Sunday, 25 December 2011

Happy Christmas

Hello,  I just popped in to wish each and every one of you a wonderful Christmas.
I love sitting here early in the morning before everyone else wakes up, it's my favourite part of the day.

Thank you for all your lovely comments over the last few months.  I've so enjoyed being part of the blogging community.  As a little thank you I'll be back in the New Year with a giveaway but in the meantime 



Thursday, 15 December 2011

Lottie's not impressed!

The results of my photo shoot weren't very successful as the model wasn't very happy being made to look silly and kept having a "wardrobe malfunction" every time I stepped back to take a photo!  Will try some smaller ones next year :)

My Christmas decorating has been very minimal this year. The new bookcase takes up the room where I used to put the tree so I just bought some twigs with fairy lights on and they are surprisingly pretty at night.  With the candles and the fire lit it feels very cosy.

The crochet is progressing slowly, just doing the odd bit here and there, but I'm really happy with the colours.

I spent yesterday sorting out and wrapping presents, and need to think about stocking up on food getting the girl's rooms ready as they'll be back in a couple of days. Can't wait :) 
Have a good weekend.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Cranberry Chutney

I made some chutney and very nice it is too!  Really fruity and tangy and not overly sweet.  It will go lovely with all the cold meats and cheeses at Christmas and looks very pretty!  I was feeling lazy so I've just photographed my written out recipe.  I doubled the quantities to make 6 jars so I expect the girls will be taking some back with them!

Looks yummy!

The vinegar and sugar preserve it so as long as the jars are clean and sterilized it should last for ages. I wash my jars in a hot dishwasher then dry them gently in the oven.

Loving these anemones from the garden at the moment.

Not much crochet happening at the moment. Hopefully I'll get on with it at Christmas.

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Winchester Christmas Market

I braved the freezing cold yesterday and popped into Winchester to visit the Christmas Market. Well worth a visit, there's dozens of pretty chalets all around the beautiful Cathedral close selling all sorts of lovely goodies and a  proper ice rink in the middle. Sadly, due to the cold I had to keep my gloves on, so gave up trying to take photos and it was hard to take them without just getting shots of lots of people! Here's a few, and the Website has lots more.

One thing I couldn't resist was this cute little wreath made of dried oranges and mini pumpkins.  The scent coming from the stall was fantastic and it's now making the whole house smell very festive!

I'm off to make some cranberry chutney now. Yum!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Cherry and amaretti fridge cake

Thought I'd share a recipe I tore out of a magazine last year. (Sorry, can't remember which one, but could have been Sainsbury's)  I made a big batch and packaged some up in pretty bags for presents which went down a treat as it's so scrumptious. The amaretti biscuits and pistachios give it a lovely crunch. I made some more yesterday and quite a bit's disappeared already! This makes enough for a 7" square tin.
Sorry the photo's aren't great. It was so dark yesterday.

100g butter
125g amaretti biscuits
200g white chocolate
4tbsp golden syrup
100g glace cherries
80g pistachio nuts
100g dark chocolate

Put the white cocolate, butter and syrup in a bowl and gently melt over a pan of hot water.  Leave to cool slightly.

Meanwhile in another bowl add the crushed biscuits, chopped nuts, chopped cherries and dark chocolate, cut into small pieces.

Mix well together.

Spoon into tin and pop in the fridge to set.  

I use pieces of teflon sheet to line tins when baking. Saves faffing about with greasing and things getting stuck!

Cut into pieces and enjoy with your cup of tea or coffee :)

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Tea light holder

I've been wanting to make some lace covered tea light holders that seem to be popular in blogland recently, but my stash of Bonne Maman jars weren't quite the right shape, so when this little cumberland sauce jar was finished with yesterday I dug out my box of lace and glued a bit on and I'm really chuffed at how pretty it looks.  The mother of pearl buttons threaded onto wire was an idea I saw in a shop and think they add a nice touch. Pretty glass beads or buttons would look great too.  Simple but effective!!
Now I need to see what half used jars are lurking at the back of the fridge to make some more ;)

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A bit of decorating

Ok, so I know it's still November, but I felt like decorating the dining room a bit to make it feel more seasonal.  I love adding the decorations to the light fitting every year and always feel sad taking them down again. I'm going to look for some bits to leave up all year this time.
The little wooden train comes out every year, This is it's 29th outing! It's lost a wheel and a couple of candles broke off, but I don't care, it means Christmas to me so it's always the first thing to go up!
The fairies on the twigs are from Halinka's Fairies and they're too lovely to put away, so they've been sitting in my workroom all year.

Not much else going on at the moment. Just moved a few baskets and lamps around and re arranged some piles of blankets. The Fortnum's hamper was a lucky find at the local tip a few years ago and is handy for more blankets and cushions.

Really looking forward to the girls coming home again for Christmas. It seems a long time since they last left.
Now I really need to get on with some more present shopping.


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Garden Snippets and a bit of Crochet

As you can see, I decided the pink and green colour scheme wasn't working. I don't think I had enough shades of each and have added some other colours to liven it up. This pic' makes them look quite dark but they're lighter and prettier in reality! The apricot "Cashsoft" had a slight acylic sheen which didn't look right next to the wool so I'll save that for something else.
I'm loving these flowers so much I'm going to carry on and make another blanket! but I think I'll alternate them with plainer squares or it might be a bit too much :)

There's some odd things going on in the garden. The mild weather has brought out some of the spring flowers already! We've got snowdrops and anemones starting to flower while some of the summer stuff is still around. 

The last dahlia and the first of next year's anemones.

Early snowdrop

Passion flower still going strong and rose on it's third flush

The holly seems to be more loaded with berries though. Is that a sign of a cold winter? Hope not.

I bought some of my pelargoniums indoors and I'm loving these bright pink flowers

Finally, this was our view for a few mornings. Glad it's brightened up again.

Friday, 18 November 2011

New Crochet

Well, having said I was going do some quilting I haven't got round to it this week.  The weather's been so gloomy I've felt more like curling up on the sofa with some crochet and some rubbish telly!  Also got most of my Christmas presents sorted online. Just a few smaller bits and pieces to find now :)

I added a simple cream border to the hexagon blanket that has been sitting around unfinished for ages. Think it finishes it off nicely.

Playing around with my wool I've decided to make my next project in pinks and greens and a pretty apricot I found this morning at my local wool shop.  Went through my favourite book and tried a waterlily square which is quite easy to do, but looks a bit more interesting than the flat ones I've done before.  I'm going to start with 9 for a cushion cover and see how it goes!

Have a good weekend

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Shirt Quilt Ta-dah!

The shirt quilt is finished, but I was waiting for the weather to brighten up to photograph it. It's been so gloomy lately it was quite a shock today when the sun finally came out.
Keeping with the recycled theme I used a well worn old duvet cover for the back which I think goes well with all the manly fabrics.  I used a buttery yellow fabric from my stash for the binding which I think brightens it up without being "girly". 

Washed and wrinkly :)

It does feel good to actually complete a proper sized quilt. I've done a few smaller wall hanging size ones but this was more awkward to quilt, even with the weight of it supported next to the sewing machine, it's still quite a job!  I did find hand sewing the binding on very relaxing though.

While I'm in a quilting mood I've decided to finish one of the tops I made a couple of years ago. In contrast to the masculine feel of the shirt quilt, this one is super girly.  I used all my favourite fabrics in pink, green, aqua, yellow and mauve.  I've added a border I made for a different quilt which didn't really look right, so I unpicked it all and used it here.  The colours aren't quite the same, but I think it looks good.  Need to sort out something for the back now.

Looks like stained glass from the back!

Finally, as it's Remembrance Sunday I thought I's share some pic's of a quilt I bought on e-bay a few years ago.  Initially I was going to re-use the hexagon part to make cushions or something but I haven't had the heart to cut it up.  Two of the shapes have "1940" embroidered on them and I get the feeling it might have been made hastily for a couple getting married  in a rush during the war.  The fabrics are typically 30s, probably from dresses and children's clothes and perhaps this was something that had been  worked on for ages, then suddenly added on to a larger piece of fabric with the initials D and J sewn on at the top.  I wonder who they were and if they survived the war?