Monday, 30 December 2013

Happy New Year!!!


I know I am a day early in saying this but I don't want to forget as I will be out partying the night away and welcoming in the New Year whilst waving goodbye to the old (hopefully with a glass of Bucks Fizz in hand). What do you like to do at New Year, any traditions that you have for your family?

I have been pondering over the last year, and re-visiting all of my posts since January. That's the best thing about a blog I think, it's almost like a diary with pictures that spark off millions of memories, both good and bad (mostly good here in DT land). So I have chosen some of my favourite photos and made little montage boards that I hope you will enjoy.

I've visited Paris, Cannes and Devon, designed and created multiple felted things, finished a crochet blanket and started another one, made lots of sweet edibles and lots of savoury ones, drunk an aWfUl lot of coffee, made a huge rag rug, sniffed hundreds of flowers, painted several plates, adopted a cat, ooohed over yarn bombing in the park, watched fireworks and sunsets, gazed at blue skies and mourned over grey ones, and thousands of other things!! Amazing what you can pack into a year really. See you in 2014!!! xxx

Friday, 27 December 2013

♥♥ Christmas 2013!! ♥♥

Hooray! We made it! We are on the other side of Christmas and it feels good! Fun, family, chocolate, presents (both the giving and receiving), laughter, Xmas jumpers and seasonal socks!
We alternate which set of Grandparents we visit on Christmas day and this year it was Grandad's turn- the length of time it took for everybody on The Mother's side of the family to open their presents was incredible! What a mountain of gifts to wade through (I was the present fairy...naturally!)

I had a really fabulous haul of presents this year. Lots of craft related gifts...

The jelly rolls I have a big plan for!!

And, as you may know, I love books so always have a lot of them on my list, and if you have any Christmas present money left then these are some I really recommend!! Material Obsession by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke, Kirstie's Homemade Home by Kirstie Allsopp, The Granny Square Book by Margaret Hubert, Hoop-La!: 100 Things to do with Embroidery Hoops by Kirsty Neale, and Mark-making in Textile Art by Helen Parrett. Such gorgeous images and spectacular ideas fill these pages and fill you with an extreme case of the wanties!

I hope you all had a lovely, relaxing Christmas with your family. xx

Monday, 23 December 2013

Dull, Dull, Dull!!

Batten down the hatches!!! Don't venture outside or you will be blown away like Mary Poppins!!! (Especially if you attempt to keep dry with an umbrella.) This weather is bonkers, mad, horrible, disgusting, foul....I could go on but I think Kit's face says it all really...

Tee hee, such a grump. I would show you the other cat's face but he is hiding under the Christmas tree.

I have been baking once more!! Topping up the goodie tins with jam whirls and some special cupcakes for a family birthday. (You may remember I had to practice my piping on the cakes I baked last time.) I baked and swirled icing on them and The Mother titivated by adding some seasonal touches. Cute aren't they?

We have had some very interesting plants enter the house this week. The flowers (in my Glazy Daisy vase!!) were a gift to The Mother and are most unusual. It just shows how bad the light is here as I had to use the flash on my camera and now the flowers look even stranger!! I think they have been painted bright pink although I'm not sure why, I don't understand painted flowers- what's wrong with their natural colour?

And this strange plant (possibly a type of orchid?) is also a gift to The Mother and is really quite tall!! Nearly reaches my middle! The flowers are very pretty though.

I have had my first Christmas present. A huge floral bag which has been adopted by my crochet as a 'travelling crochet bag'. It fits about three layers of wool bundles as well as my blanket in it so is perfect!! Although I'm not sure about taking it out in this weather. (I have to catch a bus later-- eek!!)

For now though I can sit and ponder, crocheting down the rows of bobbles- I have to say, I am LoViNg the bobbles!! They feel amazing even if they do take forEVER to do! Currently entering a sort of sunset colour phase which is a nice change from all the blues that have been happening.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Cake Glorious Cake!!

Good afternoon to you my lovelies! I have had a very busy day today, starting the Christmas baking and buying the last of the presents. You catch me in a quick coffee break- frothy latte and a sneaky taster of today's produce- flicking through the latest issue of Mollie Makes. Can you believe we are on issue 35 already?

Today's baking consists of some mincemeat rolls- really easy, just get one of those JustRoll puff pastry boxes and a big jar of mincemeat. Lay out the puff pastry and cover the whole thing with a thin layer of the mincemeat. Roll it back up and seal the edge with a swish of milk. Cut the roll into slices (about 3-4cms should do it) and lay the slices on a lined baking tray (you may have to re-shape the slices slightly). Sprinkle some brown sugar over the top and pop in the oven at 180°C (fan oven) for 20-30 minutes. Leave to cool before you attempt to take them off the baking tray.

I also made chocolate cookies (most of which didn't make it into the photo, they er...had other things to do!! =D ) And these cupcakes are practice runs for an upcoming birthday party. Later on I have to practice swirling icing on top of them!

I had the most delicious lunch today!! I thought I would make use of the oven whilst it was on and made myself some pizza toasts. Do you make these? They are so simple to make, everybody loves them and they use up your leftovers!!! Baguettes work better than slices but the principle is the same (although if you are using sliced bread, you might want to pop them in the toaster for 2 minutes beforehand for an extra crunch!). Spread your bread (tee hee, that rhymes!!) with a tomato substance, whether it be tomato puree, ketchup, Dolmio sauce... whatever floats your boat, then cover in a thin layer of cheese. Top that with your filling (ham, olives, peppers, salami, mushrooms....), and cover with another thin layer of cheese. I've put some oregano on the top of mine for extra flavour. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes on a medium heat and when the cheese is melted and beautiful then it is ready to eat!! Delish!

 (By Hazel)

My Winter Wonderland swap arrived yesterday!!! So pretty! I love the embossed card above, I wonder if she made it herself or bought it? Must ask. 

(By Alison)                                                      (By Paula)

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Sew & Stitch: Parts 8-11

Afternoon!! I have been working on my Sew and Stitch  project over the last two evenings. It arrived quite early this month (late for November!! Tut.) but I hadn't yet had a chance to start sewing anything. I always make a point of putting a vilene backing on most of the fabrics (unless I am doing turned applique with them) to avoid fraying and making it easier to sew without a hoop- Ziggy wasn't being very helpful though as he is currently obsessed with the ironing board and I had to iron the vilene on around him!

I am thoroughly enjoying this project. And I do mean, thoroughly!!! It's a bit like the ATCs, they are only little to begin with but eventually the project grows until you have lots of it!! Plus it means you have a regular source of creativeness that isn't massively time consuming- great for busy people.
The first square in last months package is a fabulous lighthouse, with the sweetest light at the top. I just love the diagonal stitches!! I do try to make my squares slightly different where I can so that my quilt is totally unique and for this square I made the windows different sizes and worked running stitches on the island instead of the random detached chain stitches.

The second square was a simple and quick one with just two stripes of worked ric rac. (Love the boat house pattern!!)

And the third square was a much more involved boat!! The boat fabrics were bondawebbed down, then stitched with a back stitch just inside the edges of the fabric, which was then worked over with whipped back stitch. I decided to go back round again and just do a simple little stitch to properly hold the edges down as I was worried about fraying. I really enjoyed this square, and even like the slightly wonky flag pole.

I'm so excited about putting this quilt together and embellishing it. The pile of completed squares is growing and they look so fabulous laid out!!

Driving Home For Christmas

Hello my Lovelies!!! I have indeed been driven home for Christmas and have been feeling an Xmassy vibe ever since!! As soon as I got home it was tree decorating time, and even Ziggy got into the spirit (although his was more of a 'sleep on all the decorations' vibe). I brought my MMT laser cut decorations which are now looking splendiforous on the tree, and all of my carefully wrapped presents are ready and waiting to be opened!!

I have carefully inspected The Mother's new wreath and it is even more detailed up close. There seems to always be something new to see nestled behind a sequined cupcake or peeking out from behind the Gingerlady's skirt. A fabulous addition to our favourite decs. (Plus, she has started a new one to go on a different door!!!)

And I opened my first Christmas present today!! Well, sort of. I ordered some Christmas presents from a very talented lady who I know from Facebook and her parcel arrived yesterday!! I only opened it this morning as The Mother is one of those who has a present inside so I had to wait until she was out, and I just had to show you the presentation!!

The lady is called Inken, and her facebook page is called FeltedArtToWear so do pop on over and have a good rummage through her photo album (there is also an Etsy shop for you to wander round). She works with felt and creates all kind of amazing things!!! Scarfs, lanterns, cute characters, baubles, adult size fairy boots...the list goes on and she is fab to follow as she is always posting interesting things. And bless her, she even sent me a Christmas card and some chocolates with my order!! Such a cutie.