Monday, 31 August 2009

fruity sunday

Yesterday we had a loooong day of making things will all that fruit. Neither of us had ever done any of these recipes before, so it was a learning curve for us both but turned out really well. First thing we went and took all the apples off James parents tree. It was literally touching he ground in places, it was so heavy with fruit, we got four 'bags for life' full of eating apples. James had been planning to try brewing cider with this lot, He and a friend built a press last year. we tried pressing the apples, but it just wasn't working well enough. I can assure you, unless you have almost proffessional equipment, this is backbreaking work. So I have a two litre jug of the cloudiest but nicest apple juice in the world to drink. the rest of the apples, we are trying to turn into apple wine, which is easier to do, so I'll fill you in if that works....

Then I set about making plum jam. (warning. large amounts of plums, stain your fingernails. minging) I used the recipe my mum always uses, from Delias original complete cookery collection. I had to test it about 6 times but it finally set, and its flippin gorgeous. I'm totally doing this for my favours next year.

While the plum jam was setting, I started getting the ingredients together for the chutney. This also was from Delia the same book), and used up more plums. Its called Old Dowerhouse Chutney, and again, its shockingly simple. You basically chop and stone everything, pulverise some things in a blender, and then cook it with sugar and vinegar. simples!
It went from this (in the muslin is a chilli):

To this: I'm so pleased with myself!I know that sounds awful but I always have these ideas and dont folow them through, the fruit goes off or whatever. Its like another milestone on my way to being a wife. I can now make chutney. done.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Fruit picker extraordinaire

The last few days we've taken advantage of a tiny bit of sunshine to get some fruit. I brought back apples from my parents, then we went and helped our friends take all the plums (hence some green ones - apparently they can still be used, the wasps were getting them and they were getting blown off the tree) off their tree - they got about 4 more baskets themselves, and it isn't a big tree! Then last night we went out with the same friends to a field beyond their house, and picked blackberries and sloes. A bumper harvest I think you'll agree! We've got ideas of what to do with it all, plum jam/plum chutney (james has ideas of a plum alcohol too), blackberry jam, sloe liqueur, cider/juice, and crumbles galore! If any of the recipes work i'll post them. I'm blaming it on Fay, I wanted to do plum jam as favours anyway, she just showed me how easy it is. So this will be my practice run :S !

Monday, 24 August 2009

Forgotten treasures and goodbyes.

(update - sorry if you got this in your reader 4 times, I've no idea how they work, but I have serious problems working with images in blogger if anyone has any tips please let me know)

... also known mostly as junk I think. As I said before I spent the weekend clearing out my room at my parents so that they don't have to move my stuff with them (subject to contracts, they got the house by the way). I was fairly ruthless, keeping all my art projects right back to gcse level was neither practical nor useful after all, so most of them went, but I still came back with a good amount of stuff in my car. I think Dad gave me a lot of it though, like 4 deckchairs for me to replace the slings on, a piece of blue marble that used to be part of our fireplace when I was little and we might make into a table or something, a cold box full of frozen fruit that we're babysitting for mum, 2 bags of apples from the garden, and a plant. So really only about 2 boxes were mine. It was an interesting couple of days. I didn't actually get upset looking through my stuff, it was seeing the village for the last time, and the people there who have known me since before I was born (mum went to church with her suitcase packed, so that's kind of true). Anyway, Mum refused to get rid of some of my toys and games from my early childhood, so they've started a 'grandchildren collection' to keep at theirs, consisting of these:

Align Leftboard games/toy cars and care bears/puppy and kitty in my pocket

I had a scary amount of puppy in my pocket, a shoebox full of them to be exact. I also brought back this little suitcase, it was my mums when she was at school, that's her timetable inside the lid. Its currently holding some old wooden bowls that we bought a couple of weeks ago at an antiques fair.

This is what I had to say goodbye to:

I know I'm silly, I know its only a place I haven't actually lived in for 7 years, but I'm very sentimental about it. I was born there, christened there, I was in my dads choir there, I went to school there, brownies/guides/rangers there, worked there, and thought I'd marry there. But I'm really looking forward to being able to see my parents for lunch, not having to take time off work and visit for a week, I'm glad they've made this decision themselves to move closer, that it wasn't forced on them by age and distance, and now I've said goodbye I feel better. Also, when I came across the top of the pennines on the A66, saw the sign for Cumbria, and the lake district spread out on the horizon, I actually felt like I was home. One of my friends told me a few weeks ago that home isn't bricks and mortar, its where James and the cats and my parents are, and coming home on Saturday, I started to believe it.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Wedding readings.

We've found a few now that we think resonate with us in some way or another, So I thought I'd post them here. ( I quite wanted 'us two' from winnie the pooh, but James wasn't so up for that.) Heres the ones we like so far:

Why Marriage? by Mari Nichols
Because to the depths of me,
I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body...
Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won't hold them against me,
Who loves me when I'm unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me,
and Who looks for the divine potential of me...
Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold...
Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship...
Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements...
Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole...
Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage...
Because with this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.
Zoroastrianism wedding ceremony
The twain in one are joined today. May their right hands be tied by the bond of love in lasting union, may the mind of one blend with the mind of the other and the heart be in tune with the heart. May the twin spirits be one spirit in joy and sorrow, success and failure, prosperity and adversity. May the two come nearer to each other in good thoughts, good words, and good deeds from day unto day.
May each transmit something good to the other. May each take the best that is in the other, and give something better than the best, May each give in goodness what the other lacks and may they give mutual completion to each other in life.
Locked in the embrace of wedded love, may they live for each other, may they share each others feelings, may they lighten each others load in life, and may they live in the loving fellowship of minds and hearts. May each elevate and embellishing what nature has bestowed on the other. With hearts knitted together, may the two be the world to each other. May each one be life for the other. May he be hers and she be his wholly for all the days of their lives. May each cleave faithfully unto each in body and mind and spirit as the vine that twines its tendrils around the tall tree. May better than the best come unto them.
I really like both of them, although I think that the first one is perhaps a little bit intimate a) for church, and b) for my older relatives? I know that's silly, but I'm the sort of person who squirms in those sorts of situations. The second one I only found the other day, I love it, I'm just worried that as its from another religion perhaps that's a problem? Although it doesn't mention any Deity's or religious laws at all, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he'll think its OK. Anyway, this is all very far in advance still. if i find any more we like, I'll post them up too. We're intending to have one bible reading, and one more secular, by the way, so its a choice between these, and or any others we find. And i'm thinking seriously about printing 'us two' inside the orders of service, apart from anything else, its something for the kids to read before the service starts!


I have several things to post about that I found or did while I was home, its been sort of like an exorcism of my childhood, quite cathartic in a way. But first, mum found some bags of my old old school work, Right back to the beginning of school, when I was four, and you were learning how to hold a pen. This poem (if you can call it that) made me absolutely piss myself laughing, and for that reason i'm sharing it with you, in the hope that it makes you laugh too. I think I would have been about 6 or 7 when I wrote this. Its starts off well, but goes a bit crazy at the end. And now, for your viewing pleasure...

Pollution everywhere in the sky and in the sea
Its all around us everywhere
Plastic bags, aluminium cans,
Factories belching out smoke,
I hate pollution
I try to stop pollution.
It hides in bushes,
and gets thorned by the thorns.
Don't pollute the air.
(there were pictures too, I drew different types of rubbish, including 'rag' 'string' and a 'sanburys' bag, but I really cant be bothered to get the scanner out just now.)

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

I went AWOL from blogland.

Sorry I've been rather absent this last week, but its going to continue I'm afraid. We spent the last weekend at my aunt and uncles in lovely Shropshire, generally relaxing, walking and sleeping. When we got back the parents were here, looking after the cats for us, and they go home tomorrow. They've been up here because they want to move nearer to me (aww how sweet), because we're getting married, and the likelihood is that we shall live here for most of our lives. I'm an only child, and a 5 hour drive to see my parents isn't fun. So anyway, they've been looking at houses etc, and are waiting for *the call* just now from the estate agents. So when they go tomorrow, I'm following them back down the country to clear out some of my stuff that still lives with them. To be honest, I'm not really looking forward to it, their house was where I was born, and although I've lived here seven years now, maybe eight- I don't remember - our village is still my home. I know its just bricks and mortar, I'm just very sentimental. I'm not good at goodbyes, but I've got to say some. So I'm afraid that I won't be here for most of the weekend either. I'll still be checking in I suspect, but i don't expect i'll post anything much.

In the meantime, heres a photo from the weekend...

Also, completely irrelevantly, if I were to get Rosalie a wedding present, it would have to be these. They seem to have tons of cute things, I just found them in a magazine ages ago and went to get the link for this. too too cute.

Monday, 10 August 2009


I've been contemplating the centrepieces for the wedding again for the last few days. I should admit that this is largely due to the hydrangeas not drying the way I need them to so far :(. I saw this harvest bowl one a while ago, and its taken me the best part of a day to find it again. Its not quite how I remember it, but I think the colours are lovely. I can't let go of the candle idea, Crosby Lodge is quite ornate in its country hotel way, and I don't think it needs much decoration, but I believe the owner often lights the candles in the dining rooms in the colder months, so to have a candle on each table too would be lovely. Plus the dining room there is red :)

bowl centrepiece: a practical wedding candle centrepiece: pink street

These were my own thoughts on centrepieces, I might add, made from things I had lying around at home so they would look better than this!

I have to say I really like the chillies, what do you think?

handmade #1: Baby blanket

I said I'd put some photos of my work in a post, so here it is.

This is a baby blanket I finished last week for a friend who sort of commissioned me (it sounds far too official to say that!). It was to be a present for a friend of hers who gave birth last monday! It is woven with a relatively chunky eco cotton, which I dyed with indigo, brazilwood and weld. I'm actually surprised at how much softer this one is than the first blanket I made for another friend, purely because I've woven in a different pattern. I tassel the ends by hand, and then back the blanket with really soft brushed cotton.

I hope you like it! I'll put some more photos of my work on here at some point, unfortunately the pictures don't really make them look that good as we only recently upgraded the camera, but I've got two other pieces on the go at the moment, so I'll show you them once they're done.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

jeans and shuttles and potfest Oh My!

Exciting parcels have been turning up the last day or two. Well, exciting to me. After Hannahs treehugger post the other week I decided to go look at Howies again - they had a sale on, and because I'm on the mailing list I got a code for an extra 15% off. so I treated myself to some new jeans, because I never do that. Truth be told, I didn't expect them to fit, I'm rather tall, but have wide hips, and its horrible going Jeans shopping usually. But these fitted perfectly :D and they're organic cotton = double :D.

and you can find them here. If you've not been to howies website before, you really should. Not only are their clothes cute, and well made, their ethical and ecological policies are really strong. These jeans came with a label which explains so well why they use organic cotton. This is a longer version of it here (although its not so long that yo can't read it in a minute or so.) That's why I like Howies, their are very transparent as a company, All their beliefs are on their website, and their catalogue reads more like a manifesto for life at times.

Anyway, packages. the other one which will probably make no sense to anyone, is something I bought as a result of selling a piece of work to a friend (in fact my wedding dressmaker :)) She asked me to make a baby blanket a while ago for one of her friends who was having a baby - born last Monday - And when I got the money for it I thought I should put some of it to good use despite being skinted, so I bought myself my first boat shuttle for my loom.

This type of shuttle, for anyone who doesn't know, can be sort of thrown through the weaving as they are very smooth (you can get ones with rollers on the bottom too) so it makes the weaving process much quicker. Wierdly owning one of there makes me feel rather grown up.

For anyone who's interested I am going to do a post with some pictures of the blanket in, and maybe some other bits of work, so you will get to see it!

We're off to potfest today hopefully, there are two potfests, organised by the same people and they happen two weeks apart. this one is the original, its slightly more of a free for all, as its first come first served gets a stand, as opposed to the one I posted about a few weeks ago where you have to apply for a stand and be chosen. So I'll tell you about that later probably! Happy Sunday people...

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

the doctor evil chair.

You guys, I'm super excited because this morning, a chair arrived. This chair is parker-knoll, it WAS black leather, a sort of wingback egg chair (I'm not good with the proper names). It had been sitting in the in-laws garage for many years, literally gathering a lot of dust, and generally not doing much. I begged, not much, since they were going to get rid of it anyway, and we got it. We've just had it recovered in a chenille that looks like needle cord in a champagne colour, and it returned this morning at a time too early to mention. I loves it! :) James reckons this chair is going to be his, but I have other ideas. I, after all, wanted it, petitioned the pa-in-law, chose the fabric, and found the upholsterer. No, it will be mine. So now, following the sorting of the spare room yesterday which ended up being a complete re-arrangement of the room, involving the help of ma-in-law, a not-to-scale plan of the room with all the furniture, and a tape measure, we get to do the same in the living room to fit the new chair in! Is it sad that I enjoy this? I love re-arranging rooms, and I can't wait to move so I can start again! Anyway, I'll finish this post with a photo of the chair, which is known around our house as the doctor evil chair.
Please excuse the mess, and the godawful carpet, its in the spare room at the moment until the old armchairs leave tonight (again via freecycle-if you want stuff, or want to get rid of pretty much anything, you really should join your local group)

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

todays etsy wants.

pincushion ring: artnestshop
A pincushion ring?! cute, dangerous, or just plain amazing? I think I need this...

ipod cozy: onaroll
I want one of these, it almost makes me want a proper ipod so that it would fit in here :) but alas, no money, so instead this idea is for Hannah (yet again, these days I find my entire blog is written for you!) since shes gettng an iphone soon.
I'm off today, waiting for parcels to arrive, and considering sorting the spare room as its where I work, but also where my parents are staying in a couple of weeks, and now where we're storing one of two super cheap sofas we bought last week. there isn't much room to move!

Monday, 3 August 2009

The Time Travellers Wife

book cover: wikipedia

I've just started seeing adverts for the film of the time travellers wife, a book by Audrey Niffenegger. I'm worried its going to ruin it for me if I go and see it. This is one of the only books I've ever read that I've cried at after reading, it is beautiful and wonderful and lovely. If you havn't read it do. I'm still thinking about seeing the film, I just think it looks too hollywoodified? Is this out in the states yet? has anyone seen it? I so want it to be good, but really? is it? opinions or reviews, please?