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Just a quick post about a couple new fun books that just arrived at the shop– Perfect Pops by Charity Ferreira (Mango Lassi popsicle, anyone?)  and Chris Keeney’s Pin Hole Camera Do it Yourself Guide.

This book teaches you how to make a pinhole camera out of A N Y container! Coffee cans, cigar boxes, suit cases, and as it says on the cover…. even a pine nut! Just imagine– you could whip up some homemade Mexican Papaya Agua Fresca pops, and then enjoy them on a sunny day while out taking pictures with your homemade pinhole camera! Now where is our sunny summer weather, Los Angeles?

New Library Store obsession— canning! Although we’re a bunch of pretty busy ladies with too many crafty hobbies to count, we’ve all been making time to dive into this new (and tasty!) endeavor. The best part is trading our jars of homemade yummyness! Who would refuse a jar of freshly made Strawberry Lavender jam, really?

So this week we’re going to be sharing a couple recipes we’ve tried out from Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff. We carry this book in the store, as well as quite a few other books on canning. First up is…..

Navel Orange and Lemon Marmalade!

For this recipe you’ll need the following: 4 to 4 1/2 lb of navel oranges (well scrubbed), 2 lemons (scrub ’em too), 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 3 cups sugar. This will make 6 half-pint jars of marmalade.

The first step is to sterilize your jars and prepare them for water-bath canning. This involves submerging your jars in a canning pot full of water, and bringing it to a full boil for approximately 10 minutes.  You’ll want to leave the jars in the hot water while you prepare the marmalade, and place the jar lids in a heat proof bowl. Also, place a small plate in the freezer (this will be explained later, I promise).

First, use a vegetable peeler to cut the zest from 5 of your oranges. Then stack these strips of zest on a cutting board, and cut them crosswise into thin julienne strips. You should be left with about 1 1/2 cups of zest. Then use a sharp knife to segment all the oranges, working over a bowl to catch the juice and reserve the membranes. Put the julienned zest and the orange segments in a 6 to 8 quart large pot. Strain the reserved juice into a measuring cup, and add enough water to make 3 cups. Pour this into the pot. Cut the bottom and top off of each lemon and cut it into segments, leaving the peel on and reserving the membranes and seeds. Cut the lemon segments into 1/2″ chunks and add to the pan, along with the lemon juice.

Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to simmer until the zests are tender, approximately 30 minutes. Then add the sugar, and bring the pot to a boil again. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture registers about 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Alternatively, if you don’t have a candy thermometer, after boiling for 30 to 40 minutes, you can place a dab of the mixture on your chilled plate and return it to the freezer for a minute. Then take it out, and give it a nudge. If it wrinkles when you do this, it’s ready! If not, keep boiling it and try it again in a few minutes.

Ladle boiling water from the pot onto the lids in the heat proof bowl. Using a jar lifter, remove the jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from each one back into the pot, and place them upright on a folded towel. Drain the water off the jar lids.

Ladle the marmalade into the jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace at the top. Use a damp paper towel to wipe off the rims of the jars, then put a flat lid and ring on each jar, adjusting the ring so that it’s just finger-tight. Return the filled jars to the canning pot, making sure the water covers the jars by at least one inch. Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes to process. Remove the jars to a folded towel and do not disturb them for 12 hours. Check after an hour that all the lids have been sealed– press down the center of each lid. If it can be pressed down, it hasn’t sealed. The unsealed ones will need to be eaten right away, what a bummer…!

Good luck, and bon appetit! Later this week we’ll be sharing a recipe for Strawberry Lavender jam, also from Canning for a New Generation. So check back!


We’ve been nominated again this year for “Best Bookstore” in the Downtown News Readers Choice Awards. Last year we won– so we’re hoping to keep our title! To vote, just click here. And while you’re at it, why not vote for Central Library for “Best Free Family Attraction” as well?  Thank you!

Our inaugural DIY LA event was a success! We had a crowd of all ages decorating mini books with Washi tape. In case you weren’t able to attend, here’s some instructions for creating your own Washi Tape Mini Book. You’ll need some blank paper (we used regular ol’ copy paper), a piece of card stock for the cover, a paper cutter, a ruler, and some basic sewing skills!

Here you can see we’ve cut the paper to the required size, stacked it up, creased it down the middle, and sewn a single stitch down the middle to keep the pages together. We found it easiest to decorate the cover with Washi tape before attaching it to the pages. Here’s a great example of Washi decorating, created by one of the DIY LA crafters!

Once you’ve decorated your cover with as much Washi tape as it can hold, you’re ready to insert your pages. We found it easiest to just tape them inside with 1/2″ transparent tape, as shown below.

Voila! C’est fini! You have made your very own little Washi tape mini book! If you’d like to see more pictures from our super fun crafting event, check them out here! And if you’d like to be notified of our next crafting event, you can sign up for our newsletter here.

We’re starting a new series of crafting events in collaboration with the Art and Music Department here at the library called D.I.Y. LA, and our inaugural event is happening next Saturday afternoon! We hope you can join us in making Washi Tape mini books! Remember our post all about our obsession with Washi tape? Well, we want to pass that obsession on to you!

Washi tape is super fun and super versatile for crafting. Next Saturday we will be using it to decorate the covers of some mini blank journals– although the possibilities are really limitless when it comes to Washi tape. Check out our Facebook event page here, and let us know you’re coming! Happy crafting!