Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...


January's last Ta-Da (not ...)

I sort of had it in the back of my mind to be able to finish January off in a flourish by flouncing on my imaginary cat walk twirling and whirling in my newly finished-hot-off-the-needles waistcoat. 
(Notice the 'however'?) Something has gone wrong. Can you see?
Spotted the error yet? Bear in mind that I am yet to knit the front and armcye ribbed band to complete it. HOWEVER (there is that word again ...) Yes, I am sure you have seen the ever so slightly longer (barely noticeable I have tried telling myself) front plackets. That is despite repeatedly counting, DESPITE the regular measuring, DESPITE me laying the fronts on to the back  just.incase.this.very.thing.was.going.to.happen. I put it down to being rather tired/frazzled/fed up/incompetent!!! (shhhhhh -  I won't linger on that last point)
There, said it - swept it under the carpet (well chucked back into my knitting bag), there will be serious amounts of froggggggggging (and cussing) later and please don't tell me that it can be fixed - I have FALLEN out of love with it and want to try something NEW!! grrrrrrrr. 

On a much more happy note I do actually have a bit of a Ta-Da! 

I needed to cheer myself up so here it is! Our dining room has full length patio doors which require very long curtains.

We used to have a length of orange taffeta material swathed across giving that corner a flash of strong colour. I took it down some time ago and washed it, for it to then linger in the darkened recesses of my airing cupboard quietly being forgotten.
Until today, when the weather yet again actively detained us as it rained, snowed, howled and sleeted in a depressingly repeating pattern. I burrowed into the airing cupboard and rescued a piece of warm and cheerful fabric. A bright vibrant coral with a gold sheen and rich copper shades.
A delicious flame coloured flash of colour.
My plan, apart from brightening the driech dyster day that this winter seems to deem normal, was to rehang the lambrequin.  But, I did not want to cut, sew or interfere with the material in any way.
So I reached for a handful of elastic bands!
The fabric was folded in half lengthways and a single band held a small pinch of material.
Then at either end of the length,
again, a band held the fabric in a tight 'bunch'.
Then, each 'bunch' was turned and tucked into the main body of the fabric ...
This served to hide all the edges and the band.
So far, so good.
Now I have two richly rounded edges to my strip of material.
My curtain rail conveniently has a crook style end
and is perfectly shaped to hold the material.
Can you see how my lambrequin is progressing?
In the middle, the first elastic band, can be seen.
This is where I needed to call in taller reinforcements
Youngest, manfully stepped up to the mark
and stood on a high stool
on his tippy toes
and tucked the middle band on to the central support of the curtain pole.
Yay for lofty teenagers!

A few minor adjustments
and my no-sew lambrequin
is making me smile.
Is brightening my room but at the same time 
(when not under the harsh light of the flash of a camera) 
making it feel snug and warm and cozy.
Hmmm - happy with that, simple, quick and instant gratification!

How's your weekend doing so far?
Have you made any no-sew cheats that made you smile?
Have you done something that helped with your own personal Hygge?

I love hearing what you get up to :)


Pom pom pom tiddely pom (a bit of a How-To and Ta-Da! mix up)

Since it is still winter, 
seeing it is still grey and dreich and boring, 
conscious of a lack of colour (apart from soggy green and dank brown) in my garden 
and really feeling the need for a pop of cheerful colour ...
I had a hankering for pom poms! 
After a good rummage in my 'wip 'n left-over box', 
I found a selection of bright and jaunty colours 
(notice my predilection to my favourite shades of anything coastal).
I fancied making a rash of mini pom poms and hanging them from my Pask-tree.  
But due to my need of instant gratification
I had absolutely no intention of doing my pom-pom-tiddely-poms the old fashioned way - 
So I reached for a fork ...
Wrap, wrap, wrap -
 'bout 70 wraps for double knit and 100 wraps for a thinner ply. 
Snip the yarn.
Snip off another length, 
thread on to a tapestry needle and winkle through the middle teeth of the fork.

Tie tightly 
(this is where the acrylic yarn comes into its own - 
wools break too easily but yarn quite happily takes tying and tugging with no complaints)
Slip the pre-pom off the fork - now the best bit starts!
Snip, snip, snip.
Trim, trim, trim.
 Aaaah - happy :) 
It is like holding a calorie free yarn-sweet - *smile*
As I contentedly wrap and snip and trim, 
a cheerfully colourful trail of evidence from pom pom creating forms. 
Even these little snippety bits of waste wool brighten my day :)
Now, time to hang it on my Pask-tree. 
with a thin nylon 'invisible thread'. 
Carefully pushing through the pom pom and out the otherside, 
back in again...
...before tying the ends together...
... then hanging on the branch - 
to give me that desperately needed pop of colour.
Yay- feeling happy. 
Little spots of cheerful colour.
I'd made more than my little tree could hold,
so a small bouquet of pom pom flowers
seemed the perfect answer!
Using wooden skewers, pushed gently through,
no glue needed - 
means I can use both the skewer and the pom poms
 for another project on another day :)

Even better - 
more pops of colour
even more instant gratification
even more happy happy :)
PS - happy? Yup.

Himself was a little doubtful about this mad frenzy of crafting - he had a very quizzical look on his face for most of the afternoon when I was surrounded by a whirl of snipped yarn and a growing pile of pom poms. 

Once they were done - he then saw what I was trying to do, understood and accepted yet another of my little foibles - no wonder I love him so!

How are you coping with this dull and dreary weather? (we are being promised a doozy of a deluge for the next 24 hours - uh oh - better break out the waterproofs again ...)
Have you needed an emergency moment of crafting to make it better?
Have you made anything to cheer you up?

Go on share your stories, I love to hear them and be inspired by your ideas :) and if you feel the need to go for a little pom-pom-tiddely-pom action - let me know, I would love to see what you do with them!

Thank you for your comments about the cake - and yes please frayed at the edge - I would love your OJ version of the recipe :) Sorry Aril and Threads Through my Life - all evidence of cake has been scoffed. Sustainablemum - you could soak your fruit in a fruit juice or a herb tea.



In which I make a cake

Y'know when you have that urge to bake something but all your regular recipes just..don't..reach..that..spot?

 What do you do?

I knew that Himself was wanting a fruit cake of some sorts (the biggest clue had been him purchasing one of those mini slabs of *supermarket fruit cake* and mournfully eating it in the kitchen whilst waiting for the kettle to boil...)  I knew I had to do something!
Fortunately I'd some mixed fruit left over from the chrimbly cake and we always have spices in the cupboard, so I decided on a tea-bread style fruit cake. 
Once the fruit was soaking (in a strong black chai tea) I had a fettle around in the baking cupboard to see what else I had lurking ...oats... flour ... sunflower seeds... and an idea began to form...  
The house soon had a warm and spicy scent about it and Himself who'd been outside washing my car (another reason to make him a cake) wandered in with a very interested/hopeful look on his face. 
It turned out really well - a moist fruity cake that was just perfect with a mug of tea ... yum.

So, what was in the cake?
Well - are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin ...

Stick the kettle on and make yourself two mugs of tea - one for you to drink while you are baking and the other (brewed very strong) for the fruit cake. Switch on your oven and pre-heat it to 180 deg C.

Ok - you will need:

130gm mixed fruit (or sultanas/raisins etc)
1 tea bag (something that will give you a dark and rich full tea flavour) - to make a large mug with freshly boiled water.

Soak your fruit in the black tea, stir around once or twice, then weigh out ...

100gm rolled oats
120 gm brown sugar

Add this to your soaking fruit, stir in well and leave about 10ish minutes. While you are waiting, start to weigh out ...

30gm sunflower seeds (or nuts/omega mix/pumpkin seeds)
100gm plain flour
1 rounded tsp baking powder
1 flat tsp EACH of your favourite warm spices, I used ginger, cinnamon as well as ...
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (with my new favourite toy - thanks Mom!!!)
1/4 tsp fresh finely ground black pepper (yes black pepper! although this part is optional but does come recommended if you like your cake to have a little bit of a bite.)

Stir all the ingredients into the oat mix then ...

Chop one apple (I left the skin on) and chuck into the mix. Stir well to ensure a good distribution of the fruit chunks.

Spoon your cake mix into a lined loaf tin and bake at 180deg C for approx 45 minutes. I did 40 mins then the 'skewer test' and it was still a little doughy.  That extra five minutes was all it needed.

Did I mention it was yum? Well it was! 

We ate it while it was still gently warm with a fresh mug of tea and there was a fair bit of mmhhmmmming and chewing with eyes closed. 


You betcha!

PS - I have a little crafty Ta-Da to share soon - just waiting for daylight to take 'photos xxx


A frosty little smile :)

A little smile -
just for you
Complete with a nattily perched 'fez' 
Happy Happy
Hope he made you smile too :)

*Thank you Youngest - your snowman is just perfect xx


Pass the custard please ...

I'll let you into a little secret ... my other half is an amazing fruit pie maker - he would blush if he knew what I was telling you - but he is. He doesn't do fancy things, no - more your traditional pie under shortcrust pastry all bubbling and juicy when it comes out of the oven.  The house filling with fruity scented steam on Friday evenings.

He makes rhubarb, apple and red currant, blackberry and apple. Most of the fruit is either home grown or foraged during autumn and stashed in the freeze waiting to be used over winter.

He is not bad either at making the custard that he generously gloops over the huge wedges of pie as he serves up.

The other day I came across THIS recipe and thought I would give it a try.

However, with one thing or another and although I had all the ingredients out and ready to use, I was being fully occupied by making a monster sized fish pie.

Himself wandered into the kitchen to see what I was up to, so I pointed him to the recipe and he took the challenge on.

He hummed a merry tune as he first read through the recipe then continued humming as he adapted the pie with his personal touches. It was, I have to say - a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y delish
The steam curled up from the fruit and positively zinnnnnnged my tastebuds and tingled my nose - oooh yum!

The original recipe just used apples, but he added red currants and sultanas. It was a visual and heavenly combination. 

He can do that again!

I do really recommend the recipe, it is lovely and simple and in it's original form looks good enough to serve at a dinner party.  Himself loves a combination of fruits hence the rich berry red and appley goodness happening here.

Have you followed a new recipe recently with great success?
Was it a 'have-it-again' one?
Do tell, I love experimenting (and seems so does my pie-maker!) with new recipes :) and if you do try this apple pie - let me know, I'd love to hear what you think of it too!


'How-to' - A brief explanation of the lampshade Ta-Da!

Thank you everyone for your interest in my tri-hare and birch tree lampshade. I was asked by quite a few how I made it and although I did link back to my original one, there are some questions that still need answering.

Sutainablemum asked how I managed to get the different colours - you are correct - I did use different papers. The lighter hare and the birch trees are plain white cartridge.
If you look carefully you can see details of an eye on the lighter hare - that is coz this one was my draft sketch not originally part of the final design. At the last minute I decided to add this creature to my scene as I felt sorry for him. So instead of throwing him away, I carefully taped him above the other two.

The darker hares are cut from brown paper - recycled from packaging. It was very crinkled so once I'd cut them out, I dunked them in water and dried them on the top of the wood burner. This made them lovely and crisp and flat.
Having planned the layout, I cut pieces of sticky-tape, quickly dabbed them onto fabric making them less sticky then taped the cutouts on the inside of lampshade.
The designs don't have to be flat taped - my halloween version had '3D' bats emerging and flying across the wall.

Sara (from elf sufficient) - the lampshade was a DIY store 'nice price' one - I have a friend with the most beautiful (read that as ExPenSIVE) shades with hares and I have coveted them for ages. Doing this makes it sooooooo much more affordable AND I get to change them with the seasons :)

Julie (Julie's Scrapbook) thanks for the link for The Three Hares, it makes for really interesting reading. We used to live in Devon and walked all over Dartmoor.  I almost did mine like that, but seeing I'd originally designed it for just the two and their ears didn't quite match up I kept it as two hares bouncing with the third happily floating above :)

Thank you again every one for your comments - they make me very happy :) If you do have a go at decorating a lampshade - I would love to see it, please could you link it back to me xxx