• Archive for August, 2011

    Craft a cute cat toy

    by  • 31/08/2011 • Crafting • 1 Comment

    Little ones and grown-ups alike will love these gorgeous toy cat and mouse craft kits. Made by children’s toy and accessory company RoseRed & Blue each kit (priced £15.50) includes wool yarn, 100% natural sheep’s wool stuffing, a sewing needle, instructions and knitting needles.

    Available in a choice of grey and pink or brown and white, they are the perfect project for crafters of all ages – and an ideal starter kit to teach your child to knit.

    Cat and mouse craft kit, £15.50, RoseRed and blue

    Cat and mouse craft kit, £15.50, RoseRed and blue

    Cat and mouse craft kit components, £15.50, RoseRed & Blue

    Cat and mouse craft kit components, £15.50, RoseRed & Blue

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    Orla Kiely radio

    by  • 26/08/2011 • Living • 0 Comments

    I love the new Abacus Flower Edition radio by Orla Kiely. The award-winning digital radio in sophisticated slate grey, edged in sleek walnut would be a suitably fashionable way to listen to your favourite radio shows at home – it’s portable too so ideal for pottering in the garden. It’s the second custom designed radio from Orla Kiely for Pure, you can see her original signature stem design in our October autumn trends. Which one is your favourite?

    Abacus Flower Edition EVOKE mio by Orla Kiely for Pure, £149.99.

    Abacus Flower Edition EVOKE mio by Orla Kiely for Pure, £149.99.

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    Garden update

    by  • 25/08/2011 • Gardening • 1 Comment

    It’s been a soggy week up on the roof, but the garden is benefitting from a good dose of rain and is looking lovely and lush. Some sunshine would be appreciated to ripen some of our green tomatoes. Maybe now would be the time to ask for any ideas and recipes for ways to use under ripe tomatoes, just in case!

    Our lush, green garden

    Our lush, green garden

    Some of our green tomatoes

    Some of our green tomatoes

    Beans, sprouts and tomatoes

    Beans, sprouts and tomatoes

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    How to sew an easy blind

    by  • 24/08/2011 • Crafting, Living • 2 Comments

    For a quick fix for windows, I love this decorative blind project that features in our October 2011 issue.

    The blind is made from a panel of fabric called Sea Shell by Chivasso and is trimmed with lengths of pretty VV Rouleaux Gold Braid ribbon. Best of all, it’s fitted to a telescopic curtain pole so you don’t need to fit brackets or battens.

    To have a go yourself click here for instructions and for more Country Homes & Interiors crafts projects visit our sister website Housetohome.

     

    How to sew a blind

    Tie the ribbons to create a swathed effect.

    How to position the ribbons

    Position the ribbons on your hemmed fabric.

     

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    Electrolux Design Lab finalists

    by  • 23/08/2011 • Out and About • 1 Comment

    Popped along to see the Electrolux Design Lab finalists this morning. This annual competition in its 9th year challenges design students from around the world to come up with new and innovative concepts for everyday home appliances. The theme this year is ‘Intelligent Mobility’.

    My favourite was this Mobile Induction Plate by Tommi Moilanen from Aalto University School of Art and Design in Finland. A beautifully designed portable hot plate controlled using your smartphone.

    I could of done with it on my recent camping trip!

    Electrolux Design Lab

    The Mobile Induction Plate - beautiful and useful!

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    Green bean seasonal salad

    by  • 23/08/2011 • Eating • 0 Comments

    Warm Green Bean, Halloumi and Potato Salad with Olives

    If you’ve got a bumper crop of green beans in your garden, try this simple salad which takes just 10 minutes to prepare and serves 4. You will need…

    200g new potatoes, sliced

    200g green beans, trimmed

    4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    1 tbsp red wine vinegar

    50g baby capers, washed

    Small bunch of mint, chopped

    Small bunch of dill, chopped

    12 black olives, stoned

    150g cherry tomatoes, cut in half

    Salt and pepper

    1 tbsp olive oil

    200g haloumi, sliced

    Put the new potatoes in a medium sized pan, cover with cold water, then lightly salt to taste. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until cooked. Drain and set aside.

    In the meantime bring a medium sized pan of salted water to the boil, then cook the green beans for 2 minutes, drain and set aside.

    In a medium sized bowl mix together the extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, then add the capers, mint and dill. Then add the potatoes, beans, olives and tomatoes, mix well and season with salt and pepper.

    Heat the olive oil in a medium sized non-stick frying pan and cook the haloumi on both sides for 1 minute until golden brown. Add the haloumi to the salad and mix gently, then divide between 4 plates and serve immediately.

    For more inspiring summer recipes with beans and peas, visit www.tastesofsummer.co.uk

     

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    Classic Portmeirion

    by  • 19/08/2011 • Living • 2 Comments

    This week I’m taking summer dining inspiration from the lovely new photography that popped up in my inbox from Portmeirion. Featuring the timeless Botanic Garden collection, ­ it’s nice to be reminded how stunning the designs are. I love the etched glass pitcher – perfect for al fresco drinks while the sun is shining.

    Pitcher, £30; Tumblers, £6.25 each; Sandwich tray, £27, all from the Botanic Garden collection at Portmeirion.

    Pitcher, £30; Tumblers, £6.25 each; Sandwich tray, £27, all from the Botanic Garden collection at Portmeirion.

    Dinner plates, £12 each; Bowls, from £46.50 each, Roasting dish, from £41.50; Conserve bowl, £19.50; Storage jars, from £21.50, all from the Botanic Garden collection at Portmeirion.

    Dinner plates, £12 each; Bowls, from £46.50 each, Roasting dish, from £41.50; Conserve bowl, £19.50; Storage jars, from £21.50, all from the Botanic Garden collection at Portmeirion.

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    Garden update

    by  • 18/08/2011 • Gardening • 1 Comment

    Activity in the garden has lulled this week whilst we play a waiting game between the next crops to harvest and new seedlings to come up.

    We do have the beginnings of a chilli crop to keep an eye on. The plants are covered in the tiniest green chillies, and a couple of red ones. We’re hoping they get a bit bigger before harvesting but maybe, despite their size, they might still pack a punch!

    Here’s a couple of this weeks photographs…

    Red and green chillies

    Red and green chillies

    Runner beans

    Runner beans

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    Blooming Green flowers

    by  • 17/08/2011 • Crafting, Out and About • 0 Comments

    If your garden has been suffering in the less-than-perfect August weather, Kent-based Blooming Green can supply you with gorgeous, locally grown flowers for your home. Founded by two horticultural cousins following organic principles, the pair are passionate about supporting the rural economy  - all the flowers they supply are either from their own plot or from growers close by. They have a subscription service, where you can sign up to be sent a bouquet every month – what a gorgeous present that would make! – and if you live near you can go and pick your own. There are courses too, which sound like a lovely way to spend a day.

    Gorgeous summer flowers at Blooming Green

    Gorgeous summer flowers at Blooming Green

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    Homemade and local

    by  • 16/08/2011 • Crafting, Eating, Out and About • 0 Comments

    Homemade butterfly cakes

    If you’re interested in buying delicious homemade locally produced food near you – and who isn’t – have a browse on the website for The Cooks of Country Markets (www.cooksofcountrymarkets.co.uk). There are around 400 Country Markets selling homemade produce every week, and the scheme also operates in village stores and farm shops. You’ll find everything from baked goods like cakes, cookies and pies to jam, marmalade, chutney and other preserves. You can also buy homegrown produce and homemade crafts. Perhaps when you see what’s on offer you’ll be inspired to start baking and preserving for your own local community too. If this is something you’re interested in, don’t miss the September issue of Country Homes & Interiors (on sale now) for details on how to sign up for our reader event on the subject of setting up your own country business. One of the speakers is The Cooks of Country Markets very own Jane Stammers, who will be revealing the secrets of her success. We can’t wait!

    A selection of produce from Country Markets

     

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