Monday, 30 November 2009
Friday, 27 November 2009
Victorian Christmas at Portsmouth Historic Dockyards (at least a full day out in itself). We have been to this a couple of times and it's got a fantastic atmosphere with snow covered streets, street performers (see here for all the characters - street vendors, "cops and robbers", Queen Victoria, Scrooge, Brunel, etc), carol singing, roasted chestnuts, Father Christmas in the traditional green suit (not the other one!) and lovely market stalls. It's lovely and you really feel transported back to Victorian times. On top of that you can walk around HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and see where the Mary Rose has been preserved (although this is closed now for a while while a better museum for it is built). Such rich maritime history with displays of all eras.
Looking forward to a great day, full of festive feelings, smells and tastes; and will share photos when we return.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
When asked what I would like from her lovely selection of goodies, I chose one of the key-rings - a really useful item and I've always admired these, especially the tree one. The parcel arrived on Saturday and was quite a surprise as it was much larger than a keyring, I thought. We were absolutely delighted to see it was not just the keyring, but also this lovely hessian shopping bag of felt foods for Imogen who has been rather poorly recently.
Friday, 20 November 2009
Thursday, 19 November 2009
The days are being filled with reading, DVD's, playing with lacing cards and playing with an etch-a-sketch picked up at a charity shop recently for £1. When Imogen saw this at the shop, she asked what it was and so I showed her, having had one in my younger years. I used to love my etch-a-sketch, so this brought back happy memories. I was so happy to see Imogen totally absorbed in what it did and asked her if she'd like it. A big YES was the reply, and it has been a popular item in the house since then. It has been very popular this week as we can play with it whilst resting.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Following on from making to Winter berries cordial, I thought I would post the recipe I also have for mulled wine syrup that can also be used as a cordial. I can't remember where I found this recipe so can't give credit (amended to add credit as I think I have found the original recipe), although I have made changes to the original that I felt improved it. It's really flavoursome and keeps very well.
Mulled wine syrup for 4 bottles of red wine
2 bottles water
16 tblsp raw cane sugar
1 lemon (make sure its unwaxed)
1 lime (make sure its unwaxed)
1” piece Root ginger peeled and grated
2” stick Cinnamon
4 cardamom pods
½ Whole nutmeg grated
large pinch Allspice
8 star anise (optional)
4 tblsp good organic honey
Put water in a pan and add ingredients as follows:
Sugar, Cinnamon, nutmeg, root ginger, cardamom and the allspice. Add star anise if using it (some people do not like it).
Next add the grated zest of an orange, a lemon and a lime. Add the juice of the orange only.
Add one whole apple with approx 16 cloves stuck in it. Then add another apple chopped. Finally add the honey.
Bring to boil then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the whole pieces of fruit, then bring to boil again. Your contents will reduce to about half and become syrupy.
Strain syrup and pour into sterilised bottles and seal.
Use a quarter of this amount per bottle of red wine – add to warmed but not boiled red wine and enjoy.
This is also fantastic just added to water as a cordial, or hot water for a winter warming drink. Makes a great gift as it keeps well. I always make this a bit earlier in the year (I think I made some in September this year), to allow the flavours to mature for Christmas, but it can still be made now and will taste great.
As posted in my Mixed Up Monday post, I have been making a cordial today using Sloes, Cranberries and Blackberries. With the addition of some cloves, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, the house smelt wonderfully festive. It's still a bit too early to put festive decorations up though (isn't it!?).
This is what I did:
1 lb Sloes
Approx 4-5oz Blackberries
Approx 4-5 oz Cranberries
Juice and zest of 1 unwaxed Lemon
Cube of root Ginger sliced
1 stick of Cinnamon
Freshly grated Nutmeg
Fresh Bay leaf
Pour into sterilised bottles and store. Dilute to taste, lovely as a warm drink, and just as lovely in water or sparking water.
Monday, 16 November 2009
Today we would like to share this book:
This book delightfully takes you through the Seasons on the vegetable patch. The story follows Nan and Charlie and their visits to the vegetable patch throughout the year. The illustrations are also lovely, showing the changes of the Seasons.
I found the synopsis on Amazon describes the book beautifully:
Take a look at Canadian Home Learning for more book sharing or to join in.
So in between reading to her and having cuddles I thought I'd update the blog a little and do some tidying, sorting, knitting and make a new batch of cordial. Oh and come to a decision on what to make for the GP site season swap.
The cordial is inspired by the large amount of Sloes we gathered recently. Some is being made into Sloe Gin, more is in the freezer to enable sloe gin or other things to be made in the New Year when there are non to pick. So I wanted to make a cordial with autumn/winter tones to it. Having looked at a couple of recipes I've kind of come up with my own using Sloes, blackberries and cranberries (both frozen previously) and adding ginger, cinnamon and maybe some other bits - I'm thinking a few cloves and/or nutmeg. Will have to have a think on the flavours. So far the fruit is washed and ready to simmer with the flavourings, so must go and decide what to add.
Oh and it's Monday and I never seem to find the time lately to do book sharing Monday, so will post back with one soon.
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Weald and Downland Open Air Museum- for a Christmas market.
This place is such a joy to visit anyway, but with the added excitement of Christmas and a reduced entry fee, who could resist."
Friday, 13 November 2009
Nevermind, it will be finished for next Autumn, there are more pressing crafts to do at the moment, and I'll make sure I have a Winter season doll made for our corner instead. Autumn is a great time for finding things and making things for the season corner, lots of nature bits to find. There is always space for a pumpkin too.
Today, amongst other things, Imogen did these lovely crayon leaf rubbings that I shall put on the wall by the season corner too.
Thursday, 12 November 2009
With all the making of gifts, of foods and the wonderful organic free range bronze turkey is on order from our local organic farm ... I can't help feeling all warm inside and Christmassy. I really enjoy the run up to Christmas time.
I don't join in in the mad Christmas present buying race, preferring to make gifts and those that are bought are purchased away from the madding crowds, and preferably before December is upon us. Instead I like to seek outings to farmers markets and Christmas markets with plenty of homemade goodies to look at, even if I buy nothing. There are a few such events not far away from us again this year that we shall try to go to (weather pending for some of them).
The first such event is this weekend at Weald and Downland Open Air Museum - for a Christmas market. This place is such a joy to visit anyway, but with the added excitement of Christmas and a reduced entry fee, who could resist.
Closer to Christmas, our local open farm is also hosting a Christmas market, so we hope to go there to; to see the animals, partake in some crafts and have a great family day out.
We then have the Victorian Christmas at Portsmouth Historic Dockyards (at least a full day out in itself). We have been to this a couple of times and it's got a fantastic atmosphere with snow covered streets, street performers (see here for all the characters - street vendors, "cops and robbers", Queen Victoria, Scrooge, Brunel, etc), carol singing, roasted chestnuts, Father Christmas in the traditional green suit (not the other one!) and lovely market stalls. It's lovely and you really feel transported back to Victorian times. On top of that you can walk around HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and see where the Mary Rose has been preserved (although this is closed now for a while while a better museum for it is built). Such rich maritime history with displays of all eras.
In the lead up to Christmas, Winchester has a Christmas market event with ice skating rink in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral. Yet another opportunity to see small traders with lots of handmade wares. On the opening day there is a lantern parade too which will be great to see.
Looking forward to these and any other events to pop along to, and enjoying all the making and baking. How are your Christmas/Yule plans going?
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
I have also finished knitting this hat for Imogen, which I think I will give to her for Christmas. She's not short of hats but I loved the pattern so wanted to knit it. I used a really chunky wool on 10mm needles so it took no time at all. I'm going to knit a scarf in the same wool to go with it.
Friday, 6 November 2009
Okay, so I'm a little late in posting the list of things I am attempting to make for gifts for Christmas, but better late than never.
Already made (so they mature well) or in the making are:
Sloe Gin (done)
Winter Syrup (for adding to wine (mulled wine syrup)
or just having with water - hot or cold, yum)
Turkish Delight for my Dad
Cards (with Imogen - painting and sticking things, and using some stamps with thinner paints)
Dried orange decorations
Cinnamon stick decorations
Knitted tree decorations (partly done)
Knitted other decorations (partly done)
Knitted and fabric wreath
Crocheted tree decorations (possibly, will help improve my skills,
but will leave until next year if it slows me down)
Fabric barn to go with knitted farm mat
Knitted Elmer (completed)
Hat and scarf for Imogen (hat done)
Other hats and scarves
Pencil roll (maybe)
Knitted toys (small), gnomes, fruit, cupcakes etc (partly done)
Waldorf Doll (possibly, more likely in the New Year)
Right, off to check my notebook in case I've missed something.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Things continue to grow, producing lovely green leaves and beautiful purple sprouting broccoli, beetroots are still to be pulled up too.
So this is the work going on in our garden and allotment over the next few months, with planning next Springs adventures being done in the warmth and comfort of our home. Nothing stays still, there is always something changing and growing.
These are some of the things still coming home with us at the moment, although the tomatoes are finishing now (except the lovely plum one in the greenhouse).
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
I really must stop looking at other websites though, as I keep seeing things and thinking how lovely it would be to make it and the list in my head gets longer. Of course when you see something on a crafty blog, it can lead you to another idea, then another, and another! So I must try to resist the temptation to add more projects - so no more temptation please. We'll see what happens. Anyway, by tomorrow I hope to have a little list on here somewhere of what I'm attempting and progress. I don't think it's as bad as I think really, and some things I'm planning/have started are decorations.
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Monday, 2 November 2009
A busy weekend, we went to the local farm and had a great day out meeting all the animals again. I didn't have my camera but I think we have all the photo's we need from the farm from previous visits. Imogen made a Halloween decorated glass which she had fun doing - rolling it in glitter and sticking things to it. Last week we painted lots of pumpkin carvings and some bats too. On Friday we went to the local library for an activity in which she made a spider, a bat, a haunted house mobile and a leafy autumn picture. So lots of crafting going on at the moment.
My cooker isn't working properly at the moment so no baking, just the main oven but still able to make a lovely Pumpkin and Chickpea curry tonight for our tea on the hob - yum. Somebody is coming to fix it on Wednesday so back to normal soon, at least it was an excuse to have a takeaway on Saturday night.
We've been learning about Samhain this week too as I don't really go in for all the commercial-ness (is that a word?) of Halloween, trick or treating or loading up on sugar! Imogen isn't interested in sweets, except chocolate, so that's good, but was interested in the history of Samhain. We also looked at the history of "All Hallows" and Halloween (without the sugar), etc. I won't go into detail, that can be found in so many other places much better than I could explain all the history. We read about Halloween from a recent charity shop purchase - Barefoot Books "A calendar of Festivals" for 50p.
We also picked a large bag of Sloes at the weekend to get some more Sloe gin on the go, we have sourced more so may well be picking more later this week and freezing some for use later. They have been washed and I've popped them in the freezer (no frosts here for the foreseeable future) for now, will get them out in a day or two to start this batch of gin off.