A Quick Catch Up

This week Little L returned to school after her bout of chicken pox only to come home on Wednesday with a high temperature and sickness bug which is also doing the rounds at the school. Hopefully she won't pick up any more bugs before Christmas.

Craftwise, I've only made a couple of quick things. This small wire Christmas tree which I'm not sure does actually resemble a tree or just a beaded twirly thing

and this tree garland made using old music sheets. Little L helped with this by drawing the tree shapes out using a biscuit cutter. We only put it up today and I'm thinking that it looks too plain so I might take it down and let Little L loose on it with her glitter and sequins.

When Little L perked up later on this afternoon we got out the shrink art plastic and made these using a template from the Gingermelon Dolls blog. 

Last Week

Little L caught something different than her usual coughs and colds last week. She came home with chicken pox. For the first couple of days she had a sore throat along with the spots but now besides being extremely irritated with the itchiness, she is very bored. We've been watching lots of films and she made these Christmas ornaments with air drying clay which are just waiting for a coat of varnish. We'll be doing something Christmassy with paper this afternoon. Little L loves cutting things out.

Coco, our rabbit is in the house for the Winter. Considering she is meant to be a miniature Rex she doesn't look far off a full sized one to me .... I think we've been had.

Craft wise, I've not been up to a great deal. I made these felt cats, a key ring for Little L's book bag and two magnets

and this pocket bunny for Little L from a Gingermelon pattern. 

A Nice Surprise And Good News

Yesterday I was delighted when this book, Simple Printmaking arrived which I was lucky enough to win in a give away on the Cut Out And Keep site.

The book contains various household projects using different types of printing methods which can be done at home. Block, lino and stencil printing are just a few which are featured. 

The projects in the book range from decorative papers and cards to printing on cushions, bags and curtains. All the templates for the projects are included with clearly written instructions.

Some of the projects are suitable for Little L to join in with such as marbling and printing using potatoes and leaves plus Caleb's art class is just moving on to printing at the moment so the book may come in handy for him to use as well.

A free tutorial for a tote bag project featured in the book can be found here.

My good news part comes from a college visit with my eldest son last night. It was an open evening for parents and the children who had already applied for one of the courses had an interview with their tutor. He had chosen an electrical installation course and was offered a place which he will be starting in September. I'm so pleased that he has got what he wanted, I could burst. I rang my Gran ( who is 90 ) this morning to tell her the news and she was ecstatic. My Grandad was an electrician and my Dad used to be an auto electrician so maybe that is why she was so happy. Anyone would think it was me and Gran starting this college course because we are so excited.

New Recipes

I've not been doing anything crafty lately so I thought that I'd share some of the recipes which I have been trying out recently.

This onion and bacon tart , I made at the weekend. It is more like a yorkshire pudding with onions and bacon added than a tart, it was nice though.

These oven roasted sausages and potatoes I have made a couple of times now as the children will eat it with no fuss as they all love smokey sausage.

Pizza muffins is definitely a favourite in this house at the moment. Even my Gran has asked for the recipe. I've made these about 6 times and they can be frozen but they never last that long in our house. Little L says that she loves them so much, she could take them to bed and cuddle them. A bit of an odd thing to say about a savoury muffin but she got her point across that she really likes them.

The Chestnut Incident

They say that you learn something new everyday well yesterday I found out that chestnuts explode and make a right mess doing so. My sister had sent me some chestnuts along with a recipe for me to try out. I began weighing ingredients out with the chestnuts already in the oven and that's when the banging started. I ended up spying on my oven from the hall way through a crack in the door ( I'm not fond of loud noises ). The chestnuts were taken from the oven when I was brave enough to venture back in to the kitchen where a couple more exploded. My oven was splattered with chestnut as was my work tops and kitchen floor. This also teaches me to read recipes properly before I race ahead and start, I should have put slits in the chestnuts before roasting.
After cleaning up I was left with a bowl of butter and broken chocolate which was ready for melting so I popped on to Pinterest to find a recipe. This is what I ended up baking, chocolate fondant cakes. They were lovely eaten both warm and cold.

At least now I know to prick chestnuts before roasting, that's if my nerves could take handling them again.

Christmas Rocking Horse

Last Christmas when my decorations were out Little L seemed particularly fond of my rocking horses. I would find them moved from where they had been originally placed to being clustered together in a little herd. None are valuable or would easily break so I didn't mind Little L playing with them. Before they were stored away I took some photos of them with the idea of making some felt ones for our Christmas tree. This is the first one which I have made.


Felt - grey, green, red and white
Embroidery thread in colours to match the felt plus small amounts in light grey, yellow and black

All the patterns pieces were cut from felt, cutting 2 pieces for the body, rocker and tail. The parts were placed and sewn on to one of the body shapes with small straight stitches using two strands of embroidery thread.

The details on the saddle, harness and rocker were added using french knots and chain stitch in yellow thread and light grey on the mane and tail. The eye, nostril and ear were added using black thread.
The two tail pieces were sewn together then the two body pieces, inserting the ribbon for hanging and the tail as I went along. The two pieces for the rocker were sewn together inserting the feet.
Small circles of white felt were glued on for the spots.

Crocheted Cuddlies

This week I've been trying to finish off a few things before I begin anything else. I still have some unfinished things hanging about but at least there are a few less.

This bear was made for my sisters nephew. The pattern I used is from this Ana Paula Rimoli book.

Little L kept this next bear and named him Barney. This pattern is a free one which I found on Ravelry. It's called Potato bear on the beach by May Ahmaymet.  I used DK wool and a 4mm hook for mine so it turned out larger.

This little felt beach house has been lingering around since before the Summer holidays. All the parts had been cut out and left on a tray waiting for me to get around to making a start. Anyway it's finished and now the tray is covered in other tiny bits of felt for something else. 

This pattern is available from Noia Land on Esty.

A New Winter Hat

This week I've been working on a new Winter hat for Little L. She had asked if I could make her a scarf this year but I wasn't too keen on the idea as I've seen many trailing through slush and dropped on the school path. Also I thought that one less thing to take to school is one less thing for her to lose there. I thought this pattern was a good compromise as she would still get a new hat plus it will keep her neck nice and toasty.

The pattern is from The Velvet Acorn which I purchased from Etsy. It was very easy to follow and knitted up quickly as it used chunky wool. There is also crochet version of the pattern available. The pattern covers sizes from 6/9 months to adult which is handy as my niece wants one of these too. Little L has her eye on the wolf hat pattern now. She really does love hats so sometimes it can be a bit of a mistake to even let her look at a knitting patterns.

Back To The Beach

At the weekend we decided to spend a day at the beach as I don't think we will have many more chances to do this due to the weather changing. It was quite warm and sunny when went. Very windy though but it was a warm wind, not one that chills your bones. The beach we went to this time was Talacre .It was fairly busy and looked like there were a number of people still enjoying their Summer hols on the caravan park which is there.

Talacre is a popular beach due to its lighthouse and as the tide was out we could walk right up to it. Some of the sand dunes and a couple of ponds on the way to the beach were fenced off for conservation. These are both habitats to Sand Lizards and Natterjack Toads which are rare species in the UK.

Little L doing what she does best ... getting dirty and wet.

On the way home we took a quick detour and went to Flint castle. Little L has been asking to go to a real life castle even since she watched Jack The Giant Slayer. I've still to convince that giants never existed even though we have castles dotted about. Unfortunately the gates on the castle were locked when we arrived but we walked all the way around it and Little L thought it was 'cool ' anyway because it was ginormous. 

Baking With Blackberries

This year we've been lucky enough to find some blackberries when we went out looking this week so I had the chance to try out some new recipes.

The first one I tried out were these Blackberry Bars 

and the one I baked today was this Blackberry Cream Cheese Cake. Both were a hit in this house but the cake was the definite winner.

Crafty Catch Up

Over the Summer holidays I managed to fit in some time for crafty stuff though I have only just got around to taking the photos.
The envelope cushion cases were made for Little L's school, 8 of them. Later on in the holidays my neighbour gave me some Spiderman fabric because she knows that Little L is Spiderman mad so I used it to make another cushion for her bed.

These bangles were made using this tutorial. The bangles which I used were so flimsy that I actually snapped one while I was pushing the crocheting around it.

A cardigan for Little L was knitted. The pattern is Sirdar 2291 and also includes a long sleeve version.

A whale was crocheted for a friend's little boy using a free pattern found on Ravelry.

A Few Days Away

Just before the children began their new school year we had the chance to go away for a few days. Little L was very excited as she has never stayed in a caravan before. The caravan site was at Borth in Wales which wouldn't take too long to drive to if we did a straight run there but we stopped twice for toilet breaks and to stretch our legs. The first stop was at Bala then another at a rabbit village which we found on the way.

After settling in we all went down to the beach so that Little L could fly her kite (another first for her). It was extremely windy so the kite didn't last long as it crashed on to some rocks.

We had a bit of palaver trying to get Little L to bed the first night but I think that was only due to being in a strange place and bed. The boys went off to the arcade and soon meet more people of their own age. The site we were at didn't have WiFi which I was happy about really because I could just see my eldest boy staying in his bedroom on Facebook chatting with his friends but instead he actually went out and enjoyed himself. I'm pretty glad the internet wasn't around when I was younger, I would have missed out on a lot.
On our first full day there we drove over to Aberyswyth which was only a 30 minutes away. 

Railway up Constitution Hill

University building on the seafront

This old building caught my eye. I love the window and tiles. 
We had never been there before and would have liked to spent more time exploring.

Our last day was spent on the beach in Borth where everyone besides myself thought it would be a great idea to go for a dip in the sea. They must be barmy because it was freezing. I began the packing that night and this must be the first time that I have never left anything behind. 
One the way home we had two stops again. The first at Barmouth. This was a place the children had never been to before and where Little L saw her first sand dunes ( she has only been on pebbly beaches before ). She loved it, running up and rolling down. We had a hard time trying to get her to leave.
Views of low clouds over mountains taken from the sand dunes in Barmouth.

The last stop was at a cafe on the top of Horseshoe Pass.  Little L had never seen sheep  roaming free and spent all her time trying to stroke one but they weren't that daft and soon got out of her way. We didn't go down the side horseshoe pass was on ( I certainly won't be doing that again in a hurry ). 

It was a holiday of a few firsts for Little L and on the way home she said that she wanted to stay on holiday because you get to do new things and home is always the same. I quite like the idea of being on a permanent holiday but unfortunately someone has to tackle this mountain of washing.

A Wander Around Denbigh

After our visit to the asylum in Denbigh yesterday we went for a wander around the town. Our first stop was Denbigh Castle which is situated high above the town. 

As you can see from some of the photos it was a funny day weather wise. It was a bit on the windy side with us having glorious sunshine one minute and the next it turned extremely dull and overcast.
We then headed into town where Anders became overly excited due to the price of a parking ticket. Paying for parking is always much cheaper in Wales ( it was only £1 for up to 4 hours ) and I would have thought that he would be used to it by now but apparently not. There was plenty of time left on the ticket when it was time for us to leave so he stuck it on the machine for someone else to use.

The first thing I took a photo of was these old petrol pumps. I've not seen any like this for years and I don't think that my boys would even know what they were.
Not many of the shops were open as it was a Sunday which was fine by me as then I can't be tempted to spend money on something that I actually don't need. 

While looking a round, I spied this display in a chemists window.

The pharmacy has occupied the same site since 1811.

Another thing which caught my eye was this which is above a doorway on the town hall. 
Denbigh is a lovely historical town which I enjoyed exploring mainly due to the interesting architecture. Its not a place that my children would find particularly interesting but we think both sets of our parents would enjoy a visit. Though I did warn my mum in law that the pavements can be quite hilly and steep in places so I advised better footwear than flip flops.