Thursday, January 6, 2011

Robin Red Crafts

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Warming Wednesday

Its that time of year again and I've got the lurgy (a yukky chest infection with which I have been keeping everyone awake for nights). I haven't got much festive feeling (most unusual for me at the beginning of December) no christmas crafting is being done, and nothing is being ticked off the on the Christmas to do list. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself today, so decided a bowl of warming soup was in order. It was SO GOOD I have to share the recipe with you!

Squash, Chickpea and Chorizo Soup

1 squash, around 800g, peeled and cut into rough 1cm chunks
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 small chilli, seeded and finely chopped
200g chorizo, halved and cut into rough 1cm chunks
Splosh of olive oil
1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock
1 x 400g can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
Handful chopped parsley

1. Gently heat a splosh of olive oil and cook the onion, chilli and chorizo with a lid on for 4-5 minutes, stirring every so often.
2. Add the squash and stock, bring to the boil, season and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Add the chickpeas and continue to simmer for a further 15 minutes.
4. Blend a ladleful of the soup in a liquidiser until smooth, add back to the pot with the parsley and simmer for another couple of minutes before serving. (Or you can do as I did and roughly blend the whole lot until you like the texture).
5. Enjoy and feel better!

That wasn't the only thing to warm up my Wednesday. Look what the postman brought me today!

A lovely surprise parcel all the way from Italy! What could be inside?

Just look at all these lovely things sent from Michela at Little Secrets From My Garden. It's her Christmas giveaway!

Lovely scented embroidery thread (how exciting I've never seen this before!) what festive colour, I will definitely be using that with something christmassy this week, some exquisite buttons - what beautiful colours! And a lovely lavender sachet, a strawberry bath cube and some lovely Scarlett perfume.

Thank you so much Michela, your lovely Christmas parcel really warmed my day, it was such a lovely unexpected surprise. You are so very kind! And I can't wait to make something with my festive thread and buttons!

I hope you are all feeling warm and festive this Wednesday!

Sally xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Want a peek at my CL Fair purchases?

Here finally (!) are a few piccies of the lovely things that caught my eye at the CL Fair last week...

Some beautiful bowls by Jane Hogben, I just love the Robin! And these go so well with my new cream and red spotted china. I plan to build on these and collect a few more pieces!

Some lovely red and white bread baskets.

A Fairy post office set, with fairy paper & envelopes, fair stamps, a post office stamp!

Some marbles (my two are longing for some marbles and my husband is going to make a special wooden marble game/track for them for Christmas).

A Mi Casa Su Casa sign - don't ask :-)

A christmas tree for displaying christmas cards - Boy was I glad I bought that at the beginning of the fair to carry round through the hustle and bustle and then take home on the tube and train!! Its about a meter tall!

A scarf that I think goes so well with my coat, I love the colours in it. And as I still haven't got around to crocheting myself a scarf yet....

A lovely Christmas decoration to remind us to write our letters to Santa.

And a special envelope to put our letters in next to the Chimney to get to Santa. In our house the letters go magically go up the chimney (just like to Santa Clause the movie) to the North Pole.

And saving the best til last - What do you think is in the bag?

Isn't it pretty! I ummed and ahhed for ages, but I had to buy it. It was so pretty, so twirly. Very Strictly Come Dancing (!) and so soft. So many layers! I would love one too! But it is for my little dancer and I hope it will make her happy on Christmas Day.

Thats everything!

Off to get blown away on the school run now!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Filling A Christmas Shoebox

Today we had great fun putting a shoebox of goodies together for run by Samaritans Purse.

Every year our school collect shoeboxes filled with small toys, clothes colouring things, notebooks and sweets and they are distributed to children in disadvantaged situations in Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

We had great fun putting our box together, my two carefully chose some cars, little characters, a toy camera, felt tips and a notebook, spiderman socks, lots of different types of sweets and a little set of Bob the Builder books) and we wrapped it up in festive paper ready to take to school tomorrow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Let the Shopping Commence!

On Thursday my friend Sarah and I met up in London for a pilgrimmage to the Country Living Fair. Due to the trains we arrived about midday, so were determined to get started as soon as possible!

I know that lots of other bloggers went too, and not having been before myself I couldn't believe how crowded it was. But there were soooo many pretty things!! I had taken a trolley on wheels to put things in, and was soon causing traffic jams in the aisles.
We looked and shopped and shopped and looked...... Look at these fab decorations!
Wonderful aromas everywhere of oranges and cinnamon... (I think I might have a go at making something like this myself)
We had our serious shopping heads on, we didn't even stop for anything (including food or drink!).

We had a back up plan though....
the end of they day my lovely friend Sarah treated me to afternoon tea at the Waldorf hotel. Orange blossom tea, mmmm, dainty finger sandwiches and the most gorgeous lemon tart. A perfect end to the day.

I would love to show you all of my purchases, but I am going to have to wait until tomorrow.. my husband has taken my camera to work..

But I would love to show you some wreaths I made on Friday for our WI Craft fair this weekend.

Chillies and limes. (The chillies are ones I grew myself - Joe's Long Cayenne, well worth growing for eating and this sort of thing. I did a trial of 10 different varieties of chillies this year and this was definitely my favourite). If you would like to have a go at making your own wreath for Christmas have a look at my step by step instructions.

This other one has apples and verbena bonariensis.

Come back tomorrow if you'd like to see what I picked up at the CL Fair!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Making An Autumn Wreath

We were lucky enough at our monthly WI meeting this month to have a fantastic speaker who gave us a demonstration on how to make a Christmas wreath. She showed us some beautiful wreaths and made it look so easy I thought I would have a go at making one for Autumn. Apart from the wire wreath frame (55p from the garden centre) everything came from my garden, even the moss which I raked out of the lawn!

This is how I did it.

1. You need to wire your moss to the wire frame using a reel of florists wire. I'm using a 12" frame.

2. Firmly shape the moss into ball shapes and attach them to the wreath ring. Wire them on passing the wire round and round through the ring. When you finish the moss, keep the reel of wire still attached to the wreath, ready to add the foliage.

3. You should end up with a covered ring. The moss needs to be damp, mine wasn't very damp so I watered it with a watering can before I attached the foliage.

4. Next choose your foliage, this is what I found in my garden. I used rosemary, eucalyptus, berried ivy, bay and lavender.

5. Snip into small sections and wire onto the wreath. You need to keep wrapping the wire around and around. Make sure that every side is covered. Thats it, its really that easy!

6. Heres my first wreath, and I'm so proud of it!

Wreath Tips

You should aim for 3 or 4 types of foliage.

You can use all sorts of accents for your wreath, once you have the background foliage you can add chillies, limes, apples, dried hydrangea head, pinecones, birch twigs, sprayed silver allium heads or poppy heads, honesty, hollyberries, orange slices.... They need to be pronged with a stubby florists wire and poked through and things like the chillies or orange slices look best in threes.

If your wreath starts to dry out you can submerge it in a shallow tray of water.

You can use a coat hanger shaped into a wreath shape if you can't get a wreath ring, but these should be available from florists or at your garden centre, or of course ebay.

You can pick a lot of foliage or berried things now (rosehips, berried holly etc) before they go over or get eaten (leaving some in place for the birds though) and keep for up to a month in a cold shed or greenhouse until you need them.