Sewing, stitching, baking, cooking, gardening, shopping and general homemaking.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

All Change

There have been times, for quite a few years now, when I've felt that life is a bit monotonous.  The only things that change are upsetting things.  That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy my life in general, it's just that sometimes I wish for something different to happen, something to look forward to, something nice happening instead of just upsetting things happening.  With this in mind we have decided to give our caravan to my nephew and his wife.  They have two small children and only live and hour and a half away from Heacham, so it will be ideal for them.  It is a bit of a wrench doing this but it is time for us to do something different.

Having the caravan meant that we could have holidays with our dogs.
The beach at Heacham
At the back of the beach there is an area call Heacham Harbour, it is now a nature reserve.

A few pictures taken couple of miles from Heacham at Hunstanton, these are the gardens.

The cliffs

The beach below the cliffs, interesting rock formation 

Pigeons in their natural habitat

So, what are we going to do with ourselves?  For a start we can join in with Graham's family's celebrations.  Usually I can't go because I have to stay at home and dog sit.

Last weekend we went up to Manchester for Graham's cousin's 70th birthday party.
In two weeks we are going on a short break to Bournemouth.  Graham has never been there.  Next year we intend to get several of these short breaks to different places around the UK, something we've never been able to do before.  Today we went out early and visited a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve for a bit of bird watching.  We were there several hours and saw 31 different species of bird that we could identify.
There are lots of things to look forward to now, just hope life doesn't throw one of those horrible things at us for a while!

Monday, 13 September 2010

More Sewing

This apron will be a Christmas present for a friend who loves rag dolls.  There is no pocket on this one so it was even quicker to make than the other ones.  The printed dolls on the fabric wouldn't allow for a pocket because of where they were placed so, rather than fiddle about and get on my own nerves, I decided this one was fine without.

While I was in a sewing mood I decided to make these decorations
They have an overlapping envelope style back so that scented stuff (word won't come to mind) can be put into them, maybe cinnamon or something.  I've made quite a few of these hangie decorations, they are fun to make and add to my hand-made Christmas look that I like.  I expect I'll be making more because the fabric I have has lots of these pictures to the yard.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Some Sewing, Some Stitching

I must be feeling a bit better because I'm getting more things done.  Grief is a horrible feeling, while it's happening I think to myself "It's something to be got through".  At the time I think the feeling will never go away but it does gradually sort of become 'background noise', then I'll have an hour or so of feeling ok.  I hope for a year of nothing horrible happening, the last few years have been one thing after another and it's dragged me down.

Anyway, here are a couple more sewing/stitching projects I finished this last week.  First is a table runner.  I've stockpiled a ton of cotton fabric while I could afford it, then I've panicked, thinking that I'll never use it all but table runners and aprons are perfect for using up some of my stash.  This table runner is another very quick and easy project
Even with my fab new camera I don't think my photography skills have improved!

For years I've wanted to try free-motion machine embroidery and I intend to give it a serious try this week.  Last week I had a timid go at it and came up with these
A needlecase and pincushion, the flower stems on the left are my first small efforts, the stems are done on my machine then I've added french-knots to the stems.  A good simple starter, no use trying to be too ambitious and putting myself off.

I've also got more aprons planned, one is cut out and waiting to be sewn together.  These aprons seem to have taken over from my obsession with making those handy bags.  I'm also wondering about making pillow cases.  The problem I'm having with starting one of these is the idea of having pillow cases that don't match the rest of my bedding, would it look odd do you think?  Would they make nice gifts or would the recipients not use them if they don't match their bed linen?  I'd love to know what you think about this.  I wonder if square pillow cases would be better, that way ordinary cushion pads could be used and the pillows would be more for decoration on the bed.  That might be a better idea don't you think?

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Chutney And Cake

The cherry tomatoes that I grew in a window box did extremely well, much better than the ones in the greenhouse.  Yesterday I harvested all the cherry tomatoes and there where loads.  Some were red and some were still green but I had noticed that they were being eaten and it turned out to be caterpillars.  It looked as if the caterpillars were taking a small meal out of each tomato then moving on to another one so it was time to pick them all before they were all ruined.  Once again I decided to make chutney.  This chutney is beetroot and tomato, I also added a big courgette/small marrow, four cooking apples and two onions as well as mixed spice, salt, ground ginger, brown sugar and wine vinegar.  I vaguely followed the chutney recipe out of my book, the weight of the total veg added up to the weight in the recipe so the spices, sugar and vinegar was the same as in the recipe.
Because I was using cherry tomatoes I couldn't prepare them as I usually do, that is remove all the skins, so, after I'd cut out the wood stem bit I simmered them until soft then liquidized them.  This is a very fruity tasting chutney probably due to the addition of the beetroot.

I mentioned in my last posting that I'd been to the Lowdham Show.  In the tent where the competition entries were on show there was a baking section.  Some of the recipes were included in the show guide booklet.  One cake looked so delicious I had to make it
Pineapple Cake

225g tin crushed pineapple
175g marg
250g soft brown sugar
225g mixed fruit
175g glace cherries, halved
350g SR flour
3 eggs

Melt marg and sugar in a large saucepan, add fruit, cherries and pineapple.  Mix thoroughly then ALLOW TO COOL.  Beat eggs and add to mixture with the flour.  Bake in a deep cake tin approx 21cm at 150C/gas 2 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Computer And Other Stuff

I finally got my new computer tower connected up on Friday.  It took the whole day and I was worn out just watching the engineer fiddling with it.  He was having trouble removing the free trial Office programme and installing my bought version.  Then I couldn't have Outlook Express anymore and he couldn't get Outlook to work.  In the end he had to go home and after I fiddled around myself for a while I downloaded Windows Live Mail so I'm quite happy with that for now.  But - the next day when I switched on I was still having the same problem, the screen was just not showing anything at all, occasionally it sort of flashed, but nothing.  It did come on after a bit of switching on and off and restarting the tower.  That's when I started to think that the problem has been my monitor all along - damn!  Graham is buying me a new monitor today because this morning it took ages for the screen to work.  If I've spent all that money on a new tower and it was the monitor all along I will feel very annoyed!

On Saturday we travelled up to Manchester for a christening that took place on Sunday.  We stayed at a Novotel this time.  It wasn't as good as the Holiday Inn we stayed at recently.  Some areas in the room could have done with a good clean, the teaspoons and shelf for the complimentary drinks was grubby and the tap in the bathroom wasn't clean either, It was one of those latest style of taps that has the handle that sort of swivels and it was a bit mucky in the swivel area when it was turned to the on position.  When these small details are missed it makes me wonder about the cleanliness overall, maybe I'm a bit fussy though.  The breakfast next morning was ok but the plates were cold, the fried eggs hard and the tea cool.  I know I'm being a bit picky and really it was ok for just an overnight stay.

On Saturday afternoon we had a walk along the canal path at Bridgewater canal
The weather was really mild and we had a lovely couple of hours.

The christening on Sunday was lovely, a very nice service and a fab buffet lunch afterwards.

Grace, our great-niece, was very well behaved and slept most of the way through the day.

Last week, while I was without my computer, I was busy making aprons

The link above is to the tutorial, this is a very easy apron to make and I made four altogether and have cut out more - very useful for gifts and, like the one above, for swaps.

Here's a picture of the cooking apples I got off our small tree

This is the most apples we ever had off this tree.  Showing these apples reminded me that the previous weekend we went to Lowdham Show, I only took one picture, the show tent with all the produce was so crowded it was difficult getting any good shots in.  Every time I was just about to take the following picture a woman stuck her hand into the frame - I'm sure she was doing it on purpose!  In the end I had to ask her to move

I took this picture because I thought it was a very clever arrangement.  It contained, potatoes, red onions, jars of preserves and other veg, I loved it.