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!