Month: December 2012

Gone to Seed

flowering parsley

The parsley in our community garden has gone to seed. We love this as it means we will have more (free) parsley plants popping up in the not-to-distant future. What is your take on plants going to seed? Do you allow the process to happen naturally or do you intervene in order to maximise your harvest?

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas everyone! I’ve only been blogging my downshift journey for a few months but I’ve already made so many new friends and I hope this season treats you all well, along with Santa! I’m spending this special time with my family and as it’s my daughter’s first real Christmas (we only left hospital on Christmas Eve when she was born) it’s a very exciting one!

wreath

I made my wreath by plaiting the dried out flower stalks from our palm tree (that is the great tumbleweed like thing that falls off the palm after all the flowers have died). I fixed it together using a little wire and tied it on the door with some old white ribbon. If you’re looking to make a wreath next year I like this red floral one over on Hello Giggles. Very easy and you could use whatever fabric you have lying around.

I’m off to eat some plum pudding, take care xx

Nasturtium “Capers”

Nasturtium

I’ve previously mentioned nasturtiums in my Simply stunning salad post but this time I’m using another edible part of the plant- the young seed pods. The seed pods appear after the vivid flowers have faded and due to their weight are usually found hanging out down beneath the leaves. When pickled they taste very much like capers and have hence been nicknamed ‘poor man’s capers’.

Nasturtium in the community garden

Nasturtium capers

The basic idea is to soak the freshly picked pods in brine for a day, then pack into a sterilised jar, top up with vinegar and any herbs or spices you choose to add, then wait! For my first attempt I followed the recipe in The River Cottage Preserves Handbook by Pam Corbin however there are many variations of this recipe to be found. Have you made or used nasturtium “capers”?

In My Teapot

I thought I share a peak inside my teapot. All herbs were grown just outside our back gate on the verge  and were picked and washed immediately before being popped in the teapot. The herbs are rose geranium, mint, and chamomile. I also added some freshly grated ginger and little runny honey. Delicious!

Chamomile plant

Herbs

inside teapot

Of course there are many different herbal teas you can make at home, with either fresh or dried herbs. It’s great to be able to tailor a blend to meet your needs. My all time favourite drink is peppermint tea and even with two mint plants I don’t have enough mint to drink it fresh all the time! Sometimes when I’m making a pot of the dried teabag version I will crush or chop up just a couple of leaves and throw them in for the vibrancy. What is your favourite herbal tea? Do you make or grow your own blend?

pour

herbal tea

Christmas Tree Top

I wanted to make my daughter something Christmas-y to wear to the upcoming family functions in the lead up to December 25th. As it’s summer it needed to be cool, and due to our strict budget it needed to be thrifty. I saw a ruffled Christmas tree top somewhere (but can’t for the life of me remember where- if you know please tell me in the comments!) and decided it was right up my alley. I already had a plain white singlet, all I needed was a little green fabric, a star button, and some brown felt. I was able to purchase all three for under $6.

First I cut a triangle out of paper to test the size of the Christmas tree.

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Then I cut three strips of fabric to make the ruffles for the tree. The longest strip had to be at least twice as wide as the triangle.

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Next I simply hand stitched along the top of each strip and pulled the thread at the end to gather the fabric and create the ruffle.

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I referred to my triangle to ensure the ruffles were the correct width before knotting the end of the thread.

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Then it was time to sew it all together! I just hand stitched the ruffles on and used the button to cover the stitching on the top layer.

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The brown felt rectangle was also hand sewn, creating the trunk.

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Ta da! I didn’t hem the ruffles so they are fraying a little already but I love the rustic effect. As my daughter will only wear it a couple of times it doesn’t need to be super robust. In fact I may even take the tree off after Christmas and use the singlet for another project, we’ll see. Anyway I’m happy she has something fun to wear for this merry season and it was oh so quick and easy!

Christmas top