Saturday, 31 March 2012


A couple of months ago Stephanie drew a picture of her ideal birthday cake for her rapidly approaching 6th birthday. Since she drew it I have been considering how to make it. I came up with an idea and needed to try it, so what better excuse than my sister coming to stay with us not long before her 30th birthday. Above is her blowing out her candles.

The best part is Stephanie took one look and said it's exactly what she wants for her birthday- RESULT! as it was very simple to make.

Friday, 30 March 2012

All aboard it's time for the Spring Fair

Remember a little while ago I said I had signed up for Mum's virtual Spring fair planning to hold a sewing stall.

Well it's time for the spring fair link up! I'm a little early with my post due to a family invasion I suspect I may not have opportunity during the day tomorrow

Here's what I managed to sew in time;

A little girls dress, these can come in a variety of colours and patterns. Since making this one I have had several orders placed ;-)

This is one of the aprons I have made. These are child sized aprons perfect for an upcoming crafty birthday party all they require is the personalisation, an initial is appliqued on the front to complete them.

Maxi skirts for the ladies, I am planning on tweaking the pattern at some point in the future to see if it also works for little girls (so watch this space)

And some little bags in a perfect size for little people to carry around with a handful of their favourite things in.

These are my offerings for the spring fair, I am going to head over to mum's blog tomorrow to see what others have contributed- see you there!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Independence day challenge #7

Here's the 7th(!) time is flying, Independence days challenge.

1. plant something
this week I have planted just a few seeds
-a few pea seeds in jars with cotton wool so that when I go back to work after the Easter break I will have some roots etc to show the children as many of the class were very interested in the the just-about-to-shoot peas in the digging area.
- butterfly lower mix- this is a children's seed packet intending to attract butterflies Stephanie chose in the garden centre
- I also up-potted some garden plants

2. harvest something
hopefully very soon I will be able to add an entry here

3. preserve something
I froze some milk as I had more than we can use, I have never done this before so hope it is OK.

4. waste not
see above
watering the garden with rain water collected in the water butt over the winter
planted seeds etc using our compost from the compost bin in the garden

5. want not
I have bought home some milk again as they were going to throw it out

6. eat the food
We have been eating the curly kale and savoy cabbage I harvested last month and froze as well as lots of the yellow label goodies I have picked up on trips to the shops.
I have made a birthday cake for my sister who is coming to stay for a few days starting tomorrow, it is a practise run for Stephanie's birthday. Thankfully it has gone very well and Stephanie took one look and asked for one like it for her birthday :-)

7. build community food systems
I gave my very grateful neighbour some milk as I am not sure I can use as much as I was donated.
When making the cake for my sister I had some left over, I got the children to share it with the neighbours children they were out playing with this evening, and every evening this week. I love listening to them all out playing and laughing together. My house has been the chosen clubhouse this week :-)

8. skill up
I learnt how to make a shaped birthday cake- this will be revealed in it's own  blog post once my sister has seen it.

So there you have it my striving for more independence ( I don't see that I could ever be totally independent) post for this week, how have you been getting on?

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Independence day challenge #6

The weeks seem to be flying by, have a look at what I have been doing this week;

1. plant something
this week I have planted

2. harvest something
compost from the garden to plant in

3. preserve something
nothing preserved this week

4. waste not
the seeds are planted in empty food containers which would have otherwise gone in the bin.
I have been watering my plants using water collected in the water butt over the winter.

5. want not
I have bought yellow stickered items- bread, veg, books as birthday presents for Stephanie's friends, items for Stephanie's up coming birthday

6. eat the food
we have been very unfrugal this week and have eaten out twice. We had a family meal out on Sunday as it was mother's day and then last night we had an impromptu bowling trip for my nephews birthday so we ate out.
Today Stephanie asked for pizza hut, we made home pizza hut;

complete with pizza, salad and nachos.

7. build community food systems
Nothing this week

8. skill up
This week I made myself a new item of clothing using an existing item as the basis for my template, I'm not going to tell you anymore now- all will my revealed in the spring fair.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mothers day

I have been thoroughly spoilt this Mother's day, my beautiful children got me lots of lovely presents. We went out for a meal with family; super food and good company. Even if I did end up sharing my dessert with someone who was "too full for dessert Mum"

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Participation in the virtual spring fair

I was directed over to mum's blog for the spring fair by Green flag as she quite rightly though it would suit me.

I have lots of projects involving sewing on the go/planned, the spring fair is just what I need to organise myself. I completed 2 projects ready to showcase at the spring fair on 31st March. I'm not going to show them before the fair. I will tease you with the pics of the fabrics I used in today's creations;

I wonder who this pink fabric may be destined for??

I love this fabric, there are 2 claimants for something made with this one...

These are the pieces cut ready to go, in the book in the corner is my sketched design for the end product.

You'll have to pop back at the end of the month to see what I made with these, see you at the spring fair

Friday, 16 March 2012

Independence day challeneg #5

This week I have been poorly so I have a feeling this weeks post will be slightly on the lean side.

1. Plant something
I planted lots at the weekend;
tomato- yellow stuffer
spinach beet
carrot- early nantes
sweetpea- old fashioned mix
pea- meteor
lobelia- crystal palace
cauliflower- all year round
brocolli- autumn
parsnip- hollow crown
beetroot- boltardy
early pea- kelvedon wonder
flax- scarlet

2. harvest something
nothing this week

3. preserve something
nothing this week

4. waste not
I used compost out of the home compost bin and empty pots that would have gone in the recycling to plant the seeds.

5. want not
I have been given some bananas and milk from a colleague as they would go to waste over the weekend

6. eat the food
we had an apple pie I had made from last years apples and frozen for pudding. Not much cooking happened this week as I wasn't feeling up to it I have came home from work and collapsed everyday except today.

7. build community food systems
I am planning on sharing the milk and bananas I was given with family as I won't be able to use it all.

8. skill up
Erm can't think of anything I have learnt this week. Will have to see if I can manage to find something for next time.

On waste news, I had no rubbish to put out this week. Our council runs waste collection on the system that general household waste is collected weekly, recycling on fortnight A and garden/food waste wheeliebin on fortnight B. this week was fortnight B, and as there is barely anythign in the wheelie bin I didn't put it out. I had no general waste at all again  <<smug feeling emoticon>>.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

a little bit of gardening.

I have spent the whole weekend sorting out the gardens.
                                                   The back garden started the weekend like this;

The front garden now looks like this( I forgot to take a before shot) Believe it or not this tiny little patch took 12 bags of chippings, it would look better with another couple as well;
The back garden now looks like this;

Little splashes of colour are starting to pop up;

Strawberry plants are looking good so far;

And the raspberries are beginning to grow new shoots;

I love tulips :-)

There is still work to be done, I want to pave over the patch near the back door so that I can put the garden table there this year.
Once I finished working I sat in the sun and read a magazine while dinner cooked. The children also took advantage of the good weather;

Friday, 9 March 2012

independence day challlenge #4

OK Here goes for this weeks round up!

1. plant something
This week my greenhouse was blown over, so I need to re plant some of the seeds planted last time. I have already re-planted;
brussel sprouts

2. harvest something
nothing this week

3. preserve something
I froze some meat I bought from the supermarket reduced aisles.

4. waste not
I re-used some compost from my spud bags used last year to plant the seeds. I also re-used some empty food containers (yoghurt pots, fruit pots etc) to plant the seeds in

5.want not
I bought lots of food etc in the supermarket reduced section. These have formed the basis of all meals this week

6. eat the food
We have used up the reduced bargains I bought in the week
I made biscuits and cheese straws with the children at school for us to have at snack time

7. build community food systems
nothing this week

8. skill up
I watched a TV program in the week that showed how to clean a cooker with just a bicarb and water paste- I tried and it worked!! Most impressed my cooker is shiny and squeaky clean.

In other news I am feeling very boastful- I had no non recyclable waste this week :-)

My inspiration for the independence days challenge comes from Angela and was originally started by The Chatelaine's Keys. If you are inspired then leave a comment below and pop over to their blogs to check out what they are doing for this weeks challenge.

Monday, 5 March 2012

February round up

I just realised it is March and  I've not shown you what I have acheived in February, it's not that impressive but I have acheived a few things.

My original  aspirations list had these as my aims

  • knit waterfall cardigan for Stephanie - not started

  • Sew curtains/blinds for kitchen -delayed until I have been able to plan decorating so I know what I want to do

  • varnish kitchen unit - started but not finished

  • swim at least 3 times - managed to go 2 times in half term

  • use bike - technically I used it, although only round the block once, after Dylan helped me to fix it

  • continue to buy fruit/veg from farm shop- not been to the farm shop have bought from local market though

  • go for family walks/bike rides- we haven't done this, but did have a couple of days out in London

  • plant any seeds for this month- lots planted. I have some devastating news, the high winds blew over my little greenhouse last night. I think I have lost all seedlings I need to try and get home during daylight tomorrow so I can sort this out. 

  • plan work for the allotment. Work planned and begun.

  • Considering the list like this shows I have acheived more than I thought. So feeling quite pleased with that. So what do I have planned for this month?

  • Make summer dresses for Stephanie

  • Work on Mum's crocheted blanket started this already, need to buy some more matching yarn so I can complete

  • decorate kitchen

  • begin work on the allotment done this already, still more to be done but it is started

  • swim

  • cycle

  • I also plan on adding;
    • decorate hallways, they are looking VEY tatty so are higher priority than the kitchen now.
    • finish swoon quilt/picnic rug
    • finish Henry VIII cross stitch

    Sunday, 4 March 2012

    Works in progress

    I had planned to get up and go to the allotment this morning, but I had a couple of texts from family that meant changing plans, nothing serious just earlier times for our gathering this afternoon. So I didn't have as much time as I had expected. Not to mention the torrential rain that means the clay soil at the allotment is even harder to dig!

    I did manage to blanche and freeze 2 bags of savoy cabbage, one of curly kale and 1/2 a bag of red cabbage.

    I have also selected some possible colours for the hallway. I'm tempted by the peachy colour to the left. Stephanie thinks that we should paint it all of them and have a massive rainbow going up the stairs!

    As I have ran out of the wool I need to finish the crochet blanket my mum started and I want to go on my bed I have decided to finish this cross stitch. When my sisters and I sorted out Mum's flat we found several projects mum hadn't completed. We chose one's we thought suite dour homes/ children. This one Henry VIII and his wives is one I have chosen to do is going to be for Stephanie, she developed a fascination with Henry VIII last year when visiting many of the local castles which were built for him. It is nearly complete I just need to finish the border.

    Saturday, 3 March 2012

    Sewing Saturday

    I was sewing some more blocks for my swoon quilt earlier when I realised I haven't cleaned my sewing machine recently. In fact since I bought it about 18 months ago I'm embarrassed to say. Hence it looking like this;

    I could only clean around the bobbin case. Here I am trying to unscrew the plate using the screwdriver that came with the machine- I couldn't manage it as the screwdriver is too tall and I don't have a shorter one. Even without getting the plate off I managed to brush this lot out;


    I did manage quite a bit of sewing today I know have 5 blocks of the swoon quilt sewn;

    I'm pleased with the progress so far.

    Friday, 2 March 2012

    Independence day challenge #3

    Ok so it's Friday already so time to see how I have managed this weeks Independence days challenge.

    1. Plant something- we have begun our spring planting, planting; peas, sweetcorn, aubergine, leek, pepper, tomato, beginia,sweetpeas, parsnip, cauliflower, lobelia, broccoli, french bean. I plan on planting a few seeds every week to make a  successional harvest.

    2. Harvest something. we have harvested red cabbage, curly kale, savoy cabbage, bay and rosemary.

    3.Preserve something. I froze some reduced items from the supermarket.
    4. Waste not We used compost from the compost heap to plant the seeds, and toilet roll/wrapping paper tubes as seed pots.

    5. want not I bought some reduced price meat for freezing, some reduced price cereal and wafers because of their damaged boxes ( 50p for a box of rice krispies and 20p per box of ice cream wafers). Also some stickers for 5p a box I used to decorate around my house.

    I also gave these to my allotment neighbour

    6. Eat the food I cooked a roast chicken on Sunday which made dinners for Monday and Tuesday as well, and 2 jars of stock. I also had apple and rhubarb I froze from the allotment last summer with some custard for dessert.

    7. Build community food systems
    I took the bay and rosemary to school as well as some cabbage and kale for the children in my class to chop and use in the role play corner.

    8. Skill up
    I have learnt to join a new ball of wall to my crochet, ok so I need to ind a ball of wall to match the colour my mum started it in, of the 2 bin liners full of yarn I inherited from her none of them match!

    Ok so I seem to have acheived more than last week.

    Thia post was inspired by Angela over at The high desert chronicles The Independence day challenge originally came from the Chatelaine's Keys. If you are inspired to do the same then leave a comment below linking to your post.