Dyeing and Spinning Workshop

I’ve been being a bit quiet on hear recently because I’ve been having a bit of a rest. Things have still been happening and growing and I’ve just been in my studio painting! Yesterday though I went on a bit of a slow adventure and felt I had to share.

I went on a dyeing and spinning workshop for the day ๐Ÿ™‚

We first cooked all the things that had been collected on site on the fire.

Some created quite a good colour like this fresh Alder bark.

This is some of the fleece that we dyed hanging up to dry.

We were shown how to make our own spindle out of Hazel wood….

….and were given some washed fleece so that we could learn to spin.

This is what I came home with. Some swatches of fleece that we’d dyed, our handmade spindle and a small skein of our very own spun yarn!

It was a very good day, but I was really tired when I got home. I think all the fresh (smokey) air did me good ๐Ÿ™‚

New Chicken House cont.

The chickens have been out in the garden since the avian flew restrictions have been lifted, but now it’s produce growing season they have to stay in doors! That means it’s time to cut the windows out of the new chicken house.

It looked quite drastic to begin with.

But with the help of some very sticky greenhouse tape, some cable ties and a length of chicken wire, we have managed to make some neat and tidy windows for our chickens to get some light and fresh air but not get soggy when it rains!

They do seem quite happy in their lovely new home! ๐Ÿ™‚

This poly-tunnel was bought second hand with a view to making a practical chicken enclosure. The aim was to protect them from the worst of the weather in the winter and there being no where for bugs like spider mite to hide away.

New Years Marmalade

It’s the time of the year for marmalade, the Seville oranges have been in the shops and thoughts are directed to making a years supply of marmalade. The reason for this sudden desire to slice 6 pounds of oranges is two fold. It tastes better and it’s cheaper!

For several years now I’ve put the oranges in a food processor to chop them, but this year I decided to slice by hand. Oh my word, I was so surprised how pleasant it was to sit and slice the oranges by hand (with a nice serrated steak knife) in the quiet. A very simple life thing to do, and it was easier to extract the pips too!

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Once the sliced oranges have soaked over night they are meant to be simmered to reduce the liquid by a third. When I had heated the the water in the pan and added the sugar I realised I hadn’t done that!!!

I managed to rescue it by taking some liquid out, adding more sugar and a bottle of liquid pectin. Here on my pantry shelf are twenty jars of marmalade. I now feel like Moomin Mama and I have a very happy husband!

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It tastes exceptionally good too ๐Ÿ™‚

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New Chicken House

To start off the new year of my Simple Life Blog, I’m excited to show you our new chicken house. Considering a chicken house the size we needed would have cost around ยฃ900 without nesting boxes etc, we decided to be creative and find an alternative solution.

This second hand polytunnel we found was the right size and only cost us ยฃ80!!!!new-house-1
All that was needed was to secure the sides with chicken wire so they can’t dig their way out.

We have a shut down for chickens here in the UK at the moment because of bird flu, but as soon as that is past we are going to cut out a large window along theย the front and fill with chicken wire.

new-house-2So here they are, all secure and safe with lots of room. The nesting boxes you can see in the front corners are made from insulated dog beds which are easy to clean and only cost ยฃ35 each!

new-house-3The result, happy chickens and happy Debbie! ๐Ÿ™‚

New Lamp Shade

One of my projects last week was to make new a very tatty lampshade.

I have a collection of used stamps and I have loads that I have accumulated that are no use in my collection, so the new project began.

After the laborious job of soaking the stamps of the paper of the envelopes, it was a fun and satisfying thing to do.

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What do you think?

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Now for the job of restoring the lamp base! ๐Ÿ™‚

We Made a Pond

We just went outside one day and collected everything together, gradually placing things where we wanted them. The only thing we actually bought was a couple of pond plants! ๐Ÿ™‚pond-1 pond-2 pond-3 There’s a frog under there!pond-4 pond-5There’s still a bit to do, but I’m happy ๐Ÿ™‚

Banana Pancakes

Well there’s been a lot happening at Simple Life HQ, so much so it has kept me away from you.

We’ve had some hot weather the last week or so here and though I love bananas I can’t eat them fast enough. When it’s hot you need some recipes using the onesย which have become very ripe! I generally google around for ideas and then make something completely different or inspired be what I’ve seen.

So banana pancakes! I just used the basic batter recipe that I use for just about everything 2 oz flour (I like to use gram flour) 2 eggs and as much milk I need to get it to the consistency I want. ย (recipe for two people) and then just added half a ripe banana mashed up.

Then I sliced the rest of the banana up and layered them with the pancakes, yogurt and runny honey.

Yum!

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It was delicious.

Using gram flour makes it very light and I use sheep’s yogurt which is very light too and all very good for you ๐Ÿ™‚