Category Archives: Uncategorized

Here comes Summer – fingers crossed

Standard

I have been a bad blogger again.  In my defence, I have been very busy being a wage slave but also busy creating crochet items as well as the usual cooking explorations.

I have decided that it is time that I explored Etsy and Folksy as a seller – this is mainly because I love creating things but cannot possibly keep and wear everything. It is a little experimental as I do not think that I really have the time required to participate in all the marketing and photography which is no doubt essential to realise success on these sites.

Anyways, my little corner of Etsy is called PlymouthMaid too so please take a look.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/PlymouthMaid?ref=search_shop_redirect

Here are the items I am beginning wth:

11756940_10152921592981820_2144686347_o 11768749_10152921592396820_192025248_o 11760528_10152921591061820_119135896_o

Well, I will now wait and see what happens and add other items as I make them,

Other news: it is nearly a year since I made blackberry and elderberry wine so I think, during my annual leave in August, it will be time to bottle and sample it and also harvest berries again i hope.  We seem to be having a strange Summer again with a few hot dry days and a lot of overcast gloom.

I am hoping to try out two new to me recipes shortly so will report back on those next time – am intrigued by red lentil quiche crust and sweet potato brownies.

Advertisements

Autumn Bounty continued

Standard

Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather chestnuts

DSCF4418There has been a lot going on in the woods and hedgerows of my part of England this year owing to the beautiful Summer we enjoyed.   The latest  bounty for harvesting from the wild has been the sweet  chestnuts pictured here. Although a bit smaller then the ones on the supermarket, they are actually a size worth picking up this year – sorry squirrels but I think there were plenty left.

 

Equally beautiful but I assume not edible….

ippipp

Spotted in the woods this morning along with lots of not so pretty relatives. Unbelievably bright colours!

 

Green tomato chutney

DSCF4422

Looks pretty horrible but hopefully will taste good although it is not really for me as I am not a chutney fan.

 

What have I made this month?

 

I have been finishing things for Christmas presents this month including a double bed size ripple blanket which has been nice and snuggly to work under in t e evenings.

DSCF4409DSCF4411

I have also made a star ripple for the first (but not last) time. This was fun to make and grew quickly. I think it will be a cool baby blanket.

 

DSCF4428DSCF4427

 

Completed man socks. That makes four pairs made this year – one for me and three for presents. Wish I could make them a bit quicker 🙂

DSCF4314

 

I also returned to the sewing machine after a long break. I haven’t got much money at present but I do have a large stash of fabric so I made myself a cheerful crazy bag and even made the button from Fimo which is my newest hobby. I love it when I get a fusion of crafts such as beading with quilting, and polymer clay with sewing.

 

The pattern for the bag was one I found online here: http://mypatchwork.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/tote-bag-tutorial  – thank you for sharing it.

 

DSCF4406DSCF4405

 

DSCF4399

 

 

 

 

 

I have realised that I have worked with a pretty limited colour palette for some years – nearly always drawn to pinks, purples, greys on the whole. My next project is one from Lucy at Attic24 and I am shamelessly going to use her colour choices for the Coastal Ripple blanket to force myself to use blues more. Check it out on her blog at Attic24. Here is a preview picture complete in its cute drawstring bag from Wool Warehouse. Admittedly I didn’t really need to buy the kit but is no dearer than buying the yarn separately and it is nice to have the pattern even though I know if off by heart now. I don’t think this one will take long to complete so watch this space.

 

DSCF4432

 

Well that’s all folks! Next post will see us deep into Winter and almost at Christmas so see you later x

 

Oh no, it seems to be Autumn already

Standard

Well I don’t know what happened to Summer as I was all prepared for my two weeks off work, planning picnics and ice-cream, reading and crocheting in the sun but,,, instead we have a chill wind and rather too many showers for picnic comfort. Nevertheless we hit Dartmoor yesterday for some fresh air, exercise and a rather windy picnic.

DSCF4339DSCF4343

We also have an abundance of blackberries in the hedgerow which are begging to be picked and taken home as well as a promising supply of sloes this year. Must remember to take a pot f0r picking every time I go out.

So, I have admitted defeat and embraced Autumn pursuits which has meant more baking, the first soup making of the season (lovely warning lentil) and even my first real foray into home wine-making. This a supposedly very easy Orange juice wine but I have plans for the blackberries. Will report back again on the wine front when things happen.

DSCF4328

 

I have been testing recipes in my new cookbook (Sweetness and Light) but to be perfectly honest, the results have not been brilliant. I have few pictures as they were not photogenic and barely edible in many cases which is more than a little disappointing. The one which wasn’t too bad was Apricot and Ginger cake but it needed a lot more liquid added than the recipe asked for and still came out of the oven very dry.  This is a pic of the Banana bread which was a bit of a heavy brick.

 

DSCF4315

To keep him indoors (who is not keen on my so-called healthy baking) happy, I made a quick Cherry Cake and I report that that went down well.

DSCF4316

 

On the crafty front, I am getting socks finished slowly (not sure about the colours of this pair) and also working on some granny squares which I envisage making a throw with a cosmic theme.

DSCF4320

 

DSCF4347

 

DSCF4346

 

That’s all for now folks.

Retro ‘colour hit’ throw and seasonal food …

Standard

I have finished my circles throw and I must admit I am quite pleased as I was getting a little tired of joining them together. I do love it now it is done and laying over the sofa arm all ready for winter snuggles.  It was a fun throw to make as the colours were pretty random and so did not require masses of thought. I did lay all the pieces out on the floor as it was getting near to the end to make sure I had a good balance of colour as I do have a tendency to keep reaching for same colour palette. It reminds me of Pop Art and Bullseye sweets.

 

DSCF4257

I was really pleased with the way the border came out as I didn’t want a plain crocheted edge feeling that the circles needed something to set them off.  A quick Google search produced this pointed scallop border which adds interest to the  throw. If anybody wants further details on this throw, check out my Ravelry project page 🙂

circles to square1cicles to squares closeup

 

DSCF4270

 

In the cooking department during this heatwave  there has not been much actual baking but I did make a lovely ‘bung it’ tart to have with salad (it involved mushrooms, spinach and blue cheese as well as eggs). Will get round to writing the recipe up soon. We had lots of home made pizza too. I just love the ripe seasonal fruit and veg especially vine tomatoes. I will look as these snaps in the Winter and pine for tomatoes which taste of Summer. I am optimistic that there may be tomatoes from my yard this year (I don’t have much luck with them normally as they seem to succumb to blight every August. The plants are massive this year – amazing what a bit of sunshine can do.

 

DSCF4112   DSCF4258 DSCF4117 DSCF4231 DSCF4230

I have been a bit quiet here lately but now I have a backlog of things to show you so will do more very soon. I also have a new cookbook for sweet but healthy treats and will report about that shortly. Enjoy the sun! Here is Ziggy’s tip for keeping your cool…

ipp

Spring walk in sunshine (whoop whoop) then cake and crochet

Standard

Sunny Sunday

One of my perfect types of day today: sun was a-shining and no work. Into the car with people, dog, food and flask and off to the Moors.  We were in the area known as Cadover Bridge which is only around 20 mins from Plymouth City centre. Oddly it wasn’t very busy today despite it being a dry Bank Holiday weekend. 

Here are some snaps to give you a flavour of just how beautiful it was:

 

cadover 2 May 14

 

 

DSCF4151

 

DSCF4169

 

 

DSCF4171

 

ipp

 

… and then home mid afternoon for a bit of gardening in the yard (planted out tomatoes and sweet peas and some more seeds. Then apple cake and crochet while pizza dough rises for tea.

This is the Easter chicken I made for my lovely old school friend. It is an egg cosy pattern but makes a cute sitting chicken too. I have shown you a picture of the inside below as it has a lining in a contrasting colour which is rather lovely. The pattern is available on Ravelry if anybody wants to make their own chicken 🙂

Eggstremely Cosy Set

 

Sally's chickenDSCF4136

apple cake and cream
… and Apple cake

 

 

 

Catch up needed

Standard

I have been neglecting this blog. Life has just been getting in the way of blogging but I have still been busy making and baking.

 

In the last few months since Christmas I have :

  • finished the man socks which were dragging their heels a little (ha ha I will laugh at my own joke as I don’t expect you to)
  • started socks for Christmas presents but only done one of each so far as I am trying to avoid the boredom of the second sock seeping in
  • started a circles into squares crochet blanket
  • started another ripple
  • made an Easter chicken
  • baked various cakes: apple, carrot and lemon drizzle as well as flapjacks- nothing earth shattering but delicious all the same.
  • planted many seeds: sweet peas, nasturtiums, tomatoes, mange tout, cosmos, various beans and morning glory.
  • discovered Artisan Bread which has now become the OH’s speciality
  • made soups and pizzas – various flavours

Here a few snaps of the works in progress and/or finished and I will try to be a good little blogger and get on here at least once a month this year.

DSCF4113DSCF4118

artichoke, leek, rosemary and stilton pizza (unbaked and baked)

DSCF4110  man socks complete 🙂

 

 

 

 

DSCF4108

 

Artisan bread

 

 

DSCF4106

 

 

 

 

Minestrone soup – lovely

 

 

 

 

Random half pairs of gift socks:

DSCF4128 DSCF4129 DSCF4130

 

I will post some pics of the crochet projects soon but they are still on the camera at present.

Festive greetings and all the trimmings

Standard

I like Christmas

Whatever you celebrate this time of year, I hope you have a happy and peaceful time. I am not religious in the slightest but I love the break from work at this time of year. The chance to decorate the house with fairy lights and all the little decorative bits and bobs I have accumulated over the past 30 or so years that I have had my own home. Many of these were made by the girls when children and they are my treasures. Some favourite decorations were made many years ago and others were purchased a few at a time when funds allowed. All have memories and are part of my Christmas (even the tea bag chimp in his festive jumper!). The little hanging in the fireplace is applique and embroidery and I made it many years ago to brighten the dark fireplace.

tree2_2013

DSCF4062

Festive baking

Something else I enjoy very much this time of year, again when there is time away from work, is the baking of different treats. last year I had a focus on biscotti but this year’s thing is Stollen which I have never before made. My first try is currently trying to rise… I say trying as it seems to be fighting a losing battle against the weight of the fruit and nuts in the dough.  I think I am going to have to be more patient as this dough is not in a hurry.  I used the Paul Hollywood recipe but added granulated sugar mixed with ground ginger to the crust when baked as I liked the sound of that. There seem to be gazillion different recipes for stollen out there in cyberspace and some don’t even include marzipan, now what s the point in that?

DSCF4070

DSCF4073

Festive craft

This year I have made some crochet snowflakes to add to the decorations. The biggest decision was to stiffen them in some way or not. I feel quite uneasy about dipping them entirely into PVA as I worry it may take away the yarny look and feel of the snowflakes. Other options seem to be sugar water or corn starch solutions – both of these worry me as I think they may either go mouldy or attract wildlife. Hmm what to do?  At present I am leaning towards just blocking with water as seeing how they behave. Then, at least, I can reblock with starch at a later time if necessary.

There s a good discussion of these options and methods here:

http://crochet.tangleweeds.com/stiffeners.html#starch

I think I will make chain between them so that I can hang them from the wall arch and they can become part of my collection of treasures. Here they are before and after blocking.

DSCF4069

HAPPY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL

Winter is here – November ramblings

Standard

Ripple Blanket for Dad

I have been trying to get things finished in time for Christmas and am pretty much there now. I can’t post much yet in case the recipients see their gifts early but I can show you the blanket I have made for my lovely Dad as I know he will not see this blog.  It is  a single bed sized crochet ripple blanket which I have been working on, off and on, for the past six months.  I have told you before that I am not good at exercising restraint when it comes to colour:

For those who are interested, I used Stylecraft Special Double Knitting for this and a 4.5 mm hook.

DSCF4030

Winter cooking

The colder weather has meant that we have been cooking and eating some pretty ribsticking food lately.  A gift of cooking apples has led to several lovely crumbles. I don’t really follow a recipe but usually chuck some mixed spice and sugar in with the apple and some oats into the crumble mixture. We like it with Birds Instant Custard – one of the few shortcuts I actually prefer to the real stuff.

DSCF4029

As I took the above snap, I noticed a couple of other ingredients stood on my worktop: Marmite and Golden Syrup!  These two things are so iconic and irreplaceable in  my kitchen. I love the way they are packaged so much too and always hate having to throw the empties out; so much so, that I had a collection of syrup tins at one point until reason took over.

DSCF4036

My newest toy is a pudding steamer which I will try in the next week or two. That is sure to aid the diet 🙂  I have fond memories of apple suet puds made by my Mum in the 70’s although I suspect that any I make now will not be as wondrous as the ones I remember.  Keep warm!

September creations

Standard

Well I have been on a bit of a crafting frenzy in the past month or so. I feel the ‘gifting season’ rapidly approaching and so have been trialing a few things which may become gifts. These have included woolly crochet hats, loomed socks, shawls and one of my favourites, a fish for keeping plastic bags in! The weather has turned pretty grim here so there will be long evenings when the only consolation is that I can crack on with crafting plans.

Here is the first hat which has already been taken by my man to match the scarf I made him a few years ago (I mislaid the yarn for a while) and modeled by a rather furtive looking Ziggy-dog. It is crocheted in a rib stitch and I used a tweedy wool called RY Classic Yarns wool tweed which I have had stashed for a few years. 

DSCF3964

I have also been playing with some crochet fingerless gloves which I think will be great for my freezing office this year and also as Christmas presents for the ladies in the family. The yarns are, respectively, Stylecraft Merry-go-round and King Cole Glitz which were both lovely to work with. There are many patterns for these kinds of gloves and the concept is pretty simple once you get the hang of it.

DSCF3966 DSCF3969

I found a lovely fun pattern on Ravelry for this useful quirky fish who now hangs in my kitchen, I think I will make more of these too.  Look for ‘Fishy the plastic bag keeper’ by Sharon Maher if you want to make one of your own!

DSCF3935

Last, but not least, I completed a loomed shawl made from beautiful yarn (Rowan Creative Focus worsted). I wish I were brave enough to wear shawls in public but it really isn’t a common thing were I live and I feel a bit daft. Even so, I love it and will probably use it to keep warm this winter when I am reading in bed. The pattern is ‘The Artists Palette Shawl’ by Renee Van de Hoy, again on Ravelry.

DSCF3942

Right that’s all for now folks as too much typing means no woolly things being finished and I am told that Christmas is coming! Bye for now.