Author Archives: Elizabeth LiketheQueen

PFJ – how to make reusable vegie bags

You know those lightweight plastic bags supermarkets and greengrocers have for you to put your fruit and veg into?  They’re another source of pollution it’s really easy to remove from y0ur life.

You’ll need:

  • some lightweight fabric – poplin is good, old net curtains even better.  The lighter the better as they are weighed with your produce and charged at the same rate.
  • two sheets of A4 paper (preferably some you’ve saved from recycling), a ruler, pencil and glue
  • cord – about 75cm for this pattern, but longer if you make bigger ones
  • sewing machine, thread and pins.

First, make your pattern

Take one of the sheets of paper and fold it in half lengthwise, glue the other sheet along that centre line.  On the right edge, measure down 6cm and mark.  This is your marker for where the drawstring goes.

To make your pattern, take two A4 sheets of paper and fold one in half.

To make your pattern, take two A4 sheets of paper and fold one in half.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glue your two sheets together at the centre line. Mark the right hand edge at 6cm.

Glue your two sheets together at the centre line.
Mark the right hand edge at 6cm.

Use the pattern to cut your fabric

Fold your fabric, right side to right side, and pin the pattern to the fabric.

Fold your fabric right side to right side.  Use your pattern piece to cut your fabric.  Don't forget to cut a notch on the right hand side, where you marked the drawstring opening.

Fold your fabric right side to right side. Use your pattern piece to cut your fabric. Don’t forget to cut a notch on the right hand side, where you marked the drawstring opening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to cut a notch on the right edge where you marked the drawstring entry point.  Since you’re going to need quite a few of these bags, cut them all out now.  It’s faster.

Now, sew your vegie bag!

First, sew the right side from the notch to the bottom.  Use a straight stitch that’s quite small.

On the right side, start your seam at the notch.  Use small stitches,  you want this to be secure.

On the right side, start your seam at the notch. Use small stitches, you want this to be secure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It should look like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then you can finger-press (or use an iron) to flatten the seam allowances up to the top of the bag.

Finger-press the seam allowances flat on the inside.

Finger-press the seam allowances flat on the inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change your sewing machine to a tight zig-zag and sew around the drawstring opening.

Using a tight zig-zag stitch, sew around the drawstring opening.

Using a tight zig-zag stitch, sew around the drawstring opening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change your stitch back to straight stitch, and sew the other two sides of your bag.

Using straight stitch, sew along the bottom and left hand side of the bag.

Using straight stitch, sew along the bottom and left hand side of the bag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, sew the tunnel for the drawstring.

Using your zig-zag, sew a narrow hem along the top of the bag.

Zig-zag a narrow hem along the top of the bag.

Zig-zag a narrow hem along the top of the bag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then fold down a wider hem, and use your straight stitch to sew down the edge to make a tunnel for the drawstring.  Start and end at the drawstring entry point.

Sew a tunnel for the drawstring

Sew a tunnel for the drawstring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You should see two entry points for the drawstring.

You should see two entry points for the drawstring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nearly done – just measure and thread in your drawstring.

For this pattern, the cord needs to be about 75cm long.  If you’re using a different size pattern, measure across the top of the bag two and a bit times.

Your drawstring needs to be just a bit longer than the tunnel it goes in.

Your drawstring needs to be just a bit longer than the tunnel it goes in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, using a safety pin (tie one end of your drawstring cord to the safety pin), thread your drawstring through the tunnel and tie the ends together so it doesn’t unthread itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And you're done!  Time to head to the market!

And you’re done! Time to head to the market!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy shopping!

Of course you can make drawstring bags any size you need.  You could make small ones for spices or much larger ones for flour or lentils.  They’re handy for separating your luggage when travelling, or you could use them for kids’ laundry.

The Great Guildford Bicycle Treasure Hunt 2016

If you missed our Bike Week activity, The Great Guildford Bicycle Treasure Hunt, you missed a great morning.  We had divine weather, a lovely bunch of riders, snacks, drinks, and prizes.

And the clues!  They were designed to take riders all over Guildford and to show them how easy it is to cycle Guildford, but also how much there is that we just don’t notice when we’re hurrying by.

We are very grateful to our sponsors for this event.  All the food and drink was donated by Great Northern Meat Supply, Guildford Bakery, and Bolt Coffee Roasters.  We have Midland Cycles, Bolt Coffee Roasters, The Frisbee Shop, and BCF Midland to thank for their generosity there.

And the winners were:

First in, all correct child: Mango Peelers
First in, all correct adult: Netti Speedy Spokes
Matching bike (s) and riders (s): Megan and Allie
Best decorated bike: Zach Coyte-King
Numbers clues: The A Team
Easter clues: the Francis Family
Jumble word: ChokozRider all in black: Nancy Caceres
Rider (s) all in pink: Stephanie and Hannah Dobell
Rider all in green: Zachary Mellor
Encouragement Award: Cristina Albinos
Wooden spoon: Team Bulbul

DSC_6329 DSC_6292 DSC_6288 DSC_6341 DSC_6334

DSC_6324

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was such a lot of fun, we think we’ll do it again next year!

Sticky fingers

The first Kitchen Gardeners meet of the year wasn’t about wasting any time.

We got straight into it with a session on making jam and pickling beetroot.

jam and pickles workshopThanks so much to Dave and Joan for offering their kitchen.  Luckily, they are experienced jam-makers and picklers, because I’d underestimated the number of jars I’d need and Joan had a stash.

Otherwise we’d’ve had a lot of beetroot to eat in a hurry!

 

 

We all loved Amy’s apron – that’s her to the right of Joan.

Joan and Amy We used Elizabeth’s great-nana’s failsafe jam recipe and made blood plum and kiwifruit jam, which is agreeably tart and still sweet.

As we used both of Elizabeth’s heavy stock pots to simmer out beetroot (more on that later), Joan offered her nana’s jam pot for our jam.  What a beauty!

We’re sure nana would have approved of our afternoon.

Elizabeth’s great-nana’s failsafe jam

Ingredients

  •  Quantity of soft fruit (plums, strawberries, apricots, peaches…)
  •  Equal quantity by mass of sugar.
  •  Juice of a lemon.
  •  Commercial pectin (quantity by weight, one packet of Jam Setta to 1.5kg fruit)

Method

  •  Wash your fruit and cut it into equal-sized pieces, removing any stones, spots or yucky bits.
  •  Weigh your fruit.
  •  Weigh an equal amount of sugar, mix your pectin through this and set it aside.
  • At this point put your jars and lids in the oven at 100 deg to sterilise them.
  •  Put fruit in a large, heavy-bottomed pot on a very low heat.
  •  Let the fruit simmer very slowly until it is cooked.  This step is important, as once you add your sugar the fruit doesn’t cook any further.
  •  Once the fruit is cooked, add your sugar and increase the heat to a rolling boil.
  •  Boil about 10 minutes, then start to test for setting point.
  •  Once your jam has reached setting point, take if off the heat.  Let jam sit for 10 minutes or so, until the fruit no longer rises to the surface.  This will ensure that when you bottle it, the chunks of fruit are evenly distributed through the jar.
  •  Bottle, seal and label.
  •  Stand back and feel pleased with yourself.

Notes

  •  Pectin is the naturally occurring acid in fruit that aids in setting.
  •  Slightly under-ripe fruit is best for jam as it tends to contain more pectin.
  •  I usually guess with the amount of Jam Setta I use, depending on the type of fruit and its degree of ripeness.  It’s forgiving stuff.
  •  This recipe works for just about any soft fruit – the only failure I’ve ever had with it was with custard apple, and that was because it tends to be gritty.
  •  Setting point is the point at which the fruit soup changes its chemical consistency to a gel.
  • To test setting point, put a saucer in the freezer. When the fruit has been boiling for 10 minutes or so, put a smear on the cold saucer, put it back in the freezer to cool down quickly, then run your finger gently through it.   When the jam creases, it’s at setting point. You might need to do this a couple of times.  If you leave it past this you end up with toffee.

Pickled beetrootThen we pickled our beetroot.

This recipe won Elizabeth an OTT rosette at last year’s Swan View Show.

Hence the name.

President’s choice pickled beetroot

Ingredients

  • For about four fresh beetroots
  • 1 and ½ cup (375ml) vinegar
  • I bay leaf
  • Several peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar

Method

  • Wash the beetroot and place them in a saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover the beetroot. Bring to the boil and cook until the beetroot are tender.
  • At this point put your jars and lids in the oven at 100 deg to sterilise them.
  • Drain beetroot reserving 1 and 1/4 cups (300ml) of the cookingliquid.
  • Once the beetroot are cool, cut off the tops and bottoms and peel. Slice the beetroot and set aside.
  • Mix together the reserved cooking liquid and the vinegar in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  • Add the bay, pepper, salt and sugar to the saucepan. Stir occasionally and bring to the boil again. Remove from the heat.
  • Place beetroot slices in your jar and pour hot vinegar mixture over the top.
  • Use a cellophane sheet under the lid to seal, and store in a cool,
  • dark cupboard for a few days before eating.