Tuesday, 10 July 2012

An afternoon well spent

Long time no post, I hope everyone is keeping well, dry and safe, did you enjoy the tennis? it was a first for me in years, sat there infront of the T.V and gave out a few Ooo's and Ahh's, thought it was a good game.

 An afternoon well spent....

Rain Rain and more Rain, Now if I was spending my time crafting, it would be welcome, save me roasting in the the craft room - Conservatory lol, But this craft free month or two has given time to some forward thinking and conversations.

House move, Retirement, not that were at retirement age but hubby said he would like to retire when the mortgage was paid, and just have a part-time job, we have a few years yet (unless we win the lottery).

It was exciting, thinking of where we may move to, but boy it can cause some heated discussions, well!!!! there needs to be room for crafting and gardening :)

After an hour or two it's back to here and now, and were redecorating, Hehee, Forward thinking and a lick of paint all in an afternoon, quite tiring :)

Wishing you all well, and hopefuly it wont be as long before mmy next post.

Jax x

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Blog Givaway

Latest makes

”http://folksy.com/shops/silverspiral ”http://folksy.com/shops/silverspiral

What a lovely suprise for silverspiral
I never expected it, and i'm over the moon :)

I entered a blog givaway that was run by Craftymushroom up for grabs were lots of gorgeous looking items, all Hand Crafted of course by the lovely Debbie.
Well I entered my name into the Giveaway thinking no more of it.

What a lovey suprise it was to receive an e-mail saying my name was pulled out, and to look forward to the delivery of those gorgeous goodies I saw on her blog.

When they arrived, well it was like Christmas, beautifully wrapped, I couldn't wait to see them, and I wasn't dissapointed, beautifully Crafted, crips colours, quality cardstock used throughout, well the notice board was up within seconds, no drilling needed, magnatised strips on the back meant straight onto the fridge door, no hasstle.
The pretty bookmark and keyring will go to my daughter as an extra gift from her children on motherday, and the pretty colourful Large gift tags will brighten up the gifts they are used on throughout the year.
There is also a pretty small pink tote bag, hand decorated by debbie, but I dont have any little girls, so this will be passed on for someone else to make use of.

A very big Thank you goes to Debbie.

If you hav'nt yet visited Craftymushroom I can highly recommend her, please pop along to take a look at her wonderful shop and purchase some of her Hand Crafted goodies.
Jax x

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Mmmmmmmmmmmm!!! Marmalade

Nothing can taste as good as homemade, well 90% of the stuff
Today I've been making my first batch of this years Orange Marmalade.
I was never one for Marmalade, same with alot of produce, but once I started making them myself it gave me the encouragement I needed to try them
last year I spent all day doing 2 batches, but it did last most of the year, this year I have decided to do 1 batch now, and i'll do another later in the year.

Orange marmalade can taste slightly different with each batch, I tend not to use the Seville Oranges but do use sweet oranges, this year tho the batch was made from Neville Oranges with the added rind taken from the Seville Oranges, it should add a slightly different taste. Have to say I dont like rind in it, but it has been very very finely grated, and only from 3 Oranges.

If you have never made any Marmalade before, you will find loads of recipe's on the internet, but here is a recipe link or two that you can try, Allotment growing recipes and Jam Jar Shop And of course they sell all preservng kits, utencils, Jars etc, I shall also put my recipe from this months batch if you would like to try it.

2LB Sweet Oranges
2 Lemons
4 pints of Water
Very small knob of butter
Sugar 1LB per pint of finished Liquid.
Large deep pan
Long handled wooden spoon
Jars with lids and several waxed disc's.
Please Note as the marmalade is cooking and for some time later, it is extremely hot and can cause severe burns, so please think safety from spills and splashes, and take great care to keep children and animals well away from the working area.

Thoroughly Clean your Jars & Lids in hot soapy water, rinse in clean hot water and Dry.
Scrub the oranges with hot water and a bristle brush to clean off any dirt or wax.
dry, then roll on the work surface, this will make for more Juice.

In a dish ( so you dont loose any Juice), cut in half, extract the juice, i used a juicer, keeping the pips separate as you will need them, Place Juice into your deep pan.

Quarter and half again the rind, slice off the pith, and put the pith with the pips in a muslin bag.
Put the rind in the pan with the Orange Juice, Water, Add the Lemon Juice.
Put the pips from the Lemon in the bag with the pips and pith of the orange.
Tie the bag to secure, you dont want to loose the pips in the pan, Place the bag in the pan along with the juice and orange rind.

Bring all the liquid to boil then simmer for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. until the orange rind is nice and soft.
Once the rind is ready you can remove it and let it cool enough, so you can slice it as thinly as you like, or leave it out altogether.

Remove the bag of pips and pith pressing lightly against the pan with a wooden spoon as you take it out, this can now be discarded.

Measure the amount of liquid in your pan, you will see that there is much less than you put, this is correct and should happen.

Weigh out 1Lb of sugar to each pint of liquid, warm the sugar by popping in the over on an open platter or in a dish.

Put the oven on gas mark 2-3, a low-med heat setting, place your cleaned jars upside down on a greaseproof paper covered rack, put the lids next to them, and pop in the oven, this is to sterilize your jars and lids.

Put the warmed sugar into warm liquid on a low heat and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. about 10 mins.

Turn up the heat and high boil the liquid, stirring all the time. Think safety.
Do not let it boil over the top if it is raising to high turn you heat down a touch, but keep it high boiling and keep stirring all the time.

after about 15 mins test for setting, turn off the heat and pop a spoon of liquid on a cool plate, wait a few moments to cool, if it starts to wrinkle when you touch it then it is at setting point, if it does not wrinkle, boil for a few more minutes then test again.

Once ready, remove from heat, add a small knob of butter and stir.

Remove the jars and lids from the oven (caution, they will be very hot) place on a heat resistance non slip mat the right way up, Ladle marmalade into the hot jars, place a waxed disc (wax side down) onto the Marmalade and seal with the lid.

Leave to cool at room temperature ( this could take a couple of hours).
Once cooled, Lable and date. store in a dark cool place.

If you decide to make your own, have a version of your own or try my version I'd love to hear from you.
Jax x

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Seeding for the future

Are you a gardener, want to try your own produce, even if its only a few herbs or a pack of mixed lettuce, the taste is so much better, and cretainly worth the thought.

Wow!! I cant get my breath, its February tomorrow, it will soon be time for warming up the soil to set some seeds.
I love gardening, and eating the produce, well not the flowers I dont eat those but the chamomile can be used for tea, or in the bath, but I do eat the fruit and veg side of it. Oh I wont use pesticides or chemicals blugh!!! I want my produce as Natural as possible, but there is a downside to that, fighting the slugs lol, and last year did learn me one thing, white fly love greens, well! yep! knew that, I just didn't realise how much.
I'm not a well established gardener, Used to grow pea's and potato's etc when the kids were young, now they are grown up, no swings allowed only my swing seat lol, my dad used to have a great space about 20 x the size of mine, so he helps (advise) me alot, well he hasn't got his garden anymore, his now is smaller than mine, so is limited to what he grows, so loves to come and offer advise :)

So today I have been sorting through my seed packs, but there's a huge problem, my garden's not big enough for the amount of fruit and veg I want to grow :)
Last year there were pots everywhere, apart form growing veg in the little plots in the garden.

There was way to much for my small garden, heres a list of what I had growing,
Potatoes, greenbeans, white Onion, Shallott(sp) Turnip, Swede, Peas, leek, 7 kinds of Tomato's, Beetroot, Carrot, 2 kind of Broccoli, Courgette, 2 kinds of Cabbage, 2 kinds of Couli, Kolrabi, Lettuce, Radish, Spring Onion, Cucumber.
Dwarf Peach Tree, Apple Tree, Plum Tree, Pear Tree. 2 Blueberry bushes, Lemon Tree, 2 Grape trees/bushes, blackcurrent bush and Strawberries.
Mint, Parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, dill, there was another but i've forgotten what it was.
Hmm don't suppose I did to badly, but lost alot of my greens due to the white fly. Anyway this year there will be less certainly no cabbage,broccoli,couli, no potatoes or cougettes and less verieties of Tomato, apart from the white fly some produce takes up to much space for the amount of produce it povided, any extra space will be taken over with shallotts as my lovely sister thinks my pickled onions are beautiful and she has placed an order for as many as I can let her have lol, and I will attempt a kiwi fruit.

If you are just starting out or like me still learning you could find this site very useful, and they have a great recipe section Allotment Gardening Dont worry you dont even need to have an allotment, I have a small garden and you can see what I get in :) All those little pots get put to good use.
I hope if nothing else this gives you the confidance to buy or blag some seeds and get your garden growing. This was my garden early on last year. Wish I had taken photo's later on in the season, but didn't know I would be writing about it on this blog :)
Hope every one has a good february and dont let the chill get to you.
Jax x

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Pooch and day 4

Poor little poochy, ok then Scruffy :) has kennel cough, poor little thing, so baby benylin he's been enjoying, I'm surprised how he licks it off the spoon lol, hmmm think he quite likes it, either way it seems to be working, he has hardly coughed today.

He is settling nicely, we just need to get him used to the fact that, ... we can dissapear for am hour here and there without him tearing up my house :(

We had a more peaceful nights sleep last night, when he jumped on the bed, he was put back in his own, this happed several times, I think he got the message in the end, ... or I was just to tired to notice lol.

Here he is doing his settling in bit

He's been a very busy boy watching me work today, which he was very excited about at times, especially when I threw paper into the bin and he took it out again lol, so for the moment at least he's having a well earned rest sat next to my hubby .......... bet you thought those white hairy legs were mine didn't you Lol.
Time for a glass of wine.
Thank you for visiting and enjoy your evening.
Jax x

Friday, 13 January 2012

My new Pooch

Its landed, my new pooch,
as we drove over to my parents house last saturday we passed a rehoming center, well I just had to make hubby turn the car around, and we went inside to look around.
I did see a few dogs and the thought *OH your sweet*, crossed my mind, but nothing to take my heart, till we was on the last few pens , and this tiny paw came through the gap, as if to say "slow down and look at me" a 1-2 yrs old terrier cross.
Well!! I looked and the words "aww hello sruffy" came out of my mouth, he's small and he looked like he had been through a hedge and rolled in muck lol.
Well I just had to have him, we went and took him on a couple of walks and he met one of the grandchildren during the week, ......... then d-day arrived...... we was there with one minute to spare before the gates we opened.
Yey he's mine, now first things first, .... he stunk to high heaven lol ... home and bath, we was supprised, he was pretty good in the bath, and when he got out he shared the water around the bathroom.
Drying time .... Oh what fun that was, he loved it ... rolls around, turns over, sticks his bum in the air lol.
So far so good ... he's settling for now ... we'll just have to see what night time brings.

This is he a gorgeous clean and seemingly happy boy named Scruffy.