Sunday, 28 August 2016

August Abundance

The harvesting continues.
It is a job and a half to keep up.
The weather was a bit iffy today so I decided to set to and deal with it all....
(after a pretty good boot fair at the Robin Hood.)

On Saturday we made a trip to the garden to collect.
There were plenty of visitors around waiting to go on the fairy trail with Anne.
It was hot.

The damson crop is good, but it`s hard to reach them without a ladder.

We also picked the rest of the Katy apples which are now wrapped in newspaper in the garden room.

Inside the polytunnel the blight-ridden tomatoes are having a second flush and the growth 
looks quite healthy.
Tagetes continues to flower.
One tomato weighed in at 14 ounces.
The stray morning glory continues to surprise us at each visit.

The watermelons are swelling.

At home today, I have made plum jam and damson jam.....
.....frozen bags of tomatoes.....
.......made up soup packs of mixed veggies.....
......and frozen some plums for crumbles.
After dealing with about 12lbs of produce, I turn around to find even more.

I feel some more chutneys and sauces coming on.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Memory Bears and Blankets

So many babies in our family and so many opportunities to make them unique memorable items.
I should say that I am not blowing my own trumpet when I use the word "unique," it`s just that these items are truly one-offs.

When memory bears were first discussed in our family, I didn`t feel confident enough to actually make one and the purpose of this blog entry is to reassure people that it is not as hard
 as one would think.

When I saw one that had been made for my nephew Frazer, I thought, I can do that.
So here we go....

1. You will need about 4 to 5 babygros with contrasting patterns or colours.
2. Cut out all usable pieces.
3. Use iron-on vilene for each piece.....better to do this on the ironing board with the teddy pattern at hand and cut out as you go along. Remember to reverse pieces. I made that mistake once or twice.
To help myself I laid all the pieces out in a symmetrical pattern to make sure I had it right
(Here are the pieces ready to sew.)
4. I used a loose but narrower zigzag stitch on my machine.
5. Stuff the was tempting to stuff firmly but I made the body looser to make it cuddly and kept the limbs firm as I wanted to make moveable arms and legs.
One hint for the pads at the bottom of the feet....
I tacked round the separate pieces before sewing together....this helped to hold the shape.
6. Sew pieces together. use strong thread for attaching arms and legs to body. 
7. I did use buttons for the eyes. Some people may think this is not a good idea for babies 
so take note.
8. could be an embroidered name or a label.

And here is Fletcher with his teddy.

And now for memory blankets.

1. Save up babygros with special might be the one they wore home from hospital or the one granny gave her new grandchild. You would need about 10 to 15.
2. Cut out all usable pieces and do not throw away anything especially labels.
(This is a pile of left-overs)
3. Piece them together with prominent patterns/pictures in the centre. For contrast I did one light horizontal strip and one dark. Try to keep the horizontal lines the same height which will make sewing a lot easier.
(at the top and bottom there is one strip of smaller pieces)
4. Sew vertical pieces on each strip then sew the strips together using a very loose zigzag stitch on your machine. 
At this point you can personalise the blanket with names....
 ......or special words.....

......these two were actual patches but you can add smaller pictures.
Iron them onto iron-on vilene, cut out and tack on by hand before using a loose zigzag stitch round the edge.
 Use your imagination with the left-overs.
 5. Press gently
(The fabric is very soft and does not need any wadding.)
6. Pin the quilt to a fleecy blanket at every join and round the edges.
 I try to find half price baby blankets in Boots or Tescos.
7. Instead of sewing along the joins, I did a few strong stitches at each crossing point.
8. Trim the backing blanket.
9. Zigzag loosely round the edge with your machine.
10. Put bias strip round the edge....first side with machine and second side by hand, as it is much easier to ease in the fabric stretchiness that way.
 Here is Fletcher with his blanket.

My next blanket is well under way with a bear to follow and that will be for little Henry
A most rewarding project....
....and of course the babygros are particularly bright at the moment.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Fairy Story 2

Today we have had our second Fairy Day and it was lovely.
The weather held, though it was a bit breezier than last time and 
everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
I certainly did.

This time we had a face painter called Claire.....a very nice young lady.
I had my face done. I would have posted a picture but too many wrinkles up close!!!

Tracey from the Little Vintage Tea Box showed me how to fold and tie the forties style headscarf and I liked the look. Still wearing it.

 The Little Vintage Tea Box has been busy this summer.
Last weekend Tracey did Abigail and George`s wedding....what a perfect addition to the celebrations.
But you have to get in with the bookings....
see contact below.
Lovely teas and cakes as always.

This time, I did one stint as the story teller, taking groups round the trail. Anne did the rest. I really enjoyed it.....creeping past the sleeping troll under the bridge and visiting Fairy Hollow.
Lots of very well-behaved children, thoroughly enthralled by the magic.
Anne brought us tea on a tray to keep us going, all the way from the garden.
I walked back up the trail with two friends who want to bring their grandchildren. All busy today.
They loved it all and can`t wait for the next one.

In the garden some children wrote messages and drew pictures for the fairies.
They were left in the treasure chest.

Inside the tiny yurt were seats and fairy books and fairy dressing up clothes.

And some children enjoyed making fairy gardens.

It was lovely to see children running through the garden in fancy dress, waving magic wands and searching for stone ladybirds and bees.

Further along Paula was there to help them make fairy crowns....there were some magical creations.
And brilliant to see dads and uncles getting stuck in with the glitter and sequins.

And to the grandma accompanying her grandaughter....
....I hope she says yes to something soon.
I thought you were wonderfully patient.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Blight Plight

We have blight in the polytunnel!!!
 The tomatoes are suffering.
The crop will not be so good as once hoped.
We have removed almost all the leaves and these will have to be burned.
In the autumn we will have to dig out all the affected soil....that doesn`t fill me with much joy. 
We have picked some of the green tomatoes and Steve has made green tomato sauce.

The crinkly ones are delicious in salads as they seem to absorb oil and cider vinegar.
Luckily cucumbers, melons and peppers are not affected.

Much as we love butterflies at Freshwinds, we do not like their off-spring.
And we don`t quite know what is causing this devastation.
But looking on the bright side.....

.......great crop of runner beans......
 ......there are some sweetcorn left for us.......
 ......the melons are fattening up.....

.......even the Aldi watermelons.

There is loads to bring home.
And I remain positive when I go home laden with bunches of colourful dahlias and statice.
Gardening is always 
"swings and roundabouts"
"some you win and some you lose."