Friday, August 29, 2014

A Bit Of Creative Therapy

Nearly two weeks ago my lovely mother-in-law arrived for a two month stay from South Africa. We get on really well, both of us mad about X-Stitch, quilting, sewing, knitting etc. So needless to say I have been spending less time here and more time enjoying her company and getting in lots of stitching.

I've finished a little autumn stitchery which I just love. Now I'm trying to decide if I should frame it, turn it into a cushion or do something more elaborate. The Twisted Stitcher has lots of ideas on how to finish off your stitching. With autumn just around the corner this little piece of stitching would make a great addition to my autumnal decor.

This little fellow came in the latest publication of The World Of Cross Stitch as a free kit. He has two siblings that are needing stitching too. He is going to grace the front of a Christmas card this year. I have decided to make all my own cards and have also commissioned a few cards from my girls in exchange for buying them the card magazines and kits ;) So far I have four lovely cards in my Christmas card stash.

And a recent purchase to add to my fabric stash...

Lots of lovely oranges. I love this little spider fabric - the only kind of spider I like actually ;)
Miss V-L and I are busy making up some cute Trick or Treat bags for our shop. She is terribly creative and has designed some super applique designs. We are still busy sewing them up but I will be sure to post some pics as soon as we have the first few made up. 

Have a lovely Friday all, mine is filled with more stitching, sewing and and afternoon visit from a lovely friend - lots of tea, chatting and jam tarts ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hints of Autumn

It always amazes me how the seasons in England just suddenly arrive! In South Africa it's all very gradual, sometimes it seems you simply jump from summer into winter - at least that's how it works in the Cape where we are from. 

But here you notice each little change and it's always right on time. About a week ago I began to notice a little hint of yellow here and there.

The trees that line our street are yellowing by the day.

7 days later and the yellow's have deepened and it is evident that autumn is on her way - right on time too. Monday marks the beginning of meteorological autumn, the autumnal equinox comes later on in the month, this year it falls on September 23rd. But for me, autumn has began. I see little hints just about everywhere.

Some leaves are already fluttering to the ground.
I think what makes it feel even more autumnal is the gathering of blackberry's and apples. I have been keeping an eye out for blackberry's in the park nearby, but I think everyone else has the same idea because the only berry's we found were way at the back of the bramble, and the brambles have some fierce thorns. My darling husband mentioned that he had seen some lovely fat juicy berry's in the church yard when we dropped the girls off for bell ringing, so on Saturday we armed ourselves with plastic containers and long sleeves and headed off to relieve those brambles of their fruit :)

I was like a kid in the candy store! So many berry's, so many brambles - where to start! 

On Monday we visited a friend who's apple tree is heavy with fruit, I commissioned DH to pick a few as I have processed all mine into apple crumbles and sauces already. These apples will go perfectly with the blackberry's and make a delicious jam!

And so today...

...was spent making Bramble Apple Jam :)

It's dead easy, here's my recipe:

500 g Blackberries
500 g Apples - Chopped
100 ml water
1 kg jamming sugar
15 ml lemon juice

Put the fruit, lemon juice and water in a heave based pot and simmer until the fruit is soft. Add the sugar and melt slowly. Boil for 10 minutes and test for setting point. Boil for an extra 5 minutes if setting point has not been reached, Pour into sterilised jars and label :)

I also made a batch of rusks. These are a South Africanism. They are hard, crunchy biscuits that are wonderful for dunking in your coffee. You cannot buy them here in England unless you pay exorbitant prices at one of the South African food stores. I prefer to just make my own - I don't do it often as they require plenty of hours drying time in the oven and they are usually gone within a few days of making them! 

They are a much loved food in my home and needless to say my family think I rock this week lol. 

Anyhoo - this is turning into a bit of a rambling post so I'll wrap it up now. I'll be back soon to show you a little stitching that I've been doing and enjoying during this past week.

So until then...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

It's Been A Rough Week...

... on Tuesday we had to put our beloved kitty to sleep.

She's been sick since June. After 6 weeks of antibiotics and 2 of steroids, she was no better. The vet said it was kinder to put her down as all avenues had been explored with little result. My heart broke and I sobbed in the middle of the pet store while my husband held her in his arms while they administered the medication.

As the week has worn on, of course you begin to feel better, a bit more accepting. I've spent a bit of time in my garden which offers a bit of peaceful reflection time.

In life's sadder times it is good to acknowledge all the small things that bring a bit of joy into your day, don't you think?

Yesterday I made my first sale! I was so excited :) so today I spent a bit of time wrapping up my customers purchase - all pretty, because I like pretty and because I would love to receive something I bought in a little package like this :)

Washi tape is wonderful stuff! I used a bit on this label and then decorated the postal envelope with it so it all matches. I hope that my customer is delighted when she gets her purchase.

And today - the first apple fell from the tree ...

Miss J-L spotted it. 'Mom! An apple just fell from the tree!'

I've been meaning to go and pick them so that I can make lots of apple pies and crumbles for the freezer - but for this week at least, it's been the last thing on my mind. Today's falling apple kind of kicked me into action.

I hauled out the step ladder and plucked most of the apples off the branches. I see that the birds have found some of them already so I am glad that I harvested them all today. Over the weekend I'll be baking up a storm I'm sure!

Another little happy moment...

a new family organiser for 2015. I spotted this cute little Beatrix Potter organiser and fell in love with it. I knew that this is exactly what I wanted to look at each day all of next year :)

There is plenty of space to record all of the families movements and appointments, and lots of cute prettiness!

I love the carrots that Peter Rabbit is eating - kind of reminds me of the carrots I pulled up today!

I'm so happy with my carrots this year! It's the first time I've manged to grow long, straight, decent looking carrots. Growing bags is the secret for me!

Anyhoo - I must be off, I have a chicken pie to make for supper tonight. Enjoy the rest of your week, hope to see you back here very soon.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pottering About

 Well the weather has been cooler around here this week. Ex-hurricane Bertha tore through England over the weekend and in the early part of the week. Fortunately we were not too badly affected, the only casualty was our rickety old bird feeder and my sweet-peas.

We soon put it all to rights :)

The cooler weather has got me into the autumn spirit a little early this year. Although there are no physical changes in our world, in my heart I am planning some autumnal themed stitching projects and have been pinning all sorts of inspirational things on my Embroidery and Cross Stitch Pinterest board.

Speaking of Cross Stitch, I have finally finished my kitten in a teacup piece...

To be honest the actual stitching was finished months ago, but it was all that back stitching that put me off and caused me to ignore it for most of this year. I'm a bit cross at myself though - foolishly (and I KNOW not to do this but did anyway) I left the Aida in the embroidery hoop. The result is a stain - which I cannot get out - where the hoop was.

Fortunately the hoop did not cross the stitching and actually had the whole piece well framed, so after a quick hunt of Pinterest I found a great tutorial to set it into a circular fabric frame which will cover the mark completely. I was initially going to make this into a scatter cushion for the conservatory, but then considered - at hubby's suggestion - to rather frame it. But now my blunder with the hoop has pretty much forced me to go back to my original plan.

A quick share on another great quick and easy homeschool lunch idea I came across - Pita Pizza. Take a few pita pockets, spoon on your favorite pizza base, top with whatever rocks your boat, sprinkle with cheese and pop into the oven. Deeee-lish!

And looky here... I pulled up two carrots yesterday to see how they are getting on and was THRILLED to see them long and straight. First time I have ever been able to accomplish that! The secret? Growing them in growing bags. Lots of space to grow straight with no stones or clay soil to cause them to grow into one another or distort. Now obviously they are not quite ready - but we are getting there :)

Today I hope to spend a bit of time in the veggie patch and will update the Garden Diary's soon. It's all looking rather bare at the moment - but more on that later ;)

Have a super Thursday all.