Tuesday, 15 April 2014

It's a Great Day for Drying the Washing


Spring Has Sprung

I'm reluctant to say that without my fingers crossed - but it really does seem as if we are not going to have Winter weather now.

I have dug out a little potager in my front garden...

and have already put in some cabbage and broccoli plants...

...and on Sunday we went to a Fête des Plantes at Magnac Laval and I bought three gooseberry bushes - which seem to be rare in France!

Hopefully I will have lots of lovely fruit at the end of the Summer.

The Plant Fair was in the grounds of a château which is part of an agricultural college now...

There were quite a few stalls...

...I actually bought the gooseberry bushes from the one that was selling irises!

I was very tempted by a climbing rose, but there is a big plant fair in a couple of weeks at the château in Mortemart, and I have had very good things from there in the past, so I'm going to wait for that one.
Mortemart Plant Fair Poster

More info here.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014


Remember when I bought this yarn?

...and made these socks?

Well, the first time I washed them, they shrank!  Though the yarn was 75% wool and 25% polyamide, it obviously wasn't machine washable,

I hesitated to throw them away but what else could I do?

And then I got inspiration from this article...


So here are the socks now...

...re-purposed as wristwarmers!

Monday, 17 March 2014

A Finished Object!!

Yes, I do finish things a lot of the time.  Now it's the turn of the coathanger I showed you in this post.

In a feeble attempt to clear my coffee table, I thought I'd better finish this project and get it out of the way...

I made a little twisted cord to tie in a bow around the hook of the hanger too.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

First Brocante...

Of this year, that is!

A lovely day of warm sunshine,so loads of people were at the brocante and a good time was had by all.

I got some great Tupperware...

Don't you just love Tupperware?  This little lot cost me 2.5 euros...

And I also found a sweet picture, hand-carved in wood, of a little fish...

...for 2 euros.  I think it will look good in my bathroom.

And then there was the pile of jam jars at 50 cents each - some big ones which I could use to bottle tomatoes later in the year and some 'normal' sized ones which I can use for jam.

Yes - they're those lovely Bonne Maman ones!

But you know, my record for jam-making is not superb.  Last Autumn I made jam with some Reine Claude plums I had been given, but I didn't realise that the riper the fruit is, the less well the jam will set - and it didn't.  So I'm going to re-do that with some pectin that Janet, my friend, is bringing me on Tuesday and hopefully I will then have some JAM!

But there's also the marmalade I made about a week ago from this recipe.  It was a really great recipe but with one flaw.  It said to boil the oranges in 2.3 litres of water  (which was a great idea and made them really easy to peel and get the pith off the peel and make sure the strips of peel were not chewy when eaten) and also said not to discard this water. However, the water was not 2.3 litres AFTER the boiling and there was no mention of what it should have been finally.  I made it up to 2.3 litres again and I now wonder if this was too much, as the marmalade DID NOT SET!!!!!

However, I have since discovered that some of the preserving sugar I used did not contain pectin (you would think I had learnt my lesson by now) so this probably contributed to the non-setting.

So, when Janet brings the pectin I will be boiling up the marmalade again too, and hope for a set.  It did look, smell and taste lovely while cooking...

Even if it is till pretty liquid in the jars!

So, hopefully, I will soon be able to show you a brilliant selection of marmalade and Reine Claude jam - watch this space!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Look What I Found!!!

An Innocent Smoothie bottle! ! !

Last year, when I was making hats for these bottles, I couldn't find one anywhere out here in this part of France.  Eventually a friend sent me one and I was able to try all the little hats on that...

...but yesterday, in the Hyper U in St Junien I found two little smoothie bottles in the 'sandwiches' section - Kiwi, Apple and Pineapple and Strawberry and Banana!  Of course, I had to drink one with my lunch...

...and it was yummy!

So now I can start making the little bottle hats any time and just pile them up ready to send at the end of the year.  Mine go here, and the end date for their acceptance will be some time in December this year - last year was the 15th...

Evry hat knitted and sold on a bottle in the participating stores raises 25p for Age Concern in the UK or 20€ for a similar charity in France...

So, when I've finished these socks for Dan...

...I'll use any left-over yarn for a little Innocent hat.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Winter Woolies

Well, I've worn and washed the socks I showed you in the last post and they were lovely and warm.  Since washing they have become even softer, which is good!

I also spun some fibre and knitted a hat with it - although I haven't blocked it and it looks a bit lumpy!

Hat in handspun
I knitted another in conventional yarn and, although it was warm enough (I wore it on a walk yesterday) it was nothing like as cosy as the handspun one!

I'm currently knitting a plain-ish hat with some sock yarn held double and making up the pattern as I go along...

Crazy Zauerball hat

...and also crocheting a coat hanger cover for a hanger I found naked in my wardrobe!

Prosaic stuff, I know, but I don't have so much time for crafty things these days.

You see, I've met someone...  and we spend a lot of time together.  Time I used to fill with crafting - and also blogging.  So, less crafting and less blogging.  Sorry.

I still try and read your blogs though, but I don't always have the time to write comments...

Anyway - what's the weather like in your neck of the woods? Here it is raining again today, although not too cold.  I just wonder where Winter was - we don't seem to have had it yet.  All the Spring flowers are coming out and trees are blossoming, so I just hope some nasty weather doesn't creep up on us and frizzle all the blooms to death with a vicious frost! 

There are violets and celandines in the banks of the ditches by the roads and the odd cowslip too... and in my garden more violets and the little baby daffodils I brought from England last summer are popping up everywhere in bud and flower.  Long may it continue, I say.  I'd rather have the rain than snow and ice!

If you're reading this in England, I hope you are flood-free and looking forward to the Summer.