Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Checking in

Hello. It's been many days since I've been here. We've had a busy
past week and I've been struggling a bit with a swollen right knee.
It's a knee infection otherwise known as 'Housemaid's Knee'. I know,
it sounds like I spend my days on my knees scrubbing floors just like
the house maids a long time ago but I don't. I got to admit though that
I do a fair bit of kneeling every day - helping Lulu with her shoes, retrieving toys from under the sofa, wiping food off the floor, etc. -
but I don't think it's often enough to lead to this. And I've been told
that the symptoms will most likely persist for a few more weeks.
Weeks!!?!! Definitely not what I wanted to hear, especially as Lulu
had been a bit poorly too. She's back to her chirpy self today and
no more fever or sickness so I feel very hopeful for her. I need to be
more patient with this pesky ailment of mine. Hopefully it won't
be long before I can check in here again and when I do, I'll show
you the rug I've made for the girls' room. It's all finished now and
already getting a lot of use-- and abuse! But they like their new
rug so I'm very pleased about that.

 I don't know if you've noticed but I've taken a break from my
Bake Off Challenge. I haven't stopped baking but I haven't made
anything new lately. We've been well supplied these past weeks
with homegrown apples and plums by friends and family and we've
been making delicious crumbles with all the fruit. And due to
popular demand I've made flapjacks, lemon cake and brownies -
all family favourites. I have collected some new recipes these
past weeks and hopefully I can get back to our little challenge
and try them out soon.

Is it sunny where you are today? I hope so. It's glorious here,
almost summer-like. But it did start off very foggy and cold this
morning and there are more and more leaves falling to the ground
everyday so even with the bright sunshine and warm weather it's
 really undoubtedly Autumn now.

I hope you are all well and happy. Have a lovely Wednesday
evening everyone!

Monday, 21 September 2015

Getting Yarny

It's been three weeks since school started and we are now
firmly back to everyday life with school runs, homework, etc. Both
girls are settled and happy at school and I am beginning to really
enjoy the days when Lulu is at nursery and I'm on my own at home.
I'm usually busy pottering and catching up with various jobs and
of course, crafting. I've seldom had whole uninterrupted hours of
sewing or making before and having this free time now is just
fantastic. I have started two new projects, both crocheted and
both in preparation for colder days ahead: I'm making a blanket
for our living room sofa and a rug for the girls' bedroom.

I'm following a pattern from Inside Crochet for the blanket and so far
it's going well. I really like the clusters of trebles and the wavy lines
they make. It's working up fairly quickly too which is very good
and exciting.

The rug was also making up quickly but I've had to take a break
last week after running out of fabric yarn. It's going to be nicer and
 softer underfoot for the girls once this is made- and colourful too!
I've just bought some more yarn and hopefully I'll get this all
finished in the next few days.

Once the rug is made I'm planning to start on a cushion cover
I found in this old crochet book. It's round, with a big flower and
can be made with any DK yarn- perfect for these cotton lovelies
in my yarn stash.

Aside from these three, there are many other things I'd like
to make this autumn and winter, including another patchwork blanket
 and an embroidered picture for the girls' room. I think there's a better
chance of getting some of them made now that I have Mondays and
Fridays free. Plus the cooler days and darker evenings are also very conducive for making with yarn so I'm feeling very hopeful about
these projects. I just have to stop faffing about now and get cracking!

Hope you've had a great weekend. It was lovely and sunny here
both on Saturday and Sunday but we're back to grey, cold and wet
today. Anyway, have a good Monday everyone!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Honeycomb Lace Shawl (part two)

Hello. I hope you're all having a great weekend. I'm back here
 today with another finished project to show you: my second
Honeycomb Lace Shawl. I made my first one  back in spring and
I loved it so much I decided to make another one. But this is not for
me though. It's for a lovely lady who's been very kind to our family
and we'd like to give this to her to say thanks.

 I worked on this throughout the summer holidays, finishing the last
rows this week. I really hope she'll like it. I've made it extra special
 by using Drops Cotton Merino wool. It's the softest yarn and the
 nicest to work with and I've really enjoyed crocheting with it. I've also
 made this shawl much wider than mine with 264 foundation chains instead of the original 222. Hopefully it will be lovely to wrap round
the shoulders and it will feel nice and warm for her to wear on
very cold days. The pattern is from issue 65 of Inside Crochet and
 I used five and a half of 50gram balls of yarn for the whole project.

I'll be back soon with our latest baking (mis)adventures, and
maybe even with another finished crochet project - I'm hooking
a rug!  Enjoy your Sunday!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Baby Bunting

It's been a long while since I've had a finished project to share
here with you. The last ones were my apple bags back in July,
a long time ago now, really. But I did make and finish something
over the summer school holidays and it's this bunting. A friend of
ours asked if I can make one for her friend's baby and I was more
than happy to oblige. I haven't made a bunting in ages but I've
always enjoyed making them. From choosing the fabrics to sewing
the appliques and adding the binding, a bunting is always a fun and satisfying project to work on.

 I usually attach the appliques by machine but as it's been awhile
since I've done any machine embroidery, I decided hand stitching
would be easier, even quicker this time. I do like a blanket stitch and
 I think the ones here make a nice, colourful outline to the letters and elephant shapes so I'm pleased I decided to do them all by hand. My
 friend was really happy with it, especially with the little elephants.
 I think they're rather sweet too. A happy, enjoyable project, all in all.
Hopefully Baby Albie and his mum like it too!

A lovely and warm Tuesday evening to you all. See you soon!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Blackberry Pud and Brownies

I like blackberries. They're full of goodness, they are free, and there
are so many tasty things you can make with them. Last Sunday we
picked enough fruit from hedgerows growing around here to fill
two punnets. Half of them were made into blackberry sorbet and
 we've added some to apple crumble. (Apple and blackberry crumble
with vanilla custard is one of my favourite desserts ever. Yum!)
The rest were made into bread and butter pudding.

I've never made bread and butter pudding before. I can't even
remember if I'd ever tasted it. But Nigel Slater's recipe looked easy,
and that photo was very tempting, I decided blackberry bread
and butter pudding is the perfect new thing for us to try this week.

It was very easy to make, a bonus when you're baking with kids.
I buttered, cut and arranged the bread. The girls mixed the egg
custard and poured it over the bread. They also helped scatter
the blackberries around, helping themselves to one or two of the
fruit as they did. Oh well, perk of the job.

We baked this for about 45 minutes. The middle had a nice
little wobble when it was taken out of the oven and I've now
learned that this is a good sign - the custard had set just right.
I was expecting it to be rich and heavy with all that bread but
it's surprisingly light and to me, it tasted better after it had cooled
down a bit. Actually I liked it just as much cold from the fridge.
Is that wrong? Does it have to be eaten warm at all times? Anyway,
temperature aside, it tasted really good. The blackberries added
texture and a bit of sharpness that worked well with the sweet
custard. Really nice. I'll make sure to freeze some blackberries
so we can make this many more times this autumn and winter.

Aside from the bread and butter pud, we've also made brownies
this week. This one is Lorraine Pascal' s Cookies and Cream
Fudge brownies.

It was a bit of a faff to make compared with the ones we usually
make but it's worth it. It's very gooey, chocolatey and very naughty!
There's only a tiny bit of flour in this, the rest is sugar, butter, eggs,
chocolate and Oreo cookies. Not for anyone who's diabetic or
watching their weight but if you're not worried about those things
then this brownie is pure chocolate indulgence!

So that's all our baking for this week. I'm taking it very easy
this weekend. Did you enjoy Bake Off last Wednesday? The
technical challenge was a bit ridiculous. Does anyone make their
own pitta bread at home? But I'm pleased for Nadia. She deserved
to be star baker this week.

Before I go I'd like to say a big thank you for your kind, helpful
and understanding comments in my last post. Your words have
heartened and encouraged me, thank you. The first week back at
school had gone well and Lulu was happy and confident when we
dropped in at the nursery yesterday so I'm less worried now. I'm
looking forward to it now actually. Lots of crafting and crochet time
for me hopefully. Thanks again for your kind comments.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Not just yet

Here we are on the last day of the summer holidays. I couldn't
quite believe that the entire six weeks of the holidays have gone
already and tomorrow Markie will be back at school and it wil be the
start of a new school year. On Monday Lulu will start nursery, an
entirely new experience both for her and for me. There are so many changes and so many things to learn and adjust to again. I don't
 feel I'm ready to face them yet. The girls are excited but I'd quite
 happily have a few more weeks of these quiet, easy days at home
 that I've enjoyed so much these past six weeks. And if summer
can stay around for a bit longer, I'd take that as well. I'm no fan of
 busy days and colder months as you can probably tell. But ready
or not, school will start and Autumn will come *sigh* I just need
to get my head round it all and I'm sure that will come soon.
For now, I'll try and enjoy this last day for as long as I can. I had
a lie-in this morning and then after a late breakfast, took the girls
to our favourite tea room and then the playground. This afternoon
we're at home just taking it easy. The girls are watching Despicable
Me. I might read a bit or crochet.

I've been thinking of how good this summer has been. It's
 probably part of the reason why I'm reluctant to let it go just yet.
 Plus, of course, there's Lulu, our baby, going off to nursery.
 I know it's only for two days a week but it will still be quite a change
 for both of us.  She'll love it, I'm sure, and I'll finally have time
 on my own to spend as I please. As a lovely old lady said on the
 bus today 'The world will be your oyster'. And it will be,
 between 9 and 3 on Mondays and Fridays. It's actually all going
to be good. It doesn't feel quite that way at the moment but
I'm sure it will be. And we might still have an Indian Summer,
after all. That's a nice thing to hope for- I'll be keeping my
 fingers crossed.