Lost-in-Translation Strawberry Jam

When berry picking last weekend, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. With our overstock of berries, I decided to make strawberry jam for the first time.

One problem. They don’t sell pectin by itself here in German grocery stores. It comes mixed with sugar, so none of my American cookbooks would help me much.

Another problem. The recipes on the back of the sugar/ pectin packages required a metric scale, which I didn’t feel like buying. Problem #3 since the pectin and sugar are mixed together in a proportion I couldn’t decipher, I couldn’t very well figure out how to control the sweetness factor, which is a big thing for me. Too much sugar drowns the flavor, I think.

And finally, I have no canner or Mason jars, no space to store them, and even if I did, they don’t sell them here. Or so I’ve heard.

So, I decided to wing it with my own made up version of freezer jam, tasting and hoping it would all turn out.

Luckily it seems to have worked. Sorry I can’t share a recipe, since I didn’t measure anything. It involved berries, sugar/pectin, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

In other news, I did a double-take when I encountered this under my computer desk:

Aaagh! Then I realized it was just a scrap from a current sewing project. It’s almost like I did it on purpose, right?

Tomorrow the European chapter of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is doing a cool bloggy thing. Members across Europe (including me) have signed up here, where we’ll be sharing sketches and scribbles all day. It’s called the Summer Solstice Scrawl Crawl. Check it out.

Also, check out this totally simple but genius craft (below) at Holly Ramer’s stitch/craft. Perfect for keeping the kids entertained while traveling this summer. Why didn’t I think of this?

Strawberry Season/ Waldorf Bazaar

It’s that time of year again, when little huts like this pop up all over the Hannover. I love the way seasonal produce is so easy to find. No trouble locating this vendor. Often an erdbeer-hof also offers spargel (asparagus, usually white) since it’s in season as well.

Along with strawberry season comes the annual Waldorf school bazaar. This time I was a contributor to the crafts table, and a salesperson, too. I was pretty proud of myself for handling a few simple transactions, considering that I had to speak and count in German plus make change in Euros. Simple things, but put all together it was a little challenging. Sorry the picture is a little backlit. It was hastily taken with the cell phone, as a lot of these were, since it doesn’t seem to be the norm to snap a bunch of pictures at Waldorf events. I wanted you to see a bit of the arrangement, though. I can’t  take any credit for it, but it makes me want to buy the entire menagerie every time I see it.

That crazy blue thing in the upper left of the picture will be explained later.

Below are some of what I made, in addition to the little Waldorf men I blogged about earlier.

Hot sellers, these little bunnies.

They are made of felt, blanket stitched and stuffed with actual wool, with needle-felted tails. I had never needle-felted before and always sort of regarded it as a craft that must take a lot of training to do properly. It’s really easy, though, at least to do bunny tails. I was shocked. It almost seems like magic. Below are some more felt animals and figures, not made by me.

And here is my needle-felted doll, my first needle-felt project. The blue thing hanging from the top in the earlier picture is also a felt doll.

Here’s a little of my delicious Waldorf lunch from the bazaar. No Waldorf salad. Ha! There were bratwurst, too, but the salads were really the star of the show.

And here, an only slightly-related photograph, of the kindergarten classroom’s laundry that it was my turn to wash. I decided to try impressing the teacher with my mad line-drying skills, and then the set up looked so pretty I couldn’t help snapping a picture. This is a typical German line dryer.  

Have a great weekend, everyone!