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.