a busy domestic blog of knitting, sewing and all kinds of needlecrafts, cooking my garden produce and preserving it

Saturday, 31 October 2009

personalised bedding

My daughter had a set a cotton summer weight sheets with fairies but we couldn't find a similar set in flannel or brushed cotton for winter so I ended up buying plain sheets and embroidering them myself.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Last Christmas - 1

it's that time of year when one begins to think of Christmas and all the present buying that comes with it. instead of just dashing out to the shops on a spending frenzy, we decided to make some things ourselves - mainly for our younger daughter. I'm not going to post any of this year's ideas; instead I'll put up those from last year.

this daughter is into anything "horsey" and all her magazines are full of horse- related things to buy as presents but we were looking for something a little special and hit on this idea of a pony mobile. the ponies are mainly made out of MDF offcuts from other projects as they are only about 2"(5cm) nose to tail; they're all cut to the same template, a fairly basic pony silhouette and painted in pastel pinks and lilacs (from tester sized pots) to co-ordinate with our daughter's room; they're suspended from pink crossbars with fairly heavy pink knitting cotton (again oddments of leftovers) and the purple felt saddles hide the point at which the cotton is glued to the pony. ALL of the materials for this project were leftovers from something else, which must make it one of the most environmentally friendly presents my daughter received last year.

more of last year's Christmas presents to follow

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Lace making

several years ago I was given a lace-making kit complete with bobbins and polystyrene cushion. since then I've acquired lots more bobbins and another cushion, this one made of horsehair. unfortunately, it seems that no matter how many bobbins I have, the patterns require more!
a small bookmark made by my daughter, then aged 9

edging for a mat

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

finished at last.

I have AT LAST finished my current piece of knitting. I had the impression that this would have been an easy knit but the number of different colours in the stripes and a troublesome 54 row pattern repeat slowed everything down a lot - always stopping to find the next yarn, joining bits in, cutting yarns off - not difficult stitches but just slow and tedious. the pattern is from Rowan magazine No 41 and was intended to be knitted in Summer Tweed but I was looking for a pattern to use up a lot of oddments of Shilasdair yarn left over from Di Gilpin knitting kits - although mainly aran weight pure wool they give a similar tension so it was possible to change the yarn. I think it's turned out well, now for something a little quicker.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

using what you've got -green tomatoes and pasta

have been clearing out tomato plants at my parents and came home with nearly 4lb of green tomatoes. MOST of these have been turned into chutney but i was checking out other things to do with under-ripe tomatoes and thought I would try cooking them in some way for lunch. the problem with the recipes I found was that they seemed to finish with the addition of lots of double cream - this isn't something I wanted to do as I was looking for something low-fat. So this is what I came up with; put a slug of olive oil in a saucepan, add 8oz chopped green tomatoes and let them start to sweat. add a small chopped up onion and a crushed clove of garlic. while these are cooking put sufficient pasta in a separate pan and cook (ours was intended as lunch so only 4oz dry pasta for 2; adjust the amount to suit). cook the tomatoes for about 5 mins, they'll lose their bright green colour and turn khaki, then add a couple of slices of ham, either chopped up or cut into ribbons, and continue cooking till the pasta is nearly ready. drain the pasta and return to its pan. add the tomato mix to it and stir in 3 to 4 tablespoons of low-fat cheese spread. stir everything together and allow the cheese to melt slightly and coat the pasta.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

jam again and chutney

turned the last of the rhubarb into jam with ginger and some candied orange peel.
having a glut of cucumber at the moment so have boiled some up with tomatoes to make chutney - think I may have over-done the chillies a bit though, it is very hot.
have made apple,lemon and ginger marmalade with windfall apples before they rot.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

jam making again

seem to have been busy lately with the jam pan . have been given lots of fruit by various people - plums, damsons and windfall apples, so I now have 6 jars each of plum, damson and a mixed one using apples and redcurrants and raspberries from the freezer, plus 2 bottles of damson sauce.