Tuesday, 29 December 2009


Happy New Year Everyone - I hope you all had a good Christmas and wish you all the best for the new year!

This Christmas I decided to make my own Christmas cake and Mincemeat. I was really pleased with the mincemeat - the taste was out of this world. But the cake was a little disappointing - it tasted exactly like a bought one, even though there must have been 1/2 bottle of brandy in it. I keep telling myself this is a good thing as at least it didn't taste horrible!

The only problem now is I still have half a cake left and I am supposed to be eating a little more healthily!! - it will keep I suppose, lol

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Mouse Skins!!

My daughter Kimberley is crazy about cats - so she has organised a coffee morning to be held in a couple of weeks in aid of the Cats Protection League. Guess who has been roped into it - yes, me!!

She has been sent lots of promotional material from the CPL and has been busy advertising her posters in shops etc. The Coffee Morning boasts a cake stall, tombola, a raffle etc. But guess who has to make the cakes and organise the prizes - yes, right again - me!!

I am also making Catnip Mice for her to sell. So far I have 10 unstuffed ones. My aunt is also busy with her needles. We hope to get a jar full by the time the Coffee Morning comes along!

Cross Stich Christmas!

I have now completed the full set of seasonal cushions. This is the last - the Winter Cushion.

Also on a Christmassy theme the kids and I have been making cross stitch cards. My youngest is only 8 and I am really pleased with the progress she is making with her needlework. I have also taught her to knit. There are not many 8 year olds these days that can knit!

We have also made mini cushions from the free cross stitch designs which come free with the monthly magazines. I sometimes find making them into cards a bit monotonous, so tend to do something a bit different with them now and again.

Monday, 12 October 2009


500g Pumpkin
25g Butter
1 Onion - chopped
2 Garlic Cloves - crushed
1 1/4pt Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
Salt & pepper

Slice the top from the pumpkin and discard the seeds and remove the rind. Chop into cubes. Melt the butter and fry the chopped onion and crushed garlic for 2 - 3 minutes then add the pumpkin and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the stock and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Leave to cool and whizz in a blender until smooth.

Saturday, 10 October 2009


It seems ages since I last posted anything on my blog. The reason being is that September was an exceptionally busy month. What with getting the children back to school, shopping for new winter clothes for them and of course getting all my craft projects in order!

It was my birthday on the 26th followed 2 days later by our 15th wedding anniversary. In between, on the 28th was the anniversary of moving into our house 2 years ago. Everything seemed to happen in September for me!

Most women would want to be taken out for a meal on their birthday and bought jewelery or chocolates - well not me! All I wanted to do was to spend the day in Hobbycraft - so I did.

I came home with some gorgeous goodies - some sock wool, 3 books - one of sock patterns, a book about gift baskets, and one on making favours, a few other bits and bobs which I required. But mostly I ended up spending most of my birthday money on the kids! - they came with us so of course I had to buy them something too. Plus dinner for them in Pizza Hut! I didn't mind though - we probably eat in fast food restaurants no more than about 3 or 4 times a year.
I can't wait to get round to making more socks - although I have just started a jacket for myself. Hopefully I will start them before next spring!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Knitted Embellishments

Having rather a large stash of wool, I decided to make one or two little things that are easy and quick to make. As a way to make a little extra cash some of these goods are for sale on Folksy and in my blog shop. I very rarely have time to support our local schools, so I thought I might make similar things for their Christmas Fayre, as I'm sure I can make quite a few fairly quickly.

Thursday, 10 September 2009


I have (yet again!) bought another book - and its lovely! I know its a little late to start crafting for summer, but lots of the things in this book will do for any occasion. There is also a Christmas book by the same author - so I know what I will be wanting for my birthday from my Hubby!



1 x Tin Pears

50g/20z Soft Brown Sugar


100g/4oz Butter

100g/4oz Caster Sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 tbs Ground Ginger

175g/6oz Self raising Flour

Pre-heat oven to 180'C/350'F/Gas 4. Lightly grease a 6 inch/15cm round cake tin. Drain Pears and arrange at the bottom of the tin. Sprinkle over the brown sugar.

Place all the sponge ingredents into a mixing bowl and whisk on high speed for approximatly 3 minutes. Spoon the mixture over the top of the pears and bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes.

Turn out onto a serving plate and serve with custard, cream or ice cream.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Four Seasons Cushion - Autumn

I have just completed the third cushion in the Four Seasons Collection. I did not have any narrow ribbon to embellish it with like the other two. But rather than buy I used some wider ribbon from my stash. Not sure I like it though - I'm trying to resist going out and buying some!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Pili Palas

We took the family to a place called Pili Palas Nature World in Anglesy today. There is a Butterfly Jungle there and they were absolutely beautiful - and massive!! They were just flying around and landing on people. I couldn't believe it! As well as butterflies, they also had birds, reptiles, mini beasts (not my most favourite!) as well as a farmyard with pigs, ponies and peacocks. There is also an adventure playground which includes a huge bouncy castle, a cafe and gift shop. The prices were reasonable too, and so was the gift shop - not over priced like some you go too.

All in all a great day out - well recommended!

Friday, 14 August 2009


My first lot of wine is now bottled and is maturing. It seems OK though and everything went to plan in the making of it. My next has proven a bit of a problem. I am making a type of mead - it contains honey, spices, apples, oranges and lemons. I had to boil everything for about 20 mins in 4pt of water, add another 4pt of water and then add the yeast.

The recipe said it would start fermenting in about 6 weeks. 6 weeks? More like 6 minutes! After about 2 hours I went to check it and it was frothing up through the airlock, down the side of the demijohn and onto the worktop! I had to separate it into 2 demijohns. But as you can see during the night they must have both frothed up to nearly the top of the jar!

Hopefully after about 10 days I will be able to transfer them back to the one demijohn - so long as there are no further happenings in the meantime!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

My New Cupcake!

My hubby and my two daughters have been away for a couple of days. They went to Dolwyddelan in our caravan. I don't mind going but if I stay at home it gives me a chance to get round to doing all those horrible jobs in the house. This time I rearranged the living room and bedroom so I could make room for our computers. They looked unsightly downstairs so mine is now upstairs.

The other advantage to staying at home is that they always bring me back a present! This time they gave me this lovely little ceramic cupcake, which now sits on my kitchen window sill. I think it's lovely!

Banana Coconut Cake

I wanted to make a Chicken Korma last week and the recipe called for coconut milk. I couldn't get it in our local Tesco so I had to buy dried, which worked just as well. However there was a recipe on the back of the box and it was fantastic. If you can find Maggi Dried Coconut Milk this cake is delicious:

185g Butter

1 Cup Caster Sugar

4 Eggs

2 Cups Chopped Walnuts

3 Cups Self Raising Flour

1 Cup Maggi Dried Coconut Milk

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 Cup Orange Juice


125g Cream Cheese

30g Butter

1 tbsp Honey

2 Cups Icing Sugar, sifted.

Preheat oven to 180'C. Grease & line a 25cm round cake pan (I used 3 sandwich tins). Cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in banana & walnuts. Fold in flour, Coconut milk and cinnamon with orange juice. Spoon into greased tins & bake for 1 - 1 1/4 hours (I baked mine for approx 35 mins as I used sandwich tins). Cool on wire rack. To make the frosting beat the cream cheese, butter and honey together until smooth. Gradually beat in the icing sugar. Use to cover cake (or also use as a filling & topping if using sandwich tins - there is plenty left for this)

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

100 Flowers to Knit & Crochet

This delightful book arrived this morning from Amazon. It's absolutely gorgeous. Take a look - the flowers are so life like. There are 128 beautiful pages and it only cost £7.03. A real bargain!

My Dishcloth Pattern

A dishcloth should be large enough for its purpose, absorbent, mildly abrasive and quick to dry. This simple pattern in moss stitch, using double knitting cotton, moss stitch and large needles satisfies all these needs. Prettiness can be added by choosing pastel or vibrant colours to match your kitchen, but remember when bleached the colours will eventually fade.


Requires 1 x 50g ball 100% Cotton Yarn (Double knit)

Using 5mm needles cast on 65 stitches and knit 2 rows.

Row 1: k2, (k1,p1 to last 2 sts) K2

Row 2: K2, knit all purl sts and purl all knit stitches (single moss stitch) to last 2 stitches, Knit 2.

Repeat last 2 rows until 61 rows have been worked in pattern.

Knit 2 rows. Cast off.


Cast on 50 stitches and Knit 2 rows.

Work 46 row in moss stitch as given for larger cloth.

Knit 2 rows. Cast off.

Monday, 27 July 2009

My Plum Jam Recipe

I have come across many recipes for plum jam and have had one or two disasters. One recipe called for boiling the recipe with the sugar for 20minutes. As you can imagine you end up with plum toffee! So this recipe is my own and it seems to work for me:


1kg Plums

1kg Preserving Sugar

Put a saucer in the fridge to test the jam for setting. Have ready at least 4 jam jars washed and sterilised - I put mine in the oven directly after using it, but switched off. Cut plums into quarters and twist to pull out the stone (This is messy so wear an apron and have a cloth on stand by!). Put the flesh in a preserving pan with all the juice and skins, bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 20 minutes (The skins will boil down with the rest of the plums).

Add the sugar and dissolve gently. Do not let it boil at this stage. When sugar has dissolved bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 3 minutes, take off the heat and put a teaspoon on the cold saucer to test for setting. If the jam is not set boil rapidly for a further minute and test again. Take off the heat and bottle immediately. It is advisable to try and get hold of a jam funnel - I was balancing a ladle, the pan and the bottles wrapped in kitchen paper as they were hot - not a good idea as I scalded my fingers twice.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Shell Plant Pots

The shells that we collected on the beach last week came to good use today, and I very cleverly roped my husband into helping my daughter to cover the plant pot. I asked him to strip the old plant pot of a couple of decorations that were one it, and just happened to mention that the new box of Polyfilla was under the sink! We had also bought a small collection of shells from a little kiosk on the prom to bulk ours out a bit, hence the starfish!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Home Grown Produce

It seems that every time I move to a bigger house the gardens get smaller and smaller. I used to live in a little 2 bedroom cottage, but the gardens were absolutely huge. There was an abundance of flowers and I had a full sized greenhouse. Our next house had a medium sized garden, which was OK, but the garden here is rather pathetic - hardly room to swing a cat, let alone grow any real produce. But I have managed to grow some lavender, various herbs, salad leaves, radishes and strawberries. But I do miss my huge garden!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Black Cherry Wine

I have recently taken an interest in wine making. Well not strictly true, like the jam making I tried it when I just left home. But this time I seem to have a bit more patience! Just for starters I used a kit for Black Cherry Wine, but next time I want to try my hand at making it from scratch. I've been given a huge pail and 3 demijohns, plus all the extra little bits and pieces that are required.

This first batch will soon be ready for bottling - and I have to say that it looks and smells good - the proof, I suppose, will be in the tasting!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Kelly's Craft Day

As the weather forecast was atrocious for today, we planned to stay in and I was to help Kelly do a bit of paper crafting. Now, I don't do paper craft, I just happen to be useless at it and I can't draw for toffee. Believe it or not, this creation took us 3 hours! Can you tell what is is yet?

My Vintage Charm Bracelet

My Aunt wanted me to have this lovely charm bracelet that belonged to one of my Great Aunts. I love bracelets and feel a bit lost since I snapped one of my favourites.
The charm of the silver doll belonged to my Nan, from when she was a child. The rest I think have been added at various times.
The Shamrock must have had great sentimental value, as I do not think it is silver and is not hallmarked. However she had gone to the trouble of having it soldered on, which seems a bit strange.

I did have plans to wear it on a regular basis - but now I have it, I'm worried about losing it!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Jam Making

I recently bough a new book called Homemade, and I think it is absolutely fantastic. There are loads of ideas for makes in it based around the 4 seasons. I just had to have a go at the strawberry jam and homemade scones.

The first time I made jam I was 17 and just left home. It was banana jam and it turned out absolutely awful. In fact it was safe to say that it resembled mashed banana with sugar.

However I followed the instructions for strawberry jam in Homemade to the letter and the result was fantastic. It's definitely jam! And it tastes yummy.

I have now borrowed a book from the library and I intend to make a lot more jams and chutney's. Just watch this space!

Picnic On The Beach

I had promised Kelly a picnic on the beach today, but when we got up it was poring it down with rain. However I told Kelly if the weather improved after I had done the housework we could still go.

Sure enough it stopped raining, so off we went, even though it was still dull. We walked down to the beach, and guess what? We were the only ones mad enough to be there! It wasn't a bad day though, it certainly wasn't cold - and the picnic went down well.

Kelly enjoyed herself - we gathered a few shells which we are going to use to cover a plant pot. We also saw quite a lot of the sea-life. Apparently Pensarn Beach is a nature reserve as there are quite a few rare plants that grow along the coast. Such things as Sea Holly and Sea Radish, which I didn't even know existed.

We stayed for 3 hours until I had to tell her I had to be back to start the tea, otherwise I think we would still be there now!

Monday, 20 July 2009

The First Day Of my Holidays!!

Today was technically the first day of my holiday - a whole month off - yes! I have planned to do lots of things during this time, namely taking the kids on a few day trips and going camping. I will also be doing a lot of planning for my new venture. I have already designed my flyers which I am going to deliver to some of the houses and businesses with the help of the kids (I see some extra pocket money being asked for, somehow). I will also be placing some on the notcice boards of local shops and at the community centre.

My intention was to start my new business in a couple of months time, after going back to work and then working my notice. However, I then realised that Christmas would be just around the corner, and I would be taking a hugh chance. Both in terms of getting any work or even ending up with no presents for anyone!! I have now decided to stick my job out until the end of December - if I can hold out that long! Then I am definatly going to make a break and go for it. In the meantime I will still be advertising and fitting in one or two people on my days off each week.

Well enough of my plans for now, I'm sure I must be boring you. Back to what I did today!

After finishing the housework, we went for a long walk up to Gwrych Castle. The building has been derelict for years, but a hotel company have bought it with the intention of renovating it. I think the recession has caught up with them though, as no work seems to be in progress. There are some lovely walks around there as it is set in the middle of woods. It was so peaceful and almost surreal. It reminds my of the derelict Narnia at the beginning of Prince Caspian! It seemed really weird when we were walking back home into the middle of town - you wouldn't believe this castle was only a few hundred yards away (I can actually see it from my landing window). Kim wanted to to walk up to the look-out tower, which is quite a way into the woods, but I was worried that we would get lost, and be away for hours!

When I was a child I lived in a little village called Llysfaen, and there was a large mansion (Plas-yn-Llysfaen) set in its own ground. Apparently an underground tunnel was supposed to run from the masion all the way to the castle, which was about 3 miles away. My grandmother knew the owner of this house and she told me that the owners' son had brought her back a mumified hand from Egypt (Yuk!) complete with a jewelled ring. When the owner moved out, children were caught playing football with the hand (minus the ring), and the police were alerted. However the ring was never found.

Well thats it for stories - I often wonder it was true. But I did once go in the property when it was empty and see a tunnel that was blocked off on the ground floor.........................

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Kelly's Makeover Party

I have just found some pictures on my camera of my youngest daughters birthday part. She was 8 on the 24Th May and she decided to have a makeover party.

The party organiser put beads in their hair, put make up on them and let them have a go in the foot spa. In addition she provided a High School Musical disco and karaoke. There was also a chocolate fountain and a drinks fountain, which they all seemed to enjoy. A great day all round, but I was glad when it was all over - look at the state of my kitchen!!

Four Seasons Cushions

I have just finished the Summer cross stitched cushion pattern from one of the issues of Cross Stitcher. I had already done the Spring one earlier in the year. I have just received the latest issue and can't wait to get started on the Autumn one.

They don't take that long to do, but I had only been able to stitch for a couple of hours in the evening, which slowed me down a bit.

Sunday, 3 May 2009


Today we decided to have a car boot sale. We had been planning it for weeks and the kids wanted to make some extra pocket money. Kim was saving up for a new mobile phone so unlike any other morning she had to get out of bed early.

We arrived about seven o'clock and set up our stall. Of course we had the 'vultures' around first, but I just wanted to get rid of stuff and sold a freestanding mixer for £8 and a craft set for £4 which was worth about £40 new.

Kim made enough money to buy a new phone, but Kelly ended up spending what she made on a huge animal hospital helicopter and some books!

All in all it was a good morning, we came away with just over £100 between us, but I came worse off than all of them. I only made £15 and 2/3 of that went to pay for the space in the field!

However I did get some bargains - 2 pairs of curtains, brand new, still in their packaging and some lovely books, one named Hints and Tips From Times Past, which particularly looks interesting.


As promised a few weeks ago my Auntie bought me some cookery books that belonged to my nan, and look what I found inside - some four-leafed clover that I found as a child. I even remember putting them there! The clover must be at least 32 years old if not more!

The book, by the way, was published in 1936.