Summer picnics and gatherings are here and we have the perfect basket for you. Chips, pretzels,crackers, napkins and table ware... there are endless uses for this basket.
The base of this basket is 6x10 1/2 inches. Each basket is carefully handwoven. I've used reed and sea grass to give this basket a unique texture and design. Take a look at my Etsy Shop, where you can find this basket as well as other neat baskets for serving, storage, home decor and more.
Homemade Rhubarb Syrup
Combine in saucepan:
4 cups rhubarb
1 cup sugar (maybe a little more or less to taste)
1 cup water
Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb is soft and the syrup has somewhat thickened.
I prefer to strain in the colander and then pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer. Cheesecloth may also be used. Keeps well in the refrigerator.
Growing up in the Midwest it's no accident that I came to know rhubarb at an early age. It was always "there" each spring, at home in a patch near the garden. For our family it was the source of many memories of rhubarb pie. We could hardly wait to put a fork to the first fresh from the oven pieces. It was and is, one of my Dad's favorites.
The early history of rhubarb has been traced to Asia where it thrives in cold damp climates and has long been used for medicinal purposes. Nutritionally, the stalks are high in Vitamins C and K, and the minerals potassium and manganese.
Rhubarb became popular in England when Joseph Myatt introduced the heirloom variety "Victoria" in honor of Queen Victoria's coronation in 1837. The earliest mention of rhubarb in American dates to the later half of the 1700s.
At our home we have couple of favorite recipes that tend more toward the crisp or cobbler sorts. It wasn't until a few years ago that I came across the recipe for rhubarb syrup. It makes a great splash in tea, lemonade, water or cocktails. Grab a basket, harvest some rhubarb and enjoy!
One of the most gratifying experiences that I've had in basket weaving is having the opportunity to share my skills with others. This past weekend I was a demonstrator at Horicon Living History days in Horicon, Wisconsin.
This event takes place at the historic Satterlee Clark House and a nearby park and has grown each year of its existence. A special "School Day" is set aside, so that kids from area schools can learn through hands-on experiences about how things were done in the past.
One of the most enjoyable aspects is to talk to kids and engage them in the art itself. Yes, I've learned and tried to memorize a whole lot about basketry in history, but that can get boring. For some kids its enough to know that people couldn't go out to the Super Center to buy everything they needed. They were resourceful folk who learned to make and to grow what was needed, and as they lived day to day they passed down their skills to the younger generation.
As kids came to my demonstration area, I talked to them about what kinds of baskets they use in their homes today and sometimes shared about how materials were gathered and used in the past. Allowing them a chance to weave on a few of the baskets that I had started working on, helped them to see craftsmanship first hand. It helped them to realize how much work it took our ancestors to accomplish their daily tasks.
We sometimes lose sight about what we can learn from those who walked before us, so I'm very thankful for opportunities to share my skills with others, learn new things that I can pass along to others and in turn give to the community in which I live.