Friday, 29 June 2012

recycled cotton...

Just for info... the recycled cotton is by Sirdar. Only £2.20 per 50g ball (roughly). It comes in 8 colours, this one is 'Russet'.

new project...

I have nearly completed my long waistcoat but it's one of those projects that requires concentration so I am only working on that when the house is empty and quiet.

I couldn't resist starting this vest top using the recycled cotton I bought whilst on our short break.

I wasn't 100% sure about the colour choice until I had done a fair bit and now I definitely like it. It's a sort of pale terracotta.

The pattern is from the special issue 'Simply Crochet' by the Simply Knitting magazine team. It works up nice and quickly because the cotton is Aran weight using a 5mm hook.

I'm going to try and modify the pattern a little and not make it a round neck but a camisole style with thinner straps and no bow (ew, bows are not me!). Even with these modifications in mind, the garment may well end up in *E's* wardrobe rather than mine.

and the hotel...

I can't say I would highly recommend this hotel. It was undergoing refurbishment. From a wonderfully old regal building to an Ikea nightmare. Such a shame. The room was clean and fresh but the paintwork was terrible!

...and which genius put reading spotlights just where you want to rest your head against the headboard?

belated photo's...

I've just realised that I forgot to post the rest of our 'short break' pics. It seems a long time ago now.

Lyme Regis (can you see the ammonite lamp post design?), New Forest Ponies, Poole Harbour.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

petal shower...

We've had torrential rain, thunder and lightening here in Lincolnshire today. Harvey and I drove back from his grooming session in the storm. I don't think he was too impressed judging by the speed he shot into the house and straight into his bed.

My poor Linaria has taken a battering and the stone frog has had a petal shower.

soggy herbs...

Wet and soggy herb garden today. love having this little patch to tend to daily (the dandelions spring up every night without fail). Using the herbs in yoghurt dips, in omelettes, with sweet potatoes, rosemary with chicken, pesto sauce...

Definitely the best gardening triumph this year, well ok, the only gardening triumph this year.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

yep, definitely a mole...

Don't tell the dog!

(normal sanity will return shortly; it's the sun, I'm not used to it.)

pssst, it's a mole...

There are moles in our midst...

sugar free flapjack

Another successful recipe, and definitely nice and simple...

One large or two small bananas
One cup of chopped dates (raisins would work just as well)
Two cups of oats
75ml oil (I used olive oil)
One teaspoon vanilla extract

Mash banana in a large bowl. Add dates and vanilla extract. Stir in oil, then oats until you get a sticky consistency. Use a greased baking tin (small) and bake at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

They are delicious warm!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

little creatures hatching...

I have a small furry creature in the making! He has an inquisitive nose, but alas only one leg at the moment. Watch this space...

Monday, 25 June 2012

fairy bouquet

We planted these tiny seeds on 30th March and have had all kinds of weather since including frost. They were a ridiculously cheap 29 pence and even cheaper because it was also 3 for 2. Next year I will definitely be looking out for these again and filling a few more large pots with them. They are called 'Fairy Bouquet' or 'Linaria'. The photo doesn't do them justice at all. They are quite small and delicate but work well en masse.

crochet coasters...

I can't get enough crochet coaster patterns right now. When I've finished one I'm eager to tackle another. When I hit upon a pattern I really like I think I might experiment with different yarns and string perhaps. These are all in cotton. *E* chose a bottle green acrylic for her bedroom coaster which worked just as well.

Sunday, 24 June 2012


I've been a bit off colour for a few days and therefore lacking a bit of get up and go. I've got no staying power with the longer crochet projects but I've been having great fun with shorter ones. I have *E* to thank for that since she asked me for a crochet coaster for her bedroom. I found a quick and easy pattern which i did in her chosen wool and since then I have found four more designs that have been mildly challenging. It seems to be suiting my concentration levels at the moment. Photo's to follow.

In the meantime I have a question...does anyone use 'blogger' on an iPad? I really prefer my photo's to start a post, rather than text. Blogger on iPad doesn't seem to cater for this or am I missing something?

Though, if I have to post text before photo's than perhaps that is better than faffing about with my old netbook downloading photos and generally taking about 10 times more time.

I ran up this little mascot bear on one of the sunny days this week. His little cricket tank top is in county colours.


We nipped over to Louth to see the magnificent crochet lions yesterday. Mr H thought the children would be unimpressed but was happy to be proved wrong. I felt it was a small victory for crochet. They were truly 'awesome' as *J* suggested.

They are touring the country in a glass sided truck. To look at you'd think it was coarse scratch wool but we knew otherwise as we'd been able to touch a sample when we visited The Hubb in Sleaford the day before. 36 miles of Swaledale wool was used to make the lions I believe.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

a short break...

Mr H and I have been away for a few days. A 3 day court case in Bournemouth came up and I think I said something like, 'there's no way you're leaving me behind for that one'. In fact it turned out to be the longest break we've had (from the children) since our honeymoon. Four glorious days and three nights without having to organise four people 24/7. It was much needed.

So, this was the scene that greeted us in sunny Bournemouth last Wednesday evening. At about 8.30pm people were still lying on the beach with very little on, small children were digging in the sand. A paraglider in the sky and a jetrider in the sea. Mr H couldn't resist a chat with the fishermen on the pier waiting for the mackeral to come in. Mostly Polish and Lithuanian fishermen these days it would seem.

View from the pier. In this weather it could be the Mediterranean! I was a student here, but haven't been back for about 15 years. Quite a lot has changed in that time, but there are still hundreds of students.

We had a nice romantic walk through this park. If you stand still for too long you attract a whole scurry of squirrels. We had half a packet of nuts which we thought would be nice to share. The sheer numbers of them gave me the heeby jeebies, they got so close!

A little further along and this new attraction looked ever so slightly tempting (for about a nanosecond)...

Um, nah, no thanks! Not great with heights. We managed to cram in quite a lot in the following days... Poole, Lyme Regis, Bridport, Dorchester, Salisbury, The New Forest and Winchester. Bridport has the most fabulous yarn shop. More photo's and details tomorrow.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

a fine english sunday...

These cricket snaps look pretty much the same every time don't they? Big green lawn, a few trees, white fluffy clouds and lots of boys dressed in white. It would be more interesting to photograph the parents on the boundary.

We played Suffolk today and it was close, we won by 9 runs. *J* bowled 4 overs for 6, and took a catch later in the match.

Meanwhile, large wheeled portable fridges were opened with chilled wine, strawberries and cream and goodness knows what else. Our ham rolls and cheese and onion crisps were nothing compared to the Suffolk picnics! Mind you, one of our crowd did light a disposable BBQ which I thought was brave given that they inevitably smoke when the fat drops through to the coals. It did annoy a few people.

Whilst cricket teas were being eaten (for the boys) I did a bit of cloud-gazing...

I'm getting awful fond of clouds these days. I've no idea why. I haven't stared at clouds much since I was a child, but I'm finding it's similar to meditation. It empties the mind of stressful thoughts.

We came across this fairy ring on a walk around the boundary. What is the theory behind these? Something a lot less exciting than fairies, I'm sure.

Friday, 8 June 2012

coconut, walnut and raisin muffins...

Rain stopped play against Hertfordshire today so we joined Mr H on a last minute booking with Sheffield Magistrates Court. Once there, we hopped on a tram to Meadowhall (otherwise known as Meadowhell), to top up the children's wardrobes after our recent clearing out sessions.

*J* was particularly short of trousers after the sort out. *E* insisted he needed to update his choices to include skinny jeans. His usual preferred long trousers are of the tracksuit type. So, now she has a cool little brother she can be proud of.

Once home, and armed with yet another new flour we haven't tried yet, Mr H decided to try out the recipe printed on the packet for walnut and raisin muffins. The flour is Organic Fairtrade Coconut Flour. Success at last! A batch of muffins that haven't ended up in the bin!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

lacy vest progress...

Oh my, what a lovely slender neck you have Hilda. Doesn't she just wear this colour well? She really deserves a more glamorous name.

My inexperience is showing a little in this crochet project. I followed the pattern to the letter and crocheted the back panel in pattern until it was the stated length. Of course, when you hold it up, or drape it on a model, it kinda grows longer with the weight of it. Remains to be seen whether this is going to be an issue or not.

What a simply splendid waist too. These colour changes are not quite as subtle as I was expecting but nonetheless it brightens up the process of crocheting no end.

Quite frankly my daughter could wear this as a dress, with a lining of course, though it is actually what the pattern book calls a vest, and I call a waistcoat. This is the back view, and once made up it won't nip at the waist so much (it only does this because I have pinned it to Hilda, ouch!). There is edging to do last. I love the bit where it says, 'increasing and decreasing as required to keep flat'. Oh boy. I love a challenge but keeping my edgings flat has not been a strong point so far.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

rainy half term days...

I can always be relied upon to have a rainy half term kind of thing tucked away somewhere. Although I must admit this is presenting a bigger challenge the older the children get. Meet Bill... the hero who saved a 14 year old from boredom today!

We've had painted toe nails, sketching, listening to music (24/7), visits to friends, shopping, reading, homework (with much moaning), sorting out of summer t-shirts (with a big pile for charity ie. 'what was I thinking when I bought that?' but today, after a lengthy lie in, the teenager declared 'I'm bored!'

Note: Those words were totally banned in my childhood! It was a great policy because it meant engaging your imagination. Not difficult.

We love these sturdy cardboard push out, slot together models, though it is a little disappointing that when it says 'makes 4 models' what it really means is that you can only make one at a time. E was rather fond of Bill and says he can stick around until she's in the mood for 'Olen' (the horse).

The random graphics pre printed on the card are what makes these quite arty and interesting. Bill has fish and butterflies and angels and all sorts printed on his body.

Here's where they came from: Kidsonroof Totem Nature

We have Totem City too (when J gets bored with his Playstation; not in the forseeable future then!).

(The prices seem to fluctuate a great deal, I paid £12 for each box of these just before Christmas with free delivery, it might be worth shopping around.)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

a right royal palaver!

I do apologise for my brief absence once again. Just a little blip in general health. If you're going to pass out cold then a GP's consulting room is as good a place as any; gets you a free ride in an ambulance! Oo the fuss, I could have lived without all that.

I'm thankful I was home in time to salvage a little of the Jubilee atmosphere by recuperating on the sofa and watching it all unfold on TV. Husband and children, meanwhile, were getting soaked to the skin at our local village green serving hot dogs and burgers to the masses on behalf of the cricket club.

Today I felt even stronger and made it over to M&D's for a lovely roast dinner. I loved the little table centrepiece Mum had put together using the Silver Jubilee mug I remember from my childhood - I'd have been seven when they had street parties for that! I can't say I can remember very much about that but it's likely I would have been wearing something made out of cordrouy! Three cheers for cords...