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

Monday, 23 April 2012

Mostly Sewing and Chai

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I was being hopeful when making this. It was balmy and warm in March but now it is full on April showers and heading for the wettest April in a few years. It’s great for the garden but I am slightly fed up of getting soaked on every school run. Anyway I made this bag when it was sunny and I was inspired,  with some quite heavy striped cotton from the stash and thinner cotton Ikea print for the lining left over from the kids tipee. It is the Everything Tote from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross (FLIKR Group Photos here) one of the better craft books I bought. I didn’t manage to get the pleats right (well in at all actually) but I still like it’s capaciousness and sturdy handles.
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Happy Birthday Sam! Hope you like seeing yourself in blogland!
I made a Chai Syrup for Sam for a little birthday treat. It has black pepper,cinnamon, star anise, ginger, cloves, cardamom,tea, honey and good old dollop of sugar. It is from the Jamie Oliver Mag last month and to be honest while it was brewing I was not enamoured with the smell. However when bottled and then tested out on some warm milk, well I was smitten! Yum-a-roo. I think in futureI would leave out the star anise and make it a bit less sweet.
I litre of water
4 tea bags ( your choice but i just did an everyday tea by Twinings)
1½ inch piece fresh ginger, cut into slices
6 cloves
6 cardamom seeds
8 black peppercorns
1 cinnamon sticks
Honey to taste
Sugar approx 50g

1. In a small plastic bag, combine the peppercorns, cloves and cardamom. Use a heavy mallet or rolling pin to crush the spices into coarse pieces.
2. In a saucepan on medium heat add water and the crushed spices, cinnamon sticks, and ginger pieces. Allow to come to a gentle boil, then simmer until reduced to about two thirds and is syrupy. Stir about 2 tbs into warm milk, frothed if you can be bothered! keeps in the fridge for at least a month(so far) but you’ll use it before then I guarantee.

happy chai tea drinking and for that matter happy sewing too.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Mostly Toothies

O has two new front teeth coming through, spotted by Grandma on hols. We scoured the webternet for some interesting patterns, tried drawing our own and came up with something in between. Affectionately known as Toothie or Toothies (yes there are more than as J wanted one too!)They go to bed every night (even though i have told J he will have to wait at least another year before he loses his milk teeth he insists on having one!)

If I get time i will do a tutorial but they are fairly self explanatory! made from some fleece and felt in storage, handsewing and some WRAP polyester stuffing. Place your orders here please!!!

Mostly River Cottage

Yes I know you have been waiting, like forever to hear about the River Cottage experience and so I am about to oblige. I do however have one slight confession. I forgot to take my camera on hols! Agh what a twit. I did take my iPad but then that battery ran out mid bread bake. Grrrr it was probably for the best as I did get covered in bread dough And flour. Ah the joy of cooking in someone else's kitchen AND not having to tidy up anything afterwards... yeah!
It was a wonderful day (River Cottage Bread) I have to say, and I preceded it by a little snack at the River Cottage Canteen in Axminster. Yum a Rama!

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the picture of the baked bread is not the cottage loaf i made at River Cottage as that is when my ipad ran out. however it is of a loaf made at home to Aiden Chapman’s recipe and it was delish!!! link here to Aiden’s wonderful bakery and recipes. The secret is making some dough mix 18 hours in advance, adding more water than i ever realised and having a stinking hot oven but cooking for way less time than most recipes ever say – like about 20-25 mins as opposed to the 40-45 mins most books say ( thus drying out the bread horribly).
We also had a lovely meal at the River Cottage Axminster Canteen on the day before. It was scrummy and very reasonable as well as being relaxed. the kids ate most of my Mum’s asparagus and declared it lovely. It also tempted me to make some wild garlic pesto – there was loads of the stuff next to our holiday home in Charmouth!

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wild garlic pesto a la River Cottage

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Charmouth was lovely and we did well with the weather considering its turned cold and rainy since those balmy days of March. And it was my wonderful Mum’s 70th Birthday – Happy Birthday Mum!!!
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 some nice beach pics for you.
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time to go. tooth news next time!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Mostly Easter!

It’s been a choc,cake, chick and crown fuelled Easter round here. Here’s a round up of the last few weeks easter makes.

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Easter Bonnet competition at school. O did not  want to make a crown (you can imagine that conversation!)but it really suited the lovely chick she made. she did all her own labels hanging off it too. i think it was a great crown.
we’ve had loads of parties recently and this one was lovely – as were nicky’s great cakes- yum!
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Here is our Easter Tree- much to the disgust of Stokie Bloke- who thinks its a bunch of twigs! We decorated the wooden egg templates last year and the birds were from our wedding I think.
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Last of all some Easter Bunny Chains for our mantelpiece. O made daisy’s and eggs, while I did these. It’s been a very wet indoorsy Easter and these came from a rainy day book we found.
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Sunday, 8 April 2012

Mostly Victorians

It’s been a busy old time recently so as usual the blog gets neglected a bit. The garden is growing, the allotment still needs a huge amount of work and what with birthday parties and school stuff for Easter, it’s been rush rush rush. We’re back from holiday now so expect a few catch up posts!
Firstly O has been doing Victorians at school. This is her first foray into to history and we have been hugely enjoying watching Horrible Histories on CBBC. The songs are really genius. I am partial to British Things sung by Queen Victoria! O had a school assembly where they sang Food Glorious Food from Oliver! and she had a few lines to say which went well. We also had a session making a Victorian house and a visit to Revelly Lodge in Bushey which was really good.
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The Lodge is part of Bushey Museum and I must have driven past it loads of times but as it is unmarked had no idea what it was. The kids dressed up and had a Victorian lesson, tea and did the laundry with the aid of some very willing volunteers.
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Of course the garden is sprouting – literally and up to last thursday we had weeks of glorious sunshine and no rain at all. Now its rained a bit because its the Easter Hols and the temp has dropped massively and ironically we have a hosepipe ban already. I foresee many trips with the watering can… The Sprouting Brocoli is finally ready and very yummy,especially in a cheesy gratin style.
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Making stuff next time and also the River Cottage Update!