Thursday, 30 June 2011

A patchwork bag, and recipes

A couple of weeks ago I bought some curtains from the charity shop with a lovely old rose pattern.  I fell in love with the fabric but couldn't think what to make with them and then I saw some more curtains at the car boot sale and thought I would make a patchwork bag using them both.  The second pair has  flowers in separate colours so I cut the pieces to just use the blue, pink and white ones.

I started off making the semi circle bit and added the three rectangles above it but it wasn't big enough for what I wanted, so I added another row of three rectangles.  I wanted it tall enough to hold a bottle of water and as you can see below, it does.  I used a duvet cover for the lining.

A few of you asked for the recipes for the blackcurrant cake and loaf from my last post.  The cake recipe is from the June issue of Prima and is actually for a Strawberry cake but any seasonal berries can be used.

Strawberry Cake

150g/5oz self-raising flour
100g/4oz pack of ground almonds
175g/6oz butter
150g/5oz caster sugar
1tsp baking powder
2 eggs
2tbsp milk
400g/14oz punnet of fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
icing sugar to dust

23cm/9in square cake tin, lightly greased and lined with greaseproof paper

Preheat oven to gas mark 4/170 degrees C (150 degrees C in a fan oven).  
Add flour, ground almonds, butter, sugar, baking powder and eggs to mixer bowl of food mixer.
Beat gently for a few minutes till pale and creamy then add milk and beat again briefly till combined.  Fold in strawberries (or whatever berries using) till all incorporated, then spoon into prepared tin.
Level surface of cake, pushing any strawberries down into cake mix.
Put in oven and bake for about 45mins - 1 hour or till golden and cooked through.  Test with a skewer, if it comes out clean the cake is ready.  Leave to cool for 10 minutes then remove from tin and leave to cool completely.
Dust with sieved icing sugar to serve.

The recipe for the loaf is old so the measurements are only in ounces
Cheddar Sunset Loaf

2 eggs, beaten
4oz Double Gloucester cheese, grated
1oz fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 level tsp oregano
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 small onion, chopped
salt and pepper
6oz self-raising flour
2 tomatoes
3oz Cheddar cheese, sliced

Mix together the eggs, Double Gloucester cheese, breadcrumbs, oregano, soy sauce, onion and salt and pepper to taste.  Work in the flour a little at a time to make a soft dough.  Knead well and divide into two pieces.  Place one piece in the base of a buttered 1lb loaf tin.  Skin and slice the tomatoes and place over the dough.  Arrange the cheese slices on the tomatoes and top with the remaining dough.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 40-45 minutes or until firm and golden.
Cool on a wire rack.  Serve sliced with butter.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Blackcurrant cake

We've got a couple of blackcurrant bushes that my daughter brought all the way back from uni on the train a couple of years ago.  She went to a Ribena event where they were giving away pots of blackcurrant bushes and of course she couldn't miss a giveaway.   This year they've done quite well and yesterday I picked some to make a blackcurrant cake.

It was delicious.

I also had a go at a recipe I wrote down years and years ago and have never tried.  It's called Cheddar Sunset Loaf

It's pretty tasty as there's onion in and then sandwiched in the middle is a layer of sliced tomatoes and cheese so it's like a cooked sandwich!  You can have it spread with butter but I didn't bother on my slices.  The only complaint I've got is that when it was sliced the top and bottom came apart but I think that could be remedied.  
(for anyone reading this later, I've put the recipes for these in the next post)

I've had another mysterious plant growing in the garden and it's turned out to be Borage which I'm pleased about as the flowers are so pretty

As I was googling about it I found a recipe for Borage lemonade so I've just quickly made some

Monday, 20 June 2011

Pillowcase dresses

I made a couple of pillowcase dresses yesterday for the Dress a girl around the world charity.
Louise from Sew Scrumptious is collecting 100 dresses to send off to the charity and already has over 50.
The dresses are so easy to make, you only need a pillowcase (or any fabric), elastic, bias binding and thread.  I had plenty of fabric so I made my own bias binding instead of buying some.

I made the blue one bigger than the size of a pillowcase so it would fit an older girl.  In fact I used a duvet cover!  No, it's not that big, I only used a bit of it!

Here they are side by side

Friday, 17 June 2011

All is not lost

We had half a dozen Eucalyptus trees seen off by the bad weather last winter, so a friend came round a few weeks ago with his chain saw to cut them into logs (the remaining twiggy branches were in the trailer in my last post).

When I went back the other day look what I found

I had hoped they might sprout from the the top but I don't think that's going to happen because the trunk really is dead  (the bark's hanging off) but we'll get a few more logs out of them!

Another casualty of the winter was this Bay

Look at it now

Here's a couple of four leafed clovers I found the other day

Too late to ward off a bit of bad luck.  The Bobbing for Apples shop is closing down!  I hadn't even made any sales.  Oh well, easy come, easy go.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Feathered friends

As soon as we parked up this trailer of dead branches a Wood Pigeon seized the opportunity to use the twigs to make a nest.
It didn't take long to build, but I think it is just twigs, no soft lining of feathers or moss

I missed the baby Blue Tits leaving the nest.  One day the parents were still feeding them and when I went out the next afternoon they were gone.  I thought they would be around the willow tree where the parents went all the time or in the hedge but I haven't seen them.
This was taken a couple of days before, when a Blue Tit and a Robin were making a right racket.  I don't know if they were having a face off or if it was just because the cat was there and they were warning everyone!  The sun's shining on the Blue Tit but he's straight opposite the Robin on the far left, you can click on the photo for a better view

Donna kindly asked how Lotto and the hens were (following a fox attack). 
Bree and Octavia are back to normal apart from needing a few more feathers.  Unfortunately Lotto didn't improve, in fact he deteriorated and sadly we had to say goodbye to him last week.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Camera case(s) and a win!

My daughter has got a new camera and has given her old one to me.  It's compact so is ideal for having in my pocket or bag whilst out and about in case of any photo opportunities.  I've made this case for it

"What a great fit" I hear you say, and indeed it is.

Because this was my first attempt
note the camera's inability to get more than a corner inside.  I forgot to add a seam allowance, but the good news is that a mobile fits in very nicely!
I used this tutorial, which is actually for a mobile phone but I used my own (incorrect) measurements.

And now onto my win.
Artfully Caroline had not one, but five giveaways a couple of weeks ago and I was lucky enough to win one of them!
Here are my goodies; a hand made brooch, and 'Blogging for Bliss' by Tara Frey  - watch out, there may be changes round here!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Purple pleasures

After seeing the sun shining beautifully through a purple leaved plant, I thought I would show you the purpleness that is going on in my garden at the moment.
This is Red Orache (but it is purple) and is a vegetable apparently, but I got it as seed from a plant growing in the pavement and grow it just because I like the colour.  I must have a taste sometime.

Three different Geraniums

This next one I found as a single flower stalk in an area of our land which was once used for pigs many, many years ago (not by us) and had long been overgrown (it's where our little woodland is now).  I'd never seen the like of it before and thought it was either very rare or a new discovery!  This was at a time before we had a computer so I decided to ask at the museum if they could find something out about it.  We didn't have a digital camera then and I didn't want to pick it, because no doubt the high ups of the Scientific/Horticultural world would want to come and see it in situ when they found out about it!  :0)  So I drew a (very accurate I must say) picture of it and took it to the museum.
Anyway I got a letter back saying it was actually a bulb native to Greece related to the Grape Hyacinth.  So I didn't get the fame I was hoping for but it was interesting wondering how it could possibly have got here.  
I dug it up and planted it in the garden.  It's multiplied and is now in several areas of the garden.  It's an incredibly bright purple!

It's been flowering for weeks and weeks but always just has the top flowers open as it grows taller.

I've got  short and tall Campanulas which aren't as prolific this year as they have been because I've been moving them about.  Behind the tall one is a purple leaved Hazel bush.

A purple leaved Elder

and just for a change a red Poppy with some orache behind

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Pillow talk

Well, I decided to have a go at making a frilly pinny using the duvet cover from the other day.  I wasn't sure about the size, so I held one of the pillowcases up in front of me to get an idea.  It suddenly struck me that I could just adapt the pillow case by cutting the end off and attaching a waistband and ties.  I also added a pocket with a frill on.  The beauty of using the pillowcase is it's double thickness and as well as a frill it's got ribbon all the way round so looks quite posh.    Because I used the pillowcase on end so to speak, the flowers are going sideways but as my Mum used to say " A blind man on a galloping horse won't notice."   :0)

Of course I've still got all the other frill to use, and another pillowcase.

I've been making a couple of brooches too

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Cheap frills

My mother in law gave me a duvet cover and pillow cases which are very 1980s - peach colours and a pleated frill all the way round the edge!  Any suggestions what I can make using the frill?  This is just a bit from a pillow case

So far I've made a couple of brooches
and I was thinking it might be good for a frilly pinny but I'm not sure.

From the actual fabric I've made a cute little drawstring bag with lace and buttons on

I'm putting one of the brooches in my Folksy shop but guess where the other one is destined for?
The Bobbing for Apples shop!   I called round with some of my wares to see if they might want to stock anything, and the owner liked my brooches.  She said if I take some in she'll see how they go.  

I've also been making some card holders in a variety of colours,  I thought they might make nice presents