Out of action

I’ve hurt my neck and am struggling to do what I normally do without pain, numbness and pins and needles in my right arm. It seems to be taking an age to clear up and is leaving me somewhat museless, thats museless but actually take away the m and I am quite useless as well. Hammering metal is out of the question as is carding fleece and I just don’t feel inspired to work with polymer clay. I am able to do small amounts of needle felting, more on that later but I thought I’d post a picture of the new path to the polycrub that was finished yesterday (not by me).



Granted there is still an amount of tidying up to do and the yellow flag iris needs to be tamed but now we have a dry, mud free path to and from the PT.  The courgettes are thriving despite the cold summer and we’ve started eating them with bacon and new potatoes. I’m really pleased with the fuchsia hanging basket, its starting to look the business!

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It was actually very sunny this morning when I took the pics so unfortunately the colour is a bit washed out but hey the suns out.


Pate, Vodka and IBS

Well they’re not really related I just thought I’d bunch them together for the sake of this post. But I do suffer with IBS and have an issue with insoluble fibre, you know wholegrains. So I wanted to be able to include more of the good soluble fibre (beans) into my diet on a regular basis and came up with this idea – cannellini bean and mushroom pate. I sauted mushrooms in a pan and mixed in some previously cooked cannellini beans, added seasoning and small amount of crumbled vegetable stock.










Once mixed I took half the portion out of the pan into my processor and blitzed them into a smooth paste. I added some curry powder to the remaining half and blitzed that too. Then spooned an equal amount into little pots and kept one pot for the fridge and toast in the morning and the other pots for the freezer.


Home made Gooseberry Vodka

We took just about 600gms  of freshly picked, cleaned and sliced gooseberries and put them in a large kilner jar, added about 300gms of sugar and topped up with vodka. Need to leave a 3 cm gap at the top so we didn’t use up a whole 1ltr of vodka. Give this a good shake and then shake daily until all the sugar has dissolved, then leave to mature until Christmas shaking occasionally. Apparently the flavour improves if left longer.






What to do with surfeit

We are awash with eggs and need to do something with them other than fry with bacon for a delicious breakfast, so we decided to pickle some. It really is simple and just involves hard boiling



Cover with cold water to cool slightly and shell. Meanwhile bring about 1lt white vinegar to boil and add some spices. I added dried birds eye chillies, cardamom pods, corriander and black peppercorns to the vinegar and cooked for a few minutes. I’d already selected a large kilner jar and had washed and put into the oven on very low for ten mins or so.

Put shelled eggs into the jar and pour on the vinegar with the spices and fill to the top ensuring all eggs are covered. Leave for one month before consuming, they last for about 6 months. I got this idea from The Accidental Smallholder website.


So we had more gooseberrys picked and made more jelly this morning and one of the pastures was cleared of thistles – good mornings work!




Claying again

Isn’t scrap clay wonderful! Struck by the similarity of the colour chart squares to the scrap clay squares. I’ve used Fimo classic on and off for years now but they’ve change the formulation and rebranded to Fimo Professional and I’m not convinced at all. Its mushy and doesn’t hold its shape, I’m having to leave it cooling (which being the impatient type I find really irksome) before rolling and slicing and another of my pet hates, it bakes dark! Here are some tiles with scrap sheets which I’ll make into shawl pins and buttons.



This is a flower sheet in progress, which I’m filling with canes that I’ve made all from Fimo Professional, I’ll probably make some beads with this one. Think I’m going to have to play around with timings etc or maybe its time to give Kato clay another try. I used to love Kato clay it was perfect for making canes – flower or kaleidoscope and the colours were pure and clear, then they changed the formulation and I had real issues with baked beads cracking and the clay had also lost the firmness that it was known for.



Jelly and Quilts

Hard to believe but these last few nights have been hotter than usual and I’ve been beavering away trying to finish a summer quilt I started a couple of months ago. Its a thin wadding not sure of the tog rating but lighter than our ordinary summer quilt. I wanted a fairly utilitarian design – quick to cut, sew and quilt, which I did with my trusty machine. Thank god I changed my mind about hand quilting.



Gooseberries were ready to pick – thanks Neil – from this


to this. Gorgeous gooseberry jelly.


Crafting Crofting

Some stuff I’ve been making

I’m developing my metalworking these days, something about making a lot of noise bashing copper sheets and wire with a hammer is very appealing. I love making beadcaps for that reason and I think they turn a bead into something extra.


I really like seeing earwires embellished with tiny beads and have added some antiqued czech glass beads to these sterling silver wires I’ve made, held in place with fine silver wire.


Copper is such a beautiful metal, I think it has so much more depth than silver. I love the way light reflects off flattened copper wire. Finished these earrings off with a little ceramic bead.