Tuesday, 20 December 2011

More creating and a new member of the family

We have been creating in the Sweetpea household again over the last few days.  I find that if I keep the children busy making things there is less time for them to wrestle with each other :-)

I thought I would share some of our creations just in case some of you wanted to have a go.  Firstly we made bird feeders in the form of pine cones covered in lard and seed.  Firstly we melted some lard.

oohh that stuff smells so yucky when you melt it !  We then tied some raffia to the tops of the pine cones to form a loop so they could be hung up.

I poured the melted lard into a cup and we dipped to pine cone into it.

When the lard had built up after a few dips we rolled them in bird seed - didn't get a photo as it got a bit messy at that stage (the kids really loved that part as you can imagine :-)).

We then hung them on the trees, they look really pretty hanging up, we hope the birds love them.

I also cut some strips of brightly coloured paper so that the children could make paper-chains, they love making these.

They really enjoyed this and spent ages sticking them together - even little Sweetpea created one (although it was a slightly different design to the traditional style paper-chain bless her).

They look lovely stuck up around the house.

Another item that is now hung up over the fire place is a pom pom garland.  A friend of mine lent me her pom pom makers, wow these are fab!  They make pom pom creating so much quicker, they might not be as full as the original style pom poms but they still look great.

I love our new fluffy garland !

Just had to pop this picture in too as I love the coloured lights over our other fireplace, they let off a lovely colourful glow :-)

And now for the new member of our family, here is Spike the hedgehog.  He was found on a dog walk the other night and when we weighed him at home we realised he was too small to be out in the cold.  We are feeding him slugs and snails which he pounces on (I never knew that hedgehogs pounced!).  Eldest Sweetpea is out most mornings looking for slugs for him.  He is putting on weight and seems very content.  Unless a hedgehog does look too small to be out or is out in the day I wouldn't recommend  moving them.  We only picked up Spike as he couldn't get up a curb and looked far to small to be out and about.

Just in case I don't get to blog again I would like to wish you all a very relaxing and lovely Christmas and New Year. x

Oohh I nearly forgot to leave you with a festive photo of me ........

Little Sweetpea wouldn't wear this for the nativity party at 'Little Lambs' so of course I stood in :-)  Do my ears look big in this photo ? :-)

Luckily my mates are just as crazy, we were the only ones dressed up  (BearsFootprints is below if you read her blog - oohh she will love me for this :-)).

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Creating during winter ...... Quince and Felt

I thought I would take part in Thrifty Household's and Silver Pebble's Making Winter.  I too am not really a winter lover, I hate the pewter grey skys and the cold, I hate that I can't get out into the garden to potter and earth myself and what I hate most of all are the dark mornings :-(  So here goes with a bit of creativity to see if that helps lift my spirits :-)

A month or so ago I took advantage of my neighbours Quince tree and made some Quince Jelly from the book below.  I love this book, it is full of wonderful recipes ....

Image taken from Amazon site
I started off by roughly chopping the Quince.  This fruit has the most wonderful smell, it smells like flowers until you cut it and then it smells like pineapple.  When you stew it it then changes to the scent of apples.

I then stewed them ....

I hung them to drain off over night, I was going to make a net fruit bag but got this off e-bay for cheaper than I could create one in the end :-)

You then re-boil the liquid with lots of sugar until it becomes syrupy in consistency .  I did find I had to squeeze a lemon into it to get it to change more quickly although Quince are meant to be high in pectin.

I then sterilised some old coffee jars and jarred the jelly up.


It is a really lovely taste, sweet with a summery flowery taste .... hmmm I can't really describe it.  It goes really well with strong cheese or pork.  Here it is on a plate with some of my friends piccalilli :-)

I think I will make smaller jars next year as less is more with Quince Jelly.

I have also been playing with Merino wool with the children and had fun wet felting and needle felting with them.

Here are some little felted acrons I made :-)

Here are the children's.

After chatting the a lady who created gorgeous felted scarves about creating a tortoise in a walnut shell (she must have thought I was a little bonkers :-)) she suggested a pin cushion would be great too - she was right, I love this little pin cushion :-)

And then of course there are my son's (right) and my tortoises made out of walnut shells :-)

There is something else I am creating but that will have to stay secret for a little while longer .... this is the scene in my sock drawer (away from prying little eyes :-)).

Saturday, 10 December 2011

A big smile on my face ... :-)

This morning I woke and decided to sit with a coffee in bed and catch up on some blog reading.  I was happily reading away and then noticed a blog update with the above image in my feed.  OOOhh I recognise that, I thought.

My darling son was down stairs creating blog posts selling his fimo creations :-)  How sweet is that!  I think I might have to buy one :-)  Just had to share that moment on here as it really did make me smile :-)

Pop over and have a nose at http://spontaneous-science.blogspot.com/ x

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Thanks and Happbee Birthday....

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last blog post, it is so nice to know I am not alone in needing space sometimes.  I have started digging in the garden in preparation for a hobbit house - well I can dream can't I :-)  Oohh just think how cosy it would be ....

This week seems to have been better, I went to work on Sunday which helps I think as it gives me some space to be me.  It was rather a sad day in many ways at work with death all around me (I work in a hospital) but also nice in a way that I could help just a tiny bit by listening to peoples worries and be there to hold a hand or two (the power of holding someones hand is amazing - it always surprises me just how much comfort someone can get from that simple human gesture).

Well back to this blog post, went off an a tangent then :-)  Mr Sweetpea was a whole 40 years old the other weekend so I took Sunday off work (hence my need for space lol).  We went out to Ely to potter around as a family which was lovely.  We had wanted to go to Spain but at £2000+ for last min tickets that idea went out of the window.

I made him a belated birthday cake due to a silly cold I had.  He wanted a bee cake to go with his new hobby of beekeeping.  Can you see middle Sweetpeas Queen Bee on the right ?  It was fun to make if not a little stressful with the eldest Sweetpea deciding to throw freezing cold water over the girls in the bath whilst I ran down to pop a couple of the flowers I had cut on to the cake.  Yes I was cutting icing flowers outside the bathroom so I could keep an eye on them in the bath, I left them for about 30 seconds and it all kicked off - Mr Sweetpea was on lates at work :-(

Here are the bees, I thought you may like an update on them.  In the winter you have to give them sugar water to try and keep the hive numbers up as there is not much nectar and pollen around in the garden.

Mr Sweetpea then put a hive top feeder on so they could stay in the warm hive and feed in there.  This meant going in to the hive .......  eeekkk.  He got his kit on and got the smoker ready .....

When it was smoking enough he went to the hive .....

He then puffed the hive with smoke and stood back for a while.  He learnt a valuable lesson from last time he went in to the hive - slow and steady wins the race :-)  You have to smoke the hive and leave it for a few minutes, re smoke and do that until they all calm down.  The reason for this is that if they get smoked they assume there is a forest fire, they rush in to the hive to suck all their honey up and then they get a sugar rush which makes them dozy.  I always thought it was the smoke creating a lack of oxygen that did it but you learn something new every day !

He then went in and took the current lid off and replaced it with a feeder lid.  We knew the hive numbers had grown but look what they had created on the lid - isn't it wonderful.

So pretty to look at!  We have yet to open it up for its honey :-)  Some of the bees have already died away due to the cold weather, this is quite normal but still rather sad seeing them dead in front of the hive :-(  I hope the winter isn't too harsh for them.

Thanks for reading my ramblings, sorry they have been rather moany of late - parenthood is hard sometimes isn't it.  I know where I am with babies, I find them so easy but this hormonal time the kids are going through is a whole new ball game :-s

Take care