Friday, 21 October 2016

Make, Bake, Sew, Grow

Hello! How are you? It's Friday night and I'm feeling good - tired (obviously, when am I not?) but content and looking forward to half term next week. Now seemed like a good time for an autumnal Make, Bake, Sew, Grow post, a little seasonal meandering through my home life. 

{ Make }

I've been nesting, making small changes around the house, adding cosiness and warmth. Lightweight throws have been swapped for blankets, cushions and pictures have been moved around. I've been buying cyclamen and sunflowers, lighting candles in the evening. It's all turned very autumnal around here, very hygge.

I've started making plans for Christmas. (I know, some of you have trouble with the smallest mention of Christmas before December, but I have crafting to do and I need to get it done in plenty of time, so bear with me.) I have lots of ideas for gifts. I'm thinking bed socks, in really luxurious yarn, and Bella and Angus have both requested crocheted animals or birds, like the ones I made last year.

Other crafting plans include my shiny new loom and a bag full of roving yarn in different colours. 

I plan to make a wall hanging for the dining room. That big grey wall needs warming up and I feel like it needs fabric or yarn up there, or maybe something wooden. I've been pinning woven wall hangings and just need to do a bit more research into how to weave (that would be a good start, right?) It seems like a great way to use up yarn scraps and I'm already thinking about the kinds of colours I want to weave with.

{ Bake }

I made a "clean out the fridge" omelette with some soggy cherry tomatoes, spinach and a little chorizo. No potatoes so not quite a tortilla or Spanish omelette, but delicious.

My mum gave me some mixture for a friendship cake.

Similar to sourdough, you have a "starter" which you feed and stir until you're ready to split the mixture, passing some on to friends and keeping some to bake yourself. It's like a light fruit cake and you can put pretty much whatever you want inside, but I like mine with a lot of cherries. 

It keeps beautifully and is very moist, almost sticky. It has a wonderful malty, slightly caramelised flavour. 

I wanted to do something with some plums that were sitting in the fruit bowl, uneaten. I stewed them with cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar and a little water until they started to break down. The smell was divine, better than any scented candle.

I was aiming for something that was half way between a compote and stewed fruit. Not quite fully broken down and mushy, with the fruit still holding a little of it's shape.

I've kept it in a kilner jar in the fridge all week, spooning it on top of porridge and yogurt. I think I like plums cooked better than raw. 

 { Sew }

Most crafting activity has revolved around Angus's blanket and I have just updated the post I wrote about it a few weeks ago, giving details about the yarn and colours I'm using, for those who asked.  And when I'm not crocheting that, I've been making Christmas stockings.

Possibly the best use for leftover scraps of yarn I've come across, the pattern is by Sandra from Cherry Heart and it's really fun to do. I'm even darning in the ends. I'll take proper photos of them soon. 

Work on the sampler (from here) goes very slowly. I've hardly touched it since our holiday and I must pick it up again. Just seeing this picture makes me want to get going on it straight away.

{ Grow }

The garden is slowing down and looking overgrown, but there are still burst of colour here and there. 

The sedum has been gloriously bright, fading from from a deep pink to a dusty brown-purple.

A few geraniums continue to bloom in pots on the front door step. I keep thinking I should replace them with something more autumnal, perhaps a couple of pumpkins, but I like being greeted by the pop of bright pink. They can stay a while longer. 

I'm starting to think about the tidying up and cutting back ready for the winter, planting some bulbs. 

Happy weekend lovelies. 

                                                      {Make } Something for our home, or for me.

{ Bake } Something from the kitchen.

{ Sew } Something crafty.

{ Grow } Something in the garden.


  1. Great post as ever. I have some light gardening to do before the frost comes and makes it all too slimy to handle. I wanted to put in wall flowers but I haven't got round to it or seen any to buy in fact. Cooked plums are definitely better than raw in my opinion too. Have a relaxing week. We are heading to London with the girls for the first time - don't know what I think of that yet - keep an open mind I reckon. Jo x

  2. Love the crochet stocking and the cake! I have pureed loads of plums and put them in the freezer. Delicious on any type of cereal and can be made into jams and chutneys. Your photos are wonderful

  3. Homemaking is lovely, isn't it. Your progress on your projects inspire me to keep working on mine. Thanks! Happy Half Term, Gillian. xx

  4. I just wrote about my sampler. I think we're becoming psychic. Ha. I love the idea of a woven decoration for that wall, how interesting. I can't wait to see what you end up doing. The plums look delicious. I think that was a great use for them. Something we make a lot in the winter, when dried plums/prunes are cheap, is stewed prunes with orange and lemon. Just slice up lots of citrus and put in a pan with prunes and a little water and simmer until the prunes are softened and all the citrus slices are sort of falling apart. It keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge and it's so good. Sometimes I add raisins too. Have a good break!

  5. cake looks lush. Now I am hungry :)

  6. I always enjoy your posts, looking forward to seeing your weaving.

  7. Lovely post Gillian. I do enjoy your bake, make, sew & grow ones & see what you've been up to. Ah, autumn for you & sort of Spring for us, though we've had the heater on today with lashings of rain too. Not a bit springlike. The crochet sock looks great as does your cake. Have a good weekend & take care.

  8. Mmm, plums are delicious aren't they. It really hasn't been a plum year around here which has been disappointing, but it does mean they'll be even more appreciated next year. I like to look out for bags of them for sale by people's gates. And hopefully the allotment plum tree will do well next year. I shall look forward to seeing your woven wall hanging take shape. Lots of lovely long dark evenings ahead for the making of stuff. Wonderful. CJ xx

  9. I love the idea of a friendship cake and your plum compote looks lovely - sadly , like CJ, our plum harvest was practically non-existent this year. I look forward to seeing your wall hanging. xx

  10. Lovely post Gillian. I always think your photographs are so serene, and I imagine that you must be a very calm, centred person. I prefer plums cooked rather than raw too. I like making them with apples in a crumble, when the juice of the plums stains the apples pink. Have a relaxing half term. Ours was
    last week, the boys go back to school on Monday x

  11. It feels very cosy at yours, lovely. I always enjoy your posts but do so particularly now, with my house being a building site and not cosy at all. Have a lovely half term. x

  12. Mmm, I'd love a scoop of your plums on some vanilla ice cream. We have that same pink sedum growing in our yard. Your home always looks so inviting. I enjoy the little glimpses I get to see. Your sampler makes me want to start the one I have, however I have other knitting and crafting to get to first...

  13. Lovely photos, as always, Gillian! Love that stunning photo of the cyclamen. And those plums ... well, that's the way to cook 'em! Plums are always bettr cooked, I think. My mother always used to cook strawberries, too, in strawberry pie (like an apple pie only with strawberries) and believe me, they tasted better like that than raw!
    I also like the way you have 'hygge'd' your home for autumn. I am about to do the same, although I don't use candles ... having said that (sorry, cliché!) I do have a lovely scented candle, one of several items I've been sent from the editor and team of a magazine (I won't bore you with the details) and it smells lovely. I'm not one for burning money, as I call it, but I can see their appeal in autumn/winter.
    The cake looks good enough to eat, har har! I baked an all-in-one fruit cake yesterday from a recipe from Stork margarine from 1971!!! By all-in-one you simply put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix - it looks awful to start with, but makes a wonderful cake!
    Margaret P

  14. It will be interesting to see what you are going to make with your new loom - that really looks exciting! From your description of the plum "compote", I could almost smell it... and yes, such real scents are always tons better than any scented candle.

  15. Stewed plums especially blood plums are the very best and yours look delicious.
    That friendship cake , I can almost taste it although it's been many years since I made one. Baking though will have to wait as my oven element has died....we have been in this house nearly one year.
    Cyclamens always remind me of my mother :)
    As for the red geraniums...I actually planted some in pots over winter to bring colour to my sleeping Rose bed. They gave me much cheer. I'm not sure how they would overwinter in England though.
    Thank you for a beautiful read.

    Alexa-asimplelife visiting from Sydney, Australia

  16. Dreamy! I now feel the need to light a candle or two, eat plums with cinnamon, bake a cake, and snuggle up with some wool. And yet I have promised myself I will stack the ironing mountain this afternoon. Hmmm... The colours of roving wool you have chosen are gorgeous - look forward to seeing the in progress make

  17. Beautiful pics (as always!) - they make me happy just looking at them. :)

    Take care
    Crochet Between Worlds

  18. Another enjoyable post Gillian. I found your blog a few months ago now and, for me, it has the same effect as The Great British Bake Off: gloriously calming in its 'homemadiness'.

    (I also went to school with you xx.)

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