Color Study | Violet Jelly Experiment

violet blossoms in glass bowl

violet blossoms in glass bowl

Early this summer (well, when the violets were blooming) I sent my kids out to pick a bowlful of blooms with the goal in mind to make a batch of jelly. I ended up picking the last 2-3 cups, and the jelly turned out more like a thick syrup, but check out these awesome colors.

violet blossoms and water have turned blue after steeping
Steeping in Boiling Water

Who knew boiling water and then lemon juice would create these changes?!

liquid has turned a deep violet color after adding lemon juice
After adding Sugar and Lemon Juice

The recipe I used is from Taste of Home and can be found here.

jelly in the jars after water bath is bright magenta
Finished Violet Jelly

P.S. As for the texture issue, I’m guessing my pectin was old, or I boiled for too long or short a time.  Cooking and canning is NOT my area of expertise!



Pollinator Planting – 1st Mowing

Allis Chalmers mowing prairieThe pollinator planting behind my house was mowed down for the first time the other day.  (Mowing is a management technique to avoid the establishment of unwanted species.)  It almost seemed a shame to be cutting down these blooms, but it will make for a stronger planting in the long run.

Hyssop Blooms in planting
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

And look, there were even pollinators out and about on the Bergamot and Coneflower.

Bumble Bee on Wild Bergamot bloom
Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
American Bumble Bee on Grayhead Coneflower
American Bumble Bee on Grayhead Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)

A plant new to me was the Partridge Pea, which, according to Wikipedia “is considered an excellent choice for planting in disturbed areas, as it will quickly cover an area, preventing erosion, while still allowing other plants to become established”.

Partridge Pea bloom and foliage
Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata)

And I couldn’t resist a shot of the classic Black Eyed Susan or the non-native and technically invasive Queen Anne’s Lace that is growing around the perimeter of the planting.

Black Eyed Susan

non-native wild carrot
Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)

I’ll be back out there before the next mowing to see what else is new, and maybe even shoot some portraits out there =)

Pollinator Planting – 1st Blooms

Last winter, the field behind our house was planted as pollinator habitat.  This spring as it started to warm up, we anxiously waited to see new plants popping up, but it wasn’t until the last couple of weeks that we finally started to see measurable growth. (and something other than dandelions!)

My kids were out along that fence line picking mulberries with Grandma yesterday and finally  caught a few glimpses of yellow blooms!  2016-06-23_0003

So, after a night of thunderstorms, I headed out there this morning in my rain boots to document the progress.  I should have taken the bug spray too…those skeeters were hungry!drooping yellow petals under cylindrical seed head2016-06-23_00022016-06-23_0004

Kids and Bubble Gum

packages of bubble gum on white background

My son loves gum.
He is also notorious for getting into trouble with it.  I have cleaned it off of sleeping bags, clothing, car seats, and tried to get it out of his hair (we ended up cutting it). I don’t know how many times I have said “no gum in the car for the next month!”  A few weeks go by, we are out running errands and you know what the easiest, cheapest, non-cluttering up our house treat is when we are checking out?


So…today I’m sharing with you an awesome trick I learned for getting gum off of fabric.  This even works when someone has smeared it around and attempted removal in secret before admitting where their gum has gone.

Heat 1/2 cup of vinegar in the microwave until hot (40-60 seconds).  Pour a small amount onto the gummy mess.  Using an old toothbrush, brush the fabric and work the gum up and off the surface.  You can re-wet the surface as needed, or work on a small area at a time if necessary.  This pair of jeans took less than 30 seconds to get clean…way better than the freezing and scraping method (which never worked for me)!

I have used this on flannel, nylon, and denim fabrics with great success, but I’m still open to suggestions for the best hair removal method!