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

Tuesday, 22 November 2016


I've been busy recently up-cycling a couple of t-shirts. Both had 'problems' but I didn't want to throw either away.

The first had got snagged on something, and a small hole developed. Now, I'd hate to throw a perfectly good T away just for that, but I couldn't wear it outside the house in such a state - so a little applique was needed.

Oddly when I started to hunt through my accumulated scraps of material, I found not only the perfect shades to 'patch' with but they were already cut in flowers shapes and ironed to Bonda-web! Obviously they were part of an abandoned project - but I can't remember what!

So some quick work with the iron, then a little machine sewing to make sure they stayed in place, and looked more 'flowery', and this favourite has a new lease of life.

The second project was different. I have several t-shirts exactly the same, bought because they were organic cotton, but over the years I'd decided the neck-line was too high for me. I tried experimenting with one - cutting the neck lower but then it gaped too wide and fell off my shoulders! So that didn't really work.
I realised though that I had another t-shirt which was definitely heading off for re-cycling; it had dropped completely out of shape, and just looked like a sack when worn. So with nothing to lose, I cut a strip from the bottom hem of this grey T and sewed it around the baggy neck of the purpley-blue one. It worked!
On a roll, I then decided to take another deeper strip of grey, fold it in half to give a finished hem, and sew it to the bottom. Personally I think it worked really well. It makes the contrasting neck trim look a deliberate design feature, and makes the shirt a little longer which is better with jeans.

In fact, I was so pleased with my efforts, I showed my teen. 
"You know," she said, "I could have loaned you some cash to buy a new top."

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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Oops ... back in October ...

Well, here's an embarrassment - a blog post written in October, but never posted! The jam's probably been eaten by now, and the tomatoes ripened before I made any chutney!

We've had a few days of clearing out things at the allotment - picking apples before they all fall, and collecting tomatoes before cold weather and/or blight takes the plants.

I intend making chutney with the tomatoes but started preserve-making with the apples as some were damaged by insects and birds.

Apples on their own don't make very appealing jam so I hunted out blackberries and raspberries from the freezer to add to them. I always have too many berries to use fresh and the leftovers can end up lost at the bottom of the freezer ... sometimes for years! I could, of course, make plain blackberry or raspberry jam but then I'd either have to put up with the masses of pips, or sieve the pulp.

So not only does mixing apples and berries give a fantastic colour to what would otherwise be a bland-looking jam, but it's also comparatively low in pips unlike jams made solely with berries.