February 28, 2006

The postman was mighty cheery this morning as he delivered a neat little package. I opened the box, DD took one look at the pink tissue, took the whole box away and said 'you can't open it until your birthday!' (my birthday is in November...)

Thankfully she was later distracted by Elmo's World and I got to open my secret pal gift. I am so chuffed! The most gorgeous wool in the most absolute 'me' colours, the pattern for a very lovely bag and yea! advice on how to felt it in a front-loading machine.

I'm a bit scared to knit it up, in case I spoil all that lovely lovely wool by felting it into a small blob, but what the hey, I start tonight!

(just one minor problem: I PROMISED myself I wouldn't start a project until I finished the last one...
current list of UFOs:
- scarf that I need to buy another couple of balls of aspen for
- skirt for sewIknit (still at material-in-the-bag stage)
- nursery flags for my secret pal (working up courage for the one with instartia)
- recipe folder for recipe swap
- barbie dress I promised DD weeks ago (likewise at material-in-the-bag stage)
- hat from vintage pattern (done 2 inches)
Ah well!)

February 26, 2006

Can I take a moment to salute the crafting detail that has gone into the House of the Orange Monkey's World of Hats. Clearly bonkers, but the monkey is considerably more a) stylish and b) well travelled than me.

'Mr Monkey's police helmet was made from felt on a card former, with the badge and fittings made from metallic foiled card in silver, gold and red and a chin strap of black sticky-back plastic.
His whistle is foil covered bit of plastic tube and his truncheon is thinish dowel, painted with gloss Humbrol.'

February 24, 2006

My old dolly has been released from the cupboard (so long as DD promises not to pull her hair). I'm told she's underdressed: so far I've managed to make a scarf, but this weekend I'm supposed to make slippers, a coat and a balldress...

I made the doll when I was about ten. I even put shaping darts in the bodice of the dress! All those years of education since (not to mention the hormones) obviously meant I forgot anything useful. Doubt I'll ever have that much patience again.

February 23, 2006

Lessons learned today:

1) When a four-year old is in a strop, a 'fun' moment in a photo booth will not create the path to happiness ('wah! that wasn't the picture I wanted'; 'wah! you should have told me not to press that button')...

2) Don't forget that mobiles need to be weight balanced...

February 22, 2006

Scrummy scrummy SCRUMMY Brittany needles arrived from my secret pal.

Apparently, there are further instructions to follow. The suspense is killing me, can't wait to discover what she has planned... :)

February 20, 2006

I bought some hipknits silk for my Secret Pal.

I bought laceweight in blue - a colour and weight she favours but I don't really - and I STILL love it so much I'm going to find it hard to put in the envelope.

I want to knit trudie, but I'm letting fate decide when for me - it'll be the day I get to the website in time before someone buys up the colours I like. Usually I either see 'SOLD OUT' or just 100g or unco-ordinating colours left...

So far fate has been on the side of my bank account, but then yesterday I discovered Kerrie's pattern for roses for the Children's Society. I can't resist a purchase of aran weight silk AND a charitable donation.

February 18, 2006

New look for spring...

Bulbs are beginning to sprout in the garden, and my beautiful Valentine's flowers are on the kitchen window sill.

February 17, 2006

D is for...


Living with someone who makes their living from drawing is a privilege. We have gorgeous pictures round the house and he makes giving cards easy (this one was my Valentine's - look, I'm wearing Tempting!). I think his work is really good: strong, beautiful and moving.

But I think I've always seen him as the 'creative' one, holding myself back as a consequence. It's taken fourteen years to realise I'll never be able to draw like him, but he can't sew or knit :)

February 16, 2006

C is for...


I've had my C3 for nearly three years (gets given back in August). Its brakes were stuck together for ages making it whine... its electrics went one day and I got stranded in Birmingham, and again a few weeks later and I caused a huge traffic jam and had to be towed away by the police... But it is the most adorable car, I'll miss it.

February 15, 2006

What says Valentine's Day more than potato-print wrapping paper? :)

February 11, 2006

First outing for tempting.

Turned out good. DD keeps trying to pull the shoulders up... :)
Motherofallneedles Alison has tagged me...

4 jobs you've had:
trying to think of one not connected with museums or art galleries and failing...
4 places you've lived:
there's been a LOT more than 4, but the most exotic ones would be Brussels, Lafayette California, Brighton, Liverpool
4 vacations:
first holiday abroad, Portugal; most recent holiday, Yorkshire; most memorable holidays, Las Vegas (got married) and Tampere Finland (pregnant and recovering from bad morning sickness)
4 vehicles:
mini (had two of them, fantastic car, somehow the new BMW one just isn't the same, it's the only car I've ever felt confident doing stuff under the bonnet), suzuki swift which we drove across Canada, Fiat Punto (seen us through a lot but beginning to cost us a fortune), Citroen C3 (I love that car)

tragically I think everyone I know has already done this...

February 09, 2006

Two fantastic packages today:

I was given some knitting (and a few crochet) patterns, dating from the 1940s to the 1980s. They are fascinating, and possibly some will be worth making. Some, I think, will be given away - I can already see connections with other people. This knitted bra is my favourite (although probably not to make!).

And then my Valentine's day book swap pal ( Motherofallneedles Alison) sent me this lovely parcel:

I'm really looking forward to reading this. I remember reading Possession and becoming completely absorbed to the exclusion of all else. Perhaps that's why I've not read anything else by AS Byatt! It'll be a treat to absorb myself in a book for a change.

February 08, 2006

Lavender bag.

The romance of Valentines Day!

February 05, 2006

Here's my entry in Felt Mouse's 99 cent challenge.

I bought more ingredients, but limited myself to the super-cheap 'bettabuy' range from our local supermarket. I really struggled with buying the eggs; it's years since I bought eggs that aren't free range. I'm really sorry battery hens...

I actually got some great things for the table at Poundland, although not enough to really fill it out properly.

The plastic flowers (chopped up a bit) are now on the mantlepiece; the candles (I only used 1of 6) have found a home in the bathroom; I particularly like the little green glasses (6 of those too) - I might use them as tealight holders; and the bead curtain is fab and now looks great in DD's room, although it was sadly a lot smaller than I realised from the packet.

Everything to eat in Poundland was chocolate related, hence all sweet items. The lack of 'real' ingredients meant I had to improvise a lot so I'm not sure these count as real recipes. The chocolate cake came out the best, although it took two tries: I discovered you can't skimp on preparation when you use cheap ingredients.

Chocolate Orange Puddings (enough for 2)

3 digestive biscuits
2 tbsp chocolate spread
4 tbsp orange juice
1 orange [own ingredients]
quarter pint double cream
8 chocolate buttons

Put biscuits in plastic bag and hit with rolling pin until crushed. Split between glasses and level. Mix half orange juice with chocolate spread and add layer on top of biscuits. Add layer of orange flesh. Whip cream until stiff and stir in rest of orange juice, add as top layer. Cut buttons into quarters and sprinkle on top.

Chocolate Cake

6 oz softened butter
6 oz sugar
5 oz self-raising flour
4 eggs (bettabuy eggs are REALLY REALLY small)
half tsp baking powder
3 tbsp chocolate powder
15 chocolate buttons
chocolate spread
quarter pint double cream

Mix butter and sugar together with electric whisk until soft and fluffy. Slowly add beaten eggs, then dry ingredients, keep mixing. Mix in about a tbsp of chocolate spread.
Bake in 2 x 8" circular cake tin (greased and lined), gas mark 4 (180 degrees C) for 25 minutes.
While cooling on rack, whip cream until stiff and grate chocolate buttons and chill in fridge. Spread one side of cake with chocolate spread, whipped cream on other and sandwich together. Spread layer of cream on top and spinkle with grated chocolate.

I also made chocolate milkshakes but didn't manage to photograph them before DD started drinking... Milk and chocolate powder whipped up using a cappuccino frother from Poundland.

February 01, 2006

Look at my fantastic parcel!

My wonderful secret pal sent me some gorgeous stitch markers (12 of them!) and some lavender balm which smells just like a summer garden. The whole package smelt wonderful. And DD has already commandered the pink tissue to make a Barbie collage :)

The label says:
D is for Decrease
I is for Increase
R is for New Row
Made by your SP for you. The first ones I've ever made so hope they last!

I can't believe these are her first effort, they are perfect. Makes me even more keen to know who it is!