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

Sunday, 31 October 2010


I'm married to an accident prone person.  Over the years he's broken his arm; had numerous sprained ankles; broken his nose; dented his forehead (that was a scary one); broken a toe playing basket ball; trapped his fingers in a folding chair; electrocuted himself several times; cut himself more times than I can remember with knives; fallen through a window; cut two fingers badly with a hedge trimmer; had a hot bulb from a over-bed light fall onto his chest and burn him; dropped a spanner on his big toe nail and had it go sceptic; been hit in the forehead with a baseball bat someone threw; scalded himself taking a radiator off the wall; cut his head on an overhead pipe; bruised his kidneys when he fell off his motor bike; ruined his uniform when he fell off another motor bike; fell in the bath and broke another toe; had his hand swell up because he didn't know when to stop using his secateurs; had several car accidents.  If some household object can be broken he'll break it, one time he broke a complete dinner service and three sets of wine glasses all in one go.  There are numerous other incidents but I think my brain stops me thinking about all of them for self preservation!!!

On to the present day - Friday he was up a ladder, and of course he has to fall off it and now he has a broken wrist.  Shortly after we were married I happened to mention in front of my MIL that he was accident prone and she said "Oh, he's still accident prone is he".  So I don't really know all the incidents he had in his childhood apart from the one where he broke his two front teeth off.  I've done some reading up on accident proneness but there is no general agreement as to whether some people really are accident prone.  Personally I think accident prone people are just not careful and have never learned from their accidents.  As the wife of such a person I am constantly on edge wondering what is going to happen next. I try to watch him as much as possible to make sure he is safe but unfortunately I can't follow him around all the time.  Can you imagine my level of anxiety living with such a person.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Tea's Ready!!!

That's a lot of sandwiches!!!  Well there are two men to feed.

I think the Bakewell Tart looks a bit overdone, still, never mind.

 Hope that Parkin isn't too dry.  The Cinnamon & Lemon tarts look ok though

These cups don't get used very often

Monday, 25 October 2010

Afternoon Tea

I've planned an afternoon tea for Wednesday

Selection of Sandwiches

Prawn in Sweet Chili Mayonnaise
Egg Mayonnaise with Cress
Ham and Cream Cheese with Pickle

Home Made Cakes and Pastries

Cinnamon and Lemon Tarts with berries and cream
Yorkshire Parkin
Bakewell Tart

To drink there will be Yorkshire Tea or a glass of wine

So, that's the menu sorted out.  I'll make the Parkin today as it needs to mature a bit.  Then I'll make the Bakewell Tart and the Cinnamon and Lemon Tarts on Wednesday morning so that the pastry is still nice and crisp when we eat it.  The sandwiches are straight forward enough, I'll do those in the afternoon.

I love planning these teas and searching out sandwich filling recipes.  This time the fillings are quite straightforward but if you have a favourite let me know.

When we stopped off in Newbury recently we had tea and cake at a small tea room near Victoria Park.  At first I was a bit dubious about this place as it is in the corner of a car park and there were a few tables and chairs outside that really are in the car park!  However, the tea was delicious, a proper cup of tea, and the cakes were lovely home made ones.  Also, they used proper china, and they had decorated inside and out with vintage teacups, teapots etc.  Altogether a tea room worth a visit. 

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Piccalilli and Cake

I've tried shop bought Piccalilli and didn't like it but after talking to someone recently I had to have a go at making it.  It was so easy to make and tastes incredible, nothing like the shop bought stuff.  There was a little bit left over after I'd bottled it so I had bread, cheese and piccalilli for my lunch, the taste was definitely piccalilli but totally different to the shop bought, not milder exactly, but more flavourful.  All I put into mine was pickling onions, cauliflower and courgette.  The pickling onions were a bit big so next time I think I'll buy a jar of silverskin onions to add to it.  I didn't want to make a huge amount so only did about 270g of veg, this made one jar.  I had wanted to make two jars so that I could give my son one but, as I'd never made it before, I misjudged the veg quantity.
Here's my recipe for one jar.

270g of prepared veg, diced (veg of your choice plus cauliflower)

Layer the veg in a bowl with salt overnight, then rinse and drain.

A bit more than 1g turmeric
2g dry mustard
Good pinch of ground ginger
175ml white vinegar
25g sugar
Approx 6g plain flour

Mix the plain flour with a drop of the vinegar and set aside.  Put the spices and sugar in a saucepan and add the vinegar a little at a time, stirring well.  Add the prepared veg to the pan and heat slowly until boiling, stirring occasionally, make sure the sugar dissolves.  Simmer until the veg are cooked but still crisp but not hard (up to 5 minutes).  Add the blended flour, stirring all the time, until boiling.  Keep stirring and boil for 2 or 3 minutes.  Pour the piccalilli into your prepared jars and immediately put the lid on.

Nutella Cake
Here's a close up of the Nutella cake, you can see the Nutella has sunk to the bottom, which it shouldn't.  This is the second go at this cake and both times the Nutella sank to the bottom.  I don't know why!  This is the recipe I use
It is also in the recipe book I have and the picture shows that the Nutella is evenly distributed throughout the cake.  Where am I going wrong?  But who cares, it's a delicious cake anyway!!!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Bournemouth Trip

I was in Bournemouth from Monday to Friday last week. We both had a lovely time, no driving, no cooking and no deciding where we should visit. The coach was comfortable and the driver was very capable, he sense of humour was not very politically correct though! It reminded me of how certain men used to be, very suggestive on occasion but by the end of the trip I think he realised it wasn't very appreciated.
The hotel looked very nice and the food was excellent, freshly cooked every day and not 'boil-in-the-bag' type meals. My bed was incredibly lumpy and I had to sleep on the duvet because of this. All in all I think the hotel was very good apart from that bed!
On the way down we had to divert from the intended route because of an accident so we stopped off in Newbury for our comfort break. We were there with plenty of time to do a bit of sight seeing. I was glad of this because we lived near Newbury years ago so did a bit of nostalgic wandering around. We visited the park that we used to take Colin to when he was 2 years old (he's forty now). The next trip we did was to Salisbury. This is a lovely town and worth visiting.  Wednesday was a free day and we were lucky enough to have sunny weather so we had a walk around Bournemouth.  Thursday was a trip to Burley in the New Forest.  Burley was very disappointing but the drive through the forest was lovely.  Then it was on to Lyndhurst, the church here is where Alice of Alice in Wonderland fame is buried.  Friday morning we visited Winchester and as well as the cathedral we saw the house that Jane Austin lived in before she died.  Also, I was born in Winchester!
I did try to make a slide show of my pictures but unfortunately Microsoft have removed the programme from Windows 7 that I used to use and I had to download a different programme from them.  I have made the above album but the captions didn't come up with the pictures.  I'll have to practise a bit more with the programme and see if I can do it.

I just went to check out the above photo album and if you click on the slideshow tab it does show the captions on the photos.  Also noticed I missed the end off Winchester a couple of time and they come up as Winchest - damn!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sewing Kit

Even though I expect to be quite busy during out trip to Bournemouth, with lots of trips out and walks on the beach, I still have to take a bit of something for those odd moments when there might be nothing to do.  So, I've made up a kit to take with me....
It all fits nicely into the box I decorated a couple of months ago.  Some people take cross-stitch, some take crochet or knitting.  Up until I came across this paper piecing patchwork I didn't have anything that I found really suitable as a take-along project.  And of course I couldn't take my sewing machine with me could I!!!  These hexagons take minimal concentration to assemble and you really can't get them wrong, so there will be no unpicking of mistakes.  As I sat cutting out the card shapes this morning I had an interesting thought, a kit of ready cut out shapes would make a lovely give-away.  I haven't done a give-away for quite some time now, due to circumstances this year, so look out for a give-away in the next few weeks.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Stitching Corner

I spend quite a bit of time sitting here in my kitchen.
You can just about make out all the hexagons I've been producing, there are more than a hundred now, It'll be some time before there are enough to make into a quilt!  The cushion you can see on the chair is one I bought to use on our patio set, not that we've used that very much this last couple of years.  The chair itself has quite a hard seat and I was getting a bit uncomfortable on the posterior, I could just see me explaining to the doctor why I had pressure sores there!  So I thought this cushion would give me a bit of relief.

As well as stitching the hexagons to the card shapes I've been busy getting together the clothes I will need for our upcoming trip to Bournemouth.  After years of self-catering it feels a bit strange to be going to a hotel and I thought I'd better search out some of my decent clothes.  I've got a red jumper and cardigan (£12 for the two at the Sainsbury's 25% off sale) and a red check skirt to go with it.  I haven't worn the skirt for years, I think I've only ever worn it a couple of times, if that.  To travel I've decided on trousers, tee shirt and blouse, got to wear a tee shirt under the blouse, I might get cold, you never know with our weather these days.  Then for trips out during the stay, another pair of trousers, tee shirt, blouse and cardigan.  The trip is only for five days so I think that will be enough apart from underwear and night shirt of course.  That's one advantage of being older, I don't feel so obliged to be so obsessed with looking fashionable.  I'm also taking flat shoes to wear with the skirt, I would never have worn a skirt without wearing heels when I was younger, now I just can't wear them, I go for comfort.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


The internet has always fascinated me.  I even did an Open University course on the history of it.  It's through the internet that I've 'met' a lot of very interesting and inspirational people.  Often these people come and go for different reasons but isn't that the same in 'real' life anyway.  You all know how I join in with swaps and one particular hand-stitching group I'm in has them regularly.  Here are pictures of two swap packages I've received recently.
This one is an ongoing Secret Sister Swap.  Each month for five months we send a package to our Secret Sister.  They are not supposed to know who we are but being an international group it's a bit difficult to hide our identity!  Above is what my Secret Sister sent for the August package.  She sent more than she should have I think, not that I'm complaining.  The book you see is fabulous, I'm constantly referring to it for ideas.

This package is for the Christmas swap.  We had to send each other things that we could use to make Christmas items.  As usual there were lots of extras included.
It's fun to receive these packages, I wonder if the postmen everywhere wonder why certain people are now receiving regular packages from all over the world. 

Friday, 1 October 2010


I enjoy doing patchwork and have made several cushion covers, a couple of small throws, two single bed quilts and probably other things that I can't think of just now.  Anyway, I've made all these things on my sewing machine because I thought that the paper-pieced quilts that are all hand stitched would be beyond me.  That is until I decided to have a go at some paper-pieced hexagons.  I can't believe how much I'm enjoying doing this, it's the perfect project to take with me when I'm away from home.  Minimum concentration is needed so I can still join in with what is going on around me.  I made this little pincushion to start me off
I knew that in one of the many boxes in my craft room there were some strips of fabric I'd cut out for a log cabin quilt.  I'd got a bit over enthusiastic when I cut these strips and had loads left over.  These have come in perfectly for me to try a bigger hexagon project.  I cut them up, printed some more hexagon shapes, a bit bigger this time, and now have a lovely project on the go.  I don't know what size of quilt I'll end up with but I'm enjoying the process.

First steps in the process, cut out hexagon shapes in card, cut out fabric (I used my rotary cutter and cut the shape as you can see in the picture), tack fabric to the card, trim the fabric to neaten.  I found it easier to cut the fabric this way, I would have found cutting the fabric into hexagon shapes to start with a bit too aggravating.  Someone did ask me if the card would make a mess of the quilt when it is washed!!!  But of course you remove the tacking and take out the card shapes when the pieces are all sewn together.

This shows what the shapes will look like when put together.  Apparently this pattern is called Grandmother's Flower Garden.