Monday, February 4, 2013


This post is inspired by Thimbleanna, who showed us her new quilt recently- after  playing in the snow taking photos of it...

over this side of the world, this is how powerful our sun has been...
 Dried apricots- picked off the tree, cut in half and left out in the sun to dehydrate for a couple of days

same goes for our white peaches
and these were the surprise package of the season, dried cherries. We haven't done them before, they didn't take as long to dry and they are amazing- intense little mouthfuls of flavour. We will definitely do these next year.

Mr. Apple did most of these (I claim credit for the cherries!) , he's great at preserving. He cut the fruit in half, literally left it on our picnic table outside- no netting, nothing. In other years we have had birds have a bit of a go at the fruit as it was drying, but not this year. Ants weren't a problem either- maybe 8 days over 40 degrees (104 F) was too hot for the pests as well as me!
The apricots are quite a brown colour, not that pretty. Commerical dried apricots have sulphur and other things on them to keep their lovely orange colour, we choose not to do that- they might not look that pretty but the flavour is all there! These will be used in baking and school lunches and I reckon we have done enough to last until next season.
Now it's all about nectarines and plums and the last of the peaches at our place. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Summer days

I mentioned we went to the beach over Summer. Gee I loved swimming in the ocean. Both the kids have been in the water today, it's hot again, but a pool, while lovely on a hot day, just isn't ever going to be quite the same.
I thought a nice beach bag was a missing element on our beach when we got home I set to making one. Having grown in confidence thanks to my favourite bag lady , I decided to have a play with the shape and size, and came up with this.

I really like the shape, the photo isn't that clear (no photography awards coming my way). It's the first time I have sewn with this 'oilcloth' stuff (which I am pretty sure I bought from Crafty Mamas a few years ago (hooray for stash busting!). I sewed with a silicone foot, it's the first time I've used that foot too- I thought it may be trickier to work with than it was- no dramas at all. I decided to line it in oilcloth as well, because well, it is a 'bathers bag'. To reduce bulk (and make it easier!) I just sewed bias binding to neaten the top up rather the sew and do the 'turn inside out through a small opening manoeuvre'. When I decided to do this I had a moment of wondering where to put the straps- so I added a bit between the zip and the edge of the bag (the white and red dot bit), I really like how it 'peeks out' and changes the shape of the bag. It may not be great structurally- I will reserve judgement and see how it wears, for now, it's just fine!

And because it was already kind of 'matchy matchy' I went the whole hog and made a smaller bag to match which might carry sunscreen, hairbrushes, lip balm, or maybe the camera.

I was rather chuffed with my efforts and then one of my girlfriends said 'it kind of looks like one of those bags you get at those cheap shops'...and I was slightly indignant and now am unsure!