Thursday, 30 December 2010

It's very difficult to get a decent photograph of your own feet.

I finally finished knitting my socks.
I started them in February. It would be fair to say I am not good at speedy completion.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Dolly sling; machine sewn by ME!!!

I made something on my sewing machine!
Okay, it's only a long rectangle cut out of an old dress, slightly wonkily hemmed all around with a couple of d-rings sewn at one end. But I made it! Hoorah!!

(Excuse Poppy's bizarre headgear - she doesn't consider herself properly dressed without 20 hair decorations and a hat.)

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Finished in the nick of time...

... because no one wants a new calendar once January has already started!

It's easy to think you have plenty of time in September, when you recklessly purchase a couple of blank calendars in Lidl.
"That will make a nice Christmas present for the grandparents," you say to yourself. "I can just stick a few photos in, and embellish them a bit."

Then you have to actually find twelve photos. Preferably not all of the same child. Preferably taken at appropriate times during the past year so you can have a summery photo on the June page, and a Christmassy photo in December.
And the kids are sick through most of December and not very photogenic as a result.

And then you have to print them out, and find suitable backing papers for each page.
And then it takes longer than you thought to glue them all in straight. (Or wonky as the mood takes you.)
And you haven't got the right embellishments in your vast box of things, so you decide simple, uncluttered pages would be nice.
But eventually, on 28th December, when the grandparents have all gone home after their Christmas visit, it is actually finished.

Just have to remember to take it to the Post Office tomorrow. And hope Royal Mail can get it there before February!

Monday, 27 December 2010

It's all a bit scary...

This is my Christmas present from my husband Mark.
A sewing machine - eek!
It seemed like a good idea at the the time, but last night I opened it and I'm a bit confuddled.
There are many mysterious bits.
It took me 90 minutes to thread the needle.
I did manage to stitch a 5 cm wonky line on a scrap of fabric eventually, but I may have to curtail my dreams of producing exquisitely beautiful items and practice on square, flat things for a while.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Pompom scarves

Let's face it; knitting a scarf is one of the most boring projects going.

Which is exactly why I love this pompom yarn; knits up super fast and super easy!!
The big scarf is for a Christmas present and has been knitted two or three rows at a time in snatched spare moments, and the little scarf is for Poppy's stocking and took about thirty minutes last night.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas...

 A greeny blue crochet star...

 ...and a pink one!
 A fluffy lavender and white bauble...

                                                    with pearls... with pink fluff (oh, how I hate knitting with that yarn!)...
...and one with star beads.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Ice Art

This was Claire's idea at Now We Are Six.

Take a container - we used some old foil takeaway trays.

Place some leaves in the tray and fill with water.

Put a loop of string in the water.

Leave outside overnight in sub zero temperatures.
In the morning remove from tray and hang up to admire your work of art.

It's -9 here this morning so I think the boys Ice Art will be available for admiration for a while!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Chocolate coconut cake

Cream 225g soft butter with 200g caster sugar.
Add 175g self raising flour, 25g cocoa powder, 25g coconut milk powder and 1 teaspoon baking powder.
Add 4 eggs and beat until smooth and well mixed.

Bake for 40 minutes at 180 degrees.

To make the icing mix 2 tablespoons chocolate spread with 100g icing sugar and enough hot water to make a smooth paste. Spread over cake and sprinkle with dessicated coconut.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Knitted Sling

Actually it's a snood.
You might recognise it from this post.
We've been into Birmingham today and my stupid, foolish, lovely husband failed to place the neatly folded ring sling into his bag as per my direct request.

Luckily I was wearing the snood. It's a little stretched now, but it worked just fine!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Mama made Monday - advent calendar

The children are every excited to see a string of little bags pinned up the stairs.

I bought the string and Christmas pegs in Poundland; they are supposed to be for cards. I needed two because there were 12 pegs in each packet.
I bought the paper sweet bags on ebay; they were just over £2 for 100.

Ours contain sweeties, but you could also fill them with small toys, crayons, erasers etc.

I'm hoping to have time to hand print some labels with the numbers 1 to 24, but no promises on that front!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Wartime Syrup Sponge

A very frugal cake, made with no eggs and no fats, so probably not too calorific either!!

Sift 8oz self raising flour and half a teaspoon bicarb of soda into a large bowl.
(I don't usually bake in imperial but it is a wartime recipe!)

In a saucepan melt 4 tablespoons of golden syrup into half a pint of milk.
(Heat until mixed in, no need to boil.)

Pour milk and syrup mixture onto flour and beat well until no lumps of flour remain.

Pour rather gloopy mixture into a greased 2lb loaf tin and bake for 40 - 45 minutes at 180 degrees.

This makes a rather nice, not too sweet cake. I see no reason why you couldn't use soya milk and make it vegan.
11th November tomorrow - how about baking a wartime cake to remember those housewives who managed to feed their families in such tough times?

Monday, 1 November 2010

Wedding card for a special friend

I'm going to a wedding on Friday.
(Shhh, it's a secret!)

I've made this card with patterned papers and a digi-stamp which I downloaded for free on the craftee guiri blog.
The words are handwritten, and I've finished it off with a bit of ribbon and a couple of brads.

Mama made Monday - going slightly (crochet) mad

My poor knitting needles have been neglected.
I can officially crochet.
Okay, so I seem to mostly crochet round things, but it's still crochet.
Here is my bear hat, which came out rather large - toddler size rather than baby, then I made the chicken. I know it's not Easter but I like chickens.
Finally I made the little earflap hat for a friend's baby. It is his baptism on Sunday, so I'm going to give it as a gift. Hope he and his mum like it; it's always rather nerve wracking when presenting a handmade gift.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Nintendo crocheted star

I think I might get the hang of this crochet lark eventually!
James, my eldest son loves Mario so he is very pleased with this keyring I made for him today while he was poorly.
It was pretty simple, just lots of single crochets.
I used the pattern at  Ssh, I'm counting! and I attached the finished star to an old keyring thingy.

The star without the eyes would of course make a lovely Christmassy decoration...hmm...there's an idea!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

White choc, almond and cranberry blondies

Possibly the most delicious cake combination ever.

Melt 200g unsalted butter, then leave in a large bowl until it is just warm.

Beat in 150g caster sugar and 2 tsp vanilla extract.
Beat in 2 eggs, then add 250g self raising flour and 1 tsp baking powder.
Mix well, then add 150g dried cranberries.

Stir in 100g chopped white chocolate and 100g chopped almonds (or other nuts.)

Spread mixture evenly in a square tin lined with non stick paper.
Dot 6 teaspoons of cranberry sauce over the top.

Bake at 160 degrees for 40 minutes until just set.
Allow to cool in the tin, the middle will sink a little, press down the edges with a spatula.

Cut into 16 squares when cool, try not to eat all 16 pieces at once.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Snood (you can call it a cowl if you like.)

I was born in 1974 and remember the 1980's with love and happiness.
I got a snood one Christmas. I think it was mohair. I wore it with my reversible dalmatian sweater and some leggings. There were possibly some legwarmers in the equation while we danced along with Shakin' Steven and ate Caramacs...

But back to 2010. I found myself in Lidl, a pack of chunky acrylic and a circular needle fell into my trolley, and my new snood was conceived in a flash of inspiration.

I'm really rather pleased with it; it's basically just a knitted tube, but all soft and cosy, just right for keeping my ears warm on those chilly school run mornings.

And I promise to wear matching purple eyeliner at all times.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Big Chocolate Buttons

This idea is from BBC Good Food Magazine November 2010 issue.

You need non-stick baking paper, a cup, a pencil, chocolate, sprinkles and sweets.

Draw around the cup onto the non-stick paper. Good for motor skills; Anthony actually found this quite difficult.

Spread melted chocolate inside the circles; it doesn't matter if they're not quite round!
Decorate with sprinkles and sweeties; Anthony favours the "chuck a bit of everything on" method.
Put them in the fridge to set.

Ta-dah! They look great and taste delicious!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Christmas cards!!!!!!

So here are my first two Christmas cards. I tend to make them a few at a time and all slightly different because I do so dislike making something twice!!

To make these I used a digi-stamp for the first time - basically an image you print out instead of stamping with ink. I coloured it with my watercolour pencils which I love because they are super quick, finished with some glitter and a peel off greeting.

(This digi-stamp came from Imag-e-nation. If you sign up to their email newsletter they will let you download a free image every week.)

Sunday, 26 September 2010

I have knitted a sock!

I cast on in February, and a mere seven months later (!) I have one sock. I did have a few months off during that time as my attention span and enthusiasm for these projects tends to go off the boil.

But it is a very nice sock, so later I will cast on the other one so it is at least started. Perhaps by the end of May next year I will actually have a pair...

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Mallorca holiday fun

I am out of practice for scrapbooking; this simple layout has taken me ages!
These are pictures of us having fun in the pool on holiday. I have mounted the photos onto white paper and rounded the corners.
The title and journalling are handwritten, and I have avoided lots of fussy embellishments as I think the page is already pretty crowded.

Incidentally this... the mess I have made on the dining table. My inability to work neatly is a major deterrent for this pastime!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Lemon and Blueberry Loaf

I decided to make a loaf cake purely because I'd bought these loaf tin liners from Lakeland. They are bleeding marvellous!! Oh, how I love Lakeland, but I digress...

Cream 225g soft butter with 225g caster sugar.
Mix in 3 eggs, one at a time.
Add zest and juice of a lemon.
Fold in 150g plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 50g ground almonds and 100g polenta.
Fold in 150g (ish!) blueberries.

Bake at 180 degrees for an hour.

I topped mine with some lemon glace icing, and the result is a yummy, moist lemony cake.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Cards for men

Just made this for my father-in-law with a stamp I bought a while back.
And this super simple one for a friend.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Granny square to Granny stripes...

A while ago now I decided to learn to crochet, and embarked on some granny stitch.
Well, I've decided it's finished. (ie. I don't want to do anymore.)
It's not very big, but I shall give it to Poppy for her dolly.

A few online friends have mentioned granny stripes, so I googled it and found Attic24.
I made a practise piece as suggested,
which came out pretty well.

And so, in a fit of optimism and confidence I made a foundation chain of 120 stitches (about single bed size) and began my very own granny stripe blanket!
It's only two stripes long at the moment, but I can't put it down; it's fab!!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Pecan Butter Rolls

For the dough;
1 egg, 150 ml milk, 50g soft butter, 50g sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 425g bread flour, 2 tsp dried yeast.
Mix into dough, I used the breadmaker as usual.
Allow to prove, then punch down and allow dough to rest for 5 minutes.

Divide into 2 pieces, then roll each piece into an 8" circle.

For the filling;
I spread pecan butter all over the 2 circles, then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.
(If you have no pecan butter you can make some by mixing about 2 tbsp butter and 50g finely chopped pecans.)

Cut each circle into 8 pieces (like a pizza!) then loosely roll them up towards the point.
Stretch slightly and place on a greased baking tray.
Allow to rise for about an hour, then bake for 12-15 minutes at 190 degrees C.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Mama made Monday - slouchy hat

I have been productive this week!
This is knitted from some leftover self patterning aran procured from my mum's house.

I used 5mm needles, and cast on 60 stitches.
(It's quite roomy for my 2 year old dd so I could have got away with perhaps 55 stitches.)
The first 6 rows were 2x2 rib, then I switched to stocking stitch for 2 rows.

Then continuing in stocking stitch I increased on the knit rows as follows.
K2 (Kfb, K4 - repeat) K3 (72 stitches)
K3 (Kfb, K4 - repeat) K3 (86 stitches)
K3 (Kfb, K4 - repeat) K2 (103 stitches)

Then I carried on in stocking stitch until the knitting was 7cm long (not including the rib.)

Then more stocking stitch and decreased on knit rows as follows.
K3 (K2tog, K4 - repeat) K3
K3 (K2tog, K4 - repeat) K3
K2 (K2tog, K4 - repeat) K2 (back to 60 stitches)
K2 (K2tog, K4 - repeat) K2 (50 stitches)
K3 (K2tog, K4 - repeat) K3 (42 stitches)
K3 (K2tog, K3 - repeat) K2tog, K2 (34 stitches)
K2 (K2tog, K2 - repeat) (26 stitches)
K2 (K2tog, K2 - repeat) (20 stitches)
K2tog, repeat to end (10 stitches)
K2 tog, repeat to end (5 Stitches)

I cast off by pulling the yarn through the last five stitches and pulling tight, then sewed a seam down the back.

Poppy seems quite fond of it, wearing it for a very important game of fairy skittles.