More creativity – welcome Marleigh, the latest creation! Bunting, Baking, Babies and Butterflies!

Madeleine's Thank you Gingerbread Cookies (great Waitrose recipe) with decorated letters and shapes. Well done and a very thoughtful way to show your appreciation to Grandad Barry and Nanna Dawn.
Madeleine’s Thank you Gingerbread Cookies (great Waitrose recipe) with decorated letters and shapes. Well done and a very thoughtful way to show your appreciation to Grandad Barry and Nanna Dawn for their birthday money.
Of course some of the cookies had to be tailor- made for Daisy and Matthew!
Of course some of the cookies had to be tailor- made for Daisy and Matthew! I love the fact that the butterfly looks as if it might just fly away with the elephant!
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Madeleine and Daisy have bedrooms decorated with butterflies so I made Daisy some bunting for her room and I am waiting to find some yellow and grey butterfly fabric with which to make Madeleine’s. I was particularly pleased with the little cushion pad which was a charity shop find and the remnants from 3 fat quarters (quilting parcels) that I had used to make the bunting from – all in all, quite inexpensive but very effective.

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Oh no, not more bunting! Well, yes but this is to welcome the latest member of the family - this is for Marleigh Olivia Sidwell, born 2nd June 2015. Welcome Marleigh to your new family - what a wise choice!
Oh no, not more bunting! Well, yes but this is to welcome the latest member of the family – this is for Marleigh Olivia Sidwell, born 2nd June 2015. The bunting was made from remnants bought from Jaylaur in Brigg and the wooden letters were purchased from Hobbycraft – who deliver extremely efficiently and fast. This bunting has been made to welcome Marleigh into her new family – what a wise choice!

Strawberry glut – or allotment jam

Wimbledon coming up and so are the strawberries.
Wimbledon coming up and so are the strawberries.
900 grams of strawberries.
900 grams of strawberries.
800 grams of caster sugar and 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
800 grams of caster sugar and 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.
In a large heavy-based pan put all the strawberries and squash them with a potato masher. Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then increase the heat until a rolling boil is achieved, stirring often to prevent sticking. Maintain this until the right temperature is reached 105*c or until a little jam put on a cold plate wrinkles slightly when pushed with a fingertip. Decant into hot sterilised jars. This is a soft set jam as the strawberries do not contain much pectin but it is a lovely colour and ideal with scones!
In a large heavy-based pan put all the strawberries and squash them with a potato masher. Add the sugar and lemon juice and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then increase the heat until a rolling boil is achieved, stirring often to prevent sticking. Maintain this until the right temperature is reached 105*c or until a little jam put on a cold plate wrinkles slightly when pushed with a fingertip. Decant into hot sterilised jars. This is a soft set jam as the strawberries do not contain much pectin but it is a lovely colour and ideal with scones!
Of course this was our second batch of strawberries. The first few pounds were consumed by our delightful grandchildren and this lot were used variously to make Rhubarb, Strawberry and Ginger Compote (posh stewed fruit) - this was a great favourite with our Spanish visitors, Ed and Lola and easy to make - fruit of various types, fresh ginger cut into spillikens (little sticks) and sugar to taste - I use a tiny amount of water just to stop sticking. Bring it gently to the boil, stirring frequently until the right consistency of softened fruit seems to be right - judge by eye, after all
Of course this was our second batch of strawberries. The first few pounds were consumed by our delightful grandchildren and this lot were used variously to make Rhubarb, Strawberry and Ginger Compote (posh stewed fruit) – this was a great favourite with our Spanish visitors, Ed and Lola and easy to make – fruit of various types, fresh ginger cut into spillikens (little sticks) and sugar to taste – I use a tiny amount of water just to stop sticking. Bring it gently to the boil, stirring frequently until the right consistency of softened fruit seems to be right – judge by eye, after all “you first eat with your eyes”, so looks in this case are everything. Due to enormous amounts if rhubarb, I also made Rhubarb and Orange Marmalade – a lovely and simple and foolproof recipe from Lakeland; as well as Rhubarb and Date Chutney – yet to be tried but it smelled enticing and sneaky previews from the pan seem to indicate a rich, sweet chutney. Ready next month.

Upcycling made pallet-able!

Question: What has Chris got in mind for this pallet that arrived today as part of our delivery? Answers on a postcard please.
Question: What has Chris got in mind for this pallet that arrived today as part of our delivery? Answers on a postcard please.
From pallet to platform - what a step up and it only took Chris 10 minutes. Thank you, darling.
From pallet to platform – what a step up and it only took Chris 10 minutes. Thank you, darling.
Well, give the boy an idea and he's well away. Now he's made another step for the kitchen doorway. I only have to paint them both tomorrow.
Well, give the boy an idea and he’s well away. Now he’s made another step for the kitchen doorway. I only have to paint them both tomorrow.
Of course pallets can be useful in so many ways and Chris has used an idea from a friend on Facebook to make me a plant stand and useful shelving for my various pots, poles and garden equipment. Many thanks to Wes and Rosa for giving me the plants that they had spare - daisies, hollyhocks, carnations and delicious marjoram. They are all doing well.
Of course pallets can be useful in so many ways and Chris has used an idea from a friend on Facebook to make me a plant stand and useful shelving for my various pots, poles and garden equipment. We finished off the top with some salvaged roof tiles bought from ‘The Old Tileworks’ – this lovely place has recently re-opened following flooding last year. The staff are all most helpful and welcoming and Harry who runs the tile-works and the salvage yard was really helpful and even gave us a couple of free samples. Many thanks, Harry. Thanks are also due to our generous neighbours, Wes and Rosa for giving me the plants that they had spare – daisies, hollyhocks, carnations and delicious marjoram. They are all doing well in various parts of the garden.
“Early one morning just as the sun was rising …” I saw my husband (in his new snazzy pj’s) starting work on yet another pallet project – is there no end to this man’s talent or industry? Or his fashion sense?
This is a 'temporary patio' in our garden whilst we get on with work on the house and allotment. It is lovely to enjoy attractive areas in between bouts of renovation, weeding and watering. The French Lavender was a bargain from Lidl and it prettily creates an edge to the concrete in some cheap but effective plant holders from The Original Factory Shop. The blues and purples show off the new pallet plant-holder Chris made, to real advantage.
This is a ‘temporary patio’ in our garden – a haven and respite whilst we get on with work on the house and allotment. It is lovely to enjoy attractive areas inbetween bouts of renovation, weeding and watering. The French Lavender was a bargain from Lidl and it prettily creates an edge to the concrete in some cheap but effective plant holders from The Original Factory Shop. The blues and purples show off the new pallet plant-holder Chris made, to real advantage.

‘Knitting Grandma’ and the crafty clan!

Above is a cushion knitted by Jacob's Grandma - aka 'Knitting Grandma'. Yes, I know it has the name James embroidered on the hand-knitted square but in the interests of fairness and to assuage sibling rivalry, Grandma felt it was vital to treat both little boys to a hand-knitted greeting. To prolong the life of the greeting and to preserve the knitting I turned them into cushions - so snuggly and so brilliant for 'pimping' those bedrooms! I couldn't resist the fabric!
Above is a cushion centrepiece knitted by Jacob’s Grandma – aka ‘Knitting Grandma’. Yes, I know it has the name James embroidered on the hand-knitted square but in the interests of fairness and to assuage sibling rivalry, Grandma felt it was vital to treat both little boys to a hand-knitted greeting. To prolong the life of the greeting and to preserve the knitting I turned them into cushions – so snuggly and so brilliant for ‘pimping’ those bedrooms! I couldn’t resist the fabric!

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What Grandma did next.
What Grandma did next.
Here are just a few of the chunky Arran knit cushion covers that Grandma has made for Mariery and James for their new interior design busign in Panama! Yes! Panama. Check them out at Mezclao Studio. Totally nailed this, Mummy - great vibrant colours and fantastic knitting. I have already put in my order for some more of the purple ones - lush!
Here are just a few of the chunky Arran knit cushion covers that Grandma has made for Mariery and James for their new interior design busign in Panama! Yes! Panama. Check them out at Mezclao Studio. Totally nailed this, Mummy – great vibrant colours and fantastic knitting. I have already put in my order for some more of the purple ones for our guest bedroom – lush!
This is the birthday present we found for my sister. Brilliant British Red Cross charity shop in Barton upon Humber - an Aladdin's Cave of great finds. A big thank you to all who donate here but also a bigger thank you to the volunteers who are always so helpful particularly when heaving about 'marble' hearths and insets - and a special thank you as this week is  Volunteers Week (1-7 June 2015)
This is the birthday present we found for my sister. Brilliant British Red Cross charity shop in Barton upon Humber – an Aladdin’s Cave of great finds. A big thank you to all who donate here but also a bigger thank you to the volunteers who are always so helpful particularly when heaving about ‘marble’ hearths and insets – and a special thank you as this week is Volunteers Week (1-7 June 2015) To explain – in the spirit of being green and re-cycling and of course a good dollop of serendipity we found this complete fireplace set for the excellent price of £90.00 (minus the pots, vase and bear in chair). They will be gracing my sister’s living room in a matter of weeks but are presently housed in our parents’ garage waiting delivery to Harrogate. To finish it off we have found a great little electric ‘wood-burner’ effect stove to stand on the hearth – look out for similar stove bargains in this line at Argos, B&Q and Homebase.
Question: What has Chris got in mind for this pallet that arrived today as part of our delivery? Answers on a postcard please.
Question: What has Chris got in mind for this pallet that arrived today as part of our delivery? Answers on a postcard please.