Sunday, 27 September 2015

In my Garden: September 2015

It is a beautifully sunny weekend here and I am enjoying the last a few jobs out in the garden, preparing it for winter. We have mown the grass for the last time and tidied up the borders a little. but not too much as we like to encourage wildlife. I have to confess that I am a fairweather gardener and by the end of October will not be venturing out gardening until the weather warms up!

I have no idea what this pretty plant is which produces beautiful Autumn colour, but it has been badly attacked by something this year, although it does look like delicate lace with its holes!

I have lots of ferns in the shady areas of my garden - they do like a damp spot.

This rose is flowering again after a month or two. It is the rose that I was given to me when I left work last year and has the most wonderful blush to it.

The skimmia is coming into its own at this time of year, as do the trees and bushes behind our boundary fence which are covered in berries.

And of course Atticus is still enjoying his strolls in the garden, weather permitting.

Love Mrs Jones x

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Bake: Pitta Bread

We are such bread fiends in this house, and I have recently been branching out from the usual loaves of bread that I make in my bread maker to other types of dough and different shaped breads. With the help of this excellent book The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook by Jennie Shapter, I made some pitta bread. 

They combine the Dough setting with a super quick bake, so are perfect if you are in a hurry.

210ml warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
350g white bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp easy blend dried yeast

1. Put the liquids into the bread maker pan, ensuring that your dough hook is in place (a lesson I learned early on with my machine)!

2. Add the flour, salt and sugar and then the yeast.

3. Set to dough and press go.

4. Depending on the machine it will take approximately 1 1/2 hours. Turn onto a floured surface and divide into 6-10 pieces depending on the required size (I made 8).

5. Roll lightly into a ball, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rest for ten minutes while you preheat the oven to 230C.

6. Roll each piece into an oval and cover with the cling film for another ten minutes.

7. Bake for 5-6 minutes in batches. The pittas should puff up and be a light golden brown.  Turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Stuff with your favourite filling or use with dips. My favourite fillings are Carrot & Hummus, and Falafel with some shredded lettuce and minted yoghurt.
Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Sewn: Amelie Bag

I fancied making an Autumnal bag and turned to the Amelie bag pattern in Tanya Whelan's Sew What You Love. I opted for the larger size because small bags aren't all that practical for me anymore (I need to fit in my purse, phone, a large diary, a reading book and usually lunch too)! This is also my Wilderness entry for this month's Le Challenge - as it combines a selection of wildlife/nature fabric.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I am a great believer in making things work with the materials that I have to hand, so instead of using an interfacing for this bag I used quilting batting which was going spare. I am really glad I went for this option as it feels so much sturdier than interfacing alone would.

You may recognise this fabric from my second pair of pyjama trousers - foxy! I added a tiny strip of top stitching detail on one side of the bag just to hold all the layers together.

I also altered the internal pocket - the pattern shows it divided into two pockets. but the size of phones these days are getting bigger so I left mine as one. The additional fabrics used are remnants from the Hello Bear cot quilt that I made.

The instructions for the bag were mostly very straightforward, but I really didn't understand how the straps were meant to fit to the main bag pieces, and I probably made it harder for myself with the additional thickness of the quilt batting. As a result, one side of the bag looks much neater than the other. Part of me thinks I will unpick it and start again, but I will wait until I have used it more and see if it still bothers me, I think!

My final departure from the pattern was to add some topstitching around the top of the bag, mainly because I think it looks better that way.

If you are interested in joining in Le Challenge, a new theme is announced in the middle of each month. Check out all the other entries here:

Le Challenge

Love Mrs Jones x