Thursday 28 December 2023

Well that was something different :-)

 Yesterday was my birthday and one of the gifts from my girls was a Bake Off experience.

Now I have only every watched one series of  Bake Off, I don't like cooking shows in general so when they told me we were going to be partaking in a Bake Off I was a bit dubious, as it turned out it was good fun 😁

The tent was set out as in the show and all the ingredients for the cake we were making was set out together with instructions.  We were on a time limit, just as the contestants of the show are, which I have to say is a bit nerve wracking, even though ours was for fun, you can imagine how the real contestants are put under pressure.

Our instructions were to make a three tier cake with meringue buttercream icing, a white chocolate Iglu, plus figures to sit in the Iglu.  I had never made meringue buttercream or any form made from chocolate, but the instructions were very clear and easy to follow. 

I teamed up with Joanne and Stevie and Jenny paired up, this Is the cake Joanne and myself made.

And a closer look at our figures, which Joanne made, I think she did a great job with them!

Our sponge was almond flavour with salted caramel flavour frosting tinged with blue colouring, coconut for snow and silver balls

Here is Jenny and Stevie's creation.

Their sponge was flavoured with almond and the buttercream with black cherry and decorated with coconut for snow and flaked almonds.

Time for the judging by the head baker,

We all had to carry our cakes to the front, just like the show, they are not allowed to taste so the cakes were judged on appearance and decoration.  So now would you like to know who won?

Well the winner was actually really good but then she revealed that two of the bakers were actually sort of semi pro, one of them worked at the place and another worked at a bakery, there were four in their team too.   I didn't get a photo of it but It's the cake on the back row, second in from the left.  Love how they did two tone buttercream.

BUT....Mine and Joanne's cake was awarded 2nd place
Stevie and Jenny were awarded 3rd place.

I'm very happy with that result 😁

I had lots of other lovely presents, including this one from my good friend Jo

Jo also gifted me these gorgeous goodies for Christmas.

Thank you so much Jo, I love everything 😍  
I've been wanting some stitch stoppers for a while and can't wait to put these into use.

Today I'm doing very little, I've stitched a bit, caught up with Call The Midwife and had some home made soup for lunch, the first proper meal I've eaten since Christmas Day, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been fueled by chocolate, mince pies and left overs in the last few days, ha ha.  I promised myself that I would go for some long walks to compensate, but the weather has been atrocious, the wind if fierce and the rain none stop and as much as I would like to get out I'm averse to getting wet and wind- swept, lol.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and enjoying these days in-between doing whatever it is you want to do.


Sunday 24 December 2023

All is Calm

After all the hustle and bustle of the last few weeks today has been surprisingly calm and relaxed.  I was up fairly early and made the stollen for the girls, It's become a bit of a tradition now that I make them gingerbread granola and stollen at Christmas.  I made the granola a couple of days ago and that Is already in their hampers with their other gifts.  

I also made some rustic looking sausage rolls, one batch with cranberry and one with caramelised onions, my taste tester tells me they are lovely despite their rustic appearance, lol

My Christmas cake is all ready too, I used Delia's Christmas cake recipe but instead of buying and soaking all the fruit I used a premade fruit/brandy mix from Lidl.  I did the same last year and it turned out lovely, fingers crossed this is too.

We had a couple of birthdays this week, my youngest grandson, Jacob, turned 4 on Thursday and my eldest daughter, Jenny turned 41 on Friday.  For Jacobs birthday Joanne had booked tickets for Winter Glow at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern.  We were all looking forward to seeing the lights and getting into the Christmas spirit, but it wasn't to be.  For a few days the weather has been very windy and because of that they had closed the light trail and the fairground.  Supposedly they had sent out emails but some didn't receive any notification that it had been closed.  We were told that we could exchange out tickets and go ice skating or perhaps come back over Christmas as the Winter Glow was on until January 6th.  It had taken us just over an hour to get there so we decided to give ice-skating a go. The kids enjoyed it, Bonnie was a bit nervous at first but she was ok after we'd been round a couple of times, just a shame we couldn't see the lights.

Jean, who blogs at shrimptonandperfect recently had a giveaway on her blog and I won!
I was so surprised when I read my name as the winner on her blog, It came at the right time to cheer me up too.
And look what came, a lovely card, book and christmas tree broach.

Isn't it pretty?  I'll be wearing this on Christmas day, thank you so much Jean :-)  I shall enjoy the book in the new year.

Well that's about it for now, I haven't done much blog reading over the last couple of weeks, Ill try and catch up on all your goings on in the next few days, 
There will be five, (mabe six) here for dinner tomorrow, Stevie, Darren, Joanne, me and Mark.  Stevie called to say that one of Darren's brothers is on his own tomorrow and could he come too, there's plenty to go round so that's ok.  Bonnie and Jacob are going to their dads to eat and then will come here late afternoon,  Jenny, James and the boys are eating at home and coming here in the afternoon too.  I'm really looking forward to the day now.

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas


Monday 18 December 2023

flat out and in need of a break

Things have been so busy here with none Christmasy stuff that I haven't had time to enjoy anything Christmas related, and now we are steaming away towards the main event!   Ugh, it just feels like a slog this year, that's the way it goes sometimes though.

Finally we managed to get the bedroom decorating all done, the carpet was fitted last Tuesday and I have been working my way through sorting and putting stuff back the rest of the week, the furniture had to wait until Saturday when Mark was home to put things back together.  Still have the curtains to put back up, that won't happen until Friday as they are still at the drycleaners, but at least everything now looks fresh and clean. 

My middle daughter, Joanne moved house on December 1st so that was all hands on deck to help with the move and since then I've been going to hers most nights to help sort and put things in order.   It's been a long and emotional two years for her, (and for us too at times), but now, finally, she can start a new life, just her, Bonnie and Jacob.

There hasn't been a lot of time for crafting over the last couple of weeks but I did make time to sit down yesterday afternoon and finish another one of my forgotten projects.

This is Albert, (looking a little grumpy)

I'd purchased the kit for Albert when I went to Wool@J13 in 2019, I knitted both the back and front body parts fairly quickly after that, then everything got put away so there was still a fair bit of knitting to do to get him done.  I'm glad to have another project crossed off my list, although I may knit him another scarf, I think this one is a bit short

I've knitted two of these kits by Sardines For Tea now, I made the smaller Arthur rabbit for my grandson Arthur in 2020 which you can see here. 

I've crossed all the jobs off my list for today so I'm going to give myself the rest of the day off, once I've clicked publish on this post I'm making myself a coffee and plonking myself on the sofa, putting a film on and stitching, and I'm NOT going to feel guilty about it, lol

See you soon


Sunday 3 December 2023

Are you Ready for December?

Well December 1st came around so quickly didn't? It? And Christmas is just around the corner. 
 I still have presents to buy, but strangely, I'm not stressing about It this year.  Usually by now I would be worrying about that, not this year.

A lot of my extra food shopping is done, I start putting bits away at the beginning of September, easier on the purse, saves all the panic buying and means I can put away things that we usually eat which might disappear from the shelves to make way for all the fancy, (and over priced), Christmas food.
 All that should be left to shop for in the last few days before Christmas are the fresh things.

I put the tree up last week, It's been lovely having the lights on especially as the days have been quite dark recently, makes the house look all cosy.

I'll post a close up of some of my stitched ornaments closer to Christmas, only a couple of new ones this year though.

This morning I've changed the bedding over for Christmas too.  I've only been using Christmas bedding for two or three years but I do really like it, I've got a few to choose from now, this one is new.  I tried to buy It last year but everyone had sold out, I managed to find it in stock at Wayfair this year.  Love the little houses.

I didn't purchase any yarn advents this year.   I already have so many mini skeins and I just couldn't justify spending that much money with no plan for using the yarn.  I will enjoy watching everyone else open their yarn advents though, either on blogs or through the many you tube channels I watch :-)

Something I did decide to do was cast on some Christmas socks on December 1st.
Hopefully they will be finished ready for me to wear on Christmas day.

This is the Vintage Tinsel colourway from West Yorkshire Spinners,  It's knitting up so lovely and is so sparkly, not sure you can see that from the photo

It turned really cold for a few days, and we had our first frost. a couple of days it was -4°, today it's all change again and we have rain.
The garden on the whole looks pretty bleak at this time of year but I couldn't resist taking a few photos on those frosty mornings, It makes some things look so pretty.

I wonder If this poor spider was as frozen as his web!

I had hoped to finish another abandoned project last week but I didn't have a lot of crafting time, there is only a little sewing up to do on it so It should be finished by the next time I post.

Next week Is another busy one, I have various grandchildren for three days and somehow have to fit in painting a bedroom as well - No rest for the wicked 😉

See you soon


Friday 24 November 2023

Catch up on last weeks happenings

I mentioned previously that I wanted to get some projects that had been abandoned finished before the end of the year.  I chose two last week that had the least amount to work on to call them finished.  
The white cardigan is the Jasmine Baby Jacket, which only needed the buttons sewing on.  The pink cardigan is the  Puerperium Cardigan, all that needed doing on this one was the edging on the sleeves and to sew buttons on.

Both cardigan patterns are free and can be found on Ravelry.

This week I chose something else to try and finish and hopefully I will have that completed to show you next time.

I have also been working a little on my mitred square blanket.

This is a long term project and won't be finished anytime soon, but that's ok, I love working on it and I have plenty more mini skeins to choose from.  

Mine and Jacobs's outing last week was to a local canal trust which have toddler boat trips each Wednesday morning  for £1, well you can't get much for £1 these days so we had to give it a go.   
The trip is just half an hour with songs along the way to keep the children entertained whilst the boat travels along the canal and through a couple of tunnels.  Afterwards there are some crafty activities in the cafe.  It was something different and Jacob seemed to enjoy his trip on the banooke.  

( A Banooke is Jacobs word for a barge, we have no idea why, perhaps a combination of canal boat and barge and his little mind came up with the word Banooke 😆 )
Later in the afternoon we made gingerbread men, one had an accident, oh dear, lol

This week I took him to a local playcentre called Little Lobsters.  It's much nicer than the big indoor playcentres, everything is in one big room and is more geared to imaginative play with different sections of play such as construction, a shop, kitchen, dressing up as well as a ball pit, slide and various ride on toys.   All the children are called together at the end of the session for a sing-a-long, It's definitely somewhere I'll take him again, especially if the weather isn't good.


Last Sunday I had a day out to the Festive Gift Fair at the NEC with Joanne and Stevie and Bonnie.  Compared to previous years It wasn't so good, there were a lot of stands selling the same sort of things, a bit disappointing really.  The girls bought a couple of things, I came home with nothing, that must be a first, there just wasn't anything that took my fancy.  

The Grinch made an appearance though and Joanne queued for Bonnie to have a photo.

Well I think that's me just about caught up on what's been happening here.  
Last week Mark started the preparation to decorated the back bedroom so new wallpaper will be going up tomorrow, I said I would paint the ceiling so that he can just get straight on with it in the morning. Everything takes so much longer because he only has the weekend, but at least the bedroom isn't needed so I can shut the door on the chaos while It's going on.

See you soon


Monday 13 November 2023

Six day socks and other goings on

 These socks were knitted up really quickly, well six days is quick for me anyway.  To be fair I didn't really pick up any other crafting that week and, they were a smaller size.

These are for my middle daughter, she is only a shoe size 5, the rest of us have big feet, lol.
I'm making the girls a pamper hamper for Christmas so these will go into her basket with the other goodies.  The yarn is probably one of the longest I've had in my stash, it's Drop Fabel, I can't remember the colourway but It was nice to knit with and I like the way they came out.

I mentioned last time trying to finish off some projects so last week I pulled out my Tresaco Jumper.  This is the second time I've knitted the Trescao pattern, It's really simple and easy to knit, only problem is all that stocking stitch can get a little monotonous, I think that's why It got abandoned.  There was very little work to do on it, half a sleeve and a cuff and It was done.

 I used Stylecraft Recreate yarn, again I'm not sure of the colourway but it was the lightest grey in that range.

Each Wednesday now I will be looking after Jacob.  Joanne asked me a while ago as It would mean that the remaining days he is at nursery they can take advantage of the free hours that the Government offer.  Nursery fees are so expensive and although free hours are offered from age two, there are conditions.  If you don't work you can get free nursery hours, you can also get free hours If you are claiming certain benefits and earn below a certain amount, but If you work and earn just a fraction over that amount you have to pay the full whack.  It's crazy.

Anyway, Last Wednesday the weather wasn't too good so we didn't go far just a visit to the library and then we had a day of baking.  Jacob loves to cook, he even like to wash up afterwards 😆 And I'm all for encouraging that.

He made Millies cookies, and he really did make them with only a little bit of help from me, look how pleased he is with them 💗

Later we made the Christmas cake.  
More help needed from me for this one, and making sure that he didn't try to sample the brandy infused cake batter!

Hope It tastes as good as it looks come Christmas.

Hope you all have a good week, see you soon.


Tuesday 7 November 2023

Catch up for October finishes

I'm late in posting finishes for October, there were two, one knitted, one stitched, both were finished a couple of weeks ago but for some reason I've lacked the motivation to, (a) take photos and (b) write a blog post.  But I'm here now so lets get on with it.

My stitching finish is my piece for the Stick6in23, a year long SAL which is hosted by Martina and Manuela  

Promise of Spring by Silver Creek Samplers

The frame is just one off the shelf from The Range, I'm not too sure about it now but I can take the stitching out if I change my mind and see something else.  This one is stitched on 32 count with the recommended threads.

There is just one more chart to stitch in November and December for this SAL, the number 5 was generated for the last two months, happily mine is a smaller one this time so it should be easier to complete, even with the busyness of December.
Another SAL is in the planning for next year and I shall definitely join in, I've loved every minute of this years.

My knitted finish is another pair of socks, these are for my son in law, James.  He is a shoe size 10 so these are too big for my sock blockers!  The yarn is Stylecraft Head Over Heels and was a gift from my friend Jo last year.  I think they knitted up lovely. 

I want November to be a month of finishing things off.  I have a few things that don't require much attention to call them done, one of them has already been completed, hopefully I can keep it going.

October is the start of the Winter birthdays, Oliver turned 11 on October 17th.  I went with them to Pizza Hut on his birthday and on the weekend he and a few friends went to Laser Quest and he had a friend stay for a sleepover.  Mark also had a birthday on 21st.

Last week was half term here, I only had the boys one day as Jenny was off work, there were Halloween activities at a local library so we went there along with Joanne, Bonnie and Jacob.
They spent a good few hours gluing, sticking and painting.

As it was a reasonable day weatherwise we decide to walk to the library via our local park, It was before we had all the heavy rain and the colours were amazing.

Had a toadstool hunt but these were the most interesting we found.

Halloween was wet and windy and we didn't get any visitors, Joanne took Bonnie and Jacob to trick or treat with Oliver and Arty, there are more children on their estate and some of the houses make a real effort with decorating.  Jenny didn't send me any photos of the boys dressed up this time but here are Bonnie and Jacob and the pumpkins they carved.

That's me all caught up for now, hopefully I can get another post in before the end of the month to report how my project finishing is


PS. Thank you to all who commented on my last post about the passing of my brother in law.  The funereal went as well as these things can, the crematorium was packed, a testament to how well he was liked.  My sister is doing well, considering, I think she did a lot of her grieving in the last four months they had together, I know they talked and cried together a lot in that time.  Of course she is going to miss him terribly, they were together from when she was 15 and he 16, there is a huge gap in her life which will she will never be able to fill again, but, she has to go on, and she will.

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Go faster stripes

The weeks and months are going so fast that I can hardly keep up, so I'd better share what I managed to complete in September before we get any further into October!

It was all about the stripy sock this time, somehow they seem to knit up quicker, they don't of course, It just that there is a little more interest.  
These blue ones are in the West Yorkshire Sprinner colourway Blue Lagoon.

They were intended for my youngest daughter, but they turned out a little big for, however, they fit Mark perfectly.  

I've wanted to try Opal yarn for a while but can't find any in local shops, I did find some a few months ago in a little shop in Stroud, two balls came home with me and I have to say that I much prefer It to WYS.

I also finished a little crib blanket in September, no reason for knitting it other than I wanted to knit something plain and simple and this fitted the bill.  It'll be tucked away and be ready to gift at a future date.

Lastly I stitched up another little Autumn pillow.  This one is by Puntini Puntini
I love the little spider and the black cat 

That's all my crafty endeavours for September, I'm not feeling the urge to stitch or knit much at the moment so there might not be a lot to show for October makes, although On Sunday I am going to a stitching day retreat so perhaps that will inspire and motivate me.

Some sad news to end on -
After a short illness my brother in-law, (my eldest sisters husband) passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning.  He will be missed very much, not only by my sister, his children and grandchildren but by extended family too, I can't remember a time when he wasn't there.   They are both quite a few years older than me and have been together since they were 14 so I would have been about 2 years old then, It's going to be so strange to think he's not there. 
My sister is doing ok at the moment, dreading the funeral of course, but there are things that have to be done to keep her going at the moment, It will be afterwards that will be the hardest for her.

Until next time