Sunday, 16 July 2017

Rhubarb Gin


I came across this recipe over the weekend and I had a bumper harvest of rhubarb in my garden veg patch to try it out. I thought I'd share it with you. I've not tried gin before, but I know my sister loves it and its very popular right now and the colour is going to be amazing.

I also made rhubarb crumble cake and it was delicious served warm with cream. I still have lots of rhubarb left over, I think I picked over 3kg! More cake I think and yes more gin.


Ingredients:
*1 litre of gin
*300g caster sugar
*600g rhubarb, cut into 2cm pieces
*1.5 litre jar (I tried a 1.5 litre jar and it wasn't big enough, try a 2 litre instead!)
Chop the rhubarb into roughly 2cm pieces, the redder the rhubarb the more pink your finished gin will be. I put mine in a bowl with the sugar and set aside for a couple of hours, I do this for jam making too, the sugar extracts the pink in the rhubarb. Then put the rhubarb into a 2 litre Kilner jar, add the gin. Make sure the jar is sealed and then give it a good stir until the sugar dissolves (most of it will be syrup from where you left it to rest previously). Leave in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks then sieve and bottle it up. I bought the lovely Kilner clip top preserve bottles in Dunelm for £3 each, will make a lovely gift and they come with a cute label ready for you to write on (or you could make your own as I will)



Rhubarb Crumble Cake
Serves 6 people
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 225g rhubarb (cut into 1 inch chunks)
For the Topping:
  • 50g butter
  • 75g plain flour
  • 25g sugar
Instructions:
Grease a 20cm/8inch deep round cake tin and preheat the oven to gas mark 5/180C. Make the crumble topping by rubbing the butter into the flour, add the sugar and place the bowl in the fridge. I make mine in the food processor as it saves getting your hands covered in butter.
For the sponge, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Lightly beat in the eggs and then fold in the self raising flour. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and level it off, place the chopped rhubarb pieces on top of the mixture and sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar. Cover the rhubarb with the crumble mixture and place in the centre of the oven for 45 -55 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch.

A lovely summer cake or pudding with squirty cream!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

follow your dream (knitted shawl)

I was asked to test knit a beautiful new shawl pattern recently by one of my lovely Instabuddies (Lisa at Lisasattik) and the yarn suggested was Scheepjes Whirl. You've probably seen this on Pinterest, Instagram and blog land. It's a fabulous new yarn made up of 60% cotton and 40% acrylic. My choice of colour was green tea tipple, there are so many to chose from but after seeing this knitted up (and crochet) I was drawn to the colour. You can follow my progress over on Ravelry just click here

looks too good to dive in


The only problem with starting with such a dark colour it was hard going but now that the subtle colour changes are emerging the knitting is much easier, quicker and far more enjoyable. I've not tackled many lace patterns before (but the birch trees scarf that I love) but because the panels are inter mixed with garter ridges and garter bands even I've managed to cope. The pattern flows beautifully and the colour change yarn guides you quickly to the next colour. Its a difficult pattern to put down and very enjoyable!

and we have lift off


Lisa is very talented and recently crochet me a beautiful shawl in this yarn from the pattern Lost in Time Shawl, its absolutely stunning and I've worn it a couple of times but saving this for my holiday later this month. So soft and warm yet light and very comfortable on your skin, which is a bonus after the last shawl I made which was a little itchy.

I'm hoping to get some knitting time this afternoon to continue with the garter band before going onto the longest zig zig lace panel (which requires a little more concentration) Enjoy your Saturday and here are some pictures of my progress so far.

The pattern has now been launched and is available to buy on Ravelry, please click here 


getting to grips with the Zig Zag lace panel

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Baby bunny costume

I've been working on the loveliest of custom orders (from my niece for my great niece). A request came in about three weeks ago would I knit a bunny costume for my great niece because she was attending a fancy dress party in May, she's only two months old so how could I resist!

I took two seperate patterns that I had found on Pinterest and made them into my own version adding a few little tweeks. I really love how the knitted bloomers turned out. The pattern does suggest the knitted band on the legs, but the first pair I made were made on 4mm needles and looked a little small and restricted on movement so for comfort I've left this part out.

The pattern links can be found here for an alternative pattern in garter stitch and here for the one I used. The baby bunny free knitting pattern can be found here

I do take custom orders (but please allow plenty of time because I do work full time and this is my hobby in my spare time)

So a big ta dah moment from me .......

it started like this

work in progress, love a pom pom


Ta dah
I love how the knitted bloomers turned out with my own flower drawstring design

Sunday, 23 April 2017

my vintage Sunday afternoon

Not only am I enjoying this new Drops Puna yarn (new to me) its like crocheting with cotton wool, I love it. My really-easy-crochet-shawl is coming along nicely in this yarn. I've started with the light grey, on my second ball and the next is grey then some rows of colour or maybe dark grey first. I'll decide when my next yarn delivery arrives from Woolwarehouse, I just couldn't resist ordering the colours they had on their Instagram account a few weeks ago (this is what made me buy the grey yarn!) I'm a sucker for yarn adverts, who isn't?

vintage Sunday afternoon


I've enjoyed an afternoon drinking tea from my vintage Alfred Meakin china I bought last weekend in Whitstable and of course yummy French Fancies. Reminds me of Sunday afternoons spent at my nans flat in London, drinking the, eating home made cake and counting buttons out of my nans large jar, fond memories.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

my gardening mojo is back

Earlier this month the weather was very warm for this time of year. After receiving some good news regarding my biopsy results I decided to chill out and potter in my garden. So glad  I did, a few hours on and I was totally loving it again and my compost bin was overflowing with gorgeous new soil! So my gardening mojo is well and truly back. Here are some photos of my work in progress. Lots of seeds have now been purchased, a huge bag of seed compost - I'll start sowing this week. I hope you've managed to get out in your gardens over the Easter weekend.

Next job is to get my veg patch dug over and some fertilser added ready for the dwarf beans - still deciding what else to grow. I have started one sack of spuds and two large pots of salad leaves (they germinated this weekend) Lots happening and lots to do in a small back garden in Kent.

Ladies Mantle
tea break

new life and pretty buds

Head Gardener Moss

gravel garden is tidy again

Monday, 3 April 2017

crochet granny shawl (ta dah!)

Do you remember this post from last week? Well I finished it last night (doing a happy dance) isn't it great? I've just listed it to my Etsy shop and plan to start the next one tonight in blue and grey, also in Sirdar ColourWheel, love this yarn.

my first granny shawl

look at those colours

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

traffic jam (crochet simple granny triangle shawl)

I got stuck in the office on Monday night, not the best of situations but this estate I work on does get congested frequently and not helped by lorries breaking down blocking one lane of two. Anyway all was not lost because I'd had a new yarn delivery that morning and I needed an excuse to stop and crochet. And this is how this granny shawl got its name. Isn't it gorgeous? It's crochet in the new Sirdar Colourwheel DK yarn. On first inspection I wasn't that taken with it, but now I love it. No more colour changes, yipee.

If you'd like to know how to make this here is the Simple Granny Triangle pattern I'm using or this link. Happy crocheting!


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

glorious granny square blankets

I started making this one in January and finished it last night (more pics to follow!) I'm really pleased with the way it turned out, a little vintage twist with the border. I've made this for a friends litttle girl and I'm delivering it tomorrow night after work. Just enough time for lots of photos tonight and then the wrapping and writing out the wash care instructions.


The large colour block one was sold last week, my customer sent me some great shots of it in its new home ............. a new camper van! I love the fact its going to be well traveled.





Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Back to granny squares

granny squares

Last week I was poorly with a sinus infection (one illness after another and everyone has had this!) so I was trying to get well and what better way to cheer myself up with good old granny squares. I know I harp on about it frequently but I do love granny squares. They are so satisfying to make and to look at a whole pile of them, with their ends sewn in are little works of art. So whilst sitting under my granny stripe blanket I made a few of them. I've had to stop to finish the baby blanket I was working on and then I got a commission to make a little girls blanket, so I've been colour planning, which I never do and now I'm stuck on how to start. I'm torn between a heart granny or flower. To be honest I tried the heart and couldn't do it, maybe I should try again.

yarn pegs and Stylecraft Special DK

I did however get round to making some yarn pegs over the weekend, totally in love with them and looking forward to making the blues, greens, browns and creams from my stash. You can find the helpful tips on the Attic24 blog.

Sue Pinners flower granny square pattern
yarn pegs in Stylecraft Special DK


Monday, 13 February 2017

Traditional granny square blanket

Anyone that knows me, know I am just crazy about granny squares. I think I even dream about them! You can't beat a humble granny square blanket in my opinion. Since learning to crochet them straight, that's all I''ve been doing!

just 8 more rows then its border time!

The neat trick is to flip over after each row, simple! Oh and start in the right hand corner. I found this great tutorial over at ThePatchworkheart blog, Heather is very helpful and has always been an inspiration to me.

My latest creation is an up-to-date on trend baby blanket with a vintage feel to it. Its crochet in beautiful Debbie Bliss Rialto DK that's so soft and warm. I've chosen soft grey, oyster, rose, duck egg green, vintage pink, pink and petunia. There is one other pink in there, but because its been discontinued I can't find the colour. I told my nieces about this colour scheme and they told me its so fashionable now, funny how you just pick up some colours and you're on trend, I like that.


this is how it started in early January 2017

This one is destined for another niece, a great niece on my husbands side of the family. We don't actually know the sex of the baby yet, neither does my niece, but I'm going with a girl and will start a boy version next week just in case. Any excuse to crochet. Enjoy the rest of your weekend whatever you are doing and wherever you are in the world. Amanda

Friday, 10 February 2017

Orla Kiely inspired crochet granny square blanket


Would you look at these colours, wow aren't they just so bright and cheerful! I'm trying to go a little vintage 1970s style (my era and childhood) I'm sure we had one of these, maybe not quite as bright but I just love the Orla Kiely colours and this is going to be another huge snuggly blanket sure to brighten everyones day! And its so cold I can really get on with this over the weekend and add lots more colourful stripes. Have a fab weekend and keep warm and snuggly and maybe do some crochet too.



Monday, 30 January 2017

Orla Kiely crochet flowers

I love the designs by Orla Kiely and I have a lovely ceramic herb planter that my sister bought me for my birthday a few years ago, it has a money plant in it. I'm still not feeling too well today and spent the morning in bed, fed up with this awful cold, so to cheer myself up this afternoon I raided my yarn stash for colours to match the planter. A lady who lives in the village has an invitation company and now and again she saves some card samples for me, they make lovely gift tags or small cards. Glue gun ready and a few vintage buttons from my button jar and here they are finished. I'm going to crochet more in bright Cath Kidston colours next.



If you want to make the flower, the easy to follow flower pattern can be found here at Lusciouslyloopy

Saturday, 28 January 2017

granny square, happy square

I'm feeling under the weather today, the lurgy finally got me, well so many people surrounding me have it so it was inevitable I'd have a weak moment! Still in my pjs doing some chores but not over exerting myself today. My weekends nowadays are very relaxed and laid back, must be my age.

I'm getting over this brief drop in energy levels drinking tea, resting and crochet; colour and crochet (making more granny squares) are not only therapy and good for the soul but your general well being. Its good to be surrounded by colour and yarn, keeping your hands busy and your brain active. A win win situation, oh and you get a finished product to keep you warm for cosy Sunday afternoons napping on the sofa watching an old movie. I like this, I like this a lot. You take a small plastic box full of yarn scraps and turn it into a useful object. Its also a work of art if you think about it, a timeless piece of history too. No two blankets are ever the same (unless you go out of your way to do that) but thats the fun part, grabbing pieces of yarn and making colourful happy squares, joining them together and adding a cute border.

granny squares and Fiddly Bits cowl 

Here are some photos from last week, a little record of my week in colour. Enjoy your weekend what ever you are up to in your part of the world. Amanda


a new yarn delivery
Moss keeping me company under my blanket

another cowl on my Easy shop




Friday, 20 January 2017

Fiddly Bits (using up your yarn scraps)

January is a long cold month, Christmas is a distant memory and I find myself wishing for Spring to hurry up and make an entrance. I'm trying to be good, not spend too many pennies and not be tempted into buying more yarn (very hard!) So when I came across this pattern on Ravelry by accident it was the best find ever. Fiddly Bits by Hipknitizer. I have a whole box of yarn scraps I keep in my craft room and a bag in my loft, maybe some in my desk at work too! All Debbie Bliss Rialto DK merino yarn in yummy colours and this box was screaming out for a nifty project like this. All those colours, some discontinued from various granny square blanket projects all put to good use in a colorful cowl to keep me warm. All you do is knot them together, all those bits of  cut offs or end of ball and then knit to watch the stripes emerge. So easy but I did have to learn provisional cast on using a crochet hook, so I'm learning new things too.  Oh and kitchener stitch for the grafting of the two ends.

I'm loving the way its knitting up and its so easy, a totally brilliant pattern to take to work and keep with me for when I get a spare five minutes and want to keep my hands busy. Trouble is its very addictive and that's all I've done for the last two nights! I'm posting my progress on my Instagram account if you want to follow me or join in the pattern can be found here


look at all those stripes

a little lunch time knitting at work

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Brrr its cold!

It was another cold start this morning, -2! Hat time, ice scraper in hand and even gloves on to de-ice the car this morning. If you are a hat lover, I have two hats for sale in my Etsy shop with a whopping 25% discount during January, bargain! Two colours available denim blue tonals range and luscious purple (they won't be available for long)

blackberry stitch beanie hats
I've been busy making lovely granny square cowls for Mother's Day and two are also listed (the first one sold straight away) so soft in Cashmerino charcoal and Merino grey yarns both by Debbie Bliss. The colours are so pretty too and some are now discontinued. I sold my first granny blanket a couple of weeks ago, such a pleasure to make and the new owner is totally in love with it and bought it just in time for this cold snap. So I'm busy making another one, this time in Cath Kidston colours, its looking lovely and will keep me warm whilst I add further rows.

Thinking about doing a spot of gardening, but I think that will have to wait a bit longer until the ground is soft enough to dig and I can empty my compost bin. I have some seeds (courgette and tomatoe) to get me started in March but still lots of planning to do on my little patch that I neglected last year.

Keep warm. Here are some recent projects, I will add the pattern for the granny cowl this weekend. Amanda


vintage inspired granny square blanket

Charcoal grey granny cowl

grey granny squares being joined

grey granny square cowl in merino yarm (Debbie Bliss)