make and grow

© AMANDA OCHOCKISummer has swept us away .. it feels like just moments ago we were anticipating our little potato home for the summer and now today it seems all too soon she will be going back and the missing will start all over again. I keep telling myself this is exactly what is suppose to happen ..they grow and grow and at some point become grown and it feels really good to know you did it right, you loved her and gave her everything she needed to be awesome and then she was ♥

© AMANDA OCHOCKIWe’ve been doing some picking from the garden, the tomatoes are ripening one .. two .. this slow going almost nonexistent tomato bounty is making me crazy! I will end up eating them ALL if they only come in ones, once a day. Right now I wish they would all just ripen, so I could do something big with the lot of them, I’m currently dreaming of salsa, homemade ketchup and tomato sauce ..but so far they have just been lunch.

© AMANDA OCHOCKII also canned some dilly beans and pickled some cucumbers ..yummy sour dills and spicy bread and butters! I don’t know if I’ll ever have the courage to set them on the shelf to “age” outside of refrigeration ..does that just happen at some point when you run out of fridge space, you have no choice but to puff out your chest, take a deep breath and place your processed jars in the cellar/pantry and then sometime, months down the road have the nerve to really and truly open them up and eat what’s inside!?! I just don’t know if I could and seriously cannot explain why I’m such a chicken about it. I’m pretty sure I’m doing it right (like 100%) but at the same time pretty sure I don’t want to die from canned peaches!! There are other things I am completely ok with sitting out, Jason is a brewer and always has a few things fermenting in the corner, today it’s honey mead and sweet cherry wine. My only concern at the moment is all the bubbling and frothing going on over there in the dark shadows and the smell I’m getting off those burping carboys of over ripe bananas (which I am told is perfectly ok) ..weird..

© AMANDA OCHOCKI I also managed to smash my finger in the main floor bathroom window (Bijou’s favorite sunny spot) it’s one of the few original hardware/odd size windows left downstairs (and I kind of love it) all warbly and charming, but apparently it’s also an asshole.

© AMANDA OCHOCKI..but I was still able to do some tiny nerdy knitting ♥ not so elementary, but I went all Sherlocky and charted my very own 221B wallpaper dress (I used the basic cap sleeve dress from the seasonal dress pattern linked below and popped in my own chart for the colorwork :)

pattern: Seasonal Dresses by Julie Williams of little cotton rabbits. ♥

Things around the house

~ Things have been blooming around the house ~

~ Things have been moving around the house ~
After gram, we got rid of the dog scented sectional sofa and that has allowed for more arrangement possibilities!

~ Things have been migrating around the house ~
After Gram (again!) Bijou kitty is all over the place and up in everyone’s business! Gone are the days of upstairs-cat & downstairs-dog ♥

~Things have been brewing around the house ~
We are some serious slow-brew sun tea drinkers (well at least Jason and I are!) If you want to make your own, this is all you need to do:

Get yourself a huge super sized GLASS pickle jar, I mean like the industrial 1 gallon sized ones!

#1 Firstly eat all the pickles (YUM!) then thoroughly wash and clean it out. (Pickle smells may hang around for a while in the jar/lid ..not to worry though, they WILL go away and you WONT taste it!

#2 Fill with water, I don’t usually worry about the temp (it’s not ice-cold and it’s not hot ..whatever comes out of the tap first, maybe tepid coolish!?!) I usually fill it all the way up to the threaded neck. Add in 8-9 tea bags, we almost always use straight black tea (universally loved in our house) but you can get as flavor fancy here as you want! If using bags with tags, leave the tails hanging on the outside of the jar rim and screw the cap on.

#3  Place outdoors in direct sunlight for a 3-5 hours on a warm summer day. The hot sun will heat the water up and start brewing the tea!

#4 Once you’re satisfied with its color (nice and dark) bring it back into the house and remove the spent tea bags (sometimes I put them in a container in the fridge and use the cool wet bags to soothe wind or sunburned skin and compost the used tea in the end :) You can leave your gallon of sun tea unsweetened or turn it into sweet tea by adding 1 to 2 cups of sugar (depending on how sweet you like your sweet tea ♥ I recommend doing this right away by the gallon, as the warm tea will melt the sugar and leave you with smooth granule free tea.)

#5 Pour yourself a tall glass over ice, leftovers can be kept in the jar and stored in the fridge.

A few other things: Wash the Jar between tea batches. You can actually do this in any glass vessel (always use glass though) and use the ratio of 1 tea bag to 2 cups water (example 6 cup glass container = 3 tea bags)

Personally, I love using a strong spicy chai tea, sweetening the whole jar while still warm and then adding a splash of almond milk or cream once it’s over ice in my glass !♥OMG♥! Another great flavor mix is 8 black tea bags + 1 speciality flavored tea ..like orange, jasmine or mint (using just 1 bag of a different flavor adds a subtle undertone of yummy)  You can also use green tea instead of black ..so good!

~ Things have been like old times around the house ~
With our sweetest girl home for the summer, I am getting more requests to make cute things! Alexa has a big soft spot for squirrels, last year we had a baby fall out of a tree during a wind storm and injure itself. When it was clear momma squirrel wasn’t going to come to its aid, Lex stepped in and rescued him ♥ bringing the little guy, in a little cloth lined box to the wildlife rehabilitation center ..yeah she is that tenderhearted and awesome!
(most states have several centers for orphaned & injured wildlife of all kinds, so if you happen upon something hurting (no matter how small) please help stop the suffering if you can xoxo)