Spring has sprung

  

It’s official, spring is here! It must be, as I hung my first load of washing out on the line this weekend. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring it in that night and it got rained on but that’s besides the point! I also managed to go outdoors without a coat on. Baby J and I took a little stroll around the village. I put him in his reins for the first time and patiently toddled beside him as he led me slowly along our road, stopping at every driveway, every stone on the ground and every piece of litter.

  

It may have taken about four times as long as usual but he’s really starting to love his bit of freedom.

  

There’s been lots of little sunshiney doorstep sitting too. It’s amazing what just ten minutes of relaxing can do for the soul, it was just bliss. Especially when there’s homemade cake involved ­čśë

  

There’s a nice sunny little spot in the back garden too, perfect for sitting and chicken watching.

  

Our garden is being lovingly tended by my hubby, he’s working very hard. We’ve still got a way to go to get it ready to open to the public in June. We’ve opened twice before for the annual Secret Gardens of Oxton. It’s a very popular event which has won awards. There’s around 25 gardens that open up for one day only raising lots of money for local projects and charities. I’ll keep you updated with lots of pretty pics in the lead up to it.

My flowers this week are beautiful. Carnations aren’t usually a favourite of mine but the colour of these are just gorgeous. They have that vintage greenish tinge to them which makes them look really fresh & kind of dreamy.

  

There hasn’t been much craftiness happening, still working on the red & white giant granny square. I also managed to bring my sewing machine upstairs from the cellar. That is as far as its gone though, still in its box! I’ll get there, over the next week. I might have to have my first ever espresso too, need to try these out….

  

They’re extremely cute aren’t they?

Xxx

Mod Podge project No.1

We had a bit of a poorly house earlier this week so I decided to make the most of being stuck indoors and do a project that’s been patiently waiting for me for oh, about a year. Not too long then! I bought these name letters to put in Baby J’s room when he was still teeny weeny. I wasn’t sure wether to paint them or decoupage them.

  

His bedroom has a nautical theme. When I was expecting him, I went on a lampshade making workshop and made a shade for his room. 

  

I had some similar fabric in my little stash under my bed & thought it’d go nicely. I started off by pressing the fabric so it was crease free.

  

Then marked out all the letters and cut lengths for the sides of the letters.

   

 

Cutting out the letters was quite nerve wracking as one little mistake would really show up.

  

I managed it, even with my little pair of scissors that I use for paper, card and everything else. If my mum knew she’d tell me off. As every seamstress knows, it’s a cardinal sin to use dressmaking scissors for anything other than material. So here I was, ready to get the mod podge out. I was a little nervous really as I’d not used it before. I think it’s quite similar to deco patch glue.

  

I started with the edges first. I used the sponge applicator to spread the glue all around the edges, it was absorbed quite quickly so u have to work fast.

  

Quite painless really! On with the front. I put the fabric upside down on the table and placed the letter down to it.

  

One down, three to go.

  

There they are, just need a coat all over with the mod podge to finish off. This sets to a hard finish after a few hours. Although this fabric is a lovely thick, quality one, it does tend to fray quite a bit which isn’t good when these just have a raw edge. Once this set though I found it easy to trim with the scissors. 

Time to get them on the wall. I used the little sticky backed pads, a couple on each letter.

   

 

I was quite happy with how these turned out. Will definitely be mod podging again in the not too distant future. Have a little idea already…. x

Homely weekend

I fancied doing a spot of baking on Saturday, so as soon as the little man was having his nap, on went my magic ck apron that attempts to transform me into some kind of domestic goddess. It was going to be a glorious couple of hours of solitude in my kitchen creating yummy chocolate brownies and some choc chip cookies, which taste rather like the ones you get in the bakery with a girls name that rhymes with Billie! After sending my eldest son to the corner shop for a VIPurchase of plain chocolate, I got started on the cookies. Here’s the recipe for them:-

125g butter, softened

100g light brown soft sugar

125g caster sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

225g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp salt

100g milk chocolate chips

Cream the butter and sugars together, then combine in egg & vanilla. Sift in flour and salt then add the choc chips. You should end up with a lovely looking mixture like this..

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Roll into walnut sized balls and place onto trays lined with greaseproof paper and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 7-10 minutes. 

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I do mine for 7 so the middle is still a little gooey, yum! Leave to cool on the tray before attempting to move them. Et voila…

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Don’t do what I did however, after the timer had gone off for the first lot, I turned it off and carried on with the brownies only to forget the cookies still baking to a crisp in the oven, doh! Luckily there was still plenty of cookie dough left to make another 16 or so.

So now to the brownies.

85g butter

140g caster sugar

100g soft brown sugar

125g plain chocolate broken into pieces

1 tbsp golden syrup

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g plain flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

Grease or line a 20cm square tin. Place butter, sugars, chocolate and syrup in a saucepan and heat gently until well blended. Leave aside to cool.

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Beat eggs and vanilla, whisk the cooled chocolate mixture into bowl. Sift together flour, cocoa and baking powder and fold carefully into mixture with a metal spoon. You’ll end up with a lovely bowl of chocolate heaven, scrummy!

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Looks like something out of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory! Anyways, pour it into your lined tin and bake for 25 minutes at 180 degrees. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely then slice into desired portions.

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These went down well with my lot, they take longer to make than they do to get demolished. A little tip, if you have any cookie dough left over, try freezing on some greaseproof paper until hard then cut into little bitty chunks and store in a plastic container in the freezer to sprinkle over your ice cream, it’s delish!

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On Sunday morning, which was Mother’s Day here in the UK, I was treated to a lovely cooked breakfast by my hubby. I got some pretty cards´╗┐ from the kiddiwinks and they’d all contributed towards a pamper session for me in our local salon, I can’t wait. The weather was fine so we spent a bit of time in the garden. The chickens love having a good old root around, it’s quite entertaining just sitting watching them.

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I’m really pleased with how our new girls have settled´╗┐ in, there’s been no squabbles at all and they’re all getting on just fine.

One other thing that happened this weekend which has got me extremely excited is four big bags full of gorgeous fabric, lace and trimmings. 

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My very talented friend Emma had a clear out of her studio and was looking to rehome these bits. I didn’t hesitate! There’s some absolutely beautiful pieces in there, some vintage, silks and pretty lace. I kept looking through it all, got quite giddy with excitement for all the possible projects. My mum would be very jealous if she saw this little lot, if only I’d inherited her talent when it came to sewing.

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These photos really don’t do it any justice. I’m off to fetch my shiny new sewing machine from the cellar, well I say new. I bought it with birthday money from my mum for my 40th in October last year & haven’t had a chance to try it out yet.  Excited & nervous all at the same time. I’ll leave you with this beautiful helibore from our garden, spring won’t be far off now, I can feel it. Xx

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Plodding on

It’s been one of those nothingy kind of weeks here, not much at all going on of any interest. In fact, it’s been a bit bleurgh. Spring has teased us by making an introduction which made me really happy, only to disappear as quickly as it came. The weather here today has been cold, grey & very wet. At least the blanket I’m currently working on is keeping my lap nice and warm.

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This blanket seemed to grow at a fantastic pace in the beginning but as it got larger it took lots longer to complete a row. It’s currently at a grand 31 rows. Not sure how big it’s going to be yet but will just keep going until I a) run out of wool or b) decide that enough’s enough. 

I’ve actually been going through a bit of a crochet lull lately. No idea why, just not been hooking a great deal nor had the urges to experiment with new patterns. Maybe I just need to complete another project rather than have a few all in their early stages. I’m sure the happy hooky hankering will be back very soon, I know that crochet is one of my keeper crafts. You know, how you can try loads of different crafts, some that you might only try the once, like knitting for me. I could do rows and rows (not very well) but just didn’t move on from that. Deco patch, love doing that and it’s so easy, that’s definitely a keeper. My wool collection is definitely growing at a pace too, look at this lot…

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I never realised just how much I had till I got it all out onto the table together. Not doing too bad for a newbie am I?!!

Baby J and I had a nice time at Tots Spot on Wednesday. It’s a lovely group we’ve been going to for over a year now. It’s run at a local church by a group of volunteers. The ladies are so kind, they gave all the mums a little bunch of daffs on our way out this week for Mother’s Day. Mine are cheering up the bathroom windowsill as we speak.

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He loves playing with all the new toys here and exploring everywhere. I really noticed a difference in him this week, like he’s grown up so much. He sat up at the snack table which he’s never done before and then sat down and did puzzles & sticklebricks. He’s starting to play with toys as they’re meant to be played with and starting to understand what I’m saying, although he’s not talking yet. I don’t think it’ll be long though. My little man is growing so quickly it’s scary. 

Sorry that this hasn’t been a very inspiring post, please come back next time…. I promise to have something more interesting to read xxx

Crocus heaven

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We went for a quick walk this afternoon to a lovely little park about ten minutes drive away, right by the sea. We’re incredibly lucky to live so close to lots of lovely beaches and parks. We really need to use them more.  I’d heard that this park was particularly pretty at the moment so had to go and see for myself.  Wow, it was like a crocus carpet!

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There was a cute little home right in the heart of the park especially for the fairies, how adorable!

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This was created from driftwood by a couple of local pirates. Yes, you read right, Pirates of The Black Pearl. I’ll do a post all about it one day, it’s very cool. 

We had a scrummy hot chocolate in the little cafe and had a quick play on the swings, just before the rain arrived. It was a short and sweet visit today but hopefully the first of many. I can’t wait to have lots of picnics and happy playtime this year with baby J.

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That difficult stage

This morning I thought I’d attempt baby bounce & rhyme at the library. We hadn’t been for a few weeks as baby J was becoming quite a handful and not wanting to stay on my lap. So off we toddled, just in time for the wheels on the bus. He managed to stay put for all of three minutes before he was off. It was hard work chasing after him, and there was only so many times I could keep interrupting the others so we spent the rest of the time here

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This was his favourite little place at the library. I think our bounce & rhyme days have come to an end and it’s really quite sad. It was a lovely way to spend our Thursday mornings but I suppose all good things must come to an end.

When we got home, the little man went for his nap & I took a few minutes sitting on my front step with a milky coffee, and admiring the little snippets of spring that have started creeping in.

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It’s so lovely to see some colour outside at this time of year. I can’t wait for everything else in the garden to start coming to life, spring has to be one of my favourite times of year. It’s hard to imagine being outdoors without a coat and feeling the sun on your skin when it’s as cold as it has been lately, especially with the snow. It won’t be long though.

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My daffs on the dining table are at their peak right now, looking beautiful and cheering things up no end. Such a bargain too at 95p a bunch. Something else cheering me up at the moment is my ideal home magazine that fell through my letterbox the other day. Look at those pretty colours on the cover, very springy!

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And a free gift of washi tapes. It’s like they knew exactly what I’d like! Hmm, what am I going to do with them?? Someone else who knows exactly what I like is my very generous hubby. He came home yesterday with this gorgeous rolling pin.

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It matches the shaker he got me a few weeks ago. I’m a very lucky lady. You think he wants me to bake more?!

I’ve managed to do a bit of crochet in the last few days, not as much as I’d like though. Here’s my flowers so far that will be in my flower blanket 

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I have tons more to make yet but I’m quite pleased with these so far.

I’m off to get a bit of hooky in now before bed, Nighty night xx

On my hook

Since I finished the baby blanket, I’ve been wanting to experiment with so many different projects. I’d promised myself that while I was doing the blanket, I wouldn’t stray onto other things and hard as it was, I managed it. The first thing I started was another blanket for my step-son. He requested one in red & white ( his team colours). 

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I decided to do a ginormous granny square instead of lots of small ones. It was suprising how quickly it grew.

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It’s loads bigger now too than when I took this picture. Only trouble is, it takes ages to get one row done, not to mention getting hand and arm ache from all the repetitiveness! I decided I’d get bored just doing this. I needed to expand my new found confidence in crochet.  As you’ll soon discover, I have quite a thing for bunting, so I thought, why not have a go at crochet bunting? First few go’s were a disaster, I just didn’t seem to be able to grasp anything without the word granny in the title. But I wasn’t giving up, if I could master the granny square from having absolutely no clue, then I could master anything with a bit of concentration….and wine..

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Hooray! My first bunting flag. It wasn’t quite what I’d had in mind but it was a bloody good start. The girls at our crochet group also wanted to have a go at bunting and had found a great pattern. On Friday we began, and after  a few wobbles, I managed this..

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I’ve made it bigger since. I’m rather pleased with it and will definitely be making a ton more in the near future. There’s something about bunting that just makes everything a bit more, well, cheerful & happy.

I found a video tutorial on a round centred granny square which looked gorgeous, here’s my first attempt.

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As it was just a sample, I just grabbed two colours that I thought looked good together, but actually I think they are two different types of wool. The yellow seems thicker and just a different consistency to the blue. It took a bit of tugging & smoothing to make it look even & flat. I’m still very much a newbie in the wooly world so forgive me if I’m not using the correct terms. They just didn’t seem right together so I’ll know for future projects to get the same brand of wool. It’s all a case of learning as I go and I’m absolutely loving it. Why have I not done this before now?? I love getting that sense of accomplishment when you finish something, especially when it actually looks like it’s supposed to!

Now, this is what I’m really itching to get my teeth into. Isn’t it a beauty??

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My hubby said he’d be very impressed if I managed it, so I’ve taken that as a challenge! I’ve made a little start…

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Now don’t look too closely at this one cause I went wrong. I was struggling a bit reading the complicated instructions on the pattern and thought it had told me to do 11 in the round and not 12. If I’d really thought about it maybe I’d have realised that it needed to be an even number, but hey, my brain was frazzled by this point. I’ve been making a start on some of the flowers, they’re looking really colourful. This is going to be a real labour of love, according to the pattern, I’d need 96 flowers just to make a small blanket!! Maybe I’ll have it finished in time for Christmas.

I’ll keep you posted on progress, happy hooking xxx