Monday 30 September 2013

Crochet Lessons

I am  running three crochet lessons a week at the moment and I have a great bunch of intermediates who wanted to keep coming after their beginner course and I have four more beginners here. Tonight my beginners completed their first granny square and were very excited.

I have found an alternative use for the cake stands that I made a few weeks ago, they now hold yarn 'cakes' from my knitmaster wool winder. One lady bought apple crisps made by slicing them really thinly and drying them in a dehydrator. They were really appley and really crispy!

Loving reading all the yarndale stuff on everyone's blogs.
Wish I wasn't so far away... sigh...
Jo x

Sunday 29 September 2013

Impromptu camp out

The weather has been glorious here all through September. It has been nice but tough because I have been lured inside to the preserving pan when it is really beautiful outside. This weekend we decided to try and catch the last of the sun and camp out at dad's farm. Just a bit of a photo fest really, but enjoy...

Jacket potatoes and garlic bread on the fire.

Bloke made a sausage casserole before we went.

Bit of a razz round on the motorbike.

A walk down to the pond to catch up with the wildlife and seasonal fruit. The girls tried hazelnuts for the first time and liked them.

The obligatory jam jar posy with feathers featured today.

Two kilos of blackberries still available to pick. I couldn't help myself!

A seasonal change from marshmallows to crumpets.
The last of the evening sun.

Sitting out in the dark, which they had never done before and found really fascinating. All the sounds and twinkling lights in the distance.
It felt great to get away for just one night for one of our little adventures. I added another seat cover to the foam seats around the table but in all the seasonal observations I forgot to take a photo of it. Only three more covers to make. Jo xx



Friday 27 September 2013

Stitchalong part 3

OK so I have found out I can't do a feather stitch (yet)which is why my Sunday stitchalong post is nearly a week late. I am following along with a Mary Corbet tutorial which was recommended by Chrissie who is hosting this stitchalong, but because I want to keep up the momentum of the bag I am making, I have gone for a chain stitch border and then a longer backstitch on the inside.

I have not given up hope of learning this and I will carry on practising on spare pieces. For now though, I am happily picking up the chickens on a hoop and doing a little bit here and there.

In a clothes clear out I found a beautiful babycord dress of Little M's that had a hole in so I could not pass it on to my friend so I think I will use that to make some of the bag squares. The fabric is gathered. I am guessing there is more on there than I think.


I am going for a patchwork bag (that is my kind of style!) of different threads and fabric combos. Hopefully if the colour palette is somewhere near it should be harmonious. I am off for another rummage around in the fabric drawer to see what I can find.

Jo x

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Autumn Leg Warmers Pattern

Here are my Autumn Leg warmers. They are made in Aran weight yarn on a 4.5mm hook. Great for filling the chilly gap in the top of your boots or to smooth out the top of jodhpur style boots.

So here goes in UK terms

Foundation chain: Chain 40, then chain 3 more for the turning chain.

Row 1: 1tr in the 3rd chain from the hook, then 1tr in each stitch to the end of the row.
Row 2: 3ch as turning chain, *1tr in the top of the first treble, then 1tr around the post of the second treble* repeat to form a row of rib.
Row 3: Ch3, make another row of trebles using round the post on every other one using the row below for guidance.

Row 4: Ch1,39dc in every stitch to make the main body of the leg warmer. You need about 28 rows (more if you want long ones.)

Row 5,6,7 as original rib repeat rows 1,2,3

Fasten off and sew up the seam. They take about 100g of aran weight but can also be done in two strands of DK for firmer leg warmers.

Please let me know if there is anything I need to change. I would love to get a link to a pair - that would be really exciting. Spotty tights and flowery Dr Martens are optional!

Jo x

Tuesday 24 September 2013

You must get...

At the weekend I made plum jam - 4lb of it actually. I am urging all you thrifty jam makers out there to buy a jam funnel. They are brilliant. No sticky jars, jam all over the worktops etc. etc. You probably already have one but if you haven't this is the future of your jam making.

I found it is also pretty useful for getting big batches of soup into those screw top plastic containers as well as getting beads back into a jar (but that is a whole other story)
My top tip for jam making is to cover the worktop with clingfilm/foodwrap then put your jars on top and fill them. At the end, you just peel up the whole sticky mess and put it in the bin.

Happy preserving! Jo xx

Sunday 22 September 2013


Sorry to disappoint you on the craft front again but my year seasonally works out like this. My everyday makes become more food based during September then I knuckle down to some serious present making and Christmas craft fair stock after that. So Look at this lovely orchard:

My friends don't have much time to do anything with them and actually have lost a little of the skill and will needed to do a full harvest not to mention the time - they both work really hard.

So come closer and let's have a look...

So tall, we have no hope of reaching those. so a little closer...
Lots to reach as the lower branches come right down to the floor.
They are perfectly shaped, unblemished cooking apples with a lovey flavour. We picked three buckets full and we didn't even make a dent in the trees bounty.

Then we wondered a little bit further...
 To find cute little lunchbox sized eating apples and larger pale skinned eating apples with a completely different flavour.

I was not finished yet...

A tin of damsons. There were six trees but the cattle had broken off the lower branches so it was hard to reach them - enough for three jars of jam though and a crumble.

These ones were a different variety, definitely cooking apples. Bloke made 2 gallons of wine with these today but I think it will be the sort of wine that makes you scrunch up your bottom! They were so tangy.
Oh and then some windfalls for chutney and a few pears that will ripen off in the fruit bowl this week.

The girls went to 'granddads allotment' which is essentially stealing a few potatoes from the field edge surrounding their grandparents house, but granddad fixes farmers tractors so he sort of gets away with it. Well, I hit the wall at that point (and we ran out of containers) so we came home.

Sadly we were too late for this one but you can't get them all.
The girls played pirates outside and Bloke and me had 2 hours uninterrupted cooking time. I made apple chutney, damson jam, plum clafoutis and bloke made apple wine. I stewed up apples, plums and damsons until I ran out of firstly containers then freezer space.

So a happy, happy day. Do you know what would make this day perfect? If I could do the ruddy feather stitch on my chicken embroidery for the stitch along, but I can't!!! It is too hard. Grrr! maybe I should just improvise - I am kind of good at that.

Thanks for coming along to see me. Jo x



Saturday 21 September 2013

Waste not want not

Waste not want not is one of my life rules. I had started to accumulate a little stack of paper bits on my office table and after a while they were getting on my nerves, I nearly threw them away and then I glued them down and made this.

The background is a paint sample sheet from Crown Paints,they have a really great matt finish, I love collecting them.

I love the colours, green is my favourite colour, they all just sort of made a card all by themselves.

Happy Crafting. Jo x

Thursday 19 September 2013

Craft Club

I run a craft group every other Wednesday night. A few friends get together, chat, drink tea, eat cake and make something or learn a new skill or grab a new idea. Last night we made beaded butterflies.

I learnt to make these years ago at a scrapbooking class that I used to go to (before I had children) and they are great for putting on birthday cards.

or on hair clips or anything else that really needs a beady butterfly.

An evening picture of everyone's butterflies
  I tried to do a tutorial but my camera and my shaky hands were just not up to the job so check out Pintrest for some mind blowing inspiration by searching on 'seed beading' I really like this but my language skills are not up to it, however, I think you can work it out from the picture.

You know when you read something on a blog and it makes you think of something similar in your own life, well I read Chrissies lovely post where her children had left her cute notes all over the house then by chance I got one...the very next day...I think mine has darker undertones!!
We had argued about school PE pumps and this was a sorry note. The teacher in me just wants to add some commas, but it still made me smile. 
Happy Crafting Jo xx

Wednesday 18 September 2013


I had the best surprise ever today. A parcel. I opened it. Then thought maybe I shouldn't have. It was from Amazon. I thought my bloke had got an early Christmas present to stash under the bed but I couldn't work out how he knew I wanted it. Then...

I read the gift note. A present from my Auntie and Uncle for Christmas which I am so thrilled with.

They check in with my blog regularly and my Auntie said she had followed some of the blogs on my blog list. She obviously had been reading Fox's Lane. Go and have a look.

It is a fabulous book full of the sort of photography you can see on Kates blog and a lovely mix of craft, advice on caravan trips and holidaying with a family. It is simply wonderful. The message from Auntie and Uncle read 'We saw this and thought of you'

Thanks Jackie and Phil, great minds think alike. Jo xxxxxxxx

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Stitch along part 2

I am following the Sunday stitch along with Chrissie.(bit late but we had a crazy weekend) I have chosen my project and I have made a start. I traced the chicken pattern from my book Cath Kidston Patch onto the fabric with a sharp pencil and off I went attempting an even back stitch with 3 strands of thread.

It was quick and very enjoyable. I need to make five of these squares so I am doing the chickens in different colours because I am using up old threads rather than buying more.
The fabric is just a poly cotton I already had so it is not always as clear as linen for stitch placement but I was getting better as I went along and tried to pay attention instead of watching Antiques Roadshow (what a rock and roll lifestyle I lead!)
Other Stitching news from here... Big Sis has learnt to back stitch too and she made this little heart decoration which came first in the show on Saturday in the 6-11 year olds craft section. She was really pleased. It took her all of the summer holidays doing it bit by bit.
I finished a WIP from over 10 years ago. I started this map of our home county and just needed to put on the title and get it framed. I got it done and put it in the show but it wasn't placed but I now have a perfect in-laws Christmas present stashed away so I didn't mind.
There are some great stitching projects out there, go and take a look, especially Joys cushion, so clever. I have also learnt how to do fill in stitches from Chrissie which I didn't know how to do before.
Lots of Love Jo xxxx

Monday 16 September 2013

It's Showtime

Saturday was Broseley Horticultural and Craft show. Sounds serious doesn't it? For the first year I moved into this community soaked town I was too frightened to enter in any of the exhibits. I had been bitten too many times at the Young Farmers Shows in my youth by having the wrong lid on a jar of jam and my flower arrangement fabric drape slopping outside the 'given measurements' therefore being disqualified. As you can imagine I was once bitten twice shy.

This is the sort of family fun we can have out of picking vegetables!
However, Broseley show, after my first inspection, was just a big vehicle for grown ups show and tell. It was brilliant that first time. I was amazed by the amount of underground knitting going on in my local area and was astounded by how many people could cook a sponge without having different colours of brown around the edges - so it was to pass that I entered some classes the following year and the next and the next.

It is no exaggeration to say it is the highlight of our family year. The girls loved making a vegetable model, gingerbread people and painting a picture. Why not? they are just copying their mum and dad and they might win the one pound prize money for a first place.
Bloke has got rather excited this year as we have never been able to enter the '2 eggs on a saucer' class before as we only got our chickens this Easter so delight is reached fever pitch.

Finally framed and finished my cross stitch after being
unfinished for over 10 years

At the end of show day, we count our prize-pocket-money, look at our certificates and then wonder how we are going to eat all of this cake, picked fruit and veg and opened jars of jam and chutney. You know, we all just have to sit down with a pot of tea and start eating, it's the only way!

Do you have community shows like this where you live?