Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Harvesting carrots... and a garden pest

Time for a spot of carrot harvesting in the Cottontails garden this weekend - much to the delight of the bunnies of course.

Along with normal carrots we have grown some special little Parmex Carrots - stumpy round ones. These especially appealed to baby Sylvain rabbit - it can be outfacing to a little bunny when the carrot is bigger than him.

The bunnies ate what they could but even rabbits have a carrot limit, so plenty have been washed, chopped, blanched and frozen for the winter.

Meanwhile, we have been a bit anxious about our purple prouting broccoli as something has been nibbling the leaves.

Finally got a glimpse of the culprit - this little insect here was spotted chomping away. A-ha! I thought Florimond bee was getting fatter!!

And finally here is Humphrey sandwiched between the basil and oregano. He is enjoying harvest very much.

Friday, 20 August 2010

I made a patchwork quilt!

This isn't really Cottontails-related, but I just wanted to show you my first ever patchwork quilt.

This time last week I was a total novice who needed twenty minutes and a manual to even thread her sewing machine... And now, while I am still a novice, I can sew (wiggly) lines, do seams, mitered corners, binding and have actually made a little patchwork quilt!

I attended a fabulous two day workshop with Diana Sanderson, a textiles tutor at South Worcestershire College and honestly I cannot recommend her enough. She was so lovely, patient, helpful and encouraging.

I think I might give this quilt to Humphrey because it is just the right size for him. And before I cut it up to make the quilt, the main blue gingham fabric was part of a duvet cover from Turquaz (gorgeous children's bed linen) and I have some lovely picture of him sitting on it as a youngster. Here he is in 2004:


I am now working on my second quilt at home before my confidence runs off, and am looking forward to more classes with Diana next month.


Update - 22nd September 2010

Quilt number two is finished, here it is - all lovely naturals and warm colours. Think this one is going to go up on the wall somewhere - but at the moment it is draped over the pile of ironing!

Also Diana now has her own website up and running at www.textileworkshop.com - do have a look if you live anywhere near Worcestershire / Herefordshire and would like to have a go at a new skill.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Happy Customers and Soap Smuggling

I've had a few really nice emails over the last week or so from happy customers and thought I'd share some:

I saved the link cottontailsbaby.co.uk already a while ago and was just waiting for the chance to order. Now time has come as my little daughter was born :-) But even without a reason I often browse your webpage - it is so cute and made with a lot of love for all the nice things you sell. And the Blog is great!
From Bettina, in Germany

I love your site and Cottontails has served me well, in particular last Christmas. Most of my 'adult' presents were from your shop!!! I love all your toys and products and always refer back to your site as I think the friendliness and helpfulness really is acknowledged, as is the nice way you carefully package items.

From Jo S, Liverpool

I just to wanted to say a huge thank you! I ordered yesterday afternoon, asked if it was possible to send before Sunday and it arrived this morning - amazing - less than 24 hours later!
You have a lovely website, super fast delivery, beautifully wrapped parcels and exquisite gifts. In a world of terrible standards and customer service I just wanted to say thank you - yours is to be commended:)

From Jo C, North Shields

The photograph, by the way, is of the little bars of soap that we include with our orders as a nice little extra. (Although this backfired somewhat last week when an overseas order was held up by the Australian Quarantine & Inspection Services due to an 'item of concern' in the parcel!)

Friday, 13 August 2010

Jeanne Goose - the movie

From time to time I like to treat the fabric friends here at Cottontails, and so last week when Mike and I had a day out at Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetland Trust I thought it would be nice to take someone along with us - and Jeanne the Goose seemed like the obvious choice.

For reasons I still cannot fathom Mike was less than delighted to discover we had a fabric friend joining us for the day and seemed positively pained every time she came out of my hand bag her carry case for a spot of photography and filming. (I swear I heard him muttering something about 'never again' and 'men in white coats').

Anyway, despite resistance I managed to get enough material to put together a little film of the day's events - there is some real goose footage along with the lovely Jeanne, and quite a fitting sound track. Just click on the goose to view...

Jeanne the Goose goes to Slimbridge
The Movie

Jeanne enjoyed herself very much an is available here at Cottontails for more treats, adventures and days out...

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

My marrow's bigger than your marrow

Last month was my initiation into the world of country shows and competitive vegetable growing, jam making and so on.

I entered what I felt was a rather impressive nine categories in the Produce & Handicrafts Show at Bromyard Gala (Actually it turns out that nine is not that impressive - the 'serious' competitors are in the 20 - 30 region. Gosh). But still, some success! A 1st place in the Fruit Drink category with the Elderflower Cordial and Highly Commended in the Bakewell Tart, Banana & Nut Fingers (to a given recipe) and Three Sweet Peas. I was chuffed to bits.

Sadly my homemade strawberry jam did not scoop any prizes but no real surprise there. Not only was it still a bit runny (presumably the ultimate no-no in competitive jam making?) but there were LOADS of entrants plus the overall winner of the jam category was called Nan. Nan! I mean, who can compete with a jam maker called Nan?

Also I have to admit to a spot of sulking around the 7 " Bakewell Tart category. Apparently the judge found my pastry too sweet and ended her comments with a cheery 'What a shame'. Not really something anyone want to see on their judge's notes. That's the last time I use a Waitrose recipe. AND most annoying of all is that the winning tart was at least 9" big. That's 9" in a 7" category! I ask you. Mutter, mutter, mutter....

Despite flagrant tart rule flouting and the 'what a shame' comment I had a fab time and have already collected my entry form for the Ledbury show at the end of this month...