Lavender ‘Champagne’

The process for making this drink is similar to Elderflower ‘Champagne’ – a favourite for a hot sunny day. Lavender was very popular in Elizabethan times as a flavouring and is often unrecognised as a herb.

Ensure the flowers are free from insecticides etc.

40 Lavender Flowers

4oz of finely chopped sultanas

3  3/4 pints of cold boiled water

Juice of a lemon

11 ozs sugar

2 tbs white wine vinegar.

Sir all the dry ingredients together and add to a large glass or ceramic container.Add the wine vinegar, lemon juice and water and stir well.Cover the container with a lid and leave for 7 days .Strain the liquid into sterilised bottles and seal with pop ff plastic caps. After a further week the drink should be sparkling..

Clever crochet night light.

Having eventually completed the Woodland Wreath I was looking for something quick to do which would use up some wool. This sweet little toadstool light pattern fitted the bill. Its made with a Homepride Cook in Sauce Jar ( empty of course!). I never use Homepride Cook in Sauce, I had to buy the jar and throw the sauce away! If you were of a practical nature you could always drill a hole and fill the jar with fairy lights. Another great pattern for using up with omnipresent stash.It uses Chunky wool but I mainly used double knit and doubled it. It took just a few hours and was fun to do. The pattern could be adapted for a smaller jar I think and once you have got the hang of it you could use DK. The pattern is on Ravelry and can be found here ……

 

toadstool lightb

 

I have finally finished the Woodland Wreath!

Blimey this has taken long enough. I started In April 2014! Did the cover, leaves and oak leaves, stuck it up on the wall and forgot about it. It is only since I have been going to a Knit and Knatter Group that I have made progress. I am quite pleased with it. It is not as busy as Frankies but its quite enough for me. I enjoyed it once I got going.  The idea of going to a Knit and Natter was that I would reduce my stash. Unfortunately I keep acquiring more yarn which is given to me when I am there! Still never mind, its the thought that counts! Click on the Woodland Wreath link to see various stages. Somehow this went from being Stashbust ten to twelve. I must have been drinking again.

The  original pattern can be found here on Ravelry ….click here.

Woodland Wreath update Stashbust no 12!

Onward and upward. I have only been doing this since April 2014…although to be fair it lay fallow for ages. I have now done some hedgehogs, holly, ivy and owls. I made four owls but have lost one somewhere! I have made an executive decision only to make a few of each thing from now on, unlike the original which was absolutely loaded.. I still have pine cones, mistletoe, primroses and bluebells to do. I was a bit worried when I put the holly on but when I added  the ivy it lifted it, the holly was such a different colour to the rest. I have found the constant change of pattern ensures I don’t get bored, providing I don’t put it up on the wall as I did and forget about it! Happy New Year.

Woodland Wreath ( stashbust no 12) Update

Well, this is progressing VERY slowly. I have taken to going to a knit and natter group to try to set aside time to make sure I finish the UFOs. If anyone has been following this I started this in April 2014! You can see the stages up till now if you search ‘woodland wreath’ link. This is a free pattern from Frankies Knitted Stuff on Ravelry…although she requests a donation for charity. I have now done the toad stools and have started some hedgehogs!

Strawberries and cream afghan..from sheeps back to completion, at last!

This was made with the wool dyed with cochineal in the summer. My spinning had improved quite a bit since then. Its rather small, but quite adequate as a lap afghan, and surprisingly warm. Memo to myself – block squares prior to sewing up. That said, it did even out quite a bit later on. This is for all those people out there who get demoralised by only ever see perfection on the Net!

Hilary’s stepping stone.

Last year I made a stepping stone of two fish using mesh, but it didnt work out very well. The mesh meant that it didnt get enough attachment to the cement, so stones worked lose. That was a shame, but you live and learn. This meant I had to replace it.

Every day I have been putting out food for Cassidy. He is the local stray cat, who has a bad back leg. He gets the sympathy vote as he hobbles along. My lifes ambition was to catch Cassidy and socialise him. However my cat Bella had other ideas. I then discovered that Cassidy has a buffet lunch every day as he wandered around several houses, where he is also known as George, Tinker and God knows what else. Not only that but he was fussy with his food, excuse me! I couldnt work out which cat was eating the food until I nearly trod on a hedgehog on the doorstep one night. The dry cat food was being munched away. I decided to call the hedgehog Hilary, as I had no idea of its sex.  then discovered that Hilary was also doing the rounds! This has to be one of the better places to be an animal.

Hilary should be hibernating soon. S/he has made a nest in ‘the house opposites’ garden.

So here is a stepping stone I have dedicated to Hilary. I had to do it quickly as I have been so busy this summer and needed to get it done before the weather turned.  I am somewhat worried as to how any of my mosaics will survive the winter. I heard on the news the the Siberian something or the other Swan had been spotted, and the last time it was seen this early was 1964! Mere mention of the winter of 1964 struck fear into me heart! I was only twelve, but we were off school for weeks as the toilets froze inside the school. Temperatures were minus thirty and the sea froze for a mile . It is imprinted on my memory. We are simply not geared up for that kind of weather in this country. In those days we didn’t even have any central heating and only single glazed sash windows. I remember scratching ice off from the inside of my bedroom. However, it cannot have been as grim as the winter of 1947, the previous big freeze, in those days people still had coal and food on rationing! People were told to share their lounges in rotation to keep warm.

I do hope Hilary will be alright.

Hopefully she will have fattened up on the food I and (undoubtedly countless) others have been giving her.

Copper Sulphate and frustration with Internet claims!

I am trying to produce Copper Sulphate and am getting increasingly irritated by some claims on the Internet, including one woman who posted that ‘her liquid went bright blue instantly’! I fail to see why a chemical reaction should occur more quickly in some places than others.       (Even Jenny Dean, the doyenne of natural dyeing, says it takes 7 – 10 days.)  In order to get this amazing response she had taken some copper pennies, and put it in water , ‘with a dash of vinegar’ ! Up goes a pic of a brilliant turquoise! Similarly regrowing spring onion roots did not mean ‘I need never buy them again’-  in fact I found sticking them in water more effective for keeping them alive and simply cut the tops of when I want some. My succulent wreath was not ‘covered in a fortnight’ either. Even accounting for climate difference it appears that plants grow like the Triffids in some quarters. I put my wreath in the sunniest part of a south facing garden and feed it regularly, it IS showing signs of growth but no, it was not ‘covered in a fortnight’ as some sites would have you believe. Yes, I have taken into account all of the variables, but none of them would account for such amazing differences in performance.  Now come on, lets be realistic shall we?

This is day three of the Copper Sulphate production…..I will post up some REALISTIC results. For the record, Dean recommends 50% water and 50% white vinegar…quite how the blogger got such amazing results with a weaker solution is beyond me, particularly as the pennies shown contain less copper!