Archive | September 2012

blackberries and diy

Haven’t posted in a couple of weeks as Jon has just had the week off work so have been horrendously busy.

Behind our block of flats is an overgrown patch of wasteland that used to be the carpark for the block before the council stopped maintaining it. We have lived here for 3 years and it has never been remotely useful for anything like that, and for most of the year I ignore it, except looking out the kitchen windows occasionally it is a lot prettier than a carpark would be.

However towards the end of august each year we go on an expedition into it because the entire patch of land is utterly covered in brambles, which means blackberries, lots of blackberries as no one else ever uses it.


Out of these we made blackberry gin and a blackberry and apple pie! 🙂


We got just over a litre of gin in total and the pie was yummy, although its a bit rustic looking as the sink blocked half way through what was meant to be our cooking evening, so after two hours of dismantling the u-bend I was too tired to make it pretty looking.

A couple of days later we were passing the station on our way for a walk and spotted there were a load of blackberry bushes hanging down from the viaduct, finishing just above head height, covered in blackberries and no one had had them yet!

So we popped home (its really not far from our house) and came back with a step ladder…..


This is Jon up the ladder picking the blackberries. I added a black border to the photo, but the light and the general graininess are genuine, I used no effects on this photo at all! 🙂

We used this second lot of blackberries to make sorbet, but it took a couple of days to freeze and then got half eaten pretty much immediately, so there was no chance to take photos!

This week whilst Jon has been off we have been doing a load of long term tidying and sorting jobs, and going to the paralympics.

Probably the most impressive job we managed was making over this chest of drawers….


It was Jons when he was a little boy, I have no idea how old it is, I suspect only 30 years or so, but it is reasonably solid construction pine. The problem was it had these really ugly wooden knobs, half of which had fallen off, making two of the drawers virtually unusable. The knobs were attached to big metal spikes that didn’t look to be coming out very easily, so we couldn’t just put some pretty crystal knobs from John Lewis in their place.

So about a year ago I found these antique/vintage square handles on ebay, bought them and have been waiting for the opportune moment to swap them over ever since.

It took us half an afternoon and all the next morning. Some of the metal spikes came out relatively easily, but 3 of them just wouldn’t and Jon ended up having to saw them off and file them bak flush with the wood so we could get the new handles over the top.

We gave it 3 coats of wax and putting the new handles on was really straight forward.


This is it afterwards, looking much better! 🙂


And this is the drawers back in situ in our bedroom, I think they look a lot nicer, and now we can actually access the bottom two drawers we’ve been able to have a good clothes tidy out.

Talking of clothes, I got two of the 3 garments I was intending to do last month finished, but have stalled completely on the third garment.

I am attempting to unpick, turn into a pattern and remake and old h&m cutsew I bought about 7 years ago that has been worn so much it is no longer black but grey and dropping to is taking a lot longer than I had anticipated, unpicking overlocked stitching is murder, and I am having to take notice of the construction as i am going along. But it is my first time trying to draft a pattern this way, so I am learning a lot from it, and if I get it right   I will have the most amazing pretty t-shirt blouses ever. However it is driving me up the wall and I really need a load of long sleeved tops for winter, so hopefully I will crack it soon!