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Rimu Nesting Trays

Years ago Stan salvaged pieces of sound rimu from borer ridden chapel pews that were destined for the bonfire. Since his younger sister was having a special birthday those stored pieces became a pair of trays. The bases are rimu plywood, also salvaged from old screens and Stan thinks the darker red sides might be totara because of the colour. Coated with Danish oil the wood looks beautiful.

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I love to grow berry fruit and eat it but the task of processing needs to be quick and painless! Kudos to those that top and tail their blackcurrants, your commitment to the task is beyond my level of dedication. For me, it is just as good to leave the odd little green stalk on and totally ignore the little dried flower end. The end product when you use a blender stick on your simmered fruit is a smooth jam with a dense texture and a strong, rich flavour.

Blackcurrant Jam

  • Weigh then wash your blackcurrants and put in a deep saucepan
  • Add a cup of water per kilo of fruit
  • Gently simmer until the fruit is soft and cooked.
  • Blend in the pot with your whizz stick
  • Add the same blackcurrant weight of sugar and stir in until dissolved
  • Now bring to a rapid boil and continue to boil for 20 mins, stirring often to stop it burning on the bottom.
  • Take off the element and stir for another 20 mins
  • Have your jam jars heated and your lids boiling in a small pot, fill your jars and cover with the hot lids.

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Tarantula Cake

It was a cool challenge figuring out how to make spider legs for a tarantula cake and then add a few hairs to give a hairy impression. The body was easy enough, cakes baked in a big and small mixing bowl then covered with black fondant. RJ’s  chocolate filled licorice and pineapple logs ended up being perfect for the legs. Cut into segments and threaded onto fairly thick wire they had black fondant in between the segments to hide the wire. I bent the wire into shape as I went. For the hairs, thread vermicelli shaken in a plastic container with a few drops of black food colouring made stiff hairs. It was time consuming ‘gluing’ them on with gum Arabic so they didn’t make it all over the body!

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Power to the Raspberry Patch

Not well done but I’ve let the raspberry canes engulf the electric fence. In spite of a kill switch to disconnect the power, I keep getting cracks across the back or anywhere else when I daydream picking raspberries. Since they’ve upped the power unit supplying the farm this year it’s been a particularly shocking start to the season! At last Stan took pity and had a look at why the kill switch wasn’t working… took him two seconds to work out I had both ends connected to the power.

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Ruffled Layered Girl’s Skirt

While looking for a girl’s skirt I came across this tutorial from Dana. It was a little more layered than I was looking for, but Dana’s instructions were so clear to follow that I was easily able to adapt her pattern to just two layers of ruffles and a deeper top waist section to still give the correct length. Thanks Dana.  http://www.madeeveryday.com/2012/03/tutorial-the-layered-skirt.html/

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‘Woodland Bears’ Dress

Good project for a windy Saturday. The pattern is ‘New Look 6269’, fabric from ‘Buzoku, Woodland Bears’. It’s a cotton duck and has a nice structural feel.

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Reusable Fabric Shopping Bags

I won’t lie, I’m going to miss those plastic bags that are so useful for everything from giving veges away in to taking togs to the beach in. Around here they get used until they fall apart. Still, I do agree that they are awful pollutants and can be a pain in the ocean, so very shortly they will be goneski from the supermarkets and a whole new industry in promotional fabric bags will spring up. I’m pre-empting the need to purchase by making my own with a very simple pattern. Sorry about the imperial measurements, all of the cutting and measuring quilting tools that come out of the States are still in inches (?) The dimensions are 14.5 inches square for the front and back, 6 x 14.5 inches rectangles for the sides and base. Handles are 2.5 x 14.5 inches folded in half, stitched and turned. The lining is the same dimension.

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