Canning, Recipes

Mulberry Jam

I saw a tree in our yard with berries on it when I was giving Brian his weekly tour of the garden. (He humors me and I love him for it). I was pretty excited when I noticed the berries — also surprised that I’d never noticed them before! So, even through Brian said they were probably poisonous, I did some research (thanks, Eddie!) and discovered they were mulberries.

Mulberry Tree

You can imagine my delight when I realized that 1. the berries weren’t poisonous and 2. I had even more fruit growing in my yard! I quickly tried one and they were delicious. Mulberries taste similar to blackberries, just a little less sweet and tart.

Mulberry

Over the course of the week I went out and picked the ripe berries (they turn black when they are ripe). When I had enough berries, I started searching for a recipe for jam. I found a recipe that called for berries, sugar and lemon juice (no pectin) from Claire K Creations. I didn’t have quite as many berries as the recipes called for, but was able to tweak the measurements to work.

Mulberries

First, I had to pull off the green stems. That only took half an hour haha. Then, I mashed them down a bit to release some of the berry juices.

Mulberries Cooking

Even though I didn’t have enough berries, I saw that Claire uses equal parts sugar to berries, so I weighed my berries on my food scale and then weighed out the same amount in sugar. Then, I followed Claire’s instructions. First, I brought the berries to a boil. Then, I added the sugar and lemon juice. I let everything come to a boil before reducing the heat and allowing the jam to thicken.

Mulberries boiling

When the jam was finished, I opted to put it in small mason jars, but not to can them. Truth is I ran out of the lids to seal the jars properly. So I popped all of the jam in the fridge to cool and thicken even more.

Mulberry Jam

I used 320 ML of berries and got three small mason jars and one 1-cup tupperware of jam. Not bad for berries I didn’t even know I had growing in my yard!

If you ever get the opportunity to make your own mulberry jam, not only is it super easy, it is also delicious. Make sure you check out Claire K’s Creations for other yummy recipes!

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Quick and Easy Crafts

Marble Lamp

Mason Jar Marble Lamp

Remember those marbles I talked about yesterday? The one catch to me making John a marble tray was that I not use all of the marbles in case he ever wanted to play with them again. My solution to this was to make him a lamp out of a mason jar to display his marbles in a way that he could still get access to them if he wanted to.

This was really simple — Amazon sells kits for turning mason jars into lamps. So, I popped the top off of the jar, filled it with marbles, screwed on the kit and a put a light bulb in the lamp. Easy as pie.

The tricky part? Finding a darn lampshade that didn’t look ridiculous on the lamp. I think I tried five of them. I tried a shade from le Target — way too big. I tried three different shades from Home Depot… way too small. The one in the photo used to be pink with flowers. Not too manly. Then I spray painted it ivory. That didn’t look so hot either. As a final attempt to use this shade, which was the best size and shape of any of the ones I tried, I painted it grayish blue and accented with silver paint.

Phew, this was way trickier of a project than I ever intended because of that darn shade.

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It was all worth it because he really liked the lamp. It looks great in their antique room, too.

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Have you ever turned something into a lamp? Next time I want to try it without using a pre-fab kit. What would you ill your mason jar with? I think shells would be neat, but our house isn’t too beachy. Still would be pretty though!

Craft Projects, Quick and Easy Crafts

Clothespin Candles

Pinterest is amazing, huh? I see some of the cutest stuff on Pinterest and I love when I get around to trying my own version of these creative ideas. One idea I’ve been wanting to try is making a candle holder out of a tuna can and clothespins…. except I think using a tuna can is sort of icky. Don’t get me wrong, I love tuna — but I think I would forever convince myself my candle would smell like fish, so that is a no go.

I made a project out of a mason jar that I haven’t shared with you quite yet ( it needs one last thing that I can’t seem to find anywhere!), but because of that project I had an extra lid lying around. Perfect!

I wanted to make a permanent candle holder, so I pulled out my hot glue gun to make sure no clothespins would fall of this bad boy.

I placed a bead of glue on the inside rim of the lid, then popped the clothespin on top. Once it dried, I did the same thing on the outside.

More than 30 clothespins later, I had a nice form for my candle holder.

Time to embellish — I pulled out my roll of twine and carefully glued it in the naturally created ring in the middle of the clothespins.

As a final touch, I added gold buttons around the twine and a small, glass tea light holder. Voila!

The fun thing about this candle holder are the shadows it makes on the wall and ceiling.

I also like the rustic look that the clothespins give off.