Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas pudding

Well it's pouring down with icy cold rain - a lovely day for staying at home and catching up with life. I've been pottering round the kitchen, reorganising the cupboards and making Christmas pudding and (since what is a pudding cloth but a furoshiki by another name?) I thought I'd share the results.

Pudding topped with greaseproof paper, waiting to be wrapped - I just wanted to show a picture of the basin, an old one of my Gran's which is now a lovely mottled colour after years of pudding making service:

Pudding wrapped and ready to steam:

Both the pudding recipe and the wrap are super simple. Here's the recipe for the pudding:
In a large bowl, mix 1 mug of each of the following: plain flour, brown sugar, currants, sultanas, suet, white breadcrumbs plus 1.5 teaspoons of mixed spice and 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder. Add 1 mug of milk and stir well. Put into greased pudding basin (to give some idea of size, mine holds c 2.5 pints), cover with greaseproof paper (with a pleat in the middle) and secure with string. Tie in pudding cloth using water melon wrap and steam for at least 6 hours. This should be done about a month before you want to eat it. On day of use steam for a further 2 hours.

And here's a reminder of the "watermelon" ... "pumpkin" ... and now "Christmas pudding" wrap ...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The best waste

... is that which is not produced! I've been meaning to blog about this for while and so, as it's European Waste Reduction Week, thought this was a fitting moment. I loved Sew, Mama, Sew's October Scrap Busters features as I hate to throw fabric away and am always looking for new tips. Here's a little history of how the small, smaller and smallest remnants of furoshiki fabrics are put to good use.

small - patchwork pocket furoshiki and rosettes
smaller - overlocking offcuts plaited into ribbons
smallest - fluffy fabric pompoms
(I was trying to do a neat little presentation of interlinked photos using powerpoint and converting it into a picture file but ended up with something that would have required a microscope to see! So I'm afraid it's the standard inserted photos again :) Mich)

Monday, November 23, 2009

20 minutes!?

I've just read an amazing statistic that disposable bags from shopping centres are used for an average of only 20 minutes before being thrown away! Can that be right? It sounds shockingly short. Whatever the exact number, opting for reusable bags for our shopping is an easy action that can have a big impact on waste and is one of the top tips recommended as part of this week's snappily entitled European Week of Waste Reduction. As they say, not only do disposable bags become waste very quickly, but if not disposed of carefully they can pollute the countryside and the sea. Plastic bags that end up in the sea can kill sea turtles, dolphins or sharks who confuse them with jellyfish and swallow them.

There are more tips on waste reduction on the EWWR site and little reminder of how to create a very quick and simple grocery wrap here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's a wrap group!

"Let's be honest, wrapping gifts in paper, it’s all about the eye candy and not much about the environment. In the UK, we waste stacks of trees and resources with glitzy paper for a 20 second fix. It is estimated by Waste online that over Christmas as much as 83 square km of wrapping paper will end up in UK rubbish bins, enough to cover an area larger than Guernsey and the total waste wrapping paper the UK produces over Christmas could stretch to the moon if each sheet was laid end to end...." Birmingham Friends of the Earth.

So it's great to see that Mary Horesh from Birmingham Friends of the Earth is setting up a group called “Its a wrap” centering on alternative wrapping for Christmas.

She's looking for fellow crafters to come along and help make items such as material gift bags for bottles and CDs out of reclaimed material. See here for more info.

Her aim is that what's produced will be sold in aid of Birmingham Friends of the Earth at their annual Christmas Fair in Birmingham on the 19th December in Moseley. I'm sorry that I can't go along to see all of the goodness - but some myfuroshiki will be there!