Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday morning after the swap, I was walking on clouds. Nothing could bring me down, not both babies waking up with runny noses, not the mountain of laundry, not even the discovery that my dishwasher was broken. I kept looking over my stash of jam like a mother hen counting her eggs, and reveling in the sheer good fortune of this much jam under my roof. I had been so caught up in the planning and organizing of the swap, that I had forgotten about the end result: a well-stocked jam pantry for winter. The realization that this was mine, all mine, was a feeling, I imagine, similar to the discovery of a lottery win.
Bring on the snow, I say!
On a chilly Sunday afternoon, about twenty-five of us gathered with a few of our significant others at a much anticipated swap hosted by myself and my mother-in-law. The doorbell rang and rang, and as each person arrived with a box or two of jam under their arms, the main table filled up fast with the bounty, and the space beneath the table held the empty boxes.
Soon there was jam as far as the eye could see. Hallelujah!
With the main table groaning under 300 or so jars, we directed the savory preserves to a table of their own, where they looked quite pretty, I must say.
With the jam set up for viewing, and people eagerly circling the table scoping out the land, it was time for the tasting. Tea and coffee were brewed and I cracked open one jar of every kind of jam I could get my hands on. I had just taken several dozen scones out of the oven and as three of my dear friends had brought fresh scones along also, I heaped three baskets high and set them out with the jam.
And the tasting was underway!
Just listen to some of these varieties: Rhubarb-Vanilla Jelly, Pumpkin-Apple Butter, Pear-Rosemary Jam, Garlic & Caramelized Onion Jam, Cranberry-Apple Jelly, Quebec Strawberry-Maple Jam, Pear & Cashew Chutney...hungry yet?
I could tell the guests were itching to get down to business, so although I had scarcely tasted any jam (due to high traffic around the jam bar), I called the swap to order! Of course there are guidelines to remind people of: take only as many jars as you brought, no pushing, and so on.
Then people grabbed their boxes and the swap was officially on.
It was over in about seven minutes. When the dust settled, each jar had a home and people were smiling. I was thrilled with my stash, but I hadn't been quick enough. I missed out on some Lemon Butter and some Okanagan Cherry Jam. Sniff!
That was it! Before people were on their way, we raffled off a few items for charity that our guests of honour, Philippe and Ethné de Vienne had generously donated (spice kits! cookbook!), and did a draw for the door prize--a handmade, hand embroidered vintage-style apron similar to this one.
My mother-in-law and I had put our heads together to come up with a design for a decidedly girly apron and we loved how it turned out! She did a fantastic job of sewing them up and I gave them a personal touch by embroidering on the pocket. I don't think I've embroidered in about 22 years, so if you can't read what it says, that's OK. (Hint: it's the name of this blog).
The best part is that we made an extra one for YOU! Remember the little surprise I promised a few weeks ago? Well all you have to do is leave a comment on this post and I'll submit your name for a draw to win the apron pictured above in a giveaway.
You have until midnight on Sunday, November 23 to leave a comment. No anonymous comments, please. Good luck to all!
(For those of you who really want this apron, or one similar and don't want to leave it to chance, you can order one from my MIL, the lovely and talented Terrie, through me via email. Maybe I'll even monogram it for you.)
So a big thank you to all those who helped make this swap a success: Dorothy, Philippe, Ethné, Miranda, Terrie, Nadia, Rachel, and Danny.
Danny took most of the photos throughout the event, as I was otherwise occupied; didn't he do a great job?
There you have it. Hope you enjoyed the roundup and for those of you who couldn't make it, there's always next year!