Monday 30 June 2014

Frugalings from the Random House

 This weekend we've been collecting seeds from the garden to save for next years gardening. We don't have many flowers in the garden so we are looking forward to increasing what we have. So far we have poppy seeds, bluebell seeds and pansy seeds. Later in the season I am hoping to add some Spring Vetch seeds to.

 We have also been celebrating the appearance of our first tiny tomatoes. I can't wait till we are harvesting from all our tomato plants!

And a little update on our mystery caterpillar. He is growing happily, now we've worked out his preferred diet of tomato's and tomato plant leaves. He has even started  to shed his skin as he grows.

x x x

Friday 27 June 2014

An Unexpected Visitor

 I was stirring my Spring Vetch seed pods this evening, when I spotted this little fella clinging to a pod..
I've had a quick google on "how to care for your caterpillar" and found a few tips on looking after him.
 I'm hoping to keep him safe and happy with us over the weekend so we can use him for some Home school projects on life cycles, nature, caring for animals etc.

So here is his new luxury accommodation. Having found him on the Spring Vetch pods I have added some freshly cut sprigs.  So he has a snack hopefully, I'm not sure if the need a water source or they get it from the leaves? I also haven't ID'd  him yet, so that will be my next job.
 If you recognise him though please leave me a comment so I can research him some more.
I'll keep you up to date on his progress.

x x x

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Summer of Color 2014 - Week Three

 I thought this weeks colors were easier for me. I certainly had a few waves of inspiration when I read this weeks blog post, however I'm not sure I like my finished piece. The pop of plum on the watering can just doesn't pop enough for me. The lavender coloured flowers just don't seem right somehow either.
 I'm going to enter this picture for now and consider another attempt later in the week should I get chance. If not, just please look at the first two weeks and realise I can usually do better okay?


Sunday 22 June 2014

Rhubard Weekend

On Friday I spotted someone offering handfuls of Rhubarb on Freegle. Some of you may remember last year when I received some and made a batch of Rhubarb champagne. It was the same person offering again so he recognized me and asked what I was planning to make this year. He also offered to keep my email to one side and contact me each time he's planning to cut some more. He just wants it to go to someone who will use it.


This years batch was turned into Rhubarb and Pineapple jam on Saturday. It was a new recipe from the preserves book I received from New Zealand, and it's definitely a winning combination! One of my jars didn't seal after processing but the other two are packed away in the preserves cupboard for eating later on.

I used up the unsealed jar today by making a monster sized bread and butter pudding to last the week, and two dozen heart shaped jam tarts.
 The tarts will be popped into lunch boxes throughout the week and nibbled on for snack time treats. That's if I can hide them from a hungry hubby, he's been breaking apart some pallets for me in the garden and it's given him a huge appetite!

x x x

Wednesday 18 June 2014

An unexpected visitor in the playroom.

 Yesterday morning I came downstairs to start my day as usual, only to find a pigeon flying around the playroom and kitchen!!!! My girlish screams soon woke everyone in the household (and half the county). All the windows had been closed over night and the playroom door has been shut so the only logical explanation is that it fell down the chimney. 
 It can't have been there long as I found hardly any droppings afterwards, and I know there is a nest on the roof somewhere as you can hear chicks cheeping from our bedroom window.

 A quick piece of nifty towel throwing and the beast was captured. After letting the girls have a quick peek at our guest and a few snaps were taken, we released it in the garden. Only to watch it fly in a big arc and go straight back to our roof. Let's hope the poor little thing has learned a lesson about balancing on the chimney.
 I'm pleased to say this morning the playroom was bird free :)

 X X X

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Summer of Colour week two

Hurrah! Week two of the spectacular soc14. This week we were given teal and coral with a hint of white.  I was flummoxed about what to draw but found inspiration from a wedding cake on a Google search.
 I used ink and watercolours. The hint of white are tiny half pearl beads stuck in the centre of a few of the roses. You can see it better in the photo below.  
Can't wait to see what we all create this week

X x X

Monday 16 June 2014

Father's Day for the Randoms

 Yesterday was Father's Day so we spent the day giving OH lots of loving attention. First he had a mammoth lie in, followed by a gigantic Full English breakfast with all the trimmings for brunch. Then we showered him with some gifts (including his fetching new t shirt below)

In the afternoon I made a cake with the girls while he relaxed with some 360 gaming. We choose to make a Victoria sponge with chocolate chips. Once it was cool we decorated it with chocolate butter cream, raspberry sprinkles, glace cherries and candy hearts.

It was a lovely way to spend an overcast afternoon and I can assure you the cake was very well received by Daddy :)

x x x

Friday 13 June 2014

Friday Frugallings

 One of the bushes in my front garden has grown in the way of the path. As it is full of flowers at the moment it is also full of bees, making the walk to my front door rather treacherous.

Today I decided enough was enough and hacked off the offending limbs. Not wanting to waste those pretty flowers though cut them off, deleaved them and popped them into my pretty crystal vase. I added a handful of pretty purple flowers that are also growing abundantly in the front garden though I suspect they are actually a weed.
 They look very sweet on my windowsill for now, and didn't cost me a penny.

 I also whipped up a new batch of detangle spray for DD. I reuse the same container each time as it has a Disney Princess on the label and a lovely misty spray that doesn't soak DD's hair. The recipe is simple as one free sachet of hair conditioner to the bottle and top up with water. A good shake later and your done! Easy as pie isn't it?
 (If you haven't got a sachet I would use about 8ml of conditioner from a bottle)

What frugal things have you been up to today?

 X X X

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Summer of Colour 2014!!!!!

I can't believe SOC is upon us again!  
Week one has given us the colours aqua blue, yellow and a pop of hot pink.
Yellow and blue just screams seaside to me. After two years of entering embroidery projects I fancied a change so heres my little watercolour and ink sketch for you to enjoy.
And for a little something something I added my pink pop with a hot pink ribbon handle for my bucket and a little ribbon flag.

Looking forward to visiting everyones entries shortly. I think I love the socialising of SOC as much as the art :)

X x X

Thursday 5 June 2014

Little pick me ups

  It's been one of those ploddy, long, horrid days today. I am still recovering from a nasty head cold, OH is
feeling swamp with shop things, Baby D is teething and DD is panicking about big school. All together it feels like the family is about to implode. The tiniest things are setting everyone off into arguments and stress fits.
 But this afternoon we managed a whole hour of blissful peace. Baby D was napping happily in her pushchair, OH had finally finished his list of phone calls and settled down with a game, and DD and I sneaked out to a local tearoom.
 For a whole hour I sat in the sunshine enjoying a cake and cup of tea, while browsing a lovely book of vintage knitting patterns from the 1950's. DD played in the little playhouse and enjoyed her pink milk and chocolate cupcake.
 And suddenly the world didn't quite seem so bad.  It's amazing how a few moments away from all the bedlam can restore you to a peaceful calm.

 X x X

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Butter and herbs

 I was lucky enough to nab a pot of cream for 25p this evening at reduction time. I haven't spotted any reduced since the great post Christmas glut. It was a great opportunity to show the girls how butter is made, and how we can turn something we don't need into two things we do.
 D just enjoyed the shaking and swishing.

DD took a lot more interest and asked several questions, including where the cream came from.  Tomorrow we will be making scones with the buttermilk, and of course eating homemade butter and jam on our homemade bread.
I love knowing that everything on the breakfast table was made lovingly by hand.

 And a quick update on my raised bed. The tomatoes, lettuce and pumpkin have come on really nicely. The onions are looking a little sad but hopefully will soon perk up. So far not one slug or snail has been spotted on the plants or evidence of nightly visits. Long may it continue.
 I picked up a pot of basil and a pot of mint at reduction time today for a measly 39p each. I've split them between three pots each for the moment, my next raised bed will be herb based I have decided. Mint sauce is a favourite condiment in this household so there will be plenty of that in my gardening future.

  X x X

Monday 2 June 2014

Building in the garden

 Yesterday I took the opportunity to get into the garden and start my raised beds. I made a little pile of all my equipment only to find I had the grand total of four nails! Clever hubby came to the rescue though by pointing out that if I nailed the plastic covering at the four corners I could use bricks on the edges until I buy some nails today.
 Needless to say my job this evening is nailing four pieces of wood to the edges of my pallet square to hold the soil in. The plastic came from our newly purchased mattress and is lovely and thick, to good to bin! And I have plenty left over for a few more pallet beds too.
 In the back left I have three pumpkin plants, then clockwise salad leaves (cut and come again type), tomato plants and spring onions.
 It isn't much but it's a start!

  I've been reading this post by The Prudent Homemaker about making one batch of Spring Onions last the entire summer! With the added bonus of seeds at the end of it for next years crop, and for exchanges and possibly even sale if you were clever. I'm going to try it this year and see how I get on.

Take Care