January Retreat and Quilting Goals

I’m not much of a New Year’s resolution person, but I do like to take some time at the beginning of each year to write down some monthly goals in different parts of my life. One of those parts is quilting. I like to draw my focus to both a “new” project and a UFO (unfinished object). I focus on making progress on both of the projects each month. My list for the year is not complete, but here is what I have to work from so far. As you can see, it’s a dry erase board, so it is subject to change😀. 

This weekend I was able to really make some progress on my list while attending my quilting guild’s 3 day retreat. We spent three days in a local hotel’s conference rooms with our projects and friends. I spent 2 of the days working on the big stitch hand quilting of my Blue Bird Crock quilt.

I was also able to spend one of the days with my Featherweight, Fern, and my Talking Turkey quilt project that I started in August 2015 when I took the class from Bonnie Hunter in Bedford, PA. I still have a long way to go, but progress has been made on sashing for the blocks and the first border. Here is photo of one of my blocks. 

The time with my quilting friends is the cherry on top! It was such a relaxing and inspiring weekend. Here are just a few of the quilts that were shared this weekend.

Looking forward to the next retreat in June!

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Sour Orange Marmalade

I’ve decided to challenge myself to complete the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge.

This month’s challenge was MARMALADE! I’ve eaten commercial orange marmalade in the past but never considered trying to make it myself. I ordered some Seville oranges from The Orange Shop, and they arrived this past week. Time to get started!

I followed the Bitter Orange Marmalade recipe in Marisa McClellan’s book, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars. The first step was to simmer the oranges, and then let them cool. I got a late start on Saturday, so I decided to break this recipe up over two days. After the oranges simmered, I took them off the stove to let them cool for awhile, and then placed them in the fridge overnight with the cooking water.

On Sunday, I pulled everything out of the fridge and started scooping out the pulp into a strainer over the pan I was planning to use for marmalade cooking. Holy seeds! I picked all the seeds out of the pulp, and then placed the pulp in the pan with the juice. I’m using Pomona’s pectin for this recipe so the seeds were discarded. I sliced the rinds into strips and added them to the pulp, along with the rest of the ingredients.

I boiled the pulp and rinds for about 35 minutes before adding the calcium water and boiling for 10 more minutes. The volume reduced quite a bit in those final 10 minutes, and I would probably only boil for 25 minutes before adding the water next time. The pectin and remaining agave nectar were added and boiled for only a couple more minutes before it was thick and ready for canning. Yum!

Jars were filled and processed. I was able to fill five 12oz jelly jars and one 8oz jelly jar. Now they sit on the counter to cool.

Can’t wait to place a spoonful in my yogurt! Oh, and I’m planning to make some orange marmalade cinnamon rolls… maybe next weekend.🍊
I think this recipe was a great confidence builder. I’m planning  to try my hand at Strawberry Meyer Lemon Marmalade next, where I will take advantage of the natural pectin in the lemons. Stay tuned! #fijchallenge