Monday, 9 February 2009

Busy, Busy!

Hello everyone.  All alright, I hope?  It's been a very productive few days here at the HenHouse.  On Friday, I finally trekked into Borough Market.  This is the market at which you see them buying their ingredients if you watch "Masterchef".  It's actually only about a 20 minute journey from us but what with all this rain and the fact that Borough is always chock full of tourists finding it necessary to take photos of wet fish and green vegetables, I have to psyche myself up for a trip. Then there's the prices of course.  Eeeek.  Yes, you can buy wonderful stuff and just about anything you want (and even stuff you don't want, like ostrich and kangaroo,) but you need deeeeeep pockets, my friends.  Sorry, no photos, I left that to the tourists.

The reason for this pilgrimage?  Marmalade, pure and simple, Paddington Bear eat your heart out!  You may already know that the bitter Seville oranges which are traditionally used to make marmalade, are only available in January and February so I was getting towards the end of the season this year.  I do really need marmalade; I make hampers of homemade goodies as gifts, I donate a few jars of preserves to the school fairs, I enter some in the village show and I also have a few people who now buy direct from me - and then there's my family who want it for free, of course, oh and we eat some too.  I use an old fashioned peel slicer which I bought on eBay which gives marvellously fine cut peel which softens quickly when cooked and so preserves the taste and colour of the fruit.  I enlisted Mr HenHouse's manly muscles to work the peel slicer, thank you dear!  There's nothing like the satisfaction of standing back and surveying the amber jars when you're done.  There's also no feeling like it when a week before Christmas, you have loads of other stuff to do and you have jars of goodness already in your larder!

Some prettifying will be necessary, in the shape of pinked-edged fabric circles but I'll save that for another day.

There hasn't really been time for jam pot covers anyway, as I've been busy doing other things with fabric.  Bags again.  This time, two "tote" bags crafted from lovely Cath K fabrics with pretty trims.  Don't let the prettiness fool you though, these are practical old (new) work horses!

It's a good time to remind you, or tell anyone new, that the little crochet flowers which you see on many things I make, including the bags above, are from a pattern by the lovely Lucy at the awesome Attic 24. She has so kindly shared the pattern and you can find it on her blog should you fancy giving them a whirl, they're easy and fun to make.

There's been more making going on.  Ages ago, I made my sister a stuffed owl as she is "owl mad".  Of course, once the Munchkin saw Mr Retro Owl, he desperately wanted, nay needed one and so one happened to be waiting for him under the tree on Christmas morning.  He was very very chuffed with his own Mr Retro Owl, as these hilarious photos testify!

One to show the girlfriend in (many) years to come!  This weekend I fancied making another owl, a different sort of owl, inspired by one I'd seen on this lovely blog.  I thought the Muchkin would like him.  Well, he did seem to quite like him but if I'm honest, the response was a tad lukewarm.  He allowed him to read Enid Blyton with him for a bit...

...but at bedtime, I found him on my pillow which was, I think, a polite way of telling me he'd stick just to the original "baby owl" (who is bearing signs of being very well loved, indeed)!

Thank you to any of you who might be reading who've given homes to one of my Union Jack cushions.  I hope they look great.  The've found their way into homes as far apart as the USA, Australia and good old Blighty. I am loving dreaming up new schemes for each one.  So, two new ones today, with bright gingham as a background and various gorgeous Cath K stripey bits and hearts on top, too.  Sorry about all of today's photos, the weather is dire here.

Should you want to treat yourself, you can find these goodies in the usual place...


  1. Good Evening have had a busy day!

    As always everything is wonderful....the owl in particularand the wonderful marmalade!

  2. I love marmalade. I have my oranges at the ready, just need to go an pick up my jars from my friend and away we go!

    You have been very busy and very creative do you ever find time to sit down woman? ;)

  3. So nice to see all your industriousness!
    I thought about Munchkin today when I came across a Roy Rogers cowboy book I had forgotten I had!

  4. Those cushions are particularly gorgeous! I love the bright pink against the blue gingham.

    What a great idea making marmalade in bulk like that. You've got me thinking now. I made crab apple jelly this year for christmas, still got loads left but I've never made marmalade.

  5. Ooooh more lovely cushions! I ventured through Borough Market on Saturday! I was on my way to london bridge, and because i wasn't really looking at the food and just wanting to pass through the crowds made me panic...'get me out''s always the same isn't it! But when you want something it's so worth the visit!!

    Looking forward to my cushion!!
    Lucy xx

  6. A lovely post as usual Hen. I have been having my marmalade with porridge nearly everyday! I bet yours tastes great! Thank you for the comments left on my blog. I am not nearly as depressed as I have made it sound and may be back after a break. I will still be visiting blogs and commenting though.x

  7. I bet Borough market is a bit different from Newton Abbot market!! LOL.
    Love the Owls,Hen ;-)

  8. You have been a busy bee!!! The marmalade looks scrummy, the bags are wonderful, owls are cute, and the cushions are tres chic!!
    Love seeing your little crocheted flowers on the bags, and thanks for the ATTIC 24 link!

    Happy crafting :O)

    Sharon xx

  9. Hi Hen, looks like you have certainly been busy! What a load of marmalade! Your new bags and cushions are gorgeous, I always love your mix of fabrics and trimmings. X Gem

  10. mmm marmalade!
    I will be making bread and butter pud tonight with marmalade.


    I like the word verification= binge!!

  11. everything you do,,is so sweet and lovely to see,
    thank you:)

  12. Do you ever relax??? !!! So many beautiful things. I've sent you an email about CK... did you get it? x

  13. love the owl how cool are they - is 37 yrs old to old to want one for myself LOL
    lucy's crochet flowers are the only ones i can do as her tutorial is so good :-)
    love the new cushions as well!
    Lesley x

  14. Love all of your cheery pics!

    I have tagged you to a 6th photo folder, 6th pic blog challenge. :)

  15. Hi Hen, The new cushions are very pretty and like the new totes too. My new CK bag arrived today, and I'm so chuffed, and the eiderdown from e-bay came on saturday,and is so pretty. I made my marmalade in January, my first attempt and thought it turned out quite well, although it was sliced by hand and so the pieces were very thick. I'll have to be on the look out for a slicer now. xxx

  16. Beautiful cushions and marmalade galore

    Gosh you fit so much into your time - I getting really guilty

    Must be more productive tomorrow

    Love and hugs


  17. Hi Helen - The marmalade looks wonderful and the cushions just gorgeous!!! Hope you are having a happy week.

  18. I really must make marmalade (I'm collecting jars for next seville season), my friend gave me a jar of hers on Friday and it's delicious. Home-made is so much better than shop stuff.

    I love the new cushions - but they are so visually striking that I'm not sure I can sneak one into the house and pretend that it's been there forever!

  19. Lovely as ever, Hen. We have our sevilles and will be making ours this weekend. Like you, we could not imagine not having any of our own marmalade in the larder.
    Love the new cushions x

  20. We like our marmalade with 'goldfish' in it! No finesse but very yummy to have a lump of whiskey flavoured orange on toast in the morning! Slicer sounds most intriguing! Pictures of Mr Hen in action methinks!
    Lovely pics of munchkin with his Retro Owl and your flag cushions are so pretty. I have just posted the ones I made for Christmas gifts, not as pretty as yours but I had two boys to make for! Plus I had cheated with lots of seam binding! HA! t.x

  21. Hi! I love Borough Market too! I must make a trip there one day since I live so close. I seem to be very busy, so many lovely photos to look at...I particulary like the owl. :>


  22. I love the things that you have made Hen...everything looks so neat and so beautifully made...I am afraid I cheat at our marmalade..but I do add bits and pieces such as ginger to customise...and I never tell anyone it isnt home-made...yummmy...

  23. Hi there, hope you are well :-))

    Those bags are fantastic and i just love the Owl its gorgeous you clever woman :-)) where do you get your ideas from?? Can you share hehe!!!

    Take care speak soon Kelly xxx

  24. You are like supper woman, you seem too get so much down!
    I have been collecting my jars for the last year I must get on with it and make some marmalade.
    Your bags and cushions are gorgeous!
    Love Lou xxx
    P.S sorry about the frogs! :0)

  25. Wow! You have been busy. Just for the record, I would likely be one of those to take pictures at the market - but I am okay with that. The cushions are delightful. I might need one. The owl, well, he is a lovely and the marmalade should be in my pantry! :) ~Kelly

    unDeniably Domestic

  26. Hi Hen, Pop over to my blog and pick up your award :)

    Love Happy xx

    (PS The things you make are absolutely Divine!)

  27. Wow Wow and Wow

    You are a very clever lady - those cushions are gorgeous!

    Sam xx

  28. I love all your pretty makes you have been busy your fabrics are gorgeous.And managing to make all that Marmalade too! I have a thing for marmarmalade on toast at the moment bet your is delicious!

  29. Hello Hen...Good Morning!

    I'm trying so hard to be good and have no spend days!LOL....but CK keeps calling!

    Bicester is wonderful, I've only been once....oh the wonderful things you can get....

    I know the overnight bag you mean, one of my fave prints....

    Have a good day....

  30. I love those retro owls Hen, my mum used to make some like that for the school bazaar in the 70s! loving those cushions too especially the one with the rose in the middle..gorgeous! x

  31. Hen, I loooove the cushions!

    And don't even get me started on the marmalade... As round as I'm already getting, I don't even wanna think about sweet and delicious marmalade!!

    The owl is so pretty...
    Reminds me that I promised an owl to a friend and never finished it.
    You inspired me to get it done already!

    Kisses to you from Brazil!!

  32. I love Marmalade too. Loving your cushions too!

  33. I love reading your blog - so much so I nominated it for a small blog award.

    The marmalade looks so yummy, btw!

  34. Oh your marmalade looks absolutely delicious! I'm about to go and have my breakfast and I'm cursing myself that I don't have any!! Love the little work bags - and yes, Lucy's wonderful patterns have been regularly used over here!! Beautiful blog - thanks!

    Boo x


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