Friday, 31 August 2012

I have big problems with this...............

Bandwagons and coat tails spring to mind. Now, I know I've been sewing for some 45 years or so, but tht has no bearing on what I am about to write here.

''Sarah Dickins wants to bring "make do and mend" back into fashion. Her "Alto sewing machine, a contender for the 2012 James Dyson Award, combines sleek, vintage-inspired lines with beginner-friendly controls to encourage display and invite frequent use. "Sewing machines are ugly and complicated which puts beginners off sewing," says Dickins, a student at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. "By increasing the appeal and accessibility of sewing, Alto encourages users to ‘make do and mend,’ inspiring them to recycle, customize, and repair clothes which would otherwise end up in the bin."

What a load of nonsense; make do and mend has never ever been out of 'fashion', and has certainly seen something of a renaissance over the past ten to fifteen years with the rise of environmental consciousness - hence the bndwagon bit. Modern sewing machines are not ugly and complicated at all - take time to learn to use your machine properly for goodness'   sake - more of the 'microwave mentality' of today .  Why are folk not prepared to take the time to learn to do things properly? Everything worth doing takes time to learn, often over years, never mind weeks or days. Bit of patience and practice - you can't epect to run up a 'perfect' garment within a few days of buying a sewing machine. I learned to sew many types of seams, finishes, all about cutting out, fabrics, threads and notions, scissors, tools etc as well as learning to work and look  after the sewing machine - it really is all part of it.
Personally, I think that is one of the ugliest and unsturdiest looking things I've seen in a long time. You couldn't sew a pair of decent curtains on it........
Why re-invent the wheel? Why use up precious resources making changes for change's sake - get an old/second hand machine - refurbish it, learn to service it, get to know it and it will last you until you pop your hand made clogs.


Mine is similar to this one:

- and my electric one is a New Home from the early 1970's, still in perfect working order because it is used often, well serviced and maintained.

Frugal Friday - taking stock

Literally today :)  I like to use the change of seasons to look forward and back a little and to see exactly where I am with things. Today it is definitely autumn - the light has changed perceptibly and there's a certain freshness to the air that comes at no other time of year, this is my favourite change over. Looking back at the summer just gone, it's been a very wet and cold one - very little happening in the garden because of illness and the weather, not much produce to show for it all. Looking forward, I can get the beds cleared and the greenhouses tidied and ready for the winter now, with a longer  view to the spring. There is stuff to be got though - John Downie crab apples will make jelly, there are lots of Jerusalem artichokes for soup and roasting, various herbs, a few eating and cider apples, and a good crop of parsley. Teh good thing about a well-stocked garden is that I can find something edible out there 365 days a year. Indoors, looking back, I find I made no chutney and only a few jars of raspberry jam - I just don;t need it, as the cupboard shelves are groaning with preserves still, so no point in making any  more until next year I think; same with fruit bottling. This gives me a good chance to sort through all my jars and other equipment. Aside from the food and kitchen aspects, I'm looking towards winter ia the woodstore and various craft projects. I hope to have to buy no more wood in, there is quite a bit available around the garden that just needs sporting, splitting, stacking, etc, and my craft stash will see me through many months.
So, from a frugal eprspective, very little to buy or acquire, giving me the opportunity to use what I have, rotate stocks of everything, sort out and get ready for winter and next year.

  I live in the moment with an eye on the past and an eye to the future  - peace of mind is the result :)



 - I am in my mind lol  Am slowly getting organised with a view to moving on in whatever direction presents itself.  This takes the form of sorting out, decluttering, moving stuff around, using up, giving away, recycling - all that sort of thing and more. Spent the afternoon in the ktichen sorting out bulk foodstuffs for storing; some of it is emergency rations, some just bought in bulk because I use a lot of it, now all   stored away in a sensible fashion.
Earlier on, I'd sorted out various jars of homemade liqueurs, decanting them into bottles and sweetening with sugar syrup where necessary. All done now and the jars washed and dried and ready for stowing away tomorrow I'm going to need a lot of jars as I've just ordered a pressure canner to add to the ktichen battery - really looking forward to having a go at this after many years  of wanting to :) Watch this space (now that I've made one lol)

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Rosewood meat

I've been cooking since I was 6 (now 51 almost); I have cooked just about every joint of meat/cut/offal/bird whatever over the years, both at home and professionally as a chef.

I have never tasted a piece of rump steak like the Ayrshire I have just eaten, I really can't praise it highly enough, and I would like to thinkthat for here on in I will not be buying my beef from anywhere else. The only other piece I've had so far was the brisket which was more than excellent too.
Really, give it a go, the difference to 'ordinary ' meat is incalculable.

Act for Seed Freedom

Please watch this and share as widely if you can. It really is vitally important for many reasons. Thankyou :)


Thrifty homemade chicken soup

Really in August I should be thinking more along the lines of salads and barbecues, cooking outside and picnics!  Really really wet, cold and miserable today, so made some thrifty chicken soup.

Dice one medium onion and saute in a good knob of butter until soft, but not coloured; add in the chopped meat from two cooked chicken legs* and 1 1/2 pints of good stock (I used Marigold powder for this one). Simmer slowly for about half an hour, then whizz through the blender, but not too smooth,so you still have bits of the chicken in it. Re-heat gently with a dash of cream or top of the milk and serve in hot soup bowls.

* these were left from a chicken used a few days ago; I intend to buy a coule of packs of free range chicken legs though, cook them, and keep them in the freezer for making chicken soup. Can't be beaten on a day like today :)

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Highland Fairy blog

A lovely blog to stumble across on a Sunday morning - great originality, beautiful work, inspiring :)

(picture of her dress from the blog above)