In Sickness and in Health…

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As I sit here writing, the warm sweet smell of cinammon and apples is wafting across from the kitchen. I am making a fourth batch of apple sauce 🙂

My daughters have just returned to school after a week of sickness (colds/viruses) and the house is quiet once more and I have some much needed head space.

I went for a walk in our local park this morning, where I delighted in all the seasonal changes.

I haven’t been on a solo walk for quite some time. Autumn is definitely in the air now. I picked a few more blackberries (to add to our porridge when the days get cooler) and some rose hips (to dry for tea making). Foraging wild food on my walks is always an added bonus. 🙂

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Before my daughters became sick, I had a couple of days to myself in which to sort the house out and I started to do some home sewing. I have all kinds of plans for making things for our home. September is like that for me: I feel the need to nest a bit and make things cosy and colourful for the colder months ahead when we shall be spending much more time indoors. I suffer from SAD  as I explained in a previous post and this time of year is very challenging for me emotionally, so I like to surround myself in uplifting colours and sights.

To that end, I have started to make some log cabin style cushion covers for our dining chairs. Our dining chair cushions have been ragged for quite some time but as they are tucked under the table I keep forgetting about them (out of sight, out of mind and all that)…Anyway I am pleased to finally have some time in which to update them.

I have a big box of colourful fabrics that I have saved for patchwork purposes (leftover from old projects) and am pleased to finally use some of them. I have chosen to do two distinct blocks of colour: one block in pinks, reds and purples and the other in greens and blues, which are all colours that are in our dining room/family room (we like things colourful here!)

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I managed to make four cushion fronts before my daughters became ill and later, when they were feeling up to it, I sat down with them individually so they could choose the fabrics for their own cushions.

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So I have made six fronts and now need to buy some batting to back them with before I can continue. That will involve a trip to town later this week I imagine. I have plenty of left over fabric for the back of the cushions, so I am mainly recycling fabrics we already have, which is always a good feeling! 🙂

I took some photos whilst making them and may write up a tutorial if I get a chance. They are easy to make once you get going and I love the cheery look of them :-). Let’s see… I still need to catch up on my Road Trip posts!!!….

Eventually I would like to make some more for our sofa and for the girls’ “little house”, but first I need to make two pairs of curtains for our long back doors. I have had the material a while but the project had to go on the back burner. Now that the nights are drawing in, I really feel the need for some curtains so we can retreat from the darkness. The fabric is a pretty floral fabric that I found in a local store at a reduced price. More on that next time hopefully.

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I have started work on a short sleeved pullover for my eldest (for her October Birthday). My daughter chose purple yarn for it – it will be the fourth item I have knitted in a purple shade this year! 🙂 I am at the point where it’s just knitting all the way down. I shouldn’t think it will take too long. I would like to make her a patchwork skirt too with some of the fabrics we have. Let’s see.

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My daughters spent most of last week resting (and coughing and sneezing..) In a way it was nice that they were ill at the same time as they were good company for each other, cuddling on the sofa, doing a bit of beading, watching cosy films and when they were feeling a bit better – on and off – playing together. They continued work on the bead curtains they are making for their “little house” in the garden. We now have seven beaded strings and probably another two will suffice. It’s been a great way to use up all those random beads we have accrued over the years.

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Later in the week when they were feeling a little better, my eldest did a bit of reading aloud of this book that she is enjoying. Her reading has really come along which is encouraging.

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and we looked at Alphabet Cards with my youngest which we all enjoyed.

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She is just at the stage of learning three letter words, like cat, hop, mug etc. My eldest enjoyed teaching her and it kept them happily entertained for a little while.

We love these cards – they are so beautifully vibrant. As there are not many letters included in the pack, I photocopied the front of the cards (several at a time), stuck coloured card to the back and cut them out to add to our selection.They are more muted in colour, but it is good to have a lot more letters to make words from.

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We also have the Grimms Number Cards. I think I may need to do some more photocopying of those too at some point.

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We got ourselves a puzzle of the U.S.A. and have been enjoying finding where all the individual States are and looking at the States we travelled to.

I imagine we will know the position of all the States by heart at some point!!! 🙂

Another thing we do when the girls aren’t feeling good is drawing silly pictures for us to laugh about. We make up animal pictures, using bits of all kinds of animals

This pig has a cow body, horses tail, ducks bill, leopard’s neck, meerkat’s ears, the front legs of a chicken and the back legs of a guinea pig! 🙂

As for all those apples I mentioned in my last post, I have been making a few things with them including apple cake, which I made as a treat for my daughters to enjoy with some mulled apple juice, hoping to raise their spirits.

They also love fruit leathers so I made some with our dehydrator. They are really easy to make, either in a dehydrator or at a very low oven temperature:

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  • Puree your fruit – I used apple sauce and very soft pear for one of them (with a squeeze of lemon to preserve the lighter colour) and applesauce and cinnamon with a couple of blueberries for the other.

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  • Pour the pureed liquid onto special non stick drying sheets (or if dehydrating in  the oven or on a hot summer’s day, pour the puree onto a flat non-stick baking tray used solely for this purpose or a flat baking tray covered with cling film)

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  • Dehydrate at 57 F for approximately 4-5 hours. Check after four hours.
  • When it is dry to touch all over, pull gently at the sides  and slowly roll it off the tray as shown below:

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  • Cut the fruit leather into strips and roll up into individual portions

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Enjoy – yummy! 

NB: Make sure the outside edges are thicker than the inside as the outside dries quicker.

Last but not least I made spiced apple chutney, which is a favourite of ours. I am planning to go round with a jar to our neighbour who kindly gifts her windfall apples.

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Because I love to share all that is good 🙂 the recipe is as follows:

  • 1 kg cooking apples
  • 3 red chillies
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 heaped tbl chopped fresh ginger
  • 500g demerera sugar
  • 700ml apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • grinding of black pepper
  1. Peel and chop the apples and finely chop the onions.
  2. Remove the seeds from the chillies and chop finely.
  3. Put all the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil.
  4. Cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  5. Spoon into cleaned sterilised jars and place a sterilised lid on top. I sterilise my jars by washing them in warm soapy water and then placing them on a baking tray in a preheated oven at 160C for 15 mins. I wash the lids and cover them with boiling water before they are used. 
  6. Place a small greaseproof paper circle on top of the well filled jar and turn upside down. Allow to cool. Label.

          Makes 6-8 small jars 

Well, that’s a round up of what we’ve been up last week. The girls are back to good health now, so hopefully I will get around to more of that home sewing 🙂

Sharing with the crafty folks at the Frontier Dreams Crafting On

 

6 thoughts on “In Sickness and in Health…

  1. I’m sorry to hear the girls have been under the weather. I’m glad things are getting back to normal now. Those blackberries and rosehips look so lovely! I’m planning a pullover sweater for my oldest’s birthday next month, too! From the same author! I’ll be doing the In Caps tee with longer sleeves, I think. That fruit leather looks good. I may have to give that a go. Thanks for the recipes. 🙂

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    • Thanks for your kind words Brandy. Yes fruit leathers are great-my children love them and with all that apple sauce they are free! I really like Laura’s patterns. My daughter doesn’t like the idea of a button so I was pleased to see this version that she does like. Let’s get clicking 🙂

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  2. I’m glad your daughters are now well enough to return to school, illness is never nice. I keep meaning to have a go at making fruit leather, one day I will get round to it.M loved the Tumtum and Nutmeg stories, will enjoy them again with L in a couple of years. Your cushion covers look beautiful, a bit of a summer garden for your chairs.

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    • Thank you Helen! I really love them – so bright and cheery and yes lots of flowers, trees and birds on them! 🙂 Fruit leathers are easy once you have your puree. The dehydrator takes care of it all. Thanks for your good wishes re the girls. Nice to have them back to good health again.

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