baking, heart and home, Sunday Sevens

The blackberry jelly mystery, #Sunday Sevens #3

After the straining I had just over a pint and a half of fruit juice

Strained juice to make jelly

After consulting my preserving book, blackberries were not high in pectin, – so I opted to use 1lb of jam sugar (pectin added) for every pint of juice, plus lemon juice.

Making fruit jelly

the jelly did look a beautiful ruby colour.

Blackberry and Elderberry Jelly

In no time at all it was all in jars ready too cool. However, the jelly did not set! oh!

so what do you think might be the cause? do let me have your thoughts!

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So I moved on to my next project – I cut down a single  duvet to a small square and doubled it up.

Single duvets cost approximately £9 which is a very reasonable way to purchase soft filling.

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I had this lovely dotty fleece and in no time my little project was ready for a test run.

dog bed

Barney was delighted with his new bed!

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Mr D spotted a recipe in the newspaper – so I decided to make it for him

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The mixture came together nicely

dough

After a little kneading, it looked pretty smooth. It was a great workout, much more sensual than a gym, the dough has such a lovely feel around my fingers, the transformation was tactile – I felt the difference in the dough.

Kneading is quite a meditation in itself, and while I was doing it, I felt a connection to all housewives down the centuries who would have done this as part of their daily practice.


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The warming plate is absolutely perfect to let the dough rest

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and grow!

It took a couple of hours – waiting is the hardest thing about yeast baking.

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then I mixed nuts, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon into a bowl

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Turned out the dough

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Rolled it into a flat rectangle

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speed the nutty cinnamon mixture over the top

Cinnabuns

rolled into a sausage

cinnabuns ready for second rise

and left to grow again

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And so, after a little effort and a lot of patience

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our Cinnabuns were ready to eat.

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yum!

  Susanna Signature

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heart and home, weekend

Easy like Sunday Morning – Sunday Sevens ≠1

Southampton Art Gallery

I have been enjoying the Sunday Sevens of other bloggers and thought i would join in the fun. Its the idea of Natalie at Threads and Bobbins (What a fab site!). It gives such a lovely glimpse into peoples lives – I really enjoy catching up with Sunshine and Celadines, Making and Marking and Bekki at Dartmoor Yarns – its the blogging equivalent of peeking over the garden fence!

Wasn’t it a fantabulous weekend thankfully the Sunshine Returned! Saturday I went on my usual 6 weekly visit to see my Son in Southampton, he manages a Hairdressing Salon and we combine his hairdressing talents and a general  catch up – usually ending with a lovely meal or we head off dancing together. Southampton is my home town and it is always interesting to see it with new eyes. I arrived in good time to be able to visit the Art Gallery – this fountain is situated right at the entrance – I remember playing in it as child!

Rhinestone Rhino

This sparkling creation was in the lobby, it was full size!

Not quite a disco ball!

getting to grips with the Aga

We have been in our new home a month, I have always wanted a home with an Aga, and this little beauty is living up to my dreams. Whenever we enter the house, it feels so warm and welcoming. There are four ovens, warming, slow cooking, baking and roasting. The top has a warming plate, a boiling plate and a simmering plate.

Sunday Baking

On Sunday morning, I thought I would  try out the baking oven – I had been told that they are great for cake making, as the ovens are a very even heat. We used a thermometer to get the balance right and the baking oven stays about 180, the simmering oven is about 140 and the roasting oven is about 210.

new scales

I found these beautiful vintage scales in a charity shop – they came complete with a full set of weights. They are perfect for me as usually cook in imperial measurements – pounds and ounces -just call me an old fashioned girl.

Victoria Sandwich

We get our eggs from a wonderful local organic farm – I love seeing all the chickens roaming freely in the fields.

The large eggs are often double yolkers – all three were so I reduced the eggs in the recipe,  they are

a wonderful deep yellow.

weekend reading

Cakes in the oven – it was time for a cuppa,

Using a whistling kettle takes me back to my childhood days, long before electric kettles were the norm.

The warming hob is the perfect place for the teapot – it stays at the perfect temperature for a good second or third cuppa.

I caught up with a little weekend reading, while the cakes baked.

Country living is one of my all time favourites – the photography is blissful I often cut up the pictures and use them for vision boards or inspiration.

Victoria Sponge

 In no time the cakes were cooked – they seemed to bake evenly with no soggy bottoms!

tea and cake

A slice or two to check the cake was ok – Mr D enjoyed his slice.

The golden caster sugar gives it a caramel colour, and the flavour is more rounded, I just use a bit of raspberry jam.

unpacking the studio

We are moving in gradually – the studio shelves have arrived so I spent some time unpacking

studio shelves

In no time at all the shelves were full! might need some overflow storage!

winter flowers

There were a few empty flower containers – so i decided to pot up some winter pansies

winter pansies

They are such pretty flowers – I think violets are my favourite they vary in colour from yellows to purples.

my crop

My gardening skills won’t be risking our veg box delivery – this is the sum total of my tomato crop!

cupcake welcome

My lovely daughter and son in law popped round for lunch – she made us some welcome home cupcakes!

a relaxing swim

I am enjoying our lovely pool – ending the working day with a swim is divine we can watch the sun setting over the trees.

time for a soak

Then it is time for a good book and a good soak, just in case I am not wet enough!

Have a lovely week.

ttfn x

autumn, heart and home

Weekend doodles, felting and domestic Superwoman!

Getting ready for workshops
Getting ready for workshops

I am doing some needle felting workshops this coming weekend, so I spent some time making sure that the templates and patterns were ready. I am doing a Movember moustache pin workshop at Eternal Maker and it has been great fun making lots of different types of moustaches!

Full moon needle felted picture
Full moon needle felted picture

Needle felting is one of the most relaxing ways to create textile art, there is no sewing you simply push one fibre onto another with a barbed needle. I decided that I wanted to show just how flexible this medium is, so simply played with the fibres until I made this picture. Its like painting with fibre, and so joyous!

I have been doing a little ‘life laundry’ this weekend, it must be in preparation for winter. I spent a happy day clearing out the larder, fridge and freezer. Making lists of what I have and making it easier to find things! It is surprisingly satisfying – giving rise to a domestic superwoman!

Use a plant spray bottle they are far more effective
Use a plant spray bottle they are far more effective

I felt in need of some pretty flowers to compensate for the darkening nights, I bought some lovely cyclamen and house plants, a very pretty african violet and some poor little things being given away because they needed some loving!

While I was there I bought myself a couple of plant sprayers. (you know my love of vinegar) a plant spray bottle is far more effective way to use vinegar effectively. However they were a little boring so I spent a rather blissful half hour creating my own little label using sharpies! I do love the idea that it is a little bottle of magic! Once started though I had to stop myself from brightening up everything I can get my hands on!

1940's, Adventures, domestic, domesticity, environmentally friendly, happiness, healthy, heart and home, home craft, home made, home making., Idealism, interior, kitchen, life lessons, make your own, museums, natural cleaning, pantry, re-framing, re-use, Uncategorized

Falling in love with shiny!

 

I am not a Bree Van-de-Kamp, the Desperate Housewife with the perfect home, but there are times when I realise that I need to do something about the layers of dust and the kitchen floor appears to be changing colour!
 Housework is something that I seem to avoid – yet oddly enough when I spend time cleaning I actually find I enjoy it. (yes you did read that correctly, the word enjoy and housework in the same sentence!)
I have fallen in love with sparkly, and it is very easy to achieve, takes no elbow grease and is not hazardous to health. It is a simple mix of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.

 

This is not my kitchen but one that is set up in the grounds of the Weald and Down Museum in nearby West Dean, I thought it illustrates to me just how much simpler and easier housework has become. Hot water at the turn of a tap – washing machines and electric kettles, it has never been an easier time to be a housewife. I believe that simple household products that have seen years of use. This little kitchen set up goes back to early in the 1900s.

 

Looking at the simple ingredients that were at the disposal of the housewife in her struggle to keep the house free from infection – it  made me ponder just how far we have come to rely on the ‘selling power of science’ We trust the cleaning products that abound on the supermarket shelf are safe and effective to use.These companies are in business to make money, they use enough science to convince us that their product will be the best, and easiest to use.
There are no restrictions on cleaning products for the home it may surprise you they are able to sell these above what would be considered a health risk if it were sold commercially. There have been links with air fresheners and cancer risks, and I believe that if our bodies cough to expel something that has been sprayed into an aerosol into our smallest room then it is pretty likely the substance we are ingesting might not be in good health.
Its easy to get everything sparkly, just spray with vinegar and sprinkle over bicarbonate! You can scrub a little, then wash down with water. Buff and sit back and admire a lovely shine! It lasts for a few days too. No coughing, no nasty chemicals, gentle on the purse too!

ttfn x