(preparing raised watercrust veg pie for new year)
I have been struggling to get back to my blog lately, not really knowing where or how to start a blog post. So to ease me back into it I will post little glimpses of what is happening around these parts at present, and if I feel inspired to write even better :)
I do realise there are still several weeks till the the big day, I'm also well aware that we are not even up to Halloween yet, but I can't get away from the fact that some preparations just can not wait.
One of the traditions in our house is the Christmas cakes being made in October, giving them plenty of time to mature before the end of December.
I used to hate Christmas cake, don't really like fruit cake generally actually, but since making my own the way I like it I love it, or rather I love my recipe :)
I now make two cakes one to be topped with marzipan and icing, the other to gave a glazed nut topping, mmmmm.
Good job I make two as last year I managed to drop one which proceed to roll along the ground grrr.
Also no need to make mincemeat this year as there is plenty left from last year, and I'm not bothering with Christmas pud.
Ahhhh the holiday season :)
(today's blogging soundtrack- rocky horror picture show) really festive, Ha.
Whilst uploading photo's for the Mad Tea party tomorrow I cam across some random shots that didn't warrant a post of their own.
The above was taken a week before the solstice at around 11.40 pm, still daylight. Actually it was much lighter than the pic suggests but the camera couldn't capture it too well.
Having a bit of a treat in the garden centre cafe after a morning of shopping, mmmmm. Umm there may have been other treats bought taken home for later..... (We'll just forget the up half the night in agony with biliary colic, yep indeedy).
And finally, a shot of our Poppy cat lounging amongst the daisies yesterday, just because.
Whilst the rest of the UK appears to be having a bit of a heatwave, here in Orkney the weather has turned very autumnal today. It has been so cold I have even put the fire on. This is not necessarily a bad thing, I love having a fire on but it does use the fuel up.
I've decided to take advantage of the chilly foggy weather by drinking hot cups of chai and playing around with yarns, hooks and stitches, working on my next crochet design with the intention of eventually having some to list on Etsy. All exciting stuff for me (you can tell I don't get out much).
Also coming up this weekend is the annual Mad Tea Party (see button in side bar), so expect plenty of tea, cakes and shenanigans on Saturday.
Wow it's been really busy around here recently and far too much alcohol is getting used in the making liqueurs and tinctures for the home apothecary.
we make a lot of home brewed drinks even the cottage, dandelion wine is a favourite, and I especially like home made fruit liqueurs
this is a bottle of blackcurrant I made last year, so far this year I've made rhubarb schnapps and blackberry vodka to add to the collection.
Remedy harvesting season is also in full flow lots of nettles to be harvested for John's nettle tea, also all the dandelions for ointment and tincture. But my favourite has to be the ribwort plantain harvest. Such a useful plant which no one would look twice at just considering it a weed, but I love it, it's just brilliant for aches and pains.
With a final break in the weather on Sundays it was time for the great dandelion harvest of 2013.
I had already set away two demijons of dandelion wine last week as I do annually, but decided i couldnt let such a huge crop go to waste. Although I still have dandelion stain under my nails I was able to pick enough blossoms to create infused oil, dandilion tincture and some liqueur, before john went mad with the mower.
I haven't yet decided whether to turn the oil in to ointment or leave as a liquid when it is ready, but I will add it to my marigold tincture and comfrey ointment in the home remedies kit.
Making herbal remedies is one of the things I love doing, I am not sure why I haven't done many since moving here, time mostly I think, but I am now back on form.
Here is my tutorial for a fox brooch that I have been working recently.
I created a teeny tiny pin tutorial a few weeks a go, but wanted something a little bigger to wear attached to a cardigan or scarf, and came up with this. Hope you all like it.
For this tutorial you will need brown, white and black yarns, I have used dk weight and a 3mm hook, but you could use any size yarn and use and appropriate size needle, e.g if using american worsted weight you could use a 4mm hook but your fox will be a little larger.
I have also used UK terms through the tutorial, so: double crochet (dc) is US single crochet, half treble (htr) is US half double crochet, treble (tr) is US double crochet.
Slip stitch: Insert hook in stitch, yarn over, pull through both loops on hook. Double crochet:Insert hook in stitch, yarn over, pull through stitch, yarn over, pull through both loops on hook. Half treble: Yarn over, insert hook in stitch, yarn over, pull through stitch, yarn over, pull through all three loops on hook. Treble: Yarn over, insert hook in stitch, yarn over, pull through stitch, yarn over and pull through 2 loops on hook, yarn over and pull through 2 loops on hooks.
To Begin: Create a magic ring, sometimes known as a magic circle.
There is a great video tutorial on how to do this Here.
Make sure to create a slip stitch when making your magic ring.
Make 6 dc into ring. Pull your circle mostly closed but not over tightening, do not join with a sl st here.
Make 2 dc into the top of each of the 6 dc you made in the first round
without joining at the end of the round. Finish by tightening the magic ring.
Make 1 dc in the first st, then 2 dc in the second st. Repeat this 5 times.
(You should have 18 stitches at the end of the round)
As we are working in a continuous spiral rather than in separate circles,
be sure not to miss the first stitch on each round as it can be a little smaller.
If in doubt use a stitch marker, and count your stitches at the end of each round.
Make 2 dc in first st, and 1 dc in each of the next 2 sts. Repeat 5 times.
(You should have 24 stitches at the end of the round)
Make 1 dc in next st, and 2 htr in the following st.
Make 2 htr in each of the next 2 sts.
Make 1dc in next stitch, then 2 htr in each of the following 3 sts.
Make 1 dc in each of the next 7 sts.
Make 1 dc and 1 htr in the next st.
Make 1 htr in the next st.
Make 1 htr and 1 dc in the next st.
Make 1 dc in each of the next 6 sts. End of round.
(You should have 32 sts at the end of this round)
Make 1 dc in first 2 sts, and 1 htr in following st.
(Be sure not to miss the first, often tiny stitch on the round)
Make 2 htr in each of the next 2 sts.
Make 1 htr in the next st, then 1 dc in the following 3 sts.
Make 1 htr in next st, then 2 htr in each of the following 2 sts.
Make 1 htr in next st, then 1 dc in each of the following 2 sts.
In the next st, make 1 dc switching to your white yarn.
Make 1 sl st, in each of the next 4 sts.
Make 1 dc in the next st, switching to your black yarn.
(I leave the coloured yarns I am not working with attached,
just leave some slack when re-attaching them for later snipping and sewing in.)
Make 1 dc in next st, 1 htr in following st, then 1 dc in the st following that.
In the next st, make 1 dc switching back to white.
Using your white yarn, make 1 sl st in each of the next 5 sts.
Make 1 sl st in the next st, switching back to brown, then 1 dc in the following st.
(End of round. You should have 36 stitches)
Make 1 dc in each of the first 4 sts.
Make both 1 htr and 1 tr in the next st.
Make both 1 tr and 1 htr in next st.
Make 1 dc in next st, 1 sl st in each of the next 4 stitches, then 1dc in the following st.
Make 1 htr and 1 tr in the next st.
Make 1 tr and 1 htr in the next st.
Make 1 dc in each of the next 4 sts.
In the next stitch make 1 sl st in brown,
then in the following stitch make 1 sl st switching to the white yarn.
We are going to use the back loops only for these white stitches.
Sl st in the back loops only, in each of the next 5 stitches.
Using both loops of the next stitch, make a sl st switching to the black yarn.
Carry on using both loops of the next few stitches.
Make 1 sl st and 1 dc in the next st.
1 htr in next st.
In next stitch make 1 dc and 1 sl st switching over to white yarn.
Sl st through both loops of next st.
Sl st through back loops only of the next 5 stitches switching to brown yarn.
Sl st through both loops of each of the next 2 stitches. Fasten off.
Sew in your ends and block if needed (I haven't), rinse and repeat to make a second one.
Then it is purely personal preference. I have attached a brooch pin to one half and 2 vintage buttons from Nana's buttons tin to the other, before lightly stuffing and whip stitching together.
You could also use this pattern as an embellishment, keyring etc.
Thank you for visiting my tutorial, I hope you like it and find it useful.
If you wish to do so you can also find me on Ravelry, Pinterest, and Facebook.