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Friday, 31 January 2014

And then there were two

 I have finished the second little quilt - the fabrics were not what I might have chosen had I been buying them and not had them given to me and yet when mixed in a random fashion like this they don't look too bad at all do they?  I machine stitched the patches together but did the quilting by hand and I tell myself that the childlike stitching enhances the naive effect of the random patches - that's my excuse and I am sticking to it! 

I used an old sheet to back them and for the wadding an old cheap duvet which we had bought for peanuts in France and then discovered that, as always, you get what you pay for and it really wasn't much good but folded and fitted into a cover I made from an old flanelette sheet it provided a comfy bed for Thomas in the days when he liked to sleep on the window sill in the sun.  I removed the casing and inside was a thin layer of fleece; it wasn't of even thickness but for these covers it won't matter. So none of it cost me anything - I like that!  What shall I make next?

Now all we need is a nice warm day to sit out in the conservatory with a cup of tea - just now it is only 8 degrees out there so you'd have to wear a coat and be quick about drinking a hot drink!

Now for something completely different - earlier today I read an article here about food waste which really insenced me - I wonder what you think.  The supermarkets throw away tons of food every day which is past its sell by/use by date - it seems that Tesco, the only supermarket to publish their figures for waste (for which Brownie points to them) threw away 28,500 tons of food in the first 6 moths of last year!  That's approximately 57,000 tons of food in a year by one supermarket and to think there are people starving in the world!  Why do they stock so much more than they can sell I wonder it doesn't sound like very good business practice to me.  I can't imagine that we wouldn't be able to find a substitute if we happened to discover they were out of stock of an item occasionally so where's the problem?

The whole business of sell by/use by dates on things annoys me - we have become passively dependent on the manufacturers and stores to tell us what we once would have known for ourselves.  Did our mothers or grandmothers have such dates on the food they bought?  Of course not - they knew by looking at it, smelling it and feeling it whether or not it was safe to eat but we seem to have lost the ability to trust ourselves when it comes to this.  Why are we told to keep jam refrigerated surely the whole purpose of jam is that it is a way of preserving fruit.  If you keep it in the cupboard it might after a while get a little mould on the top but does that mean it must be thrown away?  No of course not just remove the mould and it's fine to eat - I also sniff mine and if it smells wine-y I might dispose of it but this is unlikely unless it's many months since it was opened.  I have a pot of yoghurt in the fridge which is past its use by date by about a week but I smelled it and tasted a wee bit and then plopped a portion on my stewed fruit and it was just fine.  No wonder we are told that we throw away 30% of the food we buy if we follow the manufacturers' and supermarkets' guidelines.  They of course have a vested interest in selling us more!!  I suppose they are afraid that if we are left to trust our instincts (whatever happened to those?!) we might eat something harmful and then sue them. 

Now I am not advocating that we eat meat or fish that isn't fresh and maybe if you purchase ready meals it is difficult to tell if they are OK or not done up in all the packaging but surely we can see if fruit and vegetables are OK and by that I don't mean perfectly shaped and polished and all exactly the same.  We know what is acceptable and what is not and if we don't then maybe we should.  I can see future generations who have no idea what food really should look and smell like and which will be in total thrall to the supermarket who will tell them what they can and can't eat.  How scary would that be?  Bah Humbug I say!!  What about you?


  1. I read the same article, and was horrified. Mary Berry got it right when she said that people do not know how to use up leftovers at home..more food wasted.

  2. I totally agree with you Jane, I hate to see food wasted!
    Your patchwork is lovely, true patchwork as it is using up what you have.
    V xxx

  3. Lovely patchwork, and as you say FREE!
    I so agree with you about shop waste - M&S used to offer it to staff on the day it went out of date - what on earth is wrong with that? Now they can't do it. In the first place it is inefficient stock-taking, and secondly, i there IS left over food it could still be offered on its last day - perfectly safe. Given to charities, homeless, is quite obscene.

  4. Fantastic seat cushions, and how nice not to have to buy anything to make them. I always used sheets to back my quilts as well. I totally agree with you about food waste. I look at things and smell them to see if they're okay. Whatever happened to common sense?!

  5. I am sure they overstock for customer satisfaction by ensuring they always have what the customer wants to buy and thus ensuring no complaints. I can't stand the waste and the crazy sell by dates. I don't ever remember putting jam or tomato sauce I the fridge as a kid. It's a shame so many go hungry whilst so much goes to waste.
    Your patchwork looks amazing. So bright and sunny and spring like. Fingers crossed for some beautiful weather. Have a lovely weekend.

  6. Your quilts have turned out really well, you're very clever:) Quite agree with you about trusting out own instincts about food especially about keeping things like jam in the fridge.

  7. Love the cushions. I was taught to use my instincts. If it smelt off then don't use it, take the mould off the jam, and jam goes mouldy in the fridge too if it is left there for too long too! If I'm not sure how long the eggs have been bought (I get mine from the farmers market so no date) I put them in a bowl of cold water, if they float don't crack them open, if they sit on the bottom they are fine, sometimes I break them if they are floating in the middle!
    What did happen to common sense?
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

  8. I'm making a concerted effort to be much better at using everything up, and I think mostly I'm doing alright, but then I do still know how to cook, and mostly do cook from scratch every day - lucky to have the time I suppose. Must be much harder if you're starting off not knowing the basics. The women on my maternal side were all good cooks in the rural tradition, so I suppose that is what I learned and what I'm now passing on to my girls. I hadn't realised how many skills we take for granted, but seems mother/child cooking isn't as common as it used to be.

  9. I haven't read the article but I have heard of similar things. Regarding refrigerating jars of jam, I was recently told to do so if buying Bonne Maman. It has a lot less sugar in it than British jams so tends to get mouldy very soon after opening.

    As to youghurt, today I finished off a carton, the use by date of which, was Sept 2nd 2013. I opened it on the 1st January 2014 and have used it sporadically on porridge, which I don't eat every day. It still tasted fine and had no obvious signs of mould. I'll mention it if I encounter any side-effects...

  10. The patchwork really brightens up the conservatory! I guess the supermarkets are scared of getting sued if a person goes down with food poisoning if eating after sell by date or the cynical me says they just want us to throw more and spend more. x

  11. I agree with so much that you and others say about food and use-by dates. I come from a pre-fridge childhood, where meat was hung from a hook in the pantry, and milk and butter were protected in damp muslin. It was usual to go by smell and texture, and now it is impossible to use either sense when buying food.
    Lovely cushions, too!

  12. Another piece of great patchwork. I think the colours really work well and all the more so for being creative with what you have rather than buying more. As for food waste.... don't get me started...,. it is a real soap box topic of mine and I abhor it!

  13. Love the cushions. I get so angry about use by dates. I exercise caution with fish and seafood but I was brought up to use sight and smell - you still haave to if you buy from the butcher ofr fishmonger and can't shop everday. Putting use by dates on fruit and veg - or taking any notice of them I suppose - is just mad. Who thows out an apple or a potato if its past its date? The same people, I fear, who buy and cook a chicken and only eat the breast meat. Glad I'm not the only one who won't keep jam in the fridge.

  14. love the cushions! One day the sun will come out.... C x

  15. HI, just visiting from sustainablemum's blog.
    Love those quilts. I'm just about to embark on my first patchwork and I'm so glad to hear that it's ok to use a sewing machine!! so far I've just met 'purists' who insist it must all be done by hand.
    I used to work in a hotel and they often did big lunch buffets - cakes, quiche pizza etc - most of which didn't get eaten. Before leaving after work we were allowed to eat as much of the leftovers as we liked but not allowed to take anything off the premises. Every day huge quantities of food were been thrown out. I know it was cooked food and thus not the same as supermarket goods, but still!!
    How much profit must supermarkets be making to be a ble to throw away so much food and still stay in business.


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