Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Winter Routines

One of my favourite Winter routines is Marmalade Making. I have had several less than successful attempts in the past and this year I invested in a lovely big maslin pan (Jam pan). I followed Delias recipe to the letter.

Weighing, chopping......

Simmering, boiling, testing and re-testing....
 I ended up with a seven jars of really delicious Seville marmalade - slightly on the sticky side but much improved on last years! I love seasonal routines. They are so comforting and homely. Such a pleasure to stay in and make marmalade when is cold, wet and and there are gale force winds outside.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Chitting Potatoes

So it's begun. The seed potatoes have arrived and been diligently put in egg boxes to start the chitting process. Three types of potatoes to be precise. Earlies, second earlies and main. It's a strange sight but fills me with hope and wonderful thoughts of things to come.
 Alongside the potatoes sits my lovely new heated propagator. Not sure if it'll do the trick yet but I guess I'll find out soon enough.
It's been a week of receiving parcels of the practical nature. No perfume, jewelery or clothes for this gal - a lovely new saw to finish pruning the thicker raspberry canes and packets and packets of seeds.

 Yes all my allotment seeds arrived at once in one scrumptious package.

The last photo is a collection of seeds I've been given or have acquired with the numerous magazines I keep buying!

They all look oh so promising but fill me with more than a little trepidation as each one has such specific requirements they are going to take some organizing! The only things left to be delivered are my currant trees and my onion sets.  I can't believe this is really happening. I feel that I am living in a little dream. I don't care that the path to my allotment is so muddy that I nearly lose a welly every time I attempt it. I don't care that I haven't really got the first clue about what I'm doing. It doesn't even matter to me if everyone I know thinks I am completely mad. I am loving every minute of it! :))) If we have dreadful weather all year and nothing grows I still think it'll be worth it - just for this wonderful feeling. I knew I would love it but to be honest I didn't realize how much.

Monday, 3 February 2014

The blackbird

At last someone's opened up a lovely little Tea and Coffee Shop right round the corner from where I live. It is everything you could want from a Tea shop. Quaint, pretty, full of comfy sofas and blankets, original fire place and lots of choice in tea and cake! Even the book shelves are stacked with craft and gardening books. I absolutely love it and shall be frequenting it regularly on my day off instead of my usual Cafe Neros visit. I'm even thinking of trying to gather some people together to start a knit and natter there. It would be a perfect venue - I wish you could join me!

My favourite spot

Very creative and friendly staff

Yummy cakes

Little chairs and toys for little people

A nice selection of loose teas

A window seat or....

A comfy place to bring a friend and do a little spot of knitting!

Speaking of knitting, on my needles at the moment are next years Christmas presents! Don't groan. It's just that as some of you already know, I love knitting whilst watching Larkrise to Candleford when its rotten weather. When the weather changes I like to be out and about or sewing instead so I'm making the most of these long wintery months. I can't show you exactly what I'm knitting because I don't want to spoil any surprises but I can give you a sneaky peak. They are all very cheery colours and the pattern is lovely and relaxing now I've got used to it!

At the Seaside Stitchers group I go to on Mon nights we had a talk about couching. (For anyone not into embroidery this is using stitch to anchor down yarn, wool, or other materials to fabric and is very versatile) I have done some before but it was a very inspiring evening. Some people in the group had done some amazing work and I borrowed a lovely book called Stitch Magic by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. So as soon as I get some spare time I'm going to try some more couching onto felt. I'll let you know how it goes.

I hope you have some little crafty project on the go and are enjoying it as much as I am. x

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