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

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Messy day in the kitchen..

Today's been a damp miserable sort of day so I raided the freezer and got out some of last year's soft fruit for jam-making - a mix of blackberries, raspberries and redcurrants. At this point I got a bit carried away and got too much out. I should have realised this when, after boiling up and sieving, the pulp measured 7 pints.
Now, my jam-pan is quite large but as the pulp and sugar boiled together, I heard a whoosh sound followed by the splutter that comes as liquid dribbles on to the gas flames - the jam was over-flowing the pan!!
I had to let everything cool down so I could mop the hot pulp up - from the sides of the pan, the top of the cooker, drips down the front of cupboards and oddly some on my feet. 
Then I started again, heating it a little more cautiously and watching it like a hawk.
End result - 9 jars of gleaming mixed berry jam! 

Next time I'll make a smaller quantity. I certainly didn't save time or effort by making so much at once.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Marmalade and fizz

 It's been a busy, lemon-scented sort of day in the kitchen - making rhubarb and lemon marmalade (again!!)

 and another couple of bottles of elderflower fizz. I now need to find some more nice clean bottles before the elderflowers finish flowering.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

An emergency project - clutch bag large enough to carry shoes!

 It was Teen's Prom this week and we thought everything was organised - the frock... the bag.... the shoe... a spare pair of flats for tired feet ...  that wouldn't fit in the clutch bag! And she discovered this the night before!

I wasn't in the mood to spend all day chasing round town for a bag that we  might not find, so rummaged through the material stash and discovered this nice black brocade from an old skirt belonging to my elder daughter and some stiffer suiting material to line it.

 It was a little flimsy so I lined all sections with heavy interfacing - and the flap with a piece of plastic! Pelmet stiffener might have been better but I was working with what I had.

 The bottom was made long and wide enough to take the shoes  - and a camera, phone and make-up. Then pleated onto a narrower band.

I didn't actually get as far as putting a fastener on because I ran out of time - finishing the hand sewing just at the last minute!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Not a useful day's sewing

  With a day of peace and quiet stretching ahead of me, when no one else would be demanding to use the dining table, I decided to get back to making clothes.
The cunning plan was to take an old stretchy top and recreate it out of an old thin cotton skirt.

Things started fine - drawing round the top and cutting out a pattern.
When I fastened the sides and shoulders together and tried it on, I discovered a problem. Perhaps obviously the cotton material wasn't stretchy so the new top appeared tighter than the old one but more importantly I seem to have cut it a lot shorter!
I'm now trying to think of a clever way to rescue it - add a contrasting hem, maybe?