It’s Friday already!

Already Friday and nearly another month, the weeks are flying by.

There have been gorgeous sunsets of late, I spotted this urban skyline on my way home from work.

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There are early spring flowers in the garden, including these vibrant golden crocuses.

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Healthy dinners, some mixed grains and lentils, with mushrooms and grilled halloumi, delicious and comforting on a cold evening.

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A bit of hooking in the evening; a puff stitch hexagon in lovely pink lambs’ wool ( I found the pattern here, a lovely blog with lots of fab crochet)

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The view across to the hills has been great of late, with snow on the hilltops

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Just some peeks at the week that’s been ­čśä

 

Handmade Christmas 3

It’s nice to make a few edibles for Christmas. I didn’t make a cake this year, because I don’t really like┬áChristmas cake, if I’m honest. But I did make mince pies-these are a new recipe with a frangipane topping full of ground almonds

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I also made my own mincemeat – it has rhubarb and vanilla in it and is very good (a tried, tested and loved Nigella Lawson recipe which I tweak by adding cherries and omitting currants)

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This went into the aforementioned mince pies!

I made my own fruit liqueur, a variation on sloe or damson gin. I made raspberry flavoured gin. It’s very easy to do, just wash and dry your fruit, put it into sterilised jars with sugar, fill the jar with gin(or vodka), pop the lid on and put in a dark place for about a month, giving the jar a shake for the first few days to dissolve the sugar. Then strain it through a sieve lined with kitchen paper(as in the second photo below and pour into sterilised bottles, seal and then enjoy at your leisure. Nice in a shot glass or diluted with lemonade or soda water!

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Homemade Christmas 1

I like to make as much as I can for Christmas – it’s fun to do, is invariably cheaper than buying and means one ends up with a unique gift or decoration.

Instead of a tree which sits in the room, this year I wanted a wall mounted one. I’ve seen pictures of trees made from wood and thought I’d attempt to make one using branches from the garden. I cut these a couple of weeks ago, cleaned them and let them dry out and finally tied them using some sisal string into a Christmas tree. Simple decorations, just some stars,warm white lights and a fairy on top – et voila! My homemade tree!

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Apple harvest

After a few days of horrible rain and wind, yesterday brought a beautiful autumn afternoon, sunny and crisp; perfect for finally picking the abundant crop of this year’s apples. 3 small trees yielded all these apples!

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The apples in the above photo are Golden Delicious, a bit marked on the skin but they taste fine when peeled so I will give some away and eat the rest. The other two bucketfuls I’ll wrap and store; lots of fruit to last through the winter months.

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Just letting them dry out a little before they get a newspaper duvet

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And a cardboard box bed to hide in till they are needed for pie/crumble duty!

September review

imageSeptember was a great month for weather, still warm and dry, so there was much gardening; new potatoes were dug up and I harvested ┬áthe first fruits from my plum tree. I made plum gin, ready for Christmas with luck! Earlier this summer, I had laid my hook down for a short break but I got back into the swing of crochet again, with restful afternoons in the sun hooking away. Tara is so changed now from the timid, chubby little indoor cat who came here last December – she has lost 1.3 kilos and adores being outside. It’s lovely to see her so being so confident and healthy.

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Goodbye September, you were grand!

A grand day out to Yarndale

Last Sunday, I drove a 380 mile round trip to go and look at yarn. No, I haven’t taken leave of my senses, this wasn’t just any old yarn, but a big, beautiful yarn festival in the Yorkshire Dales, hence the descriptive moniker, Yarndale. I’ll try and describe it for those who haven’t heard of it. ┬áImagine being in glorious quintessential English countryside; green fields, heather covered hills, a bustling market town surrounded by farming country and having the idea of transforming an agricultural livestock mart into a yarn, fabric and craft market for a creative and colourful weekend. This is the ethos behind Yarndale, and the team behind it have worked magic to bring about its great success.

I decided to nip down for the day on Sunday, with my mum.  A lovely, autumnal drive down on quiet roads, 3.5 hours and we were there for the afternoon. Despite reports via Twitter of long queues to get in and hoards of people crowding  round stalls, I need not have worried, it was just fine. Busy enough for there to be a bustling,excited atmosphere but in a relaxed and friendly way.  The venue was so big that it made it easy to wander and browse, and chat to the vendors. Lots of places to sit and rest awhile too which was a big bonus once the feet started to ache!

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There was some colourful yarn bombing outside in the park and in the entrance area to the mart, including this fantastic crochet bunting

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And these mandalas which decorated the railings above the ground floor

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I couldn’t fit them all in, there were almost 1200 of these! A feast for the eyes! All the work of Lucy at Attic 24 and her blog readers, it looked amazing and added such colour and vitality to the venue. Lucy is one of the team behind Yarndale and she was in the building, surrounded by fans. I couldn’t get near to say hello! Probably just as well, she must have been exhausted after 2 days non-stop talking. ┬áMaybe next year?

What else did I see?

Alpacas!

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Sheep!

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I didn’t take many more photos because a) my phone’s battery died and b) really I was there to look at the wonderful and many goodies on offer, ┬áto get some inspiration, to chat to other yarn and craft lovers and to spend some cash! All of which I did……

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My haul of goodies, lovely yarn from Gam Farm Rare Breeds (those are their sheep in the photo above), Teeswater Wools, Ripplescrafts, Littleowlcrafts and Strathearn Fleece and Fibre, buttons from Skybluepink Designs, a case for bits and bobs (I can’t remember who I bought this from, sorry:-( ) and some gorgeous cards and a picture from H-anne-Made.

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It was a real treat to see so many exhibitors under one roof selling so many beautiful and high quality items. I could have spent even more than I did! It was also lovely to chat to all those exhibitors who I bought from and other visitors to Yarndale. There was a warm and happy atmosphere and my mum and I left feeling it was so worth the long trip as we’d had such a great experience.

A grand day out indeed ­čśë

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I’m a bit behind

Real life gets in the way sometimes. At the start of this year, I resolved to do a photo collage at the end of every month, but I never posted April or May. Too busy. So here they are, better late than never.

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April, spring flowers and blossom, getting back into my shed after a winter break and Tara continues to enjoy living here and being thoroughly spoilt.

imageMay, the garden coming to life, some interesting skylines and colourful crochet.