Monday, November 11, 2013


I've almost 2000 followers on pinterest.  I find this bizarre and wonder how it has happened.  I also wonder why I'm so interested in reaching an arbitrary number

Published with Blogger-droid v2.0.10

Monday, October 28, 2013

Extra, extra, save some thread!

Noodling about on pinterest, I saw this 2 Unexpected Tools for the Sewing Room.  I'm not so sure about shoving a screwdriver near a needle, but I've definitely used the thread starter idea.  Even better, if you run off your sewing back onto scrap fabric, you end up saving a lot of thread.  (Probably better if you're going to sew over such stitching or if you've done a few reverse stitches to fasten off and don't intend to work the end in)

Published with Blogger-droid v2.0.10

Sunday, October 27, 2013

AKC (Actual Knitting Content)

From my posts, you might not know what an avid knitter I am. I tend to put my work on Ravelry and forget about anywhere else - oops
Here's a few things I've made
IMAG0240 DSC01196 DSC01394 DSC01023 DSC01024

trying a different blog app

Wonder how this one works

Published with Blogger-droid v2.0.10

Feeling like a spider

Because I'm spinning silk.  The above was how far I got last night

I'm attempting to spin one ply long draw because I've had a lesson on it and then the other ply short draw so I can see what the difference is.  I've no idea what the outcome will be or if it's even advised to do this, but what the heck!  I have 104 grammes of fibre and have another 10g to spin for the first ply.  My bobbin's almost full - that tussah silk goes a long way

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Just fabulous - knitting calculator

Knitting Calculator at Jimmy Beans Wool -

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

An apology of sorts

Not much of one though.  I want to commiserate with people who have landed on my blog using either 'naughty knitting book' or 'booty swapper'  as the keywords in their search.  I don't know what they were looking for, but I'm sure they were severely disappointed with what they found

Pinterest adventure 1

So, is anyone else making from pinterest in response to my challenge?

I thought I'd better get on with it, so I started with a bit of baking and made magic cakes from this pin

There was lots of mess,

and the resulting batter looked more like an enriched milkshake than something that would make a cake. Uncooked, it tasted like a weirdly flavourless, floury milkshake too

The recipe specified an 8" by 8" pan, but there was so much mixture that I filled one of my silicon cake tins too (and yes, I know that is an oxymoron....)

The cakes really puffed up and in hindsight I don't know if swapping their position in the oven 2/3 of the way through was the right thing to do, but after they came out of the oven they deflated but still looked good

I was a bit impatient and didn't wait the 3 hours recommended before taking a slice.  Excuse the dark pic - it was raining heavily at this point

It tasted good and had a really interesting combination of fluffy and flabby textures (I'm really selling this to you, I can tell).  I had another slice a couple of hours later and it was delicious so I'd recommend following the instructions to wait.  As the evening wore on, the flavours and textures blossomed.  The downside of course was that the cake got smaller and smaller. This was the last piece

Luckily I had the second cake in the fridge.

a) the whole thing reminded my husband of an egg custard without the pastry
b) it was in a silicon 'tin' that gives a weirdly smooth surface to anything in it
I decided to unmould the second cake and serve it upside down

What a hit - it disappeared in minutes

I will definitely make this again, but next time I'll find a larger and deeper tin to bake it in as I didn't really get much of the middle sloppy custard layer, but did get the slightly cakey top and the gorgeous thick custard base

Wonder what I'll make next?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Heavenly Easy Lemon Meringue Ice Cream

Many years ago I worked in the Sainsburys in the Arndale Centre in Doncaster.  Very occasionally, the canteen would make this ice cream and it always went down a storm.  I eventually prised the recipe out of the canteen manager and I was shocked at how simple and easy it was

So, ready for a huge list of ingredients?

1 large pot of double cream (600ml)
1 454g jar of lemon curd
1 pack of meringue nests (there were 8 in mine)

That's it


I suppose you could make your own lemon curd and meringue nests if you're that way inclined

So, whip your cream until it's stiff

Add the lemon curd - all the jar

Roughly crush the meringue nests and fold everything together

You can decide how combined you want the cream and lemon curd - if you want it uniform you could fold those two ingredients together to your liking and then add the meringue, but I like the little blobs and swirls of lemon curd

Either spoon into individual moulds (clean empty yogurt pots are fine) or into a container and freeze overnight

There's no need to stir or whip

You can eat the unfrozen mixture as a fool type dessert, but it might be a bit strong/sweet as the proportions are intended to counter the flavour dulling effect of freezing

Once frozen, this is how it looks

And it scoops out beautifully

Now, confession time - I picked up the smaller pot of cream by mistake so my ice cream is more lemony than you may get - still tastes lovely though

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Pinterest - thoughts and a challenge

In my quest for pinterest world domination (truly, not) I've added some pinterest toys to the blog so I can be followed and pinned (Eeek).  I still don't know if I really get pinterest.  Doesn't stop me loving it, but I'm never sure if I'm, well, doing it right. Whatever, I enjoy what I do with it and love all of the wonderful things that people find and share on there.  I'm on the desktop this morning and I never realised how much functionality I miss because I'm usually on my tablet.  Its been a revelation, let me tell you.

However much I love seeing all the pretties, I have a sneaking suspicion that my pinterest could be in danger of becoming an overstuffed but dead space.  Kind of like my account - full of lovely things that I don't use  - the same could be said of my papercraft stuff in real life - I start to sense a theme here.  Magpie time - ooh shiny......

So, I want to issue myself a challenge and invite you all to join in. If you have a pinterest account where lots of great ideas are languishing, within the next month, make something from it or use a tip.  Post about it somewhere and link to me / tell me about it in the comments.  Feel free to issue this challenge to others and lets see if we can use what we've saved on there.

Instinct wants me to set up a group blog so we can all share, but I'll see if this takes off first

And on that note, I just snapped my glasses

Monday, October 07, 2013

Ridiculous Thoughts

I caught myself having not just one ridiculous thought, but lots.  I must have been mentally doodling while playing a game as I realised I'd made up part of a stand up comedy routine . My question is why?  It's not as though I'm asked to entertain a crowd of people on even an irregular basis and I have no ambition to do so. I can't see when having such a routine would benefit me. I'm unlikely to be captured by terrorists and forced to put on a show.  If I was, I wouldn't want to use that material anyhow. Given that it revolved around a certain sex act, I wouldn't want to give them any ideas.

Ah, the perils of staying up late.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Who'd a thunk it!

I am going to post a bit about my newest obsession - spinning, but first I have to do lots of house stuff

Until then, arty shot

Weekly Therapy

Tonight I was thinking about hobbies and interests.  I've cycled through a lot of crafty obsessions over the years: sewing, quilting, mixed media art, rubber stamping, silversmithing, embroidery, crochet..... But the most enduring one is my beloved knitting (and now its close relative, spinning, of course).

I think this is partly due to it's portability; partly the sheer usefulness of the product that follows so much happy activity; partly due to the community of Ravelry and the instant lessons on YouTube but most definitely due to the weekly therapy that is my Thursday knit night in the pub.

We're definitely not the kind of knitting group that non knitters would think of. With indie dyers, knitting designers and artisan crafters amongst us, our day jobs vary as much as our ages - from 20s to 40 plus - as do our lives outside of knitting.  No tight perms or pursed lips and minds broad and open are the order of the day when we meet.

We've been a group for almost 4 years and we've survived changes in venue; members joining, leaving and returning; unexpected personal pictures and lots more. There's a core of members who have changed from 'other lovely people who knit' to friends who support each other through good and bad. These are the ones who make me cry - once when one of them unexpectedly returned home but more often through sniggering at something a bit rude if not extremely dirty.  There's nowhere else where I experience a cramped diaphragm from laughter on a regular basis and nowhere else where I know I can get a range of viewpoints on any problem, all delivered with love, friendship and a kick up the bum if necessary.  Thursday knit nights have become sacrosanct and I wouldn't have it any other way

Thursday, June 06, 2013

A day with a friend is like a holiday for the soul

Jill and I went out for the day, poking around the charity shops of Long Eaton.  We hoped to find lots of knitting and crochet related things, but it was an almost yarn free town.  We managed to pick up a copy of Have You Any Wool and I was delighted to find a barely used Royal wool winder (why yes, I do already have a different ball winder, thank you for paying attention - now I have a spare!). 
One shop had a dedicated retro and vintage area which was truly wonderful. I was a bit over stimulated, so forgot to take pictures of such wonders as the 1940s cooker in mint condition, the old milk rack, the sledges, the old ice skates, the typewriters......  Jill and I agreed that we were in heaven picking out things from our childhood/teendom.
It was in this shop that I found something that I've been looking for over the past 8 years or so. As an accountant I often have to explain budgeting to people who just don't get it. As a prop to illustrate the principles I've had in mind something that my auntie had when I was a child

Ta da - a thrift box!  I just love the labels on this one.
Something else found its way onto the counter.  

The heaviest iron in the world, ideal for dressmaking when instructed to PRESS rather than iron.  It's wonderful and comes PAT tested

We both adored the old fashioned drapers in the town - Rowells. I was mentally transported to the top of Grimsby's Freeman Street in the 70s and 80s -  Swabys?  Think of the famous Two Ronnie's fork handles sketch but with linens.  Again, no photos, but there is a great set on flickr, here
We rounded off the outing with lunch at The Beetroot Tree.  New to Jill but just her kind of thing. I was so pleased as I thought it would appeal to her
Back at her house, she kindly gave me some plants, so my garden is starting to fill nicely

Monday, June 03, 2013

Being kind to myself

I'm transitioning from one job to another this week.

I've been a contract accountant for rather a long while now and have fallen into the habit of going directly from one role to another without a break.  Good sense financially, but for once I thought a bit wider and  decided to be kind to myself by taking a week off.  I've hit lucky with the weather, so that in itself makes the week seem like an extra special bonus

So, what to do with the week?  I've a day charity shop touring with my lovely friend Jill (and I know exactly where we're going for lunch!) and a day with my hubby.  I've got the computer repair man booked and a craft fair to visit with the lovely Elly.  I have to squeeze in a visit to Sarah if we can sort out a time. I've got a long list of possible things I might want to do, but have promised myself that I don't have to do any of them unless I want to

Today though, has been busy already.  The garden's been a bit neglected as I'm a fair weather gardener, and the weather has been anything but that for rather a long time.  Yesterday, inspired by the return of the sun, we went and bought some plants to restock. Now, I don't really know what I'm doing with plants, so I buy what I like and put them where I think they'll look nice.  Oddly, my taste currently seems to accidentally be on a yellow/acid green and purple scheme

This morning I was out gardening by 8.30.  There was a whole run of shrubs that were lushly overgrown, so out came my favourite loppers and shears....

Yes, that is a lawn rake on top.  This pile was over knee high

I was quite pleased with this planting

 and this one

Planting above the rodent graveyard led to a tense time with the border spade
but not so chuffed to see these little visitors who had been hiding in an old plant pot

(I'm hoping the blackbirds have been busy over lunch time....)

So, a short afternoon and then I'm picking up an excited daughter and friend from school to take them to a manga evening in a comic store.  Mother love or what!

Friday, May 03, 2013

That's more like it

My last batch of bread dough was very tasty, but it just wouldn't rise as much as I wanted. Something had to be done....
I perused and planned, made my dough and added an extra 25 grammes of flour as I felt every dough so far has been too wet, even for this no knead high moisture technique.
After a few days lounging in the fridge, the dough was beautifully chilled when I finally had time to play.  I formed it into a plait and let it rise as per the recipe,
 gave it an egg wash and then into the oven.

The smell as it baked was amazing and the end result -a beautiful looking chollah. 

The whole family was tortured by the wait until it cooled, but oh my life, it was worth the impulse control.  I've always loved this type of bread, but my bake was magnificent both with and without butter.  My teen son very seriously informed me that it is the best bread he's EVER eaten.  Thank goodness I froze the other half of the dough for a future treat

Sunday, April 14, 2013

You can't win them all

My bread book is very insistent that unbleached plain flour (not bread, just plain old plain flour) is used.  I wasn't sure whether my wonderful el cheapo Aldi floor was unbleached, so I bought some organic flour from the health food shop.  Twice the price for half as much and the results today have been, quite frankly, disappointing.  I've made two loaves that even though they were baked in a tin, look more like ciabatta (still taste great though) and have had a disastrous attempt at pitta breads.

I'm going back to Aldi tomorrow, especially as I've since found out that all UK sold flour is unbleached

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bread Mania

I found a really good deal with The Book People on a book I'd been considering for ages - Five Minute Bread.  The idea is that you make up a huge batch of sloppy dough that you keep in the fridge and then use portions as you wish.  The results have been fantastic so far so my Facebook has been full of what one friend described as food porn.  Like these

I am very pleased with the results so far as everything tastes even better than it looks

Friday, February 08, 2013

An Adventure

I've had a bit of an adventure today. Over the past 18 months/2 years I've had a lump grow at the back of my head.

Be warned, the rest of this post is not particuarly graphic, but if you're anyway squeamish, best not to read on!

Initially the nurse at my local practice dismissed it as being just the shape of my head. As if I didn't know what my own head felt like!  The lump kept growing though, so after having to see two doctors (the first was young and needed a second opinion for her comfort I think) I was finally scheduled for surgery.  No hospital visit needed though as my village surgery is set up for minor ops - how wonderful is that?!

I signed the consent form and was told to sit on the couch with my back to the room.  A little bit of my hair was cut so the doctor could get to the lump and the rest was kept out of the way with K Y Jelly of all things.  The nurse stood poised and then came the sting of the local anaesthetic being injected as a ring around the lump. It hurt like a bitch but when it started to work, it felt like I had a weight on there

As soon as I was numb, the doctor cut. The sound was amazing - exactly like sharp dressmaking shears cutting through silk.  I was a bit distracted soon though as there was so much blood it was pouring down my cleavage.  So glad I thought to wear old clothes.  I chatted with the doc all the way through and at this point he told me I was bleeding like a stuck pig. I started to feel a bit woozy so they laid me down and for the rest of the op I had my face stuffed in the pillow.  The doc told me that I didn't have a cyst but a lipoma - Latin for a fatty lump.  He cut it out, explained a lot about how to tie off a bleeder and how it wouldn't be cancerous but could come back.  There was some kind of to do about what silk to stitch me with and something not working but once the strongest silk was used, all was sorted.  As the nurse stated to clean me up, I got the doc to show me what he'd cut out.  Two lumps of knobbly looking fat.  Lovely.

I had to make a follow up appointment for the stitches to be removed, so I stood in the waiting room, blood matted wound for all to see, until the receptionist dealt with me.

I've been resting at home ever since, avoiding looking at let alone touching anywhere near my wound.  I don't even know how many stitches there are in there.  The anaesthetic still hasn't worn off so I'm not sure how sore I'm going to be or how I will sleep. I do know I'm going to look a state as I'm not allowed to get it wet until Monday - how delightful that cocktail of blood and ky is going to be by then.

This has taken me all day to write - effects of the whole thing maybe?