Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Circumventing the Doily Ban of 2014 and Some Bran Loaf

Life is still busy and a bit all over the place, back and forth from Nottingham and now I'm job searching as well! I've got a bit of lee-way but I thought that if I started sooner it would be less pressure :)

I've mentioned before that C doesn't like doilies very much. That's absolutely fine with me, the only snag is I like making them! I made one a month ago and it is allowed underneath the whiskey decanter, I think it looks lovely! So to avoid the doily problem I hatched a plan... and made a mandala ;) My first one :) (I am notoriously late for everything, I know these have been around for a long time...) I used this wonderful pattern and am so pleased how it worked out! I love the way the dark pink looks a bit like hearts

Here is my doily, looking lovely of course. I need to decide where to put the mandala now!

That's one of our lovely wedding pics - you can just about make out my wellies - I am always one for elegance ;)

I threw together a Bran Loaf yesterday, a really quick bake and great for lunch boxes and snacking. It's also relatively healthy as there is no fat in the recipe. It involves no weighing as you use the same mug to measure all of the ingredients to ensure consistency. I use a large mug to get as much bran loaf as possible ;) You need:

- A mug of Bran Flakes
- A mug of Milk
- A mug of S. R. Flour
- 1/2 mug of sugar (any kind is fine!)
- A selection of dried fruit: I use sultanas and sometimes dried apricots, sometimes glace cherries.

1. Put the Bran Flakes, Milk and Sugar into a mixing bowl. Leave for about 45 mins
2. Heat oven to 180, grease a loaf tin
3. Add Flour to the mixture once it has sat for a while and stir, add the sultanas/fruit
4. Bake in oven for approx 45 mins. My oven is super fierce so it doesn't take too long...
5. Remove and leave to cool.

Our lovely rose is flowering yet again keeping me cheerful, I do love our little home and garden.

Until next time my friends :)

Saturday, 20 September 2014


A bit of this, a bit of that... I'm not managing to focus on one thing at the moment... Squares for a new project (more on that soon)...

... mini snow flakes, for a garland, or maybe little extras for wrapping C-------- pressies perhaps?...

... a quick stitch cake... mmmm maybe I should bake tomorrow :) ....

sunny evening walks in the lovely old graveyard nearby, is that morbid? It's one of the most peaceful places I know...

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Checking In: September

I've always enjoyed reading people's posts when they do a 'taking stock' or 'tallying up', like meetmeatmikes and kerry my heart, and I've decided to follow the idea and do a 'checking in' post every month, a brief snapshot of a moment of life :) I've taken Pip's lovely template and picked and mixed a bit...

Making: Plans for November: a weekend trip to York hopefully :)

Drinking: Apfelschorle, apple juice and carbonated water 

Reading: 'A Critical History of German Film' by Stephen Brockmannn - no reading for pleasure at the moment sadly...

Wanting: to make some apple cake, but I'm out of apples

Deciding: what kind of jobs I want to start applying for

Wishing: that C's back gets better soon, he's really hurt it

Enjoying: the autumny feeling that's creeping in

Wondering: how the Scottish referendum will go on Thursday, I hope they don't leave us but understand why some want to!

Loving: being back at home with C

Watching: Breaking Bad - I'm a bit late to the fold, but it's really gripping!

Hoping: for another sunny relaxing weekend

Marvelling: at how pretty spiders webs are when they're covered in dew drops

Needing: a breakthrough for the chapter I'm writing at the moment, serious case of writer's block... 

Wearing: my lovely honeymoon cowl

Noticing: how many beautiful autumn projects there are in blogland at the moment

Thinking: about lots of lovely homemade C--------- gifts I want to make (more details in another post)

Sorting: out my yarn, I seem to have accumulated rather a lot this summer! No idea how...

Buying: nothing at the moment! I am being very good momentarily

Bookmarking: this beautiful scarf from The Little Room of Rachell.

Opening: a lot of  'wowcher' emails... must resist temptation!

Snacking: on snackajacks at the moment, they're my go to boredom eat!

Wishing: I could just take a break from everything and do nothing for a bit.

Helping: C do every day tasks as he can't really bend any more!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Cosy Toes and Back to Normality?

Normality approaching :) Hubby's home, I made some cosy slippers, all is well!
I found the really simple pattern here. The colour is more like the top photo: I don't know what happened with the second! They took me rather longer than an hour (about two evenings in total) but they were simple and relaxing to make.
The only problem....

They're too big!! I made one and was too stubborn to unravel it when I realised my mistake. I used Sirdar Super Soft Aran (lovely yarn by the way) and a 6 mm hook. If I make them again I would use a 5mm hook, and reduce length. I might try and fashion some straps, I might find a friend with slightly bigger feet... I'm just getting over the disappointment at the moment ;)

Hubby had a good trip to the US, he came back clutching a Disney bag much to my astonishment (I am a huge Disney fan and he is.... not so much) and inside was Yoda! (the bag then made sense :)) We are currently watching all the Star Wars films, I've never seen them before. We have just watched Episode 5 so I finally saw Yoda in action. I have a bit of a soft-toy collection going now (should I grow out of that?!) so Yoda has some company already.

We had a scrummy lunch yesterday to celebrate being back together, my favourite type of lunch - lots of cheese! and my homemade soup and some homemade bread. Happy days!

I have got my camper blanket out again - 5 rows and counting! I'm going to try and keep the momentum up. There are a ton of ends to sew in, but I'm going to save those for a rainy day and just focus on getting the blanket together!

Tonight we are having a BBQ with our lovely neighbours, the last one of the year I fear. I hope everyone has had a wonderful relaxing weekend, here's to a bit of normality :)

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

For a Coffee Drinker with Love

I don't drink coffee. It's a fact that still continues to surprise many people, I just don't like it. Believe me I've tried - I'd love to experience the 'pick me up', and I think when travelling abroad it would be so much better (I'm a bit of an English tea snob) but I quite simply don't like the taste.

The man in my life however is a mahoosive coffee drinker. He loves it! And he's been asking for a cafetiere cosy for quite some time now. As he's been kind enough to fly off to America this week I've finally got around to making him one, it'll be part of his birthday present for October.

I based the pattern on the lovely cosy in Nicki Trench's book 'Cute and Easy Crochet' but as that was for a 4 person cafetiere (C's is for one, as there is no one to drink it with him!!) I had to adjust a little bit. I chained 50 and that seemed about right and then half double crocheted away from there. It's slightly too big, but I've tried to move the buttons to make it fit slightly better. Also as C's cafetiere has a ridge at the bottom I had to do two button flaps rather than one as on Nicki's. I realised this at the end so it is a bit fudged but hey ho!

The last picture shows the cosy alongside our wonderful tea cosy which one of our wonderful bridesmaids made us for a wedding present. I didn't realise it was handmade until she told me!! oh to be able to sew..... next skill to learn?!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Happy Snaps: Berlin

So we landed last night and this morning we were up nice and early as C is flying to the States for work! After the early morning start I didn't go back to bed but enjoyed the peace of a Sunday morning, it was really rather beautiful. I've already collected two whiney cats from the cattery, done a shop and some washing, and now I'm sat down with a cup of tea.

We had a lovely day in Berlin yesterday, in the end we were just peaceful and drifted around, sitting by the river for quite some time.

Of course I managed to get back to two of my favourite yarn shops :) The one pictured is  my absolute favourite, loops Maschenpower. They have such beautiful yarn, next time I visit I'm going to make sure I have a project in mind so I can indulge. I bought the three balls of 'Pico' pictured above, 100% cotton for just €1.50! The other cotton came from here, which is more of a sewing shop to be honest but has some good woolly bargains :) I hate to mention the Chr word, but these are earmarked for a few presents - I think I need to get a move on! At least while C is away I can start on his stuff ;)

Happy Sunday, I hope it's as sunny whereever you are as it looks to be here :)

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Hello Berlin (again)

Thanks for all of the lovely comments on my last post, I was overwhelmed by how nice they all were :) I had a wonderful time at the wedding, the shawl was perfect, although not needed tooo much as there was SUN! A minor miracle we all felt. Hubbie was best man, and gave a very funny and sweet speech, I felt really proud :) and then there was lots of dancing and good food, a wonderful day and a wonderfully happy and beautiful couple.

And now I'm in Berlin once more! I've been working hard in the library, trying hard to finish the next chapter, and hubbster is at his electrical engineeringy type thing conference ;) Yesterday I had a sudden urge to visit some of the touristy sights, something I never do any more here, and I packed up my books and headed off to the sun. It was in a slightly inconvenient position at the Brandenburg Gate, but that didn't dampen my mood :)

A bit like the Eiffel Tower and Paris, or Buckingham Palace and London, the Brandenburg Gate is pretty much one of the biggest icons in Berlin. It was built during imperial Germany, and stands at the entry to Unter den Linden, which was one of the grandest streets in Berlin, lined with Linden trees. During the division of Germany it was in the west, but very close to the wall. You can read more here about its history. On the other side you can just about make out Tiergarten, which is one of Berlin's big parks. I used to love walking around it in the summer, but haven't been for a few years now! I love the Brandenburg Gate, it's normally heaving with tourists but was relatively quiet for me yesterday and I enjoyed it in the sunlight.

Literally around the corner is the Holocaust Memorial, which opened on 12th May 2005 (here). There is a very moving exhibition underneath it, incorporated into the architecture, but I didn't go there as well. Again, it was pretty quiet so I walked around contemplatively. There was a lot of debate around the monument, but I won't go into that now. I just think it's a very striking site, it always leaves me feeling a bit numb to be honest, all the grey concrete. The floor level changes, as does the height of the concrete blocks so it can be a bit disorientating at times - I suppose that's part of the plan though. I found the warm sun as I emerged from the center comforting, almost a sign of hope.

I then headed through Alexander Platz, stopping briefly to take yet another picture of the other big Berlin symbol:

... and headed down to Friedrichshain, where the largest piece of remaining Berlin wall is located. Nowadays it is called East Side Gallery, and as the name suggests, is covered in pictures by artists from across the world. Here are some of my favourites:

It was so nice to just meander almost without agenda, I'm going to try and be dutiful in the library tomorrow and explore some other places I tend to neglect. Thanks for bearing with my 'Berlin ramblings' :)