Crochet Poppies

I spotted an online craft company selling crochet poppies which got me thinking… I have red and green (albeit a sludgy green colour) wool already, so why not try making some myself?

The first finished product!
The first finished product!

I searched for crochet poppies on Pinterest and found several free patterns, but I’m not good at reading crochet patterns so when I found a video tutorial, I was pleased. It’s by ‘Bella Coco’ who does a lot of video tutorials through her YouTube account (I also follow her on Pinterest) and I learnt how to do crochet granny stripes from one of her video tutorials – that project isn’t yet finished but will appear on here when it is done, soon hopefully – so I knew I’d be able to follow this poppy tutorial.

It was the fiddliest and most detailed crochet I’ve done so far, and a few times I had to start over, but the end result looks good! They become quite addictive as they are quick to make once you get your head round the pattern; one evening I made four after getting a few requests.

Flower part completed
Flower part completed

I didn’t have any black wool so used a black button after seeing that idea on one of the other poppy patterns, and actually I think that looks nicer than the wool centre.

Once you start, it's hard to stop!
Once you start, it’s hard to stop!

I did donate to the Poppy Appeal when I saw someone selling poppies the other day, as I won’t need to buy one this year!

Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2CUghTIfOs&feature=share

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Damson jam

I have a little damson tree in the garden which produced 5kg fruit last year – so much so I didn’t have enough jars for all the jam it produced, or a pan big enough, so about 1kg had to be put in the food recycling bucket. The recipe I used previously was ok but I didn’t get the setting point right so it was a bit runny, although it tasted lovely. I couldn’t find the same recipe this year, so I looked on Pinterest and found an easy-looking one to try.

The tree didn’t produce nearly as much fruit this year, so the jars I’d been collecting or getting from my mum all year will have to be saved for next year; I only got 1kg fruit this time… three jars’ worth!

The recipe said to put the damsons whole into the pan with the water and sugar, but last year after finding lots of wriggly things in the fruit, I decided to halve them as I didn’t really want the added protein!

Hubble bubble...
Hubble bubble…

It’s an easy recipe to follow, but once again I didn’t get the setting point right (I should invest in a jam thermometer) so I’ve ended up with a tasty, sweet damson sauce rather than jam… which is runnier than last year’s batch, great! At least the labels and jar lids look pretty.

Pretty jars!
Pretty jars, albeit only three of them!

Recipe here: http://www.tasteofhome.co.nz/easy-damson-plum-jam/

I used another Pinterest site as a reminder for how to sterilise the jars properly too: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-sterilise-jars