January 14, 2014

Late Christmas Gifts, Dyeing and Jam Making

A few more photos of late Christmas gifts to share with you. Gift making is very contagious! After making something a new and better idea comes to mind that I have to try as well. Does that happen to you too? When I make gifts for the first time I always make one for me to keep.

I put a batch of dye on for the first time in 2014. The bundle I opened was very successful, so it's time to blog about. A jam making recipe here too. I was given some grapefruit at the beginning of the year and I have lemons and oranges enough to make a batch of marmalade. A few people asked for the recipe so I thought I will leave it here if anyone would like to make three fruit marmalade. Enjoy!

After making a few of these oversized tote-bags I thought it would be a great idea making one from my Shibori fabric. I have a perfect piece of Shibori big enough to make this bag and an inside pocket. I have used it a couple of times already and it's a perfect bag to hold everything! 

This year I made a lot of mug rugs for everybody. I cut up a piece of rag weaving into 8"x10", the size of mug rug. I bind them with vintage indigo fabric and some eco-dyed silk. I didn't get a chance to take photo of all the rugs together because I keep sending them off as they came out of production line!

I have to mentioned that this mug rug is not for mugs, but for a little Japanese tea cup that I found at Ziguzagu. Each gift set included a rug, a little Japanese tea cup and a star ornament. These last two rugs didn't have cups with them, but instead I created eco-jewellery using keys, eco-dyed fabric, beads, copper wire with lots of stitching. They are for faraway friends who are also dyers. 

Another eco-Jewellery piece is a one-off bolo tie made from a large vintage button. I covered the button with dyed silk pieces and stitched all over it. I then embellished it with beads and more stitching around the edges. I attached a lovely charm in the centre and used the same charm for the end of the cords too.  

I love making brooches from found objects. I stopped doing that for a while, but seeing that I have got yards of eco-dyed fabric to play with I thought I would start that up again. I found this piece of copper with six legs? I don't know where it came from. Anyway, I played around with it and it ended up looking like that! The copper wire my DIL gave me when she left at Christmas. Don't ask me what it is!

I steamed a few dye bundles last week using eucalyptus leaves and other leaves I had on hand. I only left them just over a week and I could see through the silk that this bundle is going to turn out great. I opened it on Sunday morning and sure enough, the result is as you see in the photos above!

I love jam making. I love making jam from the fruit from the trees in our back yard. I haven't made marmalade for a long time. Last week I was given 3 grapefruit, and with the lemons from our tree and a few bought oranges I thought I would make three fruit marmalade. Here is the basic recipe I have been using for a long time:

3 kgs of grapefruit, lemons and oranges.
3 kgs of sugar
Enough water to cover the fruit.

Wash the fruit and place them in a heavy base saucepan. Cover with water and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the fruit soft. I put the lid on the saucepan when I simmer. It takes about an hour on low heat. 

Turn the heat off and leave the fruit to cool in saucepan. Save the liquid to use later. Cut the fruit into strips as thin or as thick as you wish. Put the cut fruit back in the saucepan with the liquid from boiling the fruit. Bring the fruit to boil, turn the heat down and check if the fruit pieces are soft and pulpy when squeezed between your fingers. Add more water if needed. Next add sugar all at once. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to boil, stirring all the time to prevent burning. You can turn the heat down at this point, but not to simmer. Boil for 20-30 minutes until the setting point. To check if the jam is set put a teaspoon of mixture on a cold plate. Leave it to cool, push it to one side and if you get the wrinkles on the surface, the jam is ready. If not, boil a little longer and do the test again. 

Mr Notjustnat's cousin Mary told me this testing trick many years ago and I've used it to test all my jam making ever since. Mary also told me that good marmalade has to be clear and almost translucent. I think I achieved that goal!

Until next time


neki desu said...

the bundle, the tote, the marmalade my oh my!!

Nedra said...

My mother had marmalade on her toast every morning, and every time I see it, I think fondly of her. This recipe looks wonderful, and the ingredients would be so easy to obtain here in Arizona this time of year. We are at our peak with our citrus crops right now.

Needled Mom said...

There is so much goodness in this post. I LOVE the jewelry you have made and the mug rugs are wonderful gifts.

That dyed fabric is just incredible. The colors are amazing.

I think I am going to have to go collect some oranges, lemons and grapefruit in the yard and try some marmalade. It sounds delicious.

Dolores said...

Thank you so much for the marmalade recipe. It looks very easy and straightforward. I am going to have to try it.
Can you elaborate on how you did your key with the copper wire and beads? I would love to create something like that since we seem to have a lot of random keys hanging about. It would be better than just throwing all those keys out.

Kim said...

How is the summer heat? I am watching the Australian Open where they are playing tennis is over 100 degree F. bright sunshine! I don't even want to go outside if it is that hot!

All your projects are so interesting I'd love to see everything up close. Thanks for sharing them and explaining your process.

So how did the marmalade taste? It looks delicious :0)

Happy Sewing

Terry said...

The dye bundles are wonderful eye candy. The wearables are something you have always had a secret nack with and without these have so much detail.
Marmalade yummmmm.

deanna7trees said...

so many gorgeous things. love your brooches from found items. a great idea. you've brought back memories of my grandmother making orange marmalade...

ARTISUN said...

Those bundles are incredible, I think the leaves in Australia are so much more rich in pigment then the ones here in southern California, at least you make them seem so lol. And I love those little nine patch stars, wonderful seeing what you've been up too!

Lis Harwood said...

Happy New Year dear Nat. It is so interesting to see how your eco dyeing is developing, the recent pieces seem to have much more defined patterning and colour contrasts. So lovely.

Els said...

Oh my, Nat, that bundle !!!!
What a joy it must have been unrolling that one !!!!!

Peggy said...

Wow, that eucalyptus bundle is heavenly! I bet the marmalade is, too, it looks wonderful, yum. And I like your gift set ideas! xo

Tracy said...

Such beautiful makes, Nat... I do love all those stars you've been making! LOVE that brooch too! The marmalade looks sooo good...mmm... I used to make a similar grapefruit marmalade, but realize I've not in some years--this inspires! :o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

Jeanie said...

These are absolutely gorgeous. Oh, those stars! But really, all of them. And thanks for the marmalade recipe and especially the test. I haven't done jam in age. With lemons and grapefruit (from your own trees!) how could you go wrong? ~jeanie (The Marmelade Gypsy)

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