Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas!

The Tree! all lit up and looking lovely!
Bertie peeping out from under the tree!
Well I really just wanted to say HAPPY CHRISTMAS! and had planned to fling some shots of our tree and stuff up to get into the spirit of things but blogger is not behaving nicely this afternoon!
this year has gone by so FAST I can hardly believe its the end of the year!  I hope that all my crafty-pals have a terrific holiday and look forward to sharing more yarny yumminess NEXT YEAR!
Happy Christmas!
Lilly "helping" us put up the Christmas tree!

some quilty little baby gifts

Last week we visited SIL to deliver baby-xmas gifts to the newest in the family, here is baby-Maisie at rising-1yr she's already starting to find her "feet" and developing fast into a proper little character.  On the day we visited, her Mum, Claire, was getting ready to go skiing along with Maisie and for anyone interested, next year promises to be exciting with news that she is to commence "robot" training early in the year ahead of her challenge to "walk" the London Marathon!  The race is on now to see who walks "first", mum or daughter!

I made little sets of fleece hats and scarves embroidered with a snowman - built in design - for each of the two babies.  Nice quick make these were overlocked and done in an evening.  The fleece is the last remnants of that used for my own sons when they were small and I just managed to squeeze a pair using practically every last scrap of fabric!

I embroidered some pretty little designs on soap, too, and wrapped them in fabric - this design is a built in from my Bernina emb. machine.

Using a printed panel from the lovely Cotton Patch, I made a pair of christmas stockings for the children and colour themed one red and one green and quilted them using the lovely quilt threads from my former job working for Janome.

SEW much choice!! I love threads ..

Its been a long time since I've done any proper sewing and one thing I've resolved for NEXT YEAR is to do more! sewing!

I'm afraid I'm having a bit of a battle with blogger this afternoon and it won't co-operate with uploading my pics! sorry! for the disjointed way they are being flung up! and for any duplications!
Essentially I cut the panels, used steam-a-seam to bond the applique "label" with holly/leaves to the plain red "back" of each and embroidered the child's name to personalise.  It took me a few mins and a trial "go" with a mini sample to get into my head HOW to make up a quilted sandwich "top" and a fully lined "inner" but in the end it was nice and easy-peasy! 

I'm glad I made the effort, they were well received and I hope the children will enjoy them each year for many years to come.  We filled the stockings with chocolates and mini selection boxes and the fleece stuff.

I did a mix of quilting using my walking foot and some free motion "whizz" up and around in general chaos of random this-way-and-that-way! and managed to NOT get myself backed into a corner!  by the end I was fair breathless and that was nothing to do with the Afib!!  tense, too, from GRIPPING the fabric layers I finally finished quilting around 11pm and promptly sank a VERY large G+T by way of relief!!  I thoroughly enjoyed making these.
Finally we wrapped some toys from ELC and that was THAT!  its nice to have babies to gift for at Christmas time!

Some knits I've completed

The lovely Flamenca!

and the lovely Union Jack scarf!

OTN's at present is Banshee - the back and front are knit and sleeve.1 is about 1/2way now.
"Joshua" from last month's edition of The Knitter is also knitting up slowly, I mean nicely for no.2.son - more on that and pics next year! next YEAR! get that! next year, how QUICK has this year gone? its the end already!

Monday, 12 December 2011

I'd rather be KNITTING

Actually I've been knitting quite a lot and have some lovely yarns too waiting to be knit up!
Here is the latest skein of hand dyed DK semi solid yarn by The Knitting Goddess bought from this weekend's trunk show at the lovely Fibre flurry yarn shop.
I went to the trunk show with knit-pal-Sally and enjoyed browsing the yarns and seeing all the lovely patterns made up, I had my eye on the super Rosaleen shawl knit in this yarn and plan to purchase the pattern and CO very soon!  There are some lovely mittens with a fingerless glove version too if you buy the pattern "set" and seeing them knit up they really are a lovely mitten and I'm quite tempted!!
It was nice to chat with and meet Rachel and Joy (and two other ladies whose names I'm not sure of!!).
The terrific news for ME however, is that Mikayla is going to be relocating her shop to just up the road FROM me over Christmas and is having a lovely party mid-Jan to celebrate her new premises which promises to be bigger and better! and offer opportunities for workshops!  We enquired, and it seems likely that there will also be two regular opportunities to go along for "knit and chat" sessions in both the day and evening which will suit both myself and my pal with whom I would go along with!  hurrah! for having a LYS on our doorstep at last!!  Naturally this is good news, but I just hope that our bank balances can stand such excitement?

things I've bought

things I've bought recently and

books I've borrowed from the library ..

Our library is excellent for getting in good books and I'm enjoying these two and still using the previous Hairy Biker's cook book from where the ginger sponge in the next post came from.

A couple of weekends ago a vintage fair was being held and I dragged the family along for a mornings worth of sheer misery!  I need to accept that they DON'T enjoy the same things as me! they did their best and dutifully rushed through the entire hall and rooms albeit in rather a frantic mad "where's the EXIT" type of way before dh declared himself coming over all headachey and no.2.son went all pale and announced he was feeling FAINT.
I left them to wander about the high street and I bought these:

 Handmade Christmas cards from Sutton Coldfield vintage fair.

A lot of baking!

not JUST baking, in fact there has been a lot of KNITTING and a lot of SEWING and a bit of EMBROIDERY too!
I've been a bit hectic and not had chance to blog in sequence so have decided to just fling a load of pics and add a bit of something to explain it in separate posts.
Above are the lovely chocolate muffins baked with a large chunk of chocolate in the middle that slowly part melts as they cooks and offers a nice chocolately surprise when bitten into! seriously yum and very quick to bake and only takes one egg ..
I bought some of these silicon muffin cases last week and find they are much better at holding the cake mixture than the paper cases so far I'm pleased with them!

Next is the seriously scrummy Ginger Sponge which is baked like a cake but is more of a "pudding" sponge - we are this yesterday hot with a dollop of vanilla icecream - very gingery I added some chopped stem ginger and the remaining syrup from the jar.  the top is nice and "crusty" too.

dried fruits soak in sherry before baking

the cake mixture in the tin

soaking the fruit cake in sherry while it "rests"

ahead of plastering it with marzipan
The Christmas cake is nearly done! all bar the icing!
I confess to using premade marzipan and icing this year but its SO much easier!
The cake is good old Delia Smith's classic rich fruit cake that she uses for Christmas and I carried on the family tradition of frightening the mixture with half a bottle of sherry for added "flavour" ! hic ..

walnut and rye bread

DELICIOUS with home made soup, I went to a knitting shop at the weekend with my knit-pal-Sally and we browsed the Farmer's Market outside and I bought this lovely bread.
I'd like to say I feel inspired to bake my own, but I don't! really! I'd quite like to buy a bread making machine but at £400 or so can think of other yarny stuff I'd rather buy at half the price!
I do like a nice bread and this was seriously tasty!

At the same time I bought a nice purple broccoli! looked HUGE until I cut off all the leafy bits surrounding and was left with THIS ..

but to be fair, it was nice! and luckily due to 2xlightbulbs having "gone" I was able to sneak it onto no.2.son's plate with his sunday roast without him noticing!! ha! sneaky? yes, but you have to be sneaky, I often "hide" bits of veg in food a bit like you press tablets into dog meat to fool a dog into taking his medicine, the same doesn't work, however, with CATS!  they are far too sensible to be fooled in this way and I find the best thing is to ask the VET to do it! which happily for us our vet is happy TO do - the cats are due for their annual check and worming etc as if we need more expense?  this year we have decided thats its too stressful for US to fit the pair of cats into one carrier so we need to buy another one .. its such an expensive time of year isn't it?
We're looking forward to fetching no.1.son home from Uni for the Christmas break! and he tells me that he may well be wanting to enjoy a can or three of his DAD'S BEER!  hmm not sure how that will go down? ..