Friday, 29 January 2010

Look what the postie bought.....

Phew, end of another week eh? - How was the week for you?  As you know I had such good intentions - finish my blanket, cushion using the hankies - they didn't materialise.  The only thing I did complete was the marmalade which tastes absolutely delicious.  It's a little runny - I still haven't mastered the setting point yet, but heh.

After having a slightly 'glum' week, I was mighty glad when the postie knocked at the door - that means there's goodies, and yes I was in for a treat - my Sarah Raven seed catalogue arrived and what a feast for the eyes.  Lots of heavenly seeds to deliberate about.

Next, was a stash of new wool.  After reading Tabiboo's post the other day I had the urge to buy some wool - especially as it was in the sale.  My plan is to save it for if  when I learn how to crochet.

Last but by no means least was this fantastic book which I have had my eye on - Cabbages and Roses Guide to Natural Housekeeping. 'Live a Calmer, Healthier Life Recycle and Reuse, Clean Naturally, Garden Organically'.  I can't wait to spend some time this weekend having a good read.  I'll share some extracts of it with you next week.

Have a fantastic weekend whatever you're doing - we're off roller skating with some friends.  Well, the boys and men are, my friend and I might sit, gossip and have coffee! 

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

A plan in action

Today is the day for putting my plan's into action, starting with Seville Orange Marmalade.  I haven't made marmalade for a number of years due to various factors but the primary one being the lack of seville oranges in the supermarkets, but good old Tesco's had some in stock so marmalade making is my mission.

Not one to faf around, I hate all the peeling, cutting and juicing of all the oranges, but I'm sure the end result will be worth it (one hopes!).  I've halved the quantities to make it easier.

Next on the list are hankies, children's hankies.  Whilst flicking through a book at the weekend, I spotted some children's (cafe style) curtains made from hankies.  Great idea I thought, but I figured I could use the hankies to make yet another cushion.  I'm not sure how I'm going to do it but it can't be any worse than the wretched towel trim I did last week - remember?

The possibilities are endless with hankies and something I'd never even given any thought to before -especially the children's ones. 

I've almost completed my little knitted blanket.  I think my tension went wrong as sewing up some of the squares was a challenge, but heck, it adds character!!  I'll show you when it's completed.

So that's that, oh and I better get some work done inbetween that and school runs, em forgot about those..

I'll let you know how everything turns out.


Saturday, 23 January 2010

Jelly on a plate and jam

I had an urge earlier this week to make up some jelly, I don't know why, and I haven't had it for years, but it does evoke childhood memories of jelly at parties and for special treats.  I also remember eating it in it's 'raw' state - did anyone else do that?

Jelly at parties always used to be on plates or bowls in those traditional jelly like shapes.  Oh how I loved it.  Alongside that was the infamous blancmange - remember - love it or hate it I think - I fell into the later category.

Anyway I made some using some tinned fruit too and set it in some teacups which I thought looked quite sweet.

Whilst I was on the domestic goddess front, I decided to make some jam - now here's a thrifty tip......I had some frozen berries in the freezer which needed using up (they were a £1), 50p's worth of sugar and water.  I eventually ended up with 3 jars of jam (son no 1 has already tucked into it!).

Based on the average cost of ajar, I reckon I saved £3.  Now, I'm not normally one to bake, cook or jam make to save money, I do it because I enjoy it.  Nevertheless I thought it was an interesting exercise, and it just goes to show that at this time of year when berries are rather expensive, you can still make jam using frozen fruit, which is comparitively cheaper and feel quite satisfied that through the remaining winter you've got some lovely homemade jam to enjoy.

Right, I'm off now to continue with my domestic goddess duties.  Toodle-pip!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

It would have to be one of those days....

We all get them, and yesterday was my day for one of those.  I'll blame it on having snow for 3 consecutive Wednesday's

My plan was to get work bits and bobs sorted, then add some pretty fabric edging to a plain white towel - sounds simple huh?  Not to be - I originally thought (as per the Quilting in No Time), note 'No Time' I would do 2 triangles - sew them together to make a square, and follow that sequence along the edge of the towel.

The sewing machine decided to throw a wobble, doing it by hand didn't work so I scrapped the triangles and the alternative was to do strips, then add ric-rac.  Got the ruler (believe it or not I have problems drawing straight lines even with rulers) and of course couldn't even get that right.  I thought I was a reasonably articulate person and can even do my times table, but me and rulers just don't go! By the end of the day and much faffing, I completed it.  Something that could have been straightfoward took far too long for my liking!

In the middle of this I was doing some work and managed to knock my favourite fabric pin cushion smack bang in the middle of an open tin of red paint......aagh.

Lastly, hubby who was working from home managed to spill a cup of tea all over my nicely made table runner - remember that one? Blast Blast and double Blast.

Today will be a far better day, I hope!  Whilst sorting out some bits this morning, I came across 2 cards which I used to have pinned up on my message board - who remembers Malory Towers and The Magic Faraway Tree?  They really had to be my most favourite books of all time.


Monday, 18 January 2010

Things to smile about in January

Hello all!

Phew, thank goodness we can see grass and trees, the roads are finally clear and at 7 degrees it feels positively balmy! I never thought I'd hear myself say that. We went for a walk yesterday and you could (if you tried hard) think that Spring was round the corner. The birds were singing and the sun was shining. It didn't get much better.

I always try and stay positive during January, despite it not being at all a favourite month of mine. I have used the last few days to stop and look at the things which are making me smile and feel good.

These little lanterns came from the Laura Ashley sale and it was one of those purchases I thought I shouldn't have made, but now they are hanging on the fireplace, I'm really quite pleased.

Finished projects - I love completing things - something I don't get a chance to do. Intention is there but other events normally dictate. Having had the same cushion on the same green chair for years, I thought it could do with a change. Being into my patchwork and quilting at the moment, I seized the opportunity and made a new floral cushion. It's not perfect, but I'm more than happy.

Tesco came up top trumps with these plates - very Emma Bridgewater - I snapped up the last 4 which were reduced to £2. I love a bargain.

Last, but by no means least - my copy of Country Living which arrived last week, but I'll save that for a quiet time (hopefully!).

What makes you feel good during dreary January?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Eye candy

Cor, I don't know about you but last week was such a blur (quite literally) with the snow. More is forecast for our part of the country later today/tomorrow.

Despite the cold, dreary weather, I have tried to indulge myself and the house with some prettiness. I'm always keen to buy potted spring bulbs once they arrive in the shops - I can then enjoy them indoors, then subsequently outdoors the following year.

Tulips are a firm flower favourite where I'm concerned and at £2.00 a bunch I wasn't going to grumble!
In the event that I 'may' do some Spring cleaning some time this year (not) - I thought these new Sarah Smith cleaning cloths might inspire me - and if you believe that you'll believe anything! I love the colours and as there are 10 in a pack - I might put some of them to crafting use. Speaking of crafting - I'm still managing to fit in some projects for myself - the latest one is the draught excluder - again, the pattern was from the great Quilting in No Time. This project was by far the easiest and a great way of using some fabrics that aren't quite big enough for other things.
The brilliant thing about it is that you can have the strips as thick or thin as you desire. I've added some lace and pom-pom edging just to make it more interesting. I also added some lavender too. My next project is a patchwork front door curtain. I think that one will be a little more time consuming and will require a lot of patience and thought - neither of which are great attributes of mine....

Keep warm everyone!

Friday, 8 January 2010

If all else fails

do as the poster says.......
Oh yes, I may throw caution to the wind and just go for it today. Our school was reopened today, and whilst I completely agree that the country shouldn't stop because of snow, and that schools' are caught between a rock and a hard place. They'll get criticised no matter what. For the record, I think they should open providing it's safe enough, which I'm sure most of them try to do.

My gripe was the difficulty in getting the boys' to school. It took 30 mins to do just over 2 miles, and I'm astounded at the speed of other cars and how close they drive to the car in front. The road near us doesn't get any sun so driving on it was like driving on an ice-rink (not that I have!). Even the main roads were precarious. My fear is doing the same route again to pick them up at lunch time. Oh well.....

The picture below is certainly a better image compared to what we have to face with when venturing out, don't you think?

Despite the boys' being at home, I've pressed on with work and I'm still managing to squeeze in projects for myself. The latest one is below. I have so many 'old' buttons, threads, needles etc and at the moment, they're hiding in a box. I thought buying a box frame, lining it with some fabric and adding some 'notions' to it is a perfect display. I may do some more, but the Hobby Craft box frame was quite expensive, so an Ikea trip might be due soon!

Enjoy the weekend and whatever further snow we may have!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

What a sight.....

I know most of the country has seen vast amounts of snow, but in our part of the world we haven't seen an awful lot, apart from last night. All day yesterday there were weather warnings that we could get up to 40cm of snow. Not one to be too cynical about weather reports, I worked on the basis that we never get severe weather so, even if we got half of what was predicted, it would be enough. It was.

All schools are closed, no buses and some roads are not even worth venturing down. Yippee said the boys'........and off they've gone to play. We tend to say 'make the most of it, as we don't see it that often'. Not the case now.

Anyway, here's my contributions to the snowy photo's, I'm off to play, not!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Back to the routine

I don't know about anyone else, but what a jolt it was this morning, having to get up early,make pack lunches and then the icy cold drive to school. I even had ice on the inside of my windscreen!

Still, it's a routine which I had to face at some stage, so may as well get on with it! Now I'm back and had my
caffeine fix, I'm kind of ready for the day. The house feels remarkably quiet, and as I have plenty to keep me occupied I can press on in earnest.

Over the Christmas break, I was determined (besides crochet) to do some crafting projects for myself - 2 of which I would like to present to you today! Firstly - anyone who doesn't have this book, should really get it, if you have any spare pennies! I could quite happily do any of the projects listed. Both my projects came from it.
The first is the kitchen curtain. I've done my one with slightly smaller squares and the finished article hangs quite nicely in front of the tumble dryer. It's quite simple - sew your squares together to the right size, hem all the way round, then thread net curtain wire through the top and then hang with eyelets.
The second project was a little more complex, well it actually wasn't too bad except that I hadn't read the instructions properly (that will teach me). I then cut the wadding too short - doh. The sewing machine also started to play up. All of that aside, I think it turned out rather well. Sorry for the wonky photo - I was balancing on a chair!
Here's a close-up As always the photo's don't do the fabrics justice, but you get the the idea. I'm looking forward to getting on with some other projects from the book as the week's go on - in between everything else which will no doubt crop up!

Have a good day - bye for now!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Just a quick note to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Did you all do something fun or did you do what we did? - veg out trying to finish off alcohol and chocolate in order to start 2010 the right way! Unfortunately I couldn't make it to midnight and fell asleep, however we were woken up at 3.45 am with the phone ringing - a text message saying 'I've drunk too much champagne, but looking forward to drinking more in 2010' (or words to that effect). Not sure who it was, but we did see the funny side to it.

I can't believe we are here at the beginning of another year. As much as I feel sad Christmas is over, I do welcome January in as much as I look forward to a new calendar!, getting stuck into new projects, a vase full of flowers once the decorations have been put away, and generally having a good sort out.

Speaking of projects - this one is still on the go - and yes it's for 8+ but it's got to be basic for me to get my head round crochet!

I know I posted about it earlier in 2009, but it got put on the back burner due to work commitments. As a rule I don't make New Year's resolutions as the disappointment of not sustaining them is too great! However, my crochet is one I'm determined to get under my belt - wish me luck. I'll probably be posting about still trying to learn in 2011!

At this time of year, I like getting creative and during the Christmas break started and finished! a couple of projects which I'll share with you next week.

In the meantime, enjoy the start of the year, have a fantastic weekend ready for the onslaught of the routine again next week!