a warmer spring this year (a nice spate of several weeks of warm, actually - which doesn't sound like much for an entire spring, but for Seattle, it's quite good) and the plants got started earlier. Cass and I were up in the mountains with our in-laws on Sunday and we harvested for hours in the woods. I got 11 jars sealed and one jar open, in the fridge (so I can check the consistency - it does seem to be setting up well, a little soft, but okay) and play around with it. I feel like this would be absolutely beautiful glazing a pork roast or something. Or maybe worked into a jam cake? Midsommar is coming, after all, and the salmonberry is the closest U.S. relative to the Scandinavian cloudberry - maybe I'll make a salmonberry cake this year!

Anyway, looks like it's going to be an amazing summer! I just hope the thimbleberries are ripe *before* we go. We've found loads of good picking spots lately, and they are my favorite of all the berries. I would absolutely love to pack up some tiny jars of thimbleberry jam this year!