Monday, 16 October 2017

Mink and Pink

A friend bought these for me last Christmas. She is not a knitter or crocheter so you have to think they were nice choices but it has been hard to find a pattern that they will all actually fit into. 

DMC Natura is a cotton yarn with a matt finish, this one is medium weight but it comes in other gauges. It does split a bit but it has good stitch definition. 

After the triumph of Heidi's Road Trip scarf, I decided to try holding two strands together to give it a whirl myself using a 5.5mm hook. I don't have a crochet project on the go at the moment so I dived in with no plan whatsoever. Who me?

I tried to spread the colours out but wanted to definitely have a pink edge so that I could wear it with my pink cords.

I added the dangly bits which included a couple of bells and as many flowers as the last scraps of yarn allowed. I added the button on the long edge so that I could wear it in different ways using it as a hook for the scarf.

I liked the way it looked mostly pink by using only one ball to create this effect along with the mink and brown.

Success I would say. I really like it and it was fun to make. It only took two nights of crochet. You can find a similar pattern here.

Jo xxxx

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Our Best Ice Cream recipes

 We have an ice cream maker and it has been making weekly batches of ice cream from May onwards. Here is a little round up of the best flavours we have tried.

Chocolate ice cream in June. With the last of the girls Easter Eggs. I know, they lasted that long!

Blackcurrant ripple ice cream in June. Using up the last of the fruit from last year out of the freezer before the next lot were ripe and ready to pick.

Strawberry and Rose. A flavour I thought the children would balk at but as long as the rose water is subtle it gives the strawberry flavour a real summer taste. This is a lazy recipe which uses ready made custard and is so quick. We picked 4.5 Kg of strawberries from our allotment this year.

Vanilla. The hens are not laying so we are out of eggs but I bought some specially for this. This ice cream uses four eggs with the whites whisked to volume and then the yolks and cream folded in gently but not in the machine. We are currently picking autumn raspberries and eating stewed plums.

Buying an ice cream maker was not a whim gadget purchase. It has been a great way to use up our freezer gluts of allotment fruit. Whatever I made with frozen fruit in the past, the children complained it was just soggy fruit. You can't blame them, it was true but ice cream is a great way to use it, taste it and enjoy it. Obviously we are racking up many more calories but hey ho. 

Do you make ice cream? Share your favourite flavour combinations.

Jo xxx

Sunday, 8 October 2017

A Crafty Narrative

I am spinning you a line today and combining Little M's birthday with a crafty narrative. 

At the beginning of September I had a day off. That is not a fleeting statement, I actually went on strike but I didn't tell anybody. I allowed myself a day off! Things had been getting too much on various levels of late and I simply had a day where I sat down, knitted stuff and watched day time TV.

That was the day I bought a new sewing machine. I thought I really deserved one. I had wanted one for ages. One that did automatic button holes, had a top loading bobbin, a free motion foot, embroidery stitches, a needle that rested down when it stopped, a needle threader and all the other things I knew I would enjoy using. 
I bought it, then immediately photographed my other two sewing machines which did some of these things but not actually all on the same machine and sold them on ebay to recoup half of the money towards the new one. The new machine is mighty impressive and half price at £300. You may have noticed a spike in my sewing posts of late - I can't stop making things.

We have all had to learn to use it. Big Sis, aged ten, made scrunchies and said, "it is so quiet!"

Little M, now eight, used the alphabet stitching to personalise her party bags for her crafternoon birthday party. She said the machine was: "Amazing!"

Me, I made Megan a Birthday outfit. The Louisa Dress (a pattern I don't like but the end result is always fab)from fabric sent to me by Christina from My Colourful Life. I also knocked up a polo neck in some brown jersey which completed the outfit. 

A new machine has been a brilliant decision at a time when other decisions were quite simply out of my control. Sewing does make me happy you know!

Jo xxxx

Friday, 6 October 2017

Couple of Cocos

At this time of year I normally have some kind of Corduroy-fest. I make endless items with all the cord I have bought in sales throughout the year but this year on my 2107 stash diet, I have not got much cord left. Notice I didn't use the word 'any' I do have a donated piece of this blue leftover from my Tilly dungaree skirt ear marked for something later.

I do however have have quite a bit of jersey left which is cosy enough for Autumn. I will always have time to make a Coco top from Tilly and the Buttons because it has hip room. I found the coco dress wasn't for me but I love the long sleeved top.

I made this snazzy chevron version. I bought the fabric in a sale from Girl Charlee last year but it was too thin for what I wanted it for. I am glad it was half price, it was not the quality I was expecting. Neither were the other two pieces I bought with it, in fact one lot went in the bin. However it has made a super top to go with my dungaree skirt until Big Sis said, "you look like a minion!" I will never tire of this pattern or humorous comments from my children!

Next up, I made a purple one from this left over fabric which I bought in a sale bin two years ago when I was first experimenting with having an overlocker. It has all gone now. Big Sis originally had this dress in it.

For Autumn walks they are perfect, colour coordinating with our Autumn finds.

I feel, we have turned a corner with Bruce the dog. He is walking better with a harness on and not chewing quite as many of our personal possessions.

Are you sewing, knitting, making, baking or crocheting this Autumn? 
Jo xx

Monday, 2 October 2017


A few weeks back now we all attended our local Horticultural and Craft show. We have a bit of a reputation for entering everything but the whole family likes to join in. 

This is the jumper my mum entered in the knitting section. Isn't it great? The cables look like little owls and it is funny to see people's eyes as they come to realise what the pattern creates. She won of course.

The children entered decorated biscuits and cereal cakes and Big Sis stuck her neck out and entered the adults chocolate cake class which came second. She can bake that girl. They roped their friend in this year too.

They got lots of prize money and we ate bumper amounts of cake and tea when we got back. Little M won the best exhibit in the children's classes with a 'garden on a plate' She loves doing this because she can be very meticulous and precise which is in her nature.

Bloke won the best item in show with his whittled letter opener, he was very modest and said it wasn't perfect but if you could touch it, it is soooo smooth - it is in his nature to be precise too.

I won things too. I feel a bit embarrassed to report that both Big Sis and I entered the scarf class. She entered her crochet scarf and I entered the Stranded infinity cowl. I was first and she was second! It was the adult class so I guess that's what happens when you mess with the big girls! It was all very good humored of course.

Do you have anything similar near you? 
Jo xxxxx

psst... There is another 'thing' I have bought a new sewing machine, but more on that later.

Friday, 29 September 2017

New one on me

Here's a new one, I have knit a cardigan that doesn't fit anybody or any body in our family!

The pattern was from ravelry here and I thought it would be a really useful knit. 

It is too small for me and two big for either of my girls. This now goes into the present box for Heidi's friend.

Well, there you are. What else can I say, it's a good 
job I love knitting. Jo xxx

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Minerva Merchant and Mills Shirt Dress

You know the months are flying by when you miss a deadline because you think,"that is not until the end of September!" and there it was, gone. My Minerva post is late this month for no other reason than I didn't realise it was the 22nd of September already!

The Merchant and Mills Shirt Dress is not for me. I think I am just too small. I don't mean it is a garment for larger weight ladies but it is for tall people with stature and presence.

My pal Elie looks fabulous in it so it has become hers. Here she is larking about on her first blog shoot while we test out how much to cut off the hem, hence the raw edge. In the end we took 4" off it to make it more of a tunic style. We also took lots out of the width to give more shape rather than a baggy dress. Elie received it for her birthday on the 18th September with some funky tights after I had made the alterations.

Although the pattern isn't for me, I must say that the grey chambray from Minerva is a delight to use. It would make a brilliant shirt dress or shirt of any kind.

I used the last of it to make a Grainline Studio scout tee. It was a good match for my new favourite skirt. It will be a very useful garment in this solid colour especially moving into Autumn as this skirt will be put away soon.

Thank you Minerva for letting me try something new. The fabric is fantastic...

Jo xxx

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Quick Quilt

Over the school summer holidays I made a quit topper. It was a stop gap sewing project. I could make a square here and there between being with children. 

We have a family rule in our house which is everyone does what they want between 3 and 4pm. It works in the holidays and also at weekends. When the girls have played with each other all day, by 3pm Big Sis especially wants to be on her own. I might put my self in that category too! Bloke likes to listen to the football on the radio and I knit or sew. The girls tend to read or watch TV for an hour. Essentially, everyone leaves everyone else alone for an hour.

The quilt is for my dad for his birthday in October. The brown squares you can see were already cut out and came in a bag from a work colleague in January. There were other squares cut out too so I just filled in the gaps with some blue to make a man-quilt. The nine patch blocks are filled with single pieces the same size from a fat quarter pack from Amy from Love made my home. The hand stitching on these blocks mirrors the nine patch block so it all blends together.

Overall it is a pretty traditional looking quilt but I wanted to make it for him. You can see the potential for making a great design if you look at the nine patch block diagonally butting up to the next one but I was just stash busting so I kept it simple. All washed and ready to wrap.

Thanks for popping in. Jo xxx