Saturday, 11 July 2009

June giveaway - the WINNER!

The winner of June's shawl giveaway is **kathy55439** - well done kathy, e-mail me your postal address and I'll et your prize off to you as soon as I can. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to enter, look out for July's giveaway coming soon too.

Homemade wicks for oil lamps

I spent an hour or so working on this project yesterday. The thinking and planning has been going on a bit longer, though. I started off withs oft cotton; I bought a couple of cones of this from e-bay several eyars ago, and it's been great for all sorts of things, now the wick experiemnt. It's pima cotton,, used to be known as Egyptian cotton, and is about the weight of a light DK. I made three wicks in all. The first one knitted on dpns, using 9 stitches, 3 on each needle; second one was on straight needles,5 stitches, stocking stitch; third one was French knitting, so 4 stitches for that.
After knitting,t he wicks were wetted slightly and damp pressed with a very hot iron - this flattens them considerably, to enable them to go through the opening in the mantle.
The one knitted on straight needles was unsuccessful as too floppy, it really needs to be a double thickness; if you examine a bought wick, it's tubular in construction. The French knitted one was OK, but a little thick to press out evenly. Most successful so far was the dpn one, but will need to be done with less stitches, maybe 7 next time; bit fiddly, but not impossible. At the moment, the French knited one is in the lamp just to see if the cotton itself is suitable. I have no reason to suspect it's not, as far as I can tell it's not treated with anything, so should burn like a bought wick. If sucessful, I'll knit the other narrower wick later today and get that in and give it a test.
I love little projects like this, and get a great deal of satisfaction from them - especially if they work LOL Half the fun is sharing the results with people too. Not that I expect many to go out and knit their own wicks...............but it ust goes to show that with a bit of forethought and planning, mostthings can be adapted for home made versions. Will report back on effectivenss of wick later.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Really interesting links - food

Picked these up at Backwoods Home Forum:

Could spend hours on there!! Hope some might find them useful and interesting.

Bean picking tip

It's the time of year when the beans are just starting to come in; I picked the first of the (supposedly) dwarf borlotti beans this morning, just a wee handful. It needs several handfuls over several days to amass a meal's worth, so to keep them fresh, wrap them in a damp tea towel and keep them in the fridge; just add in a few beans every day until you have enough. They keep fresh and bright and crisp this way.

When your redcurrant jelly doesn't set..................

I try jelly every year, but it's enver very successful, as the stove top is narrow, and not conducive to getting a jam pan to an adequate rolling boil for jelly - jam and marmalade are fine, jelly less so. It turns out like a thick honey, still usable, but drippy!
This eyar, it didn;t jelly again, but I put some of it into the jam wine I was mkaing with the twice yearly jam shelf clear out, and the rest will be aused for cooking. It still imparts the lovely fruity redcurrant flavour, and when heated, liquifies just like the jelly, so is ideal for it. I made red onion marmalade last week, with the recipe from the River Cottage Preserves book. I don't hahve the book, but one of the forum members posted up the recipe for me on the forum:

I did adapt it slightly according to what I had in the alrder, but it's very good; I'll need to make some more, I think.

Other ways os using it willb eCumberland sauce, and game pies and casseroles; the taste marries very well with the stronger flavours of game. A spoonful in an apple pie is nice too, like you do with quince jelly.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Connecting with the past..............

.... recent and ancient. This week I had a visit from an old friend who I went to school with - we haven't seen each other for 12 years ro so, so it was great to catch up and meet their lovely daughter too. Had a great time, talked for England LOL
I'm currently starting in on researching my family tree on my mother's side, and have come across someone in Australia who is connected to my family, with the same connection way back to about 1740 Absolutely amazing, that, hard to comprehend. My life at the moment is taken over with bits of scribbled papers, things with dates on, computer print outs and rifling through my box of old photos. Thoroughly absorbing. Looking forward to getting started on my grandfather's side too.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Thoroughly modern 21st century housewife

Old fashioned? Me?
On the contrary! I think I'm bang up to date here. Someone said something the other week about "being old fashioned" which got me thinking. Am I? I came to the conclsuion I wasn't. I may use old methods, old tools, hold old values for some things, do things manually as much as possible, be as self reliant as I can, make what I can, live at a slower pace, don't drive, ignore fasion, trends and most TV, prefer to stay at home, never been in a plane, make do and mend and all that jazz - but surely that is ultra modern? Not in some jump-on-the-bandwagon/greenwash/trendy/hyped up sexed up way, but where I'm coming from is that the huge problems caused by man on the planet are mostly caused (in my view) by the way we live today. I'm sure I contribute in some way to the problems, but would like to think my efforst lessen my and my family's impact somewhat. Therefore, it's a modern problem; by addressing the problems and coming up with ways in which I can tackle things as best I can at home and in my immediate environs, I am bang up to date in wanting to help and do my bit. If that means using what others perceive as old fashioned methods, then so be it, but I think it's completely on the ball to want to reduce emissions, carbon footprints, use less, use none, shop less, grow your own, live as ethically as possible, consider others around the globe, share your knowledge, buy things that last, support local economies, care for wildlife, make do and mend.
So, that's me, thoroughly modern 21st Century Housewife. Maybe I should have been called Millie LOL

Monday, 6 July 2009

Charity shop bonus!

I was in one of my favourite charity shops on Saturday, just having a browse around. Needless to say, I managed to amass a small pile of goodies - 8 very pretty little doilies, destined to be made into something else, a book on a country childhood and a lovely vintage rug kit, a small bit worked at one end only, so I'm looking forward to completing that - I've never done theh latch hook rugs before, so that should be another string to my bow I hope.Best bit, though, was the lovely lady behind the counter who served me rcognised me from the blog! She asked if I was the 21st century housewife LOL She had seen my pic here, looked at what I'd bought (lol) and put two and two together! So - hello L - thanks for reading the blog and saying hello; I was chuffed to bits and it made my day. :)

Here's the jar of dried oregano ready for the larder:

With the new washing machine getting installed on saturday, the store room was mostly turned out, so it gave me a chance to sort and tidy and clean as I went. Stores neat and tidy now, new washing and ironing baskets (last ones were literally falling to bits); it's actually on the agenda to weave some new ones, but I won;t get to it any time soon, so got these in the meantime.
Coming up this week: tidying adn cleaning (visitors), baking, sorting oil lamps of various types and experimenting with wicks, lots of knitting for various orders I have, more decluttering and hopefully harvesting lots fromt he garden. We had a good downpour of lovely summer rain this morning, and it looks like there's more on the way - good for the garden and butts. I love the summer rain, it has a sound all of its own.