Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Etsy Shop and a Giveaway!

A few months ago I started an Etsy shop.  If you haven't heard of Etsy, you should check it out - it's full of neat handmade and antique items, and anyone can start their own shop.  Their listing fees and commission are very reasonable, and I've listed several items over time.  Here are some samples from my shop:

Handmade Cloth Scented Apples "Jeans Go With Everything Collection" Set of Three
I made these cute scented cloth apples last year, and still have a few left.
Hand-stitched Leather Credit / Business Card Pouch - Rustic Chestnut
I have TONS of these little leather pouches available, in all sorts of different colors.  I hope to add some new styles soon, maybe with buttons to secure the flaps.
Hand-tied Red and Black Reversible Throw Blanket
These hand-tied blankets are very cozy!  I'll be listing more of these soon, in different patterns and colors.
And finally, I just posted these wooden "HOME" letters a couple weeks ago.  My mom has had a set of these in the living room for years, and I've always thought that they would be a great thing to make, either to sell or to use in my own home someday.  I finally got around to it...and the best part is that I saved one set for one of YOU!  :)  

Rustic Handmade Wooden HOME Letters

That's right - if you would like to be entered in a giveaway for one set of these "HOME" letters, just post a comment saying so.  I'll accept entries until Sunday evening (the 14th), when I will draw a random comment number to select the winner.  Family members are welcome to enter if they would like!  :)  

The letters each stand about 5" tall and look great lined up on a shelf or windowsill or staggered on a staircase - and even if they don't fit your decor, they make a great gift!

Thanks for visiting, and I hope everyone is having a great week!!  :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Fall is my favorite season (although spring comes pretty close!) with its crisp air, colorful foliage and yummy desserts!  I love fresh apples, especially Cortlands and Macs - they have a little zing to them!  :)  I've already made apple pie and eaten someone else's apple crisp - and last week I made applesauce.

This year I actually picked the apples from the trees I have in my yard - we've had them growing for several years, but have never sprayed them, so the fruit tends to get pretty chewed up by bugs.  I had to cut out a lot of bad spots - but hey, on the plus side, I guess I can say my apples are organic!  :)  (These pictures are from last year, though, so you're seeing orchard apples here.)

So...to make applesauce, guess what you need first - apples!  :D  Who would have guessed?  This is a respectable amount of apples here, and will make a very big bowlful - you'll see pictures of our big white bowl later on that will give you an idea of how much applesauce to expect.  Oh, and don't forget to clean your sink before dumping the apples in!

Rinse your apples, then chop them.  The really nice thing about applesauce, at least with the method that I use, is that you don't need to peel or core them, and you can leave the chunks fairly large!  The smaller you cut them, the faster they'll cook, but unless you're in a big hurry, quartering the apples usually works fine.

Toss the pieces in a pot that has a little bit of water in the bottom - the amount in this picture is probably a bit  too much, actually.  :)  I ended up with very wet applesauce last year...

You can fill the pot quite full - the apples will take up less room as they get soft.  Just make sure you can still stir it!

Lids are a good idea - they speed up the process and keep the moisture in.  I forgot to use a lid this year, and my applesauce turned out rather thick.  Stir frequently, getting all the way to the bottom of the pot so the apples don't burn and stick to the pot.

In the picture below, the apples are just about done - very soft.  See how much they've reduced?

I use a food mill to make applesauce.  I think there are other methods, but the food mill will separate the skins, cores and seeds from the applesauce, so you don't have to peel or core the apples - which saves a LOT of time!  Just hook the food mill over the edge of a bowl, dump some of the cooked apples into the top, and spin the handle.  Occasionally reverse direction to scoop up bits that get shoved off to the side.  It presses the applesauce through little holes in the bottom, leaving the skins and stuff in the top.

You'll have to empty out the skins and cores now and then, as all the apple is pressed out into the bowl below - just make sure you scrape the underside of the food mill when you lift it up, as there will be applesauce underneath.  You don't want to waste any!  :)

When you're done, add brown sugar and cinnamon to taste.  I'm generally not allowed to do this, as I tend to have a rather heavy hand with the sugar and spices.  :)  A sinkful of apples will fill this big white bowl.  See the containers behind it?  Those go into our chest freezer; where they will keep until we want one during the year.  No need for canning if you have room in your freezer!

 The process takes a little while, but it's totally worth it when you eat a warm, fresh spoonful of homemade applesauce!  

P.S. - Try it (warm) over pancakes or biscuits!  :)

P.P.S. - Check out the newest items I've listed on my Etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop/MiscellanyEtc).  I may even do a giveaway of one of the items in an upcoming blog post, so be sure to keep checking back!