Saturday, 24 January 2015

Handmade Gifts are the Greatest Gifts

There was a big drive on social media during the festive season of 2014 to by handmade, to buy local and to buy from small businesses. I hope that more of you tried to do this, I managed a couple myself.
I was also lucky enough to receive a few things handmade myself.


I gave my mum these custom slipper boots from

Kindly modeled by on her sofa last weekend, they look pretty comfy to me!


I was also lucky enough to receive these gorgeous mice/meeces from Witty Dawn.

They are both made from the most lovely vintage fabrics and have found a home on my dresser with my 60/70's vintage china collection.


Purple felted cuffs from 'be styled by ConDiaMo'


And finally a gorgeous sparkly purple cherry blossom canvas painted by my Aunty Kate at Kate Fairbairn Art.

Did you give or receive any lovely handmade items last festive season?

Saturday, 10 January 2015

New Year New Pincushion Challenges- Attempting to get in a better social media routine

Hello everyone, I accidentally dropped off the blogosphere, so sorry about that!

To be honest in the last few months all of my social media has suffered, I have been so busy and I have struggled to keep up. So I am going to make the effort to get in a better routine!

I shouldn't underplay the year The Violet Pincushion had in 2014 though, myself and mum have attempted to push it past hobby status and closer to a small business. We have attended the local craft market many times now, we have 200 more Facebook followers and I have lost count of the sock monkeys I have made. I have done all this while still maintaining a full time job as a pharmaceutical scientist, keeping up with friends and a minor World of Warcraft addiction.

I do love my violet pincushion, so here is to pushing forward in 2015.

Find us on Facebook,, Google+ and Pinterest.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Apple Picking and Cider Making

 I am very lucky that the house I rent has an established apple tree in the garden and this year it didn't disappoint! The variety of apple is 'James Grieve', a beautiful yellow and red apple with a good tangy flavour and suitable for cider making!

We picked over 30lb of apples (a massive crop this year) and encountered some beasties along the way! 
All the apples had damage, like bruising or coddling moth holes cut away and then we smashed them up using a large piece of wood.
 If you prefer you can freeze them before pressing to soften the apples but we didn't have enough freezer space to do that.

 We bought a lovely shiny new 18L fruit press, which was great fun and a lot easier to use, especially considering in previous years I have hand pressed apple pulp! I should think it will coming in handy again next year too.

When you have finished pressing and have a large amount of juice its a good idea to check the gravity with a hydrometer. This allows you to check the sugar content of your juice. Our juices' gravity was at 1.050, which is the top end of the starting range.


All the juice was divided between glass demi-johns, with 200g of sugar and a small amount of white wine yeast added to each. With an air-lock on the top of each demi-john, they have been left to settle, bubble and they should eventually clear.

This should take about three months, so just in time for Christmas/Winter Solstice celebrations!

Making cider is pretty easy if you have the right equipment and willing to spend you weekend picking and processing apples! If you are not lucky enough to have a fruit press then you can usually hire them or get a local cider/apple farm to press you apples for you.

In a few months time I shall share with you what will hopefully be a drinkable home made cider.