Friday 30 October 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

Welcome to Friday Chat Day.

It was touch and go with getting a blog post written up this week, this was my computer two days ago...


Apparently the motherboard had fried [sob].
I thought I was being sensible when I suggested buying a replacement 
motherboard but oh no, according to my computer savy sons my PC was "ancient",
"It still has VGA cables Mum".  That was me told.
I was also told to be thankful the hardrive was intact -"
you haven't lost any photos, documents, crochet patterns(!)" - PHEW! 

It was a rush to order a new computer 
(thank you Amazon for a bargain refurb one delivered the next day).
It then took Mitchell hours to install applications and transfer onto the new computer 
my important items (although I swear he said "crap")!!! 
Tragically what did not transfer were all my email folders and contents that I had 
diligently set up for years.  All my past workshops, demos, trade shows,
all my correspondence with you lovely blog followers and more.
I feel rather traumatised about that.
I also cannot believe how much time this week was consumed by a metal box of 
wizardry, it put me so behind with everything so a rather a shortened blog post
this week and no recipe, I had plans to make a Christmas cake - sorry.
But...I have a new computer up and running - I am thankful.  
Honest!

Garden:

The weather has been awful this week hasn't it - rain and gusty winds.
The clocks going back - always hard initially, I bet we ALL said 
'oh look how dark it is already'.
So with the clocks and torrential rain I did not venture into my garden but 
I did snap this photo, it is poor quality but ...here he is!
The naughty squirrel that is enjoying replanting my bulbs in next door's garden.
Now affectionately known as Squirrel Biggs.
Cute...very naughty...but cute! 


Crochet:

It is finished - the Cupcake Harmony Blanket.
Did I mention I was selling this one? 
I am going to but I confess I'm struggling to part with it,
I adore the colours, they really do look edible.
I see frosting, sprinkles, ice cream, chocolate.


Bella has given it her seal of approval.


It is now listed on my Yarn tab page here with lots more photos.  
It took 15 balls of yarn, just under a month to make and in total there was 
1,210 ends to sew in.
Guess what?  I'm really good at sewing in ends now.

I am now starting another blanket, squares again with a vintage colourway.

Home:

Last Sunday Elliott came home for a roast dinner and to cuddle the cats.
(Yes that was his priorities).
You can see Darcy is overbrimming with excitement at seeing him,
cats are truly superior beings.


Once all felines were duly hugged and dinner done, we sat down to watch
some telly.  

Telly:

Elliott introduced me to Taskmaster.
It used to be on Dave, won a BAFTA and now acquired by Channel 4.


Hosted by comedians Greg Davies and Alex Horne, they challenge
famous contestants to complete a series of weird and wonderful tasks.
Just seeing Johnny Vegas trying to paddle an inflatable boat on wheels 
with oars was silly but funny.
I don't think I've laughed so much in ages, it is a tonic of a show,
I definitely recommend.

And if you happen to have Britbox - 


This polished up my Wars of the Roses history.
House of York versus House of Lancaster.
Based on three of Philippa Gregory's novels, the series is from the viewpoint
of Elizabeth Woodville (she's a white rose - House Lancaster)
and her marraige to Edward IV - (he's a red rose - House York).
Great series although I did have to overlook the fact 
that she had about a dozen a children and did not age at all. 

And just in case you fancy this, Britbox is £5.99 a month - first month is free. 
I have no affiliation but perhaps I should tell them...haha!
I certainly get my money's worth each month, so many shows I'm keen to watch,
I still haven't got to the end of Midsomer Murders.

And finally, this Sunday is Charity Kit Day.
I've gone Autumnal this month, here's a sneak peek.



This month's charity is Action for Stammering Children.


A cause very close to my heart as Elliott had a stammer growing up.
After intense speech therapy he was cured but others are not so fortunate.
Please stop by on Sunday for all this month's kit details,
it goes live at 7am with notifications on Facebook and Twitter.

Oh yes, I have just one Advent Frame left with the lovely gold and ivory
Anna Griffin design papers.


Pop to the bottom of this blog post here for more details.

And that is this week wrapped up,
A rather pared down blog post - apologies, I hope to be back to all 
my usual babble next week.

Take care friends, have a lovely weekend.
I have crochet planned and stepping away from a computer.

Friday 23 October 2020

Friday Chat Day

 Hello friends

How are you? Another week gone by way too fast.

As I am writing this the rain is hitting my windows, it's a far cry from those roasting hot sunny days. Although there is some comfort in hearing the rain outside whilst warm indoors, that is until a soggy cat arrives home and jumps on your lap!

Garden:

Earlier in the week, before the rain took hold, I took a couple of garden pics. I mentioned last week that these flower heads look like faces, happy ones at that.

It is pretty much the only colour remaining in the garden.


And here's Bella questioning why I need to take this photo.


I've cleared a lot of the garden ready for winter, I'm still doing battle with a 
particular squirrel who likes my bulbs.  It may not be just the one squirrel, 
he could have dashed home excitedly and shared the bulb location info with all his mates!
 The funny thing is he is digging them up and burying them in next door's lawn, 
come Spring they will have lovely daffodil ring around the base of their  rotary washing line.

Crochet:

Little crochet update, Cupcake Harmony Blanket progress. 
The colours are very cupcake, I'm seeing chocolate icing, vanilla sponge, sprinkles. 
I plan to sell this blanket if I can bare to part with it! 
I just adore this pattern, so mush so I've got a winter/vintage colourway lined up next.



Telly:

Vienna Blood - all episodes on BBCiPlayer
Max Liebermann, a student of Sigmund Freud, helps Detective Rheinhardt in the investigation of a series of disturbing murders around the grand cafés and opera houses of 1900s Vienna.

This was released last year and I did watch it then but chose to re-watch whilst having 
a crochet afternoon.  Period telly is truly my cup of tea and Detective Rheinhardt has a 
rather dreamy voice!
Season 2 is hopefully in the making.


Recipe/Cooking:

Let's talk bread and bread making machines.
Do you bake bread?  Do you own a machine?

I've had my bread making machine for many years, in fact I'm on my second one as the first one expired due to over-use. It is a basic Morphy Richards, I know you can get all singing and dancing machines but I steer away from those.
 It is so easy to pop everything into the pan, switch it on and forget about it until that 
lovely fresh bread aroma fills the house. 
I confess if I had to make bread traditionally we would be bread-starved! 
I've discovered by keeping the bread machine on the worktop it gets used,
the minute you put something in the cupboard it joins the realms of 
dusty forgotten kitchen gadgets.

I have got my tried and trusted basic white recipe which is:


Written out circa 2005, incredible how scraps of paper last.
I do often substitute the butter for oil, either olive or sunflower.
And this is yesterday's loaf, half of it devoured within minutes by Mitchell.


Occasionally I feel ambitious and reach for this book.


It's wonderful and along with bread recipes it also explains how you 
can make cakes and traybakes in a bread machine.
Available on Amazon used for around £3 here (bargain) or 
reprinted with a new cover for £12.25 here.

Home:

I've made a tiny bit of progress in sorting my larder/pantry.  
The storage jars arrived from Ikea via the little computer shop up the road.
I walked to collect them completely forgetting how heavy the box would be,
my arms felt a lot longer once home.
I selected the Ikea 365+ range of jars as I had read the lids fit nice and securely.

I'm awaiting the Avery clear labels to arrive and then I'm going to have a go 
at designing and printing. I'll be sure to keep you posted - riveting stuff!

Craft:

I ventured into my cabin this week and tackled a shelf that has needed sorting for months. 
I realised it contained some advent frames (kindly made by my Dad) so I then 
became totally distracted and decided I would put together a few Advent Frame Kits.
If you've followed my blog for some time you may remember that previous designs when completed look like this...


The frames are bare wood that you can leave, varnish or paint.
The boxes slot into the frame and are perfect for advent treats - 
sweets, charms, coins, notes, lottery tickets, IOU's and more.

I've put together just three kits with gorgeous Anna Griffin gold and ivory cardstock.
This is really lovely card, double sided so nice and thick.
The box bases are also lovely - ivory linen card 255gsm.


This photo shows the lovely gold patterns sparkling, 
please imagine me wiggling it around to catch the light on a dreary day!


Also included in the kit is the little die cut box tabs and printed and punched numbers 1-25.


Full instructions included although they are super easy to make, 
you just need a bone folder/ruler, liquid adhesive and foam pads.


As said, just three kits available in this Anna Griffin gold and ivory design.

If you would like to purchase please click the PayPal link below.
They are £24 each and that includes free postage and packing.



And that shelf in the cabin... it still needs sorting!

Little Mum update. 
So kind of you to ask after her, she's had another scan this week so awaiting results.  
She's eating a little more (rather partial to a pain au chocolat) but still frail and 
feeling frustrated at not being able to do things.  
She is very much a 'do-er' and misses jumping up and doing housework, 
the garden and more. 
And, like so many others, Covid has exacerbated the whole situation.
Difficult times for so many.  

And that rounds up my week.
I hope to see Elliott again this weekend, sweep up some leaves in the garden,
a little bit of baking, housework and definitely a whole lot of crochet.

Take care friends, keep safe.

Friday 16 October 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

How are you?

It is most definitely Autumn, I've given in and put the heating on a few times this week.
Not a huge amount to report this week but somehow I've managed to waffle a fair bit...

Crochet:

To commemorate Autumn I thought I would have a go at crocheting pumpkins, 
the pattern is from Bella Coco Crochet - YouTube video here and the yarn is 
Deramores DK - leftover from a previous project.
They are really easy to make (thanks to the video) and 
they make me smile each time I see them.
When the world is going mad - make a pumpkin! 


Bella with my Summer Harmony blanket, still over the end of bed 
radiating happy colours.



And this is my Cupcake Harmony in progress, 100 squares nearly ready to be joined.


Recipe:


Onion Suet Roll 
I've shared this recipe before so cheating a little,
it is step by step photos this week.

You are going to need:

Self raising flour
Atora Suet
Onions (1 large or 2 small)
Salt
Water

Chop the onions and soften.
You can do this in a frying pan, I add a little water
and pop them in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
Leave to cool.


I use a slow cooker to cook mine but you can also steam on the hob.
My slow cooker is circa 1980!
Switch it on to pre-heat, place a small dish in the bottom.
The suet roll will sit on this.


Into a bowl place 4oz of SR flour.
No sifting needed for this in fact I never sift - takes too long! 


Next add 2oz of suet.


Mix in about 1/8 pint of water, equivalent to 5 tablespoons.
Add a pinch of salt.


You should now have a ball of dough and softened onions.


Roll out the suet dough onto a floured surface.
If you have one of these non stick mats they are brilliant.
Add the cooled onions, spread across.


Roll like a swiss roll.


Make sure the end is at the bottom.
Place onto a lightly oiled piece of foil.


Next, position on top of a raised dish in slow cooker.
Add water for the steaming, just ensure it doesn't touch the suet roll.


Pop the lid on and forget about it.
Mine went in at 9am and came out at 6pm, setting high.
I don't even look at it or top up the water, I really do forget about it! 


Slice and serve with a roast dinner, perfect with gravy.
You can add bacon to make this a main dish.



It is ultimate comfort food and to be honest right now is not the time
to be counting calories.


Telly:

Life - all 6 episodes available on BBCiPlayer
One Victorian house converted into four flats and how the residents lives' intertwine.


Fantastic cast including Alison Steadman, Peter Davidson, Rachael Stirling and
Adrian Lester.
I really enjoyed this and watched all six episodes over two days. 
Few plot twists too, I do love a plot twist! 

Home:

No garden pics this week as so dull and wet although my winter pansies 
are being defiant against the weather and remaining upright,
the flowerheads do look like faces.

But indoors...
a little insight into how my blog posts are brought to you...


And that was my week.
This weekend hoping to visit Elliott (unless we move up a tier)
and getting to grips with organising my larder - I have new containers,
stop by next week to see those and my progress,
I know you can barely wait! 

Take care friends, truly hope you are managing where you are,
keep focused on happy things.

Friday 9 October 2020

Friday Chat Day

 Hello friends

Happy Friday and welcome to my chatter.

I'll confess straight off the bat - no recipe this week.  Cooking got away from me but I have a brilliant excuse... I was making more charity kits!  

It was the speediest of sellouts last Sunday, all gone by 10 am but then I realised so many of you had missed out. I had made the normal amount but for some reason this month's kit proved very popular.  

I went back into my cabin and with a slight change I was able to put together more kits.

Those who have ordered your kits have all been posted out.  There's just a few left of the revised kit, details in this blog post here.

So what else this week?

Telly:

Whilst making the extra kits week I discovered a French series (dubbed in English). 

Netflix - Le Bazar de la Charité - The Bonfire of Destiny

 Loosely based on fact, it follows the lives of three women after a devastating fire in 1897 Paris, their destinies turned upside down by forbidden love, identity theft, betrayal and emancipation.

Have to say the dubbed English voices are not good but worth enduring for the story. 

Home:

I'm very guilty of watching (and loving) Instagram accounts where people organise their cupboards/larders/pantries and I thought it was high time I had a go. Well blimey it is a lot harder than it looks!  I thought it was just a case of buying some storage, having a sort out and popping it all back in. Oh no, for it to look super neat I've discovered not only do I need boxes I need jars, all sorts of  containers and definitely labels.  Not to be deterred I have made a start...

Step 1 - purchase containers, enough containers, this is definitely not enough.


Step 2 - empty out larder and remove cat. 
I don't usually keep a cat in my larder but like most cats the minute you open the door, they dive in.


Step 3 - throw out of date items - why do I buy pickled onions every Christmas?
They never get eaten.
I've realised my shelf bows in the middle so may have to rethink what goes on there.


Step 4 - admire one tiny bit done - cereals sorted but everything else, definitely a work in progress.


So yes, more storage containers needed, I've been online and ordered some from Ikea, 
turns out to deliver them it is £15! 
BUT if I have them delivered to the little computer shop up the road from me...only £2.  
Tip: if you are ordering from Ikea, use their little drop down menu at 
checkout to see if you can save.  Admittedly I've got to wait a week or so but worth it.

And labels - well I've discovered I can buy clear Avery labels and hopefully print them. 
I managed to spend a couple of hours just looking at fonts!

Crochet:

 Summer Harmony is finished.  My goodness it is a border and a half - 17 rows.
For now it is over the end of my bed, I love it and the colours are an absolute joy.
It makes me smile each time I look at it.


And because I love the whole system of creating these blankets - 
Cupcake Harmony is underway.  These little labels detailing the colour sequence
are perfect and I can't possibly go wrong with Bella supervising.


Garden:

The minute it stopped raining on Wednesday I was out there.
I was eager to plant up this new Clematis - Winter Beauty, it flowers through Winter,
beautiful white bell-like flowers. I guess the name is a bit of a giveway!
I had ordered it way back in June and it was just delivered.
I'm conducting a bit of an experiment with planting it in this old chimney pot,
I know Clematis like deep rooting so that's ok but I fear it could be too narrow.
Keeping everything crossed.
It looks a bit droopy in this photo but it had just been planted,
poor thing slightly in shock.


And this is a little indoor greenhouse - thank you Ikea, 
very handy once you find that cheaper delivery button! 


Assembled - I did it myself with a lot of swearing.
It is quite simple but one of those things where you could do with another pair of hands.


Positioned on my conservatory table, inside is three rather precious delicate 
Clematis plants that I want to keep happy over Winter.
They are in quite big pots, if you were to use this greenhouse for seedlings you 
could fit in quite a lot. (Spot Bella's tennis ball in the garden).


Dinner last Sunday at Elliott's was delicious, the plan was to show Elliott how to cook 
a roast but Mitchell cooked it all, he's a great cook, we decided best not to interrupt him.
Bella loves Elliott's flat, I think it may have something to do with the 
enormous park opposite, she got two walks around that.


And that was my week.

I've heard that I'm returning to work next month, thankfully working from home.
I'm relishing this last bit of time off and mentally preparing myself for working again.
I've forgotten so much, I'll be cramming initially.

This weekend - no big plans, does anyone have big plans nowadays?
A bit of crochet and a bit of housework - one bit is larger than the other for sure! 

Take care friends, enjoy your weekend whatever you may be doing.

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