Thursday, 23 June 2011

Something different

With this chilly weather I've had the urge to do more baking than normal.  Fortunately I have a house full of willing eaters!

Wanting to re-stock the larder shelves with jam, I thought I'd set to and make some slightly different jams from the usual fruit ones.

The first was Lavender jelly.  I've always been put off making jellies as I can't be bothered with jelly bags and the like.  This one was more of an infusion, whereby you put the lavender flowers in a muslin bag and let it simmer in the liquid.  I've also never used powdered pectin before but obviously in this case I had to use it.

I was alarmed by the lumpy mess initially but that soon dispersed.

The result - a lovely fragrant jelly with the scent being stronger than the taste.  I might infuse it for longer next time.

As I was on a roll and with my new best friend, the powdered pectin I sourced a recipe for some Rose Petal Jam.  This recipe required you to blitz the rose petals and add them to the other ingredients so you actually get the texture and taste of the petals.

I wasn't initially sure about this as I was concerned about having a mouth full of petals, but actually it works really, really well.  The fragrance is lovely and the taste is just right.  Blitzing them really helped.

All in all, a great success.  Next time I'll do bigger quantities.

Onto something completely different - I repainted the downstairs toilet the other day and had a wall which needed filling, I've filled it with these swallows.

I'd seen something similar in the Berry Red catalogue and was drawn to the pastel colours on offer.  Always on a mission to see if I can get something cheaper, I found my ones on Ebay, so was mighty pleased.

I guess they're a modern take on the flying ducks!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

It does what it says on the tin (or quilt)

The weather's on a bit of a crash course at the moment - we're due for a day of wet weather and I think Sunday will be the only respite we get.  Lots of indoor stuff this weekend I think!

A couple of weeks ago I was on a mission to make a quilt (a simple one).  Not wanting to spend a lot on supplies, I turned to what I had in my workroom.

Cerise pink fabric was left over from a cushion and other things I had made.

Candy stripe sheet was from a vintage fair.

Floral sheets were from a charity shop.

The size was very much determined by the floral sheet as I decided that I would use that as the reverse.  So actually the size is only really a double.

I did have to but some lovely wadding to go between the 2 layers, but I needed some anyway so the remaining will be used for other projects.

I completed it last week, just prior to our trip to London, and I love it.  To coin a phrase 'it does what it says on the tin'.  It's fulfilled exactly what I wanted it to.  Re-using fabric and sheets.

(An iron's required I think)

Right, onto planning the next project!

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Either end of the spectrum

Thanks for all your birthday wishes and comments regarding my finger, normal service is now resumed and it's now fully functional!

As you know we went to London this weekend.  We stayed just over Westminster Bridge in a hotel we're familiar with.  Hubby had phoned ahead to say it was my birthday and un be known to us we were given an upgrade to a suite with a fantastic view of the London Eye and a slight view of Big Ben!!!  We couldn't believe it.  There was also a card with a bottle of wine waiting for us when we got in!  Copies of Vogue and Homes and Gardens were laid out along with lots of other goodies.

It was lovely to come back after 8 hours of walking and sit with a glass of wine watching the London Eye go round.

The boys were in their element as they got goodie bags with pretend money which they could exchange for treats at the hotel.

We did pack an awful lot in and walked for miles.  We did use the tube a few times but due to underground works and the Trooping of the Colour it was packed so tried to avoid it where possible.

Lots of sightseeing, free museums aquarium, a touch and feel walk round Liberty's was lovely and full of opulence.  I did spend some of my birthday money in there which I'll show you on another post.

The Queen was having an air display at 1pm on Saturday which we were fortunate enough to see in full glory - in fact, it was Toby's highlight of the weekend!

Once emerging from a tube station later in the afternoon, I thought I saw what was a naked body on a bicycle - turned to hubby to say.....only to find more and more naked bodies riding bikes.  This was full on stark naked - men, women, old and young all riding through the streets of London...........Some had protected their modesty but most were obviously very keen to let the wind whistle through!  There were even men on roller blades gliding through letting everything dangle..... 

I believe they were trying to raise awareness of how vulnerable cyclists feel when riding through London.  You wouldn't catch me doing it though!

People were lining the streets in amazement, but you'd be surprised how many people were taking photo's......I won't be gracing you with any as I didn't take 1 single one.

We did quickly dart into the National Gallery for culture of a different kind!

All in all a great weekend.

PS - Sorry my photo's are a bit random - I either forgot to take photo's or it was just too busy to click away.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Things to love and disasters......

Loving the glorious flowers in the garden at the moment, despite the fact it's been so dry up to now, the flowers, in particular roses seem to be flourishing.

Loving my vintage perpetual calender which I picked up for hardly any money. When you see something you've been wanting for long time and for such little money - you almost think it's too good to be true, but this one was perfect.  We tested the date, month and day and they worked!

Loving the colour of these scales.  It is a bit of a faff lining everything up first but I'll get used to them.

Onto disasters - I saw a great recipe for Strawberry Fudge - and so so easy.  Gave it a go - the smell was heavenly.  As I was stirring it whilst boiling I noticed it was rather runny and wasn't getting to the right consistency.  Had a look at the ingredient list again - I had put in too many strawberries and not enough evaporated milk (in theory 1 should have cancelled the other out as the liquid in the strawberries should have made up for the milk) but obviously the milk acts as a thickener (I assume).

This is the result - it tastes wonderful, looks like sludge and requires scooping out.......there's always next time!

My second disaster wasn't actually as bad as I had thought.  All for exercise and de-stressing etc etc, I've been getting on my bike and doing a 30 minute cycle a few times a week. Yesterday was no different to any other day, but on my return home I noticed that my finger had turned purple and it was very painful.  Thinking I might have cut the circulation off I started waving it around.  No joy.  I did cut the same finger with pair of scissors on Sunday so my immediate thoughts turned to gangrene (yes I worry in extremes!).

I trotted off to Boots to ask the pharmacist what they thought. She immediately said I had burst a blood vessel in my finger.  It will be painful but not life threatening (she read my mind).  What a plank eh? 

I won't show you a picture of it as it's pretty yucky.

Thank heavens we're off to London this weekend.  It's my birthday on Monday so we thought it would be a nice break to spend it in London.  I'll report back next week!

Have a great weekend.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Just Because.......

Not one normally for fancy picnic baskets, I spotted a very pretty one in a magazine a while ago.  The fabric inside looked very Libertyish but at £50 it wasn't something I really wanted to consider, so completely dismissed it.

A couple of weeks ago, I spied the same one (which actually comes from BHS) for half price and free delivery - well, the opportunity was too good to miss and it was calling out to me!

Being pink and floral was definitely attractive.

I'm anticipating putting it to good use this summer during all the warm weekends we'll have (she hopes).  Only for 2 people though, so our usual picnic ware will have to be used for the boys, not that they will care though, as long as they're fed and watered.

Long live the English summer!

I hope everyone is enjoying the half term, I'll catch up next week with lots of other bits and bobs.

Have a good weekend!

PS - Sorry if my comments have been far and few between - I've had real problems with Blogger in not letting me sign in and leave comments - bah humbug.....