Crochet Egg Cosies

Some time ago while browsing through one of my crochet books, I saw a pattern for some cute egg cosies. This was a perfect project for me, what with having a ready supply of freshly laid eggs from our girls. I decided that half a dozen would be a good number of them to make, obvs. I selected six gorgeous colours from my little (ish) stash of Stylecraft Special DK. Aren’t they pretty colours all lined up together?  

I tried a few times to start off but couldn’t quite get my head round the pattern in the book. I often need more of a visual guide so I took myself off to the wonderful world of YouTube where I found a tutorial almost identical to the book. I followed the basics then added finishing touches from the book once I got the hang of things. This was my first time working in the round and I really had to concentrate. And I mean REALLY.
  

I made sure there was no one else in the house, set myself up in the dining room and counted out loud with each stitch, just so I couldn’t possibly forget where I was.

  

With the first one complete, I was on a roll and went ahead and did a second one in half the time. It took about 30 minutes to do the second one.
 

I left it at that for the night as my eyes were getting very sleepy. I was very pleased with my progress though.

Well, soon after, cushions for Mother’s Day came along which took a while, then blankets were started, so these had gone by the wayside. I’d really wanted to have them ready in time for Easter. Just as it seemed quite appropriate. 


When my next opportunity of an empty house came along ( not very often does this happen!) I grabbed my basket of prettiness and started on no.3. There was another huge gap between this one and no.4. I really wanted that c2c blanket finished and out of the way before I carried on with these. Anyway, this week, that time had come. I was rather excited!


The sun has been very kind to us up here in the north west lately so it had to be a happy yellow colour next. I made it my mission that night to get them all finished.

Ta-dah!


Well that’s the crocheting done. I just wanted to finish them off with some little ribbon tabs. And here they are, rather cute…


I do love it when a project gets finished. I particularly love it they’re quick and easy to make and cute and pretty too. This makes for a very happy Vicki šŸ˜Š

Half way

Morning lovelies, are you having a good weekend? It’s half way through and the weather has been strange. We were expecting a heatwave, hotter than Ibiza, apparently. Well that never happened but  let’s see what today brings. Yesterday morning, Jude was so keen to get into the garden, it was wellies and pj’s and straight out there. With his furry friends too.


We managed our first breakfast in the garden the other day too, it was just lovely. 


It always feels a bit like being on holiday when we eat outdoors. I’m looking forward to doing it lots this summer. And lots of garden hooky is in order too.


I’m about halfway through my two blankets for the kids. I’m alternating between the two to stop the boredom setting in. Here’s the c2c (corner to corner) for my step daughter. I had it with me the other day when I was in the bluebell woods incase I got the opportunity to do a spot of hooky. Sadly I didn’t but I did decide to give it a little photo shoot while I was there. I felt a bit silly, kept looking around to make sure no one was coming! It’s not as easy as you’d think actually. I was looking for the perfectly placed branch to drape it over but could I find any? Nope. So this was the best I could do.


It’s a perfect triangle at the moment, and I’ve now finished the purple side so will start on the pink and it will decrease down the other side.

This is the other blanket, the cosy Kermit stripe for my son.


It’s just over half way done. It’s very nice to come back to working on this one after the purple. You can really tell the difference in the yarn. The purple has a glitter running through it which makes it a bit rougher but this one is made with stylecraft special dk which is so much nicer. Super soft in comparison.


While we’re talking crochet, I did a couple more of the egg cosies I started a few months ago. It’s one of those where I need complete concentration so I can count out loud. Hopefully this week I’ll finish them off and show you the finished product.


Our very own cherry blossom has finally come into its own this week. It’s never been so beautiful, it must be very happy. I wanted to enjoy it indoors too so cut a few sprigs to pop in a vase. It’s looking so pretty in our pantry.


Well, that’s it from me for now. Have a great Sunday, see you all soon xxx

The beauty of bluebellsĀ 


The humble bluebell.  A beautiful and delicate plant in its own right. But when you find them en masse in the bluebell woods, they’re truly breathtaking. I’ve been longing to visit them for ages now but I wanted to wait till they were properly out and for the wet weather to come to an end. I had a couple of hours to kill yesterday and the sun was shining so I took my chance and went to our closest national trust place, Speke Hall.

Now as usual, I did get a bit carried away with photo taking. I just couldn’t help myself though. When you’re there, in amongst them all, you just want to capture every moment because it’s all so beautiful. The photos really don’t do them justice but it’s the next best thing to actually being there in person. Pictures certainly can’t convey the aroma in the air and the sound of birdsong. Anyway, I honestly did restrain myself when selecting which photos to use here. You may not think so but I promise I did! If you’re not a lover of bluebells then look away now…


There, all done. If you’ve got this far then I thank you for sticking with it! Aren’t they beautiful? It’s just like a violet haze covering the ground. The woods are a very special place to be at this time of year.

Blossom time

Hello! Happy May Day to you. I’d love to be able to say that it’s a beautiful sunny day here but unfortunately it’s cold, wet and dreary. So I have the heating on, a mug of hot tea and am curled up on the sofa writing this post and filling it with pretty Spring pictures.

I have a real love of blossoms of all types. There so incredibly pretty, from a distance they almost look like twigs topped with candy floss or marshmallows. 

Here’s some beautiful blossom I pictured the other day when the sun was shining in our very own Oxton Village.


Yesterday we popped to Chester zoo for a couple of hours. We were very lucky with the weather and I snapped these..


Stunning against that blue sky aren’t they?

A couple of weeks ago I took our eldest and our youngest over to Sefton Park to see the blossoms and to fulfill a dream of the eldest. 


She too loves blossoms, and would love to live in Japan where they are famous. At this time of year they celebrate the beauty of spring flowers by picnicking under the blossom trees. So that’s what we did, we had our own little Haname under the blossoms, by the lake in the middle of Sefton park. It was really lovely. We sat opposite this pretty bandstand.


And this was above our blanket..


Gorgeous hey? It’s a shame they don’t last longer. After our picnic, we explored the rest of the park.


There was still an abundance of daffs on display. I love how the cloud is kind of heart shaped and just resting on the top of the hill.


Further round, we came to the fairy glen where there’s these stepping stones across the water. It felt like we were in a faraway place, somewhere completely magical. We made a little friend, he took a monkey nut right from my hand.


He was so tame and let us get really close.

The magnolias were in full bloom, so beautiful.


On our way back to the car, we stopped off in the palm house. It’s amazing in there, so tropical. You can even get married in here.


The colours were so vibrant. This one looks like a bottle brush. Right in the centre of the house is this spiral staircase. I just wanted to climb it, of course I couldn’t.


Well that’s all for today from me, I’m off to do a bit of housework, a little bit of hooky and prepare a fabulous roast for my lot. Happy bank holiday weekend xx

Slow sunny Saturdays

Yesterday morning was one of those mornings, the sun was shining, we had no plans, so just pottered around in the garden doing not a lot. I love days like this. Look at this gorgeous blue sky.


There’s still a bit of a chill in the air but I don’t care, if the sun is shining, I want to be outside in it, breathing it all in. Our dog Pepper is a proper sun worshiper, every chance she gets, she’s there.


Unfortunately she doesn’t get much peace with little Jude around, wanting to play trains on her!


She often moves to try and get away from her shadow..


Didn’t last for long though!


Did you spot the hosta in the background? Aren’t they just the most beautiful, luscious shade of green?


We have to keep a close eye on them when we let the chickens have their run of the garden. They love them. Morning girls!


They are so comical, this one here tried to eat my phone just after I took this. She often pecks at my wellies too when I’m cleaning them out! Just above chicken corner, is our stunning ceanothus, creating a floral canopy over their coop. I wonder if it does so well because of all the chicken manure in the soil. It’s just coming into flower this week, I think it’ll be in full bloom in a couple of weeks time.


I actually made some magazine time too, it felt very indulgent. Especially sitting here in the sunshine with a cup of tea.


Just to the left of this photo, you can just see a jug of French lavender. The smell is divine.


I wish we could have more days like this.

Happy weekend all, I hope you get to enjoy a bit of slow, sunny time in your patch.

Vicki xx

The Big Spring Clean

  
I’ve been in spring cleaning mode for a good few weeks now. When the urge takes me I just have to go with it, it’s completely out of my control. It doesn’t have to be Spring either, it can hit anytime of the year. Although I usually despise the never ending task of housework, there’s something very satisfying about having everything in its proper place and glistening clean. I think almost every room in the house has had some kind of clear out or re-organise.

The white goods have been thoroughly gone over, filters cleaned etc. Grubby handprints washed off the walls, vacuum cleaner serviced. Even the car got a clean! I’ve had a good clear out of toys and am trying to sell what I can. The kids bedrooms are getting a much needed deep clean. I think there’s been about six black sacks so far, a car full to the charity shop and a trip to the tip. And there’s still much more to do yet. It’s going to look great by the time I’ve finished, I do hope they appreciate it.

The dogs haven’t escaped my spring cleaning fever either. They’ve been groomed to within an inch of their lives. I stopped just short of putting ribbons in their hair!

With this big Spring clean underway, I thought I’d share with you some helpful cleaning tips that I’ve found invaluable along the way. Just incase you get the urge too!

Clean the microwave

Microwave half a lemon on high for 2 minutes to loosen food splashes with citrusy steam. Wipe dirt away with a damp cloth. Wash the glass turntable in hot soapy water and wipe down inside too, not forgetting the ceiling of the microwave. Clean the outside with hot soapy water including the buttons and buff dry with a clean tea towel.

Make the sink shine

Fill the kettle and pop it on. Wipe around sides and base of sink with a wet sponge. Put half a cup of bicarb down the plughole, followed by half a cup of white vinegar to clear the drain. Sprinkle wet sink with Vim scouring powder and leave to work. Pop a teabag in a mug & pour on the boiling water. Use the remaining water to rinse off the Vim, making sure you sponge around the sides to remove any stubborn marks. Give the taps a good wipe too then buff it all to a shine with a clean tea towel. Replace dishcloths with clean ones then sit and drink your cuppa while admiring your lovely clean sink!

Freshen your carpets

Make your own carpet freshener by mixing bicarb of soda with a few drops of fragrance oil or essential oil of your choice. Leave it overnight to dry then sprinkle over your carpet about ten minutes before you vacuum to leave them smelling fresh and clean.

Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite..

Give your bed a thorough clean to enjoy a good nights sleep.  Strip all your sheets and mattress protector and machine wash at 40 degrees. Wash pillows and duvet too if they’re machine washable.  If not, get them dry cleaned. Your local launderette usually have larger machines if they don’t fit. Using the upholstery attachment on your hoover, give your mattress a really good vacuum, getting into all the indented areas where dusts collects. Flip the mattress to ensure it gets even wear then spray with a fabric freshener and leave to air for the rest of the day. Wipe all around the bed frame with a damp cloth.  Don’t forget to vacuum under the bed too as lots of dust gathers there. Put fresh sheets on before bedtime and have sweet dreams.

Cut down on your ironing

I’m very lucky to have the perfect room for doing laundry.  Most of my washing gets dried on the victorian airer. Where possible, I hang everything on coat hangers so that most of the creases fall out while they’re drying. This also works the same for the washing line outside.

Dust and cobwebs

Quite often I notice a load of cobwebs have appeared on the ceiling. Use the extension of the vacuum cleaner to get up in the corners and get rid. After that, use the brush attachment to go around the skirting boards and collect the dust.  Using a damp cloth and hot soapy water, wipe the skirting. If you have old, decorative skirting boards like me, you might need to use a brush to get into all the nooks and crannies.

Mirrors and glass

I’ve always found the shop-bought glass cleaners end up leaving smears. The best solution for this is to use a mixture of 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water in a spray bottle. I use either paper towels or a microfibre cloth to wipe clean. This is also great for giving bathroom tiles a really good clean and sparkle.

Don’t be a couch potato

Give your sofas a good clean regularly to keep them looking their best.  They do get a lot of use in our house. Remove all scatter cushions and any loose seat or back cushions.  Collect any money, toys, food or general yukiness. Using the upholstery attachment, vacuum thoroughly including the arms.  Do the seat cushions too. Ours is a leather sofa so I use a leather clean and feed spray with a soft cloth. If yours is a fabric one, spot clean any marks with a sponge and a fabric shampoo. Where possible, switch the cushions around so they get even use. Plump up the scatter cushions and put any washable covers in the washing machine for a freshen up. On fabric sofas, spritz with a fabric freshener.

My go to reference for household tips is this booklet. Some of the tips above are inspired from here but I’ve altered them to suit me.

   

 It came with my ideal home magazine a couple of years ago and it’s great for all kinds of practical advice for the home.

Well, I hope you’re inspired now to go forth and clean and get your homes spic & span and ship shape & Bristol fashion!

Don’t forget your pinnies & headscarves in true 1950’s style!

Bye for now… xxx

Easter treats

Happy Easter everyone!

Yesterday I got that baking bug again, it’s becoming a bit of a habit at the weekends. It was a bit late in the day but I spent the whole evening in The Baking Room , donning my Cath Kidston apron and surrounded by flour, eggs and chocolate. I had some good music playing and multiple cups of tea so it was ok.

First up I made some brownies. These are not just any brownies. These are Creme egg brownies. You can find the recipe here. I didn’t go the whole hog and do the topping but I have done it a couple of years ago and it was oh so good. Super charged with sugar and all things naughty!


Next I made some Easter cupcakes. These too are extremely bad for the waistline, but hey, it’s Easter. Next week I will be starting work on reducing the waistline.


These are plain vanilla sponges with buttercream icing and topped with a cadburys flake and mini egg. Even though it was 11.30pm, I couldn’t resist rewarding myself. Well, I had worked very hard.


On the crochet front, I started to make some cute egg cosies a couple of months ago but put them on hold when I needed to get the two blooming flower cushions made for Motherā€™s Day. I’d hoped to get them finished in time for Easter but haven’t had the time. Here’s a little look at progress for now, and I’ll be back to show you properly when they’re finished.

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Happy Easter to you all šŸ˜Š

Carrot cake and crochet

At the weekend I was once again in a baking mood so decided to have a go at something new, a carrot cake. On went the apron which immediately makes me feel much more like a domestic goddess. I used Mary Berrys recipe but just left out the walnuts as I’m not a big fan. In went the ingredients ready to mix, fresh eggs courtesy of our girls of course.

  
Once these were whizzed up, I added the carrots. I actually got asked by one of the kids if there’s actual carrot in carrot cake. It does make me worry slightly!

  
When I was adding the spices, the smell just took me back to my childhood and memories of my mum baking. They smelt heavenly. Then this image popped into my head…

  
Does anyone else remember Fred from Homepride? He had to feature in most kitchens in the 70’s, I’m sure!

Once the rest of the ingredients were all combined they were ready for the oven.

  
They don’t look too appetising at this stage do they?

While they’re baking, I’ll show you where I’m up to with my latest crochet project. I’m affectionately referring to it as the Cosy Kermit blanket!

  
It does look like it might glow in the dark doesn’t it?

  
It’s 16 stripes, 32 rows in so far. I don’t think I’ve made bad progress for about 12 days. I tried to get at least a couple of rows done each day. I’m still loving the easiness of this one too, not taxing on the brain at all when you’ve had a busy day. It’s just getting large enough to keep my lap warm too which is always a bonus.

Now, back to baking. As the cakes were cooling, I made the icing. Always the best bit in my opinion!

  

The decorating is the fun bit and I was so pleased to find my local sainsburys sold little chocolate carrots to finish it off perfectly.

Ta dah!……

   
    
 
The first slice went to Baby J, unfortunately before he got to eat it, the dog did! She seemed to like it anyway!

I’m actually quite pleased with my first attempt, it’s lovely and moist and the cream cheese icing is not too sweet, just right.

Before I leave you all, I wanted to share these beautiful daffodils with you.

  
My hubby brought them home from work for me. There’s that many I managed to split them into four vases so they bring a little sunshine all over the house.

Vicki xxx

This and that

This last week has been made up of all sorts really, here are a few highlights…


Date night with the hubby. We went to see the very talented Postmodern Jukebox. If you’ve never heard of them, please do give a listen to some of their stuff. It’s amazing. They take a modern song and give it a retro/vintage/bluesy/jazzy twist. It was a fantastic show, full of energy.


Over the weekend, I was a bit poorly and craved comfort food. It all went a bit Mary Berry in my kitchen, I did her Parmesan crusted chicken for dinner which was delicious, followed by blueberry muffins.


These weren’t so good, sorry Mary but I won’t be trying these again. I will be giving her carrot cake a go though this week. Yum!

I treated myself to a bunch of the prettiest tulips I think I’ve ever seen. Don’t they look perfect on my dining room mantle? Especially sitting in their jar with a woolly jar hugger.


I’ve been doing a bit more painting with the chalk paint too.


These are to go with an order from a friend for these painted Kilner jars. I really enjoy doing these. I’m looking forward to trying out some new colours too.

The weather here has been a real treat, blue skies, sunshine and a mild enough temperature to get out in the garden. My hubby has been very busy out there getting it tidied up from the winter. My contribution in the garden is not much, but I am a bit of a perfectionist with a broom. It looks so much better when it’s had a ‘vicki’ sweep! It’s quite a workout too as we have Astro turf and when the chickens have been out trashing the joint, half the flower beds end up on the grass.


This is Baby J’s first proper year for playing out in the garden, and he loves it. Last year we built him this beach hut playhouseĀ and I just know he’s going to get so much use out of it this year.


I have a feeling that these next few months are going to be filled with lots of fun, outdoor play and plenty of warm fresh air. I can’t wait!!

Lavender bags

A couple of months ago I happened on the idea of making crocheted lavender bags. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted them to look like. I couldn’t find a pattern anywhere so I decided to make one up as I went. The tulip stitch here is from a you tube tutorial by the brilliant Bella Coco.  
    

I did a couple of rows of the flowers, I could’ve easily carried on though, I love doing these. They look so pretty. I finished with a scalloped top.

Once I’d blocked it, I sewed it together and was desperate to see it complete with a ribbon through it. Even if it wasn’t the right shade of purple!   

  
  

I think these colours go so well together.

Next job was to make some little lavender pouches to go inside. Accompanied by a glass of vino and a roaring fire, it was very relaxing indeed. Especially with the strong aroma of the lavender flowers!

  
  

So, here’s the finished product, with a better colour of ribbon!

  
 

I’ve decided to try and sell a few over on my Facebook page, just in time for Mother’s Day.

While we’re talking crochet, I’ve decided to start up my own crochet group. The first one is this Wednesday, eek! It’s going to be very relaxed and a chance to sit and have a drink and hook away the evening with likeminded crafters. If any of you local ladies would like to join me, it’s in The Shrewsbury Arms in Oxton Village, Wirral from 8pm. It’d be lovely to see you, I’ll bring my crochet books for inspiration and I’m happy to show you the basics. Just bring a hook and some yarn. I’m slightly worried that I’ll end up sitting there on my own looking a bit silly!