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...