summer snacks (and sewing) July 26, 2010

a flat of marionberries

I haven’t had much time to sew or craft lately (and until this morning, I would have said “any” instead of “much”… more on that in a second), so cooking has been pretty much my only chance to be creative. Well, I have also been doing a lot of chalk drawings on our sidewalk, but that’s not quite the same. So in my never-any-crafting-time rut, I have been trying and bookmarking recipes every day. We have been having fun picking berries pretty inefficiently ourselves, but we are so lucky to have a neighbor who goes out to farms once a week and buys gorgeous, picked-that-day berries for restaurants — and picks up extra for friends at cost — so last week I got us a flat each of beautiful marionberries and raspberries!

a flat of raspberries and a flat of marionberries

We picked them up in Pearl’s trusty red wagon and brought them home, though we just ended up sitting on the back steps eating them for about half an hour first.

Pearl digs into some berries

So with 24(!) pints of berries in the house, I’ve made marionberry cornmeal muffins, banana-marionberry walnut muffins, a second round of raspberry popsicles, and raspberry brown-sugar gratin in the last few days. All of them turned out super-stellar. I’m also excited to make (marion)berry sorbet, (marion)berry boy bait, and hopefully some freezer jam if I can dig up a good beginner-friendly recipe. Years after everyone else who’s better organized, I started bookmarking all my favorites on delicious, so check that out if you want to see my little recipe archive!


In garden news, I picked my very first zucchini today (this photo is from yesterday, and it’s noticeably bigger just 24 hours later). I am so thrilled at how pretty and green it is, even though I know most people complain about being overrun with them. We made these zucchini pancakes last week (which were great) and I am super excited to make another round when we have enough of our own. Which hopefully won’t be long in this heat!

snack bags

And in sewing news, I saw Amy’s fantastic video tutorial for sewing your own snack bags this morning, and took a break from writing, editing photos and sending work emails to run upstairs and sew three of them. It had been at least six weeks since I’ve made anything (I can tell by the thread in the machine, sigh) and it was so nice to take even that half-hour to do some real live sewing!

snack bags

I made them with prints from my stash, chosen entirely because they clicked with the lemon-yellow thread that was still in the machine from the quilt I finished in early June. The strawberry one is my favorite (that was a Kitten find). I followed Amy’s instructions pretty closely, but my serger was in the closet and I didn’t want to bother getting it out, so I did a narrow double-fold hem on both sides instead of serging. I cut and then ripped wide strips of my fabrics selvedge to selvedge, trimmed them to about 18 inches long (yielding 2 bag pieces per strip, plus a nice-size squarish scrap for my quilting stash) and sewed a narrow double-fold hem on both ends, and then did the rest of the steps the same way she did, but without pretty nail polish on. The yellow one was about 6.5 inches wide and the other two are closer to 8, as an experiment for greater snack capacity.

snack bags

I also added my favorite decorative stitch to the business end of the fold hem, perfect for my star-loving Pearl who will be toting these around with her Cheerios or sandwich inside. Thanks, Amy!

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