Monday, 30 September 2013

Welly shoes

Welly shoes from old boats
This Saturday I treated myself and my son to new wellies. I use them a lot in the garden and find that they break around the ankles thanks to a lot of kneeling and crouching (a big reason why I only buy bargain wellingtons, with the use I put them through a more comfortable but expensive pair would be an utter waste). Rather than bin the old ones I prefer to cut them down to make welly shoes. For the coldest 6 months of the year the grass in my garden will stay wet for most of the day (I put this down to living in the vicinity of a large river, it gets very damp here without necessarily raining). Rather than getting normal shoes soaked I like to use these, they are quicker to pull on than a full welly so are great for quick jobs outside like taking the laundry to the washing line.

You can buy welly shoes, I found some locally for £14. However my new wellies are only £12 and, as these have been made from my old pair, I'm feeling that I've got quite a bargain thanks to my repurposing.

Friday, 27 September 2013


'The Darkest Tulip'
I'm not a huge fan of tulips mainly because in my last garden the squirrels loved them. But last spring, whilst visiting the New Sherborne Castle , I saw a wonderful display of narcissi naturalised within the lawn with the odd pop of colour from a contrasting Tulip. I thought that they looked fantastic.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Plum Chutney recipe

Better than Branston Chutney
I've referred to this recipe in a previous post, what I didn't share was how long it took me to find it again. I had the new blog bookmarked but unfortunately it is now no longer there. So, after much googling and wracking of my memory, I tracked down the original blog and I'm going print off the details for future use. You can find the recipe here, 'Better than Branston' from Contadina's blog.

I found that it did take quite a while to mature but is lovely when left long enough. I don't think that I'll be making any this year though as we are still working our way through the last batch.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Tatty old T shirts

T shirt with horizontal cuts
What do you do with clothes that your children have outgrown? Anything decent I pass on to friends or family and failing that they go to the charity shop. But to be honest, due to the horrific condition that they tend to be in by the time my boys have finished with them, most are only suitable for the compost bin.

Monday, 23 September 2013

What's killing our bees?

We're not very good at watching TV programmes when they are on, virtually everything we see is pre-recorded. One interesting programme that had us all captivated recently was 'Horizon: What's killing our bees?' but because we didn't watch it live it's no longer available on BBC iplayer - sorry! It can currently be found on youtube.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Ukulele bag

Pattern pinned to fabric
For some strange reason, not even known to me, I felt that the ukulele needed a cover. This was actually made a couple of months ago when I had a couple of hours free and fancied creating something different not to mention improve my sewing skills. It is made entirely from scraps including an old, out of shape towel as the liner. I also gave it a long handle to easily carry it around. One would think that I was planning on taking it somewhere!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Cheese festival

Three cheeses, a pot of hot mustard and a packet of nuts.
Our local market town hosts an annual cheese festival. So far we have visited every year that we have lived here. The first time we bought far too much cheese and now make the effort to be a bit more restrained in our choices, you can get a bit fed up with them when the fridge is still full three weeks later!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Autumn is on it's way

This image was taken last week whilst walking through the local wood. I didn't expect it to turn out well as I was using my phone camera. A lucky quirk of fate, this out of focus image epitomises exactly how it felt to be exploring the paths at breakfast time. There was a mist in the air as I walked up to the woods that just started to lift on my way home giving promise to a glorious autumn day.

I love autumn.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Being sociable.

Random image of wood just because I like it!
I am by nature a homebody, I don't like crowds and have no interest in going somewhere just to be part of a crowd. Couple this with being a stay at home mother and you might think that I'm also doing double duty as a hermit. Thankfully my children are far more outgoing, even my youngest is getting there.

Monday, 16 September 2013

My boy is getting older.

My youngest son at 1 week
My youngest has always been an awkward little so and so from the day he was born. It took him years to sleep through the night and he has always been overly sensitive when in a large group of  people. He is comforted by routine and rules though he doesn't like to stick to them. Every time he has hit a milestone I have rejoiced partially due to the twisted journey that it takes to get him there. But he does get there and each time, after the event, I am left wondering just what was I worrying about.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Tarot - choosing a deck

'The fool' from the Shadowscapes tarot. ©Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
There are so many wonderful designs for cards out there it is very hard to choose which one is for me. I already have an old tarot deck knocking around but I've always found it a bit too garish for my tastes. I wanted something that is more visually appealing but, as I discovered, there are a lot of different decks out there.

Thursday, 12 September 2013


We missed carnival this year but it is a tradition that I love. Our local is one of the earliest in the circuit which feels odd to me, as a child I associated it with being tucked up in scarves and hats that had probably been brought out for the first time that year. Here it is more of a late summer event so a light coat will usually suffice.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Plum/Damson Rum

Home made wines
Another recipe I don't want to lose track of.

Plum/damson rum
We use a basic sloe gin recipe substituting the sloe and gin:
1lb fruit to 6oz sugar to 75cl of alcohol
For using sloes many recipes say to prick them with a pin, I prefer to use the freezer technique of letting them burst their skins whilst frozen.

I haven't made any rum yet this year though I have started the sloe gin to get rid of last year's sloes that have been hiding in the bottom of my freezer. It is a firm favourite with our extended family though J and I are not so keen. My mum in particular loves the damson gin that we make and has been known to arm wrestle my sister out of her portion!

This post has been so popular that I have provided more information here: Plum/Damson/Sloe Gin/Rum update

New dishcloths

Yarn for dishcloths, 5.5mm hook
Two of my dishcloths have holes in the middle. Time for a quick and easy craft! I bought this cotton rich yarn on offer a while ago specifically for making new cloths. This style dishcloth works so well and I love them, they also last well until some child (who will remain nameless) cleans a sharp knife with them and slices through the cloth, grrr.

Crocheted dishcloths
I like to make them with a large hook, the one shown is 5.5mm. This produces big holes that are great for scrubbing plates clean. Two years ago I made a pile of these in pretty yarns as gifts for Christmas, they are so easy to make in the winter evenings whilst watching TV. The recipients were somewhat surprised to be getting dishcloths, my mother still refuses to use them properly and has them as pretty heat mats instead.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

What can I say... tomato envy? It makes my collection of cherry toms look quite pitiful. Oh well, maybe next year!

Francis Pryor: in the long run

Preserving plums

I've felt a bit 'bleurgh' this weekend so chose to take things gently. This conveniently tied in with getting on with making more preserves, not particularly hard work but I don't like to leave food alone whilst it's bubbling away.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Plum cordial recipe

A quick post, just to place a recipe somewhere I won't lose it. Plum cordial, recipe from the Norfolk Kitchen

Recipe in brief: 2 kilos of cherry plums simmered with 600ml of water until they fall apart. Strain mixture through a jelly bag for several hours. Measure resulting juice, warm through and add 700g of sugar for every litre (or adjust to taste)

Enjoying life

Nice smelling washing up liquid
Chores are a necessary evil. They have to be done but nobody enjoys doing them in this household. Washing up is the worst for me as it is never ending, as soon as it is complete a cup, spoon or some other utensil will appear ready for it's bath removing the satisfaction of a job well done.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Drawing for fun

An alien?
My youngest son hasn't really been into imaginative play until very recently. So I introduced him to a drawing game. He's loved it and it has sparked off so much inspiration for play. I'm not really sure what is going on in his mind at the moment but it is certainly creative!

Thursday, 5 September 2013


Books on the book shelf
Getting books onto our shelves in the revamped spare/music room has really helped to make it feel like a lived in space. The top shelf has my overly large selection of language learning materials. The second is for 'boring' reference books. The bottom shelf is our large selection of children's non-fiction.

I have tried organising the children's books by category before, this doesn't work as books never get put back where they ought to be. Obvious really to most people with children and I really ought to have been grateful that books were put away at all; I think that it was just my inner librarian trying to break out for a few minutes. This time I opted for the rainbow style of shelf organisation. It makes us smile.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Silly dolls

Naïve doll
The last time my nieces came to stay the youngest really wanted to make a doll. Time was running out so I suggested that she design it and I'ld make it.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

First plum harvest of the year

Plum Harvest
 J got the step ladders out and picked our first haul for the year. These will keep coming now for up to another 6 weeks so I need to be prepared to deal with them. I would rather not leave good food rotting on the ground.

Monday, 2 September 2013

August review, September planning

Last months plan:

Wellbeing: Keep sane and plan days out
Keeping sane wasn't much of an issue this year, it was actually pretty peaceful though I did wonder if I was missing something! We didn't have many days out but the few that we did were remarkably stress free and enjoyed by us all.