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

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

mostly preserves


phew - i have made about 35 jars of jams and chutneys this year. mainly because there has been a bumper crop of damsons, apples, pears and even strawberries. also because i like free food. there i am not proud to say i am a forager. i love spotting some delicious goodies that can be turned into presents or gifts for friends. i have run out of jam jars now though... i will have to forage for those too!
 a round down of the pots of goodies
  • summer jam - a soft set strawberry, blackberry and small amount of blueberry jam. strawberries - about 2lb worth were from the school garden which we watered for a week - i felt we deserved it and we were told to harvest it all!
  • orchard chutney - a slightly made up chutney with plums from one of Stokie Bloke's clients, courgettes from our garden and apples from neighbours - windfalls so it's ok!
  • mango and marrow chutney - from the school secretary- it's quite sweet and made with our patty pans from the garden. not our mango's obviously!
  • damson and apple jelly - the damsons have been great this year bigger than last and better condition. i have several bags in the freezer for gin (the sloes look great too though!) but this jelly set really well and has a lovely colour
  • plum jam - from plums as above - we got a plastic carrier bag full!
  • lastly green tomato chutney as all my tomatoes have come down with blight and i had to pick the lot at the weekend with the help of mum. grrrrr another veggie disaster that I will learn from next year. as they are all slowly rotting i threw this one together using my new preserves book. the wi book of preserves is my other staple preserves book - i use it all the time. i have read the river cottage one from pam the jam corbin and would recommend that too if you need one
  • not made yet but aiming on checking out the crabapple tree either at school or next to my mums as crabapple jelly is my all time favourite. o's crabapple tree not really big enough to crop being planted for her birthday last year and Zola took hers down - sacrilege!
  • also i have made blackberry brandy - recommended by Vicky on the heath. my two bottles pale into insignificance compared to her 12 ( she has emptied our local tesco of cheap brandy!). i bought the spanish brand as i am a sucker for labels and will add some vodka when the berries come out as she said this tasted smoother. (that may have been alcohol induced of course..))
  • oh and i should mention my nasturium seed disaster! briefly and be thankful you couldn't smell them. poor man's capers they are meant to be - you'd have to be pretty hard up to eat them. i did as per recipe brined them and put them in vinegar but they smelled so foul i had to bin the small jar i did manage to do. capers for me every time thanks!
  • lastly, today i picked loads of hazelnuts, hoping they will ripen enough to coat in chocolate at xmas. there seems conflicting web advice on this so we will have to find out by trial and error. there was smug satisfaction on beating the squirrels to them though....i also saw a recipe for damson and hazelnut mincemeat - now where did put those empty jars!

    some photos below of the produce and the results
selection of preserves  2011 Greatrex Kitchen



o the onion queen - she picked and cleaned them all!


plums as big as baby's b...s!

giant courgette hiding children



foul poor man's capers - nasturium seeds!

this post wouldn't be complete without noting that for the past week we have been dog sitting for Rhoda. and the the dog's name?   Chutney!  She's a cutie! we had a great time having her.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Mostly Holidays

                           
yes folks we have been on our hols to the beautiful Lake District. extremely fortunate to have fabulous weather the whole week, a beautiful place to stay and some lovely days outwith Grandparents. we enjoyed- in no particular order
  • the crystal clear streams as you can see above (especially if we can paddle around in just our pants!- kids only though!)
  • meeting friends - the Fitzo gang!
  • eating ice-creams and cream teas
  • going on walks and being carried by mummy and daddy (!)
  • watching for Peter Rabbit (and the many Flopsy bunnies) on the lawn every morning while having breakfast
  • eating wild strawberries and raspberries
  • going on boat trips on Conniston and Windermere
  • visiting Hill Top (beatrix potter) and reading Samuel Whiskers
  • buying our own piece of Elterwater Cumbrian Slate to install at home (bird bath! then finding a bench made of the same material, probably the same quarry, outside Euston Station!








 its been a very productive month in the garden too. when we got home we had giant sunflowers and courgettes, beetroots and patty pans!

some arty farty flower photos as per the normal...craft stuff has been happening but will have a post of its own i think. as will baking... :)



Thursday, 4 August 2011

mostly friends

way back at the end of June we spent a lovely weekend at the Dovecote amongst friends. ( it's where the mulberry tree is - mentioned last few posts!) we had amazing weather and 4 families camped out. there was a bit of tent envy going on and  i took bunting along to string along side the tent.it may have edged us ahead int he tent stakes though ours is now the oldest tent. It's also the place where we got married so i thought this picture of a cheeky little frog heading towards luisa's engagement ring was rather appropriate. there were tiny frogs everywhere on the grass next to the moat ( that does sound posh!) - i have never seen anything like it!

 i made this dress for O from a size 8 ladies top which had no sleeves. as i am never going to get into a size 8 but the fabric was nice i felt a little customization would do nicely - it was a thrify bargain anyway so not expensive. i think it looks nice although the straps need to be redone as i made them too short and they itched her a bit.
  


lovely picture of ache and O and finally one  that O took herself and the weasel I think. very artistic!



this is what happens in our living room on  a summers evening - the shadow cast by the candleabra - my photo doesn't do it justice though.
being a librarian and a gardener i agree!
fabulous print can be found here - i may have to treat myself... (no change there then!)

Mostly Making Bags part 2

did i tell you there was a part 2 - nope? ah well just a few little people bags with applique that i did quickly. not sure who will be the recipients yet!!the las vegas one i made about 2 years ago and it had nice proportions. it was from an old t shirt of O's so she keeps this one! they have a ribbon around the inside top edge to cover the handle attachments and add interest and each bag has a little extra on the other side - a tag or lable or ribbon. the base has a T - Junction seam and they are all made of old recyled denim.
the original bag

cat bag

kitty bag


bulldog bag


some nice calendula photo's from the garden next. just because they are sunny and nice.




ta ra!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Mostly Making Bags


Hi there! It's been crazy here, end of term and last preschool and finally holidays! Sorry for the long break. I do really hope to post more often, I promise! The two bags below were ones based on the Make Lounge Reversable Tote day I did with the Lovely Zola! They were present's for  O's teachers at school. Mrs W was impressed though when I told her it was vintage Liberty she thought I was alluding to her age - I merely meant that she would appreciate it. The next day she came over to me and said how lovely it was and that her daughter wanted it!! Miss M also liked her's and asked if that was what I wanted to do - Ah yes well in an ideal world.  

Miss M's Bag



This next bag was a redesign of the reversable tote; it's not reversable for a start and it has a handle made from a lovely old wool belt! Shameless gift tag attached though I think I will keep it for myself. The outer fabric was a freebie I think but it took a while to match the pale green inner and much rummaging through the stash (never a bad thing!)i showed it to the sewing class and we all agreed it needs a clasp across the front so will try to sort that out next.

Here's a new purchase the Oliver and S "little things to sew" book. Just lovely and the hat is a pattern from it. very lovely and easy to sew. fabric from http://printstopolkadots.co.uk/ocart/ who have a great selection of fabric at reasonable prices.

I can't explain the joy i got from finding a FREE bobbin holder at WRAP, i am sad i know. i think it's because i was just about to buy one.... sometimes things just happen that way ( or the other way and then it's a pain!)

                           
  
I can't  remeber which end of term, leavingdo, summer fair, thingy these lovely yoghurt cakes were for in the end. it was all a blur. I did get the recipe from Nigella - Domestic Goddess - Baby Bundts. Low fat and yummy now there's a turn up! anyway they were all swiftly eaten up so i made them a few times just to make sure they worked again ( don't you hate it when a recipe never works so well the second time.)
                            
 oh yes and it was a Mulberry Tree - did you forget! More of the Holt do and our hols in the next post. which will be this week I promise!