Monday, September 28, 2009

Danish Pastry?

Greetings from wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen! Arrived here at lunchtime and was in my favourite fabric shop by 2pm *wink* Wasn't too naughty and only bought 3 metres of lovely material that will be turned into more vase covers, a few draw string bags and what ever else takes my fancy. Maybe a cushion cover or two.
One flight home tomorrow, another 3 day trip after that, and then my part time week off!! Doesn't time fly?

We visited a friend's small holding last week and picked a couple of tub trugs of crab apples. Think I was a little bit too keen on the number we picked. 2 sink fulls, so graciously gave some to next door.

I now have lots of jars of pink crab apple and clove jelly. Lovely stuff and very popular. Had an order for 2 jars before I had even picked them. Was also given a bag of dried hops to use in sleep pillows! Thanks Lesley! *smiles*

Once again I decided that it was Christmas in September and after soaking my dried fruit in brandy and cointreau for 7 days, putting Mr Crosby on the ipod, I made this year's Christmas puddings. Well, the first batch anyway.

I started cooking them at 12 and finished steaming at 9pm. Found Jason's electric steamer in the back of the cupboard and used that, rather than the 'pan on the hob' method. Seemed to cook more quickly, but needed filling up every 30 minutes.
5 down, another 10 (?) to go! Not sure what the postman thought of 'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire' blaring out of the stable door.

I made another 8 large and 1 small jars of mincemeat for the Fayre and lots of apple and damson jelly.

The jam pan has been put away for another year now as I have run out of fruit (sobs quietly). I might make more mincemeat if I can get hold of some cooking apples. I now have 80+ jars safely hidden away in the office. Plus a few under the ensuite sink. Some in the out building. And under the utility room sink. A jam problem? Me? No more jam. Promise.

The pear tree is looking autumnal. The leaves have turned yellow and the fruit is nearly ready for bottling. Of the 20+ pears that started to grow, I only have a few left. The raspberries on the other hand are doing very well. Will possibly try raspberry jam next week. Oh, forget what I said earlier. I am weak.

We spent Saturday pottering around the house, finishing off painting the bathroom. We have his Sister and New Hubby staying with us from Bonnie Scotland in a couple of weeks, so need to get the bedroom re painted in time. At least it will give us the kick up the backside that we need to get it done. Just the repainting of the hall, stairs and landing and then all is done! 'Just' I say! Lucky that Jase is over 6', as my Hobbit sized proportions aren't conducive to painting a ceiling. Shame. *wink*

I ordered some new business cards which arrived this week. Christian's Cottage is now official. Will sort out a web site when I get a few weeks free. Not very computer savvy. The blog is fine, pictures are easy to upload/download or what ever you do with them, but a web site will challenge my grey cells. I am attaching the cards to my products, with a sticker on the back explaining what they are. I know that candles are self explanatory, but some of my things are a little, well, quirky. Most are tied on with raffia for that 'Cottage chic, homemade' look. I am a sucker for raffia.

My eyes are burning and I feel a bit bunged up today, am hoping it is nothing. Have taken a Lemsip and keeping my fingers crossed! I feel the need to fill the ridiculously large bath and soak for half an hour. Will then crawl into the massive bed, complete with feather topper and hopefully wake up bright eyed in the 'morrow. Pick up is 5.20. AM!! At least I should be home by 11. Really looking forward to picking up a paint brush as I walk in the door.

Have a good week everyone and thanks for reading.

C x x

Friday, September 18, 2009

The dust has settled....

...everywhere! My Brother has finished the en suite shower room, replastered a bedroom, down the stairs, part of the kitchen and the main bathroom and the powder is all over the place. The hoover has done a pretty good job so far, but there isn't a surface anywhere without a fine layer of white dust!

We started painting the en suite today. 'Buff' by Farrow and Ball. Not because I have a Buff Sussex (although that is one reason, hee hee), but it fits very well with the new shower tiles and is quite dark so will look good against the white suite.

Finally, here are some pictures of our new doors. I know 'doors are doors', but I have wanted reclaimed pine latch doors for years!

and the latches.....

I can't stop staring at them. Am I strange? Don't answer that.

Went to Homebase to get a few bits for decorating and picked up some violas for the window box at the front. Had a couple spare, so potted them up and will keep them in the kitchen.

Recycle. The possibilities are endless!

Received a private message from someone on the forum. She suggested making small wheat bags for hand warmers. Ideal for the school run or dog walkers on cold winter mornings!

Had a sewing day and made several more wheat bags and a few more vase covers.

I love them so much that I am tempted to keep them and not take them with me to the Fayre. Talking of which, I called this week to pop in and let them see my wares. It was 'not convenient' and I have been asked to visit the first week of October. I am worried that the fayre will be fully booked and I won't get a stall now. Can't think about it. I have worked really hard to do this and will be disappointed if it doesn't happen.

We went to see Michael MacIntyre last night in Basingstoke. He was really good. Very 'real life' comedy and quite 'blue', I sound like an pensioner with that comment! Great though. Highly recommend seeing him.

No eggs yesterday, but 3 today. Agnes and Winifred are still not laying, but their feathers are starting to grow back. Am now mixing poultry spice in with their pellet porridge every day to give them a boost. I just hope they feather up fully before it gets really cold.

The garden STILL hasn't been tackled. I might as well wait until the first frosts to kill off the weeds now. My autumn raspberries are fruiting up nicely. Picked a few yesterday. Not quite enough for jam, not even enough for a garnish, but a start.

Better get an early night as the kitchen is looking like Homebase paint department as we have so much painting to do. Pots of paint, brushes, rollers and dust sheets are not helping my ocd, as the house is a tip. Not that I am obsessively clean and tidy you understand. The office is my dumping ground and is truly shocking state of affairs at the mo. You can't see the bed for cushion covers, bags of Christmas pressies (yes, I started months ago) and general bits and pieces. Another job that needs doing.

Enough of me rambling on. Time for bed. Speak soon and hope you all have a great weekend.

C x x x

Update! I have just been looking at my counter and I am only a few hits away from 10,000 'hits'. I looked at the referrers to my page and saw that I am nominated for a little blog award through Dorset cereals!! How nice is that? I love their Honey and nut granola if they want to send me a prize! *wink* Little Blog Awards

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A hedgerow update

Every time I get a minute to myself, something crops up. I have decided to sit and have a veg out evening tonight. Fire is about to be lit, Jase is away and the hens are tucked up for the night. It is perishingly cold this evening. My shorts and t shirt aren't keeping me warm!

Have had a busy week. Am back to work on Tuesday and my 9 days off have flown by. Got lots done though.

Our internal doors are finally finished. Reclaimed pine, waxed (one coat only) and look stunning! I have forgotten to take pictures, but will soon.

I spent a few hours making more skittles for the fayre and have one set finished now, and who would guess they started life as a broom handle!

Only 5 more sets to paint, and adorn with festive felt hats! Ho ho ho...

Jase and I went to Ikea the other day. First stop the restaurant! Meatballs, chips and gravy. An absolute must! Once our hunger was satisfied, we headed for the marketplace and picked up candles, you can never have too many, jars, ditto, and fabric. I have made my feelings about fabric known before! The trouble with Ikea is queuing for the tills. Only 2 open and 6 '15 items or less' tills. Who goes to Ikea and buys less than 15 items? I ask you?? Luckily we took Mortimer the Mini, so we couldn't buy too much!

Jase spent the day playing with his new toy. A pressure washer. After cleaning years of grime from the patio, he attacked the table and chairs. What better way to show off my new fabric vase, displayed on a newly 'blasted' table.

Ikea fabric, measured, hemmed and slipped over a tall glass - also Ikea. A lovely idea and will be many more of those.

The hedgerow down the lane is heaving with fruit. I picked several pounds of blackberries, sloes and rosehips. The blackberry vodka and sloe gin are made and safely stashed away, ready to decant into nice bottles for Christmas. More blackberries have been turned into Bramble jelly and I had enough left to bottle with some cooking apples to hide away for crumble filling later in the year.

I spent today chopping rosehips, boiling them, straining and reboiling with sugar. We now have 3 litres of rosehip syrup. I have not tried it before, but it is lovely. A slosh in a mug and topped up with hot water should give me a vitamin C hit and keep the colds at bay this winter.

Feathers are everywhere as Agnes is still moulting, as is Cornelia, now Winifred has joined them. Agnes and Winnie have stopped laying - well Winnie hasn't laid since the 12th July, but she has been unwell. Cornelia, Pru and Elsbeth are laying well though, so we haven't run out of eggs yet! When I cleaned out their runs the other day, they had a riot on the patio and borders. Cornelia needs no excuse to sunbathe........

Causing chaos amongst the daisies....

Mum and Dad came over for dinner yesterday and Jase made a cheesecake complete with smooshed (is that a word?) up crunchie bars in it. It is calling me from the fridge and I feel it would be rude to ignore it. My magazine dropped through the door yesterday, so will finish up here and read for a while. Country Living and cheesecake. What more could I want?