July 22, 2009

Woad and Jam

On Sunday I got to pick raspberries. They were just starting to ripen but there were enough to make a batch of jam. One jar didn't seal properly so that became the tester. It's pretty darned good. Hopefully there will be enough raspberries ready tomorrow so I can make another batch. This time I'll try sieving part of the berries to remove some of the seeds. I didn't really notice them in the jam when eating it, but it looks really seedy in the jars!

I picked some early woad leaves. With the cool, damp and somewhat dull weather, I was curious to know if they had much pigment in them this early in the season. I found some silk habotai that I'd hidden away and decided to try dyeing it. The colour I achieved was really pale turquoise shade of blue. I added a tiny bit of dried woad powder and let it reduce a second time. I tossed the silk in the pot for less than 30 seconds and pulled this out! Darker than I'd expected but absolutely gorgeous.

Today my daughter and I did a practice run for her wedding cake. We made every mistake that we could have and ended up with a 17 lb, 3 layer monstrosity of a cake that shows promise for being wonderful next time round. My son hoped I'd bring him some cake home. I did.... all of it. I hope he's hungry 'cause I can't bear to eat the cake after I've iced it!

July 19, 2009

A few small things

Look what my daughter made for me! She decided to combine my birthday cake with an exercise in working with marshmallow fondant. This is what we'll be covering her wedding cake in as it was less expensive than purchased fondant, was easier to work with and was actually reasonably tasty. The only thing I don't like about fondant covered cakes is the fondant. It's so heavy that I peel it off the cake. By the time I've done that, I don't want to eat the cake any longer. Not that that is a bad thing.

Last week I found this beautiful poppy growing in a barren spot in the garden. I let it go to seed, wanting to save them for the new house. Yesterday I went to check on it to see how it was maturing and drying. It was gone! The little patch was mowed down and my poppy was no longer there! As long as it was flowering, it was safe. Not that I blame whoever mowed, as it did look pretty scraggly once the petals had fallen.

The first tomatoes were harvested. They were tasty. The weather has been cool and damp. I was amazed that these ripened so early. There are more green tomatoes on the vines but nothing that looks close to ripening other than the 2 I picked and ate immediately. Half the plants in the herb bed love this weather and the other half seem to have gone on a work to rule campaign. The Golden Marguerite is ready to harvest, so I should actually chop off all those blossoms and stick them in the freezer for winter use.

I finally finished hubby's new tunic. He chose the colours. It's linen and long seams are done by machine but the thing is all hand finished. Ick.. that took forever. There are reasons I love my sewing machines and my serger! It is sitting on some yellow linen which one day will hopefully become a new undergown for me. . Although I'm not particularly fond of yellow, the shade is a wonderful weld yellow that I couldn't resist. As an under tunic, it should be perfect.

July 07, 2009

The Week Went Where?

The week has flown by once again. Canada Day weekend is normally the Ealdormere event, Trillium Wars. I really wanted to go this year but it was my daughter's BBQ to introduce us to her fiance's parents. They seemed like very nice people however when his mother pulled out a stack of about 200 photos and started to show me pics of her relatives that I "might" meet at the wedding, I did really, really wish I was sitting around a campfire with good friends, dressed in a tunic, perhaps listening to bards or just enjoying the atmosphere.

I had a go with a vague attempt at embroidery for a new tunic for hubby. After 3 days of effort, I hadn't warmed to the results of my efforts and hubby mentioned that he really wasn't an "embroidered tunic" kind of guy. That particular piece - part of one cuff was tossed and he's now got a new plainer tunic in woad blue with madder neck facing almost done. He thought that my finishing all the seams by hand was an awful lot of work, but I pointed out that I do it while I'm sitting around anyway, so it's not like it's a specific time out of my schedule. I really dislike sitting still watching t.v. or movies, sports etc, unless I'm doing something else at the same time.

The garden is growing, mainly weeds. I've gotten the leeks weeded and started on the 2nd woad bed. The cool and wet weather seems to favour weeds over the other plants, although the herbs are looking great! There are a few green tomatoes on the vines. The Arctic poppies that I worried about earlier this year have sprung forth abundantly..... everywhere... like where they should be and where I least expected them. They are supposed to be in the front garden beds but they are in multiple places in the back yard, woad bed, herb garden, sprouting out of the part that I experimented with landscaping cloth to keep the weeds at bay!

I spun up some corriedale that had been mordanted in case I needed it as extras for a demo a few weeks back. I spun it much thicker than I normally do. Every once in a while I need to remind myself that I can spin to size and chose something out of my normal range and spin off a bobbin of it. Since I only had 100 gms of the corriedale, this became my "thick" skein. There are 192 yards in it. Because it's mordanted with Alum, I feel obligated to dye it although if I hadn't mordanted it ahead of time I would leave it plain as it turned out to be a lovely colour on it's own.

I spent 2 days washing fleeces. They are both pretty when washed up. This is Jillian, a Shetland lamb from Kalwa Taure. It's a pretty grey which will be part of the shawl project for Tammy. I also washed Rolo but right now, with grey, cool weather and a move on the way, it's a little much to do the washing. I've decided that I don't really "like" washing fleeces. I ended up tired, wet and smelling like dirty, wet sheep. While I actually do like the smell of fresh fleece very much, it turns out that I DON'T like smelling like fresh fleece myself :)