Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

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In the woodland valleys of Central California, Elderflower trees have been in bloom all spring with their prolific, lacy white blossoms.  I've enjoyed making Elderflower syrup, candied elderflowers and sweet Elderflower Tempura.  A few days ago, I noticed that some of the trees are starting to bear fruit -- diminutive, tart little berries, deep purplish-blue growing in heavy clusters.  

Inspired by a love of biscuits and jam, foraging, and adapted from a recipe from Simply Beyond Herbs, I whipped up a simple and delicious jam made from the foraged Elderberries, fresh blueberries and using chia seeds for a perfect jammy consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Foraging!
PrintWith ImageWithout Image Elderberry-Blueberry Chia JamYield: One half-pint jarAuthor: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 10 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 20 M An easy and delicious sweet-tart jam to make from foraged Elderberries. Ingredients:1 1/2 cups elderberries, rinsedPinch of salt1 cup blueberries, rinsed2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds1/2 Tabl…

DIY: Custom Earrings With Your Favorite Characters
(Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! Book Review and Giveaway)
#MLPFIM #Adventuretime


My girls and I are in LOVE with a new craft medium.  Well, maybe not so new.  Shrinky Dinks have been wowing kids with their shrinky "magic" every since I was a kid.  I guess I never really stopped being a fan; I just got a little sidetracked with my boring grown-up stuff.  That all changed when a copy of Kathy Sheldon's new book, Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! arrived in the mail from Lark Crafts.  One look at the whimsical, artful, sophisticated, and playful projects on the cover and I felt like a kid again.  


Shrinky Dinks now come in several different formulas depending on the look you want to achieve.  My favorite is the inket Shrinky Dink paper -- If you know how to print from a computer and turn on an oven, you have all the skills that are required to make some pretty incredible, professional-looking stuff.


Inspired by the Russian doll earrings and bobby pins on page 39 of Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!, my girls and I set out to make our own creations based on some of their favorite cartoons -- Adventure Time, Regular Show, and My Little Pony.   

Have I piqued your interest?  You can enter to win a copy of Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! at the end of this post!

 
I'm hard pressed to think of a craft that takes less time and yields more professional results than these inkjet Shrinky Dinks. For a pair of earrings, you're looking at around 5 minutes prep time and 3 minutes bake time. And the cost isn't too bad either.  We purchased our Shrinky Dinks from Michael's with a 50% coupon (regularly $12.99 for 6 sheets), so we estimate our cost per earring set to be around $1.50.

The sky's the limit when it comes to what you can print on Shrinky Dinks -- favorite characters, vintage graphics, family photos...imagine the possibilities! Ready to get started making your own custom earrings and bobby pins?  Here's how...

 
Make Your Own Custom Earrings with Shrink Plastic!

Materials
  • 1 sheet Shrinky Dinks Shrinkable Plastic for Ink Jet Printers
  • Images you would like to print
  • Kidney earring wires (ours were $3.49 for a package of 16)
  • or bobby pins with embellishment pads
  • A pair of small precision scissors (My favorites are the ones from EK Tools)
  • a 1/16" hole punch
  • parchment paper or paper grocery bag
  • E6000 or other jewelry glue (only if making bobby pins) 

Step 1: Find/Choose your images and arrange them in a MS Word document to maximize space on the shrinkable plastic sheet.   For the finished 1" inch charms, I set my images to around 3".  Lighten the image brightness by approx. 30%.  If making a set of matching earrings make sure that you flip one of the images horizontally so that you have a left and a right facing set.

You'll want to flip-flop one image out of every pair in the case of images that are facing in a particular direction (as shown above).  You'll also notice that the images are very light.  They need to start out light because the colors will intensify as the plastic shrinks.

Step 2:  Print onto shrinkable plastic sheet according to the directions on the Shrinky Dink package.  Set aside and allow ink to set for 5 minutes.


Step 3:  Using precision scissors, cut out the images tightly around the outlines.

Step 4:  If making earrings, use the 1/16" hole punch to punch a hole in the top of each cut-out.

Step 5:  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Place cutouts on a paper grocery bag or piece of parchment.

This photo shows how the colors intensify, but doesn't accurately demonstrate how greatly the plastic shrinks.  The "after" shot is actually about 1/3 of the size of the "before"

Step 6:  Bake for 3 minutes.  Remove from oven and cover with a second sheet of parchment or paper bag.  Set a large book on top to press the charms out flat as they cool (about 3 minutes).


Step 7:  Loop the charms on to earring wires and you're ready to show off your new custom jewelry!

Use the style of ear wire on the right, not the left

For bobby pins:  Use a small dab of jewelry glue (I like E6000) to glue the charm to the embellishment pad.  Set aside to dry.

 
Here are some of the other projects featured in Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! that I'm excited to try...

Clockwise from top left:  Tiger Lily Earrings, Mexican Oilcloth Necklace, Origami Paper Plane Earrings, Sweetheart Necklace.  Photo source: Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!, Cynthia Shaffer

From the left:  Blooming Flowers Bracelet and Calla Lily Earrings. Photo source: Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!, Cynthia Shaffer


GIVEAWAY!

Lark Crafts and author Kathy Sheldon have generously offered to give one signed copy of Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! to a lucky Rook No. 17 reader.  Kathy is going to kick start your crafting by including a sheet of shrink plastic as well!  Enter below.  Good luck!


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