November Challenge – Keeping Clean, Warm and Tidy!

The weeks are flying by and here we are at the end of November with less than a month until Christmas!  The challenge I set myself to make at least one home/’me’ item and one stocking present each for Abi and Josh every month in 2015 is nearly over!

There was one thing that Abi requested that I hadn’t yet got to and that was a frilly apron!  I received one last Christmas which she fell in love with, so I decided to sew something similar.  My one was rather small, even on me, so I had to alter the pattern quite a bit and here it is!

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(Photos courtesy of Josh, the apron is on me so the top is a little baggy, Abz is much taller than me).

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I am happy with the way it turned out, just a couple of tweaks needed.  I have scribbled it all down somewhere and will try to get the pattern posted sometime when I have had a chance to test it properly!

For Josh this month it’s a new scarf.  I wanted something not too boring but not girly either so I just made it up as I went along.  There are three rows of twisted trebles in the middle creating lots of mini cable style stitches.

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I worked along the length and then added rib along the short edges at the end as a boyish alternative to a fringe 🙂

 

It looks rather washed out here, every time I zoomed the colour disappeared but you can see the pattern a bit better.

Again I was really pleased with this scarf and will try to write down and road test the pattern before blogging, probably in the new year.

Now the  home/’me’ item this month was a bag for me.  For a long time I have loved the Japanese knot bags but all the patterns I could see were for flat bags with a boxed out bottom.  I feel that they really lend themselves to being a circular based bag so taking a deep breath and remembering my resolve to be more creative I drafted my own pattern. I made four while I was at it.  Two for my Stitching Secret Santa’s (more about that soon), one for a friend and one for me.

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If you are not familiar with Japanese knot bags they have one short and one long handle.  The long handle tucks through the short handle closing the bag.

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Again I am pleased with this, in fact I love it and right now I am using it as a project bag for my second pair of socks 🙂

I have plans for Decembers makes and I shall be trying to squeeze them in between all the Christmas preparations.

I hope you all have a great week and Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

 

Birthday Gateau

Here is the family gateau recipe that we often have for desert on birthdays.  I sometimes adapt the plain recipe to make a chocolate as I did here for Josh’s birthday.

Birthday Gateau

Ingredients

4 eggs

2oz Plain (all purpose) Flour and 2oz Cornflour (cornstarch)

(For the chocolate version use just 1 1/2 oz of plain flour, 1 1/2 oz of cornflour and 1 oz of cocoa powder.)

1 tsp Baking Powder

4 oz Caster Sugar

Fruit of your choice

Jam or icing sugar (optional)

1 pint Whipping Cream

Method

Important – First prepare all ingredients so that there is no waiting between stages, eg; separate eggs and whisk egg yolks with a fork to break up, put sugar in a bowl ready, sift flours, baking powder and cocoa together  if using.

Prepare 2 x 8″ round sandwich tins and heat oven to Gas Mk 6 (200C or 400F, moderately hot)

  1. Whisk egg whites until peaks can be made and remain.
  2. Whisk in the sugar.
  3. Add yolks quickly but gently,folding them in with a metal spoon.
  4. Immediately fold in the flours, baking powder and cocoa if using,still using a metal spoon.
  5. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake on the middle shelf for approx 15 minutes.  Do not open the oven door before 10 minutes of cooking time, then you need to keep an eye that it doesn’t catch.  The cake is cooked when you press and release a finger gently in the centre of the sponge and the cake springs back.
  6. Leave to cool in the tin for 2 mins before turning out to cool on a wire rack.
  7. Cut each cake in half horizontally and fill each layer with cream and fruit.  I either add a little jam or else whizz up some of the fruit with some icing (confectioners) sugar to add to each layer too.
  8. Enjoy!!

It really is an easy recipe and there is no fat in it and it has fruit so it must be good for you 😉

Enjoy,

Sharon xx

A PJ Case Ta-dah at Last!!

Well, you have seen these PJ cases at various stages and had sneak peeks throughout the past months and finally they are all finished.  The original idea for these came from a similar bunny PJ case I had as a child.

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I am really pleased with how they worked out, the mice in the darker calico being my favourite.

The mice and rabbits head patterns were taken from the Tilda, Sew Sunny Homestyle book. I enlarged them and used just the top 3″ or so of the body to create the neck, shoulders and chest. All of the fabric was upcycled sheets and duvet except for the calico used for the heads.

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I then made up a dress pattern with a pinafore bodice and a long gathered skirt with a pillow case style opening to make the PJ case.

The apron is a simple rectangle gathered onto a waistband, the tucks already being part of the duvet.

I added a row of fancy stitching using Abi’s sewing machine that we gave her for her 18th. (I think I have probably used the machine more than her!!)

I spent some time on the aprons with each little girl’s initial embroidered, adapting a design I was given years ago from an old magazine and I originally used to make a pram cover for Abi when we were expecting her.

Lastly I embroidered the faces and added blusher to their cheeks

and here they are all ready to be loved.

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I really like this idea and I am now wondering how I could do something similar for the younger boys next year!

I am gradually getting through my Christmas gift list with shawl number three just finished blocking today, we even had some sunshine to photograph it!  I shall show you soon all being well.

Oh, I have just remembered that I promised to put up the Gateau recipe, I’ll try to do that later.

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How is your gift list coming on?  Enjoy the rest of your week and Happy Crafting!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Birthday Fun!

I find it hard to believe that my baby boy is now 11.   Josh’s birthday was on Tuesday but it started on the Saturday before with our traditional ‘monkey bread’ for breakfast.

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Monkey bread has to be one of the most delicious and naughty treats and we find any special occasion that we can as an excuse to indulge!  Each ball of dough hides a melted piece of dark chocolate and the outside of each ball is coated in melted butter and a sugar and cinnamon mix which turns to a sticky coating when cooked.  I use this recipe but add a piece of chocolate to each ball of dough.  We don’t bother with the glaze, it’s delicious enough without it.

After breakfast Hubby had a special treat prepared.  Josh loves supercars and the customer Hubby is working for owns a Porsche 911 Carrera 4.

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At 9.30 we had Josh looking out of the window as he turned up on our drive.

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Josh was so excited.  He had a sit in the drivers seat and then a ride out in it!

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For Sunday, Josh got to choose the desert and he chose a gateaux, chocolate with raspberries.

If you are interested in the recipe let me know and I’ll put it up, it’s a family recipe and it’s really easy and is so light and delicious.

On Monday Josh had two of his cousins and a friend round for tea.  After a really windy weekend and a very wet morning we prayed for dry calm weather and we were blessed with a dry quiet spell in time for his party, just as  we packed up it began to rain!

The reason we needed dry weather was because we had been mad enough to plan an outdoor party in November!

We started with a couple of indoor games while Abi hid sweets in the garden.  Abi had prepared some balloons putting a forfeit in each one before blowing them up.  We played musical bumps and the last to sit down had to pop a balloon and do what it said inside, the trouble was Abi had inadvertently bought helium quality balloons so they were really hard to pop!  This really added to the fun as they tried to devise means of popping the balloons.

Next we went outside and the boys lit a fire in the bbq and cooked sausages and bacon which we had with baked beans and jacket potatoes sitting outside on the deck.

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This was followed by Birthday cake.  I chickened out of shaping a cake as he wanted a Ferrari.

Instead I baked a square cake and cut out the car from coloured icings, scoring lines to add the detail.

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By then it was dark and our outdoor light only lit a small portion of the garden so they had fun hunting for the sweets.

Finally they had great fun making flame torches and waving them around while Abi used her camera to do some light painting pictures.

His actual birthday was quite quiet in comparison but it was lovely to have some family time. I gave him a car picture that I had stitched,

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and his card was made with watch parts from his Grandad’s supplies.  It was lovely for him to have something made with these parts as Abi already had the owl I made for her birthday.  They are stuck onto a canvas board that I painted red.

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And that was about it really,  It’s hard to believe that in another two years and he’ll be a teenager!!

I hope you all have a great weekend, great excitement here as we have had a snow shower!  I shall hunker down indoors with a hot chocolate and my crochet 🙂

Happy crafting!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Exciting Stuff…Felting and a little Woodwork!

Okay, so it doesn’t take a lot to get me excited, especially if it’s creative but I have itching to show you the Christmas card I designed for this year and also what Hubby made me that I mentioned recently.

I have said a couple of times that I have doing some more 3d needle felting and I am finally ready to reveal!

For my Christmas card I wanted to create a winter woodland scene out of felt.  I am still very much a beginner to this, having only made a basic owl and a tiger before. It was challenging and the creatures could be a lot better but I am happy with the overall effect.  The first animal I made was a rabbit.

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He was fairly simple as only needed a basic shape, faces I always find challenging but he is rabbity enough.

Next I made an owl, he again was a fairly basic shape and so not too difficult.

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Lastly I made a fallow deer.  She was a lot harder.  There was something therapeutic about taking a lump of fluff and jabbing it into a rough shape, gradually adding more fibre to get a basic body, then a bit of colour.

Even chopping her about to gain the right proportions!

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I was glad of those finger guards, especially when doing the legs!

I spent hours working on her and she is a big part of what messed my neck up so in the end I had to just stop.  There is still something not quite right about her but I have to tell myself that I am only learning and not be too fussy!

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Next I wet felted the background in white and cream, laying on rough strip of brown for trees,

I then needle felted a little more detail,

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made a base and a tree stump for the owl and put it all together.

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Then came the photography, Abi took the final image for me and I edited it to  give it a softer outline.

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I used Vista Print to do the cards as they have a half price deal on at the moment. This is the first time I have had my own design printed and it was so exciting when they arrived in the post (little things!!)

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Now on to what Hubby made me… an Amish style yarn swift.

Lately I have bought more yarn in a skein and even using my ball winder it was such a faff and I was constantly getting in a tangle trying to unwind the skein.

I had looked for tutorials on you tube, watched a couple (this was the most helpful) and then joined Hubby in the garage to make it.

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First we measured two 30″ lengths of wood and sanded them to smooth any rough edges.  It was 2″ wide by 1″ deep.

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Next we found the centre of both lengths and Hubby cut away a chunk half the depth of the wood and 2″ wide in the centre of each.

He then glued these together to form a cross and when dry he drilled a hole through the centre.  We then measured every 1 1/2 ” on each strut of the cross and drilled holes halfway deep to take the dowels (lolly/popsicle sticks).

Next Hubby cut a scrap of wood to a 17″ square for the base and drilled a hole in the centre.

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Hubby then put a bolt up through the hole in the base, added a washer and some nuts topped by another washer to lift the cross,

put the cross on the top adding another washer and a wing nut to hold it loosely in place and it was done!

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It works amazingly and makes winding your skein just so much easier, thanks Hubby!!

So that was my exciting things, maybe they don’t excite you but I am really chuffed with both of them 🙂

Have a great week and Happy Crafting!

Sharon xx

 

 

 

What I did with those Scrabble Tiles and other bits!!

I decided after several interested comments on my last post that I really must get around to using and posting about the scrabble tiles for three Christmas gifts. They will be for Hubby’s brother and sisters. (I didn’t want to keep you in suspense any longer Bekki 😉

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So what was it all about?  Well this gift idea came from something similar one of my cousins made us last year and here they are!

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There is the family surname (I’ve blurred that out) and then each family member’s name laid out like a crossword.

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I painted the backgrounds to go with their colour schemes.

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They are framed in these box frames from the Range.  They are just deep enough to take the depth of the scrabble tiles.  I purchased those on ebay and was able to specify which letters and quantity of each letter I needed.  They were such fun to make and a nice quick gift too!

I have also got a couple of photos of the other Amish puzzle ball.

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And ‘feeling dotty’ shawl number two is finished, a silver grey this time, only three more to go before Christmas!!!

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I also had two books I ordered for the Secret Santa arrive, one for the stitching entry and the other for the yarny one.

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I took advantage of a flash sale to get these and a couple of other gifts drastically reduced 🙂

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I feel like a child again every time I get parcels in the post at this time of year!

It’s Josh’s birthday tomorrow and his party later today so I must dash, have a great and creative week!!

Sharon xx

Winter Wips Progress!

I’m linking up with Jennifer’s Winter Wips Party again today to look at my progress since my winter projects and wips post a month ago.

Well, October was a strange month as I said in my last post but in spite of all the hindrances I did make some progress.

I now have most of the bits I need for my scrabble gifts and I hope to get on to them soon.

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I haven’t touched my blankets but that was expected and they are on the back burner until after the Christmas rush!

Oh yes!!  I can’t believe I had forgotten to show you these after being so long in the making!  The pj cases are finally finished and I just need to do a special tada post for you!

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Here’s a little mouse waiting for his nose 🙂

The gift that was going to be something ‘vw’ turned into a scarf when I saw the most gorgeous yarn over at Yarn, books and roses or midnight knitter. If you read this post you will see how excited shoppers were getting over this yarn and it really is gorgeous, it’s different and lovely to work with.  It is by Universal Yarn and is called Bamboo Bloom Handpaints in the cherry blossom colourway.  It’s 48% bamboo, 44% wool and 8% acrylic and is lovely and soft and squishy.

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I started off by knitting a cowl in a circle as Midnight knitter had but I managed to get a twist in it.  I’m not a huge fan of cowls anyway so I ripped it back (a lot easier than I had expected looking at the yarn) and knit a scarf instead on 10mm circular needles, not to knit in the round but just because I love to knit with circulars.  I did, pearl a row, knit a row but when I got to the fat bits I used the opposite stitch to make that part of the yarn stand out better as Midnight knitter had said she did.

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I really love the open effect the large needles give on the thinner yarn and after a good firm block it is just beautiful.

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I just hope the recipient loves it as much as I do! (I did order another skein so I may make one for myself sometime after Christmas!)

We are having such grey weather here at the moment in the UK that photos are proving a little difficult.  You can tell in this photo that I was also battling with the wind.

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Ooh, yes, I have made two Amish puzzle balls.  I love these too.  They are just perfect for little hands to grip.  I had planned on crocheting them but then decided that sewing would be quicker.  I machined the pieces to form the segments,

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but then these have to be joined by hand and I really enjoyed sitting quietly, sewing them together in the evenings. This was the best tutorial I could find.  There are several out there but a lot of them are just joined together and don’t have the puzzle element.  These instructions also allow for you to make any size ball.

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Sorry, it’s just too dark now to take a photo of the other one .

I have finished the second lace weight shawl (three to go!)  and it is blocking right now.

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Oh and something really exciting, (or it’s exciting to me anyhow and it doesn’t take much if it’s yarn or fabric related) Hubby made me something to make winding the skeins easier, I’ll show you soon!

I made all five turbie towels but I’ve just bought the fabric to make a couple more.

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I made Josh and Abi’s stocking gifts for October, I am just still waiting for the pompom for Abi’s hat. I have already finished Abi’s stocking gift for November too.

And my socks, did you see?  I was just so pleased to have finally knit a pair of socks!! I am hoping to make a pair for Josh next.

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The beret is also finished and being put to good use already.

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And that’s about it.  I need to really get cracking with the other three shawls now as my neck will still only allow a little crochet at a time.  How are you getting on with your Christmas makes list?  As I keep reminding myself, just remember to enjoy each minute of making those lovely gifts.

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx