Decorated pegs

Makes a useful,  basic and inexpensive tool just a little prettier…

Plain, wooden clothes pegs are useful in the craft room for box making, clamping glued items and stacking papers as well as storing cords and fabrics

Glued on a shelf in the utility room they are great for holding odd socks until their ‘sole mates’ re-appear or holding dog leads out of the way

And in the kitchen they keep packets and bags closed to stop spills

Functional is good but prettified and still functional is even better, so a stamping session took place this week.

Prettified, these pegs will also add a final, rustic touch to attach a tag and close a gift bag.

Maker’s tip: I used a floral stamp and placed it on an acrylic pad, took the ink pad to the stamp and then rested the peg on the stamp to get the right position. It is easier than trying to balance the peg on a work surface then tap your much bigger stamp on top of it.

Use the right ink to avoid smudges and stains- I used stazon – or découpage pretty papers with something like modpodge to keep them durable…

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Table setting to brighten the day

a whole suite  of place mats, napkins and runners to add colour to the kitchen table

Simple mitred corner napkins

quilted table runner

a set of place mats

a lined bread basket

napkins rings using buttons and the last remnants of the fabric

thank you for the lovely Provençal fabric gift

This does fulfill the ‘Use what you have’ New Year’s Resolution

feast from the fridge

We are in our holiday home for three weeks (hurrah!) with a bonanza of veggies and salad given by friends and neighbours,  so I  have decided to be creative with these lovely gifts;

broad bean and bacon salad with warm bacon vinaigrette (pop the lightly boiled beans from their jackets, fry the bacon in its own fat til crispy and chop then add vinaigrette to the pan, swirl and combine)

courgette cakes (grated courgette  squeezed in a tea towel then combined with grated cheese and a little flour plus garlic or herbs or spices as you choose and fried in pan til golden)

nearly nicoise (runner and/or french beans lightly boiled combined with hard boiled eggs, tom puree, bacon bits or tuna and capers or cornichons only if your vinaigrette isn’t punchy enough)

rhubarb fool-ish (rhubarb stewed with orange juice or elderflower cordial – home made of course – when cool stirred into greek yoghurt or whipped cream or cold custard)

roast beetroot (whole clean roots loosely wrapped in foil and sprinkled with garlic and oil, baked for 30 mins and left to cool before slipping off the skins) gret hot as a veggie and cold when diced with cheese

phew! fridge nearly ready for the next instalment …

Herb harvest, buttered up

Packets of herb butters have been stashed in the freezerJars of lavender sugar stacked in the cupboards

 

Herb butters are a bit messy but quite fulfilling. just mash the leaves of chosen herbs (remove stalks and snip down bigger leaves like sage or chives) into softened butter – I added lemon juice or garlic to my combinations. Wrap pats of herby butter in cling film or empty butter packets then greaseproof paper on which the contents are clearly written before freezing

Wow that lavender sugar was easy; spoonfuls of dried lavender heads (if purchased check it is food grade lavender) blitzed a bit with the stick blender then mixed with caster sugar and blitzed a bit more till you are happy with the consistency – too much and the lavender turns to grey dust in the sugar. Now I can make those trendy lavender meringues

Now to make lavender syrup and try to diminish the lavender mountain a bit more and before the herbs go over totally a few bottles of herb vinegar are possible too