Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Midweek Joys

Daffodils in bloom......

...........home baked lemon and almond cake....

........brief but wonderful moments of blue skies and sunshine on a cold
and stormy day.....

..........the sweet, lemony scent of a lit candle...

.......a new stitchy project.

We've had wild, stormy weather again today and it has been snowing
here this evening. Not a great day weather-wise, but there were small,
simple things that have made me happy and I'm feeling grateful.
I really hope the snow won't be too heavy. Sheffield hills and snow
don't go well together, not fun at all when you need to drive or even
just walk outside. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

I hope you've had some happy things too this Wednesday.
Have a warm and lovely evening!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Crocheted Pot Holder

This is my first finished project for 2015 and I have to say
I really love it. I started making this pot holder just after the New Year and finished it about two weeks ago. It is made of two crocheted
 squares joined together, with embroidery on one side. I'm a big fan of cross-stitch on crochet and knitting and stitching those three flowers
was an absolute pleasure.

The pattern is from Kat Goldin's book hook, stitch & give and
has a cute name - 'kitschy koo'. I used Stylecraft and Drops Muskat
cotton yarns, all leftovers from other projects. It's always satisfying
to make something from fabric and yarn scraps, especially when
it turns out nice and useful like this. I'm all for decorative,
functional and stash-busting makes and, I'm sure you can tell
by now, I really enjoyed this project. My husband is not too sure
 about this though. He doesn't dislike crochet - he loved the shawl
 that I made for his mum last Christmas. I think it's just a bit
 too retro-tastic for him. I completely disagree. But he doesn't mind it
 in our kitchen so I'm happy with that. And after all, no one's perfect!

Just in case anyone is interested, I have found that mercerised
 cotton yarn is better for cross-stitching. This yarn doesn't split
 and gives a neater finish. So that's it from me for now.
 I hope you're all having a good start to the week.
 Take care!

Friday, 23 January 2015

Five on Friday

Today's post is about food that my husband loves to cook and that
everyone in our family enjoys. I've chosen five that he's made for us
this past week, all firm family favourites. I'm always grateful that
 I'm married to a man who can cook. He's happy when he's in
our little kitchen, listening to sports on the radio, preparing,
simmering, cooking, making delicious meals for his family.
 We're so lucky, the girls and I. He does this for us everyday and
even better, he doesn't mind washing up too!

So here are the chosen five:

1. Pea, parsley and mint risotto, topped with pancetta

My husband's risottos are always great. All the ingredients for
this, save for the pancetta, we already had at home. He's good
at this too- making use of what's available at home and not
wasting much.

2. Grilled lamb with salsa verde, roast potatoes and braised peas

The girls had roast chicken instead of lamb. They enjoyed theirs, we
enjoyed ours too.

3. Tuscan style sausage pasta

Hearty, meaty and always tastes good.

4. Mushroom risotto with pancetta

Yes, we always love some pancetta. And we also love rice
in our house, either in risottos or the plain boiled jasmine
rice we usually have with Filipino dishes.

5. Chocolate Nemesis

He made this for dessert last week. It's like baked chocolate mousse,
very rich, dark, scrumptious and irresistible.

Those are my five this Friday. Thanks, as always, to Amy for
organising this.


I am joining in Five on Friday, taking five minutes from our day
to enjoy five things. Please go and visit the other people who are
also blogging about Five on Friday this week.

Amy from Love Made My Home
Kristie from North of 49
Patricia from A Place for Everything
Katharine from Art-e-facts
Selma from Eclectic Home & Life
Teresa from Knit Bake Cultivate

Wishing you all a warm and lovely weekend!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Lovely Happy Things

Some of our simple happy things this week:

finding a little flower in bloom on a very cold January day,

 a much loved Christmas present on display,

fresh flowers on the mantel,

a new cushion on our sofa,

my husband making chocolate nemesis for dessert,

 and having time to sit down to do a little work on my patchwork project.

Nothing big or exciting but all lovely and happy. We're off to London
tomorrow,  just me and my husband. It's been a couple of years
since we've had a little trip like this so we're very excited. Dinner has
been booked and we have plans to visit some old favourites.
We cannot wait! I hope you're all having a nice weekend.
See you soon!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Kelham Island Museum

We went to Kelham Island Museum last Sunday. After Saturday's
stormy weather it was nice to be out and about again and see
some blue skies and sunshine. It was too cold to be outdoors though,
so we decided a visit to a local museum was just the thing to do.

The museum, which stands on a man-made island built along the
River Don 900 years ago, tells us about Sheffield's rich industrial history.
There are exhibits on steel and steel making, trade and manufacturing,
and the working and living conditions of those who worked here,
particularly during the Industrial Revolution. One section of the museum
houses a huge collection of tools and there's a transport gallery
with brilliant examples of locally made cars, motorcycles and bicycles.
 I liked the glass cases full of  handmade tools and cutlery and
 the mock Victorian street lined with tradesmen's shops.
 Markie wanted to see things from Victorian times and she liked this
little street too. The museum's centrepiece is the River Don Engine,
the most powerful steam engine in Europe. The fifth photo from the top shows only a part of it. We saw it in action and not only is it massive,
 it's very noisy and quite scary too, but very impressive.

I really liked this museum. My husband and I enjoyed ourselves and found it all very interesting and fascinating. I also like that they have
hands on displays for kids throughout all the exhibits and there's
a soft play area for them too.  Markie was curious and eager to learn
and that was lovely to see. Lulu was just happy that GrandDad came along and she got to spend time with him. Overall it was a good
family day out. A museum visit was definitely the thing to do on
 this Sunday.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Square by Square

One of my plans for 2015 is to make a patchwork blanket.
I already have the materials to make one so I got started last week.
 At the moment I'm stitching together my fabric pieces. I'm doing it square by square and it's slow going but I've decided that as long as
 I can work on it steadily and get it finished in a couple of months,
 I'll be very pleased.

I'm using two Moda charm packs that I've had in my fabric stash
 for quite awhile now. Well, two years to be exact. I guess it's about
time I use them! Anyway, I love the different colours and patterns
in all the pieces and having them pre-cut in 5inch squares make
them great to use for simple patchwork projects like this.

I have 81 squares in total and what I'm planning to do is create
small blocks made up of nine fabric squares and then sew these
together to create the whole blanket. 

These strips of squares were sewn together this morning.
Once I've ironed their seams I'll join them all to make my blocks.

So far I've completed two blocks. Seven more to go...

I think this will turn out to be a small blanket, more like
a throw or a lap quilt. But I'll be happy with that. Anything
to keep us warm and cosy is always welcome and
hugely appreciated!

Thanks for stopping by here. I hope it's been a good Monday
for you all. See you soon!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Staying in

We've had stormy weather here all through the night and even
now it's still pretty wild out there. There's rain but mostly it's
 howling, gale force winds. Such a terrible sound! It's not dissimilar
to the horrible typhoons we have back home. I'm just glad it's
the weekend and I'm at home with the girls. My husband had
to go to work but it's a shorter shift today so hopefully he'll be
 back by mid afternoon. 

It's really a day for staying in and keeping cosy. We'll probably
spend most of it watching a DVD or two, and maybe a little bit
 of crafting. I'm still working on my pot holder. I'm doing
 the embroidery at the moment and it's going well so far.
 Once this is done the finishing line will be in sight - hopefully!

Saturday is when we clean our pet hamster's cage so we'll
do that too. Here he is eating his breakfast. We call him Sir Stan,
short for Sir Stanley Matthews (my husband is a big Stoke City FC
fan!). Santa brought him for the girls last Christmas. He's cute,
nosey, fun and playful. We all adore him.

The other day Lulu and I made Millionaires Shortbread.
Well, it's the easy version; we used ready made milk caramel.

Have you ever tried it? We were given a jar of this milk caramel
 for Christmas. It's gooey and sweet and tastes wonderful.
We're told it's great for pouring over vanilla ice cream. We haven't
tried that yet, but I might add a bit of it to my porridge tomorrow.
I know, very naughty.

It was great for the Millionaires Shortbread. It certainly made
the job easier and we have a lovely treat for our snacks later.

So that will be our day. The girls are excited to watch Lady and
 the Tramp again. I'm looking forward to my crochet. I think it's nice to
 be able stay in today and I'm glad that we can do just that.

 I hope you're all having a good start to the weekend.
Stay warm, safe and cosy. See you soon!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Seashell Shawl

Back in November I mentioned getting these lovely new yarn
 to make a Christmas present for my mother-in-law. I wanted
to make her something that she can use and decided to
crochet a shawl.

I looked around for a shawl/wrap pattern that was simple and easy
and found one in this Nicki Trench book. Actually the pattern
I liked was for the Chunky Seashell Scarf. I just adapted it so
it was much wider and longer, a shawl rather than a scarf.

I really enjoyed making this. It was the only present I had to make
so I was able to take my time and felt relaxed about it. I crocheted
in between baking, decorating and crafting with the girls and
it was done when it was long enough and just perfect for 
wrapping around the shoulders.

The yarn is lovely and soft and as it's in aran weight,
it's got a nice drape and feels warm and cosy when worn.

I'm pleased to say that my mother-in-law likes it. It's always
on her favourite arm chair, ready to use when she needs it
which is quite a lot. Theirs is one of those lovely old houses
that's wonderful to live in but not very easy to insulate
 (original stained glass windows, no double glazing!).
I'm very glad that she's pleased with it and it's helping
keep her warm and cozy this winter. I'm thinking of making
one for myself too; I'd love to have my own crocheted shawl.
For now I'm still trying to finish my pot holder and I think
it's about time I give some attention to my long neglected
granny square blanket, so we shall see!

I hope you're all having a good week. Fingers crossed
I'll have another finished project to show you next time
Bye for now!

Friday, 2 January 2015

Last year's makes

These were all the things I made in 2014. Looking back now
I feel very lucky and pleased that I've used a lot of my free time
 creatively and have made some nice and useful things for myself,
my family and our home. I crocheted, knitted, embroidered and
did some machine sewing. I tried my hand at covering a lamp
shade, furniture painting and dress making. I also discovered
the joys of using washi tapes and making my own cards.

Overall it's been a good year for making and I hope 2015
will be the same. I have a few projects planned already
(first on my making list are crocheted pot holders)
 and I can't wait to get started!

Wishing you all a fun and very creative 2015.
See you soon!