Work-in-progress

I’ve got so many projects on the go at the moment that I thought I’d share them. I think it’s the heat and humidity that’s been taking it’s toll on my ability to finish these (well that and the fact that it’s school holidays). I’ll get there though!

First of all I have my next baby comforter. It’s in shades of pink for a girl (obviously).

flower granny square

comforter pieces

I should finish the other 2 squares soon and then I can have this one finished. I’d like to make a blue one as well, although I have a lovely soft green yarn, so it might end up in blue and green!

Next is a present for my daughter. She asked for it quite a while ago and after her fabulous school report I decided I would get round to making her something.

Dinosaur body

It’s going to be a dinosaur, a stegosaurus I think. The pattern is from LGC: Knitting and Crochet issue 62. They have loads of free patterns on the website too and they knit up fairly quickly. My daughter has been bonkers about dinosaurs for ages, so this one seemed very appropriate.

Finally there’s my latest granny square blanket. This one has been in progress for some considerable time as I ran out of blue yarn. But I’m on the final lap of this now, just finishing off the frilly scalloped edging.

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blanket close up

This is my largest blanket to date and looks good for a cot, or as a small throw. It’s inspired me to make a more colourful blanket with different granny squares. I have a bag of other squares and a couple of half finished amigurumi rabbits and chicks too. I wish there were more hours in the day to do everything, but it’s hard finding the time when you’re entertaining a 5 year old!

Happy Summer Holidays
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Crafting in the sun

I can’t believe how hot it’s been so far this Summer.  And it’s the school holidays too!  I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been struggling to do anything let alone any crafting.

My house has a South facing back garden with the patio is raised above the garden and it’s been like a sauna sitting out.  I’ve been hiding inside as much as I can but that hasn’t been easy either.

I struggle to knit in the summer as my hands get very hot which often makes my needles stick or worse, squeak.  But this year I’ve been using my bamboo knitting needles and I’ve managed to start a new knitting project as a well done present for my daughters’ brilliant school report.

I have also managed to do a little crochet, but I’ve found using yarn a very hot business, so I’ve been making some cards ready for personalisation and orders.

Card insert

I’ve taken a liking to ripping paper!

I’m looking forward to some slightly cooler, or at least less humid weather so I can get on with some more crafts.

Happy crafting
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Summer Reading Challenge

The first week of the school summer holidays and we’re at the local library to look at the summer reading challenge.  We found a flyer in the school reception area and it’s all about myths and legends this year.  It seems there is a challenge every year to encourage children of all ages to read even though they aren’t in school.  My daughter is a very keen reader and the theme has really captured her imagination as she loves dinosaurs and dragons!

Mythical Maze

Having registered with the library staff, she’s been given a little pack of reading puzzles and accompanying activities to do in the library, at home and online. It’s a great use of different technologies, with an app and website as well as paper activities to do. So we’ve spotted Leprechauns and Minotaurs, Mermaids and Dragons, and Spiders and Medusa! She’s been colouring in loads of pictures and we’ve chosen 8 books for her to read, covering a variety of subjects. There are prizes along the way for the number of books read and she can’t wait to get to 6 and get a set of stickers! So keep an eye on the facebook page for what we get up to with those!

Happy Summer
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Jam Tarts

This weekend was the Summer Fair and I made plenty of scones and biscuits. I didn’t have quite enough ingredients for another batch of fruit scones so I decided to take the plunge and make some jam tarts. To most people this wouldn’t seem a particularly daunting task, however, I have managed to get into my 40’s without ever having made pastry! Watching countless cookery shows and the Great British Bakeoff has completely scared me off making pastry before.

I always remember my Mum making fruit pies when I was little, and her pastry was great. She used to make a jam tart for me and my brother with the offcuts. So no pressure at all (not..)

Anyway, I had a quick look through Delia’s Complete Cookery course and remembered the ‘half fat to flour’ regimine that had been drummed into me at some point. Out came the butter, flour and a little bit of lard (Mum always swore that lard made the best pastry). I added some water as directed and ended up with a lovely ball of pastry dough. I made a second batch and put them in the fridge to rest, while I went out on a last minute panic shopping trip to the corner shop as I didn’t have any jam to fill the tarts with.

After a half-hour rest, the pastry was cool and ready to roll. I used my new pastry cutters to make the cases and each batch made a dozen tarts.

Blackcurrant Jam Tarts

Strawberry Jam Tarts

I overfilled a few of the cases, but they looked ok I think. And oh what joy, no soggy bottoms!! They tasted good too and were very much appreciated by the kids after school and at the Summer Fair. I think next time I shall try to roll the pastry a little thinner and not overfill the cases.

Happy summer crafting
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Baking

Tomorrow is the summer fair and although I’m going to be attending as a community member, I am also doing my bit by baking for the cream teas and cake stall.

So today I have a list of plain, sultana and chocolate scones for the cream teas and a batch of biscuits for the cake stall. It’s a busy morning for me in the kitchen then! I’m just hoping I don’t run out of milk, butter and flour, or I’ll be on an emergency trip to the shop.

Chocolate Raisin Scones

I love making scones and in particular the chocolate ones are so delicious. The recipe I use is on a previous blog post and I would recommend you give it a try. It’s a simple recipe and always goes down well at the local fundraiser (and at home). My only problem is that I have to give myself a talking too so I don’t eat any. What I want to know is, why, no matter how big I make the scones, do I always get left with a tiny piece of dough? Is it a subconscious decision I make so that I have to have a bit to try?

Easter biscuits

Well I ‘ve got all my ingredients out ready for the scones. I can’t decide whether to make lemon and fruit biscuits or ginger biscuits, so I’ll have to see how I feel when all the scones are made.

Time to get baking!

Happy baking
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Loom Bands

I suppose it was only a matter of time until my daughter discovered the craze for loom bands.  It was one of the girls in her dance class that mentioned them to her a couple of weeks ago, since when we’ve been inundated with requests for bands and a loom.

It is a brilliant concept.  A bit like crochet with the little hook and the loom makes it look a bit like the dolly knitting I did as a child.  As she’s only 5, she needed a bit of help to get going and we made the first couple of bracelets without a loom.  She’s now very proficient at this simple style and has made several bracelets for her friends at school.

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So I’m now investigating different styles on You Tube.  She would like to get the most out of using the loom and make a bag!  She saw the dress that has been sold on e-bay and is very inspired for me to teach her how to make more things.  I have managed to teach how to do the fishtail and she’s again doing very well with that.

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I love the simplicity of the materials and equipment with this craft.  The only problem for me is that I find it as addictive as she does and I don’t know where the time goes!  I’ve stocked up her tub of bands ready for the summer holidays next week and now need to find some more instructions for her.

Any ideas or links to good tutorials would be gratefully received.

Happy crafting
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Summer Fair 2014

It’s that time of year again. All the kids activities and school are finishing this week and the local community group Summer Fair is on Saturday.

This year we are having a summer party without a major fundraising. And I’m going to be able to attend as a member of the community instead of being on a stall. I’m really looking forward to it.

So if you’re at a loose end on Saturday afternoon, pop along for a cream tea. It would be great to see you.

FOWV Summer Party

Happy Summer
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Crochet Baby Comforters

At Bury Show the other week I had some very positive comments to the crochet comforter that I entered into the craft competition, so I decided I should maybe look at making some more. I posted the picture on my facebook page and had even more comments which has sealed the deal and I have been working on a couple more of them, one for an order and one to look at some different colour combinations.

My original blankie was yellow with alternate blue and pink shapes in the granny squares and edging.

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My first order for one, is for a baby girl, so it’s in yellow again, but this time with two shades of pink for the shapes and edging.

Baby blankie 2

I’m currently working on a pink blanket and rabbit, with darker pink shapes on the granny squares. I love the flower motifs best and I think I will try one with just flowers on.

I would really love some feedback on these, just leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Happy crafting
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End of Term

I can’t believe how fast this year has gone. My daughter is almost at the end of her Reception year at primary school and it doesn’t seem like five minutes since she was starting nursery. She is very much looking forward to going into year one in September, but we have the long six week summer holidays to fill before that.

We have a couple of weeks of the school term left and my mind has turned to the end of year gift for her teacher. I have decided to work through this school with knitted apple keyrings for the teachers. I wanted to have something personal and not chocolatey! Every year the teachers seem to be bombarded with chocolates and biscuits. Although some handmade biscuits could also be a good idea, I may need to work on that one, maybe apple shaped cookies?

Anyway, I’m going with the little knitted apple again. It’s so cute and with a split ring, it makes a great keyring (or handbag) charm. I have one on my keys as it makes them very easy to find when I’m rooting through my handbag.

Apple keyring

Apple keyring

I’m also working on some paper-pieced and drawn apple thank you cards. I shall post a picture when they are finished. I’d love to know what you think. You can message me on facebook or e-mail me to place an order too.

Happy crafting
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Summer Harvest

With all the lovely weather recently, plenty of sunshine and some rain, my garden has been a hive of activity and growth. So this weekend I’ve been in the garden again to do some tidying up and making some space for some later flowering plants.

A couple of years ago I moved our gooseberry bush from a pot on the patio into the garden as it was being eaten by caterpillars. I decided it could go to the more wildlife area and the caterpillars could have it. It would seem that the caterpillars aren’t quite as fond of the new spot and I have harvested almost 2 kilos of fruit from this one bush. I am covered in scratches from the thorns, but it was definitely worth it.

I’ve also planted up an old pot with strawberry plants and harvested a bowl full, so we’ve had a lovely fruit salad for our tea tonight. And there are more yet to ripen, mmmmm.

Fingers crossed this weather continues, I’m waiting for my spring onions and rocket to harvest in the next week or two.

Happy gardening
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