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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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Elderflowers

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A trip out to get some eggs resulted in an impromptu stop by a ditch (why do the best things grow in precarious, deep ditches?) to pick a few elderflower heads. I’m just doing some cordial rather than the more explosive champagne, but fully intend to drink at least some of the cordial IN champagne! They smell purely of summer. Lovely.

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Not that bunting has ever, to my knowledge, professed any kind of machismo or tough manliness, but this has to be the most unicorn-and-glitter friendly bunting I’ve ever made.

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I’m not sure what came over me: I saw something similar on Pinterest; I am surrounded by little boys; I have an abundance of vintage embroidered linens… don’t you just love it when a plan comes together. I didn’t want to spend any money on this project, and just made do with the ribbons and materials I already had, with a heavy bias towards pink.

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None of my Very Precious tablecloths were used, and I did have to take a deep breath when I chopped up two hand towels. But delicately worked hand towels just aren’t going to get used for anything in this house, so I went for it. Some of the pennant backs are an equally super-fluffy pink and flowery Liberty print.

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I plan to put it up for birthday parties until my sons beg me not to, at which point I will put it up on MY birthday and revel in its frivolity. And eat cakes and drink tea from my Wedgewood cups. Yay!

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