Make It Your Own

Make it unique. Make it yourself. Make it your own

Make Your Own Curtains 18 October, 2007

Filed under: Craft,Home cooking,knitting,Weekly useful stuff,Yarn reviews — makeityourown @ 9:19 am

Hi everybody, I’m back.

The last two weeks have been pretty busy. My Dad came over from NSW to stay for a few days, Matthew had a whole week of Karate training and a tournament, we almost finished having the house rewired and we went camping at Burra Creek Gorge for a few days. I got very little knitting done and I’ve been missing my blog. Coming up in the next few weeks there’ll be more yarn and book reviews, I’ll give some ideas for Christmas gift making, talk about Ravelry and report on the garden. This week we have soup, curtains and Heirloom Cotton.

Let’s get started with the curtains

MAKE YOUR OWN CURTAINS

Curtains can either be very expensive to get exactly what you want or cheap for readymade ones that don’t quite fit and are produced in few colours and patterns. Sewing your own gives you the best of both; they are inexpensive and you can make them just the right size and colour to suit you. I’ve just finished some for our spare room/office and over the past few years I’ve made curtains for every room of our house in various styles. You don’t need any special equipment either. Don’t be afraid of making curtains; they are much easier to sew than clothes!

Styles of curtains A good curtain book will tell you about all the many ways of doing curtains but here are the three I’ve used in my house.

Rod and clips: these are just 2 hemmed rectangles of fabric attached to the rod with clip-on curtain rings. These rings clip onto the fabric and then slide onto the rod, which is a thin powder coated metal rod. You can buy the rods and clips at Spotlight and they are a very cheap and easy way to do curtains. I have these curtains in my kitchen. Another advantage is that they are easy to unclip for washing. Hem the sides and then the top. Hem the bottom last. Clip the rings on at regular intervals and then slide onto the rod.
Rod and pocket: again using a powder coated metal rod in my laundry but you can use any kind of rod such as wooden dowel, a strong string, whatever. A rectangle of fabric is hemmed at the sides and then sewn over at the top to form a tube. The rod slides into the tube. Hem the bottom last. For a little frill at the top, stitch along the top of the tube, about 2cm in from the top fold. The rod slides under that stitching.

Gathered: rod and clip and rod and pocket designs are gathered as they squeeze up on the rod. They are best for less formal decorating. Gathered curtains are gathered up with gathering tape to fit the rod neatly. They look stylish and neat and a good for more formal decorating. These are a little trickier than rod and pocket or rod and clip designs and use a little more equipment. I have these kind of curtains in the lounge room, the office and the bedroom.

Making gathered curtains

What you need: fabric, sewing machine, pins, scissors, gathering tape, curtain hooks, rod and rings, tape measure, sewing thread, iron and ironing board.

Work out how wide each curtain needs to be. Curtains should extend about 20cm past the side of the window. Measure how wide your window is, add 20cm for each side and then divide that by 2 if you want 2 curtains. Now you need to decide how gathered you want the curtains to be. If lightly gathered, you’ll need the fabric to be about twice as wide as the finished curtain, if heavily gathered about 3 times as wide. Add about 10cm to allow for the hems.

Now work out how long each curtain needs to be. The top of the curtain should be about 20cm above the top of the window and the length is up to you. Measure your window, starting 20cm above the top of the window and down to where you want the bottom to be. Add about 30cm for hems and gathering area.

Now you can go and buy your fabric. While you’re buying the fabric, you’ll also need to buy gathering tape and hooks. The gathering tape needs to be as long as the curtains are wide plus some extra. Tape comes in different widths and I like to use one that is about 7cm wide. The packets of hooks have information on the back saying how far apart the hooks need to be and then how many hooks you’ll need for your size curtain.

Now get to work: Cut the fabric to the correct size. Iron and then sew a hem down each side of the curtain. Your hen should be folded over twice so no raw edges are showing and be about 2cm wide. Iron over the top of the curtain. The first fold can be about 2cm and then the next fold needs to be as wide as the gathering tape plus 2cm. Pin the gathering tape onto the fold, with the bottom of the tape close to the where the hem will be sewn down. Note that there is a right side and a wrong side of the tape. The side you want showing has extra bits of tape where the hooks hook in. Sew the gathering tape and the hem at the same time, through all thicknesses. Sew the top of the gathering tape in place. Gather up the curtains by pulling the threads in the tape until the curtains are the right size for the window. Tie a knot or a bow in the threads so that they don’t come loose. Don’t cut these treads. When you need to wash the curtains, they will wash better if you can ungather them. Even out the gathers along the threads. Put the hooks into the tape at regular intervals. Once the rod and rings has been installed by a handy person, put each hook through the little ring at the bottom of each curtain ring. Do not hem the bottom yet! Allow your curtains to hang in position for a few days to allow the fabric to drop. Then you will know exactly where to put the bottom hem. Sew a deep hem, about 5cm along the bottom of the curtains and then hang them back up. Done!

This is what the top of gathered curtains look like.

Curtain top and rod

Here’s what the top hem, gathering tape and hooks look like.

Curtain tape, hem and hook

Here’s the bottom hem

Curtain hem

Tips

Any leftover fabric can be used for tie backs or matching cushions. If you want to add a blackout fabric to your curtains, pin the blackout fabric to the main fabric before you begin and treat the two fabrics as one. It is especially important to let them hang for a few days before hemming as the fabrics may drop differently. If using patterned fabric, buy extra so that you can match each curtain. The people in the shop where you buy your materials usually know lots about curtains so don’t be shy about asking questions.

UNDERGROUND SOUP

No it’s not soup that you eat on a London train or illegal, black-market soup, it’s soup made from vegetables that grow underground. I make it when the vegies are in season. It’s healthy and tasty and I call it Underground Soup.

What you need: 2 tbs olive oil, 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, 2 carrots, 2 parsnips, 2 potatoes, 1 sweet potato, 1 litre water, 2 tsp stock powder, salt and pepper.

Roughly chop all the vegetables. Heat the oil gently in a large pan and then add the onion and garlic. Cook the onion and garlic gently for a few minutes. Add all the other ingredients. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the vegetables are very tender. Allow to cool slightly and then blend using a stab mixer or a blender until the soup is nice and smooth. Taste and add as much salt and pepper as you like. Reheat the soup gently and serve with a dollop of cream or yoghurt. Mmmmm.

SELBY’S YARN PICKS

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Heirloom 4ply cotton (50g, 165 metres), made in Australia

Heirloom 4 ply cotton

This is an excellent plain 4ply cotton, very smooth and much softer than other 4ply cottons available. There is nothing fancy about it, making it perfect for a wide variety of projects. I like to use it doubled for dishcloths and it makes excellent childrens’ cotton clothes. For adults it makes lovely cool summer clothes, either knitted or crocheted. Its softness and very slight loft mean that it never looks stringy. It comes in 16 colours but most of them are pale pastels and not very inspiring. However, the creamy off-white and the natural beigey-brown are lovely. You can expect to pay around $5 a ball, which is more expensive than other 4ply cottons but worth it for the extra softness. I found some discontinued colours at my LYS recently for $3.75, so some dishcloth knitting is in order or perhaps some facewashers.

BURRA CREEK GORGE

We hadn’t been camping for so long that when Matthew had an unexpected week off work, we decided to head off for a few days. We were planning on heading down to Newland Head, down near Victor Harbor but when we saw the weather report we changed our minds and went north instead. Strong winds, cold and rain are not at all pleasant anywhere near the Southern Ocean. Going the other direction seemed a better option. It was still windy and cold at Burra Creek Gorge but at least we could expect our tent to stay pegged in the ground. Burra Creek is about 25kms south of the town of Burra and about 2 and a half hours’ drive north of Adelaide. It is an old copper mining area and very beautiful in a bare Australian kind of way. The creek winds its way through a gorge full of ancient river red gums, tiny wild flowers and reeds. The soil is red and the water in the creek is very clear. There are all kinds of birds and sleepy lizards lazing around. Sleepy lizards are not just lizards that happen to be sleeping, they are actually called sleepy lizards. They are fat, slow sort of creatures with interesting markings and stumpy tails. They are also called stumpy-tail lizards. These two were lying on the road and crawled away so slowly that I had time to find the camera, jump out of the car, and take their picture before they found a rock to hide behind. Our few days away were exceedingly relaxing and reviving. I was glad to get home and have a shower though!

That’s it for this week. I’ll leave you with some photos of Burra Creek Gorge and some sleepy lizards.

Sleepy Lizards

Burra Creek Gorge

Burra Creek Gorge

This is what Burra looks like when you’re not in the gorge.

Near Burra

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Unseasonably warm 30 August, 2007

Filed under: Home cooking,Travel,Vegetable gardening,Weekly useful stuff,Yarn reviews — makeityourown @ 10:48 am

Hi there everyone,

I was chatting to my sister in England and, as we often do this time of year, we were discussing how the summer daytime temperature there is the same as the winter daytime temperature here. Well today takes the cake. At 28 degrees in August (the last month of winter in Australia), today is the hottest August day since 1911. Instead of making warming soups and sitting by the fire with some knitting, I’ll be getting all the washing dry on the same day that it gets washed and making sure all the vegies don’t dry out. Oh well, it’ll get cold again soon enough. Tomorrow in fact.

I have decided that Thursday is a better day for my weekly post. I’ve been babysitting my nephew on Mondays and Tuesdays will soon be filled up with spinning again. How can I do a crafty blog if I haven’t had any time to do crafty things? So Thursday it is. That being said, I haven’t done much this week that’s worth writing about. Anyway, I’ll give you my recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds, tell you about our weekend in Clare, give you a yarn review and give you an update on the garden.

MAKE YOUR OWN ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

Further to my post last week about not throwing useful things away…there is something you can do with pumpkin seeds. I made soup a couple of days ago and used two small pumpkins that both had lots of seeds in them. I’ve already saved some seeds from a butternut to plant again this summer so I didn’t need any more. Being reluctant to give them to the chooks where they would probably start growing and give us more pumpkins than we’d ever need in a spot we don’t want them, I decided to roast them. I did a little searching on the internet and cobbled together a few different recipes. It worked and they taste good, especially warm from the oven. They weren’t so good cold the next day so I’d suggest eating them quickly or giving them another quick spell in the oven.

What you need: pumpkin seeds, olive oil, paprika, salt flakes. I used seeds from a butternut and a red kuri, South Australian olive oil and Murray River salt flakes.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (375 degrees F). Separate the seeds from the fibrous stuff by running them under warm water over a colander. Dry the seeds with a tea towel or paper towel. Put the seeds in a bowl and add just enough olive oil to coat them lightly. Add plenty of salt flakes and a shake or two of paprika. Mix well. Spread the seeds on a tray and put in the oven for about half an hour, stirring a couple of times so they cook evenly. They are ready when they are crunchy. Eat while they are warm , adding extra salt if you like.

Roasted pumpkin seeds

A WEEKEND IN CLARE

For those not in the know, Clare is a town in South Australia about 2 hours’ drive north of Adelaide. It is in a beautiful valley, called the Clare Valley and is wine producing area. There are lots and lots of wineries and olive oil farms where you can try the wines, eat gorgeous food and enjoy the scenery. We went up for the weekend and stayed 2 nights in a little old cottage in the middle of a vineyard. The weather was good and we even rode our bikes on some of the Riesling Trail, a bike track that runs 25km along an old railway through green hills, olive trees and grape vines. We were pleased to note as we drove up that the crops are looking good this year. The wheat, barley, broadbeans and lucerne are all looking tall and green. The canola was flowering and was blinding yellow. There were plenty of sheep with lambs, grazing happily. I’m fond of Clare. It’s a great place and I can highly recommend it to anyone travelling in SA.

Part of the Riesling Trail

Near Clare

Canola crop

SELBY’S YARN PICKS

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Jo Sharp Silk Road DK Tweed 85% wool, 10% silk, 5% cashmere, 50g, 137m. Made in Italy.

Jo Sharp Silk Road DK Tweed

My Mum recently knitted a cardigan from this yarn and I knitted the button bands for her. Since being knitted it’s been washed a couple of times. This is a fantastic yarn. It feels lovely in the ball and knitted up. The cardigan is wearing well and still looks good, exactly what you’d expect from a Jo Sharp yarn. While it’s expensive to buy at around $9 per ball, each ball has 137 metres, it lasts well, looks great, is nice to knit with and has added silk and cashmere for a bit of luxury. There are 24 colours in the range; greens, blues, browns, warm pinks and neutrals. The colours are made up of many colours but it’s not what you’d call heathered. The light brown pictured is brown and cream with tiny blobs of dark brown, pink, maroon and the occasional green. The texture is very slightly slubby and makes an almost smooth but still interesting fabric. It knits to a tension of 20sts to 10cm which is a little unusual but it’s not hard to find patterns for this weight of yarn. Great stuff if you are after a little luxury.

IN THE GARDEN

Our Newcastle Early apricot is flowering and is very pretty right now. We usually get apricots in late November. I’ve planted some corn seedlings and this weekend I’ll put in some more seed. The lettuces are growing nicely and so are the carrots. The broad beans are still flowering. I’m anxious for them to produce and then finish because the tomatoes will be going into that patch and some of them will be ready to plant in a couple of weeks. The potatoes are mostly finished, just a few more to dig up. Our chickens are very happy and healthy. We are getting 5 or 6 eggs a day and running out of cartons. Anyone in Adelaide who wants to buy some eggs from me are very welcome to. Only $3 a dozen for the best eggs you’ll get. They are fresh, creamy and have bright yellow yolks. They taste fantastic.

Happy Father’s Day to my dad, Richard, my stepdad, Joseph and my dad-in-law, George. My Godfather Bill died a few years ago and he was like a dad to me too. I’m fond of all my dads and I’m lucky to have so many! Happy Father’s day for the first time to my brothers-in-law Andrew and Travis.

Have a good week everybody. Sarah.

 

What do you throw away? 8 August, 2007

Filed under: Home cooking,Vegetable gardening,Weekly useful stuff,Yarn reviews — makeityourown @ 3:30 pm

Hi there

This week I have a book review and a yarn review for you and I’ll give you some ideas on using things in your kitchen that you’d usually throw away.

What sort of things do you put in the rubbish? Our council area has an excellent recycling program. We can recycle tins, plastic bottles, yoghurt tubs, milk and juice cartons, glass jars and bottles and paper and cardboard just by putting them into a bin. The council collects it and sorts it for us. Some things just need to go in the rubbish and there is not much you can do about it. What about food scraps and left overs? I’d strongly recommend that you get some chickens to feed it to or start a compost pile. Other than that I urge you to reconsider the food you throw away and how it could still be used for food. (Within reason please, I’m not suggesting you eat banana skins and green bacon!) There are lots of tasty edibles you can make with things such as a roast chicken carcass, watermelon rind or a Christmas ham bone.

The remains of a roast chicken – chicken stock. Put the carcass in a saucepan with some salt and pepper and maybe some vegetable such as carrot, celery, onion or garlic. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for an hour. Strain and freeze.

The bone left from the Christmas ham – pea and ham soup. Put the bone and a few handfuls of split green peas into a saucepan. Cover with water and cook until the peas are soft. Remove the bone and cut off any meat that is still attached. Put the meat back into the soup. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.

Watermelon rind – pickled watermelon rind, a popular American relish that uses the white part of the watermelon.

Citrus peel – candied peel

Beetroot tops – use them like spinach if they are nice and fresh

Green tomatoes that don’t get ripe before winter comes – green tomato relish

Hard, unripe or soft overripe fruit – relish or chutney

Rosehips and crabapples – rosehip or crabapple jellly

Left over roast vegetables – blend them with some stock to make soup

Zucchini (courgette) flowers (if you grow your own) – stuff them and deep fry them

Dandelions – salad greens. If you find a dandelion growing as a weed in your garden, blanch it by covering it with a flowerpot for a week. This makes it more tender and less strong in taste. Pick the leaves and use in a salad with other greens.

Well there’s eleven ideas for you. Perhaps you have other ideas. Leave a comment and share your ideas with us.

THIS WEEK’S BOOK REVIEW IS “Hip to Knit” by Judith L Swartz. Go to the book review’s page to read it.

SELBY’S YARN PICKS

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Jo Sharp Luxury 8ply DK Pure Wool

Jo Sharp 8ply

I recently knitted a jumper for Yarn Magazine with this yarn. (It was the burgundy jumper on page 34 in Issue 6). I loved knitting with it and I loved the end result. The high twist gives a garment that will wear well, keeping its shape even after many washes. It’s smoothness gives a beautiful even fabric when knitted in stocking stitch and also will show any textured stitches well. Despite its smoothness, it still retains it “woolliness”, something that I like in a classic wool yarn. It is a perfectly standard 8ply or DK weight yarn that knits up at 22sts to 10cm, so you can easily find patterns to use with it. Although it is more expensive than other 8ply wools at $6.35 for 50g, it is worth the cost. I think it is reasonable to pay extra for top quality wool if that is what you are wanting. The best thing about this yarn, aside from all its other excellent qualities, is the colour range. There are 42 colours to choose from which is significantly more than other Australian yarn manufacturers (except maybe Bendigo). Some are heathered and some are solid colours. Be warned – once you knit with this stuff, it’s hard to back to other 8ply wools! I recommend it for classic garments that will last and last.

IN THE GARDEN

Well, not really in the garden at the moment. Our new heated propagating tray arrived today along with our seeds for the summer. The white part of the tray heats up to 10 degrees higher than the ambient temperature. You put your tray of seed raising mix with your seeds in on top and the heat of the propagator heats the soil and your seeds germinate more reliably. We bought it so that we can start our summer vegetables early and have them growing and producing happily before the really hot dry weather kicks in.

Propagating tray

We are planning to grow all the usual summer vegies such as corn, climbing and dwarf beans, pumpkins, capsicum and tomatoes. The tomato varieties I have seeds for are Amish Paste and Principe Borghese, both of which are good for eating fresh and preserving.

I’ll keep you posted on the seed germination results.

IN OTHER NEWS

I’m off to Oxford for 2 weeks in November to visit my sister, her husband and their new baby Isabella. I’m pretty excited. I’ve been there a few times but this is my first trip on my own. Aside from visiting Katie I’m hoping to see some wool shops, maybe a castle or two, maybe a little drive in the Cotswolds, maybe a college…

Don’t forget the Mt Pleasant Fibre Fair is on this Saturday.

I’ve added a few more yarns to the Hand Dyed Yarns for Sale page. You’ll need to scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Have a pleasant week. Sarah.

 

Beanies!!! and another felt project 10 July, 2007

Filed under: Craft,Home cooking,Travel,Uncategorized — makeityourown @ 11:35 am

Hey everybody, it’s Tuesday again. Sorry for not posting last week. We were in Alice Springs enjoying the exceedingly warm weather and the exceedingly good Alice Springs Beanie Festival.

This week I’ll report on the Beanie festivities, review The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook and give you another project to make with the felted wool jumper. At the risk of indulging in self-congratulation, I’ll show off my cupcakes too.

THE ALICE SPRINGS BEANIE FESTIVAL

For the uninitiated, the ASBF is a celebration of the outbacks’ favourite garment, the beanie. You may not think that you’d need a warm hat in the middle of Australia where it is nearly always sunny, but believe me, it gets very cold at night. Artists and crafters from around Australia and the world, including indigenous artists, send in their handmade beanies and hand spun wool to be sold. Over four days the beanies are sold to whoever comes to buy them. This year over 4700 beanies were submitted and over 3000 were sold. Aside from the mayhem of the beanie selling, there is also a competition for the most artistic head gear, with a different theme each year. There is also a tea shop selling soup, toasted sandwiches and divine cakes, all made by locals. All the workers are volunteers.

Matthew and I had a great time. We travelled up on the train in a sleeper cabin and I found a fellow knitter and festival volunteer to knit with. We volunteered, ate too much cake at the tea shop, I did two classes, tried on numerous beanies and generally imbibed the good vibes and bright colours. I came fifth in the world’s fastest beanie maker competition. Maybe next year I’ll do better.

Here are some photos to whet your appetite for next year…

Possum beanie

Beanies

Above are some of the beanies just before the hoards came to buy them. Within 15 minutes of opening, you could bare move in there.

FELT COASTERS

Here’s another project for using a felted jumper. If you’ve just joined us, put an old woollen jumper in the washing machine, set it to hot, put some detergent in and turn the machine on. When it is finished you’ll have some felt in the shape of a jumper that you can cut up and use for various projects. A few weeks ago I gave instructions for making a tea cosy. This week’s project is coasters. They are good for using up the smaller pieces of felt such as the sleeves or other leftovers and they are very easy. So easy in fact that I barely need to write instructions.

1. Cut a piece of felt about 8cm square. Round off the corners.

2. With some pretty yarn or thread and a needle, work a row of blanket stitch around the edge.

3. Sew some beads on to the corners.

4. Make as many as you want. If they are for a gift, tie up a group of them with more of the yarn used for the edging.

Easy peasy, hey?

Coasters

SHOWING OFF

My dear cousin gave me a wonderful cupcake book for my birthday along with some sugar flowers and cashous. I had a few hours of fun on Saturday afternoon and the family dropped in to enjoy the results. Making your own food to share is a brilliant way to reinforce family and friend relationships. Putting some love into the preparations shows how much you care and anyway, decorating cupcakes is excellent fun. Even if you don’t have a dedicated cupcake recipe book, most general cook books will have a cake recipe and an icing recipe. Then you can go crazy with food colouring, a piping bag and decorations.

Cupcakes

THIS WEEK’S BOOK REVIEW IS The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook. Go to the book reviews page to read it.

IN OTHER NEWS

On the 21st July the Hand Knitters Guild of SA will be having a Trash and Treasure Sale at the Unley RSL, Arthur St Unley (behind the Unley Shopping Centre), from 10-4pm. I’ll be having a stall selling hand dyed yarn, tea cosies and maybe even some cupcakes. Others will be selling knitting and bric a brac.

I’m off to the Central Market now. It’s far too cold to go on my electric bike so I think I’ll go on the tram. Our car is sick which is a big pain since I have places to go.

Bye for now. Sarah.

 

Make your own felt tea cosy 18 June, 2007

Filed under: Craft,Home cooking,Vegetable gardening,Weekly useful stuff — makeityourown @ 9:35 pm

Hello again. Hope you’re all having a good week and not feeling the cold too much. Our heater is running almost constantly. When it’s 4 overnight and 13 during the day, you know that winter has come. Of course, everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is probably nice and warm and enjoying summer.
Remember a few weeks back when I gave instructions for making felt from old jumpers? Well it’s time to use some of the felt to make a tea cosy.

Felt tea cosy

What you need: A tea pot, a piece of felt, sewing thread and needle, embroidery thread or fine wool for decorating, a bead (optional), scissors, paper, pencil.

First measure you teapot. Measure the circumference and add 1cm. Measure the height and add 1cm.

Cut a rectangle of paper to the measurements of your teapot. Next, cut out tapered triangles from the top and the side of the paper. These triangles need to be about 6cm deep and need to curve gently as first and become very pointy at the bottom. Place this template on your felt and cut out the felt. Your felt should look something like this:

Felt for tea cosy

Using a needle and cotton thread and using an overcast stitch, sew the seam from the bottom to the top of the points with wrong sides facing. Sew each point to the next point. This is a little easier of you join opposite points and then join the others in one long seam.

You should now have a small hat-shaped thing that tapers at the top. On opposite sides, cut two slits each about 10cm (or smaller for a small tea cosy), starting about 2cm from the bottom edge. Try the cosy on the pot and cut the slits longer if necessary.

Work blanket stitch around all the raw edges. Make a tassle with a bead and attach to the top of the cosy. Go and make a cup of tea.

IN THE GARDEN

Not a lot is happening in the garden at the moment. It’s too cold to spend much time in it and there are not many vegies to pick. The large amount of rain we had last month made all the weeds grow and our garden has been swamped by dandelions, marshmallow, nettles and soursobs. Fortunately, the chooks like all these so we give them a handful or two of weeds every day. The winter vegies are coming along nicely. I’ve sprayed the brassicas regularly with some home made pepper spray and this seems to be keeping the cabbage white caterpillars away. The carrots need thinning but I haven’t got around to it yet. All the nettles have prompted me to write a little about them.

Nettles

These weeds do have some uses, though they are very difficult to pick without getting at least one prick on the arm. Even the tiniest prick of a nettle leaf can be quite painful. In England they have a nettle eating contest. Horrors.

You can eat nettles without putting yourself through immense pain. All you need to do is pick them young and cook them. They are extremely high in nutrients. You can prepare and cook them as you would spinach and they have a similar, but stronger taste. I have put them in a spinach pie, along with the spinach and also put some in a mixed vegetable soup that is blended before serving. I have seen a tv chef cook a greek style spinach pastry with just nettles and feta in it. You probably wouldn’t want a pile of boiled nettles on your dinner plate, but they are tasty mixed in with other things.

Nettles make an excellent tonic for your garden too. Pick a heap of them and put them in a large bucket or garbage bin and cover with water. Leave for a few weeks. You can pour this nettle cordial on any plants that need a bit of a boost. Another plant you could add that is growing like mad at the moment is nasturtiums which are also high in nutrients that other plants love. If you make compost, add nettle leaves to your pile when you build it to add extra nutrients to your compost.

Sorry, no book or yarn review this week. Selby has been asleep 20 hours a day because of the cold and couldn’t stay awake long enough to try out some yarn. I’ve been too busy with Yarn Magazine deadline to read anything except Les Miserables which I am now half way through.

Have a wonderful week. Sarah.

 

Autumn 11 May, 2007

Filed under: Home cooking,knitting,Thoughts,Vegetable gardening — makeityourown @ 5:31 pm

Autumn is beautiful in Adelaide and Adelaide is beautiful in Autumn. The harshness is gone from the sun and it slants through the trees in a golden way, making the shadows long, even in the middle of the day. There is sweet dew on the ground each morning on the grass, which has become lush and green after being dry and crisp all summer. If you drive up into the hills the deciduous trees are gradually warming in colour and a frost will bring out their true Autumn hues. Many people have written poems about Autumn but they are usually from the Northern Hemisphere. In Australia it is a little different in that everything becomes green as the weather cools instead of the green growth of Spring after heavy frost and snow. Autumn days in Adelaide are mild and golden, the best for enjoying the great outdoors, or just sitting on a cane chair in the garden with a bit of knitting.

PICK YOUR OWN DINNER

Here is a little harvest picked from the garden just a few minutes ago with eggs collected this morning and yesterday morning. This will be the basis of our dinner: omelette filled with young silverbeet, mint, basil and parsely and some beans and carrot on the side. All I’ll add is some cheese and a splash of milk in the omelette, a little oil and salt and pepper. It will be very fresh, very tasty and half the fun was wandering around the garden in the golden afternoon sun and picking everything. Ahhh, what a life.

Pick your own dinner

Autumn veg garden

ALTERING A JUMPER

A friend, Hoi, has asked me to apply my talents to his jumper. The ribbing is coming undone at the edges and it is too short, both in the body and the arms. Here is what I plan to do: snip a thread just above the ribbing, unravel that row and let the ribbing fall off; pick up the revealed stitches and knit a little pattern or a stripe in some complementary yarn for a few centimetres; work a new section of ribbing; cast off; give it back to Hoi and hope he approves of my colour choices. I bought the wool today. The lady in the yarn store (the Needle Nook) found a murky green colour for me. There is no green in the jumper (it is grey, grey-blue and cream) but the green looks great so I am going to add that in with some grey and cream.

Hoi’s jumper

MOTHERS’ DAY

I have decided to whip up a little something for my Mum to give her on Sunday. That gives me tonight, tomorrow morning and Sunday morning to do it as we have other things to do on Sat afternoon/evening. Can I do it? We’ll see. I’d better shut up and go start.

To everyone who wants kids but can’t, has lost their Mum or kids, don’t get along with their Mum or kids or is far away from their Mum or kids…I hope you survive Mothers’ Day; it’s not always a happy day.

To everyone else…have a nice day on Sunday. A special hello to Mum (mother), Mum (mother-in-law), Kath (step-mother) and Celia (aunt who I lived with who almost considers me one of her children).