Thursday, 29 November 2012

Cockermouth and Keswick

We had a day out to Cockermouth and Keswick.  We being myself, Mary-Jane, Auntie Annie, Cousin Elaine (Auntie Elaine to MJ) and Mum.  We had an early lunch at the Lakes Home Centre at Cockermouth.  I had a lovely cheese and relish toasted sandwich.  Mary-Jane had a ham sandwich but was far too taken up wiht everything going on around her.  I drooled over some of the things in the kitchen part, namely Mason Cash mixing bowls.  I do have a fancy for them.  There were some small ones, one pink that matched my big pink one, and a small red one that said 'God Save The Cream' on it.  I am trying not to think about them and how much I want them!
We then went on to Cockermouth.  The first shop we went into, a clothes shop, Mary-Jane walked straight up to the counter and asked the lady for a lollipop.  I was a bit taken aback!  In Chambers in Workington, they have a jar of sweeties that they offer children, the last two times I have taken Mary-Jane, she has had a lollipop.  The lady said she didn't have any lollipops but had a biscuit if that was alright?  Yes Please, said Mary-Jane.  The lady went into the back and came back with a tin of biscuits, gave Mary-Jane one, then put a good handful in a bag for her to take if she wanted one later!  She then put the bag in a carrier bag to make it easier for MJ to carry.  MJ then did a quick tour of the shop and headed straight for the door!
We then had a walk up the main road, and had a look in Fagans.  At the rear of the shop, they have a baking section.  With MJ in tow, I had a whistlestop look around.  Long enough for me to ooh and aah over cake papers and such like.  And long enough for MJ to find some cake papers with tractors on.
After Cockermouth, we headed to Keswick.  It seemed colder in Keswick.  It was around 1degree.  Crisp and cold.  The images are taken on the road between the two places.



In Keswick the market was on.  We had a look then went into the big chocolate shop.  Lots of temptation in there!

Mary-Jane enjoyed her day out.  She was quite tired when we got back.  She said she had fun and protested when it was bed time.  I haven't (touch wood) heard a peek out of her since!

Uncle Ken went home today.  Uncle Frank (Dad's brother) and his son Ian arrived early evening and are now down the pub with Dad.  Mary-Jane took quite a shine to Uncle Frank last time he was here.

Monday, 26 November 2012

My First Thanksgiving Weekend

Mary-Jane has got another cold.  She has had it for a few days now.  I think it may be breaking, fingers crossed.  Either that or it is taking hold of her and getting worse.  She had a bit of a temp most of the day and a runny nose.  Poor little things.  Her appetite is not too bad.  Yesterday she ate everything in sight, today, not quite as much, but still ate well.  She asked for super-duper-soupie for lunch - soup to everyone else.
On Saturday, we had a Thanksgiving Dinner.  It was my first.  I made pumpkin pie, with the pumpkin that Lee kindly sent me.  When I mixing the pumpkin filling, Mary-Jane wanted to be in the kitchen to help Mommy and put her pinny on.  I gave her the left over pastry to roll out, as she was getting excited about seeing the rolling pin.  She also needed distracting from eating the flour on the table!  I sat her in the chair and helped her to start rolling out, then I carried on with the pumpkin mix.  Grandad came through and began to encourage and help Mary-Jane with the rolling.  It was beautiful.  I watched.  The I was inspired as to what to use the spare pastry for.  I was going to do a fancy edging.  With a little of the pumkpin mix left over, there was only one thing to do - make a small pumpkin pie!  So obvious.  A Momma and Mary-Jane Pumpkin Pie Production!

As Mary-Jane wasn't feeling so clever, I decided not to take her to Calder Bridge Autumn Church Fayre.  I was disappointed that we couldn't go, both MJ and I like to go.  MJ's health comes first.  Granma, Grandad, Auntie Annie and Uncle Ken (no relation) went down.  They did very well on the raffles and tombola.  They bought MJ and I a strip of raffle tickets in our abscence, and this is what we won!  A beautiful and well made hand sewn quilt.  I have put it away for MJ, for time to come.  Someone must have been smiling down on us!

We are having heavy rain and high winds at the moment.  I can hear it over the monitor, rattling on Mary-Jane's window.  Her sleep gets quite disturbed with weather like this.
Mum, Auntie Annie and Uncle Ken are going to Lakeland tomorrow.  I must admit that I am green with envy.  I haven't been to Lakeland for well over 20 years and I would go like a shot.  I am telling myself that it is best that I don't go as I can't really get anything and I would be down in the dumps.  This line of thinking is only partially working!  I'd love to look round and drool over their baking section!  All in the fullness of time.  Lakeland is a good 50+ miles from here.  That might not sound much, but with the geography of the place, you are looking at maybe an hour and a half to get there.  Lots of fells and water between here and there!  I may be on a promise for a duo icing kit though, I'm smiling, I've been wanting one for months!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Carrot Cupcakes With Caramel Frosting

I have been in the kitchen again today.  I have made Carrot Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting, especially for Auntie Annie.  Carrot cake is a favourite and seeing how it is Thanksgiving, these were a must.  I took a bit of time perusing for the right recipe.  The one I used was in Betty Crockers 'The Big Book of Cupcakes'.  It also has pineapple and raisins in.  The batter was very runny and I had doubts when I put it in the oven.  I should have more faith.  They turned out fine.  Not as carroty as I thought they would be but delicious all the same!  The frosting is something else.  I love it!  I have never made frosting like this before, but by gum, I shall make it again.

You melt your butter in a pan, then add the brown sugar till it dissolves, then bring it to the boil, stirring all the while.  The add the milk and bring back to the boil, then take it off the heat and leave it to cool to luke warm.  Then gradually add the icing sugar, stirring with a whisk.  Gorgeous.
I have also done my sugarcraft homework.  As it is my first attempt, there is room for improvement.  I liked doing this and can see where and why I need the practice and experience.  For my first go, it aint too bad at all! On Tuesday we shall be shown how to stack the three pieces to make it 3d, and then put some sparkle on it.  It will then rest on a pastillage plaque.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Boston Baked Bean Day

Auntie Annie and I have been beavering away in the kitchen and have made two dishes of Boston Baked Beans - one with bacon and one without.  I liked making these and enjoyed cooking with Auntue Annie.  It is another recipe I shall make again, I may tweek it a little here and there to make it mine.  HK would like buffalo sauce in it or hot pepper sauce to give it a bit of a kick.  HK and I had some for our tea, with chips and a pastie.  What doesn't get eaten tomorrow will go in the freezer.

I also had a visitor today - Sarah.  We haven't caught up for a few weeks, although we have seen each other in Gosforth, mainly when I have been driving and Sarah has been on foot.  I was able to give her her belated birthday present - the Shawlette.  She seem happy with it and it looked rather good on her.  She naturally wore the shawlette in many different ways that had not even crossed my mind, they all looked good.
I was going to do my sugarcraft tonight.  I had bought it all downstairs with me when I put Mary-Jane to bed.  When I came to it, I had left the tracer paper upstairs, so couldn't be 100% on which colour goes where.  I could've guessed, but I was still full from tea, so I decided instead of sneaking back upstairs, I'd do it tomorrow night instead - this is a must to get it to dry intime for next Tuesday.  I am itching to get my hands on some more waxed paper to experiment and play with this technique.  I know I can get some from my 'local' sugarcraft shop in Workington.  I am on a mega strict budget this month, so it will wait till next month, which in reality is only two weeks away!
Mary-Jane had a much better nights sleep last night, so it follows that HK and I did too.  Phew all round.
I have been typically naughty as well with my knitting, I must confess.  The aran jumper that I am undoing to re-knit, well, yes I have cast on this evening.  I need a bit of TV knitting and this kinda fits the bill.  Till I get to the cabling.  It is not an all over cable pattern.  The jacket is knitted all in one, although I didn't chose the pattern for this reason.  It is a Drops Design 109-3.  I do wonder if the yarn is a chunky aran, as what little I have done so far is making a dense-ish fabric.  I am sure it will look fab when it's done - and it will be lovely for the Spring.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Sugarcraft Week 9 - Royal Icing and Flooding

I have had another enjoyable Sugarcraft class this evening.  Despite not doing my homework, I quickly caught up.  What we focused on this evening was doing the outlines of our chosen figures.  These are going to be 3d, so I must do my homework this week, and before the weekend so it is dry for next Tuesday!  I found the piping made my thumb ache after a while, probably because I'm not used to using it this way.  The figure is piped using a 1.5 writing nozzle.  In this instance it can be done using black icing.  Once this is done, the tracer can be taken out from underneath the wax paper.
Before icing starts, prepare enough icing bags.  Disposable bags may work better than re-usable, as the hole at the end needs to be quite small and you don't need a nozzle to do the floodwork.  I made mine from greaseproof paper.  After doing the figure, prepare your different coloured icing.  Add the colour before letting the royal icing down. Put the icing in the bags then put the bags in sealed plastic bags until you come to use them.  Then the flooding starts.  You can't do two neighbouring sections at the same time incase they run.  Bigger areas can be done in a circular motion.  A cocktail stick can be used to bring the icing to the corners.  I started off by using too much icing, on the hat.  I suppose like anything, it comes with practice.
I am excited to learn this technique, as it has a lot of potential - you can do any design - and is fun to do.
I'm still undoing the seams of the aran jumper.  I did some today and got on a lot quicker than last night.  HK thinks I am wasting my time as he thinks the yarn won't be much good, he is now re-advised on this matter!
Mary-Jane had a rough night last night.  She was awake and crying a fair few times, though we couldn't quite pin down why she was upset.  Sometimes we can, or at least get a general idea.  During the night I was getting quite a bad head ache and this stayed with me most of the day, It's just a back ground headache at the moment. 
We went to playgroup this morning.  Mary-Jane really had fun and enjoyed it.  She has started inter-acting with a few of the other children and passing them toys etc, a first for her.  She usually cuddles in close to me when other children come near her.  I also had her playing with play-doh, the making of this is now going higher up my list of things to do!  MJ also called another child by her name, a follow on from last week.  She is making much progress and I'm proud of her for it.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Two Batches of Cupcakes And An Aran Jumper

The weekend has been fairly steady.  HK has been feeling poorly again, he was quite bad yesterday and went to bed when I put Mary-Jane to bed, the same again tonight.  Last night he was insistent that I check on him during the evening.  This was worrying.  I checked on him a few times and he was sound asleep each time.  I hope he feels better by morning.
I have managed to do not one but two lots of baking.  The first was a batch of Orange Marmalade Cupcakes, made on Saturday.  The second I did this afternoon - Banana, Cinnamon and Walnut Cupcakes.  Both are taken from the highly recommended Eat Me!  by Xanthe Milton.  In the background you may notice some haricot beans soaking.  Auntie Annie and I shall be making Boston Baked Beans tomorrow afternoon after playgroup.  We will be making two lots - one with and one without bacon/pork.

I have also been looking at my baking books again.  I am having my appetite whetted by The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days and Betty Crockers The Big Book Of Cupcakes.  With the Betty Crocker book, I couldn't get on with this at all as it was written in American English and all the weights and measures were in cups and such like.  Since putting this book down previously, following a dismal attempt to convert it to English, I have overcome my mental block of Cups.  I can read the book anew and understand them.  So, I shall study it further with fresh eyes and see waht takes my fancy.  There are a couple already.  As we are having our Thanksgiving Dinner on Saturday - a day that suits us all as Mum has a meeting to go to that afternoon - I said to Auntie Annie that I would bake her her favourite cupcakes for Thursday and use some Stars and Stripes cupcake papers.  It is going to be something carroty and something quite chocolately. 
I have sugarcraft tomorrow night and I haven't done my homework.  I feel a bit bad, but time hasn't really permitted.  In the evenings I have been tired, gone to bed early or needed the tranquil headtime that I get from knitting.  I am continuing with EZ Three Lace Pi Shawl.  The yarn is black and I find that I cant do more than two or three rounds before my eyes start stinging.  So I have started Decimal, a cardi from, via Ravelry.  I am using a chenille type yarn.  It is one that I got from the tat shop quite a while back, it's on a cone and there are no labels so I don't have a clue about manufacturer etc.  I just need to keep my fingers tightly crossed that there is enough yarn to do the project.  I think I shall be sailing very close to the wind on this one.
A few years ago, I was given a beautiful hand knitted cabled aran jumper.  It had been knitted as a gift for someone.  Unfortunately the proportions are a bit out.  The chest is at least 62 " and the length is 26".  I have been looking for a cable/aran pattern that I can re-use the yarn.  I have stated this evening to unpick the seams.  I am still unpicking.  I have only freed one sleeve and and slowly freeing the other.  I thought I could get it done so much quicker.  I do feel guilty about undoing someone elses work, but the blessed jumper will never be worn in it's current incarnation and I can't let all that aran yarn go to waste.

Friday, 16 November 2012

ASJ, PI and Auntie Annie

I finished my ASJ last night.  I am pleased with it and pleased that it is finished.  I need to sew buttons on, I didn't really get the chance today.  It is a bit on the big side.  It would look nice with some kind of shawlette of detachable hoodie as the neckline is broad at the front.  The sleeves are 3/4 length and look better than what I thought they would.  They would suit some long fingerless mitts.  Anther big project done with.  I just thought that if I had sewn the buttons on this evening I could've worn the jacket in the morning when we go to the library.  Never mind, it might be raining or I may get chance to do them in the morning.
I have been very good and not started another project.  There is not one that is calling or yelling at me to start, which is good.  I can concentrate on getting work done on others.  I was going to do Revontuli, but I couldn't easily place my hands on where exactly I had place the chart, and I couldn't be diddled to look for it.  So I took up the EZ Pi Three Lace Shawl and have been cracking on with that very well, and enjoying doing it.  I have done seven rounds .  For those of you that are familiar with the wonderful pattern, I am about to start round 11 of the second lace pattern.  There are 45 rounds.  Hmmm, looking at it, I find it difficult to believe that there are only 61 more rows/rounds till it is done.  I have a nagging voice in my head about this and will need to further consult the book about this.  At the moment all I have in front of me is a copied page to work from.
Auntie Annie aka AnnInAmerica arrived safe and sound yesterday evening.  It is good to see her again and to spend time together.  We are planning to make Boston Baked Beans Monday or Tuesday next week.   I am hoping to freeze some.  Auntie Annie also bought me lots and lots and lots of really pretty cupcake cases from the US, I was busting a gut nearly to do some baking last night, maybe tomorrow afternoon, fingers crossed.  The fruit cake is not far off devoured, so I can bake again with a clear conscience!
I have also done a personal first today, with HK's help.  Nothing spectacular, just something I have been meaning to do increasingly, for quite a long time - peel, chop and boil a butternut squash and make puree to bake with.  I now have 665g of butternut squash puree sat in the freezer, ready for use.  Initially I was going to use it, but after a chat with HK, and the way the day was panning out, that I may not be able to get in the kitchen to bake.  I feel like I have wised up to a regular everyday ingredient, I suppose I have done really!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

My First Sugarcraft Flowers Celebration Cake

I had been volunteered to decorate the Birthday cake for Beckermet WI, for it's 86th birthday celebrations this evening.   As I pretty much had carte blanche on design, there was an overwhelming amount of things I wanted to do and try out, or that I had the opportunity to try out.  In the end I decided to go with my original idea (isn't it always the way!) of using the flowers that I had made in Sugarcraft Class.  I had missed the class last week when everything was put together, so I had to wing it a bit try to remember what little I knew of flower arranging.  It is only the second time I have put together a display of flowers - the first without any guidance!  I think I did quite well and I was very pleased with the result.  HK says I should be proud of what I have done.

Orchids, Bouvardia and Veronica.  I did put the cake on a lilac cake plate at the venue.



I can't take credit for the photos - HK took them!  The cake was well recieved and I had many complements

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Sugarcraft Week 8 & An Invitation For Mary-Jane

I thoroughly enjoyed myself at sugarcraft tonight.  No pictures though.  We did a lot of preparation for two projects, that I am looking forward to learning.  The first one is a technique called Flooding.  You decide on a picture, or a line drawing, or even use a patchwork cutter to give the outline.  A good size cake board is covered on the top with wax paper (not greaseproof, as many people had took this evening, as is doesn't particularly come of greaseproof very well).  Stick it down on three sides with masking tape.  Then slide your picture underneath the paper. Stick a tab on the bottom of the paper to help remove it when the time is right.  Then with royal icing and a 1.5 plain tip, trace over the lines.
When this is done, let down some royal icing to a more near pouring consisitency, put some in an icing bag, and fill in the gaps.  The icing can be coloured before it is let down.  You can't do two sections that border each other as they will run into each other.  Once it is all done, it will need to dry for about 5 days.  It looks straightforward, and it may need lots of practice and confidence, but I am really wanting to get cracking and try this.
The other thing we did was to dye ready rolled fondant/sugarpaste and cover a dummy cake and board.  With this we will try and practice different piping techniques.  This will be more for after christmas.
I have also reserved my place on the christmas cake decorating workshop on the 2nd December.  Can't wait.
This morning Mary-Jane and I went to play group.  We couldn't get last week due to us all being poorly with D&V.  The group was very busy, about 20 children.  Mary-Jane was a little shy at first, then found her feet.  When it was singing time at the end, she shone.  She played the drum with a maraccah and then her hands.  She then stood up singing and doing the actions, squealing with delight.  Beautiful to see her like this.
When we arrived, I was told that there was an envelope for Mary-Jane on the table.  Inside was an invitation from Gosforth Mothers Union for their Christmas Party on 8th December.  I got a bit choked.  It is her very first party invite.  I am so excited for her.  The Mothers Union hold a party each year and invite around 50 children.  Being in a room with 50 partying children fills me with dread and I will need something for my nerves!  I can't wait.  I rang and accepted the invitation this afternoon and am smiling everytime I think about it.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Pinny Is Ready To Ride Again!

I have a had a relaxing afternoon at Woodlands Cafe in Santon Bridge, at the knitting group.  We knitted, chatted, drank tea and ate cakes.  Marvellous.  And we talked about baking. A lot.  I am more encouraged to try choux pastry, following much encouragement.  Most people that I have spoken to recently about choux claim how easy it is.  The thought of my own eclaires excites me.  The thought of mastering a pastry fills me with ooooooh-ness!  My baking mojo is coming back.  It has taken a bit of a sojourn for around two weeks.  The pinny wants to ride again!
I have had the last slice of pumkin pie - HK loves it, I am chuffed with that - it tastes much nicer than yesterday.  The vegetable flavour has gone.  It made me wonder whether to give the beetroot pie another go, and leave it a day or two before eating.  I do have some of the mix in the freezer.  It may just be worth giving another whirl.
I still haven't put the icing on the WI cake.  After I got in from the committee meeting this evening and had a very late tea, I didn't want to shift for a bit, then time dictated that it was rather late to be doing.  Time is ticking, so I need to get my finger out.  The there is the decision as to whether or not I do anymore baking for the WI birthday on Wednesday.  I think time will out me on this one.  I do not even have in mind what I could make, so unless I have divine inspiration over night, I may not bake.
I have been cracking on with ASJ.  I am now on the button hole row, so maybe another 5 rows, 7 tops.  I have decided to do this outer band all in the dark purple in the hope that it will give it a more finished off look.  I am still thinking of letting 2013 be the year of fairisle.  I shall continue stash busting.  And play about with lace. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Pumpkin Pie For The First Time

Following on from my Pay It Forward parcel of pumpkin puree and evap milk, this afternoon I set about making my very first Pumpkin Pie.  I even made the pastry - and that came out rather well!  I used American Pie Crust recipe.  The pie came out very well.  The filling was light and airy, reminding me a bit of mousse.  I didn't have any cream to serve with it, but will have next time.  I liked the pie.  It left a sweet after taste in my mouth.  What I found unusual, and found the same with the Beetroot Pie, was that there was a taste of vegetable about it.  This comment is to be bourne in mind with the fact that I am not used to having a vegetable as a desert, just as a veg.  Do you know where I'm coming from?  I am pushing my culinary taste buds in a new and tasty direction.  If I can try (and adore) beetroot roasted with sunday dinner, and beetroot (again) in cakes, the path has been laid. 
I couldn't help thinking that my palette needed something else with it.  Whether cream would fulfil this I don't know.  I thought maybe chocolate shavings, maybe not.  Nothing overly sweet.  The verdict is that I like pumpkin pie.
The recipe I used was taken from the label on the tin.

Mr Snuggles has been getting somewhat very dirty of late, what with Mary-Jane's cold and unwellness, he has been in the call of duty.  As a reward, Mr Snuggles was treated to not only a hand wash scrub from Daddy, but a soak in his very own special bath, with something special in it to help him get cleaner.  Mary-Jane wanted to bath him, look after him and get him clean.  She even wanted to wash his face and hair! 
She is becoming a very loving and caring little girl.  When I say to her that I am having a sit down and a rest on the sofa, she pulls my patchwork lapghan off my shelf and put it over my legs, hauls the bean bag over and tries to put my feet on it.  Today, she clambered on the sofa next to me, put Mr Snuggles on my shoulder/front and said that Mr Snuggles was my blanket, then pushed my chin back so my head was resting on the back of the sofa and told me 'Mummy go bo-bo's'.  Bo-bo's is sleep.  Can't argue with that can I? Apart from to get a tissue to wipe my eyes.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Pay It Forward

I have been the very lucky recipient of Pay It Forward.  Pay It Forward is where you do an act of kindness to someone, instead of you paying the person back, you pay it forward and do an act of kindness for someone else.  It is a beautiful principle.

Today I had a parcel in the post from a dear, dear friend.  As much as I want to shout it from the rooftops who sent it me, I feel in the main that I shouldn't.  I can't really explain why.  Sometimes kindess needs quiet, sometimes it doesn't.  Lee, Thank yous so much for the parcel, and for your thoughtfulness and kindness.  It is more than appreciated.

In my parcel I had two cans of Pumpkin Puree and a can of evaporated milk, sent all the way from the USA. Auntie Annie aka AnnInAmerica is coming to visit next week.  She will be here for Thankgiving (T-Day).  There is talk of a Thanksgiving Meal.  I wanted to help and asked for T-day desert recipes.  A primary one is Pumpkin Pie.  You can either prepare the pumpkin yourself which takes a couple of hours on it's own, or use a can of pumpkin puree.  I have never in my life seen a can of pumkin puree.  And now I have two.

I am planning to make a pumpkin pie hopefully tomorrow.  Presuming all goes well, I shall do another for Thankgiving.  I think it is a day I may adopt.  For the essence of what it stands for.  I have a Lot to be Thankful for.  Lee is part of this Lot.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

A Few Hours Out

I had a few hours at Fobbles this afternoon.  It was a welcome break and good to catch up with the ladies there.  I did a tension square for the next cardi I want to do, one from  Strangely the tension square seemed quite accurate.  I took this as a good omen and cast on.  This evening, I gave into sensible thought and took out ASJ.  I was pleasantly surprised that I only have a couple more inches to do before it is the same length as my new red cardi.  As long as it is in proportion, I don't really want it much longer.  Then there is the Great Stitch Pick Up.  That will run into hundreds of stitches.
Mary-Jane seems better today.  She is eating and drinking more normally.  Fingers crossed now that normal service can resume - once we all catch up with our sleep.  MJ woke up around 4.30 am this morning.  I put her back down after 15 or so minutes, but then no matter what HK and I couldn't settle back to sleep.  We were down stairs for half five.  No wonder I feel shattered now.
My head has been rapidly filling with more knitting projects that I want to do, as well as sugarcraft and cake decorating ideas.  I have made myself stop thinking, joined up thinking has left the building for a well earned rest!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Being Poorly, More Knitting and Not So Much Baking.

We have fallen foul of our health again.  Following Mary-Jane being sick (and the rest) Friday night (at least I think it was Friday night), HK and I were struck Monday night, and oh boy was it bad.  I was okay till early evening when my guts started churning.  I went to bed around 9.30, early for me.  By 11, HK and I were taking it in turns to use the loo.  It wasn't pleasant.  Plus the thought that I couldn't dally on the loo incase HK was in equal desperation to use it, was not a comforting thought, as you can imagine!  We settled back into bed around 1ish, to feverish rest.  Then by 3, I was up again, facing the uneviable dilemma of one end using the facility and the other end needing to use it at the same time.  'Nuff said. 
By morning things had slowed down and we were exhausted.  Thankfully now we are over the worst of it and managed a proper meal for tea tonight (Glamorgan sausages, garlic and herb roast spuds, honey roasted parnsips and gravy).  Mary-Jane is taking a little longer to get back on her feet.  She is sleeping well at night and still saying that she is sleepy during the day.  Her food and fluid intakes are nearly back to normal.  She has discovered Kit-Kats, Kitty-Kats to her, and sliced garlic sausage. 
On top of all that, I have slept funny at some point over the weekend and ended up with a stiff neck.  I have suffered with this quite a few times before.  It has improved today, luckily.  It is helpful that I have had this before as I know the physio excercises and have been doing them.
What a tat-ta.
Here is a round up of some photos whilst I've been incapacitated and off the air:
Mary-Jane looking very sombre in her Halloween dress and witches hat.  She loved the dress and wore it two days on the trot.  And fine she looked in it.

Skeleton in the Casket #2.  I am a novice to piping, so was quite pleased how this turned out.  The cake pan was sent to me by my wonderful friend Paula, along with some other halloween treasures - further pictures to come.  I love this skeleton, I wish I could Halloween bake more often.
This is a belated birthday present for a friend.  It is made with a Malabrigo worsted yarn.  The pattern is Holes To Make Lace by Caitlin ffrench.  It is freely available on Ravelry.  I like it and may have to do one for myself.
I have made a jacket for Mary-Jane.  Petite Panache by Meghan Jones, again available for free on Ravelry.  I really enjoyed making this.  There are two features that I have never done before.  The pleats around the bottom and the way the sleeves attached to the main body.  Apart from the sleeves been knitted seperately before being attached, the garment is knitted in one piece.  The collar is started by picking up stitches.  As you can see, Mary-Jane was not in the mood to try on her new jacket.
An invisible press stud is need above the top button.  Mary-Jane is still not impressed with having to try on her new jacket.  This lack of impressed-ness doesn't do a knitters feelings much good!
A cheeky Mary-Jane in her halloween costume.
In between the  two bouts of poorlyness, Mary-Jane and I found time to make the christmas cake.  Well, Mary-Jane started helping me weigh out things, didn't like me being noisy using the kenwood, but she was there to help stir the cake mix to bring us luck for the next year.  I love baking with her.

I have also knitted myself a kerchief or head scarf.  One of those triangular ones.  I have it blocking on the floor at the moment.  I learnt to use a twisted drop stitch for this small project.  It looks quite effective.  No pictures as yet.
I am now wanting to make another garment.  I've still not finished the ASJ, here is a prod and a nudge to myself to get it done before I start anything else big and new.  I have found a few patterns, from dear ol' Rav for waistcoats in four ply and worsted/aran weight.  I want to use stash yarn, obviously and am doing my best to match up design ideas with yarn I've got.  I'm nearly getting there.  I was starting to get a bit over excited when I was making my final choices over what to do.  I recognised that I was getting tired and probaly wouldn't actually cast on tonight, so I did the sensible thing and backed off.  I hope tonight lucid sleep thoughts won't involve too much of deciding which to do.  I might leave that till the cold light of day. 
Besides all that, I have a new interest in snoods, the 1940's type.  I have a few patterns for these, I just need to identify some yarn and there is a few small projects.  Enough to keep my grey knitting cells leaping with excitement.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Head to Head with bedtime

I am head to head with bed time.  I have seven photos downloaded onto flikr, they will have to wait till tomorrow, apologies.  I have finished the Holes To Make Lace shawlette and it is blocking on a towel on the floor - one of the pictures.  I am happy that it is a short project and that it is done.  The lace work has whetted my lace appetite and I am having thoughts of doing some finer lace work and continuing with one of the shawls I started a while back.  I'm not yet sure which one.  Perhaps the EZ one, that has been most prominent in my mind.  I have reservations that Holes may be too small.  That may just be me, only thing is to check when it has finished blocking.  I don't always remember that shawls sit differently on people that are less voluptuous than me!
Mary-Jane has had a much better day.  She has drank and eaten, although not proper meals.  SHe has been murmering in her sleep this past hour, so I am expecting her to wake soon.  She seemed almost excited about feeling better today.  She did have rather a runny bum (ahem) at one point.  She slept really well last night and even had a lie in.  Tomorrow I'm hoping that she will take more fluids and eat more.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Catch Up

I have a few weeks to catch up on with you!  It started with me getting an almighty cold/flu symptoms that knocked me off my feet and I ended up spending a few days in bed.  It has taken the rest of the time to about get over it.  Come evening time, I have been too tired to even think about blogging.  I have written down in my trusty notepad, things that I want to tell you about.  I will try to get through most things, although not in order of things happening!  The photos will have to wait till another night, unfortunately.
Knitting - I have finished my cardi.  I am pleased with it and have had a lot of wear out of it already.  I have made a jacket for Mary-Jane in the same yarn.  It is called 'Petite Panache' by Meghan Jones.  I got the pattern from Ravelry.  It is knitted in one go, from the bottom up.  The sleeves are knitted seperately then added at the appropriate time.  The bottom of the jacket has pleats, something that I have never done before.  I have also not used this construction method either.  I reallay enjoyed knitting it.  I have started a shawlette for a friend as a belated birthday present.  I am using a skein of Malabrigo from my stash.  The pattern is 'Holes to make Lace' by Caitlin ffrench.  Again it can be found on Ravelry.  It is the first piece of lace work I have done for a few months.  I haven't had the telly on so I can concentrate and I kinda miss it!
Sugarcraft is going okay.  It has been half term this week, and I am back this Tuesday.  Hopefully we should be putting it all together and starting the next project.
I have been sent a fantastic cake pan by a fantastic person.  Paula sent me a Wilton 3D Skeleton in a Casket pan.  I have made it twice so far.  I have been treated to the correct sized piping nozzles, so it looks kinda groovy!  The first one I did the day the pan arrived, just couldn't resist it.  The second on I did was for a NSPCC Coffee Morning Raffle on Halloween.  It was won by a lady who said she was taking it to a Halloween party that night, so I was pleased with that.  On a similar subject, I have seen two Zombie Cupcake Books, they look good and I may treat myself to them using the Tesco Clubcard Voucher Exchange, so they will in effect cost nothing and I shall have them at half the price - now there is one to work out!!
Mary-Jane isn't very well at the moment.  She was sick quite a few times in the night.  She was almost more scared of actually being sick.  That is a new phenomenon to her.  She definitely didn't like her PJ's getting dirty.  She has been tired today and a bit our of sorts as you can imagine.  She has hardly had anything to eat or drink, may be two glasses of squash and half a glass of milk.  At bed time, she didn't was stories or time on the bed with Mommy, she asked to be taken to bed, the poor little mite.  Since then I have only heard her call out once, for Daddy, in her sleep.  Hopefully she will a good and restful night and be ready to drink and eat tomorrow.
Oh - Auntie Annie aka AuntieAnnInAmerica - I'm back and am counting down to your visit! xxxx