Bits and Bobs · craft projects

Dried Wreath

To make a dried wreath you will need:

Copper wreath base

Cardboard (packaging type is ideal).

A selection of dried seedheads

Small pine or fir cones

Small amount of moss, dried

Glue gun

Florist wire

Tweezers

Craft knife

Snips

Scissors

Optional:

Feathers

Dried fruit slices

Cinnamon sticks

Faux berries

Spray paint

Glitter

First you need to choose what you want to decorate with, and then spray and allow to dry any painted items.

Next you will need the cardboard, draw around the wreath base and cut out. Use the florist wire to attach it to the wreath base.

Then, with the glue gun, begin sticking each piece to the card. Make sure to overlap the edges and any gaps can be filled with a little dried moss.

It might help to roughly lay out what you would like to use before you start gluing to ensure you have enough material and that you are happy with the placement.

These wreaths are perfect for indoor decorations, either hung on doors or as a centre piece on a table. Battery powered candles are probably the safest option.

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Bits and Bobs · craft projects

A Quiet Sunday

Today has been lovely and sunny though quite cold. I’ve been out on my scooter again, this time to a different lake in the heart of the woods.

I haven’t been here in quite a while so it was a real treat.

Afterwards I went to breakfast with my family in Ross on Wye. As we were pottering back to the car, we came across a lovely little shop full of beautiful bits and pieces. Heavenly Homes & Gardenwares

It is perfect for gifts and treats for yourself and also for craft projects.

I found this gorgeous little leaf which has put the finishing touch to a simple Autumn display in my living room.

As you have probably noticed by now, I adore vintage, The other treasures I came across today were some lovely old dinner plates and a mixing bowl in a charity shop. They will be making an appearence here soon!

I also will be having a sort out this week of my craft supplies. I still have pinecones, poppy seedheads, crocosmia seedheads and a few other bits, but a foraging trip is still going to be required.

I won’t be gathering holly and ivy until December, I like to ensure my Christmas wreaths are as fresh as possible.

But dried wreaths can easily be made now before all the Christmas preparations get too hectic!

Reindeer moss, copper wreath rings and florist wire are the basic essentials you will need for making decorations. A glue gun is also extremely useful, as are varnish, glitter, spray paint, cinnamon sticks and faux berries. But you can build up your supplies over time.

A walk in the woods or local park along with bits from your garden will provide you with a rich bounty of pinecones, grasses and seedheads. It will need to be left somewhere to dry before you work with it though.

I will describe the method for making this wreath pictured above in my next post.

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dinner · lunch · quick and easy · recipes · soup

Rainy Day Soup

1 medium sized pumpkin or squash of any variety
1 & 1/2 pints of vegetable stock
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4tsp nutmeg
1 tsp smoked sea salt
Ground black pepper
200g full fat cream cheese
100g mature cheddar cheese, grated

Peal, de-seed and chop the pumpkin/ squash into half inch chunks.
Place in a large microwaveable bowl with 2 tbsp of water. Heat on full power for 10 minutes or until it is soft enough to puree with a potato masher.
Put the puree into a large saucepan with the vegetable stock, salt, pepper, ginger, smoked paprika and nutmeg.
Bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.
Next add the cream cheese and the grated cheese.
Gently stir with a whisk for 10 minutes to ensure all the cheese is melted and the soup is smooth.

Serve with toasted and buttered bread rolls, click on the menu button above for the recipe.

Once cool, the soup can be stored in the fridge in a airtight container for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen.

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Bits and Bobs

Light the Fire

It’s so cold here today. I woke to a heavy frost which then gave way to chilly rain. So, on returning from my grocery shopping, logs have been added to the fire and a warming lunch eaten.

I was going to have sausages with my left over celeriac chips from last night (I had a lovely supper of steak fried in butter with the chips and a gin and soda water, yum!), but because its wet and cold I decided to make soup.

I had one pumpkin (or squash, I’m not sure which, but it was a lovely shade of green!), left from Hallowe’en so I used it, along with cheese and warming spices to make a Rainy Day Soup, I’ll share the recipe in my next post.

I have a list of chores to see too, but I think some time in front of the fire is called for.

My toes need a little toasting!

Tomorrow is forecast to be cold but sunny, so I will be out adventuring on my scooter again.

I will also be trying out some new recipes and planning a few craft projects.

Hope you have a lovely weekend.

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Bits and Bobs

Bonfire Night

I’ve always enjoyed Bonfire Night, especially our local celebration which takes place in a clearing in the Forest. There are no streetlights to dim the sky and so the fireworks look absolutely wonderful.

The fire is always huge and the heat from it incredibly intense, even stood well back your cheeks end up glowing.

The ticket price goes in part to local charities and the turnout is always excellent.

It’s a really friendly atmosphere with a fun fair and food stalls, a proper community event.

If you have any left-over sausages from your Bonfire Night party I have a recipe for them which I will share with you tomorrow.

Stay safe tonight and enjoy!

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Bits and Bobs

Sunday Scooter ride and a trip to the Moon

The weather forecast was for sunshine from 7.15am. So, I got up early this morning, loaded my scooter with the essentials – camera, sugar free sweets and my travel cup full of hot tea.

In the rain.

Oh well. Nevermind.

To be honest, I need to gather as much experience as possible riding my scooter in different weather conditions as I am very new to it. This has been my first week riding it since I completed my Compulsory Basic Training. I don’t drive a car and at 45, becoming a Scooterist is quite a big adventure for me!

I’m so very glad I’ve done it though. It has been quite nerve wracking at times, and I know there will be more moments that scare me. But that is life. Wonderful, exciting and scary!

Because nerves were starting to get the better of me I have taken action in the form of using the Headspace app. Meditation and Mindfulness have been proven to help with anxiety and stress, and even after just a few sessions I am feeling the benefit.

My first stop was at a local wildlife reserve. It was so atmospheric in the mist. Not another soul about, just the birds, a leaping fish (carp I think), and myself. Perfect.

Once I’d finished my tea it was back on the scooter and off to my next stop.

This small and beautiful Arbouretum is a real treasure. On a brighter day the colours will be fantastic, but even in the rain it was lovely.

I also made a new friend!

By this time I was getting hungry so I made my way on down the road to a cafe in the forest.

As a low carb eater I made a few swaps to my breakfast order, no bread or fried potatoes but instead extra mushrooms and tomato. Lush, I do love a good cooked breakfast!

Fueled up, I headed home via the scenic route. Altogether it was approximately a 25 mile round trip, and I loved it.

Once home, it was a quick change of clothes before heading to Gloucester Cathedral with my family to see the Museum of the Moon exhibit.

It was rather beautiful and unusual in the awe-inspiring setting of the Cathedral with the music and lighting adding to the ambiance. The exhibition will be travelling the world throughout the remainder of this year and into next.

I hope you have had a lovely weekend, here’s to a good week, of adventures both great and small and of overcoming fear and having fun!

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Bits and Bobs · craft projects

Saturday Sewing

Today I’ve finally got round to finishing two sewing projects which I’ve had prepped for weeks. I have been rather busy over the last month, so it’s been a real treat just to be able to sit quietly with the radio on in the background and get them done.

Garden print fabric from Makower UK

This little bag was really simple. A rectangle left over from making a tea towel.

I hemmed the top edge and then folded it in half (right side to right side), then stiched the bottom edge and side. It is fastened with two pieces of ribbon stiched to the inside top edge.

Bumble bee fabric.

I used the same method for this small cushion cover.

I have acquired rather a lot of cushions over the years, and changing the covers on them is a quick and easy way of updating colour schemes for the changing seasons.

I think I will have a go at making a duvet cover and pillow cases in the future. The straight forward design is something my novice skills will be able to manage, hopefully!

Now, I think it’s time to use that cushion. I’m going to curl up with a cup of tea and a book. It’s raining here and chilly, definitely reading weather.

I hope you have a restful weekend too.

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Bits and Bobs · quick and easy · recipes

Hallowe’en

Here we are, on the most magical night of the year. The night when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is at it’s thinnest.

Witches, shapeshifters and all manner of sprites, goblins and faerie folk are roaming the land.

This is the time for casting spells, divining the future and making mischief.

Or, you can just stay in and eat something nice!

For this easy and delicious treat you will need Munchkin Pumpkins, butter and grated cheddar. The Munchkins can be found in farm shops and supermarkets at this time of year, but are also easy to grow (I’ll be adding some gardening posts in the future).

Simply cut carefully around the stalk of the pumpkin and remove it, along with the seeds. Leave the skin on as this tastes lovely when it’s cooked.

Then fill the pumpkin with grated cheese and a knob of butter. You can also add some chopped, fried bacon or sausage, and then roast in the oven for 30 minutes on gas 6/ 200c/ 390f.

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biscuits and cookies · Christmas · festive treats · pudding · quick and easy · recipes · snacks

Spiced Biscuits

125g unsalted butter at room temperature
6 ti 8 tbsp splenda according to taste
2 tbsp double cream
250g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Using an electric whisk cream the butter and Splenda thoroughly then add the cream and blend well.
In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients and then stir into the butter mix gradually until a dough forms.
Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about 2 hours.
Divide dough into 2 and roll into a sausage shape which can then be sliced into rounds and placed on a baking tray covered with baking parchment.
Bake at gas mark 4 / 350f/180c for 10 to 13 minutes.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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dinner · quick and easy · recipes

Bangers and Mash

Probably the best easy meal ever!

Sainsburys gluten free sausages fried in butter with swede mash.

Peel and chop the swede into 1 inch chunks, place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a pinch of sea salt and boil until soft.

Drain the water and set aside to make the gravy.

Add a dash of double cream, ground black pepper and a handful of grated cheddar cheese to the swede and mash with a potato masher until smooth.

I use chicken stock cubes for my gravy.

Pumpkin pie is a perfect pudding for this. Click on the menu button above for the recipe.

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