Monday, 30 July 2012

Still About

I am still about - We've not had much sleep the last night or two due to Mary-Jane not settling/sleeping well.  Sunday we were downstairs for 6am.  Fingers crossed, tomorrow night I shall have more time to be on here.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Afternoon At St Bees Head

I still have a stinking cold.  Luckily I don't feel as bad as yesterday, so fingers crossed that it is breaking and doesn't linger.

This afternoon, Mum, Mary-Jane and I went to St Bees Head.  The last time I took Mary-Jane there must have been about a year ago, if not slightly longer.  Or was it?  I'm begining to wonder now.  Anyhow.  Mary-Jane was so excited about everything.  So much so that she totally by-passed the swings that she had seen and squealed at from the car.  She announced that she was at the sea-side and at the beach, with out any prompting from me.  She has learned about beaches and seasides and ice cream from telly.  The sea was 'water'.

Once we got on the beach, I let her run free.  She was on a mission to get to the sea.

She did come back when she was called, after a fashion.  She had her 'Cool Dude Shades' on for a while.  I love to see her small footprints in the sand.
The water was soo much fun.  She did loose her balance and end up sitting in the sea at one point.  She was fearless with it.  She wanted to paddle deeper, even when the waves were going over the top of her wellies.  Mr Snuggles took an impromptu dip as well!
Mary-Jane was excited about all the pebbles at the top of the beach.  She wanted to find one for Daddy that she could put in Mommy's bag.
No trip to the beach would be complete without an ice cream!  This is Mary-Jane's very first ice cream cone.  She has only tried small amounts of ice cream, never had a whole one to herself.  She ate it all apart from an inch or so of cone.
We also went into the Hartleys Cafe.  I had a cream scone and Mary-Jane had a butterfly cake.  I didn't think she would want much tea when we got back, but she scranned all her pasta in record time.  She was a very tired an excited little girl.  I have only heard her slightly murmer once since I put her down.  Good, fresh sea air, lots of running around and excitement has knocked her out - I'm sure it will do the same for me!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Stinking Cold

I've got a stinking cold and I'm not impressed.  It's knocking me off my feet.  I'm watching BBC1 - the opening of the olympics.  I'm glad I can touch type.  But why are the announcements in french first?

Mary-Jane has been tired most of the day - it hasn't stopped her running around  most of the afternoon.  This morning Daddy and I took her for a walk to see the cows.  She really enjoys these walks.  It was nice that HK came with us - he didn't want to come with us till I started pulling my face.

Still working on ASJ, thought thing I need a change from it soon.... and an early night!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

A Tired Girl And Pre-Occupation In Temporary Abeyance

I have organised my sugarcraft equipment into my two new sets of drawers.  I was treated to the second set today.  I have also gone through all my baking ingredients and removed all that was past it's best.  I now know what I have got and what I have not got.  My Cupcake Cases Pre-occupation has been in abeyance.  Either that or it was temporarily saited with the organising of things.  I am still wanting to make two different sorts of strawberry cupcakes.  I am toying with the idea of whether the beetroot and chocolate cupckae would work if I used strawberries instead of beetroot.  I will try it and if it works, I shall enter these three for Gosforth Show.  It is a definite that I try to make them before the day, just to make sure they come out right.  But that would lead me to think - what does a Show Judge define as a Cupcake?  The six million dollar question.

Mary-Jane has been tired today.  She has struggled, and been obviously tired, but she has done her very best.  When I put her to bed, she didn't want her storybook time, just to go more or less straight to bed.  However she couldn't catch her sleep and became tiredly frustrated - and crying and screaming.  HK bought her downstairs.  We had a pleasant tea.  Mary-Jane was in a lovely mood - she had some of our 'chippies' and a slice of bread - chip butties are something she has yet to learn about!  She stayed downstairs about 45 minutes, then she came upstairs.  She was curious as to why Daddy was going infront of her on the stairs.  One change of bum later and a small protest that she wasn't playing on our bed, Mary-Jane was on her bed.  She had a few minutes talking to her bo-bo's toys then silence! Woohoo!  Lets hope she has a good night and is less tired tomorrow.

I have done a few more rows on ASJ.  A few rows literally.  Each row has over 425 stitches.  I am nearly two weeks behind on the Mystery Shawl.  I am hoping in the next evening or two, I shall be up for lace knitting, all things permitting and being kind.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

My Latest Pre-occupation

The last day or two have been a bit on the crappy side.  A lot really.  But nothing that I can particularly share with you on here.  Life is starting to tick over again. 

I am getting pre-occupied with cupcake cases.  I have been trawling t'internet and ebay looking at them and comparing prices etc.  I think it is a good form of escapism for me.  Looking at pretty, affordable and functional things.  I'm not in the market to buy any for a couple of weeks, by which time I will have either moved on to the next big thing to be pre-occupied about or will be past bursting point with it all, or will have hundreds of cupcake cases in the post from all over the world via t'internet, on their way to me!

Mum has bought me two packs with matching topper decorations plus two packs of giant muffin cases.  I've never seen any so big before.  It will be fun to decide what sort of cake to bake in them.  I have also discovered square cupcake cases.  These are now on my Must Have List.  I have sourced a few, ready for when the time is right.  If I think on, I'll try and take a photo of all my cupcake cases.

I have not been up for baking the last few days.  I want to go through my baking shelves and have a good sort out and tidy up, and see what needs replacing.  I think caster sugar is top of the list.  The next cakes I make may be Strawberry Crumb Cakes.  My mind may change between now and when I put my pinny on.  More than likely.  Perhaps.

I have not been able to do any lace knitting for a few evenings.  I have not had the concentration or been in the right head space to do any.  I have continued work on the ASJ.  It is coming on well.  I have only about ten ridges to do before I start on getting it to the length I want it to be.  Which will make absolutely no sense to you unless you are familiar with the Elizabeth Zimmerman Adult Surprise Jacket!  If you do knit, it is a pattern that I recomend!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Normal Service

We're having a crappy couple of days, hopefully normal blogging service will resume tomorrow x

Saturday, 21 July 2012


The butterfly cakes were delivered this morning.  I stayed for an hour of so.  I didn't want to be out too long as I felt I'd not spent much time with Mary-Jane over the last few days.

We went to Workington this afternoon.  Initially to Wilkinsons then on to Asda.  After going through and sorting my sugarcraft stuff, I want to get it better organised.  Ideally I would like a large container that houses smaller containers, each of which hold one set of cutters.  I thought a set of drawers would be good.  Where I'd keep them lord only knows - I certainly don't!  Wilkinsons usually do a good selection of boxes etc.  Today they didn't.  They had very little kitcheny stuff as they were creating a new kitchen dept.

On to Asda.  Mary-Jane got very much treated by Grandma.  A few new outfits - all Minnie Mouse or Minnie Red and a Peppa Pig and George Pig toys.  MJ was highly delighted.  HK was treated to a new book he wanted by Dean Koontz.  It was only released a day or two ago and they had on a promotional price.  I was going to get his favourite sweets, midget gems.  I usually get 20 or 30 packs when I go there as we maybe go once a month or so, and these will last him.  However the price had gone up from 29p per pack to 49 per pack!!!  I'd love to know what the explanation for that is.  I have a good bet that come next week, they will be put on 'price drop' and priced back down to what they originally were.  These supermarkets pull this trick so often it's unreal.  Tesco is atrocious for their pricing and offer pricing.  Last week I saw a really good (ahem) offer - tesco brand packet powder sauces were 18-21p per pack.  Or you could buy three packs for the princely sum of £1.  The maths just doesn't add up!!

I have had a go at my knitting this evening.  I have not been able to do any the past two evenings.  I knew I was quite (very) tired when I started.  I decided to have a go with the Mystery Shawl and clue 2.  Clue 3 is out today.  On the first row something didn't seem right.  After doing the next row, it definitely was not right.  I started unpicking, but even then I was dropiing stitches.  The knitting went back in the bag.  I was too tired even to tink.  I then set myself up to do Revontuli.  I was about to start and thought I needed something even more simpler to do.  I put Revotuli down and picked up The ASJ.  Once I found where I was on that, I did that for an hour or so, whilst watching 'The Killing'.

My eyes are absolutely stinging.  I shall be having a very early night.  Did I mention that MJ woke up during the evening last night, just as I had finished the cakes, luckily.  This morning she was crying at 6.30, so she came downstairs after having a clean bum.  No wonder I am jiggered.  Tomorrow I would like a quiet and relaxing day.  If the weather is good, I shall take MJ for a little run out somewhere.  Failing that a walk!

Friday, 20 July 2012

More Cupcakes And Beetroot & Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

I dropped off my cakes this morning.  They seeemed to be well recieved.  By lunchtime I'd had a phone call asking if I could do some more for tomorrow.  Yes was the reply, butterfly cakes will be the order of the day, due to time restrictions.  All I have to do now is give them a light sprinkle of icing sugar in the morning.  And they didn't take too long to do, about two hours from start to finish.


I went into Whitehave to do the week.  I popped into WH Smiths and lo and behold they had all the Baking Heaven Magazines that I have been looking for.  Last time I asked in there about them, they didn't know what I was on about.  I got treated to Baking Heaven and Cake Decoration Heaven.  I've had a quick look at the Cake Decoration, but not a good look - due to being busy!

Here is the recipe for the Beetroot & Chocolate Cupcakes.  They are lovely and moist.

Beetroot & Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 7oz/200g sr flour
  • 1 3/4oz/ 50g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 9oz/250g caster sugar
  • 10 1/2 oz/300g beetroot, cooked and peeled
  • 3 large eggs
  • 7fl oz/200ml sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • Preheat the oven to 190/375/gm5.  Line muffin tin with miffin papers
  • Sift together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt, then stir in the caster sugar
  • Puree the beetroot, then add the eggs one at a time.  The gradually pour in the oil and vanilla essence
  • Gradually pour in and mix the wet mix into the dry mix.  Mix until smooth
  • Divide the batter into the muffin cases
  • Place in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until the sponge has risen

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Playing With Fondant

Just a quickie again tonight.  I am shattered.  I've been up since six, baked cakes this morning, went to craft group this afternoon and decorated said cakes this evening.  I am ready to crawl into bed.  Mary-Iane is murmering, I hope she falls back to sleep.

Two lots of cakes today.  This first batch are beetroot and chocolate, very moist.  I did want to make buttons using a mold to go on top, as well as experimenting with a fondant technique.  Time and energy I thought it may take a bit too long so just stuck them on then put some shiny dust on them.
These are lemon cakes, using the lemon curd that I made last week.  I didn't have any deep cutters so I cut them normally using a knife.  I did want to put runny fondant on but the batch I made was too runny and I didn't have it in me to faff about and get the consisitency right.  Instead I went for the long winded option and rolled out fondant, after I had coloured it.  They are not as smooth as a christmas cake but there is not marziapan underneath to give a smooth surface.
As HK so wisely says, I must practice and practise and not always expect to get it right every time.  Perhaps next time I want to try a new technique on cakes that are for someone else, I should do a test batch.  A good idea.  I'm not going to out myself down, I haven't the energy for that at the moment.  I can't get book/magazine standard cake decoration first time!!

I'll give the recipes either tomorrow or over the next few days.

Good night!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Rare Book and Sorting Sugarcraft Equipment

Mary-Jane, HK & I went out this morning, primarily to get bread and milk - our mini midweek shop.  we had toyed with the idea of going to the Tat Shop at Cleator Moor to find Dad some books for his birthday next week.  Now I know he doesn't read my blog, so I'll tell you what we got him, and you can't tell him either.  We had only been in the shop not even a few literal minutes when my eye landed on 'Watership Down' by Richard Adams.  I know he has a copy of this and other books by the author.  But this copy was a 1976 illustrated copy, may or may not be a first edition.  It is hard backed with dust cover in a presentation hard box.  All for the princely sum of £2.  I have been doing some googling today and found that it's value is between £50-£150.  Bonus.  I am more pleased that we found such a good book, that I know he will like.  The fact that it is a bit of a rare book is just an added bonus.

This afternoon I have sorted all (well nearly all) my sugarcraft equipment out and did an inventory, so I know exactly what I have got.  I quite enjoyed doing this.  Hopefully it should get me motivated to do some.  I'm sure if I make an excess of cake, I have a few friends I can ring up and ask if they want cake.  Tomorrow I shall be busy baking cupcakes for Fobbles.  I have decided to do two different sorts of cake and decoration.  If I have enough time and the day goes well.  The afternoon is supposed to be Beckermet Craft & Natter, so I need to get a wriggle on with my day from the start.  The evening is supposed to be a visit to another WI for a Coffee Evening.  I am going to knock this on the head as I think the day will be busy enough for me.  Plus I may likely need the evening to do the vast majority of the cupcake decoration.  I'll not spill the beans yet as how I plan to do them.  I will deliver them first thing Friday Morning.

My needles have been whirring with the second Cableweave Moccasin.  I am about half way through the top cabling.  After this I will do Clue 2 on Mystery Shawl 28, in the vain hope that I will not start getting behind.  Clue 3 will probably be knitted hot on the heels of Clue 2 in all honesty.  The I will decide what to do for the rest of the week!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Cableweave Moccasins, Rhubarb Muffins and Pear & Stilton Risotto

Fingers at the ready tonight!  Last night I had a firm request from HK to be in bed for 10.30 (yesterday wasn't the best day) so I landed in the bedroom at 10.36.  He wasn't expecting me to come up as asked.  I had only six rows left of the Cableweave Moccasin to complete.  HK said I should have finished it, he would've understood.....

Tonight I finished it and made headway on the second moccasin.  The moccasins are designed by Lynne Rowe and appear in July's Yarnwise Magazine.  I have finished the sole and am in the process of picking up the stitches.  I am really enjoying this project.  It is yet another small quick project, but there are lots of sections to it.  Firstly the sole, then your pick up all the way round and knit the sides flat.  The starting from the toe end, do the cabling whilst picking a stitch up on alternate sides.  Very clever.  I like it.  I may do myself a pair, but not right away.  I don't want to get Second Sock Syndrome.

So here is the moccasin from the front

From the Side
And, well you can see what angle this is!  I couldn't get a good picture of me modelling.  I may have to twist HK's arm to take the photos whilst I model them!

I have done some baking today.  D gave me some rhubarb out of her garden.  I made Rhubarb Muffins.  Again a recommendable recipe - Dad had two as he thought they were so nice - which they are!  I could've filled the papers more, but didn't want to risk them overflowing.  I shall know for next time.

Rhubarb Muffins
  • 300g rhubarb chopped
  • 3tbsp golden castor sugar
  • 300g sr flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 200ml milk
  • 100g butter, melted & cooled
  • demerara sugar to decorate

  • Preheat oven to 200 or 180 fan/ gm6.  Put muffin cases in a muffin tin
  • Mix rhubarb with caster sugar and bake in oven for 10 minutes, then drain and cool
  • Beat eggs with melted butter
  • Stir wet ingredients into dry, then add rhubarb
  • Divide into muffin cases, sprinkle with demerara sugar
  • Bake for about 25-30 mins or until golden and risen.

For tea, HK and I made Pear and Stilton Risotto.  I've not made this for a month of Sundays.  We both really, really enjoyed it.

Pear & Stilton Risotto

This makes 2 very good sized portions
  • 4oz blue stilton, crumbled
  • 3-4 pears, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 6oz risotto rice (arborio rice)
  • 1 1/2 pints stock
  • 3 tbs oil

  • Fry the rice gently for a few minutes in the oil
  • Slowly add all the fluid, a bit at a time, allowing for absorption
  • Add the pears after the  first lot of fluid
  • Stir occasionally
  • Add the stilton when the rice is nearly cooked (all the fluid is absorbed).

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Eve's Pudding, A Walk, New Daytime & Evening Projects

I'll kick tonights post off with the Eve's Pudding recipe.  It's another simple and straight forward one to do

Eve's Pudding
  • 4oz butter
  • 4oz caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz sr flour
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1.5 lbs cooking apples, peeled and cored
  • 2oz sugar optional
  • allspice or spice of your choice, optional

  • Heat Oven to 180/350/gm4. Grease and oven proof dish
  • Mix caster sugar and butter together until light and fluffy
  • Add eggs one at a time with a little flour, mixing
  • Add vanilla essence
  • Add flour and mix till all ingredients combined
  • Slice apples thinly, layer in dish, add optional sugar and spice
  • Cover apples with sponge batter
  • Bake for about 40 minutes

It has been St Swithins Day today, if you hold it or believe in it.  The story goes that if it rains on St Swithins day it will rain for the next 40 days.  We got away with a short, light shower only.  Fingers crossed.

The second clue for my Mystery Shawl came through not long before bed time.  I decided not to start it - I was way too tired to contemplate doing so and didn't fancy the idea of tinking the next day!

I have started a Daytime Project!  A pinwheel cardi cum jacket for Mary-Jane.  It starts off in the middle with dpns, then works it's way outward.  I'm doing it in 10 row stripes as recommended in the pattern.  The original pattern is for a thicker yarn than what I'm using.  I'm using a dk on 4mm, the patterns uses a slightly heavier yarn with 5.5mm needles.  I'm sure I can adapt.  Mary-jane didn't seem too fussed.  She had a brief walk round the room with my yarn, then declared that 'Mommy is busy'.

This evening, I have cast on my second new project of the day.  Cableweave Moccasins by Lynne Rowe.  The are in July's Yarnwise - what used to be Knit.  They will be another shortish project, maybe a week or so till completition.  They are to be a birthday present for someone at the end of the month.  I'm using the same aran yarn as I did the Aran Sweater Tea Cosy in.

I took Mary-Jane for a walk this morning.  HK was trimming the hedges.  We walked round the outside of the house and up Nursery Road.  We walked as far as the bridge, further than we walked before.  We stood on the bridge and watched a few cars on the Sellafield Road below.  On the way back, Mary-Jane asked for pick ups.  By the time we got back she was shattered (and I wasn't far off, and in need of a cuppa and a sit down, MJ is not the lightest these days!). Mary-Jane was sat on Daddy for quite a while after!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Calder Bridge Church Fayre

This afternoon we went to the church fayre at Calder Bridge Village Hall.  Although it didn't seem as busy as previously, I couldn't get anywhere near the cake and jam stall.  I did manage to get one jar of raspberry jam, once the throngs had gone.  I had Mary-Jane with me, so I couldn't wriggle my way in.  I got MJ a knitted giraffe - it looks very handsome, and MJ likes it.  I also got her a small felt teddy in a bed.  I might keep it in her room.

Following a look around, we sat for Afternoon Tea.  It just so happened that we ended up sitting with the same two women that we have sat with the last two times we've been!  They were pleased to see Mary-Jane and how well she was getting on.  I put MJ on the end of the table.  She had a couple of sandwiches and half a scone with rum butter and a tiny tiny bit of blackcurrant pie.
The rain had stopped some time before and we had glorious sunshine, almost a bit too warm, dare I say it!  Mary-Jane and I went outside.  MJ had a play in the play area.
Here she is testing out the bounciness.  It bounced better when Mommy was sat on it making it move!
Mary-Jane had a whale of a time and seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself.  Just as we were about to leave, we almost literally ran into two young boys, one only four months or so younger than her.  There was a bit of a stand off at first, then a swapping and sharing of toys - a bouncy ball and MJ's new giraffe.

As I couldn't get much of a look in with the cakes, whilst our tea was cooking I made an Eve's Pudding.  Very nice.

It was at this fayre a year ago, that I met LA for the very first time, and S (in my own right).  They both told me about M, whom I didn't meet till later.

Aran Sweater Tea Cosy

Another completed project!  Introducing, in all it's glory - the Aran Sweater Tea Cosy!  The pattern is a freebie on Patons .  It is enjoyable to do.  The fiddly bits aren't too fiddly.  I found the pattern easier to follow when the TV was off, I got more done.
I am rather pleased with it and would like to see it on a tea pot!  Seeing it, kinda gives creedence to do mug rugs and mug warmers.........

But would I do another tea cosy?  Maybe, more than likely!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Microwave Lemon Curd

I managed to get a bit of kitchen time mid afternoon.  I made some Lemon Curd (I think some call it lemon cheese).  The recipe I used was microwave one.  It goes something like this:
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 250ml fresh lemon juice
  • 3 lemons, zested
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
In a microwave bowl, mis together the sugar and eggs until smooth

Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest and butter

It may look like this somewhere along the line.  Cook in the microwave at one minute intervals until it is a thick enough consistency to coat the back of a metal spoon

Pour into sterilised jars and allow to cool.  These should last up to three weeks in the fridge.

I made a slight boo-boo with mine.  I thought I could get 250ml of lemon juice out of three lemons.  I couldn't.  I only got about 150ml.  I topped it up with water, thinking that the liquid element would be important.  I then wondered after if it might have been the natural pectin in the lemon juice (presuming there is pectin in lemon juice!)  My lemon curd hasn't set or got thicker very much.  I shall use it though.  It does taste very good, and am sure it will serve purpose in cakes etc.  And if it isn't too thin, I shall try it on my toast.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Cathartic Pattern Hunting And Keeping Mary-Jane Busy

The aran sweater tea cosy, is coming together now.  The fronts and back are completed and joined with the top ribbing.  Don't ask why the back (middle section) looks a good two rows shorter.  I will stretch it, you'll see!  I now need to to the button hole bands, the partially stitch the two sides, then pick up stitches and do the ribbing for the handle and spout.

I am still cathartically looking at patterns.  It is now reaching the deeper eschelons of my knitty brain that I will only be able to do a fraction, if that, of what I am looking at.  It's good to look at new stuff.  I have to remember that I only have finite time, so the time I squander looking at patterns, the less time I have to knit.  I know within myself when the best time to realisitically look and decide the next project.  It is cool to imagine I have the material and time to make at least half the thing I see.  Perhaps this line of thought should be with me when I do decide on what I make - would it give a deeper sense of achievement when I reach completion?

I haved kept Mary-Jane busy today.  She woke up after I came in from the WI last night.  HK has been out fishing today.  I have had Mary-Jane running around the house.  I took her down to Fobbles to drop of a couple of Cross Stitch pictures for Bev - the flower fairy and a small celtic one.  I have also found what looks like small mould spores on the inside of my wizard cross stitch.  This needs a serious looking at.  After MJ had her lunch and I had mine, she was off and away for another run round the house.  The I took her for a short walk - perhaps about 25 minutes, then we came in and went out again to pick up HK.  On the way there, she dozed off for a couple of minutes.

Once HK was home and settled, Mary-Jane climbed up on his knee, relaxed and stayed there for quite a while!  I do believe they missed wach other (I know they did).

Talking of Mary-Jane, new words and phrases that have crept into her vocabulary in the last few days are - How, Why and I Want.  Hmmmmmm.  The first two I don't mind too much.

I have kindly been lent two 30 year old lace knitting books today.  I will tell you more about them tomorrow (time is ticking here and I am ready for bed), they are quite interesting, and amongst other things, explain different types of shawls and how to wear them, as well as the history of them.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

June Cloth Swap And The Introduction of Daytime and Evening Knitting

I received my June Cloths R Us Swap Cloth today.  I love it!  The stitch and the colour are so pretty.  I shall use it in the morning.  The cloth came from Cookie45 in Colorado, USA.  A big Thank You to Cookie45 for such a wonderful cloth!  I don't think mine has arrived with her yet, so I can't post what I made for her.  As much as I like these small swaps, I shall duck out for a couple of months till Gosforth Show etc is over with.

I have been continuing to look for 'Daytime' patterns.  I have found a few on Ravelry.  They are all for Mary-Jane.  I am hoping that I may begin tomorrow.  I have decided to start with a Pinwheel Sweater for her.  I have the yarn all ready for the big push.  I just need to find space to store it down the side of the sofa.  The pile is not quite as tall as the sofa, but I know with a bit of re-arranging there will be more space - or better use of space.  I can just hear HK in my head now, chiming in with very sarcastic comments........

I have posted the picture of my Mystery Shawl on the website - nothing like a bit of showing off!

I have finished one front of the aran sweater tea cosy.  I am hoping to start the other side tonight.  I don't want to start anything else until this project is completed ('Evening' Knitting).  This time will hopefully quieten my head from the ongoing pattern searches and fickleness of what I want to do next.  I have found a Rico Loopy scarf down the side of the sofa.  I had done a few rows.  I now have it sitting next to EZ Pi Shawl, so perhaps I could get that finished before I cast anything else on.  Another good idea - for the moment anyhow!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Busy Tired Bunny

I have been a busy bunny again today.  This morning was the weekly food shopping trip.  This afternoon was Woodlands Knitting group, followed by WI Committee meeting at 6pm.  Followed by jacket tattie and ravioli, some knitting, chocolate sponge and chocolate custard followed by t'internet surfing and then a little bit more knitting.  In between I have been encouraging Mary-Jane to use her potty.  This is the first day of this venture.  She seems to like sitting on her potty, nothing else is forthcoming yet!

I took my aran sweater tea cosy to Woodlands.  Not the best idea I've come up with.  I don't have any thing small, portable, simple or ideal for a kntting group on the go at the moment.  I need to.  Perhaps LA's bag will fit the bill.  I need to dye the yarn first for that.  But before I do that I need to finish the aran tea cosy, as I will be using the same yarn, and it is on a cone.  Guess I've talked myself into finishing the tea cosy before I even start thinking of what the next cast on will be.  It would be good to do a substantial chunk on the EZ shawl.  All easier said than done!

I think I am quite tired, so I shall not waffle.  Until tomorrow!!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Poppity Ping Chocolate Pudding And Mystery Shawl

Todays tasty treat is Poppity Ping Chocolate Pudding.  Very tasty, surprisingly light and takes no time at all to put together.  So if you want a comfort pudding in no time at all, this is the thing to have!  Mine didn't quite come out of the basin perfectly, but never mind.  Everything else made up for it.  I had it with thick custard.

Poppity Ping Chocolate Pudding
  • 4oz/100g Marg or butter
  • 4oz/100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 7oz/225g sr flour
  • 1oz/25g cocoa powder
  • Grease a 2 pint pudding basin
  • Cream butter and sugar, beat in the eggs, one at a time with a little flour
  • Fold in the remaining flour, cocoa powder and milk.  Place mixture in prepared basin
  • Fill the basin up 2/3rds, cover loosely and microwave on full power for about 3 and a half minutes
I have completed the first clue of Mystery Shawl 28.  I have realised that I placed the work upside down for the photo, but I guess you get the drift!  I can't wait for next Saturday now.  I like this gentle excitement.

I tried again to do some knitting in front of Mary-Jane.  It kinda worked.  It wouldv'e worked better if she had not taken the cone, walked around the room with it and talked down the cone!  I'm getting there though.  I just can't sit and do nothing apart from look on.  I do need easy to pick up and put down projects, so why oh why does a part of my brain think that socks would be the thing to do?!

I have pinned myself down and made a list of the possible and definite classes I am going to enter at Gosforth.  I want to be realistic and not put too  much pressure on myself to do lots of things for it between now and then.  There is more to life!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Cows, Suet Pudding And Mystery Shawl 28

Mary-Jane, Mum and I went for a short walk this afternoon to see the cows.  We have cows in the fields to the front and back of us.  This is the field to the front.  I call it the maternity field as there are Momma cows and calves and momma to be cows.


Mary-Jane was getting excited watching the cows - she had even bought binoculars to watch them with!  It was very warm, almost hot, with lots of clouds, but not cloudy.....

We then crossed back over the road, walked around the house next door, ending up at the back of our house.  These cows are young bulls (male cows).  They are quite inquisitive.  Four of them came over to see us, much to Mary-Jane's awe.  She has not been so close to cows.  At first she stayed very close to me, holding my hand, whilst she had a good look at them and their faces.  She spotted their eyes, ears, mouth and noses.
She then got a bit braver, let go of my hand and stood by herself to look at them


For tea, I bit the bullet and did a suet pudding.  HK loved it.  It was based on a steak and kidney pudding, I used mushrooms, onions and quorn chicken style pieces in an onion gravy.  I cooked it in the poppity-ping (microwave), that saved 4 hours of steaming.  It came out very scrumptious!  Give it a go!  I used a 2 pint bowl.

Suet Pastry
  • 8oz/225g sr flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 4oz/100g atora suet
  • cold water to mix
Mix flour, salt and suet, add enough water to make a pliable dough.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead lightly.  Allow to rest for a few minutes before rollling out.  Roll pastry into a circle, cut a quarter out and put to one side for the top.  Lay the rest in a greased bowl, join edges of pastry, press onto sides and rim.  Add filling up to 2/3rds.  Roll remaining quarter out to fit the top of the basin/bowl, dampening edges to seal.  Cover loosely with greaseproof paper.  Put in poppity-ping and cook for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes depending on the w.  The pudding is cooked when it is firm and just dry on the surface.

It will be something I shall definitely make again, and play around with different fillings.  We had it with boiled spuds.  Have it with mash spuds for proper winters evening comfort food!

I have also been put out of my misery and have started the Mystery Shawl KAL 28.  It is looking good so far.  I am using the yarn that Sally got me for my birthday last year.  It is 2 ply 100% merino, hand dyed by Bev (not Fobbles Bev) and it is a sky blue with hints of lavender.  It knits up beautifully, and is very warm to handle.

It is a triangular shawl, knitted from top down.  I am on row 29/48.  It is lacey.  I am very excited with it.  I would have done more this evening but you-know-who woke up, then couldn't settle.  She has now.

Mystery Shawl 28 Starts Today

Mystery Shawl 28 starts today - I am getting excited!  It is over five weeks.  The first clue is today, and I'm itching to go.  I just have to be patient as I'm at least five hours ahead of the US here.  Not that I could make a start with it till this evening!

Friday, 6 July 2012

D's Starry Plum Jam Muffins

I have made a batch of muffins. A new recipe for me, and it they are simple and take no time at all to do! I used the Starry Plum Jam that D gave me yesterday. You could use any jam or preserve, but I would perhaps avoid ones with big lumps of fruit. Lemon curd may work well.

D's Starry Plum Jam Muffins

  • 60z/175g sr flour
  • 2oz/50g soft marg
  • 2oz/50g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 5oz/150g Starry Plum Jam
  • extra sugar for sprinkling

  • Heat oven to 200/400/gm6. Place paper cases in muffin tray
  • Place flour in a bowl and mash in marg. Stir in the sugar, eggs, milk and essence and beat to a smooth consistency
  • Gently stir in the Starry Plum Jam, just enough to give a marbled effect
  • Spoon the mixture to about 3/4 full into the paper cases. Sprinkle with extra sugar
  • Bake for 18 - 25 minutes - until golden and risen. Leave to stand a few minutes before cooling on a wire rack

I have finished the back of the tea cosy. I have cast on the first front but not been able to do any more as Mary-Jane has been awake. I think she has belly ache as she hasn't had do-do's today. The second time we went through to her and bought her through to our room, she asked for medicine. She hasn't had any for a good few weeks. Lets hope she can settle down to a good night. I feel like I may be speaking too soon though......

I am pleased with the tea cosy so far. I think I should be able to get through the two fronts and the rest of it quite easily now I have done a bit and understand the pattern of the cables. The cabled jumper in JAK II is creeping more and more into my mind. Maybe it could be a 'Winter Project'. Maybe.


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Out For Lunch and A Not Quite Felted Bag

I am slightly disappointed with the felting of the bag. It has been through the washing machine three times, once on 40 and twice on 60 degrees. It has partially felted, but I would have preferred it to have felted some more so you can't see stitch definition. I may try to continue to felt it, perhaps another go or two might do the trick.
I am happier with the shape and dimensions than what I thought I would be, so I guess that is a bonus of sorts. It is currently hanging off the airer in the kitchen drying.
I have made a start on my first tea pot cosy. I decided to go for the Aran Jumper one, mainly as I liked the cabling. It is another TV Off Project. I feel I can concentrate and get on better when i don't have one eye on the telly. This is the back. There will be 36 rows. I am now on row 15. I think I will be quite chuffed with it when it is done. I am looking forward to seeing how the cables turn out. Now I just have to find a tea pot that it might fit - best wait till it's done to do that! I reckon it will take me about a week of evenings. There is the back and two fronts, then picking up and ribbing around the handle and spout parts, the front opening and the collar. A lot of fiddly bits. I may well be ready for a simple seam free project after this.
Either that or I will have aspirations to do a big cabled jumper. Maybe like that one in Jane Austen Knits. I am too fickle for my own good - but love every minute of it!
Today I went to see D. We had a good chat and put the world to rights and wound yarn. D made me a wonderful lunch - home made cheese and mushroom quiche with home made potato salad and apple chutney along with lettuce, beetroot, spring onion and spelt bread - home made. I thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful! D kidnly gave me some more quiche to take home - HK and I had it for tea - two jars of apple chutney and two jars of plum jam, one with stars in. I think I shall be baking muffins tomorrow with the jam.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Completed But Unfelted

It has taken me all evening to finish off this bag! I was hoping to have it felted tonight, that bit of excitement will have to wait till tomorrow! In my defence I'm used to doing bags that don't require any sewing up, where handles and bases are integral. Then again it has been a year or two since I did a felted bag.......

The handles have rolled together, they are in stocking stitch, so I am hoping that they will felt together to make a solid handle. To this end I have sewn them back to front, with the wrong side facing. I have also added a closure to the original bag, just to make it more secure. I am worried that it will be out of proportion when it is felted. Even now it seems a tiny bit too wide for my liking at the base. Knitting tends to felt more vertically than horizontally. I did toy with making it a few inches taller, I thought it may make it too narrow an opening. Only felting the bag will give the answers!


I have found a notebook, which I am reserving just for blog thoughts and points to remember.

I have been looking on Ravelry today and my fickle eye has moved onto Tea Cosies. Tea Cosies are a Class at Gosforth Show. I didn't intend to enter this class as I would have to make something pdq (pretty damn quick). Tea cosies could be a short ish project. So there maybe a possibility. See what comes. I have found three patterns that I like - but would they be liked by the judges?! I haven't got much of a clue on judging criteria.

Eric Sykes - Comedian & Writer - RIP

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Start Of Comfort Food Ramblings

I really am going to ahve to start a note book with thoughts and comments to write here. A few times today I have thought 'Oh I'll talk about that or include that in my blog'. Now when I sit here, I am trying to rack my head as to what these thoughts were!! All I can think of is that I decided not to take a picture of the scones I made today as I have put lots of pictures of my scones on here and another one isn't going to be much different!

It's a starting point anyway! I made a batch of scones today - sweet fruit ones. I've yet to sample one - Mary-Jane has. I shall make a cuppa and have one maybe two when I have done here. I also made a macaroni cheese. It is the best one yet, even if I say so myself. The sauce is runny rather than set. It needs a little more cheesiness and I think I am in business! I used a packet cheese sauce and used twice the amount of milk. Instead of adding the philly with the sauce, I mixed the philly with the cooked macaroni, then added the sauce and mixed it all up, sprinkled some grated cheese and banged it in the oven for 15 minutes or so.

I am hoping to get the construction of the new felted bag done tonight. I have finished the base and handles. The body of the bag needs a couple more inches. It's do-able if I get my finger out and don't spend the rest of the evening surfing the net.......

I have had a quick perusal of my BeRo cookbook today. There are a lot of traditional type home cooked and baked foods in there. The suet pastry caught my eye - it is apparantly microwaveable rather than steaming or boiling for hours and hours. Plus I came across some fruit puddings such as Eves Puddding, Countess Pudding and Upside Down Peach and Butterscotch Pudding (I would use pears) that have piqued my interest. Oh my, I have just turned the page and seen steamed pudding - how did I miss this earlier as it is right next door to the tip about microwaving, I don't know - now that is sounding yummy, with lashings of custard of course. I was going to say is this going to be a winter of puddings, but then I remembered it's only the start of July! It looks like October out there but not as cold! Perhaps a Late Summer Of Puddings?! Sounds good to me. Chocolate Pudding, Ginger Pudding, Spotted Dick, Jam Roly Poly and Strawberry Muffins. Comfort food at it's best.

I'm off for a brew and a scone!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Bag Handles And More Rain

I have decided to skip to doing the handles and base of my felted bag. I am doing them all in one colour - the rust. To keep the stripes would have been fiddly. I have already done the handles and am 3/4 through the base. I don't think I will have enough rust left over to do anymore rounds on the bag itself. I don't think it will make too much difference or be too noticeable. Not a lot I can do about it really though!

Mary-Jane has bumped her head today on the door frame and now has an egg on her forehead. She tripped over her own feet, and bump. She cried, but not too much. A few cuddles later and she was as right as rain, just with a bruise coming up on her forehead, the poor little thing. She has tried lettuce today for the first time, in some of Daddy's cheese and lettuce sandwich. She didn't care for it much and gave Daddy the lettuce back and ate the rest of the sandwich!

I haven't had chance to look through any baking books today - I made sure I didn't create the opportunity to do that! I haven't had too many more thoughts about Gosforth Show, other than to consider another item to enter. Last summer I made a lacy summer hat. I remember going wrong so many times and tinking it. This was mainly due to how tired I was in the evenings. The hat ended up being a bit big, even for me. I may get away with wearing it, I'm not sure. It still needs blocking though. That should be an interesting experience!

We have had more rain today. More is forecast. Rain and Showers is the phrase apparantly! I have never known a place to rain so much as here. I am thankful we haven't had the winds and the actual temperature hasn't been low. But all the blessed rain! I think I shall not ever wear light cotton skirts ever again!

I have posted off the cloth today. No pictures for a week or so, until it arrives at it's new home. I was glad to see it on it's way. I won't be signing up for swaps for a few months to give me time (and head space) to do these two Mystery Shawls - and maybe some of the other tons of things I want to do. There are always additions to this list at least every day or two. I have seen a beautiful cape that a raverly/blogger friend has done for her daughter. She is only a month younger than Mary-Jane. I have already been inspired to do one cape - the red riding hood one - and now I like the look of another! Now we just need to blessed weather to be okay for MJ to wear a cape before she grows out of it.......

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Friends of Chernobyl's Children

Last night I actually went out for the evening! I went to Cleator Moor, to the Civic Hall for the Friends of Chernobyl Childrens Fund Raiser. I went last year. The FOCC aim is to help relieve the suffering of children affected by the radiation explosion from the nuclear plant at Chernobyl. It provides family placements for children/orphans from the Mogilev region for at least one month each year and to meet full costs of these visits, which will include optical, dental and health checks as well as lots of loving tender care by extensive fund raising by the FOCC can meet the full costs of all the visits without additional contribution from the host families. Here is to next years event!

My cakes went down well at Fobbles. I have an order now for their Open Days/Exhibitions. I was highly delighted! I am going to take a day or two reprieve from looking at any cupcake magazines or books, just to give my poor nerves a rest. I shall plan and decide what to make next time, much more in advance.

I looked though the schedule for Gosforth Show. At this undecided moment, the classes I may enter are looking a bit like this:

  • 57 Handmade Christmas Decoration - the bauble from last christmas
  • 58 An item in crochet - maybe the hat I made in the spring, maybe
  • 61 Counted Thread Embroidery - Fairy and Wizards, or even the gold, orange and green celtic sampler
  • 66 A handmade bag - might be the one I'm doing now, depending on how it turns out
  • 70 A bookmark - only if I find a pattern that knocks my socks off
  • 77 A hand knitted scarf - the blue one I knitted last summer that I've yet to block
  • 78 A HAnd knitted premature baby item - I'd like to do this, but it will be time dependant
  • 79 Hand knitted tea cosy - again, time dependant
  • 80 Hand knitted item in any ply - golly gosh, this could send me spiralling into orbit! Contenders are - Lydia Shawl, Spiral Doily, winter apple shawl, to name a few off the top of my head.

I think I may leave the Baking Section till next year. I do believe that it would seriously mess with my fragile karma if I entered this year. I would like to. I'm not saying it won't happen, I'm just not planning to. My stress levels will probably be through the roof and I have to think of my poor HK during this time!

Talking of knitting and such like - have you seen the footage of the Knitting Woman at Wimbledon during Saturdays match with Andy Muray? Knitty and the Daily Mail (seperately) are trying to find out who she is. She was knitting something pink and was wearing a Citron Shawl - I have one knitted by my Ravelry Friend Sue in Italy.