Friday, 27 November 2020

Friday Chat Day

 Hello friends

Welcome, hope you are all well.

We are nearing end of November and I would normally be thinking of putting up the Christmas decorations in a week or so but instead the tree and garlands are up!  

Like many we were in need of some pretty lights and distraction.

Although I don't think the festive memo has reached all of us...



Lots of thanks for all the birthday messages last week. I had a quiet lockdown birthday
and it was very enjoyable, yummy food and drink. 
Facetime call with my sister and the boys treated me to beautiful gifts.
I also received some gorgeous handmade cards from my crafty group 
up in Milton Keynes, here's a few.




I miss our monthly get-togethers, we will have masses to catch up on eventually.

Right - let's get this nattering on track, here goes...

Recipe:

This week it is scones - I've shared a cheesy scone recipe with you before but this time it is all in one speedy scones.  Definitely eat these on the day of making, they got a little rubbery/chewy the next day!

(Let us just ignore that misshapen one in the tin...!)


2oz butter – chopped small, 8oz self raising flour, 
1tsp baking powder, 1oz caster sugar, 
3oz sultanas (optional) 
7 tablespoons of milk
 
Preheat oven to 180C. 
Place all ingredients into bowl, mix with a wooden spoon
until it forms a soft dough.
Roll out to 1” thick, cut with fluted cutter.
Glaze with milk or egg.

Cook for 15 minutes.
Cool on wire tray, best eaten same day.

Recipe printable is available here.

Crochet:

Whilst going through my photos I discovered my first piece of crochet - February 2019
and I recall being really pleased and sending photos to friends!


I've progressed somewhat and this week my crochet skills have
turned to this...

A Pokemon Pokeball.


A request from Elliott, he did ask me to make as many as possible - he wants to have
them as tree decorations, his very own Christmas tree in his flat.
But I confess this one took ages and it came out far bigger than expected so
it is now an ornament, "it's a statement piece" I convinced him! 
But I'm not mean, I've been online and bought him some glittery 
Pokeball baubles - try saying that fast!

Telly:

With the tree and decorations going up I've indulged in a few favourite 
festive films including:

Scrooge - Amazon Prime


1970 musical version with Albert Finney, in my opinion the best
adaptation - who doesn't want A Christmas Carol
with foot tapping songs?

Dr. Seuss's The Grinch - Netflix


My first time watching anything 'Grinch' was last year.
I had dismissed it so many times thinking I wouldn't like it,
how wrong I was.  This animated version is wonderful, makes you feel
very gooey inside!  And keep an eye on the dog - cute! 

I'm not sharing any photos from my tiny garden this week,
everything is damp and dull. I do think my daffodils are peeking through 
though, these would be the few that Squirrel Biggs has left me with,
much excitement ahead!

 And that is another week, where does the time go?
Next week I will be busy preparing the next
charity kit - first Sunday in December which is the 6th. 
Still a few kits left from last month - details here.


I think I got a bit carried away die cutting last month.

Take care friends, may you be safe in whatever tier you may be in! 

Much love,

Friday, 20 November 2020

Friday Chat Day

 Hello friends

How you are all? And how has your week been?

Thanks for stopping by and let's get the nattering started...

Recipe:

Apple and Coconut Cake

I noticed I had apples going a little soft in my fruit bowl hence this cake.
Definitely worth cutting the apples into quite large pieces, it makes a nice texture.


175g softened butter, 175g sugar, 225g SR flour,
1tsp baking powder, 2 eggs beaten, 1tsp vanilla extract,
½ tsp cinnamon, 50ml Greek yoghurt, 75g dessicated coconut,
2-3 eating apples, peeled, cored and diced.
 
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a large loaf tin or 8” round tin.
Using a mixer/whisk, cream butter and sugar and vanilla extract.
Add eggs gradually (add a little of the flour to prevent 
curdling if needed).
Fold in flour, baking powder, cinnamon and yoghurt.
Add apple and coconut – mix well.

Spoon into tin and level. Bake for 60 minutes, 
check with skewer (if clean when inserted then it is done).
Leave in tin for 10 minutes before turning out to cool on wire rack. 
Delicious warm with custard or cream and also yummy cold. 

Please click here for the printable.

Crochet:

Vintage/Winter Harmony Blanket
The joining has commenced, I think I have now mastered the 'join as you go' method,
it's only taken three blankets to work it out and not keep checking the pattern! 
Each time I make one of these blankets they become my favourite,
so many colourways work so well.


And this is my crochet trolley.  Invaluable when I'm organising squares,
that's the same blanket just the other end.
It enables me to file everything, out of the way of little paws!

The 'Crochet' lettering is from The Label Lady - 
if you like customising items her website is a delight.
The drawing of Bella is from the fabulous Lisa Galley Illustrations.


Reading/Telly:

I treated myself recently to two books.
I normally have a couple of books on the go, fiction and non-fiction.

Carole's follow up to Happiness for Beginners, just look at that gorgeous cover!
Christmas for Beginners - a delve back into humour and naughty animals.

Nala's World - having discovered Dean and Nala (1Bike1World) on Instagram
some time ago I couldn't resist reading much more.


The Crown - Netflix


I eagerly anticipated Season 4 of the Crown having enjoyed all the previous
seasons immensely, this new season brings us to the 1980's - 
Margaret Thatcher, Lady Diana et all.
And now I'm watching it I confess to feeling a little uncomfortable.
I remember the events they are depicting so be shown a possible 
(and let's remember fictional) alternative is somewhat discombobulating.  
Like many, I wonder if the Royal Family tune in,
if they do how uncomfortable must they be feeling?
I also can't help running the word 'treason' through my mind! 
Be interested to know what others think.
 
Garden:

My ornamental pear tree...


The leaves are turning, I know it isn't massively impressive but please
bear with me - my excitement over such a little tree, 
I've never owned trees before.

And finally here's the pooch, she has now come to expect a chair in the 
kitchen whilst I'm cooking.  And of course I pander to all her needs!


Big thanks to all those who have asked after my Mum,
she is beginning to improve, she's made her Christmas cake and 
repotting her Amaryllis bulbs this week - all good signs.

And finally, I'm not working from home today - I've taken the day off to celebrate 
my birthday although lockdown birthdays are very low key,
PJ's and takeaway!  I truly do not mind - always better to be safe.

Take lots of care friends and have a lovely weekend.

Friday, 13 November 2020

Friday Chat Day

 Hello friends

Thank you for joining me again for another Friday Chat Day.

It's Friday the 13th but honestly...things cannot get any more unlucky can they?! 

Recipe:

The Christmas cake is baked, possibly a little too baked! 
Definitely darker on one corner. But it will be fine, 
with slatherings of marzipan and icing, no-one will ever know!


I recklessly combined three recipes to make this 
(that's about how reckless my life gets right now, haha)

So here's the recipe...

1kg mixed fruit, 6 eggs, 1tbsp marmalade, 1tbsp golden syrup, 
250g butter, 250g dark brown sugar, 285g SR flour, 
1tsp mixed spice, 1tsp cinnamon 
(you can add further festive ingredients such as glacĂ© cherries, nuts etc). 

Soak dried fruit for 2-3 days in half a pint of sherry or your 
chosen alcohol or cold tea. Stir daily.

Grease and line a 9” round tin or 8” square tin. 
Preheat oven to 140 C, Gas Mark 3 

Using a mixer/whisk, cream butter and sugar in large bowl. 
Add eggs gradually (add a little flour to prevent curdling if needed). 
Add the flour and mix well. 
Add all remaining ingredients and mix to combine. 
Pour into prepared tin and cook for 2.5 hours. 

Remove from oven and leave in tin to cool. 
Wrap in greaseproof and place in an airtight container, you can ‘feed’ your cake 
with more sherry by inserting a skewer to create small holes, 
drizzle over a spoon or so every few days. Hiccup! 

The recipe printable is available here.

I will be popping on the marzipan next month and tackling the icing, 
I tend to have grand ideas for decorating and then last minute go with a snow scene!

Out and About:

Bella walking and delivering food are my only excursions but I'm not complaining,
especially when you espy something like this at the local Church.
Made for Remembrance Sunday.


Garden:

At about midday on Tuesday the sky was wonderfully blue, most welcome
after days of grey, it is quite incredible how much the weather impacts upon us 
don't you think? 
Anyway, I dashed into the garden just to see how my plants were doing.  
These little chaps are still happy.


And this Clematis is possibly confused with the seasons.


And then this...


I was so worried when Darcy had to have her eye removed some years ago. 
How will she jump and climb I thought?  
Foolish foolish me! 
Her impersonation of a weather vane, she was up there for hours.

Crochet:

 Squares and more squares.
Working on the final rounds for a Vintage/Winter Harmony.
I am switching to another project when I finish, I think it is time to move on
to something different.


And this one would much prefer a dozen walks a day as opposed to 
watching me crochet.  Don't be fooled, she does get lots of walk.


Also happening...
I am back at work now - working from home on Thursdays and Fridays
so my week does feel more structured. I am enjoying it and thankful
I haven't forgotten how to do things.
Biggest obstacle is pets, they see me sitting down at my desk and fight over my lap.

Charities:

Thank you all so much for your suggestions, these are the selected charities for 2021.  

2021 Charities:


I did receive some further nominations which I am carrying over to 2022.
 And I'm always happy to receive suggestions - 
I cannot see me stopping the charity kits for a long time to come.

Telly:

At this time of year the channels are flooded with sentimental, cheesy,
Christmassy films and I LOVE THEM! 
I give my brain licence to watch them from November onwards with the
promise of far more challenging viewing in the New Year.
This series is in a similar vein...

When Calls the Heart - Netflix


Elizabeth Thatcher, a young teacher accustomed to high society experiences
a culture shock when she moves and begins to teach in a mining village.
My best description - imagine Little House on the Prairie for grown ups.

And my friends that is another week.
Hope you are all doing okay, it is tough in so many ways but ultimately
keep safe, keep strong and pop a mushy film on! 

Much love,

Friday, 6 November 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

Welcome to Friday Chat Day and I hope it finds you well.
Yesterday, first day of Lockdown 2.0 and ironically my first day back at work,
I count myself very lucky at being able to work from home.
Never did I think my working day would consist of having Bella on 
my lap whilst I type and being able to walk her in my lunch break. Thankful.
Although this is what she looks like at the end of a working day...


Recipe:

Preparation is going ahead to make a Christmas cake.
The recipe is a combination of three, I've decided to pick and choose
dependant upon what is in the larder and what I can buy.
I've started with a critical step - soaking the dried fruit in alcohol!
Feel free to follow me with the making and you can blame me too if 
it doesn't quite work out (although I'm secretly confident it will be fine!) 
I've placed 1kg of mixed dried fruit in a bowl with half a pint of sherry.
You can use apple juice or cold tea if you do not like it boozy.
Cover, soak for 2-3 days - mix and inhale daily.


I'll be baking this over the weekend and setting out the full recipe next week.

Finally my labels arrived to get my larder organised. 
I used the online facility at Avery labels to design these.

And here's the progress so far - still more to do but happy with how it is going.


Garden:

Being a newbie gardener I now understand why Gardener's World comes
to a close at this time of year - nothing is really happening.
Although saying that, I espied tiny buds appearing on my new Clematis.
This is the winter flowering - Winter Beauty.


And I think it seems quite happy in the old chimney pot.


Charity Kit:

As always, thank you to those who purchased.
There are still some charity kits available, I definitely made lots this month 
due to last month's running out so quickly.


Details to purchase are here.

And I would like to say thank you to those who support me through Ko-fi
I've been able to purchase all the 'do not bend' envelopes needed
for the next couple of kits which is wonderful.

As you know each month the kits donate to a different charity,
a mix of hooman and furry/feathered. 
There are still spaces for 5 charities next year so please feel free
to make suggestions, either by commenting or you can email
hope-chances@live.co.uk
If I receive lots of suggestions I will pop them in a hat and make a draw.
These are the 2021 charities so far:


Silver Fox Dog Rescue - my sister's Romanian rescue dog came via this
charity - he went from this...


to this - hogging the sofa!
Lucky Bear.


Crochet:

This week's progress of the Winter/Vintage Harmony blanket.
I am in a rhythm with this pattern and love doing it.
I had created the tags only to realise I had got one colour wrong so had to 
do a bit of scribbling.
All sorted and three more rounds of each to do.


The Cupcake Harmony blanket is still available - all the details on the yarn
page here. I appreciate the price may seem high - 
did I mention how many ends I sewed in - haha!
I realised I omitted to mention that a percentage of all sales of my blankets 
go to charity.


And talking of crocheted blankets and charity, I am seeking a place to send
small blankets to - a local cat rescue place was accepting but they now have plenty.
So, please let me know if you know of anywhere.
They are blankets ideal for small dogs or cats -
their travel baskets, cages etc.  All done in plain stitching - 
double crochet, no open weave for their paws to get caught.


And that was my week. 
Weekend - baking the Christmas Cake and possibly sanding my worktops,
(not to be done at the same time!)
I've decided Lockdown 2.0 needs a project so my wooden worktops
could be it. They were so nice when first installed - 15 years ago
but upkeep is the key and I've most definitely neglected them.

Take extra care friends.
Much love,

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Charity Kit Day - November 2020

Hello friends

Welcome to this month's Charity Kit Day.
Lots of thanks for visiting.

Each month a donation is made to a different charity and this month
it is Action for Stammering Children who help children and young 
people to have the same opportunities and quality of life as their peers.


To keep track of charities there is a tab at the top of my blog 
here with lots more kit info.
I am also asking today for charity suggestions for 2021,
please feel free to comment.

And here is this month's kit:
Its a mini kit - a 4 x 4 Autumnal 'Blessed' card.
Kraft card base, matting, sweet little die cuts including leaves,
acorns and a pumpkin.

 

Included in your kit:

Kraft 4 x 4 card
Kraft envelope
Gold foil card border mat
Patterned paper card mats x 2 (designs may vary - all lovely and Autumnal)
Die cuts - leaves, acorns, pumpkin, kraft circle, sentiment *
Full instructions
(Items you will need: adhesive, foam pads, inks/chalks/pens)

* There may be a little waxed paper on your die cuts from cutting -
rubs off easily before you apply colour.


The kits are packed in recyclable paper bags and sent in a 'do not bend' 
envelope so they arrive in pristine condition. 
To make up the kits you just need a basic craft kit, everything is pre-cut.



The kit cost is £4.85, that's the total payment -
inclusive of postage and packing.

Payment is via the PayPal link below.

£4.85

If you wish to purchase but would prefer not to use PayPal, 
please email me:
hope-chances@live.co.uk  
I'm happy to help with alternative payment arrangements.
It is possible to purchase multiple kits,
there's an option for that too.

The card also looks nice in a frame, I purchased this one on eBay,
bargain at £2.99 - link here.


If you would like to support the kits but do not need one right now,
there is a 'Ko-fi' button', at the top of the blog, it's not really for coffee.
All donations enable me to purchase card blanks, envelopes, the paper bags,
sticky labels and more -
I am very grateful thanks to those of you who help through Ko-fi,
it makes a real difference each month.

Thank you so much for your valuable and wonderful continued support.
Take care friends, enjoy your Sunday.

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