Friday, 27 September 2013

Fruits of the forage

Alongside perpetually sunny summers and white Christmas', the stained fingers and slightly gritty teeth of a blackberry forage are abiding memories of my Norfolk childhood. But somehow, over the years, I stopped picking berries - maybe too much time spent in cities with folk vaguely suspicious about edible wildlife.

But this past fortnight, I've started to look at hedgerows properly again thanks to a wonderful day of foraging and jam making with the lovely people of Abundance Oxford.  Based at Hogacre Common, an old college cricket ground, Abundance is run by volunteers passionate about urban fruit harvesting. Our guide Joe, was particularly interested in medicinal properties of plants - while quite a lot of the things he uncovered for us tasted of "green" my favourite plant finds were horseradish (never knew that the leaves are tasty too) and mustard. But it's definitley the fruit that got me all fired up - plums, apples, hoar berries, rosehips, and sloes to name just a few of our fabulous finds.


We've since been exploring the fields and hedgerows near us, and have been amazed at just how many sloes, elderberries, damsons and blackberries there are.  On our foraging day, we learnt how to make jam and jellies -  I'll definitely be attempting to achieve  a good "gel matrix" again at home, thanks to our Science of Jam lesson from the incredibly knowledable Andy. However, it has to be acknowledged that so far, pretty much everything I've foraged has been put into gin!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Colour block

Our four walls have been through a tough time this summer. Well actually, it's the floor that had the worst of it. Way back in June a burst water mains pipe flooded our little row of houses resulting in all sorts of house-based shenanigans. Thankfully, the water was clean, and the damage was fairly minimal compared to what many others have had to contend with in the winter floods this year. We were working an "industrial chic" look for most of the summer, but finally, we have carpets, newly painted walls and a kitchen floor again.

Anyhoo, as a result of all this kerfuffle our little house has felt somewhat neglected, and now that we have cosy toes and pretty paint again, it's been great to fluff the cushions and titivate.

Some may call this a titivation too far... but, inspired by the shelves of my lovely friend Jo (recently featured in Crafty Magazine), I've been shuffling our books into colour theme. Mr Loulabelle, was somewhat disturbed at first, but has since grown to accept that he just has to remember the spine colour to find his books - easy peasy if you ask me!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Dressmaking for Beginners

The Pinworks Autumn term of stitching began this week and we are off to a flying start with a new batch of beginner dressmakers.

I always get a little flutter of nerves when I haven't taught for a while, but as soon as the "My name is Verity and I'll be your teacher" patter begins, the butterflies are replaced by the buzz that only the smell of new fabric and eight eager faces can bring!

After seasons of leaving it too late, I've actually managed to produce a sample of the dress - a semi-fitted, sleeveless shift with bust and waist darts, back slit and zip. It's a great pattern for beginners - lots of different skills involved, and a lovely flattering style that suits all shapes and sizes.

So, here's to the next 7 weeks of dressmaking fun - I'll share the wonderful results from the new cohort (LOVE that word!) as they emerge - and you could always pop over to the Pinworks facebook page to get breaking news as it comes!

Anyone seen that pin??? can even jump in it... hurrah!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Hello stranger!

Oops, where did those last two months go? Well, while these hands have not been so busy typing, they have certainly been busy stitching. Inbetween enjoying the sunshine and not enjoying some flooded house shenanigans, I've been working on a wonderful order of knitting and crochet needle rolls for two rather wonderful ladies.

I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say at the moment, so shall stop there, and switch to the medium of photo-visual delight....



Related Posts with Thumbnails