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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Half Term Fun.

Well the half-term week has come and gone with a quite a lot of evidence yet to be tidied away!!

It was good to see Josh getting his playmobil out again, it’s been a while, it’s sad seeing him gradually grow out of his toys. ¬†Dry days are okay, he loves being outside but the rainy days are getting harder to find things to occupy him so I was grateful for a mostly dry week! ¬†There is some serious tidying to be done now!

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The main outdoor activity involved a lot of digging! ¬†It started with a hole dug as a hunt for clay to make pots with, resulting in rather a lot of muddy bowls and buckets left in the garden. ¬†Actually, this is Josh’s version of tidying, they were right outside the back door! ¬†Hmmm, a few more lessons needed here!

 

A¬†few days later a¬†bit LOT more digging took place as Josh dug deeper and wider to make an army trench!! ¬†This then had to be photographed to make an ‘army’ card for his cousin who has just started chemo¬†for Lymphoma. ¬†(He is 14 and we would really appreciate your thoughts and prayers for him.)

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The following day the hole was dug even more and Josh had an amazing game with 2 of his cousins in there.  In the evening Josh proudly showed his Dad for the first time, you should have seen his face!!!  (The hole is over 1 metre/yard deep).

Poor ole Hubby, he had just started to think that the garden could be kept a bit nicer as Josh grows up, but he was very good and didn’t voice what I could plainly see on his face until he came indoors!! It took my mind back to this post and what is really important in a garden!

Some days we spent quietly, pottering, crochet for me, playing for Josh. ¬†Then we went to stay with the in-laws for the weekend. ¬†It was my Sister-in-law’s 40th (it doesn’t seem possible that its nearly a year since I wrote about my 40th¬†and here!!). ¬†Her Husband, Matt, had arranged for a meal at the Shuttleworth Collection. ¬†We had the conservatory to ourselves which was lovely .

The tables all had little packets of love hearts.

After a lovely meal it was time for the cake.

Matt lit the 40 sparklers,

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but the flowers on the top were silk and soon the cake was on fire!!

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after various attempts to extinguish the fire Matt carried it outside to burn itself out.

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Thankfully only the top layer was affected.

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Next we were all given tickets for the Swiss gardens which even in winter were beautiful

with little houses and huts tucked here and there,

one with an amazing ceiling crafted from pine cones,

a little greenhouse with stained glass windows, a domed roof and rocky entrance and exit,

bridges and windy paths,

and a rather camera shy peacock!

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I managed to get some lovely pics of Abi and her boyfriend.

Then we were taken on a tour of the collection.

It was mostly old planes, some looking far too dangerous to fly and yet all except two out of 6 large hangers are still flown!!

There were also a few cars and bikes, a bus and a charabanc (an open topped bus)!

It was just lovely to have time to spend to together especially as it is their boy who has the cancer.

A cheery pic to finish with, spring really is on the way!

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I hope you are all having a lovely 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

 

 

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

This and That!

Do you remember my last Wips post?  Well, after I wrote that, my body took fright and mounted a protest.  My neck made the most fuss and decided that it would force me into a crochet break!  Thankfully I had just finished the beret for Abi

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and the first of the shawls on my Christmas makes list.   The shawl is the same colour as the one I made myself and I am still enjoying crocheting the same pattern which is surprising for me as I easily get bored of repeating the same thing over and over, I wonder if the enthusiasm will last to shawl number five?

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The yarn is a delight to work even though it is¬†lace weight, it is just so soft. (I’ts made from baby alpaca and mulberry silk.)

So, what did I do with myself? Well, the usual housework and mothering continued, all be it at a slower pace.

I gently wound some of the yarn for the other shawls despite a little neck protest,

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I added a strip of scrap card to the ball band so that I could put it around the yarn cakes

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I love the pattern the yarn winder makes!

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I also made a few more balls of tarn

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and as things improved I turned the heel on my second sock (Yay!!)

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Don’t look too closely, I’m only learning!! ¬†ūüėČ

Then there have been evening stories and cake outside by the fires Josh has made in an old barbeque.

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Being a boy there is a lot of  poking about in the fire and lighting sticks.

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This fire¬†burnt so hot that some of the flames were¬†green but I couldn’t catch it on the camera.

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As the wood burned it looked fascinating, almost like a fiery landscape.

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Josh has decided he would like a bonfire party for his birthday this year.

There has been lots of list making, trying to get my head around all that I need to do and buy to get all my gifts made.

The scrabble letters have been back out,

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sorted and measured.

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I am short of a letter H but when that is rectified I can get on with these presents.

I have signed up to Sheila’s Blog Secret Santa, which I am really looking forward to.

Oooh yes, also, before I had to stop the crochet, I made a quick scarf for a niece for her 11th birthday. In honour of the effort to be more creative I made up my own pattern.

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I used some yarn that I found in a charity shop, it has short bobbly sections and longer fine sections in the yarn.

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I was really pleased with it and will share the pattern with you sometime.

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I left the tassles long so that she could choose to cut to her own length.

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I have also embroidered the faces on my mice and rabbit pyjama cases.

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Just a little more embellishing and they will be finished.

Oh yes, the¬†‘turbie’ towels are finished too.

So hopefully a few finished objects to show you soon.

I hope you all have a very happy weekend.

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

A Birthday Cake and a Picnic!

Well, the big birthday has been and gone and my little girl is now officially an adult!

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We had a lovely time on Saturday with family.  We met at a park for a picnic and the children had great fun playing rounders, football rounders, cricket etc.

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Then when it was time for the younger ones to go home to bed the older ones came round to our house where they sat out in our ‘garden room’ and played games, drank elderflower champagne and laughed a lot! It was a lovely time, much happiness and fun, I think that often¬†the more simple things are the best. Family is very important to us and even more so since Dad passed away.

We took along Abi’s birthday cake, it stood 15″ tall.

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I had made it quite big by using two¬†8″ round cakes for the tree stump and part of an 8″ square cake for the owl, I was glad I did as people came back for seconds, thirds and even fourths but we still had enough to bring some back to enjoy this week. I used a new Madeira cake recipe and it was lovely, much moister than the one I usually use, it also has a chart for the quantities needed for various sizes of cake.

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The decorating was a bit rushed as I was very short of time. ¬†We were¬†helping my Mum move on the Friday, she has moved to a bungalow to be nearer to us children, it has always been hard going home to an empty house since Dad passed away but now she is near to all of us three children. ¬†Then of course there were Abi’s pressies to finish!

I used this tutorial for the bark and I loved the way that turned out

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but I didn’t have the correct colours for the owl. ¬†He also¬†kept sagging, I lost count of how many times I had to stuff another lump of icing under one side of his body.

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His face is also a bit flat as  he nose dived a couple of times!

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I added small blue flowers as Abi loves blue and especially forget- me-nots, some ivy and a couple of butterflies.

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I had hoped for a more realistic looking owl but Abi loved it and that was the main thing.

She loved the bits I made her too, I hope to do a post about those soon.

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