Back in September, reading my Cath Kidston magazine, I noticed the offer of a free craft night to celebrate the launch of Cath’s new book: Patch. Now I love Cath, I love craft but more importantly, I love free stuff. Thinking that it’d be booked up already, I gave them a ring. Lo & behold…I was in! I couldn’t wait.
The aim of the evening was to make a Suffolk Puff cushion cover & all the materials & equipment were going to be provided. Awesome! Having never made a Suffolk Puff in my life, I was hoping it was going to be easy.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by friendly staff, free drinks & snacks. We were all given time to look around the shop and take advantage of the 15% discount. We were also told to pick some free raffle tickets. Job done. Lets get our sew on!
On one of the tables were cute little red & white stripey bags. Inside these were all the things we needed to make our suffolk puff cushion covers, including instructions so that we could finish them off at home.
As it turns out, suffolk puffs aren’t tricky to make. You simply cut out circles from your chosen fabric, sew a running stitch around the edge, pull & secure. Job done. Then repeat about 40+ times until you have enough for your cover. I’ve yet to finish mine, despite the offer of £10 gift voucher for the first person to go back to the store with a completed one! I’m also deciding whether to keep the completed cover to myself or give away as a Christmas present so won’t be posting a pic of it until I’ve decided!
The time, as always with craft things, went really quickly. And I think I’m right in saying that the Oxford shop will be holding regular craft meet-ups for people to get together with their own crafty bits & pieces. This is a great idea. I love going to my Needles & Natter group so think that the craft group will be very popular.
As time started to go, the shop manager asked us to get our raffle tickets out. I opened mine up, got them in numerical order & waited. ‘Number 56!’. OMG. I only went & had number 56 and won the bloomin’ raffle! I couldn’t believe it. I never win things. And the prize was big. Very big. I opened it & discovered a sewing box filled with all things sewing. I was & am still am so overwhelmed by this. The only sewing box I have is the one I inherited from my Nana so this will come in very handy. Thank you so much Cath Kidston! You made my month!
By now it will be obvious that I love wool. What can I say? I’m drawn to it! So when the lovely Pip from Sock Yarn Shop tweeted about the possibility of winning some free wool, I knew I had to take part! All I had to do was retweet the tweet that I’d read. Those that did would be in with a chance of winning one of seven balls of wool. Simple!
Lo & behold my name was one of those who was picked for retweeting! I couldn’t believe it! I love free stuff almost as much as wool! I received my freebie so quickly too. I have no idea what to make though am thinking about knitting the pair of socks I keep promising myself. I’ve got a few patterns & a circular needle. Just need to find the time! x
Every year I see blackberries out in the hedgerows & hear about people making jam etc with their free fruit. Every year I tell myself I’m going to do that. Well I finally did. On Saturday my OH & I went out blackberry picking to a park in Oxford. We started off small but it wasn’t long before we hit the mother load. I’d taken two tupperware boxes, just in case. It was a good job as we picked just over 700g of blackberries.
Once we’d got home, rinsed & de-maggoted them (gross!) I had to decide what to do with them. I’d promised my OH a crumble so knew that I was going to make an apple & blackberry crumble but that wouldn’t use them all up. Did I have enough to make some jam? I’d been collecting jam jars & lids for a while now, not for anything in particular, but when you get a good jar it makes sense to keep it!
I searched the internet for some jam recipes & came across one listing ‘Easy Blackberry Recipes‘. Perfect I thought, and it was a very easy recipe to follow. Despite not having the kilogram of fruit that most recipes ask for, this recipe made it easy to do the maths needed for the 500g of fruit I did have. Now I’ve never made jam before so I did have to nervously text my mum a few times but I think the result is good. I added the juice of one lemon to include some pectin but I didn’t include any apples because I wanted pure blackberry jam. I warmed my jars in the oven, as recommended in the recipe & this worked a treat. In the end I only had enough for three small jars but I’m quite happy with that. I’m not a massive jam-user so this way I can give one or two jars away and keep one for myself. Fear not, family & friends, you won’t be inundated with tons of massive jars full of jam!
I’ve made crumble loads of times before. I use my mum’s very tried & tested recipe and it never fails to deliver. But I had a recipe from a very old copy of Ideal Home Magazine for an oat crumble that I wanted to try. The fruit mix was the remainder 200g of blackberries & two large cooking apples. Then the oat crumble topping called for 100g of plain flour, unsalted butter & oats and 50g of golden sugar. I was a little dubious at first but when I put the mix on the fruit it definitely looked okay. That just left the taste test!
Final verdict: Very tasty! The crumble mix and the blackberries were absolutely delicious! I will definitely be picking more free fruit! x