Saturday, January 17, 2015

Wipe off the cobwebs....cough, cough, splutter, splutter....

Hello!

If it's possible for a blog to have accumulated dust and cobwebs then this little blog of mine certainly has! It's been nearly 2 months since my last post and although I thought I would hit 2015 running, the days have slipped by like the stream in our new garden and here we are on the 17th Jan.... Hey ho....

So, what's been happening in my world? First up....WE MOVED HOUSE!!!! I'm not going to go into the gory details of the actual move (let's just quietly push that to one side and say that without the greatest husband and mother in the world, I wouldn't have gotten thru it) but here are some pics of our new home....


This is taken from the front gate but the house extends at the back quite a bit so is bigger than it looks here. The most wonderful thing about the house is the park-like garden. We have huge expanses of lawn (great for playing cricket!) and a stream and lots of lovely shady trees (very handy for SA summers - temps here have been +35C)....


Here's the stream complete with Pooh-Bear bridge (please tell me that you've also played Pooh Sticks off a bridge....)


There are zillions of plants but most of the flowers have died back now as it's been so hot. However, I did manage to snap a few before they finished.

A beautiful Buddleja - one of the first plants J and I bought in our first garden. Almost impossible to kill!


Chilean Potato Vine - we had one of these in our garden in the UK and they are stunning when flowering. If you don't have one in your garden, GET ONE!


And this rather lovely little number which I think is an Orchid but I can't be sure. If any of you know, please leave me a comment....


The garden is full of nooks and crannies like this little water feature with higgledy-piggledy steps behind it going up to yet another lawned area. The birds love the water but my labs are a little put out that they can't sit in it to cool down!


So we've moved in, settled down and are very happy. It'll take us a while to get used to being back in a suburb again with all the hustle, bustle and noise that comes with town life, but in general it feels like we've been here for ages and it's only been a month! As you can see below our front door is always open so if you're in the area, feel free to pop in for a chat!


On the "needles" front, remember this from November?


Well, it got frogged (for those non-knitters among you, this means "unpicked") and became this





The cables just weren't happening for me and I'm much happier with this. Here's my Ravelry link. I really like the moss stitch sleeves and the "arrow" pattern on the front (very slimming)!

I also made a scarf for a good friend who has a birthday soon. She loves scarves and has to get up very early in the winter to get to work so really appreciates as many as possible! This one is red (her favourite colour), chunky, fluffy and has a little sparkle too, just for fun! I tried to make a heart shape with the scarf but now I think it looks like a really weird pair of lips!!!


And finally, I was given some yarn a while ago by a friend which is discontinued. She had no use for it and it's been in my stash for some time so I decided to make this. Here's progress so far....


Although the yarn is 4 ply which is usually quite soft, this particular 4 ply has 60% wool so is a bit "scratchy". I'm hoping it will soften up after a wash but to it's credit, it's lovely to work with and is the most beautiful teal blue. The pic really doesn't do the colour justice so I'll try and take better pics when it's finished.

So, that's me. Old year gone, new year up and running. School starts next week and mania will become my new best friend so for now I'm just enjoying these last few days of lazing around at home, knitting, watching TV and generally being a slob!

I hope your Christmas season was good and that your New Year has started full of good things.
Til soon.
xxx
















Friday, November 28, 2014

Cables in Lime ....

Hello!

Well, the skinny scarves got made and are wrapped and ready to go! That's the teachers taken care of for Christmas, now just the family, friends and kids to shop for! I do love the Silly Season but I have to say that it's one time of year that I'd love to be able to phone up our local mall, book a time to visit and be allowed to shop with no-one else there! Can you relate? The shopping is fine, it's just the rest of the people that annoy me!!!

Anyway, onto knitting things (always a good way to calm me down....)

After spending way too much time on Ravelry and Pinterest (again, can you relate?), I failed to find a pattern for a sweater that has been drifting around inside my head for a while. It's sleeveless and has cables and a cowl neck. I'm into sleeveless at the moment. South African winters are cold in the mornings and evenings but vaguely cool during the day so a long sleeve sweater can be way too hot. Sleeveless on the other hand, keeps the bod warm all day but allows a little ventilation under the arms which is always good!

So, I had this image in my head but had failed dismally to find a pattern. Finally I decided to go it alone! This is what I've done so far....


It's the front and whilst it doesn't look like much at the moment, I'm hoping that with a large droopy cowl neck and ribbing around the bottom and armholes, it will suddenly morph into something wonderful ... well, that's the theory anyway!

I wasn't sure about the cables going across. I'm no longer a size 10 (and haven't been for ages) so I'm a little concerned that the horizontal cables will turn me into a Winter Teletubby!!! Any name suggestions if it does? Pudgy-Wudgy or Tubby-Cubby? All good.

With the Teletubby fear in my mind, I originally started the sweater with vertical cables but it just didn't look right so I did a quick horizontal cable swatch and it all came together rather nicely. The cables are based on a celtic design (I love all things celtic) and whilst a bit tricky on the fingers, I'm rather pleased with the result.



I much prefer them horizontal to vertical but am still not sure why! You can't seen the colour very well in these pics but it's a rather fetching lime green. It's muted (so not too bright) but I'm lucky that I can wear all shades of green so I know it'll be fine.

I'm thinking deep double rib at the bottom with pockets although I'll decide on that as I go along. The armholes will also be double rib but just 2cm deep. I've done quite a deep decrease for the cowl neck as I really want it big and floppy - double rib for that too.

So, what do you think? Can you see it finished? I can. I just have to get knitting!

Til soon.
xxx

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Skinny Scarves & Strudel

Hello!!!

Well, we're winding down now to the end of year at school so I thought I'd better start thinking about those pressies for teachers....

I decided on skinny scarves - always useful and quick to make - so bought three lots of Vinnis Serena yarn (a firm favourite of mine) and have started crocheting ....


I've already finished one (in a deep red) and the above is No 2. One more to do after that and I'll be done! Having been a teacher myself I really appreciate the gifts that the children bring at year end (especially when they are homemade). We don't have devilishly cold winters here but a little warmth around the neck is always useful in the early mornings.....

On a completely different subject, I had a go at making Apple Strudel the other day and actually had a complete kitchen success for a change!!!


I made it at the request of my youngest son who liked it but not enough to scoff the lot so guess who had to finish it all...... least said about that the better.....

I thought it might make a nice change on Xmas Day instead of Xmas Pud so if you want to have a go, here's the super-easy recipe -

Apple Strudel Recipe:

4 Granny Smith apples - 3 peeled, cored and sliced - 1 peeled, cored and grated
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (thawed)
1 egg
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Place apples in large bowl. Stir in brown sugar and raisins. Set aside.
Roll out pastry until slightly wider and longer than baking sheet.
Put pastry on baking sheet and put apple mixture down the middle of the pastry lengthwise.
Fold the pastry lengthwise around the mixture. Seal edges together by using water on your fingers and crimping pastry edges together.
Cut three or four lines across width of pastry.
Whisk egg and milk together and brush on top of pastry.
Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 mins.
Serve with ice cream.

It was very more-ish so if you like apples, it's well worth a try!
That's me for now.
Til soon.
xxx

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Exciting times!

Hello!!! Thanks for dropping by....

There's alot going on at the moment, lots of change and new stuff which is all very exciting. We move house in just over a month (eeeek!!!) so sorting and packing will engulf my life soon but for now this is what I've been up to.....

My son's feet are always cold but he won't wear slippers! So I made him these.....




They are slipper socks and called Robinfoot. It's a very easy pattern so have a go!!!

Next up is a savoury tart that I made from a friend's recipe:


It really is delicious so here's the recipe (I think I've posted this before but it's soooo good, it's worth posting again!)

Pam’s Wonderful, Incredible, Delicious, Divine, Tasty Crustless Savoury Tart

3 thick slices of bread (crusts cut off) OR 4 slices of regular sliced bread
1 onion
1 pack bacon
2 cups grated cheese
3 eggs
250ml milk
1 tbsp butter
any other ingredients you fancy * (ie spinach & feta cheese / broccoli & sundried toms / asparagus / butternut / other veg)
1. Break the bread into a large mixing bowl.
2. Microwave butter until melted and add to the milk. Pour over bread.
3. Chop onion and bacon and fry until cooked (but not crispy).
4. Add onion/bacon mixture to bread mix.
5. Add other ingredients (see * above).
6. Add grated cheese.
7. Add beaten eggs.
8. Mix well and place in a large greased flan/quiche dish.
9. Bake for 40-50 mins at 180.

Finally, a finished project!!!! Yay!!!! Do you remember this little beauty that I had on my needles about a month ago? Well, it became this ....



I've already worn it twice and I love it! The colour is burnt orange and I added jean buttons which really work well! The pattern is Drift and I have to say, it was a pleasure to knit. I used basic acrylic double knitting so wasn't too expensive to make and I'm certain it's going to become one of those 'old favourites' in my wardrobe!

Currently on the needles is Blue Sand  which I thought would be really difficult (having quickly scanned the pattern when I purchased it) but in fact is very well written and easy to follow. I'm knitting it in a lime green (all one colour) but have already decided to do the 3 colour version next (probably grey, white and blue).

So that's me for now. What have you been up to?
Til soon.
xxx




Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Good Week....

It's been an interesting week.
A little knitting....


This is Drift coming up rather beautifully in burnt orange.

A little bread making .....


An easy bread recipe that even I can't mess up! 

3 cups flour / 3 tsp yeast / 3 tsp sugar / 1 tsp salt / 300ml luke warm water
Mix well and knead.
Cover with clingwrap and leave for 30 mins.
Knead again.
Place on greased tray and brush with beaten egg.
Bake at 180 for 30 mins.
Done.

A little gift giving .....


Two washcloths made from Vinnis Serina for a good friend.

And finally......
.....a little tractor driving by YC (Youngest Child) on above friend's farm.....


Simple pleasures.
Life is good.
xxx







Sunday, August 31, 2014

One Shade of Grey!

Hello!
Goodness it's been a while but enough of that! I just wanted to show you my latest finished WIP. Actually I finished it a couple of weeks ago but have only just taken pics ....


I needed something for those "in-between" days when it's too cold not to have a sweater but too warm for long sleeves. I wanted cables (natch) but I also wanted something that wouldn't drain my brain whilst I was making it. This was perfect.

The pattern is on Ravelry here so pop over and download it. I think it's one of those items that I'll make again and again (perhaps with cable variations) and will become a firm favourite in my wardrobe!

I love the pattern detail ....




the collar ....


and those cables ....


Currently on my needles is Vertex which I'm doing in a burnt orange. It's coming up beautifully but it's slow progress ..... I'm not good at straight stocking stitch .... I tend to fall asleep!!!

Other news is that we've finally sold our house!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The YAY cannot be loud enough I can assure you!! Come December we'll be moving about 40kms down the road to a little town where my boys are at school so no more long commute. It will be sad to leave the countryside but I'll be so pleased to be near shops, doctors, vets and general civilisation!!!

Til soon.
xxx





Sunday, July 6, 2014

My House In Africa ....

Lots on the needles at the moment but just thought I'd show you some pics of my garden that I took recently. We inherited a new (and rather posh) camera a few months ago and I've been playing ....

Wood Cabin

Wood Cabin 2

Leaves

Tools

Wood store

Winter sky

View of the valley

I hope you enjoyed them.
Til soon.
xxx