Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

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…

Retro Craft: Crazy Hair Pencils and Valentine Printable

I fondly remember these crazy haired pencils from the 80s.
My friends and I could hardly get enough of them.
We made them in scouts.
We made them in camp.
We made them at birthday parties.


Ahh...the joy of smoothing out your pencil critter's hair, then rolling the pencil rapidly between your palms to achieve maximum crazy hair volume.  I guess times were simpler then...we didn't have a thousand channels on TV, and handheld video games were still a decade out.

When brainstorming a fun valentine project for my girls to make this year, the old pencil project came to mind.  I had a hunch that even the children of the digital age would have a hard time resisting their wacky charm.   

The project was a hit at home and pencils were a smashing success in the classroom.  Of course, we couldn't bear to part with them all. (If you don't hear from me in a few days, someone may have to intervene and hide my crazy haired pencil).

How to make
Crazy Hair Pencils

Cost:  Inexpensive
Time:  Less than an hour

Materials (for 16 pencil critters)
Craft Fur (1 9x12" piece)
16 pencils
Hot Glue Gun
Googly Eyes (16 pairs)
Optional:  Valentine printable (free HERE)
Optional:  Felt for bow ties 

Step 1: Cut craft fur into 3" tall strips.  To cut craft fur, measure up from the bottom by 3 inches.  Use your hand, or a hair brush, to brush the hair in the opposite direction, exposing a visible line of backing.  Cut along the backing.  Repeat with remaining fur.  Now cut into 2.5" wide pieces.  Brushing is not necessary for vertical cuts.

Step 2:  With backing-side facing up, run a line of hot glue along the left, bottom and right edges (see photo below).

Step 3:  Set pencil in place along the right edge and proceed to roll from right to left.  

Step 4:   Press edges together where they meetPress base of fur tightly around the pencil.  This will give a finished-looking edge.


Step 5:  Glue googly eyes in place.  Create a small bow tie by cutting a small rectangle of felt.  Snip a triangle out of the top and bottom to create a bow tie shape.  Glue in place.

Step 6:  (optional) For valentines, print the valentines sheet on heavy card stock.  Cut out valentines, then use an X-ACTO knife to cut slits along the top and bottom border of the middle box.  Insert pencil.

 Go wild!

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