Wednesday, 30 March 2011

fabrics, books and a teapot

I treated myself to a few things today.

First, I got these fabrics all out of the remnant box and the zips were reduced to less than half price!

Don't you just love these birds? I'm thinking I might cut them out and appliqué them on to something. Don't know what yet but I'm sure I'll think of something!

I also got some books. These 2 were bundled together - again for less than half price.

This one was full price but I couldn't resist it.

There are lots of things inside it that I think I might have a go at - one day. :o)

I saw this teapot and decided to get it for myself for Mother's Day! I *love* it!

And finally, here's what I made today.

The centre circle isn't dead centre but, you know what, I don't care. It's just so bright and cheery - it makes me happy to look at it. I think it might sit very well under my new teapot! :oD

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

from this . . . to this . . . again

Marmalade takes longer to make than jam so the oranges I dug out of the freezer at the weekend . . . (that's ice not mould!)

. . . didn't get made up into marmalade until yesterday:

Here's the recipe:

My Granny's Marmalade - makes about 4lb marmalade

8oz (3) Seville oranges
1 lemon
½ sweet orange
3lb sugar

Cut all the oranges and lemons into ¼" slices and remove the pips into a bowl. Place the sliced fruit into a food processor and whirl until finely chopped.

Place this mixture into a jam pan and add 6 cups of cold water. Cover the pan and leave to stand for 24 hours.

Add ¾ cup of cold water to the bowl with the pips. Cover with cling film and leave to stand for 24 hours.

Making the marmalade
Drain the pips through a muslin cloth into the fruit mixture. Tie the muslin into a bag leaving enough string to hang it on the handle of the jam pan with the bag in the fruit mixture.

Boil very slowly for 45 minutes.

Add the sugar and boil hard for another 25 to 30 minutes until the temperature reaches "jam" on a sugar thermometer.

Skim any froth off the top and place in a saucer. (In Scotland we call this "skimmings" and is very popular on toast!) Put the marmalade into clean and warm jars (put them in the oven for about 10 minutes), cover with a wax disc and then cover with either a lid or a cellophane disc and rubber band.

from the sewing room window - 29 March

And I zoomed in on the man at work! :oD

Saturday, 26 March 2011

from this . . . to this

I dug around in the freezer this morning and pulled out the last of the rasps and strawbs from last year.

The strawberries:

turned into jam.

And the rasps:

turned into sorbet.

We had some of the jam on homemade bread at teatime - delish - and we had some of the sorbet as a pudding. Oh my goodness, it's soooooo good. I don't think it will see Monday! LOL

Must remember to move our clocks forward tonight. British Summertime starts tomorrow! Yay!!!!!!

Monday, 21 March 2011

5 minute bread

I'd been seeing blog posts about 5 minute bread all over the place and decided to investigate it.

I found the book on amazon and sent for it lickety split.

It arrived on Friday and I sat and read all I needed to read, went out and got the ingredients (I didn't have the right type of flour) and set to getting it all started.

You mix water, yeast, salt and flour in a 5 litre plastic box and stir it all together. No kneading involved. Yay!

I forgot to take a photo when I first got it all mixed but this was what it looked like after it had sat for a few hours at room temperature. It has approximately tripled in size!

And this was what the yeasty mixture looked like.

The instructions suggested that, for the first time of making, you should leave it in the fridge overnight so, always being one who does what she's told - and if you believe that, you'll believe anything LOL - I did that.

On Saturday morning, I dug into the box and pulled out a lump of the dough and vaguely shaped it into a blob. The dough's really sticky and so it didn't shape too easily but I reckoned it didn't really matter what it looked like as long as it tasted good.

I let it come to itself for 40 minutes - it didn't rise, it just got rid of the coldness from the fridge - then baked it in the oven for 30 minutes.

Believe me, it tastes as good as it looks!

We had it again on Sunday for lunch and there's still enough left in the fridge for either one slightly bigger loaf or maybe 2 smaller ones. The mix is meant to keep in the fridge for 2 weeks but there's no way it'll last that long - because it'll be eaten long before then.

I'm really glad I got sucked in to this latest craze. The bread really is delish!!

from the sewing room window - 21 March

As you can see, Douglas managed to get back to the trees today. Even though it was really windy, he was up that ladder with a saw! What a nutcase!

When I took the photo, he was fiddling around with his iPhone probably looking for some podcast to listen to. Like I said above - nutcase! :oD

Thursday, 17 March 2011

iPhone case - mark 1

Douglas gave Jo one of his old iPhones and she asked me if I'd make a cover for it. I looked through a couple of my crochet books convinced that I'd seen an iPhone cover in one of them. I had but the one I found was knitted, not crocheted.

It was in this book which I had got on a bargain table somewhere.

I can't remember where I got it but I think I only paid £5 for it. Definitely a bargain!!

I looked at the pattern and it called for Regia Sock yarn. I couldn't believe my eyes because I have some of that. I bought it at least 5 years ago. I did start to make socks with it but 4 ply yarn and myself were only ever friends when I knitted on the knitting machine so it quickly got ripped out and the wool was left languishing at the bottom of the crate.

Well no more! I dug it out, dusted it off - yes, really - and started knitting. It was actually fun to knit because it was only 21 stitches wide so the rows were done really quickly and the colours are fab.

I got it knitted yesterday afternoon and sewed it up, crocheted around the top to give it a firmer edge and sewed a wee navy toggle on it this afternoon. (The pattern calls for the case to be lined but I didn't do that - lazy and all that! LOL)

Here's the front:

And the back:

And the most important thing - Jo loves it! Yay! :o)

Now my brain is thinking, why not cast on 42 stitches on 4 pins and knit the case like a sock? Then I wouldn't have to join it up the edges and the pattern would work out in fewer stripes. Mmmmmm. I might just have to try it and see what happens. After all, I'm inheriting the other (even older) iPhone from Douglas so I'll need a cover too! :oD

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

from the sewing room window - 15 March

The snow we got on Saturday disappeared around lunchtime. Thankfully! Since then it has rained and rained and rained so no more branches have been cut off the trees at the back and no more work on the hut has been done.

You can even see how wet and muddy the ground is in the photo I took today. Yuck!

Maybe spring will spring before the next sewing room window photo - but I won't hold my breath!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

from the sewing room window - extra - 12 March

Spring has sprung? Someone forgot to tell the weather! This is what we had this morning! Yuck!!

Friday, 11 March 2011

mitred corners

This post isn't meant to be a tutorial for how to make mitred corners - it's meant as a reminder to me how I did it. Just in case I forget!

I had searched on various blogs and watched several videos on how to make mitred corners and people would post/say stuff like "this makes the most beautiful mitred corners ever". Oh yeah? Not when I tried it! (And why would you use black fabric and black thread to demonstrate anything? It doesn't show up in your photos/videos! :oP)

Anyway, I decided to try and figure it out myself and, in the words of a favourite fairy tale of the girls when they were wee - "so she did!".

Here are the photos I took as I tried my method. As I said, they're a reminder to me but, if they're any use to anyone else out there, all the better. At least I didn't use black fabric! LOL

Sew to ¼" of the corner, do a few reverse stitches and fasten off.

Fold binding over so that the bottom edge of it is in line with the next edge waiting to be bound. The fold should be a 45º angle.

Fold the binding back on itself so that the fold is in line with the edge you've just bound.

Stitch from that folded edge (which is right on the edge) to ¼" from the next corner and repeat the same process.

When you turn your binding to the back, this is what the front corner will look like. (Ignore the towel in the background - it's waiting to be turned into some cloths.)

On the back, pin the binding down and make as neat a mitre as possible on the back. I found, if I held a pin right in the corner, it helped make the mitre nice and tidy.

The pinned mitre on the back.

Stitch the binding down with tiny stitches. (As usual, there's a stray thread!)

And the top side.

Not bad for a first attempt. I've since done another couple of these coasters and the corners on those are a good bit tidier than the ones shown here. But, all in all, I'm really pleased that I figured it out.

Now I've got something to remind me how I did it. But what if I don't remember that I blogged about it? :oD

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

from the sewing room window - 8 March

Douglas has done some cutting back of the trees along the back wall - still has more to do there. He's also in the process of building a new hut at the back of the garage. It's not visible yet although you can see its roof sitting on top of the garage roof. You can also see quite clearly the patch of sawdust on the grass where he was doing some cutting!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

mat, daffies and real porridge

I was playing around yesterday with some strips and made this mat.

It's not big enough for a placemat or thick enough to use as a coaster unless the surface you put it on can take the heat of a mug. Douglas did point out that it's the same size as his iPad but I can't see him using it as a cover for the iPad cover! LOL

Anyway, I had fun making it, used up a few strips, learned to quilt as I go, used a fancy sewing stitch on my sewing machine and made a mess of the mitres on the corners. (No need to look for those, I unpicked the binding and made them square corners like I usually do. I am determined to learn the "easy" way of doing mitred corners though so, hopefully, the next mat will have those on it.)

I bought this bunch of daffies last Tuesday for £1. I love daffies! (Shame about the parsley plant!)

In my efforts to photograph all my recipes, I decided to take a photo of my porridge this morning.

This is "proper" porridge like my Grandad used to make. When we stayed with them, I always made sure I was up early enough to help my Grandad make the porridge. I'm sure it's because of what he taught me that I've never made porridge any other way.

Porridge - the "proper stuff"

1 of oatmeal
2 of cold water
3 of hot water
pinch of salt

For one person, I use a 1/3 cup measurement so I use 1/3 cup of oatmeal, 2/3 cup of cold water and 1 cup of hot water.

Put the oatmeal, salt and cold water in a pan and stir until smooth. Mix in the hot water and stir well. Bring to the boil and boil for 6 to 7 minutes stirring often so no lumps form.

Serve topped with oatmeal and with the milk in a separate wee bowl. This is so the porridge stays thick and dry and doesn't go all mushy. If you like your porridge mushy, feel free to put the milk in the same dish.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

some happy things

Joanna made some scones on Saturday evening so she brought some along to us for snack on Sunday. She brought skooshy cream and I provided the strawberry jam. Oh my, they were delicious!

Douglas made me a shelf for my salt & pepper sets. I call it my happy shelf because you can't help but smile when you look at it. I've told him I'd like another shelf above it as there's no room for any more sets and there's no way I'm not buying/getting more! :oD

And today I dug out this basket, put a cover inside it -

- and filled it with my wool. I love it!