Saturday, 28 January 2012

Antique fabric..................

.....yes  please!  Love it :)  I went to one of my favourtie antique places today and was in for a lovely surprise - they have greatly expanded and changed around their vintage/antique fabrics and haberdashery section. I was like a child in a sweetie shop, I really was. So much gorgeousness to choose from............... 
I seem to have a leaning towards French  fabrics, and managed to come home with these:

The tiny wee label at the top says 1885, which I imagine is the date, and these are the original labels further down; I think they were samples originally.

The bundle on top is glazed chintz in very pretty reds and golds, again with original labels on. Even the red and white string bundling them up is lovely, and will be lovingly rolled  up for re-use.
I couldn't resist these either:

Lengths of sheer joy and prettiness, which will be squirreled away for something they will be just perfect for.

Add all that to yesterday's wool bought for stashing

and I'm one very happy bunny. :)

Friday, 27 January 2012

Poem for a Friday

I read this on my friend L's blog this morning and loved it, so am sharing :)

Old Woman of the Roads

O, to have a little house!

To own the hearth and stool and all!

The heaped up sods against the fire,

The pile of turf against the wall!

To have a clock with weights and chains

And pendulum swinging up and down!

A dresser filled with shining delph,

Speckled and white and blue and brown!

I could be busy all the day

Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,

And fixing on their shelf again

My white and blue and speckled store!

I could be quiet there at night

Beside the fire and by myself,

Sure of a bed and loth to leave

The ticking clock and the shining delph!

Och! but I'm weary of mist and dark,

And roads where there's never a house nor bush,

And tired I am of bog and road,

And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!

And I am praying to God on high,

And I am praying Him night and day,

For a little house - a house of my own

Out of the wind's and the rain's way.

Padraic Colum


White chocolate and cherry ice cream

This is an off the cuff recipe, so adaptable to what you have in the larder, once the basic ice cream is made.
I use a pot of single cream, 300ml and one egg yolk - heat the cream and stir in the beaten eg yolk, cook gently until thickens - this gives  a good custard base for the icecream. When thickened, take it off the heat and leave to cool a bit. Add about 1 tbsp Thorntons white hot chocolate, and a handful of fresh cherries, stoned and halved. Stir in well, then taste and adjust sweetness with white sugar. Pour back into the washed crem carton, pop the lid back on and freeze until required. Best served slightly on the soft side I think.
You can add anything at all to the custard mix once it's made - any fruit, chopped, syrups, chocolate chips, vanilla essence, cocoa powder, marshmallows...................

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Making cream cheese

Made this today, it's really really good, well worth a try; much better than anything you can buy ready made - a real, sharp fresh cheesey flavour, and you can salt it to your own taste; would be good in spring with chopped wild garlic, chives, parsley, cracked peppercorns, chillies, anything really . Would also make a good not-too-sweet topping for a carrot cake. Very versatile :))

And for my next trick...............

Whilst looking for the black cardigan (post below), I came across this little wrap around skirt- not bought for wearing, but for the beautiful fabric, only 50p from the sale rack in the charity shop - was tiny, only about a size 6 I reckon.

One pair of scissors and half an hour alter, I had this, plus a few wee awkward bits left over (but kept just in case)

I'm not quite sure what it will be knitted/crocheted up into yet, will wait for inspiration to strike, but kept me busy over a cup of tea :)

Rejuvenating the wardrobe

- as in clothes within, not the wardrobe itself! Well, when I say within, there's lots ofother things in there apart from clothes, and lot of clothes not actually in the wardrobe; so, yes, a complete overhaul is required. I've a pile of nice things acquired to 'do things' with, and am looking forward to getting on with that, getting back to the sewing machine, been a while.
Firt thing I've been meaning to do for a long time now (over a year, I suspect) is update a cardigan. I'm not a fan of Marks & Spencer as a rule, but they do/did make lovely lambswool jumpers. I managed to find a very nice plain black lambswool cardigan for only £3, so snapped that up. However, think 1980s - hideous 'gold' buttons and HORROR of HORRORS - shoulder pads!!!   lol
I popped over the road to my beloved Hansons and invested less than £4 in some new mixed buttons for it. Job completed this morning, and am very  pleased with it.

It's now ready to go into the wardrobe once I get it cleared and sorted; my intention too is to cover all my wooden hangers, something else that is a long-term project, but I have a nice stripey knitted one all ready for this to hang on.
Will  go upstairs later and sort the next project ready...............

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

What if................

New book has arrived

Can't wait to read this one! Written in 1942 when she was in her thirties, she and her husband took to the woods of Maine.

''.....will arouse in readers sharp envy of, and warm admiration for, Mrs Rich, together with a fierce determination toi go and do likewise'' - The New Yorker

Sounds good to me :)

Burns NIght

As it says, one of the gretest love songs ever written, and a great favourite of mine

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

My new 'green' iron

Ironing - love it or hate it? I'm in the love camp for this one :)I've had to invest in a new iron, but wanted a dry iron, less to go wrong, a good weight, something that is a pleasure to use and take care of. Good old      e-bay came up with this little treasure for me:

A real proper dry iron, made by Sunbeam, beautiful to handle, good weight in my hand and in superb condition. It even came in its original box:

I am quite wary of buying secondhand electrical equipment, but was heartened by the seller's assurance that the iron  had been well tested, etc, so I went ahead with the purchase

All for £14 +  p&p.
Call it vintage, call it shabby chic, call it 'green', call it recycled - call it what you will, but I'm delighted that these good quality items are still about if you search them out and make the effort, and I'm equally delighted that some good and decent people are taking the time and making the effort to make them available to buy for people who care :)

Monday, 23 January 2012

Where children sleep

I picked this up on Facebook; have a look and a read, and look at the pictures they show.  I defy anyone not to be moved by this.

Thought for a Monday

“DESTINY is a feeling you have that you know something about yourself nobody else does. The picture you have in your own mind of what you're about WILL COME TRUE. It's a kind of a thing you kind of have to keep to your own self, because it's a fragile feeling, and you put it out there, then someone will kill it. It's best to keep that all inside.” - Bob Dylan

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Frugal butter making

I was lucky enough to dome upon 12 pots of double cream in Morrisons the other night  - on the reduced counter, at 5p a pot, so they all came home with me :)

10 pots went into the churn, in two goes

When it had 'come' (the proper name for when the butter solids have separated from the buttermilk), I  drained it first in a colander, leaving it overnight by the cold window sill

Next is squeezing  by hand and rinsing to get rid of amy buttermilk left , squeezed into a bowl to save it. Then it's into the butter press, squashed down and turned out, int e fridge to chill and harden before being wrapped and frozen. That's a lot of butter for 50p,  plus a good pint and a half of buttermilk for scones when the oven is up pnext, and I'll make several dozen for freezing too. The pots have been washed and stored for use in the spring for transplanting seedlings for my little sales table at the gate. Very satisfying all round :)

It was very much a kithcen day today - I set a new cheese to use up some surplus milk, cooked up some steak and kidney for a pie during the week, braised some nice rump steak in red wine with shallots and mushrooms, filled the oven with baked potatoes and made leeks in cheese sauce to go with them, and some purple sprouting broccoli; inb etween, I finished a hat, and did some more blocks for a new blanket, sorted and washed laundry , did 5 sinkfuls of washing up, took my turns on Facebook  Scrabble and drank an awful lot of tea.
I managed to knock the edge of the glass inner of my cafetiere the other day, so will go back to using my hillbilly orange enamel pot. I need to look up the trick of topping it up with a bit of cold water to sink the grounds which I'm sure I read somewhere, or I'll need to find the tea strainer again!  Hence all the tea today and no coffee............

Back at the kitchen table now, with a large glass of rather nice elderflower..................the simple life is hard, yes, but so rewarding :)