Sunday, March 07, 2010

A few photos of odds and ends

On CardScraps we had a Valentine card swap; we had to send the card to our swap partner's other half. The cupid is from Winnie, and below is the one I sent to Roz's Justin.
The next two are ATC's made for a pink and purple swap. They have arrived at their destination, but the incoming haven't arrived yet.

This is embroidery on canvas that has been painted with pearlescent paint. It doesn't show up particularly well, but all the thread is space dyed.
The next is a combination Get Well/Birthday card made for a friend who had a stroke and had to spend most of her birthday in the hospital. She was allowed home for the weekend, but has to go back again on Monday. Thankfully, she has regained the use of her limbs, but her speech is still affected.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

ATC Swap

One of the february ATC swaps on CSnATCs was for everybody to make two cards using the same digital image of a lady in a red hat, provided by the moderator. Above is the pair I made, pure digital, and below is the pair I received from Barb.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Finished stitching...

...the Wildflower Hearts square. My home-dyed threads didn't have as much variation as the Caron wildflowers, so I combined one thread of each colour to stitch the outside octagons. I should have fiddled a bit more in PS before posting these photos as the forest green looks quite dull and dark here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Giuchie, Giuchie, ya ya dada...

This time last year, I wrote about making marmalade from windfall oranges. In fact, I made two batches, and the five jars on the left, below, are all that remain. Last Sunday, a friend who is partial to my particular recipe came to lunch, and in way of a large hint, brought with him a carrier bag full of blood oranges. This time they had been picked from the tree rather than the floor, so the need to process them quickly was not so pressing.

The next time I went shopping I bought sugar. I was lucky in that instead of the usual €1.20 it was on offer at 89¢, so I bought 6 kilos. Just in case you fancy making some, here is a quick run down of my method, a combination of an old Kenwood recipe and an M&S pressure cookery book recipe.

Wash a shopping bag full of oranges (the oranges, not the shopping bag) and then weigh them. Depending on what type of oranges you have, either cut them in quarters if they are not too pippy, or leave them whole if they are proper bitter marmalade oranges that usually have lots of pips. Measure out a litre of water for each kilo of oranges, and use as much of this as you need to cook the oranges in the pressure cooker until they are soft. I usually do about 20 minutes at full weight, but my weight has a lump missing, so I gave them half an hour. If you are cooking in batches, you can use the same water/juice. Meanwhile put the remaining water in your preserving pan with the sugar. It should be double the weight of oranges, but I don't like sweet marmy, I like it tangy, so I used a little less; 5 kilos of sugar to 3.5 kilos of fruit. I then put my pan on top of the log burner, but you can put it on a very low light and let the sugar slowly dissolve in the water. This cuts out the add the sugar to the fruit and stir until the sugar dissolves stage. When your oranges are soft, drain them and add the juice to the preserving pan, and move the pan to a higher heat. If you have already cut your fruit into quarters, have a quick rummage through it looking for any stray pips. If you have left your oranges whole, you will need to let them cool a little until you can handle them, or tackle them with a knife and fork; cut them into quarters and flick out any pips that you find. Set up your mincer, hand or machine, with the larger holed plate in position, and push the oranges through. Check that all the sugar has dissolved in the water and juice and add the orange mush to it. Bring it up to a rolling boil and check fairly quickly for a set. Because the pith is loaded with pectin, and because you have only used half of the quantity of water you would need if you didn't use the pressure cooker, it will set in no time at all. I put my jars and lids through a dishwasher cycle so they are both warm and clean. Pot up and label. I can highly recommend Lakeland preserve labels. I have jars that have been going through the dishwasher since the early '90s and the labels are still intact. I just cross out the year and substitute the current one! The problem this time was that I had a sort out in the kitchen a couple of months ago, and I couldn't find them, so the jars without labels already on them now have ordinary stationery labels instead.

So here you have it...19 assorted jars of Bloody Marmalised 2010.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Not Craft ...

...exactly, but art of a kind; it is Three Kings Day here, a National holiday, and the cafes were full of people enjoying a late breakfast, or just coffee and a portion of Rosco de Reyes. Our waiter takes pride in his work, and rushed as he was, he still found time to add the finishing touch...
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