A Birthday and my Favorite Tools atm.

Guess what we’ve been eating?….

Hubby had a birthday last week so there have been rather a lot of calories consumed here in Sussex! 

If you’ve followed me for any length of time you’ll probably know what’s coming next. Yep, monkey bread and birthday gateau.



One of my favorite yarns was inspired by this chocolate version of our birthday gateau and if you’re on Instagram you can see it knit up into a sock @grosifrick. She had also bought some of my yarns for a ‘find your fade’ shawl so I’m looking forward to seeing that when it’s all knit up.  I love seeing what people make with my yarns.

You can find the gateau recipe here and the monkey bread recipe is by Barbara bakes which you can find here. I add a twist to the recipe and I also put half a square of dark chocolate in the centre of each ball of dough to make it extra special.

I also treated Hubby to a venison roast on his birthday.

I think all that is going to mean I need to be rather strict with myself this week. And save up the treats for the end of the month when it’s my birthdayūüėā. 

On the creative front, there’s been a tiny bit of ‘me’ creativity. I’ve managed six rows of knitting on my shawl since I last blogged, which I don’t think I even told you about. I started it a few weeks ago.

 I’m using my bfl with nylon yarn in the Valley Hues colourway. Purple Is not a me color but I fell in love with this one so I couldn’t resist using it!  I’m using the Karise pattern from Ravelry and I was inspired by the beautiful shawls that my lovely friend Ericka Eckles has made. And as you can see I’ve finally worked out how to add links on my phone ūüėÄ

In shop creativity I’ve been having a big dpn needle holder sew up, So hopefully there should be more of them in my shop soon. 

 

Making these has been made so much easier by a couple of sewing tools I have so I did a short video to show you and share….. Aghh. It’s the first time I’ve done this and I don’t look very smiley but I’m sharing it anyway so have fun watching it, I’ll never be a t.v. Presenter that’s for sure! ūüėā

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Do have any great gadgets or things favorite things to share? I’d love to know. I may even add a ‘what I’m loving this week’ to my posts just for fun. Probs not a video though!! ! 

Have a very happy and creative week friends

Sharon xx

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Cheese and Bacon Puffs

I have just made some cheese and Bacon puffs and I thought I’d share the recipe quickly with you for the weekend!

This a family favourite, something I have been doing for years and a must at Christmas. They can be frozen uncooked, just get them out when you need them and pop them straight in the oven giving them an extra 2 to 4 minutes in the oven.  They can also be frozen cooked, just defrost and eat cold or warm them for a few minutes in a hot oven.

Cheese and Bacon Puffs

Ingredients

1lb (500g) pack of puff pastry

8oz (250g) Bacon

300g strong Cheddar cheese – grated

A little milk

Method

Pre-heat oven to Gas mark 7 (200c fan, 220c conventional, 425F)

Roll out the pastry to a rectangle about 1/16th” (3mm) thick and cut in half.

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cover one half with strips of bacon and cover the bacon with just over half of the grated cheese,

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lay the other half of the pastry on top of the bacon and cheese and press down firmly with your hands or a rolling pin,

Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with the rest of the grated cheese,

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press the cheese down firmly and cutting through all layers cut into squares.

I wanted bite size this time so mine were only about 1 1/2″ (3cm) square.

Place onto a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 7-10 minutes until the cheese is a deep golden colour.

Remove from the oven.  If any of them topple over just lift the top and replace it while they are still hot.

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Transfer to a baking tray to cool.

Keep in the refrigerator.

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Enjoy!!

Happy Baking!

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

 

Berry Crumble

We had crumble again over the weekend and I thought I would share my Crumble recipe with you.

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It has evolved over recent months as I have experimented with it ūüôā ¬†This time I just used the berries that I found reduced to clear in our local supermarket!

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Berry Crumble

Ingredients

6 oz (170g) raspberries

6 oz (170g) blueberries

12 oz (350g) Strawberries

2 large cooking apples peeled, cored and sliced

8 oz (225g) Demarara Sugar

8 oz (225g) Plain Flour

6 oz (170g) Hard margarine or butter

3 oz (85g)  porridge oats

 

Method

Heat oven to 190C (gas 5 or 375f)

Wash berries and place in a large oven proof dish.

Put prepared apples in a pan with 1 tablespoon of water and heat, stirring every couple of minutes until they are starting to soften then add the apples to the other fruit.

Sprinkle the fruit with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and stir to combine.

In a bowl or food processor rub the marge/butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Stir in the sugar and the oats and continue to mix until it is just starting to clump a bit.

Layer the Crumble mix over the top of the fruit and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with custard, cream or ice cream.

Enjoy and have a great and creative week.

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

 

 

Cookies, Fudge and Mince Pies.

I wanted to share these recipes that¬†are a must have in our house over Christmas. ¬† I have tried many different recipes for all three ¬†but for the past few years I have only used these recipes, you¬†just can’t beat them in my opinion!

Sharon’s Chocolate Chip Cookies – adapted from a handed down recipe

Ingredients

6oz Plain Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

3oz White Granulated sugar

30z Hard Margarine or Butter

3 slightly rounded Tblsp Golden Syrup

80z Your favourite Chocolate chopped into chunks (or chocolate chips)

Variations

At Christmas I use about 7oz white chocolate and 2oz of  dried cranberries.

For double chocolate chip cookies replace 1oz of the flour with 10z of cocoa powder.  These are also great with white chocolate.

Method

Heat the oven to 190c (180 fan oven, gas mk 5, 375F)

Sift the flour, baking powder and Bicarbonate of soda into a bowl

Add the sugar

Rub in the fat until it resembles breadcrumbs

Stir in the syrup to form a sticky dough

Mix in the chocolate chunks

Pull off lumps of the mixture about the size of a large walnut, don’t roll and space well apart on greased baking trays or silicone baking sheets and bake for 8 – 10 minutes until lightly golden.

After about 5 minutes transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Mince Pies

Here is the link to my absolute favourite mince pie recipe. ¬†I always use either softened butter or spreadable butter because if you use hard butter it just won’t bind together, ¬†with soft butter you can then roll it out also. ¬†The pastry is delicious, closer to shortbread really.

White Chocolate Fudge

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I’m not sure where this recipe originated but this soft delicious indulgence is addictive and makes great gifts…. if there is any left to give away! ¬†We have made two¬†batches this morning, it is so quick and easy.

Ingredients 

25 oz Golden Caster Sugar

250 ml evaporated milk

pinch of salt

2 1/2 oz butter

2 tsps Vanilla Extract

1 lb 5 oz (600g) White Chocolate

Method

Line two¬†7″ x 11″ baking tins with magic liner or greaseproof paper, alternatively just grease them.

Break the chocolate into a bowl and microwave for about 3 minutes, stirring every 1 minute until melted, set aside.

Gently heat the sugar, milk, butter and salt until the sugar has dissolved, stirring continuously.

Increase the heat and bring to the boil, as soon as there are the first bubbles of boiling reduce the heat and set a timer for five minutes, still stirring continuously.

Immediately the timer goes off remove from the heat and stir in the 2 tsp of vanilla extract, followed by the melted chocolate, stirring as you add it.

Pour straight into the pans and leave to set.  Cut into squares and enjoy!

Happy Cooking!!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Wips – Feeling Relaxed!

I’m feeling very relaxed about my wips and with less than three weeks to go until Christmas I am not too sure if that is a good thing or not!

Life has been going on much as normal here, Josh is in full creative swing, whether it’s fiddling with and trying to make his scooter go faster, taking apart his remote control car or making fireworks! ¬†Yes, the days of¬†cereal box models are long gone!

The fireworks experiment was rather amusing.  Josh asked for a sparkler as he wanted to make a firework. (what is it with men and boys and the love of fire?) He then proceeded to make a rocket with a cardboard tube very nicely decorated and then taped cap reels from a broken cap gun to it and also the sparkler.  I made him wait until Hubby came home and they then went outside to light the firework.

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Josh couldn’t get it to light so Hubby had a turn, not knowing that the caps were there. ¬†Hubby is a very jumpy person at the best of times so it was just hilarious when every time he tried to light it a cap went off! ¬†Not quite the rocket launch Josh had planned but a great laugh for us ūüôā

Abi is loving her work in the dementia care home, challenging, incredibly busy but very rewarding. I knew that Dementia was a very sad disease as my Grandma suffered with it but how it affects some is just dreadful.  Little old ladies once very dignified stripping off in the lounge, others, once delightful gentle people turning very abusive and violent. Then there are those who get no visitors because the relative just cannot bear to see the change in them.  She loves being able to brighten their day a little in a spare moment, being quite happy to dance round the lounge with them (they respond so well to music) or even dance with the zimmer frame, having them all in stitches, She is so bubbly and full of life and it is lovely to think of her bringing some love and cheer into their lives.

Hubby has been busy building a ‘dresser’. ¬†He managed to get hold of some kitchen units free, it is looking good so far but we are just buying the doors as we can afford it so I will show you a photo once it is complete.

Well I really have waffled on but it has been a while since I have done a ‘chatty’ post so I hope you don’t mind, now down to my creative bit!

The gifts to make list is getting shorter, hmm, I’ve just counted, ‘only’ ten more to go! ¬†I decided back in October that I¬†would enjoy each make, create it with love and not worry about what else needs to be done and I am determined to keep it that way, (hopefully)!

So, what is now finished? ¬†My mice, ooh, I am going to admit that I love these so much, even if it does make me sound boastful, I am really tempted to make myself one ūüôā

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I have used my scrabble tiles to make framed family name ‘crosswords’. (Surnames blanked out)

I have finished the ‘feeling dotty’ shawls two,three and four

and made another for Mum using the same pattern but as a long scarf.

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I have made a little sock doll as an extra and just need to make a little sleeping bag for her and then I will show you.

My cousin had a little baby so out came Edward’s Menagerie and I made another Emma Bunny, these patterns are just adorable.

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For Abi and Josh’s stockings I made a scarf for Josh¬†and a ‘frilly’apron as requested for Abi.

There were¬†a couple of¬†extra makes for Josh’s birthday, a stitched ferrari and a ‘steam punk’ style ferrari made using bits from his Grandad’s watch parts

and of course a cake and gateaux.

Oh yes, there was my Christmas card too!  If you missed the post, I needle felted a winter woodland scene and then photographed it to have it made into a card.

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I also made project bags for my Stitching Santa’s and another for myself and a friend.

 

A pretty peg bag for Mum’s birthday

and a wheat sack for a niece.

 

I think that’s about it for this month, so I’m off to do some patchwork now! ¬†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 РFirst 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 ūüėČ

Enjoy,

Sharon xx

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 ūüôā

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