Friday, 13 March 2015

Tea for two..

So, I'll be visiting with one of my oldest and dearest friends in Philadelphia next weekend.  We've known each other before we had children, through divorces and many miles and years between meetings since we first shared an office back in 1983.  I had promised to make her a tea cosy .... a promise I forgot until last night!

I quickly whipped this one up from a fat quarter I just bought...

and then thought I'd better ask her what colour she would like..... the answer... blue, white or yellow.  Hmmmm.  Rummage through the old fabric stash....
and what better choice than a bit of vintage Laura Ashley, saved from my old kitchen blind, for a friend who shared my excitement when Laura Ashley opened a store in Arden, PA in 1984.  Neither of us could afford to actually buy anything but we did enjoy browsing!

Happy nearly the weekend.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Baking, decorating, visiting, knitting, sewing...'s all been going on this month.  Cannot believe how quickly time is flying but since I declared 2015 the year of getting on with things I'm just cracking on!  

My sister and I are toying with the idea of applying for a stand at Yarndale this year.  Time is running out for us to make our minds up but the thing that is flummoxing me is finding public liability insurance to the tune of £2million.  Anyway, I thought I'd better start making some things just in case I do get a stand.  So far I've produced some crochet rolls - this one is for me :)

and a pram blanket, knitted in moss stitch with King Cole Funky Felt yarn

I did not enjoy knitting this as the needles were huge and I couldn't get much momentum.  Still, it's one more 'thing' made from my 'stuff'.

I have also been fiddling about with teeny tiny half inch hexagons and made some little pin cushions

This I really did enjoy making despite the hole I now seem to have in my finger!

Son number one lives in Dublin and he and his girlfriend are gearing up to move into their first home which has been gutted and put back together so I headed over there to help with the decorating.  7 rolls of lining paper hung - no pasting table so we improvised.  The old knees took a battering and after 2 days up and down a ladder I have to say I was feeling the pull in the old buttocks too!

They had no working loo either so my bladder control is much improved :)

Inspired by the thought of a trip to Dublin and son number two being home it was time for a spot of baking.  Guinness Chocolate cake anyone?

The topping was supposed to be all over the top but the cake was still warm and we couldn't wait so served it on the side.  Greedy, us? No way!

As soon as I got back from Dublin I had a surprise visit from a dear friend from one of my previous lives.  Gill and I have known each other since baby days back when I lived in Winchester so that's at least 28 years.  We haven't seen each other for about 3 so there was a lot of talking to cram into just a few hours.  We managed, especially over afternoon tea at Mallyan Spout Hotel.  Four pots of tea later we headed down to the Beck Hole pub just to see if there was room in this tiny bar for us.

Happily there was so we enjoyed a bit of banter, a lot of selfie taking and then sadly it was time to say goodbye.  That's Gill's halo shining bright on the left

And maybe a spot of Black Sheep beer shining out
 of Alan.

Another ray of sunshine in the month of March has been this little cute-pie.  My god daughter and great niece, an absolute tonic on any day of the week.  Her mum always has her hair done very nicely but Freya decided to try out all my hair brushes giving her the slightly more dishevelled look. Bless her little cotton socks.

So, I'm heading across the pond at the weekend and hoping to have time for a little fabric shopping amidst all the meetings.  Then I head to see another very dear friend in Philadelphia on the way back and that will bring us almost to the end of March.  Where is the time going?

Hope the sun is shining wherever you are like it is here today.


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Happy Hooking

My sister and I held our first workshop of 2015 in the gift room of her shop  - Hooking for beginners.  It's always satisfying to take nine vestal, no, crochet virgins and see their happy little faces as they finally master chains, doubles and trebles.  

And of course, a healthy helping of tea and cakes makes it all the more enjoyable.

I hope you've been having a crafty weekend too!


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Bye Baby Bunting...

Whilst rummaging around in my craft stash, pretending to be sorting it out I came across some yarn that I've had for an age but didn't really know what to do with it, not having enough to make anything of note.  Then inspiration struck.... a little project for sitting in front of the telly with, in particular the new JK Rowling series, A Casual Vacancy, which I had heard so much about.....something not too taxing...

The bunting didn't take me long to do... finding a needle small enough to go through the bead hole but large enough to fit the yarn through was more of an ordeal..  had to get the pliers out to pull the needle and yarn through the teeny tiny hole...

But quite happy with the finished result.

Oh yes, all those cds .. must get those digitised some time soon ... that's ideal button jar storage space :)  As for A Casual Vacancy - maybe it's just me but I thought it was a load of old tosh, not a single character I liked - apart from maybe the guy who died.  I shall not be watching next week.

Son number three is coming home for a short break today so I was up early to bake a little something for him.  Chocolate and orange cookies, made with love.

oh and some shortbread and a citrus yoghurt cake...

Well, who needs sleep?


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Love and Hate

I've been feeling the love for yarn this week.  Whilst sorting through my obscenely huge wool stash I came across a 4ply granny blanket I started but never finished.  I absolutely love crocheting row upon row of treble clusters, eagerly anticipating the next colour I'm going to use.  I absolutely hate the finishing off bit.  All those ends to sew or weave in ...

But eventually,  two Sunday morning episodes of How I Met Your Mother later, it's time to snip them all off ...

Aaah, now I'm back feeling the love.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Feeling the love ....

... in the form of baking...

... and a a spot more fine crochet ...

I hope you are feeling the love today too.


Thursday, 12 February 2015

A little bit of cheer ...

... on these grey and misty mornings, as I head out of the door I am greeted by this cheerful little viola

How I love these lovely little flowers.  They carry the promise of Spring and sunnier times ahead.


Monday, 9 February 2015

Blowing the cobwebs away

Sunday turned out to be the most glorious day - bright, crisp and full of sunshine.  Only one thing for it after cleaning the windows - damn that sunshine showing up my slovenly house-keeping - was to head for the hills.  Or the moors to be more precise.  

A feast for the eyes, a work out for the thighs and a gift for the soul....

This is looking down Levisham village - well, had to have a refreshment stop at the local establishment - it was a very long walk, after all.

And so back to the daily grind.  Crochet - I shall miss you today while I dabble in the world of sticky paper.

Have a good one!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Showy offy

As I mentioned earlier, I am on a quest this year.  A quest to try new things, make new things and trust my choices.  All these images of things made might seem a little showy off, I must admit...

Some parmesan, pine nut and parma ham rolls from yesterday's baking efforts..
and a plain white loaf (or maybe I should say simple for fear of offending the humble loaf?)

The tea cakes did rise nicely I'm happy to report and were dispatched off to various quarters for toasting.

Next on my list of recipes to try is this Finnish Pulla which I had when I was at a workshop in the forest at Haukilahti, near Tampere.  We had a bit of team building fun in the snow followed by a walk in the snow laden forest, finished off (excuse the pun) with some coffee brewed over an open fire and freshly baked pulla.  Delicious!

I was going to buy one of these hand crafted wooden cups they drink this 'forest coffee' from but baulked at paying 40 euros!

It was -22 but so beautiful .... as long as you were inside or wearing multiple layers when outside.

The lake ... yes, there is a lake under there and fortunately, they didn't make us take a dip after the sauna!

As I type this the sun is shining brightly in the sky and giving a hint of Spring, just around the corner.    And talking about being showy offy .... how about last night's sunset?  Just managed to catch it from the bedroom window 

Now if you don't mind, I'm going to have a hot cup of tea and a freshly baked blueberry muffin

and then I'm going to shop for one of these (as seen in a 1940s photo display in Helsinki airport) to combat my high carb diet!

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

One door opens, another one closes ....

Or pride comes before a fall or other such sayings.  At least it seems to be true with baking and me.  Feeling all puffed up with pride after my dearest sister declared my tea cakes the best ever and I quote "I think I've died and gone to heaven" and feeling the love for all things Bake Off I thought I'd knock up Mary Berry's Orange and Sultana tray bake in readiness for a visit from said sister after work.  Well, I don't know what went wrong but suffice to say, the birds are enjoying a zingy breakfast this morning.  As I write this I have a batch of tea cake dough proving (hopefully) on the kitchen table alongside a batch of olive dough (another first) which I shall be experimenting with later.

But I haven't been slaving over flour and a laptop all week.  When I decided to make a new header for my blog rather than just taking a picture I got a little engrossed in crochet trims.  So, after making this shell edging in the finest of fine threads..

I was inspired to make a few different ones. 
Same pattern, different thread
Some Coronet trim
A little bit of Petal trim in a slightly heavier yarn ..
Some ripple stitch all in single crochet ..
Rather loving the Blossom trim..
So much so I tried it in a fine wool ..
 And and even finer wool - just some scraps from my huge scrap stash ..(feeling the love here)...

Some Droplets trim ..

And a pretty parade ...

A trio of blossoms ...

And so another cup of tea goes cold while I fiddle about with yarn and such.  My eyes are begging me to leave this fine work until the light is better but on the up side, my alcohol consumption is much reduced of an evening - along with speaking and breathing but I am loving working on these mini projects.  They will be put to good use as embellishments .... one day.  

Happy crafting to you all out there.  I'm off to tidy my larder cupboard ... life in the fast lane!