Thursday, 15 May 2014

Creating and Crafting - simple toys

In my efforts to declutter the house and rid ourselves of all the excess 'things',  it was inevitable that I would end up in the children's rooms.  I worked and sorted my way through their toy baskets, the shelves and wardrobes, gathering up toys they had outgrown,  that had parts broken or missing, thinning out the excess;  a multitude of mass produced toys slowly being replaced by a few toys that encourage imagination, creativity, and gentle play.  Slowly, but surely there is more paper, pencils and paints, fabric, thread and simple toys inspired by the natural world.

 Recently we made these little Autumn Acorn gnomes, Walnut Boats filled with beeswax and fabric sails, and tiny sleeping babies wrapped in soft felt blankets. 

tina x

Thursday, 8 May 2014

In my Kitchen - May

The two oldest children went back to school on Monday after a two week break over Easter, so I've been on the hunt for some new lunchbox treat ideas.   I came across this lovely blog, The Lunch Lady, which had an interesting sounding recipe for brownies using Zucchinis.  The kids loved them and I'm happy because I can sneak some veggies into their 'treats'.  I don't think my zucchinis were moist enough though, so next time I make these I'll add another one.  I also tried out her Oaty Flapjacks and sprinkled Chia and Pumpkin seeds on top.  Butter, golden syrup and oats are always a winner.

There are always flowers of some kind on my windowsill or kitchen bench.  I love having a little bit of nature inside; sometimes picked from our garden or foraged during our daily wanders.  Today there is some Rosemary on the kitchen window sill - picked from our garden and growing roots.  I'm also experimenting with the end of a baby Cos lettuce.  I've put it in a glass of water, and wouldn't you know it, it's growing some new leaves.

Continuing on with my love of fermenting, I tried Sauerkraut for the first time.  I had high hopes, but unfortunately my first attempt didn't work.  I don't think I mushed up the cabbage enough, so there wasn't enough liquid for the cabbage to sit in.  I'm inspired by the lovely Brydie over at City Hippy Farm Girl blog, so I'm not giving up with this one just yet.

With the cooler weather I have been trying out new soup recipes.  I came across this recipe for Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup at Damn Delcious blog which was delicious.  The juice of a lemon is added just before serving and really gives it a lovely little kick.  I've also made the Cauliflower Chowder from the same blog, which was my favourite; thick, creamy and so very, very tasty.

Its apple and pear season too, so I've been making the most of their sweetness and using them in baking.  I love making the Normandy Apple Cake from Jane Websters book, At My French Table.  This is one of my absolute favourite recipe/travel books.  It has the most stunning photographs, and beautiful, simple recipes.  The pages are thick and textured and it smells like a book should; all papery and lush.  And it's French.  Need I say more?

What's happening in your kitchen this month? 
Tina x

I'm joining in again with Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and taking a peak in to kitchens all over the world. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

On my hook...

I have been quietly crocheting away at any and every opportunity which unfortunately for me hasn't been as much as I would like.  We are slowly getting back into a routine now that school has returned, so here is a little peak at what I've been doing.

...this lovely little pixie hat for the wee one, done in a pretty shell stitch.  I ADORE this stitch - it's so lovely and repetitive, and so so pretty.  I also did some leg warmers for her in the same colour and shell stitch, but sadly I underestimated the chunkiness of her thighs.  I had to unravel them as they were WAY too small.  Would you look at those cheeks??  A babe with cheeks like that AND a pink bonnet - it doesn't get any sweeter for me. (Did you notice that I put her hat on upside down in the last photo.  The scalloped edge is supposed to be at the front - oops!)

I have started on a cot/pram blanket in a lovely ripple pattern.  My little sister is due to have her third babe in June and I have several friends due in August/September so my plan is to have a few small blankets done in different colours and patterns.  I'm loving the browns and blues in this one and the ripple pattern is another favourite stitch.

I have had a skein of Alpaca wool sitting in my basket for a few months now.  It is the most divine earthy, autumny red, russet colour,  I love it.   It sat in my basket for a while because I just couldn't decide what to do with it.  I only had one skein of it, so I was a bit limited with choices.  In the end, I decided to do a simple double crochet cowl for myself.  When I finished it though, I just wasn't happy with it; it didn't seem to be long enough and the stitch just didn't seem to do the wool or the colour justice.  So, I unravelled it and did another cowl in a ribbed stitch.  Again, it just didn't look and feel right, so I unravelled it again.  It is sitting in my basket all rolled up, just waiting for me to something else.  Any suggestions with what I should do?  It's just too lovely a yarn to have sitting in my basket for too long.  Any suggestions would be most welcome!

tina x