Sunday, 22 December 2013

Are you ready for Christmas?

I nearly am! My hubby had an op at the end of November and isn't recovering as well as expected so has been needing lots of attention (!), however I am catching up and getting organised.

We have been invited to our daughters for Christmas Day, her first time doing the big lunch! there have been lots of 'phone calls about timings etc!

I always intend to make far more things towards Christmas than I ever actually achieve, but I have made my first ever tree decoration...
its not tooooo bad for a first effort, I have given it to our 2 year old grandson for his tree, he was very pleased and ran to put it up. I like the idea that he might keep it for years and know that his Granny made it for him.
I have made him another jumper, he's a little difficult about what clothes he will wear, but anything that Granny makes is apparently ok!
It was a simple knit and reasonably quick. I am making the pattern again for a friend of my daughter's little boy. When that is finished I am determined to carve out some time for my own knitting!!
Have a great Christmas and a fab 2014 xx

Friday, 8 November 2013

Massive Catch Up!

I can't believe how long it is since I wrote on this blog, I swear I don't know where the time has gone, but here we are in November, Christmas looming...oh dear.

The growing season has been and gone, a mixed year, very good for fruit and tomatoes, also some quite good spuds, but very poor for beans, courgettes etc. Allotment is in the process of being cleared, dug and mucked ready for next year. I have already put in some garlic which is through!

My hubby had a fall at the beginning of the year, due to a misdiagnosis and long NHS waiting lists, he is finally going to have an op at the end of the month to repair torn tendons in his left shoulder. He is very fed up and in a lot of pain. He had a pre op assessment appointment this week and we're hoping for the go ahead - concerns over blood pressure etc. Fingers crossed.

I have been knitting and made this...

 a short scarf with a cable running through it, also a buttonhole, made from a skein of Fyberspates Silk Aran I bought at Willowmead Alpaca Farm, gorgeous yarn.
Also a little dress for a sweet little girl called Freya. It is the first time I have knitted in the round, I found it quite difficult  to start with but soon got into the swing. Yarn is hand dyed BFL I got at a local pop  up shop a year or so ago.
I have been to a couple of workshops, have learnt how to wet felt! I really LOVED doing this and plan to do some at home and am gradually gathering together bits and pieces for it.
I went to another workshop where we learnt to make bath bombs....
they were great fun to make and really easy, mine were scented with grapefruit!
also made lip balm and a healing balm (in the kilner jar)


these were such fun to make and so EASY, will definitely be making these again.
I spent a happy half hour making gift tags for Christmas recently, when were in the States a couple of years ago I had a great morning in a huge craft store and bought (amongst other things) some stickers, I got some small brown luggage labels and stuck stickers....
all I need is some ribbon and they're ready.
In other news, our daughter's wedding plans are going well. I need to start looking for an outfit which I'm not looking forward to - hate clothes shopping.
See you soon xx

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

De-stash blanket

I have a LOT of wool! and really can't justify buying any more until I use some of it up.
In particular I have a lot of Stylecraft Special DK, its such a useful yarn to have, great range of colours, cheap, and has a really nice 'handle' - I use it a lot for crochet especially. So decided to make a de-stash blanket and this is where I have got to so far...

badly photographed on my kitchen floor! its probably not to a lot of people's taste, not sure it's mine - but I do quite like the random look, although I find it quite difficult to 'do' random, I spend ages deciding which colour to use next. Also despite it being a de-stash project, what have I done? Yes ordered some wool for it - I know I know but I have run out of two favourite colours so I had to get some more didn't I?

Monday, 10 June 2013

Stylecraft Special DK

Lesley at is giving up the wool side of her business. Stylecraft Special DK that a lot of us use to crochet with is selling for £1.20 a ball plus postage. Grab some before its gone!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Catch up

Well it turns out I am rubbish at blogging, its simply AGES since I last wrote anything. I have tried to keep up with taking pics tho'.  So..

In Feb I bought this..

which I put together....

I also treated myself to this..

which is a big improvement on the old Quality Street tin I have been using since 2003! I had a fun time filling it with seed packets, seed markers etc.

then I sowed broad bean seeds in two trays

and because it was so cold back then in Feb, I also put some of the shallots I had bought into pots in case I couldn't get on my allotment 'til it was too late..

Since then I have also sown butterhead lettuces, beetroot,  dwarf climbing beans ,runner beans,  cucumbers, courgettes, patty pan, butternut squash and planted out 4 rows of potatoes!! so have been busy. The broad beans have been out on the allotment for several weeks now and are doing well. I have put out  the beetroot and some iceberg lettuces a neighbouring allotmenteer gave me.  I have 3 apple trees on the allotment that we planted2/3 years ago, a Gala, Bramley and Russett, they are all full of blossom and I am hoping we will have some apples later on in the year.

See the shallots? looking good! two gooseberries muddled up in there as well.
We are struggling with the allotment this year, both of us full of aches and pains which means we are being very slow but we will get there. When the allotment looks a bit better will take some pics to show you.

When I have time I fill in all the details of seed varieties, date sown, jobs accomplished (or not) in this lovely Garden Journal given to me by my daughter.

On the crafty front I have done very little, I seem to have lost my 'mojo' for some unknown reason, but am trying to revive it by doing a bit of simple stripey crochet.

Hope everyone is well. See you soon xxxx

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Sunday morning and a catch up

Another grey and wet day in Suffolk, we're very tired of them and longing for some sun and warmth so we can make a start on our much neglected allotment. Instead I have made myself a pot of proper coffee and poured some into my new mug given to me for Mother's Day..

isn't it gorgeous?

So, first a knitting catch up. I have frogged these socks, my first effort at socks and I was getting 'ladders' between the needles which was annoying, so have started again on four needles and it is coming along better, though why that should be I have no idea!

I made a cardigan for a baby a while back and his Mum requested a purple hat and mitts so have been busy with those. I made two hats in the end as I wasn't sure of his size but the smaller fits fine so he has another one ready to grow into!

aren't they sweet?

Then we come to getting ready for the growing season on our allotment. We are not the best allotmenteers but we enjoy it very much and love harvesting our own crops.

As we are both working full time, its very hard to get to the allotment every day, so we have developed a system whereby we start pretty much all our seeds off at home and then when they are established we transplant them in the allotment. We have a very small garden and no room for a greenhouse or (my dearest wish) a polytunnel so we use a basic greenhouse which costs about £20 and is really just a metal frame with shelves and a plastic cover. These don't stand up to the weather especially well so every couple of years we need a new one A couple of weeks ago I bought a new one and put it together..

As you see its really quite small but you'd be suprised what we can pack into it! The first things that get sown every spring are broad beans which I adore, picked when they are quite small and the skins are still tender they are completely delicious - yum.
I got these two trays with pots from Aldi for something silly like £1.99 each! they are great and do the job perfectly.

I have also taken the precaution of starting some of the shallots off in pots just in case the bad weather continues and we can't clear the ground in time. There are still some left in the box to go out on the allotment but they are sprouting and I shall have to do something with them soon.
So thats me all caught up  - what are you doing today?

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Mother's Day

A tad late I know and no pics either, so maybe not a very interesting blog to read.... I have three children, two are very good with cards and presents and remembering important dates, the third one finds anything like that very difficult, its not meanness, I think its just total lack of interest and also perhaps not fully understanding that birthdays and Father's/Mother's Days do feel important to people, although his own birthdays etc are important to him so I think perhaps I'm being too generous, not wanting to believe one of my children is just lazy and selfish!

Anyway the other two were brilliant and I was given a beautiful Emma Bridgewater mug, some lovely orange blossom scented tealights and the Great British Bake Off book - such great presents.

We were meant to go visit my mother and take a card and some gifts, but on Saturday evening on the way home from work along flooded roads - boy have we had rain and snow in quantity - I drove into a deep flood too fast and although the car carried on and got me home, it was clearly very unhappy so we didn't want to risk an outing until we had the engine checked out. I had to have a new coil pack (no idea what that is) and the car is working properly again which is good news.

On the knitting front, I have frogged the socks and started again, I have started a scarf with some of the 2ply baby alpaca and am knitting myself a cardigan in Aran. Will post pics soon x

Sunday, 24 February 2013

A one line mention in a magazine!

I may have mentioned that I have a secondhand bookshop in the lovely market town of Framlingham in Suffolk. Well we got a mention in the March issue of Country Living! how about that? my bookshop got a whole line and a bit - yay!!

sorry pics are wrong way round - but how exciting!!

It's been a while..

...since I last posted! I had a post written up and pics taken about spring with hyacinths and snowdrops etc but blogger wouldn't let me upload them despite trying several times. So I got a bit disheartened.

Anyway - I have had a mixed time on the knitting front since I was last here.  Downside is a pretty pink baby cardigan that turned out to be a little monster as the pattern just wouldn't work like it was supposed to - on top of that I forgot to take a pic before I gave it!

Upside is I have bought and been given some gorgeous wool! first I bought some hand spun and hand dyed wool at a pop up shop in Framlingham where I work

aren't the colours lush? you can see I have already started on the bottom one, my first pair of socks!

I have long wanted to try making socks, now that I go to a knitting club I feel I can have a go as there are so many lovely ladies there who are happy to help. I am finding it quite difficult to knit on tiny dpns and there are 'ladders' between the needles, but I think this will get better with practise.
Then these two beauties..

were a birthday present from my daughter - she bought them whilst on holiday in Australia, these came from a shop in Freemantle WA, baby alpaca 2 ply 800 yds in each skein! I have already wound some of the bottom one and am starting a lace scarf, this will be a challenge for me as I am not good with very fine yarn but am determined to learn, the secret may be- daylight and a few rows at a time!!

Bye for now xx

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Simple and delicious pud

I try to resist making pudding during the week, inevitably I end up eating them, believe me when I say I do NOT need puddings!! so if I am going to make one its probably on a Sunday when there is a bit more time and usually extra people to feed. I was rootling through the cupboards and realised I had dried figs and apricots left over from Christmas and that I should do something with them rather than leave them until they are beyond their best. Earlier in the year I made a very simple recipe from Nigella's Express . Basically a sheet of puff pastry, score a line around the edge about 1/2" in, this will create a little puffed up edge when cooked. Mix together a little cream and jam - supposed to be apricot but I had some homemade blackberry so used that instead. Spread this mix over the puff pastry up to the score line at the edges. Then I tumbled on lots of snipped up pieces of dried fig and apricots, also a few sultanas and then some blueberries from the fridge. Finally I sprinkled on some soft dark brown sugar......

then popped in the oven at 170C (mine is a fan oven) for around 25-30 mins and it came out looking like this...

it smelt divine, very christmassy. Gorgeous to eat, slightly chewy and full of flavour. Should probably have egg/milk washed pstry edges but forgot and it was fine.  The original recipe was for thinly sliced nectarines which was delicious. I guess it would work with most fruits though.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Does anyone know?...

....where Alice from HookKnitSpin has gone? if I click on the site I get a message from that she has closed the site, which if true, is really sad. I loved reading her blog Crochet With Raymond, I understood why she stopped blogging on there and was thrilled when she started up again as HookKnitSpin. So Alice  - hope everything is good in your world and that you come back xx

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Hello! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and got the chance to chill a bit and enjoy their families. We had a quiet time for once which was lovely and just what we needed. I took the opportunity to finish some projects and work on others.

This is a little cardigan that had been hanging around for weeks waiting for me to knit the button bands and then sew together - the most hateful job. Its for a baby due in 3 weeks so really needed to be finished, Its a sweet pattern and I like it very much,

A simple guernsey jumper for my little grandson - nice and loose fitting, perfect for layering. He will look adorable in it.

 A headband for my daughter, I didn't think she would wear one but when asked said yes, so out came the needles. Very quick and simple knit. Here it is being modelled!

Then - helping my daughter finish a blanket destined for her future ma-in-law! Poor girl has been working so hard in the lead up to Christmas that she just couldn't find the time so I gave her a hand.

I love the idea of small squares outside a large one, and have mentally filed this away as a future project to think about.

And last but certainly not least... a fabulous Christmas present from my daughter. A gorgeous doorstop, handmade for me, in the image of an allotment shed (but much nicer than my actual allotment shed!).

LOOK at those beautiful embroidered hollyhocks

Sweet peas scrambling over a wigwam

Lavender and a pair of green wellies

and a door. Isn't it truly gorgeous, the girl who made it for my daughter is young and sews beautifully. I love it.