Thursday, 2 December 2010

Painting Pebbles

My little grandson has ( like myself )  a passion for seashells and pebbles. He always likes to play with my collection of them which are dotted around in various places inside the house, in the garden and in our Summerhouse. So I decided to paint one for him as a keepsake that perhaps when older he can even use as a paperweight.  Below is the finished result. I coated it with a varnish to keep in the colours last night.

The painting isn't terribly good, so keeping the picture childlike is a good excuse for not trying harder. It is actually quite hard to paint on such a small scale, although the pebble isn't that small, but it's still difficult, (for me anyway)  On the back I wrote a little message which is a family joke now ! as whenever I ask Bertie how much he loves me his answer was always £15,( it's gone up a bit now !!!)  ha ha,  and I would reply well I love you millions AND £15.  In case you are wondering who MoMa is it's me ! that's how he said it when he was smaller (he's 3 now) he couldn't say Grandma, so we left it at that as it saves complications with his other Grandma, as neither of us wanted to be called Nanny or Nana.

Now I have to paint one for his little sister Florence, can't do one without the other.  I thought perhaps a little house with a picket fence and a few flowers and of course the bunting and maybe some stars. It's quite addictive !
M xx

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Covered Boxes and Christmas Hearts

Yesterday I spent a couple of pleasant hours covering a nest of boxes that I bought from a craft shop. I covered them  with some 'Orla Kiely' paper that I bought recently.  I had also bought a box that was already covered with another of Orla's designs. I love her small designs. The box already covered was rather expensive, but I HAD to have it.   Then I spotted that the shop sold small rolls of paper in different Orla Kiely designs, so I bought a sheet with covering my own boxes in mind. When I got it home I was delighted to find that the paper had a small design on one side and a larger different design on the other. So here are the finished boxes which will look very smart on some shelves in my study/craft room.

My Friend Pam over at 'Hortensia' has also been covering a Pringle carton with some lovely paper from 'Paperchase' and it look good.

The little box on the top is the one I bought covered, I love the design

Christmas Heart's

 I thought I should start adding a little bit of festive bling around the house seeing as we are now into December.  I decide to string these little glass hearts along the mantelpiece, I bought them a few weeks ago, I just loved the colours as they remind me of Indian decorations, so colourful.  They glitter and shine when the candles are lit in the hearth beneath them and look stunning.


I haven't had a Christmas tree for some years now as I only like real ones and they are so expensive and then get thrown out after a few weeks, so I have had willow twigs in a large pot and decorated with fairy lights and a collection of 'little folk' that I have been adding to over the years.  Unfortunately my willow twig tree was past it's best after being in the house for a number of years all year, with the fairy lights on, so it became very brittle and was thrown out a few months ago.  I now have to source some more willow twigs for my 'little folk'. Here's a couple of photo's from last year.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Finished bag

Well I managed to stick to my hour a day finishing one thing off at a time, and although I did go over the hour the bag is now finished. It's not perfect and I did say it will look a little 'homespun' but Florence is only 21 months so I'm sure she wont notice the faults !!!! such as  the little quilted Angel is a bit squiffy, and also I should have embroidered the F and the E in a brighter colour as it doesn't show up too well in the greeny- blue, anyway I am generally pleased with it.   NOW onto the next project tomorrow, the crochet squares.

Sorry there are so many photo's, but I couldn't decide which ones showed it off to it's best advantage.

Thursday, 4 November 2010


I thought I would share my recent crafty moments with you. I haven't been able to concentrate for long periods recently as I seem to have so many things that I need to / want to do that it all overwhelms me and I end up doing very little in the way of actually finishing something.  However I have given myself a good talking to !!!! and decided that I will do one task each day for at least an hour at a time, that way the plan is I get a bit of progress and actually finish some things eventually ! anyway here is a few things on the go :

The only square that I have managed to crochet so far with the new Rowan wool

A little bag that I am working on for Florence

Hand embroidered name detail

A little hand quilted and beaded Angel for the front of the bag
 I will show the finished bag as soon as I have completed it. The dotty fabric is to line the bag and for the handles, it should look very girly and have a 'homespun' look to it when finished. I've no pattern and have made it up as I go along, which has probably made the whole project take longer.

Some new fabric ( fat quarter) and some yummy coloured threads

No plans on what to do with these yet, but I just had to have them.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Curried squash, parsnip and courgette soup.

* 4 small munchkin squashes or something similar like ‘hooligan’
(a medium sized squash of any kind could be used instead)

* One large red onion (white will do)
* Two small courgettes
* One medium Parsnip
* Curry spices or powder (to taste) I used Schwartz Madras curry spices.
* Vegetable stock

* Cut the little squashes in half, scoop out all of the seeds. Brush with oil (I used Olive oil)

Roast the squash in a pan in the oven at 190 c, gas mark 5 for around 30 mins (roughly) until flesh is soft. (check by sticking a knife in the skin) When cooled scoop out the flesh from the skins and you should have a lovely mash, don’t worry if it’s not as it will reduce anyway in the soup.
(Roasting the squash can be done the day before or earlier on to save time.)
* Peel and slice the onion, and in a large pan fry it in the oil until soft and slightly coloured.

* Peel the parsnip and cut into little chunks, add to the onions.

* Add the mashed squash to the onions and parsnip.

* wash and dice the courgettes and add to the pan

* Add hot water to make as much soup as you require, making sure all the ingredients are well covered, but you don’t want the soup to runny.

* Add the stock cube, I used Knorr vegetable stock pot, I sometimes use ‘Kallo’ organic stock cubes.
* Season with ground black pepper (add salt after cooking) and a teaspoon of curry spices or a curry powder of your choice (add sparingly until you check for flavour)

* Making sure you have enough water to cover, bring to the boil and then simmer until all the vegetables are cooked and very soft.

* The soup can be part blended when cooled, leaving some nice veggie bits in the soup. Adding the blended half back in, stir thoroughly and check for seasoning, adding salt if necessary.

In our house we prefer our soup to be thick and full of veggie bits, so I used a potato masher instead of half blending, but this is a personal preference.

I had fun making this recipe up and it was so delicious that I decided to write it down (as I always forget my little experiments) and pass it on, I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Wet Felting

I said I would do this post on wet felting in answer to a question  from Lou who ask me what did I do with the felt I made ? so here is my felt and the items I have been making. Originally this venture into wet felting was going to be a joint learning project with Kella, but she is a busy woman, so I have just got on and taught myself bits here and there.  The summer months stopped me doing any felting as the allotment and garden took over my life as it does !! so now I look forward to doing my crafts once again in the coming months.

By the way is anyone else finding that Blogger is sooooo slow today ? I am typing away and nothing appears and then suddenly blogger catches up. Also it took almost an hour to upload these photo's it's very frustrating !!!!

Starting with all these lovely wool-tops I then go on to make the felt, usually I like to marble
colours together, especially bright colours.

A little bag in the making

some felt I made

Flowers ready for brooches or bags


A small purse in production

I love zingy colours together.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Harvest Moon Soup

This soup is super easy and very satisfying.  The key is the cute presentation – here ladled into a hollowed out pumpkin and garnished with a dollop of sour cream and some dill.

2 pounds zucchini, cubed
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Place Courgette/ zucchini and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil – reduce heat to medium and simmer until zucchini is very tender.

Pour into a large bowl, and when cooled to workable temperature  blend to  puree soup until almost smooth. Return soup to saucepan and add remaining ingredients. Stir over medium heat until warm.

PS    I take no credit for either the recipe of the lovely photograph as This recipe came from here:

Friday, 24 September 2010

Roast Turks Turban Pumpkin Soup

This is an easy and adaptable soup that can be made with most squash or pumpkins.

* Roughly chop a medium size squash (about1kilo should be OK for 4) cut into large cubes or wedges      whichever is convenient.

* Put in a lightly oiled roasting tin with some crushed garlic cloves (4-5) and season well with salt and pepper. (There is no need to skin either of them at this stage).
You can flavour the cooking oil with coriander, or use a ready-flavoured oil like chilli, or walnut. Be sparing with these oils as they could easily over power the squashes own flavour.

* Place them into a preheated oven at 190/ gas 5 for about ½ hour or until tender and coloured.

* Cool sufficiently so you can scrape the flesh from the skin.

* Pop the flesh of the garlic out of its skin and place the squash and garlic together in a blender.
* Add either 1 litre of vegetable stock, or chicken stock, or stock and milk. You are aiming for a thick creamy consistency.

* Blitz till smooth - you may have to do this in batches depending on the capacity of your blender.

* Return to a saucepan and heat gently, taste and season. The soup should be a creamy consistency.

* I personally like small chunks of veg in my soup, so you could keep back some of the squash or maybe add some pre- cooked courgettes, or parsnips cut into small pieces to add when returning soup to the pan from the blender.

* Add flavourings like;-
Grated nutmeg - good with butternut squash,
Swirl of soured cream
Lightly fried garlic slivers

Good flavours to add to stock are rosemary or thyme (remove before liquidising).
Taste for seasoning and add more stock if it's too thick. You're aiming for a fairly thick and creamy consistency. Return to the pan and heat gently, don't let it boil.

Serve with some chunks of fresh bread - poppy seed is fabulous, or try ciabatta or crusty wholemeal bread.


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

I've been to 'Liberty's'

I was in London at the week-end and went to visit the ' Liberty' store, needless to say I went up to the haberdashery and fabric department. It was awesome and I had to be dragged out screaming I WANT EVERYTHING !! but my purchases were very modest as are my finances. So I had to make do with buying some 'Rowan' pure wool DK in three very yummy colours. I haven't a clue what I am going to crochet, but it could be a cushion cover. I just had to have those colours to start with.
I also bought some very beautiful buttons to add to my stash, they were very reasonably priced. The young assistant admired my goodies and said she also loved those colours. I will keep you posted as to what they will be used for when I actually get time to do any craft work. The garden and allotment and all the gadding about we have been doing lately seem to have put any crafts on hold. Ah well at least I'll have something to do in the cold winter months.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Spelt Bread recipe

At last a recipe for you. This is the first ever loaf of bread I've ever made, and I am so pleased with it. It was easy to make and we both loved the taste.

My finished Spelt Loaf

Delicious with Butter


This recipe originally appeared in The Daily Telegraph a couple of years ago and has since built up quite a following on the Internet.

Mixing up a yeast dough and then baking it without giving it time to rise (let alone kneading it) is counter-intuitive, but it works. Baker Andrew Whitley says that if you let it rise slowly, in a cool place overnight, it will be even better. ( I just gave it 15 mins lightly covered before popping in the oven, as was suggested when this recipe appeared in the week-end magazine from the Sunday Mail)

1lb 2oz/500g spelt flour
2 sachets/10g fast-acting dried yeast
½ tsp sea salt
2oz/50g sunflower seeds
2oz/50g sesame seeds
2oz/50g linseed's (optional)
400-500ml warm water ( use enough to form a dough)
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

Combine all the ingredients, adding the water last. Mix well and when the dough is well mixed together lightly flour your hands and the work surface and gently shape the loaf to fit the tin and then turn the dough into a greased loaf tin.

Leave lightly covered for 15 mins then -
Put straight into the oven and bake for 55 mins.
Remove the loaf, turn it out of the tin and then return it to the oven without the tin for a further 5-10 minutes.

And here is another recipe to try using Spelt flour and In season Rhubarb. I have to admit that I have yet to try this one myself, I will post the result when I do.


Spelt's nutty flavour goes well with rhubarb.


5oz/140g butter
7oz/200g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
4 pieces of stem ginger in syrup, chopped
7oz/200g spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
14oz/400g slender rhubarb stems
Caster sugar to finish

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Line a cake tin about 7in x 11in/17cm x 27cm with baking parchment.
Melt the butter and stir in the soft brown sugar.
Allow to cool slightly, then mix in the eggs, ginger, flour and baking powder. Scrape the mixture into the lined tin and spread out.
Trim the rhubarb to fit the tin length-ways and lay over the top of the mixture, packing in as many stems as you can.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the cake is risen, golden and cooked through.
Brush with some syrup from the ginger jar, dredge well with caster sugar and allow to cool in the tin.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

More Squares

I have been meaning to post these photo's of the squares that I have done from the new book '200 Crocheted blocks' I crocheted them weeks ago and haven't got around to doing anymore as we have been away for a few days visiting friends who live on the Isle of Wight also both Austin and I went down with a horrible cold/virus of some sort that he had first and then passed it on to me and guess who got the worst dose of it ?? yes did you guess it was me ! I feel better today but my ribs still hurt from the coughing and I feel drained both physically and mentally, I couldn't manage to even read a magazine leave alone crochet, I just couldn't be bothered with anything. Austin picked it up from the grandchildren, I only hope we haven't infected out friends. Anyway enough of the whingeing here are the photo's

These are made from the left over wool that I used for Florence's throw. I don't have any plans for them at the moment, I guess they are more of a practice at some of the blocks from the book. These were relatively easy, and some in the book look very hard, so I left those for the time being, and when I feel much better I will attempt to tackle the harder ones.