Spade to Plate and cooking from the garden

I have not updated this blog in a while. This is because of work (paid and voluntary), which has left me less time to do crafts... I still recycle, more than before.

I go to cookery classes to use up vegetables from my friend Karina's allotment and also make jams and cordials at home. Yesterday I made elderberry cordial and apple and blackcurrant jam. I sterilise jars in the microwave while metal lids go into a pan of hot water (from the kettle).

I add citric acid to the cordial so it lasts longer. Having missed out on the flowers, I have harvested the berries, which make a wonderful anti-flu syrup!

You can find lots of recipes online, I have done these by eye so I could not tell you the proportions of fruit and sugar. I used a pectin powder, which allows to use only 500g of sugar per 1000g of fruit.

Have a happy summer!


Summer projects

School is out, so family crafting is back - indoors and outdoors. Michela, aged 10, produced these masterpieces so far.

The butterfly mobile is very cute, we got the idea from a children's centre activity. It's a fun way to recycle packaging. Inside the open dice, the butterflies hang from pretty ribbons.

She also made a Lego chick and this wonderful painting at the Fitzwilliam Museum's Art Week. The glue featured is Gorilla Glue, which bonds a variety of materials, including paper! We got this sample from a friendly PR and we are now wondering what to do with it next.


Watch strap hack - with loom bands

Fixing a watch strap

My watch strap's loops broke... the tongue bit kept flipping up and getting caught in things. So I took a black loom band, doubled it and secured the strap end back. No need to replace the watch strap yet...


Make a trendy skirt from a man's suit jacket

For best results, use a large jacket. My partner is on the slim side so I added a small panel at the back. The pocket on the back comes from the inside of the jacket. There is also another internal pocket inside. 


Snow ice cream or Italian granita with snow...

As it is snowing, here is my recipe of snow ice cream. Do not use compact snow unless you want it slushy... You can find the recipe on my parenting blog...


Happy foraged Xmas.... greenery is all from my garden!


Recycling rubbish!

Courtesy of Empty Common Garden's blog

I like to think I believe in the Rs of recycling: Retrieve, reinvent, reuse (first mentioned here in this Community Garden Blog). In this instance I am not retrieving from a river but from the blue bin. I have been recycling:

  • plastic fruit punnets to use as cloches on pots in the greenhouse, also soda bottles cut in half as ground cloches
  • plastic packaging to pick up cat poos in the garden
  • toilet rolls to make planters (just stand on a plastic tray)
  • small plastic containers to store seeds
  • ice cream wooden sticks to label plants (you can write on them with a pencil) and chopsticks saved from sushi restaurant visits (you can write on top fat bit)....
Other ideas I have:

  • re-using teabags and coffee grounds as mulch
  • keep nut shells to scatter in raised bed as they deter snails
  • oranges' and lemons' netting could protect a small plant from pigeons
  • use grass cuttings to deter weeds
  • use moss growing among my grass to line hanging baskets as it keeps moisture
  • keep stones I find when digging up in the ground to hold moisture for potted plants
  • use raspberry and blackcurrant leaves for making tea
  • Encourage mint plants so I can use their leaves fresh or dried to make tea
  • Use nettles in compost bin to encourage compost making (and wee if I can pee in a pot - as shown on Gardeners' World not long ago)
  • Keep the pond clean as frogs are saving me a fortune in slug pellets
More ideas to come! Happy gardening.... Here is a cute idea from Charlotte, who is the Empty Common Garden's Coordinator.... More ideas are on that blog.