Friday, 31 July 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

Well this week's post could be interesting as Blogger has been updated
and everything switched around. There's an option to make photos huge
so fingers crossed it comes out looking normal.

Big thanks for all the get-well wishes for my Mum.  She is still in hospital
having undergone quite a marathon with surgery and treatment.
She needs to build up her strength before being allowed home,
it feels like such a long time especially not being able to visit.
Thankful we can chat on the phone, she has an iPad so she'll be reading this...
hello Mum xxx

Garden:

I have 'Gardenitis' - noun - the strong compulsion to spend 12+ a day
in your garden instead of indoors!
Honestly, you would think it was enormous garden, it is tiny but
I still find things to do.  
So this is a little project still in progress.
My cat shelter is behind that repurposed garden gate and trellis.
The trellis got spray painted last weekend, one can doesn't go that far.
The intention is to grow clematis but for now I've stood pots there.



Name that plant!
This was a plant I acquired on Freecyle, it's not happy, leaves are dropping off
but I have espied some tiny white buds so perhaps it is clinging on.


And Mitchell has been a star this week, he secured some old trellis
to the wall to hide the outside tap and soil dustbins.
And this double planter is looking rather abundant.


My table in the conservatory has become my greenhouse. 


And this plant haul has come from Secret Gardening Club.
They do offers whereby you can purchase 15 perennials plants 
for £20 inclusive of postage.
I recognised about 2 of them!  
I've been on Google and working out where best to plant them.
Some look a little tired but overall very happy.


And this garden specimen is Bella who often stands, stares and wonders
where her tennis balls are now hidden.
That huge container is a cut down water butt awaiting an apple tree.
It belonged to my parents' neighbour, it was leaking so not serviceable as a 
water butt but perfect as a planter.
Apple tree news next week - hold onto your seats! Haha.


Okay...enough of the garden, let's switch to something else.

Crochet:

With all this gardening I've been even slower adding those squares
to my Harmony Blanket but it is growing.


This is the squares pile left to do on my dining table,
should have the table back by Christmas!


Recipe:

I cannot take any credit for this week's recipe, this is 
Mitchell's Tagliatelle and Mushrooms.
He often cooks at home and he's very good,
the cleaning up afterwards needs improvement though!
This dish is perfect for vegetarians or those 'meat-free' days.


8oz dried tagliatelle, 8oz mushrooms,1 onion, 

2 tablespoons of butter,

2 garlic cloves, ¼ pint of single cream,

¼ pint of white wine, parmesan and parsley

 

Cook pasta in a large saucepan until al dente,

Meanwhile chop onion and fry in melted butter,

Add garlic, mushrooms and cook until soft. Season.

Add wine and cream, simmer for 5 minutes, add parsley.

Serve with the pasta and parmesan and

lots of garlic bread.


And here is the printable recipe.

Telly:

 I still manage to squeeze in quite a bit of telly and this 
week's recommendations is The Umbrella Academy - Netflix.

On one day in 1989, 43 infants are inexplicably born to random, 
unconnected women who showed no signs of pregnancy the day before. 
Seven are adopted by billionaire industrialist Sir Reginald Hargreeves, 
who creates the Umbrella Academy and prepares his "children" to save the world.


It is quirky but enjoyable. Season 2 is out today.

And that wraps up this week's chatter.
Please stop by on Sunday as it is the first Sunday of the month 
and Charity Kit Day, August's charity is
I've made extra kits this month and they will be announced 7am 
here on the blog and splashed across Facebook and Twitter.

Have a lovely weekend, stay in the shade - scorchio weather forecast.

Take care friends.

Friday, 24 July 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

Welcome to this week's Friday Chat Day.
I have my regular natterings awaiting you...

Recipe:

This is a new recipe and I'm very happy to share it as 
it's quick, easy and very tasty.
Apple Traybake.
The recipe makes quite a large quantity so you may wish to halve it.
Or, like us, never worry if there is too much cake!




450g cooking apples (approx. 4 large apples)
lemon juice, 225g softened butter,
4 eggs, 2tsp vanilla extract,
350g self-raising flour, 2tsp baking powder
280g sugar, demerara sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 180 C, 350F or Gas Mark 4. 
Grease and line a baking tin (approx. 20cm x 27cm).
Peel, core and slice the apples –
add the lemon juice to stop browning.
Into a large bowl or food processor place butter, flour,
sugar, eggs, baking powder and vanilla extract.
Mix until smooth, spread half the mixture into the tin.
Arrange half the apple slices over the top, spread
remaining cake mixture and layer remaining apples.
Sprinkle with demerara sugar.
Cook 45-50 minutes, leave in tin to cool.
Cut into squares, eat and enjoy!

Click here for the Apple Traybake printable.
This recipe has also been added to the Recipes page/tab 
at the top of the blog here.

Crochet:

Truly delighted to have sold one of my crochet blankets last week,
I did a little happy dance (to the amusement of the boys).
I will be updating the crochet projects/yarn/for sale tab here
as and when I have items available.

This week has found me still working on two projects,
the Harmony Square blanket, joining those squares is becoming
a little speedier but I do need to concentrate.


This stripey project is quicker, thankfully as it is an order.
I'm just over three quarters of the way through and then I'll add a border.
It's the Attic 24 Hydrangea pattern using Dereamore DK Studio yarn.
I wasn't sure about the mustard but it seems to be working now.


Garden:

I've been scouring those Freecycle offers again.
This time a garden gate. 
Our shed has a little lean-to which we have made 
into a cat shelter, our one eyed cat Darcy loves to sleep outside,
(she can come in any time she wishes but she favours plenty of fresh air).
Because we are soppy we have attempted to make it as weatherproof 
as possible, this has resulted in tent fabric and tarpaulins - not the most
attractive of items.  So...I came up with the idea of hiding the shelter with 
a garden gate and some trellis.


The trellis is a freebie too as my Dad made it and no longer needs it.
It doesn't match the gate so I've invested in a can of this...


Never used it before.
I shall be spraying the trellis this weekend and I'll let you know how it goes.
My 'gate that leads to nowhere' project.

Telly:

My viewing this week has fallen into two diverse suggestions.
Firstly when I'm joining those crochet squares I need something
that is background but still enjoyable.
Agatha Christie's Poirot - all episodes available on BritBox,
selected episodes available on ITV Player. 


David Suchet does make a splendid Poirot, having played the character 
for 24 years I guess he had plenty of practice.
I also recommend his book Poirot and Me which tells the story of
how he secured the part and all the work he put into making such 
an authentic character.


And for when I was able to concentrate more 
I turned to Netflix for Snowpiercer.


Survivors of Earth's second ice age live out their days on a luxury
train that travels at high speed to plough through the snow and ice.
There is a hierarchy system, the poorest at the back of the train (the tail),
whilst the privileged in first class enjoy entertaining and luxury food.
It's a little gruesome at times with punishments metered out involving icy limbs!
The whole concept is intriguing.

And this week a pooch that isn't Bella...


This is Bear, my sister's Romanian rescue dog,
he's absolutely adorable.
It's impossible not to spoil him.
Definitely recommend getting a rescue dog, it's the equivalent
of giving them a whole new life.

Also this week, my Mum didn't get to celebrate her birthday 
fully as she was taken into hospital for surgery.
She's quite poorly but on the mend now, likely to be in hospital for 
another week.  It's so hard not being able to visit and doubly difficult
trying to get information from the hospital.
We are keeping everything crossed that she continues to improve 
and comes home soon, we've got a proper birthday celebration awaiting her.

Well my friends that wraps up this week's chatter.
I do hope you are all well and wishing you a lovely weekend.
Continue to be careful and safe.
Much love,




Friday, 17 July 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

How are you? 
Can someone tell the weather we are in Summer please.
Normal recipe service has resumed this week so
let's start with that.

Recipe:

Not dissimilar to my original Scone recipe, this week it is 
Cheesy Scones.
I don't think there is any point having a cheese scone unless you
can taste the cheese so these are a bit of a calorific treat.
You can also add a dash of cayenne pepper and mustard powder, 
my limited spice rack didn't run to that but I don't think 
it has impaired them..non nom!


125g self raising flour, 1tsp baking powder,
½ tsp salt, 55g chilled salted butter,
100g mature cheddar plus 50g (finely grated)
60ml warm mix of milk and water

Pop a baking sheet in oven and preheat
to 220C, 425F, Gas Mark 7.
Place flour, baking powder, salt and butter (cut into cubes)
Into a food processor, whizz until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
(Alternatively place all dry ingredients into mixing bowl and
rub in butter with fingertips).
Tip mixture into bowl and and mix in the 100g of grated cheese.
Add the milk and water, mix together until it begins to form
a dough.  Bring together with your hands but try not to knead.
Roll or press out to 2.5cm thickness and cut out scones
with a 6mm cutter/mug/glass. 
Brush tops with milk and sprinkle the 50g grated cheese.  
Place apart on the hot baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes.  
Remove from oven and eat as soon as possible -
don’t hold back on the butter!

Click here for the Cheesy Scones printable.
This recipe has also been added to the Recipes page/tab 
at the top of the blog here.

Crochet:

Some progress with this striped blanket in the Harmony pattern
using Deramores DK Studio yarn.
This is an order so I really should crack on a little faster,
I keep getting distracted with gardening.



This is the current situation with my Harmony blanket,
the joining is sloooooow.


At the top of my blog you may notice the Crochet Project page
has a little addition...'For Sale'.
Despite my ambition to make the world's biggest blanket fort I've had 
to concede that we do have too many blankets.
I've decided to put certain designs up for sale starting with these two.

If either take your fancy, all the details can be found here.


There is just one of each but I do intend to add more blankets
so please keep checking back.


Garden:

My gardening bug is not abating.  
This week I ventured to a local garden centre (very impressed with
their management of spacing and safety so it was a double pleasure).
I came away with this beauty. I've never owned a rose bush before and
whenever I see the words 'hardy' on a plant label I am overjoyed!


Thank you to those who confirmed the name of my plants last week,
I'm loving Agapanthus 'Lily of the Nile' and 
I've just discovered they come in white too.


This week I decided to order a small bench for the garden, I'm hoping it will be nice
to sit outside with a cuppa and possibly crochet. 
I do have this bench but as you can see I've somewhat hampered the seating
with a Clematis.


I spent a lot of time online and found one I liked, ordered and then the boys suggested
this idea... I declined.


Telly:

Occasionally on a weekend afternoon I dig out an old
black and white film, it just feels right somehow.
Delighted to discover that on the BBC iPlayer they have many classics.

Suspicion.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, a shy woman (Joan Fontaine) marries a charming 
gent (Cary Grant) but she then begins to suspects him of trying to kill her. 


I had forgotten how disjointed old classics can be,
the scenes seem to cut out when they shouldn't but putting that aside,
it's wonderful and who doesn't adore Cary Grant.

And keeping it diverse...

Ready Player One available on Amazon Prime.
Science fiction action film directed by Stephen Speilberg.
Set in a dystopia in 2045, follows a young man searching for 
an 'easter egg' in a virtual reality game.
(Not the chocolatey variety, instead a hidden object in a video game).



If I didn't live in a house of gaming fanatics I probably would 
never have seen this film.
Instead I could relate to it, loved it and watched it twice! 

Thank you for your telly recommendations too,
like me many of you have enjoyed The Detectorists and Sinner.

It was my Mum's birthday this week and we are celebrating
properly on Sunday with a safe distanced barbecue in my sister's garden.
I'm going to prepare some veggie kebabs and something far less healthy
in the form of a cake - I'll let you know next week how that works out
and possibly potential blog recipes.

Oh I nearly forgot the pooch (how could I?)
She's been pampered and been to the groomer.
(Us humans here are not brave enough to venture to hairdressers yet).
We call this her 'Meerkat cut'.


Until next week, whatever you are doing  
may it be enjoyable, take care, keep distanced and wear
those masks everyone.

Friday, 10 July 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

Firstly, wow what a speedy sellout for this month's charity kit.
I increased the number of kits this month too.
I know a couple of you missed it so I will increase the amount again 
for the August kit, hopefully everyone can grab one.
It is always on the first Sunday of the month, the blog post
is published at 6.30am (automatically, I've not quite managed to be awake then)
and I follow it up with notifications by email and on social media.

Crochet:

I seem to be trying to break a record for how many WIPs I have.
I'm slowly joining together the squares for my Harmony Blanket and
then I started this project, a blanket following the 
Attic 24 Hydrangea pattern using Deramores Studio DK.
This is an order so I felt entitled to start it and let other
projects fall by the wayside.


But...in between I thought I would make a start on the squares for an
Attic 24 Summer Harmony Blanket, a brighter design than the original.
This is me organising the squares for round 3 
with very little help from Bella!


The crochet has taken over the lounge, dining table and bedroom.
The boys comment - often!

Recipe:

I've failed on the cooking front this week but I do have a little excuse.
We had an issue in the Emberson household  - no hot water.  
We thought the heating programmer had died but it turns out it
was a fuse in the boiler isolation switch.
It took Mitchell and I three days to work that out.
For those days we boiled kettles, washed hair over the sink,
it wasn't so bad but they balked when I suggested getting a tin bath! 


So with no recipe this week let me proffer up something else - 
a little cooking appliance/kitchen gadget that I purchased and we love.
It's a Tower Mini Panini Press Grill.

  

We've had it for approx 3 months now and it gets used every day.
So far we've used it to cook bacon, burgers, pork loin, 
courgettes, green beans, mushrooms, filled wraps, re-heat pizza slices, 
toasted sandwiches and for what it is actually designed for...
a panini, but that was just the once! 
It is worth stressing it is diddy, but that hasn't really hindered us.
The plates are not removable but it wipes clean very easily with 
just a cloth and warm water. 
Available on Amazon here - price at the moment is £23.00,
when we purchased it was £18.95 - cheeky! 
I'm not affiliated with Amazon, sharing as it is fabulous little item. 

Garden:

Someone please keep me away from the Thompson and Morgan website!
It is safe to say I've got the gardening bug.
These are little Phlox plant plugs that arrived this week.
They do ingenious packaging.


And here's two of my plants from Freecycle.
No idea what they are, hoping the larger shrub survives,
builders had ripped it out of the soil to create a driveway
so it had suffered a little.


And trying my hand at some Passion Flower cuttings.
Chimney pot was also a freebie on Freecyle.


And all our herb seeds have now sprouted.


My garden bin has arrived from our local council,
I’m excited about it – that’s a tad worrying!  
I’ve subscribed to a ‘mini garden bin’ as since I’ve been doing more gardening 
I cannot  dispose of garden waste in my general bin and
trying to get to the tip is like a military manoeuvre,
you have to book a slot online and 
fill out a 25 page form (slight exaggeration). 

Telly:

This week I've stuck with the BBC iPlayer.
Caught up with all episodes of Last Tango in Halifax.
Starring Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid, a couple who rekindle a passionate
relationship after 60 years apart. 
What starts out to be romantic and sweet soon develops to be complicated.
Faultless acting, charming with twists and turns,
British drama at its best.


Still with BBC iPlayer - Strike.
Based on the books by Robert Gailbraith (aka J K Rowling).
A retired soldier-turned-private detective solves difficult cases.


I have read all the books, often in that situation the books are better and
again that is the case.  You imagine the characters in your own mind and 
the casting of this didn't quite work for me but, still watchable and 
crochet-able to!

Bits and Bobs:


And talking of books, Carole Matthews' latest is now available.
Summer Days and Sea Breezes - I adore the cover.
I have every single one of Carole's books, they take up more than half
of my bookcase and look bright and wonderful.

On a ferry bound for the Isle of Wight, Jodie is looking for some peace and quiet on her brother Bill’s houseboat Sunny Days. But from the moment Jodie steps aboard it’s clear she’ll struggle to keep herself to herself. If it isn’t Marilyn, who is under strict instructions to look after Jodie, then it’s Ned, the noisy wood sculptor on the next-door boat. Bustled out of the boat by Marilyn and encouraged to explore with Ned, Jodie soon delights in her newfound freedom.  But out of mind isn’t out of sight, and when her old life comes knocking Jodie is forced to face reality. 
Will she answer the call or choose a life filled with Sunny Days & Sea Breezes?
Carole's books never fail to be uplifting and addictive,
I guarantee if you haven't read one yet go for it and you'll then be reading them all.
Take a look at her website here.

This weekend: some cooking, I'll definitely have a recipe next week.
Hoping the sun comes back out to do some more gardening and,
of course, plenty of crochet to be getting on with.

Take care friends, wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Charity Kit - July 2020

Hello friends




It's Charity Kit Day!
As always, big thanks for your support and please 
feel free to share kit details with everyone.

Each month a donation is made to a different charity,
and this month we are supporting My Shining Star,
a charity supporting families through the financial
trauma of childhood cancer.
To keep track of charities there is a tab at the top of my blog 
here with lots more kit info.

Without further ado here's this month's kit:
A 'Love' card featuring Anna Griffin paper, 
layered white and gold foil die cuts, foliage and flowers.



What's included in your kit:

White card base with matching envelope
Patterned mat - double sided - Anna Griffin design
Die cuts - Fancy Scallop Edge Circles x 4 (white and gold foil), 
Sew Sweet Sentiments – Hearts x 4 (white and gold foil), 
Love x 2 (white and gold foil) 
Flowers x 8, Leaves x 4
Full instructions
(Items you will need: adhesive, inks/pens, pearls/gems).




The lovely Anna Griffin patterned mat is double sided so you have a choice of design,
trellis green as I've used or the gold embossed little diamonds.



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 £5.85, that's the total payment -
it is inclusive of postage and packing.


Payment is via the PayPal link below.
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.

Here's the link and it is possible to purchase multiple kits,
there's an option for that too.


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,
All donations enable me to purchase card blanks, envelopes, the paper bags,
sticky labels and more - 
very grateful thanks to those of you who help through Ko-fi.



You are all stars for purchasing the charity kits,
every month we do our bit for helping others. 
Take care friends, enjoy your Sunday and
continue to keep safe.

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