Craft, stitchin' and sustainable living

Monday, September 17, 2012

The veggie patch

As you might remember, we moved into our new house about three months ago.  With Spring approaching we knew we wanted to start planting our veggie garden but we had one problem - the sunniest part of the yard didn't have a garden bed.  So we called in our local landscaper (so local, he lives in our street) and asked him to build a veggie garden bed for us.  

The newly built bed looked great, and once it had soil in it we were keen to get planting!  We put in some herbs...

(how cool is pineapple sage?  It really smells like pineapple!)  and some tomatoes...

Though they look happy, they still have a long way to grow...

And there are two rows of radishes that we are expecting to pop up very soon...

We have a big order in with Diggers for some wonderful heirloom seeds, but until it arrives we continue to water and watch every day.

What are you planting at the moment?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pleated Trousers

Here's a little project I've been working on - the Pleated Pants (Trousers) by Papercut Patterns.

First I'd like to say how much I like Papercut Patterns - not only do they have an excellent range of sewing patterns, but they also have a sustainable angle, with a goal to use 100% recycled and recyclable products.  As they say on their website "A good quality, well made garment can last a lifetime, so lets keep our earth alive long enough to appreciate our craftsmanship". I coudn't agree more.

Although I seem to have cut the pattern a size too big for me (me, make a muslin?  I don't think so!), the trousers still worked out quite flattering.  I think you can get away with 'a bit too big' in black.  Papercut pattern instructions are very well written and extremely easy to follow.  I thought sewing trousers would be a bit of a challenge for me (zip? fly? lined waistband?) but in reality they were actually quite easy to make.  Unlike many patterns I've made recently, I didn't have any "you want me to put what where?" moments.  The pieces all fit together amazingly well - even the waistband seams and side trouser seams match!  That never happens for me - at least, not without an amount of swearing and unpicking.

I'm really pleased with these - they will become a staple in both my work and casual wardrobe.  I'd really like to make another pair - this time the right size - and in another colour.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

More pickles (because we love them)

Sunday afternoon at our house means two things: cheese and pickles.  We are completely addicted - smoked cheddar, blue castello, often a brie or a camembert.  And the pickles: sometimes gherkins, sometimes onions, sometimes both.  Making your own pickled onions is actually quite simple if you can find small onions, and they work out quite tasty too.

The most difficult part of the process is peeling all the onions.  I recommend wearing ski goggles for this part.  No, really.  This is not a task for the un-masked.  Then brine the onions overnight.

Give the onions a good rinse the next day.  At the same time, make heat a mix of vinegar and your chosen spices.  We like to use apple cider vinegar for its flavour, and a mix of ground allspice, mustard and a bit of brown sugar .  Let this mix cool.

Pop your onions into sterlized jars along with bay leaves, slices of chilli and peppercorns.  Then pour the cooled vinegar and spice mix into the jars and seal.  The onions will be ok to eat after a few weeks, but to get really pickley ones I recommend leaving them for about a month... if you can resist!