Friday 18 October 2013

The knitting and stitching show at alexandra palace

SO, last weekend my fellow crafters and I took the coach to The Alexandra Palace knit and stitch show. I was so excited I hardly slept the night before ( I know - I don't get out much). We sat on the coach and made our crafty shopping wish lists.

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Saturday 12 October 2013

AHC welcome video!! - feat special guest

Morning lovelies! 

I have a special treat today ... it's my FIRST video! It's a video of myself (and Ralphy of course) introducing A handmade cottage while giving viewers a bit of an insight into what AHC is all about. 

I hope you enjoy it! if you do feel free to comment and share with friends and other like-minded folk.

Have a lovely weekend,

JM & Ralphy the dog x

Please note: no Jack russells were harmed in the making of this film : )

If you don't see the video you can click here to view
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Sunday 6 October 2013

How to make sloe gin - 'the wintry tipple'

  Well last weekend I successfully made my first tipple of Sloe Gin! It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday and I can't WAIT to taste it while my chestnuts are roasting on a chilly December eve. Christmas will never be the same without this lovely wintry Liqueur and it's a lovely way to enjoy our bountiful hedgerows. It's far more satisfying to enjoy something you've gathered / made yourself than to get it from Tesco and I've no doubt this autumnal ritual will become a firm favourite in our household. It's easy to prep, easy to make AND you can blot out Xmas with it! (if need be).  So get the kids off their phones, grab your baskets (guys - your plastic containers) and enjoy a day in the wilderness together! 

Note - Sloe gin is a sweet berry liqueur and can be enjoyed on the rocks OR with a mixer ... perhaps Soda water or sparkling wine Kir Royale-style, so don't be put off if you don't like Gin. I don't but I do LOVE this drink.

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Tuesday 1 October 2013

A thrifty guide to growing plants & flowers for free

Good Morning autumnal lovelies, I just spent a lovely day in the garden, getting it ready for Autumn. I filled my brown bin to the brim and woke the neighbour's baby several times after walking face-first into spiders webs. But before the summer comes to a close I wanted to share some tips on filling your garden with beautiful flowers without spending a penny (literally that is). While some of you may relish an afternoon traipsing around Homebase, others may not (myself included) - and the following will not only save you money, it will also give you a far deeper sense of satisfaction and you'll love your garden all the more for it.

Sharing flowers with your neighbours

Now before you head out into the garden and start cutting back all your plants - (which I'm sure has therapeutic benefits and often reminds me of cutting Hubby's hair) stop, and take a look around. More often than not, ole Mrs Miggin's next door has let her plants go wild and they're clambering all over your side of the fence. But rather than hacking away at her prize Geraniums, why not entice them into your garden instead? For example - my shed was looking pretty bare and I really wanted a 'Santa's grotto' vibe so I enticed Mrs Miggin's straggly old bush onto my shed. I didn't even need to hold it in place (it had suckers!) and now it's almost completely covered and I didn't spend a penny. 

More tips for accumulating new plants for free

Collecting seeds .... 

At this time of year flower heads dry up and their seeds fall out or fly off in the wind. If you collect these carefully you can store them (in pretty little packets!) or sow them in Autumn  and you'll have have a flower-filled garden come spring! For more info check out this BBC Gardening article. 

Sharing seeds ...

Did you know there are seed swapping / sharing events? check out
Or browse the Internet to find one near by.

Transplanting ...

Or as I like to call it - Pulling them up by the roots out of your mums / mates garden and plopping them in yours, Easy peasy! Autumn / winter is a good time to move plants as they're dormant, but not all plants can handle a move so have a google beforehand to make sure.

Dividing plants ...

Certain plants get so big it helps them enormously if you divide them into smaller plants (chives for example) and not only does it help them, you also multiply your plant! Again, autumn is a great time to do this. However you might not want four of the same plant so why not do a swap with friends to get some new shrubs into your garden?! I've swapped a few plants this way so it's a win win all round. But do check beforehand as dividing doesn't work with all plants and some plants will look at you aghast!

Further reading ...

With a little thought we can easily save pennies. I love making arrangements just from wild flowers and plants I find in the hedgerows all year round and will be posting on this later in the year. In the meantime if you feel you need a little help in the garden I suggest  'The Thrifty Gardener'  by Alys Fowler. I don't usually recommend a book if I haven't read it but this girl knows her stuff so we're in good hands. But for now, get out there and start luring in your neighbours plants!

JM x

Note: Please note, I cannot be held responsible should you get into trouble for luring your neighbours plant into your garden. I suggest you only work with plants that are already hanging over your fence (so now your property) and refrain from pulling them over at 4am in the morning : )

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