Wednesday, 31 October 2012

rosehip and apple jelly

I haven't made much jam this year, we didn't have much of a plum harvest and no apples and there didn't seam like much about to scrump. Then I noticed all the rosehips. I've always fancied making some rosehip jam but wasn't really sure what you do about all the itchy stuff inside. Luckily the internet had the answer, straining through muslin should do the trick.

Rosehips are full of vitamin C but low in pectin so I decided to combine them with apples as they tend to have lots of pectin especially if they are on the tart side. As it happened we had a few scrumped from next doors tree that were not great eaters as they were a bit sharp. Perfect for jam.

The local graveyard is great scrumping ground, elderflowers, elderberries, black berries, cherries and it turns out, rosehips (from the wild roses not anything planted on a grave).

We picked as many as we could be bothered, which was not a huge amount. I topped and tailed them, then boiled them with enough water to cover. They took about hour to get soft then I mashed them with a potato masher, topped up the water and boiled for another 15mins. I roughly chopped the apples core, skin and all and boiled them separately, they only took 20mins. I left both both fruits to strain separately over night.

I had a hoped that by not squeezing the fruit through the muslin it would make a clear pink jelly. But both fruit juices looked cloudy so I gave the apples a squeeze to make a bit more juice. I ended up with 2 cups of rosehip and 3 of apple. I boiled it with 4 cups of sugar and ended up with a really nice pinky orange, slightly cloudy jelly. But more importantly it tastes lovely.

Monday, 29 October 2012

blog overhaul

I have been meaning to change the look this blog for ages but I had made life difficult for my self with it's first incarnation. I wanted rounded corners on the photos and ended up doing it manually in the Gimp by adding rounded corners and filling with the background colour of the blog. This meant that any change would either mean keeping the dark green background, which I wanted to get rid of, or re-doing all of the photos - all together too much faff.

In the end I modified this template to give me a green boarder and Mark helped me to get the nice rounded corners with a very small tweak of the CSS. Rest of the colours are taken from the photo.

Now I have more space I can have nice large photos. The older posts are not laid out as well as I'd like because I uploaded small photos but don't have the time or willingness to sort that out! I like the new brighter look, it's just a shame the photo of the ribbon is not mine... I'll work on that for the next overhaul.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

funky turn ups

I made these purple jersey trousers ages ago with plenty of room in the bum but Grace shot up and they were suddenly and inch too short. I've been thinking of how best to lengthen them. I've got lots of the jersey left but fudging and extra piece on the bottom was never going to look pretty. Then I had a sudden flash of inspiration and remembered the lovely purple material I bought on holiday.

I hate hemming jersey, it always ends up bulky and doesn't hang well, so when I originally made these I just stitched a ruffle round the bottom and didn't bother to hem them. The ruffle was falling off so it wasn't much trouble to remove and add the cute turn ups. I love the way makes them into bell bottoms! It was a nice quick fix that hopefully has given them a few months extra wear.

Friday, 26 October 2012

upcycled trousers

I try to have a one in one out wardrobe policy. When I found a nice new grey cardie it wasn't hard to choose which one went out. Most old clothes got to charity but this particular cardie was a bit gutless and even better than recycling is upcycling.

I snatched a few minuets during naps and once again I am amazed at how easy trousers are to make. I used a pair I knew fitted as a pattern and drew round them, making them a bit wider at the bottom. As it was a slim fitting cardie there was only just enough material, I had to fudge it a bit at the crotch and I wasn't sure there was going to be enough rise.

The great thing about this ribbed cardie was that I didn't need to hem which means they hang nicely. It is also super stretchy so plenty of room for big bum nappies.

Once I had made them up and trimmed the top I thought the rise might not be enough. I wanted to add some height with a thick waist band but I didn't have any thick elastic. Instead I cut the waist band from a sleeve, so the ribbing was going in the slightly less stretchy direction. I made the band smaller than the trousers and stretched it to fit as I sewed. As it happens I could have made it a bit smaller as there is a lot of stretch in the material.

For once I over estimated in most of the dimensions so they are slightly too long, plenty wide enough and come up under armpits! But they are supper cozy and she might be wearing them for a few months to come instead of growing out of them in a few weeks!

She had lots of fun playing with them but was a somewhat unwilling model!