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A new bed

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For Otis. As I sit every night at the moment, huffing and puffing grumpily into a dust mask as we scrape and sand hundreds of reclaimed hardwood parquet blocks, I try to remember that not every purchase of second hand goods from gumtree means blood, sweat and tears. Although Otis’ antique brass bed, acquired at a price to make the bargain hunter in me very pleased indeed, did require some serious polishing and a bit of repair work on three decorative spindly bits, it was nothing compared to the mammoth task of restoring Sol’s bed.

I really wanted a metal bed of a similar age to sit next to Solomon’s, which meant waiting a while for the right one in a reasonable location to pop up. But pop up it did, and we’re all really pleased, none less so than Oti!

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I’m finally on the final section of Jared Flood’s Shetland hap-style shawl Quill. It’s taking forever, and as the second part was knitted in the round and increased gradually, it’s all bunched up on the circular needle and is quite difficult to see, size-wise. I’m trying not to count exactly how many stitches I’ve got left around the perimeter to consume by the lace edging, in addition to the edging itself…

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I haven’t quite reached fever pitch with the preserving- I’ve made some elderflower cordial, which wasn’t bad, and two batches elderflower gin, which is rather too good, but otherwise my jam pan has lain quietly. The appearance of one or two of these little ruby gems by the roadside, however, is a sure sign that the Scottish summer is reaching its peak. 

Sugar stocks in the local supermarket will plummet and I suddenly won’t have enough jars as plums, brambles, apples and all manner of transient delights rain down, begging to have their fruity loveliness extended into the snowy winter months.

It gets a bit hectic, and I could nip out and buy a lovely jar of raspberry jam for a fraction of the cost: monetary, effort, time and nettle stings. But it just wouldn’t taste as sweet.

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This time in gin… a bit of an experiment and perhaps a bit heavy on the sugar but it’s all the name of research!

Cushnie Games

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Baking and preserving for the local fair, on tomorrow from 1-4 in the field next to Cushnie Hall, Aberdeenshire. Come along if you can!

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Well some things just don’t work out, do they. The quilt I had planned as a present for a dear friend’s baby has ended up on our sofa, and before that very nearly the bin. It was one of those feelings that sneak up on you when you’re making something, an uneasy feeling that something isn’t quite right.

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As I scissor-cut the triangles freehand, I banished that creeping feeling, tried to ignore the millimetres here and there that deep down I knew would add up to centimetres out. When I pieced the triangles, all was well: they became neat, precise squares. But each square differed subtly from its neighbour and seams stubbornly refused to align.

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Best of a bad bunch

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and the very worst… painful!

It was only the gorgeous colours that made me keep it and piece it together, but I lacked the love to hand (or machine) quilt it and so I tied it instead, hoping also that the ties would hide the horrible misalignments slightly! I really do love the colours and the patterned fabrics I chose, and for me those have been its only saving grace.

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Next time: rotary cutter, or templates. And not ignoring any sinking feelings…

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