Save All Those Cherry Tomatoes!
I absolutely love cherry tomatoes. In fact, they are the ONLY tomato we grow! We do not eat a lot of pasta here so tomato sauce is not rarely used, but we do eat ALOT of summer salads and cherry tomatoes go perfect in them! But seriously, we are just two people and we can't eat enough of the cherry tomatoes to keep up! Even with sharing with neighbors and feeding them to the chickens, there are just so many more! So I got to thinking - What else can I do with them? I know I can freeze them, but that's just too boring to me since they can't be eaten in a salad after being frozen so I would rather just sun-dry them and then freeze them like I've already been doing. No, I really want to try something completely different with my excess cherry tomatoes, so of course I RESEARCHED all the possibilities on Google - after all it is one of the things I am really good at - and here are a few of my favorite ideas:
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DIY THANK YOU MAGNETS
As most of you know I recently turned 50 and my husband threw me a wonderful backyard pool party at our house. I already posted about the DIY Bubble Favors we gave out, so check that out if you get a chance. Anyway, call me old fashioned, but I still believe in sending out thank you cards and of course, if you know anything about me by now, I can't just send out any card. It has to be extra special! And that is what todays blog post is about - the magnetic thank you's I recently made and sent out to everyone that celebrated my 50th birthday with me!
Since nothing goes to waste in our house, I already had all the materials. In fact, I had been waiting for a good reason to use some of them! The only thing I had to buy was stamps :-)
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FREEZING FRESH LOCAL CORN
It's that time of summer when the Long Island corn is fresh and ready at the local farm stands! There is nothing better than fresh, locally grown sweet, delicious corn! Yum! Do you wish you could eat it all year long? You can if you freeze it. It may not be as good as it is when it was just picked, but it will still be way better than canned or imported corn! And guess what the best part is: it's so simple! So stock up right now while the corn is fresh! Eat all you can and freeze the rest so you can have the best, locally grown healthy sweet delicious corn any time you want all year long. It's that simple!
See how easy it is to freeze corn?
And nothing gets wasted!
So simple :-)
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DIY REAL Sun Dried Tomatoes
Do you grow your own tomatoes? If you do, and if you are like me, then you have a lot of extras. After sharing my extras with friends and family and even giving some to the chickens every day I still had so many more to go...and more growing every day. I was trying to think of something different to do with them so I thought why not homemade sun-dried tomatoes?
I started doing a little research and discovered that most 'sun-dried' tomatoes aren't really sun dried anymore, they are dehydrated or cooked in an oven. Since my goal is always to do things in simple ways using as few resources as possible I was determined to really, truly, make real sun dried tomatoes. And I did! It was so simple and so successful that I have made many more batches since then!
After drying them, which generally takes a minimum of 2 full-sun days (depending upon the humidity of course), I freeze them instead of just storing them dry because they last longer in the freezer and I don't need to check them regularly for any mold growth. Mold growth can occur if any of the tomatoes are not 100% dry. Any little bit of moisture left over can start growing mold, so since we live in a humid environment and I have a freezer I decided it was just easier and safer to keep them there.
When we are ready to use them for cooking all we do is boil some water, cover them with the hot boiled water and let them sit for 15 - 20 minutes. This rehydrates them so they can simply be added to any dish we choose!
The best part is they cost me practically nothing, they are organic (because they were grown in my own garden), they retain all the wonderful nutrients of fresh tomatoes, and they can be enjoyed all winter long when I have no fresh garden to pick from!
Check out my You Tube video below to see how I made them:
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I have never sold at a craft fair before. I have attended many craft fairs over the years, but I have never personally been involved in selling at one. That is about to change.
For years my daughter has been urging me to sell at the craft fair where she lives. Every summer they have a community fair to raise money and every year she reminds me that I should rent a table and sell all my handmade 'stuff.' I usually say no. I am not sure why, but I guess I just really never knew what to make that people would want to buy. And what if they don't buy it? It is very intimidating to try something new like this, but I finally just said YES! After all, the worst that can happen is my stuff doesn't sell but I get quality time with my daughter and I get to spend a weekend on Fire Island in the summer!
And then after saying yes, I thought, uh oh....what have I gotten myself into? I am not the type of person to just wing something like having a craft sales table. I have to have a plan for exactly how and what I am going to do and that is what this post is all about.
There were some criteria about selling at the fair: I rented one (1) 8' x 30" banquet table and two chairs. Anything and everything I sell would have to be on top of that one table. No other stands are allowed. I also needed to get everything onto a ferry - it is not a craft fair where you can pull your car up and unload. Everything has to be lightweight, portable, and literally carried by hand.
Here are the steps I took to get ready for our first craft fair ever:
1. I Researched...
2. Made A List Of What I Wanted For My Table...
3. The Tablecloths
I didn't just want tablecloths...I wanted them to be special and stand out!
I didn't want to simply order signs from someone else...I wanted mine to be handmade like all the products I sell!
5. Spinning Table-top Display for Pendants
It was at least $90 to buy one and I didn't like any of them anyway, so of course my husband and I decided we could make our own and put our own handmade crafty 'spin' on it - pun intended :-)
6. Bonus Hair Scrunchy Display
8. And of course, before we packed it all up, we had to do a practice table set-up in our living room!
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If you are anywhere near Ocean Beach Fire Island, NY the weekend of August 13th - 14th 2016, stop by our table and say hi!
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DIY BUBBLE PARTY FAVORS
I just had my 50th birthday and yes, I ended up helping my husband with the party. Since my birthday is in August and we have a pool, we of course planned on a backyard pool party. Naturally we had to have something fun for a 'party favor' so why not bubbles? Who doesn't like blowing bubbles?
It was easy enough to buy the bubbles through Amazon and/or Oriental Trading in exactly the color bottles needed to match our party 'colors.' We could have purchased labels pre-printed with my picture, name, etc. on them, but after reading the comments about them on Oriental Trading I figured it was easier to just make my own, and of course I was right! They were a little more expensive but I am really happy with the way they came out and that is all that matters since it was my birthday :-)
Directions:Create an account on Avery.com and design the label! Note that you need to test print on plain paper before printing on actual labels. I had to adjust several times before I was ready to print but Avery's program makes it very easy to adjust the printer so that they come out perfect! I actually designed the word-picture I used on a powerpoint slide and saved it as a jpeg file which I then simply inserted into the Avery program.
Like bubbles? Then check out our post on DIY Giant Backyard Bubbles!
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Hi there! I'm Kathie, the author behind Creating A Simpler Life blog. I'm excited to share our longterm projects (and planning) toward building our future retirement homestead in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. In the meantime I will be sharing all the other little things we do that are part of creating our simpler life!