LONG LIVE WELLINGTON BOOTS!

Not so long ago, I guess it could have been around Christmas I bought my self a new pair of wellington boots… An essential bit of foot wear when you have a dog and it’s winter! I suppose I do wear them for a couple of hours most days so they do get worn, but I had thought I’d get at least a winter out of them.  They were “mid” priced so did expect them to last a bit longer.

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I was really upset to see  the back seam on both boots has split apart, the foot part is fine and water tight.  With down turned mouth,  (hate waste!)  I was just about to toss them in the dust bin when I thought  “wait a moment” I have an idea… bit of a light bulb moment actually!

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Let me share with you the life of a lifeless (so I thought) pair of wellies…

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Kicking them off in the garden after discovering the splits

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The splits

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Getting out my scissors and cutting… and shaping…

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Scrubbing and pulling out the old baggy  inner…

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New pair of inner socks

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Voila’!

They are perfect for keeping by the back door and slipping my feet in when I either nip to the dust bin, or popping the washing on the line when the lawn is wet, and taking the dog for a walk in the very muddy park. Of course, going for a paddle in the river or sea might not be great with these guys on your feet as they would soon fill up over the bulkheads!

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I  have no particular rush to go buy a new pair of wellies now, I will invest in a tall pair soon  for those occasions  when “me and the doggie”  do want to splash through deep water, would be such a shame to miss out on those walks just because I only have a pair of “short” wellies!!

Bye for now, please send me a comment, especially if you feel like telling me I am a little bonkers!

Jay xxx

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo “…seeing somebody smile actually makes you happier…”

 

 

 

BLOCK, SPOT AND PIC…

Following on from my blog titled “Spots can be beautiful” I would like to share with you another project using the spot applique technique.  I didn’t think to take photo’s as I was making this one, however the procedure is almost exactly the same as “Spot can be beautiful” with the edition of a colourful block design in the centre.

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This fabric was fab to work with as it was a woven striped texture which was super for getting a nice easy curve on those spots!

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You can just about see the weeny stitches around each spot.  I also had a reel of fancy bright rainbow varigated thread which I decided to use for the quilting.  The stitching on the beige surround I did using  my sewing machine, normal straight stitch, and just wiggled the piece as I stitched to gain a wavy line effect. Really easy to do.

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The quilting on the block section I did by hand using the same colourful thread.  With a chalk pencil I drew circles varying in size all over, then simple stitched over the lines.  Brushed off the chalk makings once all stitching complete.

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I had a piece of turquoise left, and it was a perfect size for the backing.

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The binding was made by using up all the little left over pieces.  Easy to sew together, then add to the edge bringing the colour together for the whole quilt.

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I look this photo standing on a chair in my kitchen… just putting the chair back, and look who sneaked in to see what I was doing…

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This is “Pic” my cute fluffy Yorkie-Russell, she an  absolute delightful little thing even if she is a bit naughty some times,  sneaking onto my quilt, and flopping down for a little rest!  This quilt  is normally used as a topper for the dining room table.  Couldn’t resist taking this photo!

Some of my photo’s look really dull, some really bright, I guess that is just one of those things, I am an absolute amateur with regards to photography, little hit and miss.  The actual colour of the quilt is more like the bright snaps, if you are interested.

I have enjoyed showing you these photo’s, especially the doggie one!  Would love to hear from you.

Jay x

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo “… cows have best friends within their herds…”

SPOTS CAN BE BEAUTIFUL!

I am quite a fan of spots, dots… any thing with a  pin dot on or spotty bit of china, to spotty fabric   I   L-O-V-E   IT   ALL

So decided to use up my bits of  ROWAN FABRIC to make a  JOLLY SPOTTY wall hanging for my hall.  This is what I came up with with another favourite of mine…. appliqué!

I started off with collecting all the bits and bobs of really quite small little snippets of left over fabric. Cutting it into manageable squares approx.  4″ x 4″

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I like a clean edge to my appliqué shapes and I find the best way to achieve this is to use an iron-on VILENE product… these are the weights that work well with craft, patchwork and quilting 100% cotton fabric.

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I decided on a circle approx. 2   1/2″ to 3″ across the diameter, I actually hunted around the house to find some thing to draw around, actually my plastic pot of pins was the perfect size!   Draw out a bunch of circles onto the “fabric” side of the VILENE.  You can tell the difference between sides on close inspection , the slightly “shiny” side is the glue which you want to keep an eye on as you do not want this to stick on your iron.  The “matt” side I think of as the fabric side.  Cut out the circles.

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Remind your self which side of the VILENE is which, then place the “shiny-glue” on the WONGE side of the fabric and gently iron on low heat so the VILENE circle and fabric is bonded together.

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Cut around each circle approx 1/2 inch larger than the VILENE circle.

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Make as many or as few as you wish…. I got a bit carried away and used up all my little ROWAN scraps!

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Thread a needle with a strong thread (or double up) make  tiny running stitches the complete way around the circle approx.  1/4 inch from the fabric edge, as a guide roughly between the edge of the fabric and the vilene.

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Gently gather the thread so the vilene circle “takes shape” … you may have to tease the fabric/stitches a little to get a good circle look.  Much depends on the fabric chosen, most P&Q fabric works very well, the soft slightly woven fabric is great as it can almost be moulded.  I find stiff fabric or fabric with a close tight weave is difficult to “curve” batik is one I find difficult and try to avoid using with this style of applique.

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Secure with a small stitch.

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Once you have a little stash done, you might wish to lightly press them, I find finger pressing is more than adequate.

Decide on a backing fabric.  Maybe choose some thing without too much pattern other wise you may find the whole piece looks too busy.  Think where you might wish to hang the piece once finished may help your colour choice too!

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I went really neutral (some may say boring!)

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Arrange your spots, pin and tack into place.

With a shortish length of thread just nip the edge of the circle with  tiny slip stitch so you can’t even see it, continue around the whole circle. Repeat with all the other circles.

Once top is complete cut a piece of wadding (Americans call it batting) and backing fabric slightly larger than the piece.  Make a sandwich …. TOP appliqued piece, MIDDLE wadding and BACK (right side facing out) backing.

Quilt as much or as little as you want either by machine or by hand.  I chose by hand as the piece was quite small and could be handled easily. Bigger projects might be better to tackle using a sewing machine.  Or, you could always use a quilting service, there are plenty if you research.  If you find one who has a Gammel Long Armed Quilting machine thats a sign they are  serious about their craft.

Trim off the excess.

Finish the quilt by binding.  I like to double bind.  Cut a strip of fabric long enough to go around all four sides of your quilt.  You most likely have to join.  I find the best method to reduce bulk is to cut/stitch on the cross. Or, as I have done, four separate lengths. As this project is small and going to be hanging on the wall I decided not to cut the binding on the bias, as quite often is recommended.  Several reason why I didn’t.  Using up fabric I had. Knowing the quilt is going to remain still and in position on the wall rather than being “used” on the bed so no movement is involved.  And, I’m breaking the rules!

Stitch on the right side, fold over the edge and catch with tiny slip stitches.

Add a “sleeve” on the back of the quilt.  Easy to make, basically a tube wide enough to thread a length of dowel through.

Et voila!

Jay x

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo   “…there isn’t a word that rhymes with purple…”

OOOPs… Sorry, Just realised I’ve not added all the photo’s for this blog… will add them later, please pop back to have a look at the finished project…

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOM CREAN’S HAT

If you enjoy reading about adventurous hero’s of the past, you will probably know about this famous chap, TOM CREAN…

He was born a short distance from the village of Anascaul, which is in the beautiful Dingle Peninsula  Kerry Ireland in 1877.   He joined the navy as a young boy of 15  leaving his home, for a career on the high seas.  Later, he accompanied Scott to the Antarctic on two occasions, also Sir Ernest Shackleton on his expeditions.  He was a capable, intelligent, strong, quiet man, naturally an excellent choice to have along on such an adventure as he proved to be caring and brave towards his fellow comrades.  Please look him up on wikipedia to read all about this great man.

This a splendid iconic photo of him.  As this gentleman has a special regard with our family for his heroism, I decided to have a go at trying to replicate his hat!

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I had no pattern to go on, only this photo so I totally made it up as I went along from some wool I had!   As the photo is black and white, there is no clue to what colour his hat was… I am guessing grey, brown, tawny or one of the natural colours.

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I thought this Rowan DK felted tweed looked like it might do very well!

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I cast on 100 stitches onto size 3.75 needles.  I was thinking average adult head!

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Rib approx. 1  1/2 inches (knit two, purl two)

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Then just kept backwards and forwards,  stocking stitch, one row knit, one row purl until the piece measured approx. 15inches… This was a guess…

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I gave the whole piece a light steam press to stop the edges curling. Then I stitched  up the long sides together, with right sides together to form a tube shape. Another light press with the iron.  Still inside out I flattened out the tube so the seam was at in the centre, meaning the sides of the tube had no seam. Stitched  along the top, another light press.

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In the mean time I had made two little tassels like this:-

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Easy to make. Make two. With a piece of stiff card board box card cut a  piece approx. 4″ x 8″

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Wind the wool around the card about 20 times.  With a length of wool (double up for strength) thread the wool through the top of the wool while still on the cardboard.  Tie a strong knot.

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Carefully slip the wound wool from the cardboard, with another length of wool, wind and tie around approx 1′ down the skein of wool.

SAM_4854Snip the longer loops which instantly will form a tassel!

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At the top of the tassel thread the wool length onto a darning needle and secure a tassel into each corner while the “hat” is still inside out, do check to see if the tassel is right in the corner!

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Turn the hat inside out, turn up the rib to form a cuff… et voila!

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If you want a good book to get really to know this gent, treat yourself to this one by Michael Smith, full of fabulous photo, facts and information.  Another great book is “Unsung Hero” again, superb read.

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Should you want to watch a gripping drama – film – documentary, I would recommend this one “Shackleton” (played by the talented actor Kenneth Branagh) … Naturally our man Crean is featured in it.  Shackleton is also a special hero, and is up on the top of our family’s list of  great people  in history.

I hope you have enjoyed this post – craft and a little knowledge!

Thanks for dropping by, do let me know who has inspired you, from the past or living right now…

Jay x

Little snippet for you from Snoo “…. sea otters hold each others paws when they sleep so they don’t drift apart…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

RECYCLED CHRISTMAS CARDS?

What did you do with the  Christmas cards you received last year?  There are lots of things that you can make, this is what I came up with from last years cards… for this years pressies!

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The cards…

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So, this is what you start with a heap of Christmas cards from previous years that you have kept “just in case” …

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You  will need to treat your self to a few punches… I bought these four as I liked the traditional “luggage” style shape label, however I am rather fond of a circle label too!  They are fairly expensive, naturally pricy for the larger ones from £10 to  £12 ish,  the smaller ones about £5 to £8 each.  Good thing about this  investment is that you will NEVER have to buy a label-tag  EVER ever EVER  again!

Okay, off we go!

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Look through your cards, some are better than others as you can position the punch right over a cute Santa, Robin, Snowman or a little Christmas scene.

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Some cards are just brilliant for a funky pattern…

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With a bog standard stationery hole punch, make a little hole to thread your ribbon, string, curling tape…

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The “spoils” tip into your paper recycle bin.

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Wrap your gift and thread a label on to the ribbon…

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… or make a batch of  the labels ready for when you are about to start wrapping your gifts…

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And, the luggage shape style…

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Some made from plain  card, ideal if you have fancy gift wrap paper.

Do the same with saved Birthday cards…

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… and some from plain, spotty, stripy, floral novelty printed cards for really any subject or occasion!

The possibilities are endless…

Thanks for visiting, tell me what you have made with your last years Christmas cards.

Bye for now, Jay x

My little extra snippet for you from Snoo “….Humming birds are the only birds that can fly backwards….”

 

 

MORE BUNTING!

Easy peasey lemon squeezy!

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This pre-printed bunting is perfect! If you haven’t time to choose, collect and hunt for fabric to make bunting, can’t decide on a pennant size this pre-printed selection is perfect! If you want some, please scroll to end of this post…

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It comes in a variety of colour ways, with the same design, stripes, dots, little stars, large stars, stripe/floral…

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No instructions really needed, but just in case, this is how I made the two colours… BOY and GIRL… (see later photo’s)

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Cut out the pennants (easy!) I made sure that I snipped exactly in the centre of the unprinted bit (white) so it would be easy to judge the sew line without getting any “white” showing.

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Right sides together, pin a teeny weeny bit (maybe only 1 or 2 mm) inside the printed design.

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Whizz around on the sewing machine. Double stitch the pointed end about an inch each side of the “V” for added strength.

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See… I have machine stitched just inside the design.

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Turn inside out, gently push out the end tip.  I first tried a knitting needle but found the point went straight through the end, best thing I found was a pair of “closed” scissors, but go gentle…!

Press with warm Iron.

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Trim off little “ears” and loose thread ends.

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Decide how far apart you wish your pennants to be from each other. Pin and tack open side of pennants into folded tape.  I measured approx one inch.

(TIP although it takes a little longer I would advise to tack the pennants into the folded tape,  if you skip this step you might find the pennants/tape move as you sew and you end up having to unpick… hate doing this!!)

Finish off tape ends with rings or just fold over neatly.  Or if your prefer, allow a longer length of tape before and after positioning the pennants and use for tying.

Lightly press.

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… for little girl…

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…and for little lad…

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Done!

I have this fabric for sale in my Etsy shop if you wish to buy some, should you fancy making some quick bunting. I would be glad to make it up for you if you prefer, please contact me for costing.  Please visit me at :-thesewingwren  … a little thread goes a long way…

Once again, thanks for stopping by…

Jay x

My little extra snippet for you from Snoo “…China was the first country to use paper money…”

GOURDS…? SQUASH…?

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I hadn’t intended to do much for autumn apart from a few Halloween decorations on the day, but seeing all the pumpkins in the shops, and for sale at the side of the country roads, it has made me think differently especially when I saw these gourds (squash)? I’m gonna call them gourds as its a lovely word when you roll it around your mouth, lips sticking out with extra exaggerated force!
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They were incredibly reasonable at just 89p each (Aldi… I know, a surprise to find them!) they also can be used after enjoying them in a display, for cooking… and to save the seeds to have a go at growing my own in my garden next year. WIN, WIN, WIN !
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There were so many different shapes, sizes and colours I found it difficult to choose just a couple, so I bought a Gourd treasure collection!
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This one in particular I had to have as he is such an ugly warty character, but I do kinda love him for being so awesome!
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I went for a variety of colours, wasn’t going to get the white one at first as didn’t think it fitted in with the autumn – Halloween colour scheme. After a circuit of the shop, I went  back and got the white one! :0)
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While out with the dog later in the afternoon (beautiful soft sunshine and surprisingly warm) I found myself looking at the trees for their colour. I guess I was thinking about Fall in the United States being such a beautiful spectacle, having enjoyed some perfect times in New Jersey and New England at this time of year in the past, made me think I should collect a few fallen leaves to accompany my Gourds in a display.

My first display with out the ugly critter gourd and no rose hips … just leaves

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My next walk I collected a few little sprigs of rose hips and a few oak leaves to add a bit of red and green… and LOOK ugly has appeared!  Warts, carbuncles and all… such a character!

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Now in my front porch…

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I don’t know whether this autumn in the UK is particularly  lovely,  or maybe I haven’t really, really looked before. I’m feeling quite proud that we in the UK can do “Fall” even if it is on a smaller scale to the big beautiful bounty to our friends across the ocean.

Thanks for stopping by, would love to hear from you…

Jay x

Extra little snippet for you from Snoo “… On average 150 couples get married in Las Vegas each day…”

BRAMBLE JAM

When my sister and I were little girls, our mum used to plan one of our late school holiday days as a blackberrying day! Our garden backed onto huge endless corn fields, as I remember they seemed to go on forever (however they were probably average sized fields actually) Beyond the fields there was an area of thick woodland. I recall, before we got to the woods we would walk around the fields and forage for blackberries in the hedgerows. Our fingers were black with juice, our little arms collected scratches from the brambles, and our legs stung with stinging nettles…these were blissful times and memories I will treasure forever.
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Now, every day I take my little dog for a walk, one particular day recently, I decided it was going to be a blackberrying day! I collected five lbs of berries, and … lots of scratches and nettle stings! I was delighted with my haul…

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As I am not fond of pips and seeds in jam, I decided to make jelly.  Although the fruit are blackberries, I kinda like the idea of also referring to this preserve as bramble jelly as I think it sounds more homemade and a teeny bit Beatrix Potter!  … I ramble… onto the jelly…

Pectin is essential to successful preserve making, and is found in most fruit, however there is often more in sightly unripened fruit, so I collected a handful of “ever-so-slightly” unripe fruit to add into the pan.
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This is the recipe I used.  Rinse the fruit and put into a preserving pan with enough water to cover the berries. Simmer for about 30 mins or until the fruit is soft.  I like to bash the fruit about a bit with a wooden spoon, squashing the fruit with the back of the spoon against the side of the pan to release all the juice.

Strain the fruit over night through a muslin or jelly net into a clean pan.

Next day measure the juice.  For every 600ml (1 pint) of juice you will need 450grams (1lb) of sugar. To make sure the jelly sets I add fresh lemon juice (within the liquid measurement)

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I used two big lemons as I wanted to be absolutely sure the jelly set!
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There are special sugars for jam and jelly making with added pectin available in super markets, but I decided to use natural lemon juice as my setting agent, so used normal granulated sugar.

Stir the sugar into the juice over a gentle heat until all the sugar has dissolved.  You can hear if there are any sugar crystals left by crunching a wooden spoon on the bottom of the pan.  Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 10 minuets, stirring occasionally, skim off any frothy scum from the surface.  Test setting point.  I find the best method is to put a china plate in the freezer, drop a little jelly on the plate and if the surface wrinkles, the jelly is ready.

While the jelly is boiling get your jars ready.  Boil a kettle of water and pour into clean jars, then place them on a baking sheet in a warm oven to dry and sterilize. Pour jelly into jars, place a waxed disc directly on surface of jelly. Cover with either celophane or clean twist lids while jelly is still warm.

When cool add labels.  I found these really pretty ones from Kilner for £1.50

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Add wording and date…. Ummmm now, blackberry or bramble?

As this is a fresh jelly, without un-natural preservatives, I would advise to keep in the fridge and eat up really quickly for breakfast or with home made scones!

My stash I gave to my neighbours and colleagues.

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Thanks for popping by, sorry I havn’t been around for ages, this autumn I hope to be reunited with my blog, so do keep a look out for my next … what ever!

Jay xXx

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo… “A cat has 32 muscles in each ear…”

MEADOW FLOWERS

I’ve had a few unsettled days recently so needed to do some thing uncomplicated and refreshing to uplift my spirits.

Very simply I took my dog out for a walk extra early one morning before any one was around, it was lovely!!

Doggie and I started off from the house as normal, then decided to make our way right up to the top of the hills that surround the village where I live.  Almost out of puff (me, not the dog!) I turned around to take in the view… it was all rather unusual. The early morning mist was laying like a soft white blanket in the valley, I couldn’t see the village at all. However, I could see for miles and miles the surrounding hills in the far distance. It was silent, still and cool… Sorry, didn’t think to take my camera, please close your eyes and imagine…

Our route home took us down lanes and through the meadows. The grass was very long and heavy with dew, it was so funny watching doggie (she is a Yorkie – Russell … so short legs!) as she bounced through the long grass, she was soaked to the skin, I am sure I caught her smiling!!

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For my kitchen table I picked these simple wild flowers which made me a little teensy bit happy, caught myself smiling too!… simply delightful!

I was so pleased  to see there are still pretty wild flowers growing in the fields and hedgerows.  Others in abundance, which I didn’t collect were  thistles and long fluffy headed grasses, and lots and lots of clover.

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I should think the farmer will very soon let the cattle or sheep into the “buttercup” field to munch on the long grass… good to think of the natural fodder for he animals, will be a little sad however not to be able to watch doggie jump and hide in the grass, we will have to find another field!
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Best wishes, all the very best to you, Jay x

Little extra snippet for you from Snoo “… a vamp is the upper top part front of a shoe…”

This info is especially for all you cobblers! … please let me know other wise if this is not correct and I will get on to Snoo in a jiffy!

J x

CLOVER ‘V’ SHAMROCK

Is there a difference between clover and shamrock?

Well.. yes and no!

Don’t we all associate shamrock with Ireland? I certainly do… I have been to Ireland recently and the place is full of shamrock, not the shamrock that grows, (I am sure that is around) but the shamrock  I am referring to, as a logo, on all tourist stuff from socks, to mugs to tee-shirts!

Clover I think as being more British, however I am sure it grows all over.  I immediately think of four leaves and good luck, and butter!

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A shamrock is a young sprig of clover used as a symbol of Ireland.  The name shamrock come from the word seamrog which is the diminutive of the Irish word for clover.  Seamair, another Irish word meaning simply “little clover” or “young clover”.  If you want to read more about shamrock and the botanical species, or the link with Saint Patrick and reasons for being used as the symbol of Ireland,  just google  and hit wikipedia to get some very interesting information.  Look at the end of this  post to read “little snippet from Snoo….”

SAM_4522 The shape of the shamrock varies, for example most growing shamrock has three leaves and is often re-created this way, however there it is very often depicted as having four leaves, which indicates the “good luck” message, much the same as when reference is made to the “lucky four leaf clover”.

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Oh the Shamrock, Through Erin’s isle,To sport a while
As love and valour wander’d, With wit, the sprite. Whose quiver bright
A thousand arrows squander’d, Where’er they pass, A triple grass
Shoots up, with dew-drops streaming, As softly green, As emeralds seen
Through purest crystal gleaming

Oh the Shamrock, the green immortal Shamrock

Chosen leaf, Of Bard and Chief, Old Erin’s Shamrock!, Says valour see,
They spring for me, Those leafy gems of morning, Says love no no
For me they grow, My fragrant path adorning, But wit perceives
The triple leave, And cries Oh do not server, A type that blends
Three godlike friends, Love, valour, wit for ever!

Oh the Shamrock the green immortal Shamrock

So firmly fond, May last the bond, They woven the morn together
And ne’er may fall, One drop of gall, On wits celestial feather
May love as twine, His flower devine, O thorny falsehood weed ’em
May valour ne’er, His standard rear, Against the cause of Freedom!
Oh the Shamrock, the green, immortal Shamrock
Chosen leaf….

By Thomas Moore

Now… CLOVER!

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There are about 300 different species of clover.  It is generally found to flourish in the Northern Hemisphere however some species have been found in South America and Africa.  Most sprigs have three leaves, however some times a four leaf sprig can be found which is considered lucky! The flowers range in colour, most common are white with a hint of pink, however totally pink flowers can be found too! Often clover is considered a super food for cows for their excellent production of creamy milk used for churning butter.

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GOOD LUCK!

You probably associate four leaf clovers with St Patrick and Shamrocks, but the tradition started long before that!  In the early days in Ireland, the Druids believed that they could see evil spirits coming when they carried a shamrock, or three leaf clover, giving them the chance to get away in time! They thought four leafed clovers offered protection and warded off bad luck.

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The leaves of a four-leaf clover as a lucky charm stand for FAITH – HOPE – LOVE – LUCK

The Irish often say that the green hills of the Emerald Isle contain more four-leaf clovers than anywhere else.  Hence the saying “Luck O’ the Irish”.  Also the Irish believe while finding a four-leaf clover will bring you good luck, if you should find a five-leaf clover it is bad luck!

The odds of finding a four-leaf clover has been calculated at 10,000 to 1!   So, good hunting, and I wish you all the luck in the world if you find one!

The shamrock/clover remains a strong symbol of Ireland, as the thistle is to Scotland,  and the Rose to England…  As depicted on this two shilling coin… notice, there is no symbol for Wales…

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A little story for you, before I say good bye… At the Dublin Airport duty free shop I over heard a conversation which made me smile. A very, very English gentleman was buying a piece of jewellery for, I imagine his love, he asked the young girl at the counter for a particular necklace, referring to it in a loud “the one with the clover…” the girl at the counter saw me turn and look, and said “Oh to be sure, you mean the Shamrock” well, bless her, we were in Ireland!

Thanks for popping by, would love to hear if you have any clover or shamrock moments to tell me about!

Jay xx

My little snippet for you from Snoo “… The airline Aer Lingus uses the emblem (three leaf) in it’s logo, and it’s air traffic control call sign is “SHAMROCK”