Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snow and Marmalade

After a weekend living in a winter wonderland of whiteness – which I love – the snow is beginning to go, albeit ever so slowly.    We did not get to go out in the snow so I have only the few photographs I took in the back garden.     I love the garden covered in snow – it loses its usual wintery tattiness and looks smart enough to be the country garden of a stately home instead of a lowly ‘cottage in the lane’.

Waiting for summer

I spotted this red-legged partridge in the garden scavenging for left-overs under the bird feeders.  A rare winter visitor to our garden.  

Last week I made a start on the yearly ritual of marmalade making.   Half way through I have made 10 pots and will make another 10 this week.   We do eat a lot of marmalade in this house, and I love to make extra for family and friends.   Each batch takes me a morning to make – and I do cheat as I chop half the fruit in my food processor, the rest being cut into the usual thin slices.   Then I cook the fruit with the addition of water in the pressure cooker for fifteen minutes.   After bringing back to room pressure the sugar is added and then boiled until setting point is reached – probably about 20 minutes.     We like a dark marmalade, so I add a tablespoon of black treacle with the sugar.  This gives the dark colour and I think a bit of a ‘tang’ to the orangeiness.

I’ve been keeping up with the multi coloured granny square blanket.  I am enjoying it and it is easy and quick.  Last evening I spent darning in ends.   At the same time I am making another pair of wrist warmers in navy blue, but I think I might run out of yarn and have to undo them.    That’s OK – I don’t mind and if I find I am just a tad short I will undo them and make them a couple of rows shorter.

With all the snow about I am finding it a bit difficult to find much to put in it, at least anything that is different to what has been in it so far this year.     At lunchtime I picked more Viburnum – I think this is Eve Price – some more Garya Elliptica and some gold  Euonymus.  Not a very bright combination, but that is all there is just now.  I must make a note to myself to get more winter flowering plants for next year.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Super Chunky Wrist Warmers & the Blue Jug

I have made some lovely wrist warmers, or fingerless gloves, this week.  So easy and I made them in about an hour and a half.  I am now making another pair - one pair is never enough!   I love these - I have had some bought ones that I used for taking photographs in the cold weather, but I think they will be good for pottering in the greenhouse and also for driving.   You can find the free to download pattern for them on Ravelry - look for Mary Thomson Designs - Super Chunky Wrist Warmers.   Thank you Mary - I love them!

My other news this week is that I treated myself to an iPhone!!  I have an iPod and also an iPad, which I love.  I bought the iPod about three years ago when I was going on a visit to my friend in California.  We visited lots of nurseries and I wanted something to make notes on.  I had previously had an HP iPac hand-held computer (anyone remember those?) for a few years which I loved.  It had a small folding keyboard that I could use for long typing sessions.  However the iPac was not compatible with our new computer, so I needed something similar.  The iPod fitted the bill.  I also love it because it holds all my music and I can plug in my earphones and listen away to MY music in the greenhouse.  I emphasis MY because Brian and I have totally different tastes in music - his is classical, mine is jazz and blues, with a bit of pop.  And I have to confess that I have a bit if Reggae on it as well.  So quite totally differing musical tastes.    Actually I do quite like a bit of classical, but he likes very heavy stuff!!  The iPad was a birthday present from Brian and I think that is the most amazing gadget.  The iPhone is my present to me - my Samsung Galaxy was playing up - only had it about 18 months which is not long really.   I hope the iPhone will last a bit longer.

This week the Blue Jug has some yellow winter jasmine in again, which is practically the only bit of colour in the garden this week, but even that is beginning to go over.  The long tassels are Garya Elliptica - a new shrub for me and it needed a bit of pruning.  There are also some sprigs of a curry plant that my sister bought for me when she was over visiting from Australia and we visited The Eden Project together.  The curry plant brings back some nice memories.

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Saturday, 5 January 2013

Granny Square a Day count up and my blue jug

A Happy New Year to you all

I need to update you on the Granny a Day project started by Ali last year.  I have made one scarf, one baby blanket, 16 squares to make a bag (probably) a multi coloured blanket and now I have started a solid square multi coloured blanket.  All these have been recorded in my previous blogs, but here is the multi-coloured solid granny square blanket which has not been recorded 

Sadly I did not quite make 366, just 15 short. (sorry Ali)   I was doing so well up until about two weeks before Christmas when I went down with a very bad bout of cystitis, resulting in a course of anti biotics, plus struggling to organise Christmas, and deal with updating memberships for my society on a new web based database here.   Not really an excuse, or excuses, but that's how it was.  I really enjoyed the Granny-A-Day challenge, and hope to find another one this year.   I am also enjoying the multi coloured solid square blanket, and want to start another in more muted colours for a certain member of the family!

My Blue jug - I inherited this from my mother in-law and it sits on the pine dresser in the dining room an is usually filled with flowers from the garden.  This year I have set myself a challenge to have flowers in it from the garden every day of the year - not an original idea - Margery Fish did the same thing and wrote a book about her vase of flowers from the garden.   So, what is in this, rather dreadful display?   It does actually look much better in real life. I promise!!   There are some sprays of yellow Winter Jasmine, some buds of Viburnum and some gold Euonymus.   

A sure sign that the days are lengthening - I spotted at the beginning of this week a couple of rhubarb buds peeping through the ground.  Today I have a leaf and many more buds peeping through!  I don't think it will be long before I am making rhubarb crumbles.

The sharp eyed will have spotted that I have changed the name of my blog.  I don't want to write just about crochet - there are lots of other things that I want to write about.   I may change the URL: as well.  I haven't decided on  that yet.   I hope you will all continue to follow my blog- I would love to receive your comments.