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Showing posts from June, 2014

Meal Planning Monday

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A good week for food. We have a new Aldi near us and we are just testing it out for a few weeks to compare prices and quality. So far there is very little we would rather have bought at our usual supermarket, except coffee and perhaps fruit juice concentrate. Oh, and they don't do bagels but since the Princess has got braces on her teeth, then bagels are out anyway.


So menu for this week;
Monday; Spanish Pork and pasta. A family favourite from Delia Smith, with an updated recipe available here; Broccoli as a side.
Tuesday; Mustard coated chicken; I should be using chicken thighs here but the price of a  whole chicken is too good to resist (£4.99) so I shall be cutting the chicken up myself. First.time.ever.
Wednesday; Salisbury Steaks and potatoes. Fancy burgers, basically, but I may dip them in egg and breadcrumbs as well. And the potatoes are potato gratin from Aldi. They take 30 minutes to cook to soft. I need to learn how to make gratin and then just do it.
Thursday; Frikadell…

Tired? Emotional? Take to the craft box.

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The Princess spent Friday night on a sleepover with 5 bezzies for a birthday party of a friend. 5 twelve year old girls does not give much sleep, and Saturday morning dawned far too early for her. By the time elevenses came, she was curled up on our sofa and sleeping off the effects of the night before. This does not bode well for the future, when such nights may well be fuelled by alcoholic as well as high spirits!!

It did mean that by the afternoon she was tired but restless and ready to do something but not anything hard.


Enter the craft I have been meaning to do for ages but just never got on the table.

I remember back when I was a Brownie making a match box house, for real matches at a time when people still smoked and used them, and having a great time doing them. And ever since the Princess was a reasonable size for crafting I have been meaning to make one again.

We used the big kitchen matchbox, emptying a load into a Bonne Maman jar just to free up two, because sometimes a cr…

Summer rain? Well, it is Wimbledon

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So when you've had a busy afternoon with two teenage sons, been and got the new Simply Crochet and Mollie Makes and come home to breakfast at night for tea, what is the preferred method of relaxation?
I'd love to say lighting a fire and sitting out listening to the birds, but it is raining.
I don't mind the rain, I just don't want to sit out in it. (Memo to self; must measure up gazebo and buy plastic roofing for it)

So on goes the TV, change channel to Wimbledon and settle down to some repetitive hooking; small squares, big squares, edge them off patterning until the eyes start to droop and I think it might be time to just be instead of do, to rest mind and body.
And the tennis is over and the football is back on.

The Hippy Hippy Backpack in action

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I know, I know, I owe you pictures of my Autumn sunset backpack. I didn't get to the computer the next day. Apologies.

Instead, here are some action shots of my Princess with her backpack, wearing a flower garland for Midsummer at Tatton Park last weekend.



 Doesn't she just look like a hippy worthy of Glastonbury? I think I really love her choice of colours, especially when she chose blue flowers for her hair.

Next stop, San Francisco.

Why I write; Angel Jem's City Cottage

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'Why I write' Blog Hop; I hijacked the Hop from Coal Valley View. She did ask for volunteers.
 It's going around the blogoverse, and different people have been thinking about it. CJ at Above the River wrote about her writing here, and passed the baton on to Leanne at Today's Stuff, while people whose blogs I have never read have written their thoughts at Miss and Misters, A Colourful Life and Clairey Hewitt from Australia. I guess that is the point of a blog hop; you never know where you'll end up or who you'll visit. New friends waiting to be made, new ideas, places, lives to be learned about. I love blogs just because so many people just write to communicate. And we get to see people who, if they lived in the next town, would undoubtedly invite us for coffee and a really good walnut cake but can't because a continent and the deepest ocean in the world lie in between. More contact makes for a smaller world. I like the global village. Fancy a cuppa? Come on…

Tatton Park, Cheshire

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We spent Saturday with friends at Tatton Park, Cheshire. It's a lovely big house that used to be the home of the Earls of Bridgewater (them of the canal fame).
Yesterday was their Mediaeval Fayre day. There were lots of stalls selling ye olde arrows and shoes, but this was the sign that made us smile.

The men in armour must have suffered in the heat yesterday, but I think they enjoy suiting up and whacking chunks off each other with broad swords, so I'm not too sympathetic.


 Our friends' children are 9 and 8. The 'pitched battle' that we couldn't see for all the grown ups in the way who WOULD NOT let them through soon lost any trace of interest to their own pitched battle; empty coke bottles are such good swords for a 'friendly' contest. Don't worry; the 8 year old beat my 2nd son absolutely!

And by the end of the day, we wandered off quite happily. 


Midsummer Night's Dreaming....

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Last night was Midsummer night. I made myself a promise that this year I would mark it with a big fire and a late night spent outside until the sun went to sleep. It was 11pm by the time Eldest Son and I came back in. Just in time for another game of football!


 Midsummer used to be a big event in England, with fires and fortune telling, but the Reformation and Industrial Revolution put paid to them in the end. It seems a shame to me that as a nation we seem happy to lose our traditions; old songs, old dances, whatever passes for 'national costume' in England, we let them go so easily in the name of progress. I'm not sure we replaced it with stuff that was better; we just replaced it with stuff.
Our Church is running a course on hospitality, on opening our doors and lives to strangers, on sharing a cuppa or a sarnie with someone and getting to know people where they are. It's good; it questions the closed boxes we live in and makes us focus on making the world a better …

Next! Roll on the Autumn sunshine bag.

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I must not keep making bags.
I must not keep making bags.
I must not keep making bags.
Oh B*****ks. I made another one.



And because it only takes an evening to do the bag part of the bag, I didn't remember to take tutorial photos as I went along.

Double B*****ks.
Sorry.




Perhaps I should make a pink one, like She asked me to.
And photograph all the stages this time.






This bag has been made in Stylecraft DK used double to make a chunky weight yarn. That gave me the chance to blend my colours. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. Do you want to see the full bag? 

OK, come back tomorrow.

Father's Day... for my Dad with love (in France) and to the wonderful Father of my children

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Love you both x

The Chunky Bag love continues...

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If something is this good and easy, it bears repeating. And anyway, my daughter asked me to make her one.

Once my chunky bag was finished She (who should keep quiet but likes to be obeyed) asked would I make her one. Only..........

"Your colours are too dark," She proclaimed. "I don't like that brown and the blue is too..... well, boring."

 So I got on to the Wool Warehouse straight away. "These are the chunky colours, " I protested, "Look! Choose about 7 and I'll make your bag your way."
I blame Burger King.

 It's the same basic idea; a rectangle for the base made of 19 chains and a row of single crochet, two chains at every corner and 5 rounds to form the base. Don't ask for proper pattern notation. You can figure it out if you think about it, seriously.

 She wanted a backpack, a different shape. Yes, she is demanding. I crocheted the body of the bag straight up, 25 or 26 rows, then did the cord row by trebling 5 stitches and …

What? Bears do minimalism? Who knew?

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Once Georgie had been done and dusted, passed over to her new owner, said owner set about creating a bear house. Because (ahem) Every Good Bear Deserves .... ok, a Flat doesn't quite fit the musical note mnemonic, but it's close enough.


Said owner is not famous for her minimalist tendencies. Having inherited a good few genes from me the 'if a little is good, more must be better and so much that you can't move must be the best' attitude has usually invaded her bedroom, wardrobe and pencil case. She's organised, yes, but she organises a lot of Stuff. So when she disappeared off to make the house, I thought of wild decorated walls, pictures, lots of furniture, bright bedding, all her Sylvanian accessories re used.

I never expected this positively Danish retreat, the white walls, furniture and bedding. Positively beautiful.

Who are you, and what have you done with my daughter?


Free gift... make it tonight!!

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I love seeing this on magazines, it's such an inducement to buy, sometimes. I am a sucker, and a fool and his money are easily parted.

But sometimes the gift is actually something I want to make, or have had eyes on for a while, or just know would be a 'good thing' to make, and fun to do. I got suckered this way in the last two weeks.

The first free gift is this, a lovely Maria doll. She looked so cute, and I love Russian dolls.
Alas, she lies alone and unmade, waiting for a free evening when inspiration strikes and I think, "Gosh, I must do some knitting because it is ages since I dropped any stitches or stuck my tongue out at a tricky bit of slip one, knit one slip slip stitch over"
I can't remember the last time I thought that.

The second kit I got was a bit easier to think about. See, here is George Bear.
He came with instructions, wool and the offer to "Knit George Bear TONIGHT!!"
I took up the challenge, cleared my evening and sat still, tongu…