Wedding game

Something different for my blog, I haven’t written any reviews here before but I am just so impressed by the fabulousness that is Librium games I couldn’t help myself.

The basic box of Librium
The basic box of Librium – game counters and dice for scale

Librium is a really fun game.  You take it in turns to add a card and the whole thing builds and builds and gets more and more wobbly until it eventually collapses.  It’s small enough to carry around in a pocket and takes literally seconds to set up so you can play it anywhere anytime you have a few minutes to spare.  I’ve been a fan for a couple of years.

Anyway, Vicci and Dave like games almost as much I do and are including some at their wedding (which is now only two weeks away!) Having noticed that Librium offer a branding service which is usually used by business clients to add their logos etc I thought it might be fun to arrange a personalised set for their wedding.

This is where the customer service from Librium really impressed me.  I don’t have the graphic design know how to create a print ready logo from scratch – I had a go but the quality just wasn’t good enough.  That’s when the lovely people at Librium said if I sent them the photo I wanted included they would replicate my design at a print ready quality.

They did a fabulous job and even including all the extra work the cards arrived this morning having only been ordered four days ago.  That’s amazing!

And, don’t they look amazing?  I think we’re going to have a load of fun playing this on the 14th and it will be something a little bit different for Vicci and Dave to keep as a wedding memory.

Playing librium
Librium in play

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Feeling fruity

Finally got round to putting together the sloe vodka today.  While I was at it I also made a strawberry vodka and a peach vodka.  It’s probably a bit late now for the sloe vodka to be ready for Christmas, but the fruit ones only take a couple of weeks so they should be good to go.

It’s the same method for all them – just fill a bottle with fruit, a couple of spoons of sugar and top up with vodka or gin or any other clear spirit.  Give them a good shake every day or so until all the sugar is dissolved and the liquid has a good colour and then strain off the now yummy flavoured booze.  If you really want a boozy hit you can eat the fruit too – or throw it in a trifle.

I’ve not tried peaches before but strawberry and sloe are both old favourites.  I have some vodka left over which I am thinking of adding salt and licorice to just for something different.

With the sloes you’re supposed to prick them first, but since I froze mine until I got round to bottling they were splitting anyway so I didn’t need to.  Apparently you get a better flavour if you wait to pick the sloes until after the first frost but freezing them at least overnight is almost as good.

A trick I picked up from a friend recently is to add a few drops of vanilla – it’s the same flavour you get when spirits are aged in oak barrels so it makes cheap booze taste that bit posher.  These are definitely made with cheap booze, I went with Vodka rather than Gin because it was on special offer so this whole lot is only about £12 worth of alcohol – bargain!

I’ll try and remember to come back and add photos of the finished results.

Buried in flowers

Today I have been swamped in all things floral.  Darling daughter’s wedding is fast approaching and I had finally assembled all the flowers so it was time to turn them into bouquets and corsages and boutonnieres.

She wanted something fairly informal and in autumnal colours to go with the lovely purple frocks her bridesmaids will be wearing.  I don’t think I’m too far off the mark 🙂

flowers

Today was also the day that Vicci’s wedding shawl arrived.  My friend Janet does the most amazingly delicate shawls, so fine they will actually pass through the inside of a wedding ring!  She has been extremely kind and made one for Vicci – the work in progress posts on ravelry are just stunning so I can’t wait to see how the finished shawl looks with Vicci’s beautiful dress.  It’s lovely having such wonderfully talented friends, it sounds a bit soppy but in my head seeing that shawl wrapped around my daughter on her wedding day will be like having her wrapped in love and friendship and that has to be the perfect omen for a happy marriage.  That’s pretty awesome.

Festive Fascinators

This morning was interesting. I have a rotten cold so am finding things like breathing and talking a lot harder than usual – however I was down to run the Ramsey Crafters session so I had to haul my sorry self out of bed and go be sociable.

The plan was Christmas fascinators for the craft fair. I’d intended to pick up some baubles and tree decorations which would then just be attached to headbands with bits of wire; however I have yet to find anywhere selling tree decorations so I had to come up with something different.

I spent ages looking at Christmassy crafts online and eventually decided that I liked the look of felt poinsettias and that they would make a suitable hair piece which could be blinged up or left quite simple depending on what people fancied.

I sort of cobbled together several online tutorials into one and that’s what we did. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera with me so the only photo I have is this one of the one I made as a demo model. The others were glammed up with feathers and ribbons and beads to make them really party ready but this one is very plain.

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Snowflake

Last week’s craft group was a lesson in beading from Dawn.  The idea was to make festive snowflakes that we can sell at the craft fair.

I’m not a big fan of beading.  The results are lovely but I find it really painful working with anything that fiddly.  After doing this little bit of beading in the craft group my hand was absolutely throbbing.  It’s taken until today for it have calmed down enough that I could go back and finish it off.  I really can’t see me making many of these.

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It is very pretty though 🙂  I do like the way the beads sparkle.  It still needs to be dipped in varnish and left to harden so it can be hung from a christmas tree or in a window.

Feeling autumnal

I love this time of year.  There is something so satisfying about picking fruit from the hedgerows.  Free is always my favourite price.

We just stopped the car on the way home from work as I spotted some sloe bushes – these beauties will soon be turning into sloe gin.  There were loads of sloe bushes and all of them had oodles of berries.  I might have to go back for more!

sloes

We’ve already picked a load of apples from the garden.  I had the idea of putting them through the juicer which meant we had loads of pulp which was turned into apple sauce, (add sugar and water, boil and sieve) and the juice is busy turning into apple mead. (I used this apple wine recipe but substituted honey for sugar).

mead

I’m planning on making a load of jams and chutneys over the next few days, I have a huge amount of ginger since we were lucky enough to pick up a small mountain of it from the reduced bin at the supermarket so I’m going to try making crystalised ginger, ginger honey, ginger curd and possibly ginger wine

Some of the jams/chutneys are destined for the Ramsey Crafters Christmas craft fair which is being held on my birthday.  It feels a bit early to be thinking about Christmas but it makes sense to take advantage of all the free food in the hedgerows, we had a busy morning yesterday harvesting willow from Sue’s garden and twisting it into wreath forms, we’ll be having a wreath making and decorating session at one of the Crafters sessions soon , hopefully these will have time to dry out nicely first.

wreaths

We’ve already had one craft session on christmas makes – we made some festive tea light holders from old glasses and jars.  They are really simple – just cover the glass in white pva glue, layer on tissue paper (the white ones are just tissues like you would use for blowing your nose the coloured one is cut up bits of coloured tissue paper) cover in more glue and decorate with sequins and/or glitter.  They don’t look like much until you put a lit tealight inside, but they are really effective when they are lit.

tealights

I have loads of ideas for Christmas makes, the next few months should be fun.

Buttons

Today I learned to make Dorset buttons. I was quite pleased with the results. I’m not sure I’ll ever want to use them as buttons, but I can see them working as earrings or pendants. I have a few curtain rings spare so I might have a play with some rainbow embroidery threads and see how that works.

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They are quite simple really, blanket stitch around the ring until it’s completely covered, then wrap threads across to form spokes and weave more thread over them to fill the circle or make patterns.  The trailing thread is kept so you can use it to sew the button on.

The craft dates back to the 17th century.  Buttons had been made throughout England ever since they were first thought of ( – ) but there was no organised trade until around 1600 when the doublet when out of fashion and coats started to be worn. Buttons became larger, more prominent and became a specialist item made by button-makers, rather than tailors.

Dorset buttons used the same threads as was used to weave the fabric with rams horn for the rim.  They could be dyed to perfectly match the clothes they were attached to.

Button making became a thriving cottage industry with some full time button makers and some farm workers working farmland during daylight hours, and button making in the evenings or in Winter.

A good buttoner could make around six dozen (72) buttons a day which would earn them up to 3 shillings depending on how good their work was. Buttons sold  for between eight pence and three shillings a dozen.  At that time most farm workers would earn around 9 pence a day.

By the end of the 17th century, Buttony was a very important industry, By 1720 new forms of button began to appear including wire frames for the Dorset buttons – with these new rings the more decorative and colourful versions of Dorset buttons started to appear. At one time ‘Buttony’ employed 4,000 people with a turnover of £14,000.

Over time Dorset Button were slowly replaced with machine made buttons. The first cloth and thread button machine was invented in 1825.  This was followed in 1841 by the button press which could cut buttons from thin metal.  The mechanised processes were faster and cheaper and soon the cottage industry was completely replaced by factories.

The collapse of button-making in rural Dorset resulted in terrible hardship for the button makers, many became destitute and were either forced to emigrate to Australia, Canada or the USA or driven into the workhouse.

Today very few Dorset buttons are made, but they are still a very pretty and practical way of making sure that buttons perfectly match hand knitted garments.