liquid gold (or what the husband’s bees have been up to)

A few weeks ago, I posted photos of hive inspection.

Well since then, the husband harvested honey (for the first time) with the help of Mr Tattoo.

We don’t have a proper extractor so it was a long & laborious process, with lots of waiting for honey to pass through various filters.  And then waiting, a week, to let the honey mature before potting.

And ta da!  Liquid gold.  Probably a lot of acacia in there, but it’s not clear enough to be pure acacia.  Whatever it is, it’s golden, it’s creamy, and it’s very yummy. And we potted up 9kg 250g of it.

ScrapHappy # April (or what the husband made)

I missed out on ScrapHappy last month and have to admit to not much crafting this month either. I’ve been rather busy with some serious decluttering, cleaning and rearranging (mainly up in the attic) and crafting has taken a back seat recently.  Not to worry . . . the husband came to my rescue.

Many hours spent up in the attic, tackling cobwebs, dust, and general chaos, including a pile of timber left behind by previous owner (at the husband’s request) because the previous owner was a retired furniture maker and had his workshop up in the attic.  I was sorting, stacking and deciding what was good to keep and what could become firewood, when I came across.

Two cabinet feet that had never been finished because wood had quite a few flaws.  Now . . . a few years ago, the husband made me a lovely yarn holder, with a larger cabinet foot found in the attic, the round foot of an old table and a broken arrow.   So, I immediately thought “more yarn holders”.  I found an old wooden spoon and a long mini trowel thingy to saw to pieces for the rod parts.  The husband took one look at the trowel thingy and declared he was going to polish it up and keep, but he was okay about sacrificing a wooden spoon.  I therfore went in search of something else . . . and found a wooden trousers hanger, with a piece of dowelling that could be used.

After sanding, staining and whatnot . . . two yarn holders. Much less elaborate than the first one the husband made, which had a rotating system in the base. These holders don’t rotate. You have to tug gently on the yarn and the ball turns around the rod.  They do the job though.  One is for Mrs Tattoo, who has taken to knitting like a fish to water in recent months. The other is a spare for yours truly, so I can keep the larger rotating one downstairs and have the non-rotating one upstairs.

Linking with other ScrapHappy members worldwide.

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera,
NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Viv

xmas eve nosh up

I hope you are all keeping well, and, for those of you who celebrate xmas, that you had a lovely time.  It was quiet here, just the husband and I on Christmas Eve, which is when we traditionally prepare something extra special for dinner, before opening our presents.  Even though it was just the two of us, the husband was busy and happy in the kitchen. He loves cooking, and the festive season is an excuse to play around a bit more.

Here is what he made.

To begin with:  a slice of toasted GF bread (that’s because of me) spread with a creamed mixture of goat’s cheese and St Moret cheese, and then two scallops on top, which were quickly fried in olive oil & garlic.  A small bowl of “mache” salad to go with that.

Next, some foie gras, and a glass of Sauterne.  The husband always buys a fresh duck liver, which he cooks “au torchon” approximately 5 days before the meal is planned, and this year, he added some very thin slices of “truffe”.  When the raw liver is rolled tightly in plastic cling film, then rolled tightly in a clean tea towel, and cooked at 62°C in water for the correct time, the fat separates from the liver (the yellow bits you can see around the edges) and, when served straight from the fridge, it’s easy to scrape the fat off, to enjoy only the liver, which we like “mi-cuit”.

After the foie gras, we had two “gambas” each (basically very large prawns) which were cooked in whisky and various herbs.  By this time, I was already feeling quite full up, but the meal wasn’t over yet!

The main course was guinea fowl and chanterelle mushrooms cooked in a cream sauce, with cardoons!

I was very lazy this year and didn’t make a dessert, so we just had a slice of Vienetta ice-cream to end a lovely meal. No photo of that, because I’m sure you all know what Vienetta looks like lol.

 

 

 

Scraphappy # december

It’s the last scrappy link up for the year, linking with

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJule,
Gwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Esther

and it’s the husband who’s the star of the show today.  Like Jon, of this group, the husband enjoys messing about with “men tools” and had his very own pallet gate adventure.   We didn’t have a proper gate around the net fencing on our hen coop. Just used to move part of the netting every day to nip in, but the husband decided we needed something more permanent (after 5 years of hen-keeping).

and this is what he made.  Had to buy two hinges, and fixed it to a sturdy wooden post (with net fencing being secured with blue twine to the post).

It does the job perfectly!

I, in the meantime, was busy with needle & thread, not to mention recycling some @m@zon cardboard packaging . . . and finished off a small batch of xmas decorations.

a bit of this, that & the other (sept)

My time is often spent flitting from one crafting project to another, simply because I can.  So today, a little mish mash of photos of what’s taking shape.

A dolphin cross stitch design, kit by Royal Paris.  I don’t pick this up very often therefore progress is slow, but there’s no hurry.

A new crochet project.  I was going to jump in and start hooking a third doll, but after a rummage in my yarn stash, I came across a couple of sunglass-worthy coloured yarn that I’d bought in a local discount store a couple of years ago.  A quick flick through my big pile of crochet books and I found a pattern that tickled my fancy.  I’m not going to tell you what I’m making just yet . . . it will become more obvious the more body parts I make.  Let’s just say that shocking pink isn’t the colour one would expect, but I reckon the finished design will be very cute!

I’ve begun a new diamond painting project.  Working in various shades of blues & teals . . . overall picture will look like this.

Again, there’s no rush to have this finished.  It’s just a new hobby I discovered recently, and I enjoy putting in a few hours from time to time.

For those of you wondering how the husband is getting on with the mirror . . .

He has begun cleaning up the back (while still debating about how to repair the stucco on the mirror side).  Took out these short planks and discovered

This, stamped on the back of the mirror.  So, his original guess of approx 1870 was out.  Stamp reads 1897, 31st March, Paris.  Renovation work continues.

mirror, mirror . . .

Today’s post to share what the husband has been up to.

I keep on telling him he needs to start his own blog, instead of expecting me to share his goings-on here, but he’d rather be messing about in his work shop than blogging.  Anyhoot . . . he recently became the new owner of a very old (and very ugly) mirror.  I took one look at the thing and said “I don’t want that in the house!”.   I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen on mirrors on the walls in the house (except for one in the bathroom) because the only thing they reflect is an old woman with grey hair & wrinkles.  Not a pretty sight!

However, what the husband likes about his new (old) mirror is . . . it’s in need of lots of renovation work.

Someone, at some point in time, had painted over the frame in a yucky brown paint which the husband is painstakingly removing and discovering lots of detail hidden under the thick coat of brown.

He’s been googling, trying to date the mirror from the motif, as well as from the general style, shape, and the way it’s made.  He reckons it dates back to (approx) 1870 but more research is required.   The main problem he’s going to face is: how to repair the parts that need proper restoration.  The mirror appears to have been stored, standing on the floor in a very damp place for years (probably decades) and the band of stucco along the bottom of the mirror frame has disintegrated.

At the moment the husband is consdering the possibilty of making a silicone mold from one of the intact areas, to try and repeat the motif across the bottom in plaster.  Supplies will need to be bought in and trials run, to see if it’s at all possible.

He also needs to date the mirror more accurately in order to know what colour the original stucco should be painted.  A work in progress that’s keeping him amused.

not once, but twice!

We had a bit of unexpected excitement out in the orchard last week.

The husband’s bees swarmed . . . TWICE!

The first time, the husband and bee-keeping friend, were too busy dealing with the swarm to take photos (and I was still fast asleep in bed!), so the above is of the second swarm.   Luckily, the husband had equipped himself, earlier in the year, with a second, smaller, hive (that he painted bright red) so on the morning of the first swarm our two amateur bee-keepers were able to knock the clump of buzzing business, and it dropped (more or less) into the open hive. A fair number of bees did land outside

but since the queen was safely in the box, it was only a matter of hours before the ones outside went inside.

Anyway . . . the husband was really pleased, because it meant the colony in his main hive was thriving, and the captured swarm meant he’d be able to have two hives up and running this year.  However, the following morning, the bees in the main hive swarmed a second time!

Same photo as above, just zooming in slightly.  We didn’t have a spare box or anything to capture this lot, so the husband phoned bee-keeping friend again.  Another gentle knock and this lot was plopped down into the friend’s portable hive.  They spotted a queen bee in there too.

Back at the main hive . . .

 

there was an awful lot of buzzing about and general agitation.  Our bee-keepers spotted yet another queen bee already in residence there, so, in theory, the husband will have two colonies in our orchard, and his friend will be able to adopt the second swarm.

outdoors & indoors – what we’re up to

Something of a photo-heavy post today, to tell you what the husband and I are up to lately.

With Spring in the air, the husband has been spending long hours outdoors!  It all started last month really, when he managed to hire a bricklayer who agreed to come and do some work in the veggie garden.  The husband had this idea of having some raised beds (to make life easier when you’re not as agile as you once were).  The bricklayer, name of Atila, worked like a Trojan, I can tell you!  Digging trenches, mixing cement to lay foundations, then building five raised beds with breeze blocks and laying some paving stones to level up with the path.

The husband was then kept very busy because the new beds needed filling . . . so wheelbarrow loads of sand, sifting & weeding of “old” soil to mix back in.  One bed is already planted with strawberry plants & lettuce.  The others will be sowed/planted up in a couple of weeks time once the husband is sure there will be no more night frosts.

He’s also found himself a new indoors project!  When we moved into this house, the previous owners left a very grotty clock up in the attic. Nothing antiquey, or of any value and probably riddled with wood worm.  But there it remained, gathering even more dust & cobwebs.  The husband asked me to bring it downstairs because he fancies a bit of renovation work.  So I obliged.

It’s not even pretty!  but if it keeps the husband amused, at no cost, then I’ll be interested to see how it turns out and if it actually works!

I, in the meantime, keep myself amused with less dirty occupations.  Have just begun a new crochet project.  This was a “M’aidez, m’aidez” call from Mrs Tattoo.  One of her friends is expecting a baby for later in the year. Mrs Tattoo (who can’t crochet) bought a crochet kit, thinking she could teach herself to crochet and rustle up a soft toy lol.  She tried (bless her) before admitting defeat and asking for help.  I wasn’t too enthralled with the design she’d chosen, and didn’t think it was really suitable for a baby. So . . . after sending her a few links to free crochet patterns for her to choose from, she decided on this.

This cute pattern, available on Amigurumi Today.  (I’ll be embroidering eyes and facial details – don’t trust safety eyes on a baby toy!)

I then sent Mrs Tattoo photos of yarns from my stash to choose from, and we’ve settled on something as close to the original design as I could make it.  Stylecraft Special DK in: Spearmint, Lavender, Grass Green, Clematis & Citron.

And work has begun.

I’m using a 2mm hook to keep things nice and tight – don’t want any stuffing coming out!  So far, I have a head, body, tail and one front paw.  Just need to make second front paw, 2 legs and 2 ears!

Stay tuned!  Baby isn’t due for several months, but I should have it finished very soon.

 

a bit of this & that

We’re back in lockdown again in this part of the world, which doesn’t make a great deal of difference to the husband and myself as we hardly go anywhere these days.  We’re happy to find things to keep us busy at home, and with Spring in the air, the husband is spending more time outside watching things grow.  He’s also been doing a bit of weeding and general tidying up, as well as supervising a worksite in our veggie garden (more on that another time).  While tidying up in the garden, he noticed an old plant pot he’d been meaning to repair but hadn’t.

I don’t know why, but the husband has a “thing” for crockery, china, and pottery.  A few years ago, there was a proper clear-out in the house opposite. Owner, very old lady, had died aged 96+, and her nephew was in charge of emptying the house so it could be sold.  The nephew was literally loading up the trailer to take most things to the local tip, when my husband spotted an old plant pot and asked if he could have it.  One thing less to take to the tip!  Said plant pot was just a very plain old thing and had probably been sitting outside for 60 years or so.  On arrival in our garden, it promptly got knocked over, by our very exuberant dog, and there it stayed for a few years, with broken pieces gathered together in a pile.

But no more!

The husband did his first attempt at “kintsugi” and plant pot has been replanted (with something or other) and is back out in the garden where, I hope, the dog isn’t going to knock it over a second time!

Gardening has never been my thing so, while I do spend some time outdoors each day, seeing to hens, walking the dog, and getting my daily dose of vitamin D, I prefer to keep busy indoors.  After a month of just lying around, my zodiac blocks have finally been sandwiched, pinned and are ready to be quilted.

Part of the reason for procrastination was: I couldn’t decide on what backing fabric to use.  I didn’t have anything suitable in blue in my stash, and I couldn’t find anything that caught my eye when browsing my favourite on-line fabric shops.  However, I did have a very sizeable piece of a plain “milky coffee” brown in my stash.  Not the obvious colour choice but it almost matches one of the browns in the xstitch designs, so I’ve gone with it.  Next job – decide how I’m going to quilt.  And also decide whether to make 4 additional blocks in same colours (without xstitch centre) to make this a 4 x 4 quilt, or to keep it as a 3 x 4 (or 4 x 3).

I have also been doing a bit of needlecrafting, and a small amount of patchworking (to be revealed on ScrapHappy day!) but my evenings have been spent diamond painting.  Have just finished my fourth diamond painting.  The husband doesn’t like this one but I do, obviously, or I wouldn’t have bought it.  Incidentally, bought on eb@y for 7.88€ including p&p.  Chinese seller, but dispatched from France so it arrived very quickly.

It looks really effective, from a distance, and reminds me very much of our cat, Le Bleu.  That will have to wait for non-essential shops to reopen for me to buy a frame.  In the meantime, I’ll be beginning work on a very big diamond painting project.

This is what the printed canvas looks like.  A very long, thin design which will finish up 24cm x 74cm.  I bought this one on eb@y also.  Cost, only 10.52€, including p&p, and I certainly feel I got my money’s worth here!

 

 

 

Diamond Dotting, not the husband’s cup of tea

I recently bought in some small diamond dot kits thinking it was something the husband might enjoy doing.  Kits sat on the counter for days before he finally found time/incentive to sit down and give it a try.  Not a traditional diamond painting kit, this one, but a notebook with design on front cover, all ready to stick down gems.

I didn’t hear him cursing & swearing too loudly, but after getting thus far, he decided it wasn’t for him.  I, of course, took over and finished the design because I’m totally hooked!  The finished result looks like this.

What is the husband’s “thing” (when it’s not good enough weather to be out in the veggie garden) is painting his tiny 28mm military figurines.  This is one glass cabinet with some of them on display

He has more in the living room in two smaller glass cabinets.  Not only does he paint the figurines, but he’s also been having fun with modelling clay.

Making his own buildings, water well and tent for props (I think the tent is made with dried wet-wipes).

A wooden fence (made of tooth picks) . . . and sometimes he just cuts a nice slice of wood, to set up a mini diorama.