Monday, 27 December 2010


At last, I have finished making all of my Christmas presents, and I can get on with some different projects!  Here are a few of the presents that I have made...
A needle case to match a knitting needle case and...
A lined purse.

A reversible tractor/lorry dressing gown (rather large!)

I have been given some lovely crafty bits...
Some gorgeous materials...
Some inspiring books...

And I have started on a lovely Debbie Bliss cabled coat for the Bump! I have been making myself wait until after Christmas presents were all finished before starting, but now I am allowed...!

With some money I have been given, I have ordered a new singing and dancing sewing machine- Incredibly exciting!! And, in terms of getting inspiration to carry me into the new year, I am currently loving the Hatched and Patched blog.  I have ordered a couple of the books featured on this, and will report once I have given the patterns a go.

I hope you are having a lovely Christmas break!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Blueberry and banana cupcakes and lots of Lavender.

Today I made some cup cakes- I had some friends coming for some tea, and I also needed to use up some blueberries and some bananas.  Having had a scout around on the internet for some interesting recipes, I was dissatisfied, as all of them seemed to involve bizarre ingredients, or things that we did not have at home, and without the car, and with lots of snow still lying around, I was determined that I should bake only using the current contents of my kitchen!

I decided to use a banana recipe which has been in our family for years as banana cake, and which I have modified in recent years to become spiced.  I simply added blueberries as well, and altered the cooking time, and they turned out rather deliciously (if I do say so myself!).  If you are interested, I shall post the recipe below:

Banana and Blueberry Cup Cakes (with Lemon icing) (makes about 24)

7oz Self Raising Flour
3 Bananas (mushy)
Blueberries (I used a bowl of them)
4oz Margarine or butter
5oz Sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp Bicarb of Soda
1 tbsp Milk

Blend all together in a mixer.  Put into cupcake cases and place in oven on 170c/ gas mark 3 for about 30 minutes. Check they are cooked after then and give extra time if needed.  Don't over cook as they will be less moist.

Icing Sugar and Lemon juice.
I use varying quantities each time I make this, so just make it up to the thickness you would like.

Ever so simple!

I got a very imaginative Christmas present from one of my friends this year- some home made Lavender sugar with a recipe for some Lavender cupcakes.  I shall look forward to making these soon.

Interestingly both this and last time that I was pregnant I have had a complete 'thing' for the smell of lavender- I just love it, though can't quite explain why so much so!

This is certainly a year of home made Christmas presents (both given and received) and I would love to hear what other people are making for their gifts.  Right. Off to beat that fudge.  I shall post the fudge recipe another day if anyone fancies it. It is rather wicked!

For such a nice photo, one would think it was something more interesting than Lavender handwash!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Owen's Cardi and lots of snow

After a few weeks of knitting, the cardigan for the little man was ready and Al, Elysee and I trekked through the snow for the company of some lovely friends, and to deliver the little Christmas/ birthday cardi.

My favourite thing about making an item of clothing for someone is actually seeing them wearing it, so I was delighted that there was lots of space in it for him to grow (as when I was making it, I was hoping desperately that it wouldn't be too small!) and that he looked lovely in it.

The weather in Oxford is absolutely crazy at the moment- yesterday about twelve inches of snow fell, and the world came to a stand-still.  We managed to drive the short distance we needed to get to a family (early) Christmas day and when we got back had great fun 'stomping' in the snow.  This is all totally new for E, and he is loving it.  Today, again, the world seemed very quiet and deserted, but we had a lovely day with friends, and then an evening meeting our neighbours over mulled wine and mince pies.  

In other crafty news I have been making lots of Christmas presents. Two of the recent ones (already opened!) were a cafetiere cosy, made out of fair trade material, as well as a cut up pair of old jeans and tied with a ribbon rather than buttons so that it could swap between a very large cafetiere and a somewhat smaller one...

As well as this, some fingerless gloves, requested in pale blue, using the basics of a pattern I had used before.  Rather than doing cabling on this pair, as I often do, I opted for the more simple Moss Stitch, so that it wouldn't seem too busy with the slight pattern to the yarn.

Lots of fun.  Right now I am knitting a tea cosy, but I couldn't find a pattern that was quite what I wanted, so I am trying to design one as I go along. We'll see how it works out....!

In other news this week we got a kitten of about 8 months old.  It has been immense fun, but also total chaos, as E has tried to copy lots of Stencil's acrobatic moves, and when not doing that, has chased him around the house.  

Anyhow.  It is getting late and I must sleep now. I hope you are safe wherever you are, and are enjoying the first White Christmas that I can remember.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Orange jumpers, and knitted nose warmers!

So the gloves are now finished and ready to be given as a gift...

I had a visit from a lovely friend of mine this weekend, and her gorgeous 4 month old son, William has just grown into a jumper I knitted him whilst he was still a bump! It brought immense joy to see this jumper on and being enjoyed, and I think he looked rather strapping... (even if he did refuse to smile!)

In the vein of orange  jumpers, Élysée absolutely lives in a lovely orange cardigan and hat that my Nanna made for him last Christmas. Another rather strapping young man....

I had a fun afternoon today with a lovely friend, who asked if I could help teach her to knit, as she wanted to make her sister a nose warmer (!) for their upcoming ski holiday. Yes. Quite! Well, in the end, we settled for a pattern from a knitted animal book (Jean Greenhowe) and she is going to attach some elastic to it later! Ingenious if you ask me! (if you were wondering, I do believe that this gift is largely for comedy value!)...

What fun. I shall leave you now as I am currently knitting the border for a cardigan I have been making for a while for Owen, another lovely little boy. I leave you with a rather charming photo of Élysée with one of his best little friends in their PJs, reading together in his play tent...

Enjoy your evening.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Knitting and risotto.

Today I am continuing in my Christmas knitting list.  Some gloves to go with a scarf I have made...

I love this pattern and I've used it quite a number of times before.  The pattern is for very long gloves, but you can adapt it to make them any length.  I plan to add some of the "ruffle" from the scarf around the base at the end to make the two items truly match.

I have now got an overflowing stock of wool to keep me going for Christmas presents and beyond...

A sight like that fills me with joy. I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps it's just the hours of fun that I know lies in store when I choose a project for each ball of wool and get to work.

Right. To work. Getting on with those gloves, whilst watching an episode of a favourite show- whilst my boy still sleeps.  Then, risotto for dinner. Jamie Oliver style of course....!  (If you ever need a lovely recipe for risotto then I highly recommend J.O. and his different recipes.  They are absolutely lovely, and always turn out delicious!).

Have a lovely rest of day.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Frosty fun

It is still very cold here in Oxford- grass crunchy underfoot, and streets swathed in an eerie mist.  Quite wintry, and lovely for getting one into the mood for Christmas preparations.  In our household we went and chose a lovely tree at the Weekend (and were lucky to get one, given that the snow has held up most of the trees from being shipped over from Ireland!) and Al and I spent a satisfying afternoon listening to Christmas music whilst tidying, sorting and getting our dining area ready, which has been rather chaotic since moving in the summer. A frustrating two hours were spent trying to work out where the problem lay with a set of tree lights, and after painstakingly testing one light after another, replacing all of the broken ones with working ones, and it still not working, we gave in and bought a new set!

What followed was a lovely evening with a beautiful Christmas tree, (non-alcoholic) mulled wine, and "Holiday Inn" with some great friends- what a lovely way to get into the Christmassy mood.

On the crafting side of things, I have been busy making Christmas presents.  I've been working on some scarves (knitting away in the cinema last night...!) and I am currently enjoying having a little browse through a lovely book my Mother-in-Law found and passed on to me last week, inspiring me to dust off my crochet hooks and have another go...

With the school term starting to draw to a close, a very active toddler at home, presents to make and an online shop to keep stocked up, life is lovely and busy.

 I hope you are all well, and enjoying advent wherever you are.

" For unto us a child is born... and he will be called 'Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace'"
Isaiah 9 v 6, as sung in "The Messiah"

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Reporting in the snow....

There is a lot of snow, it would seem, around the UK at the moment.  Most of it, however, seems to have missed us here in Oxford.  My parents are totally snowed in where they live in Surrey, and here we have but a mere sprinkling!  It is incredibly cold though, so most of the time we are hibernating in our lovely warm house, very thankful for a roof over our heads and a working heating system.

Since the craft fair life has been taken up with school.  A lot of reports to write have meant not much time for much else.  I have just finished them now though, so, time for a quick post before getting on with some work around the house.

I am now working through a long list of Christmas presents which need making, as well as doing a few commissioned bits and bobs.

A current knit that I am working on is a little cardigan for Owen, an adorable little five-and-a-half week old baby of a dear friend.  I had said I would make something when he arrived and we decided on a pattern together.  I'm doing it in Sirdar Snuggly- a lovely soft wool, and it's coming along nicely...

I'm about to update my shop, so do have a browse.  Enjoy your Wednesday, whatever the weather!

Monday, 29 November 2010

And the shop has opened....

Although it only has one item listed so far, please have a browse of my online shop at folksy.  I shall be adding some new things over the next few days, so keep an eye out for some nice and individual home made Christmas presents.

I hope you are all well. It is incredibly cold here, but no snow yet....!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

From Craft Fair to Christmas Crafts...

Today I had my first Craft Fair, and I was really pleased with how it went.  I shared a stall with a friend, Kate, who'd made some beautiful crocheted brooches, and I had my knitted and sewn goods.

Lots got sold, and by far the most popular items were the hand knitted Katia winter scarves.  I am in the process of setting up a little on-line shop, but whilst I am still sorting that, I have a small number left, and so if anyone is interested in them (or other items featured on my blog) then do email me at caroline [at]  - they make great Christmas presents, and I still have the scarves left in two styles- Triana and Ondas in a variety of colours (see picture below for some of them on the stall!).

I hope people are well. Anyone up to anything nice this weekend? It's very cold here so I'll be staying in the house as much as possible, and wrapping up warm!

Monday, 22 November 2010

It's all in the detail. The discipline of patience.

In hoping to become generally aware of my own strengths and weaknesses so that I can generally grow and mature in life, I have become rather clear on one thing- I am not always very patient! I'm quite good at it on a good night's sleep and when all is peaceful and calm, but on a broken night's sleep/late night and in a slightly higher stress situation I find that I lose it surprisingly fast!

This can also apply to various craft projects. I like doing something, and then moving onto the next thing really quickly! Today however, I have forced myself to slow down and spend a large proportion of my evening painstakingly sewing bias binding into the insides of my little coin purses so that the seams won't fray.  Slow work, and not as satisfying as making the purses in the first place. But. Good practice for my patience!

During the whole process I had to keep reminding myself not to take short cuts, but now that they are done, I'm pleased with the result (and I'm sure my Mum will be proud that I've not cut the corners!)- I think they look almost as pretty on the inside as outside now!

I had a fun trip to the local (or most local to us!) haberdashery today, although when I arrived there (about 20-25 minutes in the car), I arrived in the pay and display car park to realise that I had taken my wallet out of my bag, and put it into another one over the weekend. I could have cried! However, I decided to try rummaging around to see if I could find enough loose change for the (cheap) car park fare. Alas I was not in luck, and had a toddler who was rapidly losing patience.
So, after praying and hoping for some miraculous answer, I decided I needed to swallow my pride and ask someone if I could borrow 60p! (or write them a cheque!). I had to explain my predicament to the car park attendant and then I went over to a kindly elderly lady who told me she would happily give me the money I needed (the idea of a 60p cheque being rather ridiculous!) and no sooner had she started rummaging around in her wallet than a Dad who'd been loading his toddler into a nearby car came over, confessed to having overheard, and offered me his ticket which had two hours left on it.  On my way back to the car I was offered yet another ticket from another kindly passer by.  Hooray for answered prayers, and the small yet significant ways we are looked after by God!

I had a lovely little visit after all that, and- hooray- the shop accepted cheques!
Here's some of what I bought...
Some rather lovely fabrics...
And plenty of zips!

A lovely friend and I also made some labels for my upcoming craft fair. Who knew label making and pricing could be such fun?

Right. Bed now, as school tomorrow. I hope you've had a lovely start to the week.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Little purses and big scarves...

Today I have made some zip-up purses.

I've wanted to make some for ages, but have always been put off by thinking it would be rather difficult.

However, it's actually pretty simple, and they are quick to make. So I've made a few little purses and tomorrow plan to visit the lovely haberdashery in a near(ish) town to buy some more zips and bias binding...

Here's what I have made today...

Three little money purses (following a rather floral theme!) and (half of) a scarf.
 Have a lovely week.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Beavering Away

I have mostly kept up with my ambition to do something new for my craft fair stall every day over the past week, but due to a busy time at work and home, posting my progress has been a little slow...
Some of the things I have got done are...

Some more of the button boots as featured here. The design is so lovely and easy, that once knitted once, it's virtually memorisable (is that a word?) by the second or third knitting.  I lined the red ones with a fairtrade cotton lining to give a little extra winter warmth...

I found a lovely old flower press I was given years ago my a Great Aunt, and have been enjoying putting some onto some cards...

I completed another knitting needle case...

I have also been trying my hand at some knitting on circular and double pointed needles.... with varying success. I am not quite there with it yet!

Other things are in the pipe line, so I'll add some more crafts tomorrow when I have a little more time.
Enjoy the rest of your Weekend!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Winter Warmers

Today I made Steak and Kidney pie. It is cold outside, and horrible weather, so I thought I should opt for a nice, warming, Traditional English meal.  Pastry isn't my forte, but I was largely pleased with how it turned out (although my Mum's is better!).  We have a Belgian lodger, so I am trying to show him that there is a lot of Good Food to be had in England....!  My 20 month old however, was in a contrary mood and wanted Marmite Toast. You win some, you lose some.

I also made some fudge this evening. I'm planning to do parcels of fudge for some of my relatives that I see less frequently, and so have no idea of what to do for them for Christmas.  It's only right that one should test the recipe out beforehand, and this was a nice chance to test-run my new sugar thermometer too.

It tastes SO good. Al and I had to test some out with our post dinner tea/coffee....

On the craft front- For yesterday/today's Craft Fair contributions I have made some knitting needle cases. These always seem to be exorbitantly priced for something which is so simple, so I looked at the one I have (which was passed on to me by my Granny-in-law) and roughly copied the design. I'm pleased with the results, and am just putting some finishing touches on a second one.

I haven't decided what is next on the crafting agenda for tonight/tomorrow. I'd welcome any ideas... Hope you are all well and having better weather than here in Oxford....

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

And on the menu today....

Cafetiere cosies...  With buttons....

And with reversible ones with ribbons...