Granny Squares Blanket


Thursday, 28 January 2010

 My granny squares blanket. Inspired by the lovely blankets Lucy makes at Attic 24.
It's been a long time since I did any crochet. When I was an art student many years ago I did lots of 'freeform crochet'. It broke the crochet rules. I thought traditional crochet was a bit fusty and old-fashioned. When I started reading Lucy's blog though I realised that crochet could also be vibrant and up to date whilst employing traditional techniques. It wasn't art school crochet and it wasn't my granny's crochet either. It was my kind of crochet.

There are 13 colours in the border. The same colours are used for the squares  along with 4 additional colours.

Working on the border.

These are the colours I used, all Rowan pure wool DK. The border was made in this order.

 Dahlia 042
 Hydrangea 027
 Port 037
 Pomegranate 029
 Kiss 036
 Tangerine 040
 Gilt 032
 Avocado 019
 Parsley 020
 Emerald 022
 Cypress 007
 Marine 008
 Ultra Marine 009

In addition to these colours I used

 Glacier 005
 Lavender 039
 Tea Rose 025
 Glade 021

I was ecstatically happy with the way my blanket had turned out. Keen to get a second opinion on its loveliness I asked C what he thought, 'mmm very good' was his verdict.

 I felt quite sad when I'd finished, no more blanket to work on. I had to find something else asap. My bag is coming along swimmingly.


Retail Therapy


Wednesday, 27 January 2010

I've been on an outing to a nearby garden centre this morning. You know the kind of place, they do sell plants and seeds somewhere but mostly it's full of 'stuff you don't need'. There is a big craft shop attached to this particular garden centre full of more stuff I don't need but might quite like all the same.

Want to see some of the things on offer?

Beautiful embroidery threads

Gorgeous cards

Colourful melamine and tins.

Look at these crocheted bootees! Aren't they lovely? Pity I don't know any babies to make some for.

: :

Want to see what I bought?

Some yarn to add to my stash. This is Patons Fairytale Colour4Me pure wool DK.

Yummy cards.

A surprise for my  9 year old daughter who is learning about the Elizabethans at school. It was going cheap.

Some tulips

All good retail therapy sessions must include chocolate. I confess I chose this particular bar of Green & Blacks purely because  the colour of the wrapper matched one of the balls of yarn. This variety is a bit on the sickly side to be honest. I much prefer the butterscotch one.

Not too extravagant a splurge, but very satisfying and it made me happy.

: :

Tomorrow I'm hoping to show you my granny squares blanket which marks my return to crochet after a good 25 years. I'm very proud of it.



Tuesday, 26 January 2010

I don't buy boxed cereal. For breakfast I prefer to give my children something like porridge, eggs, pancakes, eggy bread, beans on toast, a bacon sandwich, potato cakes made out of leftover mash, or this granola. I like to know they've got some real food inside them. The idea of making your own breakfast cereal may seem a step too far for some, but really, you should consider making granola. It's easy peasy and will make you feel very clever.

This recipe is really a formula. Most of the ingredients are interchangeable. This makes a large quantity and you will need a big baking tray with a rim, or you could use a roasting tin. I like to use  cup measures for this recipe. My cup holds just over 200 ml of liquid so find something that holds about the same amount. A mug filled three-quarters full will do it.


4 cups of porridge oats- you could also use barley flakes.
1 cup of desiccated coconut
1 cup seeds - I use a  mixture of pumpkin, sunflower and sesame.
1 cup of chopped nuts - If you can't eat nuts simply increase the coconut and seeds by an extra half cup each.
½ cup (100ml) of oil or melted butter- not olive oil as the flavour is too strong. Something like sunflower or groundnut.
½ cup (100ml) soft brown sugar, honey or maple syrup
Pinch of salt (optional, but I think it improves it)
Pinch of cinnamon, mixed spice or spices of your choice
2 cups of dried fruit. I'm using apricots and cranberries here.

Mix all the dry ingredients except the dried fruit together in your biggest bowl.
Pour in the sweet ingredient and oil.

Mix very well.
Spread it out on a baking tray (or trays) and bake at 150°C/130-140°C fan oven/Gas 2/ for 1 hour stirring gently at 20 minute intervals.

Leave to cool undisturbed on the tray, then pour into a bowl, breaking up any big chunks as you go.
Mix in the dried fruit.
Store in an airtight container.

Thank you for the comments by the way, and to everyone who is reading my blog. It means a lot :o)

Meet the Quince Tree


Monday, 25 January 2010

Pretty drab and uninteresting I think you'll agree. The Quince Tree is not at its best in January but come April she'll be dressed in zesty green and the palest of pink. By September she'll be adorned with lemon coloured fruits which will gradually swell and turn gold. They reach the size of a grapefruit if you can imagine a pear-shaped grapefruit and will do you a nasty injury if you happen to be standing underneath the tree when they fall. October will see me in full quince-mode. There will be quince jelly, quince vodka, baked quince, quince sorbet, quince pies and crumbles and copious amounts of quince purée for the freezer. I will not need to burn my favourite fragrance oils because the scent of quince will fill the house. I just hope we don't have a late frost in April.

It may be drab and grey today but I managed to find some colour here and there.


My breakfast. Last year's marmalade needs finishing up!

Now that's what I call pink. Early forced rhubarb. Neon fruit - love it.


I discovered 'purest green' in my garden covering a brick.

And this jolt of colour is my current WIP, a bag for keeping my yarn in. Only trouble is by the time I finish I might not have any yarn left. I'm following Lucy's wonderful tutorial.



Sunday, 24 January 2010

If, like me, you like to wield the jam pan on occasion, January means one thing -marmalade. Thursday saw me up to my nipples in the sticky orange stuff. Sixteen jars ought to be enough to see us through until next January. There'll be some to give away as well.

I bought my organic Sevilles from Waitrose where they cost £2.48 a kilo. It cost me 59p to make one jar of marmalade and that makes me happy.

I followed Delia's recipe from The Complete Cookery Course. I ignored her instruction to shred the peel by hand and chucked the lot into my Magimix and let the slicing disc do the work. You do get a few pieces that evade the blade but I can live with that. I substituted a quarter of the granulated sugar for jam sugar (the kind with added pectin) just to ensure a firm set.

The house was filled with the sweet, sticky scent of boiling sugar and oranges. That made me happy too.

It's been an orangey few days. Yesterday I made a dazzlingly orange sweet potato and coconut soup for a hasty lunch before rushing out to see a matinee performance of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. There was quite a lot of orange in the show and red, and yellow, and green, and purple, and blue, and ochre.....

For supper I served up more orange in the form of butternut squash and feta orzotto. An orzotto is like a risotto but with barley instead of rice and without the constant stirring. I love barley, I love its chewy texture and its cheapness.
I added some sun-dried tomatoes and served it with a green salad.

Afterwards we ate some orange fruit -mango and charentias melon.

After all that beta-carotene a glass of something red seemed in order.

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