While looking through my facebook memories this past week it has come to my attention the in the past I have completed some of my prized puzzles around this time of the year. In commemoration of their completion I give you my completed puzzle master pieces!
This first puzzle has a two part story.
PART 1: 2 years ago I was gifted this puzzle by some friends/roommates so that we could have something neat to have over our little Bar area. Unfortunately I have lost the picture of the this puzzle displayed over the bar so heres an image of the completed puzzle via internet searching.
During the building process, my roommate’s dog thought that the puzzle pieces were treats. I quickly realized that I was missing some pieces because the dog ate them. I still framed and hung the mostly completed puzzle that way while I pondered which way would be the best to fill in those holes.
PART 2: About a year later I had a grand idea hit me, find derpy/goofy pictures of my roommate’s dog and fit them into the holes he ate. I looked through all the photos I had access to and printed off copies of these 4.
I then strategically cut and placed these pictures into the holes of the puzzle.
after everything was secured into place and back in the frame I re-hung it.
I started my week by picking a bunch of ripe heirloom tomatoes from my garden. Since there was a lot of them I decided to let them sit for a week to soften up so I could make homemade tomato sauce.
I started by cutting, trimming and peeling all the tomatoes. I then smooshed all the chunks through a wire mesh strainer to make all the seeds and white parts easier to remove from the tomatoes.
Added all my spices and let it simmer for a while. It really smelled wonderful while this was simmering. Even my dog Taco was interested.
The final result! A little thicker than normal but it looked great over the pasta for dinner. ❤
Homemade Tomato Sauce
minimum of 4 large tomatoes, cleaned, peeled, and cut into smaller pieces
5-6 basil leaves, thinly cut, or 1 Tablspoon of dry basil
4 cloves of garlic, minced or a little chunks
1/2 tablespoon dehydrated onion, or 1/4 of diced onion
1/2 tablespoon dry oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Cut and peel all tomatoes. Skin must be removed. It is also helpful to pull out as many seeds as possible. But tomatoes into small wedges and smoosh each wedge through a wire mesh strainer over a sauce pan. This should help get the remaining seeds and any other under ripe pieces out of the way. let it begin to cook on medium-low heat.
Chiffonade 5-6 Basil leaves, or 1 tablespoon of dry basil and add to pot. Also chop garlic and add to pot. I tend to go with something a little large than a mince because my family likes to chomp on garlic. Measure out and add remaining spices to pot. Increase heat to medium. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes. Stir occassionally and taste test to adjust the seasonings. If the sauce is still too thin I you can add a can of petite diced tomatoes or sliced zucchinni or any other vegetable to help it along.
After 30 minutes is when I begin cooking my Pasta. I allow the sauce to continue to simmer until the noodles are cooked. Once the noodles are cooked plate up and enjoy!
I used a recipe that I found on pintrest and made a few alterations. For starters, I had to double the recipe for the amount of cucumbers I harvested. Due to availability, I could not get ahold of mustard seeds so I used ground mustard instead. I also did not submerge the jars into water to seal them.
The brine itself smelled so very yummy while it was simmering. Very aromatic! Since I did not want to locate, unbury, and clean the large canning pot I had to go with a refrigerator pickling method. After the brine was ready to come off the heat, I allowed it to cool.
After the brine was cooled it was time to fill and close the jars. 3 jars in total for this harvest and more are still growing.
Pickled Mexican Sour Gerhkins
Mexhican sour gerhkins, rinsed and cut in half
1 Small Onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar (5% acidity)
1/2 cup Sugar, I used Cane Sugar
1 tablespoon mustard seeds, I used ground mustard which requires another 1/2 tablespoon
1 teaspoon celery seeds, add more or less to your liking
1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, add more or less to your liking
Rinse off the mexican sour gerhkins. These can be pickled whole but I prefere to cut them all in half. Pat dry with a towel and place into a bowl filled with some kosher salt. This will help dry them out a little bit. Leave in bowl for an hour. Remove from bowl and rinse off excess salt. Add onion slices to cucumebr and set aside until ready.
Add apple cider vinegar, sugar, and all spices in a sauce pan. Allow the brine to come to a boil over medium-low heat. Stirring occassionaly until all the sugar has been dissolved. Then remove from heat and allow to cool a little bit before pouring
Clean and prepare the Mason jars. Then evenly distribute the gerhkin and onion mixture int each mason jar. After the Brine has cooled off a little bit carefully begin pouring the liquid into each mason jar. Each jar should be filled enough to submerge all the gerhkins and onions.
Place clean lids piece onto jars and allow to refrigerate for at least 24 hours. This allows the flavor to get into the gerhkins and onions. Dont forget to give the jar a shake to redistribute the flavors.
This week I had a family member in the hospital. So I’ve spent quite a bit a time sitting around, reading, and waiting. To break up some of the reading time, I got this nifty engraving kit to work on while I’m here passing time.
Today I was just hooked on it and finished. Not bad for about 5 hours of work. Now to figure out how I’d like to go about framing it.
Last night was my first harvest from my garden! Very late in the planting season I got an heirloom tomato, 5 Japanese eggplants, and 6 cucumbers as baby plants. I then planted them in one of the flowers beds at my grandparents place. I had to plant around the peony bush, but I think it turned out well.
The plants have been growing since the end of June. I honestly doubt I’m going to get eggplants this year because of the rats and squirrels eating anything that gets to be about half the size they should be.
I finally have 1 heirloom. I’ve had a lot of large green tomatoes sitting there for a long time. 1 of them finally turned red. It’s not in the best of conditions but a large portion of it should still be eatable.
I also had a very interesting surprise with my cucumber plants. I thought I had regular seedless cucumbers, after they started growing I realized that these were not normal cucumbers and did some research.
Turns out that these little guys are Mexican Sour Gerhkins. It’s a rare seed variety (in the U.S.) that only grows to the size of a grape. The skin is eatable so rinse and snack is an option. It tastes like a cucumber with a bit a citrus/sour flavor.
I think though with this amount I’m going to pickle these guys. Unless someone out there has a recipe I could try?
This past week has been very difficult and stressful for me. So this time I’d like to share with you all my latest puzzle book, Querkles.
Querkles starts out as a puzzle of many intersecting circles like this
These can be completed in 1 of 2 ways.
Use 1 color and cross hatching the different shades or
Use 5 different colors organized from darkest to lightest.
For this particular puzzle I chose to use 5 different colors.
Basically what you do is start by filling in all the number 1 spaces with the darkest color.
Then color in all the number 2 spaces with the next, lighter, color.
And keep going lighter for the number 3 spaces
And number 4 spaces
And finally number 5 should be colored with the lightest color.
Ta da!!! Simple enough, right? These puzzles have been really helpful in trying to distract me from overthinking for a little while.
If you are interested in finding your own querkles book, I found mine at Michael’s mixed in their adult coloring book section. I have only seen the animals themed book in stores but there are more out there for sale on the internet.
My contribution to decorations for my grandma’s surprise birthday party was this wreath. I had found a weird balloon wreath somewhere in pintrest and decided to do my own for the party and then give it to grandma as her birthday gift. She loved it!
This is my latest Kreation for my Mythical Creatures Challenge. Most creatures on the list I am familiar with to some degree (I know a little of the history or I know it by a different name, etc.) but this Baku creature was completely unheard to me before this challenge. So I had to do a little bit of research before I came up with concepts.
My immediate first thought was of Gengar and his dream eater abilities as well as this shirt that I own.
I decided I should combine the 2 creatures together for this piece. I think it turned out fairly well, even if it is the wrong pokemon :-P. Heres hoping that the next mythical creature is something just as interesting!