Plums and Ponies

Bottled plums and sock pony

plumssock pony               This month I had a lot of fun making bottled plums and a sock pony or hobby horse. I had a bumper crop of plums, for the first time this year. To be fair the trees have only been in about 3-4 years. Whilst they have fruited each year, this is the first time I had so many I needed to bottle them.  If you have any room in your garden plant a plum tree, (actually 2 as they need the bees to pollinate from another one, or you can get a grafted one with two cultivars on the one tree, very handy if you have little room), kids adore climbing plum trees and picking their own fruit, actually I enjoy it too, and nothing tastes sweeter than picking your own fresh fruit! bottled plums Anyway I digress. So as one of my trees is a Santa Rosa, it fruits earlier, and is a lovely yellow skinned flesh, so a great eating plum and the other is a Black Doris, and whilst nice to eat, she is a fabulous bottled plum, and makes a very nice plum sauce as well. And as my friend is having a hoe down birthday party later in the year, and is having a photo booth, I decided to make a start on some decorations, and one of the props is a Sock pony or hobby horse or two.sock ponies Hope you find these amusing or helpful, or both. Take care Sue-Ellen  

Marbled terracotta pots

Marbled terracotta pots

Marbled terracotta pots
Marbled terracotta pots
  Marbled terracotta pots are easy, fun and quick to make. My young friend helped me make marbled terracotta pots. That's one of the fun things about having a young friend come and stay is that I get to play with a different medium. It was a boys dream craft, spray paint cans and a lot of mess. Thankfully he fit my painting tee-shirt, so I didn’t send him home with paint covered clothes. I used black, silver and white spray paint to get a carrara marble look. Carrara is that gorgeous Italian marble - with a white background and black veins through it. You often see it used in tables, tiles in grand foyers and bathrooms, and I do believe Michelangelo used it for his statue of David. These marbled terracotta pots are really quick and easy to make and a lot of fun.

Marbled terracotta pots

Ingredients Terracotta pots Spray cans of paint (several colours) A large plastic tub (one you are happy to destroy!) Latex gloves
Marbled terracotta pots
spray paint pots
Spray a base coat (white) to the pots to allow paint to adhere to it. Allow to dry. Fill the tub with water; it needs to be large enough to roll the pot about within it.
Marbled terracotta pots
spray paint on surface of water
Spray the surface with spray paint, several different colours - I used black, silver and white to get a carrara marble look (enough to cover the water surface).
Marbled terracotta pots
spray paint
Take your pot and dip it lightly onto the surface, and roll your pot away from you so that it picks up the paint. Continue to spray paint on water surface and roll your pot until it is completely covered to your liking.
Marbled terracotta pots
Marbled terracotta
Sit it in a clean dry area, cover it with a large box or food cover to keep any leaves or bugs from landing on the surface.

Strawberries and decoupage balls

Happy New Year! New Year

Strawberries and decoupage balls

Strawberries are one of my favourite Summer fruit, I love them fresh or made into jam or ice cream topping.
strawberry recipe
Strawberry topping
Strawberries
Strawberries
I have spent a good deal of my Summer holiday creating art and craft. Thankfully there were a few wet days so I could justify spending a summers day inside. The tan could be better, but I have learnt a lot of new skills, I thought I would share a few with you. I did take a 12 year old friend strawberry picking, so ‘we’ made strawberry topping and strawberry jam which are absolutely gorgeous. The strawberry topping has meant I have consumed large volumes of ice cream and strawberry topping with fresh strawberries. For the strawberry jam this year I used white sugar with a jam setting agent built into it. Strawberry jam is notoriously difficult to get to set without boiling the heck out of it for hours.  I love the fact I made my jam in 30 minutes  due to this miracle sugar, and it came out bright strawberry red! Recipes for both are over on the ‘fare’ page.   One of the crafts I played with this summer was decoupage crackled balls I will post the instructions over on the ‘frippery’ page.
crackled decoupage balls
Decoupage balls
              Happy New Year, and happy crafting and cooking.

Christmas decorations and Christmas cake

Xmas decorations
Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations and Christmas cake

The end of the year always seems to be an excuse to create Christmas decorations and cook for family and friends. Isn't this just the best season? A time for planning, baking and tidying just so you can see family and friends you haven't seen all year! But it really can be a lot of fun if you have annual projects to tick off your 'to do' list.
Xmas fruit cake
Christmas cake
I’ve baked three Christmas cakes this year. Why three cakes when I hardly eat it? Simply because I love baking the annual cake and giving two of them away. I use an old fashioned wedding cake recipe from a 1970's cookbook, its a lovely rich fruit cake which is ideal as a Xmas cake.
Christmas
shortbread
I also attempted coloured shortbread for a change from regular Xmas shapes with cachous on top.  I'm not 100% sure about colouring shortbread, but it was fun trying, the shortbread recipe is another oldie but goodie.  

Christmas decorations

I like to change up the Xmas decorations for the front door, last year it was this paper wreath.Dads photos 160 This year, I made this bauble wreath.
Christmas decorations
bauble wreath
Both wreaths used a cheap foam ring from the craft store. The paper one was a great way to justify the hoarding of all those magazines you keep but never look at again! Well this is the end of my first post. I can only hope I  improve in 2016.   All the best to you and your loved ones.