Monday, 26 November 2012

Phew what an effort I had trouble with my pictures loading last night. Purely my fault, I realised where i was going wrong but it was too dark to sort it out last night so here we are all pictured published and revised the glasses case pattern is now live!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Very Crazy Quilting

I have written a pattern for my very OTT  glasses case. Although I am ashamed to use the word pattern more a random explanation pf its construction but if you wish to make it and get lost or confused on the way do message me and I will do my best to explain!

Collapsing in an exhausted heap now. Pattern is in my Cratsy store.
Grateful thanks to Adele who has sung to me all evening and kept my sanity intact.

Wishing you all pleasant dreams..

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Quilt books and baking

Oh joy, the postman brought me a parcel this morning, Amazon was quick to send a delicious new quilt book I have been craving since September. Japanese Quilting piece by piece by Yoko Saito. My initial pre order showed a delay on this new to print book, so I cancelled the order and then 8 weeks later it was reduced by £2 and in stock. bargain! I am now looking forward to a pleasant afternoon reading. I was unfamiliar with Yoko Saito's work until I saw this book pop up under the ... people who bought this also bought.. selection when I was browsing the web, I love the subtle colors and there are some sculptural bag patterns with instructions that leave plenty of room for you to fly free with your imagination.

Winter is coming and the squirrel in me is filling the freezer and sorting the cupboards in readiness. I have been baking today, first off a batch bake of a new recipe for orange drizzle cake. A basic 4 flour, 4 fat, 4 sugar, and  2 egg sponge recipe with rind of an orange added, I also introduced some orange essence.  I made the ingredients times two and produced two 1lb loafs and an 8" round sponge. Coated whilst warm with a luxurious blend of the juice of an orange mixed with castor sugar and topped off with a sprinkling of toasted coconut.

I then went onto scones, good old British cream tea ones and some yummy cheese ones to follow.
An old recipe but works well every time.

1 lb plain flour, 4 oz margarine, 1 tsp bicarb of soda. 2tsp cream of tartar, @8 fluid oz of milk  ( I used buttermilk once but found it made a denser scone.)
For a cheese version you add 4 oz strong cheddar and a teaspoon of grainy mustard.

Mix the fat with the dry ingredients until breadcrumb like, add the milk to make a firm but not wet dough.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface to about 3/4" high, i fold the dough in half at this stage and roll again, it makes a scone that splits through the middle with no effort or knife needed. The less handling you do of the dough the better it is.

Cut into rounds, brush the tops with a bit of the milk and place onto a warm baking sheet, into a preheated hot oven my fan oven was cranked to 210 degrees. remove after around 10 minutes or when well risen and a light golden brown.
Serve with cream and jam or as in our house let the kids and husband just eat them from the cooling rack as they are!
The cheese ones are great with soup and small ones made using a 1" cutter and lightly buttered make great party nibbles.
I couldn't be bothered to grate the cheese (chip in the domestic goddess halo here!) Anyway I threw the cheese in the food processor with the butter and flour and pressed the button until it looked like breadcrumbs. It worked like a dream and one bit less washing up.

As I sit here typing the kitchen is filling with the smell of chocolate a couple of trays of brownies are baking slowly and forming a gooey centre with a crispy crackled top.
Easy to make and hard to resist. The secret is to cook in a slow oven so the center cooks but doesn't dry out. I used  225 g castor sugar, 100 g melted butter, 40 g cocoa, 2 eggs, 1 sp vanilla essence, 50 g self raising flour, 50 g chocolate chips  (I hadn't any so I smashed up a 50 g of rich dark 74% cocoa chocolate)
All the above was stirred until mixed then spooned into a 8" square baking tin lined with grease proof paper.
(I take no chances and use those liners that fit in tins and cover the bottom and sides. Nothing worse than a sticking cake! My oven was set to 160 degrees and I left it in there for about twenty five minutes the top wants to be cooked and the centre soft but cooked.

Getting a bit carried away with cooking today and promise to have a crazy patchwork glasses case pattern for you tomorrow. Just right for embroidering over the long nights.
I am off now to curl up with my lovely new book and a nice cup of tea, wishing you all a lovely afternoon.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Gloves, Soup and WIP

As promised yesterday here is a picture of my WIP gloves. The pattern will be here and in my Craftsy store very soon and free. A nice textured stitch on a two row pattern, easy one to pick up and put down without losing your place. They are crying out for some sort of decoration so maybe a crocheted flower on the wrist? Watch this space!

I love knitting gloves, they are quick to do and there is always a pile of finished ones here as last minute gifts. It is 'handy' to have a project like this to take in my handbag. Gloves are ideal for doing whilst I am on the radio. That is also the time when I get carried away knitting and forget to write the pattern down!
Speaking of radio, I am on Drive Time for two hours on a Wednesday with a 2 hour show playing a mix of music and requests. Due to the nature of the show plenty to do with checking traffic and travel  local news and of  course singing and knitting along to some fantastic music....  check out

I must admit to being a slow cooker fan, I have two since my daughter returned from her Uni course and brought hers back with her. I use her small one for desserts and when there are only the three of us at home and a huge family sized one for batch cooking and when we have a crowd to feed. It is strange after many years of having at least 6 mouths to feed to now scale down portions and cook in smaller pan, I guess we could just eat more but maybe not!
I like to economise so tend to cook large and freeze quantities for a future date. Saves on the gas and gives me more time to create.
Yesterday the large slow cooker was put to use with a vegetable soup.

  • 500g each of carrots, swede, sweet potato, parsnip. onion.. (butternut squash would be a good addition if you don't have either swede or sweet potato.)
  • Three or four celery sticks, a good opportunity to use up the thick ones from round the outside. 
  • I  also threw in three firmish tomatoes I had going spare in the fridge. 
  • A bunch of Parsley ( a small handful unchopped including stalks.
  • Pinch of nutmeg (a generous grating)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • veg stock  around 2 pints either from cubes or make your own if you are a domestic goddess.
  • I don't add salt as I find the stock is salty enough, especially of you use Marigold Bouillon Stock powder but do add some if needed..
Peel the veg then roughly chop into similar sized chunks.
Throw all the above except the parsley, into your slow cooker turn it onto medium heat and leave for 12 hours. If you are in a hurry try 6 hours on high. You want the veg to be soft but still keeping their shape.
This made a thick hearty soup you can add more stock at the end if you would like a thinner soup.
After cooking allow to cool a little, add the parsley.
Now for the fun bit, use a hand blender to turn this veg into a smooth thick soup. If you don't have a blender or a food processor you can use a potato masher to crush the veg into a pulp.
Mine turned out a gorgeous golden colour with some nice little flecks of green parsley.
I filled two large soup freezer bags and still had enough for a very generous lunch for two...
To serve. reheat and add croutons or some crusty bread sit back and polish your halo you are not only a domestic goddess but a healthy one too, at least two of your five a day are covered in this soup.

Finally today after all the rain here is mad dog stretched out enjoying a rest as the sun shines through the windows today. 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Not all knitting

I am in the process of designing a pattern for a pair of fingerless gloves. These have a ruffled cuff and a 2 row simple pattern. In fact I like the pattern so much I am incorporating it into a cardigan I am designing using a stash of wool I have had for years and until now not found a useful project for.

Don't you just love those moment of madness when faced with too good to miss bargain purchases, I often get very strict with myself and refuse to buy any more wool until I use all I have, but don't worry, I soon get over it, there are so many delicious yarns available who can resist. I will post pics of the glove and its partner in progress. I am learning to knit my gloves both at the same time on a pair of circular needles. I can't wait until I finish the pair in progress so I can start a new pair this way. I ordered some circular needles from eBay so I have now two pairs in the sizes I use most often. This will, I hope,  help to resolve my second sock / glove syndrome. I have a very bad dose of it. I am also prone to making up a pattern and forgetting to write it down so when I get to work the partner I am left trying to copy from the finished item! Not an easy thing to do accurately, at least knitting them together it will save that.

Life isn't all knitting. Before the rain fell this morning I took the opportunity to photograph a necklace I made a while ago. I am a huge fan of peyote stitch especially spiral peyote. I used a variety of similar shaded but different sized beads to make a length of beading initially for a necklace. Around 4.5" down the line I realised it was going to be a bulky concoction and I didn't want to create such a thick heavy necklace so.. I fastened off the stitching, threaded it onto a black ready made cord necklace and hey presto, a very different piece that looks good with a T shirt and equally as happy sitting above a sparkly evening dress.
I am now making a few small 'beads' in the same way with some green and cream rocaille beads varying from a 10 to 6 in size. These I will intersperse with some regular beads so we will see what transpires.

Here in South Wales it is very wet and thoughts are with those who are flooded. Stay safe and warm on this cold wet night.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

First post

Just put my first pattern onto Craftsy. A pretty pair of fingerless gloves in a lacy stitch.
Pattern is free, please download and try it.