Archive for September, 2011


Off

I’m off to Denmark tomorrow to visit various relatives.

I’ll catch up when I can. Meanwhile, I suggest checking out some peeps on my blogroll (down the right hand side).

Many loves.
frankiesoup

I need this.

That is all.

Venture

So as you’re all probably aware, I won’t be going back to work.

However, I still need to earn some money, s0 in the run up to Christmas, I will be offering various children’s knitted garments on my etsy shop.

If you see something you like on there but aren’t keen on the colours, don’t hesitate to ask for it in whatever shades you like. Stock orders placed during the week will be dispatched the same day, custom orders will take up to a week for dispatch and delivery will be via Royal Mail. I will also offer a six month guarantee on all of my knitting – if it comes apart during normal wear and tear in that time, send it back to me and I will either repair, replace or refund depending on the damage and your needs.

To start things off, here is the first of the new items to go into the shop.

Watch this space for more little-people clothes. As usual, all comments and suggestions are very, very welcome.

Elder

I feel I have grown this weekend.

I should have realised sooner. I am not superwoman. It’s not for lack of trying though…

I got up on Saturday determined to do my baking for the entire week, finish the little tank-top I was  making, slice the Thing-That-Should-Be-Soap, catch up on the washing and enjoy some quality time with husband. My plan for Sunday was to go to the reclamation yard, buy some pots for the front garden to fill with flowers and finally get the front of the bungalow looking as if it belonged in the same street as the rest of the immaculate houses around here.

So I began by playing with Bub, plucking 2kg of elderberries from their stalks  to use  for cordial and then we went out.

S-‘s friend has a little boy the same age as our daughter so we thought we’d meet up for a coffee at La Hogue. If you’ve not been out there before, it’s worth a visit. Anyhow, they were having a suppliers fair this weekend so we trundled out with the intention of having a look around and nomming some free samples, and came away with over £50 worth of things!

I would highly recommend Butterworth and Son’s Hot  Garlic Pickle, and the Hill Farm Garlic mayonnaise made with rapeseed oil is possibly the best condiment I have ever had. Norfolk Cordial offered a magic rhubarb, ginger and orange drink, whilst the nettle, ginger and lemon vinegar from Seymours of Norfolk deserves a  mention.

In any case, being out at La Hogue snuggling Bambi the tiny pony and stuffing myself silly did not get any baking done. On our return, Bub – who is normally very, very good at going down for a nap – decided that life with Daddy around was too interesting to sleep through and promptly decided to scream a lot. In the end, I did manage to make the ice cream and cordial by running between rooms and  trusting the temperature of my boiling sugar fruit mix  to my wonderfully stable oven. The tea loaf also came out surprisingly well, but I didn’t even get to start on the banana bread or Danish ‘dream cake’ which I’d planned. As for the crumble – the last of the summer berries will just have to go the way of their predecessors and be inhaled by me in a glutinous moment of fruity glory.

Argue all you like, but summer berries are better than chocolate.

It hurts, because I’ve always managed to do so much. I don’t necessarily believe that idle hands are the devil’s toy, but I do worry about wasting the time I have on this earth by sitting and doing nothing. Which, after a lifetime of running round like a crazy person, being at home with a baby feels like doing. When Bub gets a tiny bit bigger I can pour all this energy into her, but for now, I need to be wise enough to accept that I am not superwoman and will simply need to slow down until then.

Bee

I love honey. I love bees.

It saddens me that there are no more wild honey bee colonies in the UK, despite the fact bees pollinate a third of our crops.

adoptabeehive.co.uk is a site which aims to help British bee-keepers. There are some lovely things on there to buy, as well as some great information about bees.

While we’re on the topic of bees, Burt’s Bees do some lovely things – their baby range is brilliant.

And to celebrate all things bee, I have found these glorious offerings on etsy.

Suggestions

So I made my usual elderberry soup and still have 3kg of fruit left. Any suggestions? Anyone know how I might turn it into jelly, other than the obvious addition of pectin, pectin, pectin!

I haven’t even dared to check the soap today. I will later… much later…

The Soap: Day 4

The soap continues to change. With a reservoir of strange coloured liquid hidden beneath the now-solid layer of fat, this most recent state has caused me no end of vexation.

What is this thing I have created? What is this monster I have loosed upon the world?

Update

Just a quick one.

The soap continues to change. Whilst one of my tubs looks like it just might work, the other four now appear to have morphed into scrambled eggs, suspended between Bovril and melted lard.

I will update on any further changes in state.

Epic soap fail

So yesterday, I decided to try and make soap. I’d just been to a car boot sale/farmers market and discovered that a stall there only cost £14 which set me off on one of my wild tangents. Instead of sitting down and trying to figure how much I would need in terms of investment capital, stock and man-hours, I just nipped out to Sainsbury, bought some rapeseed oil and set about creating my wares.

I’ve made soap once before, a la the Kirstie Allsop Homemade Homes recipe. It worked beautifully and everyone got bars of camomile and oat soap for Christmas. This time, I decided I wanted to make my own recipe. Not because there was anything wrong with the one I’d used, but because it meant ordering coconut oil meaning that I couldn’t just get started right that second.

Anyway, I decided to just input my oil of choice on The Lye Calculator so that I would know how much caustic soda/sodium hydroxide/lye I needed to use.

Armed with this handy information, I set to it.

To make this "soap" I used 750g of rapeseed oil, 100g of lye and 200ml of Lady Grey tea.

I stirred it all around in a bucket.

Then I poured it into moulds.

Only, I hadn’t read all of the instructions properly and added the tea and oil to the lye, rather than adding the lye to the tea, then waiting until it was all dissolved before adding the oil.

Essentially, by not holding off until the reaction between lye and tea was complete, I have created gritty caustic snot. The consistency is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, with a layer of fat and a layer of browny liquid, all on top of a gritty jelly. And what stings the most is that I wasted perfectly good tea making this abomination! Tea I could have drunk!

Well, I guess it isn’t a total loss. Lessons learned and all that. Patience. Virtue. I get it.

Until next time.

 

Hobo with a Shotgun

So last night, with Bub in bed, we decided to watch ‘Hobo with a Shotgun’.

Yeah, it’s as bad as it sounds.

Normally, I’d have loved such an unrealisistic, disgustingly graphic romp through 80s-style movie violence with little in the way of a plot. Since having Bub though, I find it much harder to watch gore – regardless of how hilariously fake it is. I’m glad I watched Grindhouse pre-pregnancy, otherwise I might not have been able to cope with Deathproof and then where would we be? In any case, I really struggled to get through parts of this movie – namely the prying open of a man-hole cover with the bloody stump of the left radius.

I don’t think it’s a purely hormonal thing. I reckon it comes down to the fact that since having Bub, I so want the world to be a happy, hopeful, wonderful place, filled with only good. I want a world worthy of her. And if I can’t make it, I can at least delude myself that people who have the imagination to think of this kind of violence don’t exist.

What made it worse, was that the ending tune to the film was the same as the one which ended The Racoons cartoon. I feel that my childhood has been violated somehow.

In any case, I was going to tell you about the apple cook off of last weekend. Here is the photographic evidence:

Three apple crumbles - one for now and two for the freezer - plus four jars of apple, red onion and sage chutney. Perfect for pork.