Homemade Living Book Series
Giveaway Winner!

The very first time I made jam, I found myself in a bit of a … pickle.  In hot water.  Frankly, I found myself in a bit of a jam.

I was 18 or 20 years old and had gone out to pick all the strawberries for my first batch of jam.  So on a Saturday morning, with the sounds of the Father’s Day airshow overhead, I made my first batch of jam.  I crashed and burned.  My jam was a mess.  It was wayyyyy too thin and runny.  I figured my Certo had expired, so I added a new box of Certo.  Then my strawberry jam ended up being as hard as a rock.  How hard?  If I’d had a really good jeweller nearby I probably could have had them place it in a nice 3 prong Tiffany setting and worn it on my finger.  The Strawberry Ruby is one of the lesser known gems.

So … how did I deal with my jam, jam?  I did what any jam maker would do.   I called the Certo emergency hotline.  The fine folks on the other end of the phone line, who I imagined were wearing gingham pinafores and button up boots, talked me through the fix.  In the end, I had myself some perfect jam after several hours, 2 mistakes and one phone call.

This is how things were back in the olden days when the only  information available on the Internet was Real Estate listings and porn.

Now of course if you run into a problem with just about anything, you can search the Internet and have it solved in a few moments.

I love the Internet.  I make my living because of the Internet, but being the Laura Ingalls kindda gal that I am, I like books.  I like the sound of the pages flipping and the feel of the hard, smooth covers.  I like how they look all lined up in a bookshelf or stacked on a coffee table, just waiting to be opened.  There’s something warm and personal and satisfying about a book that the Internet or a Kindle will never be able to duplicate.

So it was my absolute and complete pleasure to give away the entire Homemade Living book series from Ashley English.   Just looking at these books makes me happy.  I’m sure the winner of this series will feel the exact same way.  So on behalf of myself and Ashley English …



Email me at karen@theartofdoingstuff.com to claim your prize pve!

And just so you know … Page 58 of the Canning & Preserving book.    That’s where you’ll find troubleshooting tips for Jam including what to do … if your jam is too runny.  Another *shockingly good* giveaway coming up in the near future.


  1. Marti says:

    What? You’re kidding, right? I didn’t win this?

    I may just skip the whole “Thanksgiving” thing tomorrow. You’ve ruined it for me.

    • Karen says:

      Marti – I know. I actually didn’t even want to tell you. I was hoping you wouldn’t read this particular post. But you did. So really … *you* kind of ruined Thanksgiving. ~ karen

    • Karen says:

      Do have a super-fantastic day though! Turkey, stuffing (in the bird!!) and pumpkin pie hopefully. Reason enough for thanks right there. ~ karen

  2. Meg says:

    *sniffle* I got all excited, got my hopes up, and all for naught! I was so hoping my first good win would be here! I’m going to go drown my sorrows in collard greens and cornbread… and the shocked looks on the faces of my husband’s relatives who have never eaten collard greens before.

    Happy Thanksgiving from the States!

    • Karen says:

      Meg – I’m sorry. ๐Ÿ™ Happy Thanksgiving though! That’s something to look forward to! I’ve never had collard greens. I imagine them tasting like spinach. And cornbread … who doesn’t love cornbread. Feel free to send on any delicous cornbread recipes. I like to cook it in a cast iron skillet so keep that in mind. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ~ karen

      • Meg says:

        I’m only mildly heartbroken, no worries– probably the cider from the local winery will fix it before the collards do ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Would Canada let me send you seeds in the mail? Or would I get thrown in agricultural jail for that? If you can grown garlic and other greens, you can grow collards. Spinach is much more ferrous tasting, collards have a lighter taste and leafier texture; it’s somewhere between spinach and kale, I guess. I also like turnip greens and mustard greens, though most people don’t like the bitterness in those two and will mix them with collards.

        Unlike spinach, collards don’t boil down to the most compact leaf in the world. I’ll see how tomorrow goes– they apparently don’t have ham hocks in Indiana, so I’m using jowl bacon which isn’t something I’ve heard of before. I also use Siracha to make them; it makes everything better!

        This year I’m just using Martha White mix, but I’m going to try some jalapeno cheddar cornbread as soon as I get back home! Also, is there any other way to make cornbread but in a cast iron skillet?

        (could I BE any more Southern?)


        • Karen says:

          Meg – Ham hocks? Jowl Bacon? Where the hell are you from that this is Thanksgiving dinner, LOL?? My dad used to love ham hocks. They had hair coming out of them. I imagine jowl bacon is smoked pork cheek. I had a cheddar/jalapeno cornbread recipe I used to make the odd time, but I can’t remember which book it was in! And I’m sure they would arrest you and stick you in agricultural jail if you were to send me Collard Green seeds, but I’m willing to take that risk. Especially since my local seed store doesn’t seem to carry them. Feel free to email me at karen@theartofdoingstuff.com for my name and address. ๐Ÿ™‚ ~ karen

  3. Kristin D says:

    Sad I didn’t win….but your comments make me feel better. Karen, you crack me up! Happy Thanksgiving to all your American peeps!

  4. Whaaaaat?!!! I dIdn’t win ? !!! I may never eat jam again. Ever.
    I’m off to have a temper tantrum. Like the kind that you have when you are two years old ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy US thanksgiving.
    Ps. Aren’t you still FULL from our canadian thanksgiving ? ๐Ÿ™‚
    Lynne xx

  5. Cindy Marlow says:

    Karen & Meg-you should have PM’d each other about the seeds. Now all Karen’s fans are going to email her about the special seeds they want to send her. Karen: request a photo first-some plants with 5-8 leaves per stem ARE illegal to send through the mail!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all those in the US of A!

  6. marilyn says:

    oh karen i had my first real laugh of the day when you said the ham hocks had hair coming out of them! hahaha my dad ate them too and thats what i remember. he also ate pickled pigs feet! ughughughughughughugh!!

  7. Ruth says:

    You know what? I give up on giveaways. *sniffle*

    Whenever you feel like just giving ME something, feel free to send me an email and I’ll send you an address.

    Today is all messed up… could I have tomorrow now please? ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. julie says:

    Ok, so I didn’t win. However I DID just yesterday use the “How to Prep Leeks” post. Geez I’ve been making potato-leek soup for years, totally unaware of the proper procedure! It’s so easy, and so much better than anything else I’ve tried. So really, I won something. In a way. Though the books would’ve been nice too.

  9. Babie Knoop says:

    I wonder if that cure of your jam would work for my apple butter….mine came out really runny….but it is already canned….I can’t bear the thought of peeling all those apples again and re canning….wonder if I can just re-open, fix, and re-can? I could totally not hate that! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Nancy says:

    Congrats to PVE..that’s how contests are..someone wins..a lot of people lose…Thanks for the holiday wishes Karen..I am thankful that you write this blog..Thanks for the laughs, the great info and the opportunity to win such awesome giveaways..now I must get my turkey stuffed..yes I am running late but we eat later in the day..

  11. Gayla T says:

    I’m not a bit upset about not winning. If I would have, I’d have felt obligated to actually do something. What with the holidays here already, I’m so behind I don’t have time to read or add anything to my agenda. I haven’t even started on my Christmas cards and that is not addressing them, it’s making them. Once you start something like that and everyone knows you know how, they expect you to come through again. I’ve already heard that they can’t wait to see what I’m going to come up with this year. My reputation as an artsy fartsy is at stake so I really don’t have time to read those books although I know they must be wonderful. So with a full heart I can honestly say, Congrats PVE! If there are any great Christmas card ideas in it please don’t tell me. The Christmas frog and the text saying “Ribbit Open” stamps are back ordered so I’m back to square one.

  12. trinity says:

    The only times I have had hog jowls is at this wonderful Korean BBQ place and they are super fabulous, like bacon on steroids. Like bacon wish it tasted! I have to try to cook some at home.

  13. pve says:

    I am so thrilled to be the lucky winner!
    I e-mailed you my address.
    Thanks so much!

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