Baking · CAL · Crochet · Knitting

Christmas cakes and crafting

I’ve had one of those wonderful not doing much weekends…. Saturday, my friend Sam and I got together to make our Christmas cakes. This is late for me, I normally have it done by the end of September, but this year we were busy electioneering! I love the mid- make clutter in my kitchen:

IMG_8269.JPG Sam’s cake is the one in the oven.

His cake:

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My cake:

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They look different don’t they?! They are exactly the same recipe and quantities except his has less currants and more raisins, and I forgot to put the brandy in mine before it was cooked, so I had to feed it when it was cool on Sunday morning. They were cooked on the same temperature for exactly the same amount of time! The only real difference was the tins we used. Mine was an old battered one and his was brand new. Hmmm who knows! My house smelled fantastic all day!

I worked on the back of my Mum’s cardigan and finished it:

IMG_1173.JPG I also cast on the left front.

I did a second square of week 4’s pattern in the Scheepjes CAL…

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And I made quite a few squares for Dad’s waistcoat:

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IMG_1174.JPG I have 50 squares now – only 32 more, plus blocking, sewing in ends etc etc etc

Baking · Knitting

Three works in progress

I am, as I have said before, either obsessed with one project or flitting between projects! At the moment I am trying to get a shift on with my godson’s Christmas jumper but I find knitting in the round gives me cramp in my wrist so I am alternating between it and two shawls. Although both the shawls are on circular needles, I’m not knitting in the round which is what seems to be the problem.

First up the start of the Christmas jumper:
image Fairisle in the round.

The Stephen West shawl I’m knitting for Sam for Christmas:
image Intarsia. I do love this one but it does require my attention with the balls of wool!

And last a shawl for my sister. As it’s knit in Rowan felted tweed and kid silk haze, it is too warm to knit in the summer, so I’ve got it out of hibernation and am planning to finish it now:
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image Lace.

Right, Trillian 2 & Annie’s bandana are just about to have a little bath (for they are both finished!). I shall do half an hour’s knitting, then pin them out. (Photos later). After that I need to make the Christmas Cake and a pan of soup. I’m trying a new recipe from the BBC Good Food Guide online – spicy butternut squash. Sounds yum. And as I have convinced my husband that making a Christmas cake is a chore equivalent to cleaning the bath, I can safely avoid any housework today too. #win

Baking

Quiche

I have done quite a lot of knitting today but it’s too dark to take a good photo so that will have to wait ’til tomorrow morning. What I *have* done today is make quiche. My nephew and niece were appearing in their dance troupe’s performance this evening and beforehand a family party had been arranged to feed the various uncles, aunts and grandparents who were going to the show. The kids are the only children on both sides of the family so they get to share these occasions with quite a lot of us!

Mum and I had decided that with the weather we’d have salads and we’d make a couple of quiches. We chose two recipes online that were new to us and we had great fun this morning trying out the recipes, pre baking the pastry cases and making cheesy straws from the leftover pastry.

The first was St Delia’s classic Quiche Loraine from http://www.deliaonline.com
Uncooked:
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Cooked:
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The vegetarian quiche was a Leek, Mushroom and Gruyere quiche from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com
Uncooked:
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Cooked:
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Obviously as a vegetarian, this was the only one I tried, and it was DELICIOUS! If you like quiche, then I very much recommend this recipe.

We spent the entire morning telling Mollie and Lucy to ‘move… Move… MOVE…’
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And the best bit of the day? My nephew, the only boy in an 80 strong cast, winning the prize for the best improvement in his class.

Baking · Mollie · Uncategorized

A chilly May Sunday

Unusually I spent today at home. Normally I spend Sundays with my Mum and sister but today I had loads of little jobs I wanted to do. First up was bottling the mincemeat.

I’ve got a good collection of Kilner Jars now. I really like the way they look and feel:
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Here are the jars filled!
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Mollie spent most of the day in her basket. Sometimes fast asleep
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Occasionally awake and not in the mood to be photographed!
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I found my nephew’s birthday presents…
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And wrapped them up. Love the ‘little gems’ paper!
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I had an important note to write to someone and decided to use one of the cards that had been printed with Mollie’s portrait on. A friend, Liz Strachan, drew Mollie’s portrait for my husband for Christmas and when she sent me the portrait she also sent some cards. I hadn’t used one until today.
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Please do have a look at Liz Strachan’s website. www.lizstrachan.co.uk She’s so clever – and Mollie’s portrait is on the front page!

I also did quite a lot on the sleeve today but I haven’t taken a photo! Mostly because we went to my nephew’s birthday dinner this evening 😀

Baking · Mollie

The rest of the day…

Mollie spent today being terrified by the wind. This mostly manifested itself in sitting down the bottom of the garden, well out of the way of the terrifying sitting room door that kept slightly moving…
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(I know the grass needs cutting…)

D and I had a burst of energy and collectively did some housework (!) and then I decided to make some shortbread. It wasn’t *that* brilliant.
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But D ate it!
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Baking · Knitting

Mincemeat making…

After getting up late (there may have been a champagne induced headache…) and having doughnuts and diet coke for breakfast (I know, I know):
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(Morning after the night before! I love these champagne bowls, any excuse to use them.)

I spent the morning knitting the cuff on my sister’s cardigan:
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I then headed into the kitchen for some cleaning and sorting. In our house, I cook, he washes up. This means in reality he tends to do a big sort out every couple of days. Normally this doesn’t bother me (my lack of domesticity may have been documented here before) but I find it very annoying when I need a sparkling clean kitchen in order to bake. Or maybe preserve? Not sure what mincemeat is…. Also, as an aside, how is it possible that a man can clean a kitchen but not see (and not clean) a filthy stove?!

So, chores done, I assembled what I would need. I wanted to make some regular mincemeat with a cider base (the cider replacing brandy) and some cherry mincemeat using glacé cherries instead of peel and cherry liqueur instead of brandy.
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So, an hours weighing and chopping later I have two bowls of mixture that will stand now ’til tomorrow morning when I put them in jars. The white bowl is the cider mixture and that in the red the cherry.
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Now I’m going to sit down and knit 😃

Baking · Knitting · Mollie · Rabbits

Thinking about Christmas… on the first truly warm day of the year!

It’s bank holiday Monday and a whole day that could be used constructively stretched ahead of me this morning. So of course, instead of making the most of it, I got up late, lounged about, read blogs, knitted a little, wandered over to my Mum’s for lunch, came back, knitted a little more, hung out with Mollie and the bunnies and nothing else. I *could* have done any amount of housework or got the garden furniture out of the garage or sorted out the front garden, but I didn’t. In fact the closest I got to chores was thinking about making a list of jobs that need to be done….

I managed to take this picture as both Molls and Flora were looking at me:
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Flora is a medium sized bunny and her hutch mate, who is shy and therefore absent from the picture, is Arnold, a little black mini Rex. He’s just perfect. Flora isn’t, as she’s prone to growling and biting but she’s a real character. They’re currently living in temporary accommodation while the bunny palace, which I’ve just ordered, is made and delivered. They had to be moved from their usual location for measuring and to get rid of the old hutch which collapsed. I can’t wait for the new one because the run will be much taller and I’m hoping to have tubes & tunnels into other parts of the garden for them 😄.

One thing I did think about today was that I needed to make mincemeat for Christmas – and started preparing a shopping list! I like to make my own mincemeat. That way I know it’s definitely vegetarian and absolutely nut free (I’m allergic). It’s not too early to make it, I should have done it in January, so its really matured by the time Christmas rolls round. I got a bit distracted and ended up going on line to look for nice labels to go on my jars. This would be a colossal waste of money as I don’t make jam or chutney (life is too short) so there isn’t anything in my Kilner jars apart from mincemeat, so in the end I didn’t. I did however discover in the cupboard where I keep my jars a shop bought jar of mincemeat the husband bought home from work (a supermarket) one day after Christmas, which I had forgotten about. Now I am in many ways quite easy going regarding foodstuffs he buys on a whim, which can range from the odd to the expensive, but I did get irritated by that. I make my own delicious mincemeat and Christmas cake and I don’t expect him to blooming well buy either of those… We won’t even go into the time one October he said he didn’t want a Christmas cake, so I don’t make one & he then bought one on Christmas Eve! I haven’t asked him ever since as my family will eat it if he doesn’t. Anyway, I have one jar left from last year, which should be absolutely deelish when we open it!
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Spot the imposter…

And yes, I have started thinking about my Christmas knitting. I always do about this time and start the actual knitting in July. That way I can have lots of projects, a reasonable deadline and a reason to buy yarn… But before then it’s my sisters birthday. Did a fair bit today:
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Hoping to finish the sleeve shaping before dinner….

Baking · Crochet · Knitting · Other crafty things

Inspiration from fellow bloggers

Since I’ve had my blog I’ve been finding reading the blogs of fellow bloggers really inspiring. People from all round the world who are fitting knitting, crocheting, gardening (yes, that’s you Landrover Owner’s Missis) and all other types of crafting into their daily lives around ordinary events, through trials & tribulations.

It’s been really inspiring getting a glimpse of people’s lives through their crafting, and I’ve been introduced to new yarn (thank goodness for google), tempted to try different techniques, and envied the talent or patience of several bloggers. I’ve even considered buying some seeds to grow my own lettuce – that however wore off after a couple of hours.

And then there are the designers whose blogs I started out reading – I continue to be green with envy that they are talented enough to do it for a living!

Thank you!

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