Following very wise advice from Penny and Sarah (thank you both!), to try and have some small things on my Christmas Fair Stall, I've been making lots of mice finger puppets from scraps of wool. I could be slightly addicted to them!
2) I really don't know what the collective noun for pixie hats would be. Perhaps a posse? But there have been lots more of those made too. Some plainish...
And a couple with some applique...
|Difficult to see in a photo but the wool for these stars has a lovely sparkly metallic look to it, and they're sewn on with silver thread.|
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cinnamon sticks
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
900g minced lamb
3 tbsp natural yogurt
3 tbsp tomato passata
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp salt
285g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, when hot put in the cinnamon sticks and let them sizzle for 5 seconds, then add the onion, stir and fry until it just starts to brown at the edges. Add the ginger and garlic, stir for 1 minute. Add the lamb, stir, breaking up the lumps until the meat loses its redness. Add the yogurt, tomato passata and the remaining herbs/spices. Stir for 1 minute. Add the potatoes and 475ml water. Stir and bring to the boil. Cover, lower the heat and cook gently for 30 minutes.
I've made it just like this before and it's always been really popular. It's actually a very mild dish and even I, a complete non curry eater, can manage a mouthful of this, though I much prefer a non spiced version personally, but the curry lovers in the family appreciate it. This time, with several butternut squashes from the garden to use, I did half the potatoes and half cubed squash, and the curry lovers were very happy with it.
And since I have no photos of that, I'll pop in a photo of a few of our pumpkins. If you ever have a green pumpkin that won't turn orange before Halloween, then the girls reckon the perfect thing to do with it is to carve it into a frog.
|You knew that middle one was supposed to be a frog, right?|
Perhaps with echoes of Halloween still in our heads, we went for a black cat design. Happily it was also very simple and effective.
Just some green felt eyes cut out and sewn on to the black card with matching green thread. You might be able to see 2 triangular ear shapes sewn up the top in metallic black thread, but they do show up better in real life. And then some white whiskers. Possibly easier to see the sewing on the reverse actually.
I had to work the pedal (Maria's legs aren't long enough!), but with the sewing machine on its slowest setting Maria managed all the turning and guiding of the card herself. It felt like an excellent, simple introduction to machine embroidery skills. We did a few cats and now Maria has plans for some different designs.
5) Near the end of the Summer we had a lovely day out, swimming and picnicking, at a place called 'Salmon Leaps', near Castle Drogo, on Dartmoor.
The river was dammed back in Victorian times to create a large, deeper fishing stretch, and 3 graduating pools were then built into the drop in level, to help the fish when it came to swimming back up stream in the Autumn for spawning.
In the Summer, everyone swam, but Theo in particular loved tumbling down the pools.
Personally I tried out the pools once and hated being in them. Despite the fact that they were only chest deep at most I really struggled to find my footing in them with the torrent of water knocking you around, and I felt a momentary panic that I could drown in them. Needless to say the girls were not allowed to give them a go!The rest of the stretch of river was lovely for swimming and perhaps I would have enjoyed the pools if the river had been a little less high and fast. But the thing I most wanted to do was to visit again in the Autumn and see if we might be lucky enough to spot salmon leaping up the pools.
So we headed off that way again last week. And there aren't many places I'd say this about, but it was even more beautiful in the Autumn than the Summer! The leaves were just gorgeous.
The water is beautiful and clear, but it has, in the Summer as well, a very rich, peaty brown look to it. Which just seemed to emphasise the reflections of the amazing colours. And the leaves floating downstream really shone out of the water like jewels. There was something quite mesmerising about watching them drift down the current, and dipping a hand in every now and then to pluck out a particularly special one.
|A heart shaped leaf!|
|Theo contemplating a swim!|
|There's a slightly camouflaged Sam sitting and watching the salmon leaping in this photo.|
It's definitely going to become a regular Autumn outing from now on.