Friday, 23 October 2009

Pumpkin Picking

Last weekend was pretty miserable -- cold, wet and windy -- so we didn't want to spend much time outside. As Halloween is just around the corner, we decided to head to Karl's and pick up a second pumpkin. We did plant two pumpkin plants this spring and they quickly took over our small garden (and almost our neighbour's). Unfortunately, only one pumpkin has survived to maturity. Although he's pretty good looking, we felt he was a bit lonely and needed a mate. Thus the trip out.

Karl's is basically a glorified farm shop -- farm produce, gift shop, cafe, in-door and out-door playgrounds, horse rides, goats to pet, and more. I like it because it entertains my daughter while I get a good slice of cake! There was free face painting that day, so she was especially happy.

The weather this weekend is still miserable. We would like to go to our local amusement park tonight for the autumn light parade and fireworks, but the idea of standing out in the wet and cold doesn't sound too tempting. Maybe I'll twist my husband's arm and head off to a big craft exhibit in Lubeck! Yes, I'm still embroidering -- I'm halfway done with a Halloween picture. Hopefully I'll have it done in time.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Yet another hobby...

As my other half puts it, I must be the queen of hobbies. Yes, I'm still making jewelry and yes, I'm still learning crochet and knitting. Now I have a new hobby -- embroidery! Last spring I picked up two books, The Kitchen Linens Book and Make. Realising that my sewing skills extend to sewing on buttons and Girl Scout patches, I picked up The Embroidery Stitch Bible and have been teaching myself.
I started out simple, with a heart sampler, and have now added applique to my skills as well. The boat picture is from Cath Kidston's book; it goes nicely with my retro nautical bathroom.
I've been surfing the net and have been amazed by all the really talented blogs that are out there! Everyday I find new things to inspire me. I just found free embroidery patterns on the Victoria and Albert Museum (one my favourite places to visit). I now have a long list of projects to work on and can't wait to show you what I've got in store for Halloween!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Plum Crazy

I've been playing "Hostess with the Most-ess" lately with visits from my mother, my in-laws, and other friends. With a few weeks off before the next round of visitors descend on us, I'm trying to get a jump start on my Christmas goodies -- mincemeat, Christmas cakes and a Christmas pudding. Last year's turned out very well, but I did learn one lesson -- Christmas pudding doesn't need to be fed that much alcohol. It was just a wee bit boozy!

I did have some success this summer with my preserving. Thanks to a generous neighbour who, whilst on horseback, picked a very large bucket of beautifully sweet German plums, Zwetschgen. After making a batches of plum jam and spiced plum butter (which turned out more like a sweet and slightly spiced jam), I used up the last with apple and plum chutney. We really don't eat much chutney, so I'm looking for recipes that call for it.
My summer's strawberry jam is almost gone now and my lemon cordial disappeared ages ago. I'll make a couple bottles of that for next year. If I get the chance I'll be making chili oil to use up the last of our crop and a batch of lemon curd. Unfortunately I've lost our favourite curd recipe, so it's back to the drawing board there.

The weather has been very changeable here, so we haven't been very touristy lately. We did manage to visit Schwerin -- interesting city (as it's the only formerly East German city I've been to), beautiful castle (do get the audio tour), and v. expensive park.