Homestead Reality Lessons: Episode 1

I've been recording videos again, this time I'm talking a little about some of the realities of running a smallholding or homestead that you may not have learned from watching river cottage or the Good Life.

Dandelion and Rhubarb Mead Tutorial

I've been busy putting together another video for my youtube channel with this tutorial on how to make Dandelion and Rhubarb Mead, hope you enjoy it :)

The Caravan Dyeing Studio Renovation

Well after creating so much mess and awful smells in the kitchen the hubby thought it a great idea to commandeer the old caravan as a dyeing studio. Bye bye Hogwarts Potion lab, hello another room to make practical and pretty :)

As you can see at the moment it is being used for strorage, mostly fabrics and bedding, but I have grand plans for shabby chic vintage styling in the crafting end, and a bank of dying pots and drying racks in the kitchen end :)

Trust me it's gonna look great, you just need a big imagination !!

A Naturally Plant Dyed Handspun Adventure

Well after a couple of months of not great health I finally got my butt in gear and got some handspun yarn listed in my Etsy store, it is something I have been wanting to do for a few years now, and I had intended to a long while now, but other stuff got in the way such as the renovating, health and life in general. There is also the fear of failure with a new project to contend with too of course.

So I have been spinning and dyeing like a crazy busy worker bee, it has been a dream of mine to spend my days spinning beautiful yarns and naturally dyeing them with plants and I finally get to do it.
I'm even thinking of turning the old caravan outside into a workshop. I'm fairly sure John will encourage this as he is already complaining about the horrid smells emanating from the mordant and dye bath cauldrons in the kitchen and working their way through the house !!

I am working on building up a range roving of different colours using various plants to spin up multi-coloured handspun, but also spinning plain yarns in the interim to dye in solid colours and ombre, like the photo at the top of this blog post.

I forget how long it can take to spin and ply up a fairly fine yarn rather than an 'art yarn', 5 hours on average and that is before finishing and dyeing, but it is a joy to do.
I'm choosing to mostly spin with sheep breeds from here on the Northern Isles, i.e North Ronaldsay and Shetland, but I also cant resist working with some of my other favourite fibres too like Merino, Blue Faced Leicester and silk.

My freezer is also now half full of daffodil flowers as the blooms begin to fade I am dead-heading them for future dyebaths throughout the year, it makes such a bright shade of cheerful yellow :)

Betty's Reading Room

Whilst sorting through some photos found on my camera I came across these I took on a trip over to Betty's reading room a few miles along the road from here.

This cosy spot was constructed as a fitting memeorial to Betty Prictor by a pair of friends of her's Craig Mollison and Jane Spiers.

The building was an old cottage which was donated to them by a local farmer which they then proceeded to renovate into the reading room and drop in spot you see now.

Books come and go and anyone is welcome to visit, it is also conveniently near to the Tingwall ferry terminal so when waiting for the Rousay boat you can stay warm and dry.

There is a TV interview which was filmed and shown on the BBC news website which you can watch HERE   :D


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