Monday, 30 August 2010

The Season is changing

There was a definite nip in the air today, despite it being quite bright and sunny. DH said, 'you've decided summer is over' as I washed down the paddling pool and packed it away. He may have a point, although he was the one splitting logs for kindling!! So it looks like we are set to hunker down for the autumn. We brambled on Saturday and just in time too as the last jar of last year's jam got finished today. Luckily I had made a whole new batch on Saturday, with a new Blackberry and Apple Jam recipe that I had found, which should keep us going for another year - can't wait to try it out on some hot buttered toast. DH went foraging for mushrooms today and came back with a basket full, although I am not sure whether we will be brave enough to eat them. He did spend hours pouring over his mushroom book on his return and we are pretty certain they are OK . . . ! So with two days left of the summer holidays before Flopsy Bunny starts school I'm trying to remember how we filled our 6 weeks. It seemed such a long time to fill at the beginning, but as with most of life, it whizzed past really quickly. I must say that I am looking forward to having some structure in our lives again, although a little worried about the 8.50am deadline for Thursday morning!! Must set my alarm clock . . .

Waking up to mists this morning had DH reciting this poem and I thought you might like it to:

Ode to Autumn by John Keats
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A Wet Wednesday

It's been raining ALL day. We haven't had a day like this for months. After scurrying home at lunch time, and despite the weather, we had a really lovely afternoon. Little Roo slept, Flopsy Bunny was crafty (sorry about the photo but I took it with my phone - am still really bereft about my camera :( ) and I sewed. Two hours of sewing - what bliss! Especially as I had worked out how to sort out my mitered corners on the project I'm working on - which is coming together nicely and hopefully will be finished by the time I get my camera back. Then Little Roo woke up and we made Chocolate Raisin Jumbles. Then suddenly the rain didn't matter, with a hot cup of tea and a chocolate raisin jumble what could be better? Then DH phoned and asked if I had lit the fire yet - a roaring log fire - now that would make a perfect end to a perfectly miserable day!!!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Sewing in Love

I'm doing some very special sewing at the moment. I can't quite believe that this baby girl will be going to school for the first time in a week and a half's time!!! Where did all that time go? How did she get sooo grown up? I know I haven't missed anything, I've been there with her all the time but somehow living life day to day I can't pin point exactly when all these subtle changes, which happen gradually over time, have happened. And now I have a big girl, going to big school and it seems so strange because I know that she is ready for this next step, but I'm now just wondering if I am!

So each night I am sitting with her new school uniform in my lap sewing in her name tapes and thinking about all the things she will learn, the challenges she will face, the fun she will have and the upset too and I'm just wishing her strength, courage and confidence for this big step. She is so excited and I am too and I can't wait to hear all her tales of school although I have a sneaky suspicion that all I'll get is 'oh we didn't do anything today'!!

Good luck my gorgeous, lovely Flopsy Bunny girl x

Thursday, 19 August 2010

A month of cat photos . . .!

I must apologise, in advance, for what is going to be A LOT of photos of our cat over the coming weeks and maybe some other animals thrown in for good measure . . . ! But my wonderful camera has been sent away to remove it's dark splodge or 'fleck of dust on the sensor' as it was diagnosed in the shop. Anyway I'm without the wherewithall to take photos - so old ones will just have to do.

This doesn't mean that there isn't any crafting going on, which there is!
I'll keep you updated on what I've been up to and hopefully I will have lots of things to show you when my camera is back in action. In the meantime here is my cat Saffy looking a bit peeved at the extreme closeup and for being disturbed from her sleep!!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Digging for treasure

I never realised that growing vegetables could be sooo much fun but I'm definitely hooked on potatoes. DH's dad gave us some seed potatoes earlier this year. We dutifully chited them, planted them and watered them. DH built a rather impressive deer guard around our veggie patch in the hope of keeping the deer away, stopping these bean thiefs and flower munchers from having their wicked way! Then we just waited and watched. The plants grew, flowered and died back and then we waited again - not sure why but didn't want to go in too early and we still weren't convinced we would find any potatoes - but we did!!! We spent an exciting hour yesterday morning spotting potatoes as I carefully turned the soil over - it was so exciting!! Just like digging for buried treasure. I think I've got them all and we will be munching on our new potatoes for supper this week.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Lavender blue

We have three large lavender bushes outside our front door and every year I promise myself that I will pick some to dry. In fact I did do that one year but my mother-in-law pointed out that I had picked the lavender too late which threw me as I didn't know that there was a right time! So I have scouted around on the internet and found this fab site which tells you all you need to know about drying lavender - well I hope so! So it being a dry day today, which is essential as it cuts down on the drying time, I have just popped out to pick those stems that still have flowers on them. Again picking in the early evening means that you are picking the flowers at their driest and I will be bundling them up and putting them in paper bags and tucking them up in my airing cupboard later tonight! Check back in a month and hopefully I will have some lavender bags to show you!!

PS I'm sorry about the dark splodge on this photo my camera seems to have developed a rash! Hopefully it will be curable.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The beginnings of a new project

I can't quite believe that it was almost a year ago that I posted about this pile of fabric that I had just bought; and there it has patiently sat - except for the top two red ones which I made into Nellie! - until now! The time is right, or rather I suddenly felt that time was slipping away and that if I didn't get started on this project, which is something for Flopsy Bunny, she would be too old for it and wouldn't be interested in what I had made!!

So I have made a start and I have learnt something about myself. That if I don't start something it can sit on a To Do list for a very long time but as soon as I make a start it suddenly becomes more present and more difficult to put to one side and generally I just get on with what I've been planning to make, however slowly it takes. Having said that I've just remembered a top that just needs it's zip putting in!!! So it was funny to read Simple Mom's post Perfection: the thief of "good enough" and think 'that's me!' as part of why I've put this particular project off is that I want to make a good job of it, but it is something that I'm designing myself so I'm worried that it won't turn out as well as the vision I have in my head! Anyway, I have thrown caution to the wind and started to think who is this really for, me or Flopsy Bunny? As she won't care that my design isn't quite perfect enough!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Hapazome Flowers

So way back in, oh probably, April this year I caught an episode of Alys Fowler's 'The Edible Gardener'. I'm not sure why I only saw one of them as it was brilliant and hopefully a second series will come out and I will be able to watch them all. Anyway, the programme was about her garden, gardening, cooking things from her garden and then she demonstrated how to do Hapazome. It was so simple and effective I just knew I had to have a go - so here's my attempt!

First you need to pick some flowers and then lay them on some muslin, pressing them down slightly. I put the muslin on some card with a thick chopping board underneath. Then you cover the flowers with the other half of the muslin folded over. Then the fun bit begins - you hammer the flowers!! Yes I know it sounds wierd but it does seem to work. The pressure from the hammer forces the dye from the flowers onto the fabric, and you get something like this:

Each side of the fabric has a slightly different effect as the pressure from the hammer is different but it is quite lovely. I tried a few other different types of flowers and fabric. So above we have geraniums and petunia's on Muslin. I also did crocosmia on white cotton and sweat peas too!
So once the fabric is dry you need to iron the surface to lock the colour in and then all you need to do is make something with it!! I'm not sure how colour fast the dye will be so probably best to make something that won't get wet! Little lavender bags maybe?