Friday, 11 October 2013

"Abigail makes.." is now open for business!

I love my job and I don't want to give it up anytime soon but it's not the highest paid jobs and if I want to be able to start ticking things of my wish list I'm going to have to start getting some extra money from somewhere! 

We have tried eBay - selling anything we don't need or use anymore and that has been successful but I like to make things as you maybe able to tell from my blog and there is no bigger compliment to something you have made, than someone liking it so much that they want to buy it! 
You may also remember that number 4 on my wish list was sell some of my crafts. Which has sort of been ticked, over the summer I made some brooches to be sold at Cafe Create and so far I think one had sold.

Now let me tell you a bit more about Cafe Create, I found out about it from my mum who sometimes volunteers there, it's held on every Fridays 10am - 1pm, it's held in a lovely large room at the back of quite an unassuming looking building called Claremont church in the centre of Bolton, you reach it from the road at the back and ring the bell and wait to be welcomed in, you are then led to a lovely airy room with tall ceilings and a gallery area up some steps, there is a shop selling lots of locally produced crafty makes from jewellery to jams and cushions to clogs! Strung up across the ceiling is brightly coloured bunting and there is a comfy sofa in one corner a craft table in another and a small children's play area. Each week members and volunteers from the cafe create team make cakes to sell. A tea or coffee and a delicious cake is just £2.50 a bargain!, there is normally a craft demonstration where you can have a go, sometimes at a small cost just to cover cost of materials. The Cafe Create members are just lovely, they make it such a welcoming environment and a lovely place to meet new people.
The one downside is because it's on Fridays I only get to go in the school holidays. I had been going since February half term and each time I would show them things that I had made and they said I should make things to sell there and their encouragement has really spurred me on to do it. 
If you want to find out more about it the website is 
     My brooches for sale at Cafe Create

    Cafe Create                    

After lots of deliberation I decided on the name 'Abigail makes' on which to sell my wares. I am selling crocheted, sewn, knitted and felt items and I have decided to open a Facebook page to sell them too and it's doing pretty well I've had quite a few orders, my best seller has been little pudding christmas decoration so I'm going to try some more designs of Christmas decorations. 

Please feel free to take a look and say hi! 

Thanks for reading, 
Abigail x

Friday, 27 September 2013

Homemade Rosehip syrup

As you will already have seen from my previous post I've gotten into foraging in a big way, finding lots of new recipes to try for each new food I forage. Well today I'm making something I have never tried before and I don't really have a clue what it will taste like either.

I have been telling friends at work about my recent foraging and jam making activities, one of the women who lives in a beautiful rural area called Entwistle was telling me about how she used to pick fruits and make jam, I promised to bring in some of the elderberry and crap apple jam that I made and the next week she came in with a hedgerow jam for me - I'd inspired her to go out and forage then make some jam! The jam contained all the fruits that are available, blackberries, rowan berries, haws, crab apples, rosehips and elderberries it was delicious. 

She said that she would like to try making blackberry and sloe recipe but she did not know where to find some. I said I would pick her some and she said would pick me some rosehips from her garden they were rosa rugosa hips that unlike the rosehips you generally see in hedgerows it was much bigger and fatter, apparently they are a better flavour. 

This week I am suffering from a cold, chesty cough and a sore throat- the first of the autumn season and as it hasn't even been very cold yet it doesn't bode well! Apparently rosehip syrup is well known for its medicinal properties. It's high in vitamins A, C and D as well as being full of antioxidants.

I found this recipe on another blog...

It seemed very straight forward so I decided to give it ago! 
Wash the rosehips (and if my sisters are reading this - yes they are the things we used to break open and put in the seeds down each other's backs as itching powder when we were little!!!)

Mince them in the food processor 
Add to a pan of boiling water, bring to boil then take off heat to infuse for 15 mins. 
Strain through a muslin cloth and put the pulp back into the pan with more water, boil then leave for 15mins and strain again.
Do you like how I have hung the muslin cloth up to strain? 
I had no idea what I was going to use for hanging it up but Matthew put a hook discreetly under the cupboard and it works wonderfully. 
When the juice has drained out, put back into the pan add the sugar and boil for 5 mins.
Decant into sterilised bottles....which is were I came unstuck ... I had some Kilner bottles with the swing top lid but I hadn't sterilised bottles before, only jars, so I just did it in the same way as the jars by washing it then putting it in a low oven, I'm not sure what I did or if those bottles are meant to be sterilised like that.. it must have been too high because the plastic on the lid melted ....oops!
                Sterilising 😟
I've not got anymore bottles so I had to use these ones but put wine bottle stoppers in!

The finished product..and actually tastes lovely and if it helps my cold to get better then that will be great!

Thanks for reading, 
Abigail xxx

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Foraging walk

I've really been interested in foraging since last year we picked some winberries and blackberries, I bought a book "Food for free" by Richard Mabey that I take it out with me sometimes to try to identify any berries I see. I don't want to poison myself so I always double check on google that what I've picked is edible.

What's been good about going out walking Max everyday is that you really notice any changes in park. It was mid August when I started to see that there were lots of bramble bushes and the blackberries were beginning to ripen (it seemed earlier than usual and last year I really struggled to find any blackberries on 7 acres at all I picked most of mine from longsight park). This year there has been an abundance of them I put it down to what a good summer we have had and from August to now they have been ripening and I have been picking them. I am a bit obsessed I have filled my freezer with them, made a jam, cakes and put some into apple crumbles - I find it very difficult to walk past a ripe blackberry without picking it! I also picked a handful of raspberries which I will definitely look out for in July next year.

Last week we went for a walk up to Rivington Pike and again there was an abundance of wimberry bushes but as it was coming to the end of season it was getting harder to find them still we managed to find about 250g - enough to put in a cake. 

The more I walk in 7 acres the more I'm looking around at trees and noticing berries or fruits. I noticed some small apple like fruits on a tree, I took one home research it and discovered they were crab apples. I also noticed some elderberries that were green so I've been waiting for these to ripen so I could pick them too, and I noticed some purpley berries and found out that they were sloes - I have been told I must make sloe gin apparently its lovely! But don't try to eat them straight off the tree they taste sharp and it makes your tongue very dry! Yes I did have a go! 
      Blackberries, elderberries, sloes and crab apples all foraged from 7 acres country park

It was a lovely surprise that when I was out walking in 7 acres I noticed a poster for a free foraging walk being held by the 'friends of 7 acres' group and we signed up for it straight away.
It was great, held on last Sunday morning 10.30am - 12.30pm we met at the 7 acres environment centre across the other side of the park to us, there was about 10 adults and about 3 children. 
It was really informative as well as learning about food that is in season now we found out about what to look for in other seasons and discovered how to identify plants, we saw burdock plants of which roots can be used to make dandelion and burdock. We saw a hazel tree without any hazelnuts (apparently there are a lot of squirrels on 7 acres!). Tried the seed of a Himalayan balsam which is high in vitamin c and tastes a bit like watermelon.  Sampled some Haw berry Turkish delight that sounded very easy to make and tasted much nicer than real Turkish delight. Learned that uncooked elderberries have cyanide in them! Thankfully it's only a little bit and it's only harmful if you eat in great quantities! Smelled the leaves of a plant called sweet which smelled of licorice and is high in pectin so good for adding to jams, sampled some (very strong) birch sap wine and learned how to make it. And also told us about rowan berries and rosehips both good for making jams or jellies. Unfortunately the heavens open halfway round and we got drenched but we met some very nice people and had a lovely time. We even made it onto the website -

I now have lots of ideas of what to forage and what to make next. 

Thanks for reading, 
Abigail xxx

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Summer holidays have been and gone!

Well 7 whole weeks of summer holidays have flown by and this was my first week back at work, I don't really feel like I've done much over the holidays but looking back I have done quite a bit.
I've taken part in three swaps, a summer swap, a vintage tea party swap and a great British tea party swap

Made quite a few things...
I've made some brooches to sell at cafe create and sold my first one!

I've made myself a granny shawl scarf

A made some things for the swaps

And baked a few things..
I've made some scones

A delicious beef and onion pie

A chorizo and egg sausage plait and milk chocolate and peanut butter cookies for a camping trip
A birthday cake and 48 cupcakes for my mums 60th birthday.

Done a bit of DIY
Matthew made some shelves for me and I painted them duck egg blue to display all my pretty things

I've been camping near Ullswater in the Lake District for bank holiday weekend
And I did my hardest walk yet up helvellyn via striding edge

Picked lots and lots of blackberries 

And organised my mum's sixtieth birthday party

So actually I did quite a lot!
Ok back to real life now..
Thanks for reading, 
Abigail x

Monday, 12 August 2013

Ice cream bunting pattern

I made this bunting for a recent summer swap, I liked it so much I made it for myself. 
This is my first time writing out a pattern so hopefully It will be right, if you try it and have any problems please let me know. But it's fairly straightforward. Just remember at the end of each row chain 1 and turn. 
Ice cream cone - beige yarn

Foundation chain 10 + 1, turn
Row 1: 1dc in each st (10) 
Row 2: 1dc in each st (10)
Row 3:dc2tog, 1dc in the next 6st, dc2tog (8)
Row 4: 1dc in each st (8)
Row 5:dc2tog, 1dc in the next 4st, dc2tog (6)
Rows 6-13: 1dc in each st (6)
Row 14: dc2tog, 1dc in the next 2st, dc2tog (4)
Row 15-16: 1dc in each st (4)
Row 17: dc2tog, dc2tog (2)
Row 18: dc2tog (1)r
Fasten off, change colour.

Ice cream -join on yellow, pink or mint green yarn

Row 1: 1dc in each of the 10 st on the top of the cone (as seen in the picture)
Row 2: 2dc in first st, 8dc, 2dc in last st (12)
Row 3: dc2tog, 8dc, dc2tog (10)
Row 4: dc2tog, 6dc, dc2tog (8)
Row 5: dc2tog, 4dc, dc2tog (6)
Row 6: dc2tog, 2dc, dc2tog (4)
Fasten off
 Make 2 more. 

Lollipop - in yellow, pink or green yarn.

This starts from the bottom to the top of the lolly
Foundation chain 10 +1 
Rows 1- 14: 1dc in each st.(10)
Row 15: dc2tog, 6dc, dc2tog (8)
Row 16: dc2tog, 4dc, dc2tog (6)
Row 17: dc2tog, 2dc, dc2tog (4)
Fasten off

Lollipop stick 
Join on the beige yarn to the 5th dc along the straight edge.
Row 1-7: dc 2
Row 8: dc2tog
Fasten off. 
Make one more.

Scalloped chain
Foundation chain 200 +1 
5 tr into 3rd chain from hook, miss 2 st then dc into the next st, * miss 2st , 5tr into the next st, miss 2st then dc into the next . Rep from * to end.
Fasten off.

Sew in all ends, space out the lollipops and ice creams as you wish, I left a gap of 5 of the shell shapes. Then sew the ice cream or lollipop into the middle of the shell as shown on the photo. 

I hope it's right I'll only know if someone else has a go. 

Thanks for reading and if you try it let me know how you get on. 
Abigail xxx

Monday, 5 August 2013

Busy, busy, busy!!

The last few weeks working in a school is always a busy time, but these last weeks have flown and I've been so busy.
I have had three more swaps to do

A family bbq,

Matthew's birthday,

A bouldering class at the climbing hanger, Liverpool

joined a knitting group,

celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary at the Oast House, Manchester

watched Andy Murray win wimbledon! 

Finished the school term in fantastic style with cocktails in Manchester and singing in a kareoke pod in Tiger Tiger.

Spent alot of time bragging about my youngest sister is one of the winners of BAFTA Rocliffe Comedy writers competition which will see part of her comedy script performed with real actors at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival and judged by a panel that includes John Bishop, and she could win a script commision with the BBC!!!
so naturally I've not had as much time to do my blog!

Now I'm off for weeks for the summer holidays so I'm hoping I'll have plenty of time to do more crafts especially some decorations for my home, I've been so busy making things for other people it'll be nice to make some things for myself.
But for now I'm off for a week to Cornwall!!
Bye for now!
Abigail x

St Ives 2013

This holiday to St Ives was going to be different than previous years, this year we were camping, we were only there for a week and we had our beloved Maxi with us!

Here are some of the highlights:

Pasties on the beach,
Blas burgers from the Halsetown Inn
 I spent my 33rd birthday at Crantock Bay, were Max had his first trip in a boat and I had a little trip down memory lane when we went to Newquay where I used to go for a holiday when I was little.

We spent some days on the dog beach in St.Ives and on the Island, we went on Porthkidney beach, max played lots of ball games, we had a paddle and a swim and Max did some digging!

We went on a walk from our campsite to the knill,
 on to Trencrom Hill
 then on to Mount's Bay, Marazion the walk was 12 miles in total
then we went on a open top bus back to st ives

We went to Godrevy point, where we saw a kestrel (I think)

 We saw a couple of seals in the harbour
 we went on a 5 mile coastal walk from Lamorna cove.. Mousehole and back again.

And after all that we were quite sleepy!

It went way too quickly!
Thanks for reading!
Abigail x