Thursday, 30 September 2010

Jam Making....

Well Hello lovely people.
Hope you're all fine and Dandy!
Honestly, just take a look at this post.. Go on..Now, just take a
gander down below before you read any further, and look how diddy the
photos are, and the order that they're in!! LOL..

What a mess..
Well anyway, I'm getting off the track here by having my usual moan.
My post all went wrong because of Blogger! (well can't be my fault can it ;0))
It's all new and technical, and I've only just learnt the old way -well, kinda!-
Now the photos print out on my post in the order I put them on there, and not the last one first, if you get what I mean.
Any way I'll continue as if my post is all how it's supposed to be!
Where was I? Ah yes..


I made some jam the other day (as you may by now have guessed!).
The first time ever. It's blackberry and Apple.
To get the blackberries, we spent Saturday afternoon in the forest getting just over 4lb of them, and the apples came from our inherited apple tree in the garden.
I followed the recipe in the bottom right hand corner of my post. From the book pictured in the bottom left-hand corner.

I could not believe the amount of sugar that goes into this jam.
FOUR pounds!
Still like a good girl, I followed the recipe to the letter.
Then when it was supposed to reach setting point, do you think it would set?
Yes, your right NO IT WOULDN'T!
So, I had all my saucers in the fridge nice and cool to spoon a bit of the juice on, put it back in the fridge, then a minute later take it out, give it a push with a finger, and see if it went like wrinkly skin.
IT didn't.
I rapidly boiled the jam for 35MINUTES, and still it wouldn't wrinkle.
I couldn't understand it, cos' round the edges of the saucepan, and splattered over the kitchen worktop, tiles, floor, hobtop, extractor fan, recipe book and me, all those blobs of jam had set.  :0)
So this called for drastic measures. If your jam doesn't set apparently, it hasn't got enough pectin in.
So I squeezed a lemon, and poured the juice in.
Did the 1 minute test thing, and YES it had set.
I then poured it into my hot jars straight out the oven.

I now have 6lbs of Blackberry and Apple CEMENT! LOL

I'm telling you, that blooming jam has set like rock! You have to slice into it! LOL
The words 'spread the jam' just don't even come into it!
AND SWEET! Goodness me, it's even too sweet for my two sweet-toothed girls!
(My son isn't into sweet stuff!)
This morning one of them asked for jam and peanut butter toast, and so you know what she said?
"Not your jam Mum, cos it's a bit sweet for the morning!"  LOL
Still, we live and learn don't we?

Last day of September today my lovelies. Not long till Christmas now!

Have a great weekend.
Take care X

lots and lots and lots of suger that went in it

apple and blackberry jam

the recipe

the recipe book

Friday, 24 September 2010

My two new projects..

Hello lovely people. Hope you've all had a lovely day! 
Well, I'm back to tell you all about my two new projects. The only thing is, I forgot to take photos of one of them, so I'll just have to describe it untill I get the photos on here:)
Right, the first new project is going to be my Christmas 'Granny' square 'christmas tree' skirt.
In our new bungalow this year, we're going to have a real Christmas Tree! 
Yes, a real one! LOL 

We haven't had a real one for about 18 years, and the children have never had a real one, so I'm very excited! (more so than the children!  Obviously I'm just still a child at heart! LOL)
I'm determined to have it all really nice and homemade!
So I thought I would crochet a christmas tree skirt in the style of  a poncho!
I haven't got a recipe for it, so I'm making it up as I go a long ;0)
I'm doing traditional coloured grannies, and joining as I go ...
Well, thats my first new project.
The second project -that I don't yet have a photo for- is a new afghan.
I'm calling it my starlight afghan.
I found the recipe for this one in another old crochet magazine from the seventies.
You make a chain star in the middle in bright colours, then you crochet a granny type edging in black (again I'm joining as I go, but that bit isn't in the recipe..) then as you go along, the 'stars' shine out amongst all the beautiful black night sky! Get it?
I'm doing my stars in neon colours to add to the brightness of the stars.
The only thing I'm not sure about is it says to use a 5mm hook, but I feel that that size is too big, it makes the squares kinda floppy? Know what I mean?
But I'm going to persevere even if I don't think it looks perfect :)
When I finish the star one, I'm going to 'tweak' it, and make a smaller blanket for a little boy I know who has epilepsy. His parents have had to make a brave decision and let him go for brain surgery next year to see if they can 'find anything' to help him. I think that's so brave of them, 'cos he's only six!
So I thought I'd make him a little 'blankie' to take with him  :)
Anyway, as soon as I can I'll take a photo and show you what I mean.
In the mean time, if you'd like to see some sublime crochet, and a lovely (well two actually) Etsy shop, you need to pop over and see Jennie at sosorosey .
Her crochet is amazing. And oh boy do I wish I could work as hard as her at an Etsy shop, let alone two of them!
Even though I do rag crochet, I'm going to have to buy something from her one day, just so that I can show everyone how much Jennie inspires me, and obviously so I can have one of her lovely tags that she sends out with each and every piece of work!
I hope the link to Jennie works, I haven't done one before, so just give me a nudge if it doesn't work properly!  ;0)

Have a great weekend one and all.
Take care x

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Well, I've been a very busy bee....

Well, hello lovely people. How are you all?
I have been very busy lately. First off, I wrote a lovely post last night. Took me aaaagggges it did. But then 'blogger' started to mess about. First it wouldn't post my photos, then it hadn't saved my draft. So I lost the lot!
Never mind though, I'm back for another go tonight!

Below is a picture of the lovely apples out of my garden that I've been busy stewing away to freeze for crumbles and pies and sauce.
I've also been out picking pounds of blackberries which are also stored away in the freezer.
In my garden, I've also inherited some branches from a neighbours nut tree. These cob nuts are delicious. I've been picking then up from the ground, and I'm going to make nut roasts with some of them, and save the others for Christmas.
They're unususal nuts with a 'red' colour jacket. Does anyone know what these are called, as they're not like usual wild hazel nuts.
Have also been busy making my first ever batch of Apple Chutney.
It looks tasy, but we'll have to let it 'brew' a couple of months to see what it tastes like!
When I was little, we never had 'pickle' in our house, we only ever had homemade chutney. So I haven't tasted this for over 25 years!
I managed to make 8lbs of it, so I hope it's nice! LOL!
We've also been busy re-vamping the garden.
Will show you before and after pictures when the grass and flowers have grown next spring.
Eldest daughter has been very poorly this past week, with loads of seizures. They just don't seem to stop sometimes. So far since they went back to school three weeks ago she's had to have more time off school than she's been in it bless her!
Still, I  went into school today for a meeting to get her timetable reduced to give her a breather,
I really hope this helps.
It's our 20th Anniversary this week for how long me and my husband have been together! Goodness, doesn't time fly! I've now known my husband longer than anyone else I currently know, as my parents are no longer with me, and due to a family dispute I haven't seen any of my five older sisters for over 12 years, and I've known my husband since I was five!
We haven't been able to celebrate yet as ED has been so poorly. But when she's a bit better and back at school then we'll go somewhere nice just for a meal.
Ooooo, do you remember my sulks from last week? LOL
Well, I've been shopping.....
I wanted to start a couple of new projects, and of course I needed a size 4.5mm hook. So I had NO CHOICE I'm telling you, but to buy a new one.
Off I trotted to the shops, and what did I spy?

WHAT a beauty!.....
Look at the fabulous colours. It's a hand made, double ended, size 6mm and 6.5mm wooden crochet hook!
Just what I didn't need ! LOL
I just love, love, love it!
As you know- if you've been reading my blog since the begining,- my fav hook is the large wood one I wittled. Well, this one is a close second!
Having bought it, I actually felt very greedy and wasteful, as I really didn't need that size, -it was the smallest one they had left on the shelf, and it did cost £5.45! (about $9).- BUT, I'm getting over that feeling :)
And as my -not very sympathetic- husband said when I broke my bamboo one...
"It's only a twig!"  LOL
See the afghan above that it's laying on?
Well, that was the first full afghan I made. I wanted to practice granny squares, so I kept them all one colour each so that I could just practice 'going round'. lol
Anyway, I'm going to try shorter posts now, and post them more often (famous last words!).
So i'll be back tomorrow with the pics of the two new projects I've started.

Take care  xxx

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

I'm sulking..

Yes, really.
I'm sulking.
When we were moving, I packed away all my craft stash, 'cept some little bits I was working on. Since that time I have been unable to find my little size 4.5mm, green, aluminium crochet hook.
Don't you find it annoying when you have something that you want to use and can't find it?
Well, "No worries" I said to myself, I'll use my bamboo one.
Last night,
Can you believe it, I fell asleep while I was crocheting (I frequently do this as we have such disjointed sleep patterns in this family because of my eldest daughters epilepsy).
My lovely husband took the project I was working on off the bed, but he didn't realise I still had the hook in my hand, and I must of SNAPPED it!.
I woke up this morning and took it as a bad omen (like you do-or is that just me? LOL).
But I'm through the day, so it can't have been that bad an omen.
Unless it was a bad one for the week.....month.....year....LOL
Have a good week everyone.
Take care x