Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Morning in the City.

Can you believe the view out my bedroom window?  In the city no less! Using my Canon Rebel and having a very cooperative morning sunrise, the images turned out amazing. I think the key is to get as much back light as possible, the trees are so old and tall that no real roof line is visible, even though I am basically the heart of the city.
This one is my favourite shot. 
The settings I used were simple, it was on  Manual, I had the ISO set at 100, the F stop set at 5.6 , the White Balance set to Shade. I put it on the tripod and voila! Now the key was that it was looking like an intense sunrise judging from what we had yesterday, so I was prepared. The rise happens so fast and if you fool around trying to set up, you may miss the best part unless you wake up 30 minutes before it happens.
As the sun came up, the colours got more intense and the skies seemed to darken slightly before the sun broke over the horizon, amazing beauty!

I changed the setting slightly (WB back to Daylight) and it lost it's intensity.
I took these from the front door, just before the l ight got intense.

The Hollyhocks out front.
Using the Rebel is easy, it just takes some playing around....the beauty is in that not having to worry about how much film I use, I can concentrate on taking lots of pictures to get the perfect shot. 


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


As if I don't already have tons to do everyday, I've been making the jam for the year ahead (I stopped buying jams 5 years ago) during quiet and nap times, since it's usually a 2 hour process. At least, I've got it down to that from a 5 hours it used to take me when I first started! This time of year is abundant, plums and apples are our faves, and nectarines and peaches are awesome too. I used to cringe at the amount of sugar most recipes call for, until I discovered POMONA'S pectin, a life saver!! You can use very little sugar and still have your jam or jelly set, and you can double or triple and adjust your recipe to how you like it. The jam doesn't set crystally (is that even a word?), it's more opaque, but it tastes heavenly fruity! I personally don't like jam that you have to break up in the jar to be able to spread it on toast, I prefer more of a fruit preserve that you can spoon onto toast or cracker or spoon over a scoop of vanilla icecream.
You can really see it is set soft and full of fruit!
 Today's jamming adventure was a strawberry plum mix that tasted better than I imagined, and set beautifully with 12 cups of fruit and mere 3 cups of sugar. The ingredients go as follows: 8 cups of fresh hulled and split strawberries 4 cups of chopped black plums 1/2 cup lemon juice 3 teaspoons calcium water 3 cups of sugar (or equivalent sweetener) 3 teaspoons of Pomona's pectin You'll need to sterilize jars, depending on the size, I generally prefer to use 500ml jars, so you need about 8 to 10. Follow the general cooked jam directions in the Pomona's package or look them up on their website. Now this is the type of jamming and canning I like.
 The recipe is workable and doesn't have to be 100% exact. The processing of the jam filled jars though is more technical and you do need to make sure you process them long enough to kill any bacteria and to hinder anything from growing in the jar in storage (check elevation and process times accordingly). After a few tries, you sort of get really good at it.
This is my Jam shelf in the pantry, full of delicious goodness!
 I have now made Strawberry Rhubarb (not my favourite), Spicy Blueberry (AWESOME), Black Plum (Super Delish!), Strawberry Plum (Amazing)....getting ready to make Blackberry Nectarine next, and maybe some Caramel Apple Butter too.
If you all have any questions or would like the recipes (all big batch recipes I'm afraid) just message me or comment and I will do my best to answer them. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great fall!
Somewhat Simple
 PhotobucketMiz Helen’s Country Cottage

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I've been slacking, but not for lack of ideas....just lack of time!! This years schedule is slightly more grueling than last year, 4 little ones; 2 that come Monday to Friday, 1 that comes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and 1 that is here Mondays and Fridays. Three school kids; my own David, one that is here on mornings from Monday to Thursdays and full day Fridays and on PD days, and one that is here afternoons and PD days. Thank goodness they all go to the same school or I might lose one or two along the way!! Anyhow, Fall is coming and I am decorating the house in fall colours, which are my favourite. Fall colours are so warm and inviting and remind me of all the bounty nature has to offer at this time of year! As I mentioned before, I have a front garden that booms from sprint to fall, so lucky for us, there are still plenty of colours out there and it makes me happy. I decided to bring out some of those colours inside and put them in the empty spot where that funky mirror is, what do you think? I might just leave them there all year, they sort of go well with the decor.
That's the mirror I painted with my $8 can of midnight blue.
It looks so pretty !!
Back to the topic of slacking, which I have not been doing, I will have more fall stuff for you in the next few days so you can see what I have been up to. For now I am off to do the dishes, get 3 bottles ready, pick up a truckload of toys off the floor and maybe tidy up the front entrance because it looks like a fire hazzard......toodles my friends. Cheers, Viviana

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September is finally here!!

Yay yay yay!! Doing my happy dance... yes it makes me happy it is September and the kids are back in school. I love having the older kids here don't get me wrong, but they don't you understand! When they are in school, I acutally get a 2 hour break while the 3 babies all nap. I can craft, sew, create or just sit around with my hand down my pants (never done it yet, but have thought about it) doing nothing! Regardless of what I do with my two hours, at least it is quiet for a bit, which is something that I really do miss when I am surrounded by them all for 10-11hours a day. I will have time to actually post what I want to post when I want to post it, not months later, when I can't even remember why or what it was I had wanted to post about. I will also have time to do another video of how my SMASH book is coming along, which is looking really sweet with the exception od the binding, which I will have to change eventually. For now allI have is some pictures to share.
Anyhow, thanks for sticking around and reading my wacky post. Cheers! Viviana


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