Thursday, 27 January 2011

more home made jam and Christmas pudding tea cosies!

yes, I have made some more jam, this time rhubarb and raspberry. I grew both fruits and froze them last year. I always have a surfeit of rhubarb each year and never quite knew what to do with it, now I know as the jam is superb, especially on a warm toasted tea cake! This year I intend to do a lot more preserving, making good use of the copper preserving pan I bought and used a lot in France. We had seven plum trees as well as loads of red and white grape vines, strawberries, peach, apple, pear and fig trees!
I have not only been making jam, I have made some Christmas pudding tea cosies! I know, it is far too early to be thinking of Christmas, but I couldn't resist making them! I think it looks really sweet and very easy to make. This cosy is knitted with two different green strands of DK wool knitted together and the white cap is also knitted with two strand of wool knitted together so they are lovely and thick and are very warm. So far I have knitted three different cosies, small in green, medium in two colours of brown and a large cosy in red.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Hedgerow jelly production in January!

In the summer I picked and froze loads of home grown blackcurrants and blackberries, ( well I didn't actually home grow the blackberries but they do border one side of the allotment and I did pick them!), and as we do not have that many desserts I decided to make some jam, well, jelly, actually. I did make some in the summer and it was gorgeous. I haven't made jam/jelly from frozen fruit before but I checked it out on the internet and it seems that you should just add some fruit with pectin like a cooking apple.
It was very easy to make, 1.1kg of mixed fruit, I used blackcurrants and blackberries, 2 apples (chopped, core as well ) 600ml of water and 450g of sugar to 600ml of juice.
Simmer the fruit and water  until fruit is mushy. Strain through a muslin bag into a bowl, preferably overnight. Do not squeeze or the jelly will be cloudy. Add juice and sugar to a preserving pan and bring to a rolling boil for about 5 mins. Test for setting and finally ladle into jars. Voila! Hedgerow jelly. Here is a batch I made earlier!!!
As I also have plenty of rhubarb and raspberries frozen I am going to have a go at making some jam from them. I am sure it will be yummy, I will let you know!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Memories of the Vendee

While I was out walking Missy this morning, I heard a sound that reminded me of the time when Andy and I lived in the Vendee in France. It was the call of three buzzards circling around in a thermal. It was a lovely sight and sound. We often heard and saw the buzzards  because we only lived 100 metres away from Vouvant Forest, it was always a thrill, as it was this morning. I have heard and seen them locally but not that often, hopefully that will change!
I have lots of projects on the go at the moment, it's hard to know which to work on so I have a system which works quite well. First thing in the morning, after I have had my porridge, honey and seeds, with Radio 2 in the background, usually listening to Chris Evans, I knit for about an hour this Aran cabled cushion cover which needs my undivided attention, otherwise I go wrong and spend too much time unpicking it and doing it again.

It is knitted in Sirdar sports aran wool and has a lovely texture. Last year I knitted a larger cushion cover with a different pattern in the same yarn and it knitted up beautifully. Providing all goes well with the cushion cover I intend to make a throw in the same pattern.It will be something that I can have on the go in the background,  something to pick up when I want a change or have nothing else on the go.
Later on in the day I can take myself to my little workroom and work on my sewing projects that require the sewing machine and in the evening I will pick up any knitting I have on the go or my quilting which is hand sewn and I can do whilst watching TV.
I just love the fabrics which are 1930's inspired and I bought the fat quarters online. It is as yet unfinished and I haven't made up my mind yet whether it is going to be a throw or a bed cover. Watch this space!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy New Year

Happy new year to everybody! Last year went by so quickly, especially the last six months as I was so busy making gifts, and also crafts for my online shop.It's surprising how long it takes. If I sold my crafts taking into account the amount of time involved in making them, nobody would buy them because they would be too expensive! Good job I enjoy making them! I ordered  some wool online early last week and would have expected it to arrive by now but disappointingly I am still waiting for it to be delivered. In the meantime I bought some wool locally and made these handwarmers in a tweedy effect 63% wool blend aran fleck. They knitted up so well that  I have just bought some more of the wool to knit a cable hat.
Over Christmas some of my gifts were pompadour bags and I was asked to make one as a birthday gift. I made this in a very pretty Laura Ashley print lined with white poly cotton and wadding.The drawstring channel is made in a pale blue/white polka dot cotton print with a pastel blue ribbon threaded through the brass eyelets. I think these are so pretty and I love making them. I am always so pleased with them when finished because they are always made in lovely fabrics and they look good anywhere. They are so versatile as they can be used for all manner of things like toiletries, hair accessories, make up, babies stuff and so on