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When am not doing the everyday stuff of life i am making things. Or thinking about making things....

Friday, 27 May 2011

Elderflower Time!

It's time to make Elderflower Cordial. no don't look at me like that! it's simple, easy and very tasty. we only just finished off last years batch and here we are again with the empties to fill up! my recipe is from good old trusty Waitrose here and is so simple. the only thing you need really is some nice bottles to keep it in, the citric acid ( tell the chemist you are cooking with it or they think you are some kind of addict apparently!) which helps it keep longer and a muslin to strain it through before bottling. i used one of j's old ones he'll never know!
ooh the smell of lemons and elderflowers steeping in sugar....
i may have to make some more :-)

i am rubbish at before and after photo's; i always forget to take the before. so here in anticipation of a lovely new wind break is the old one. i got it for £2.50 at my fave charideeee shop. and yes  to all those people eying it up as i left, it was a total bargain. i don't think it has been used. mainly as that plastic stuff is too hideous for words. anyway it's now a bundle of sticks awaiting a new cover. i have the fabric ready just not the time. the after will appear soon i promise but it's half term now so not much sewing hope for me - boo.

could not resist showing off these beauts! along with tonnes of rocket we have lovely radishes in the garden. can you overdose on radishes and rocket? lets hope not as the kids are constantly nibbling at them a la Peter Rabbit!
can you guess what it is? well it was a teatowel and now its a one of those things to hold your plastic bags in( which will hopefully be getting rarer in the near future.) i used to have a hideous ikea plastic thing and this is much nicer and easy to make. fold over short end and sew a casing about 1-2 cm then fold wrong sides together along long edge and sew up. make small hole in lower edge where you made the casing and thread elastic. sew ends together closing up small hole you made at same time. add nice tab to hang it with at the top end. add silly label ( i was toying with cottontail as a logo doodah for  while) and Bob's your uncle as they say!it now hangs under the stairs ( along with everything else!)
bye for now. need to finish the alex rider book i am reading...

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Mostly Making Cakes

Captain Barnacles - Octonaut Cake

for the last few days i made chocolate cakes for J's birthday, not one, not two but three of them! why you ask. well firstly i had to test one; you just never know and as we have no measurements on our inherited oven i never know what temp i am cooking at. the second one was because the first one was so good and the third was because i panicked that i needed more height on the big Octonaut birthday cake. the recipe - much complimented - thanks guys- is the easiest ever and is from Nigella Lawson's How to Cook. i point you to another blogger who already wrote it all out for me or go buy Nigella's books. they are pretty much failsafe esp when it comes to cakes!
here is the finished Captain Barnacles Cake and i'll soon be making cake number four as Stokie Blokie said he didn't get any -oops. however i am categorically NOT icing another Barnacles cake ever again....

cake no 1

Mostly Birthdays part 1

Happy Birthday my darling boy!

i made this bean bag as a present and i am really happy with it. j thinks he is keeping it in this picture, little does he know... i made the template from a bag we were given a few years ago but with a cover i didn't want. this is the third one i've made now and if "wretched balls" (polystyrene innards)don't send me mad then i'll be making a another one. this is ikea fabric with some recycled  blind material from WRAP for the base and handle.

the first preserve of the year- yeah! strawberry and rhubarb. truly yummy though a bit soft set.recipe from my trusty WI preserves book and it is a nice combination though i think the edlerflower and strawberry one i made a few years back still rivals it.anyway it was a good excuse to try out my new purchase of the River Cottage Handbook no 3:Bread and to treat the Badger to some scones!

as the weather has been so amazing we have spent alot of time in the garden. i made this tent for o's birthday last year and it has been great to have it outside for some extra shade. i followed a pattern from Cool spaces for Kids which has some fab ideas in it, but managed somehow to add an extra panel which means i have too many tent supports and now i think i need to add some channels on the inside of the tent on each seam to keep these unruly tent posts from getting muddled up. a job waiting to be done....

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Mostly Outside

those of you not in the UK may not know that we have had a fantastic month of weather. and of course we Brits are slightly weather obsessed. since i planted out all my lovely plants it hasn't rained one drop. typical. we have grafted really hard to get the raised beds up - well Stokie Bloke did and i mainly watched! I did dig and seive all the earth though and added all the compost and have planted out an impressive 26 different fruit and veg plants. this does include two lots of seeds which have not actually come up yet but still I am chuffed with the results so far. the kids have been loving the garden too which is brilliant!

it does mean however that the making pile has grown somewhat while the weather has been so stunning. i do have a few garden based creations to share however some of which i have actually made in the last few weeks!

best peg bag in the world!

this peg bag (clothes pins for americans) was born out of frustration with one I actually bought a few years ago; the sort on a hanger that you hang on the line. I cut up the old one as i liked the fabric and used and old pair of jeans as a bucket style bag. the strap was a lovely cotton webbing length from WRAP (Waford Recycling Arts Project), just perfect. i made the exact length for my hand to reach into easily while it sits on my shoulder. i can get the washing in an out in a flash. important for a domestic goddess such as myself ha ha ha!

upcycled gardening apron

this gardening apron was made a while ago admittedly but was made from a lovely book that Luisa and Edache gave me for my birthdat ( Homemade vintage by Christina Strutt) again from old jeans and some nice cotton ticking... the pocket is the most useful part of it. the photos were taken by o - pretty good for a  four year old! she did tell me by tummy was in the way though...hmm.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

oh my

i know it's been too long! how do those super efficient bloggers manage it? Your kids get sick, you get sick, then the holidays are here, the sun shines and suddenly the blog work is out of the window. i can only apologize...

i have been doing some things though so here is a quick summary for the faithful few who are still checking the blog.  i should be sewing right now just to make you feel guilty!
we had a royal wedding here; did you hear about it at all?!!!
yes we made crowns, flags, coloured in pictures of Wills and Kate in alarming felt tip colours and generally celebrated all things british. we went to street parties and tea parties, had pretend weddings
i even took photos off the telly (how sad am I!!) above is a piece of my patriotic table cloth that i turned into a tote, hanging on the door of my study. i have enough for one more bag, so one of you may be getting it around your birthday time!!!

i made o a great dress based on a pillowcase dress from two tea rather nice tea towels from - of all places - tescos. she had many compliments so that was lovely! i think i will probably unpick it and keep as tea towels. 

 ah yes it was easter too. seemed to take forever to get here and we were sick with the most hideous virus (involved mouth ulcers- don't ask!) poor j was v bad with it and i nearly cried every time i swallowed... anyway we survived and made easter bonnets and looked for chocolate easter eggs in the garden. they don't grow there sadly; i hid them and then forgot where i hid them...doh

that's all for now - lots more lined up for you good folks soon!