Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Neutral Button Beanie

New unisex button beanie, the yarn is very subtly variegated and super soft.  Am tempted to knit hats in children's and adults sizes in it! Newborn size is available for sale on Etsy.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Birthday Presents

Take a peek at the new pictures I treated myself to for my birthday.  They are designs from Catherine Campbell, one is in the bathroom and one downstairs.  My photos really don't do them justice so go along and check out her website.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten

Miss E chose this lovely book from the library a few weeks ago.  I am always a sucker for a knitting theme so we both enjoyed reading this one!  The kitten reminded us, more than a little bit, of our ginger wool thief Merlin.

I love her outfit, the illustrator has got 4 year old girls down to a tee.  Miss E is often found wearing a random selection of dressing up clothes and wellies!

If its not available at your local library the book is available on Amazon here.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Bake ing Off again

This week my baking plans were disrupted by my birthday, and the need for a chocolate cake, biscuits just wouldn't have done it for me!

I used this Mary Berry recipe and added about half a punnet of defrosted frozen raspberrys on top of the layer of ganache in the centre of the cake.  The raspberrys worked really well, their squishiness meant they actually were better than fresh ones (and about half the price too!).

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Button Beanies

Another new design for the shop and new yarn.  And I really love this yarn, it is soft, squishy and the colour changes are gorgeous.  I am waiting for the buttons to be delivered then these can be listed in the shop.  One of these is already reserved for a special little man who will be arriving before Christmas ;)

Felted Dragons

Aren't these dragons amazing?!  We saw them at Ordsall Hall along with the owls I blogged about here here.  I have always wanted to have a go at needle felting but have put it off as I know both of the little people would want to have a go and Miss E is still a bit to young to be stabbing things with barbed needles!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

This Enchanted Pixie

Earlier this year I finally got round to treating myself to some jewelry from the lovely Polly at This Enchanted Pixie.  I had lost these photos but whilst looking for something else I found them again (isn't that always the way?!)  Anyway, I love these necklaces and have worn them loads.  Wish I could get a good photo of them being worn but that's virtually impossible with my old camera and phone so here they are when they arrived!

Polly writes an inspirational blog about her life home educating her three girls, crafting, baking, gardening as well as running a business selling her hand made jewelry and cosmetics.  She is also expecting a new baby boy so she is a busy lady!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Happy days

Going to the Post Office with these....

...means a trip to the cake counter for these!

Unfortunately as we were rushing back I forgot to carry the box carefully so my poor chocolate and mascarpone tart was a bit battered but it still tasted divine.  I supply some hats for Newborn Baby Posing Limited and these cakes were to reward me (and of course the small people can't be missed out!)  for getting their order complete and on its way.  Anyone involved in newborn photography check out their website, they sell everything you could possibly need all under one roof, and have some great knitted hats ;) lol!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Mystery Knit A Long

One of my favourite knitting designers is running a mystery knit a long at the moment.  Basically you sign up and get sent a small part of the pattern each day or so.  Along with lots of other knitters you all knit up the pattern without really knowing what it is you are knitting.  Melody, of Melody's Makings has designed some really lovely baby hats and other baby bits and pieces ideal for photo props so I figured I would join in with this one as a bit of fun and hopefully I may get a new item for the shop out of it.

The first part of the pattern arrived in my inbox late last night and I couldn't resist getting started.  I had hoped to work the pattern in two different shades of green but I couldn't find just the right yarn so have gone with two shades of blue.

I have been a bit naughty and not checked my gauge properly as I didn't have the correct needles but figured if I do the smallest size if it turns out any bigger it won't be a problem as it will just end up being 3 months instead of newborn.

Well here it is so far, we have wondered whether it is a hat, or maybe a pair of trousers with braces?!  I guess I will just have to wait and see!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Blackforest Roulade - Great British Bake Off Inspired

Ok so it didn't turn out to be a thing of great beauty but Mary Berry says that a bit of cracking is fine!!!

I used Mary Berry's recipe from here for the roulade.  Once it was cooked and cooled I splodged on some black cherry jam onto the roulade before the cream.  It was really lovely, not too sweet but very moreish.  I ignored Mary's request for good quality chocolate and used value dark chocolate and it was absolutely fine.

I was impressed with Mary Berry's recipe so have decided to try her chocolate sponge recipe (with an added extra of course!) for my birthday cake.

Chestnut Cable Beanie Hat

Another new design in the shop.  I decided I didn't have enough baby boys hats for sale so decided to knit up some beanies.  This one has one cable down the front and is knitted in a wool mix marl yarn with subtle specks of red, blue and yellow.  I am trying to choose a few more colours for this design as I think it will work well for both day to day babywear but also make a cute photography prop.

Which colours do you think would work well?  I am trying to choose some more subtle colours for this design and steer away from the usual blues!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Flapjack Cookies

Whilst I was looking at crochet lampshades (of all things!!!) I spotted these oaty biscuits on Attic24 and decided they were just the thing for a quick bake today.  They were super quick and easy and taste divine, like a cross between a flapjack and a cookie.  Unfortunately after I had made them Mr T reminded me that he doesn't like flapjacks anymore but luckily Miss E loves them and I am more than happy to eat a few extra as well!

The recipe is super easy, just melt 100g of butter with 50g soft brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of honey in the microwave.  Mix it then add 100g of oats and 100g self raising flour and 50g dried fruit and mix.

I then lined a baking tray with greaseproof paper and splodged 16 blobs of the mixture, pressing them down slightly with a fork.  They will spread a bit so give them a bit of space.  Cook for about 12 minutes at gas mark 4 until they are just slightly golden.  I took them off the paper and onto a rack while they were still warm and soft and then ate some warm!!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Blackcurrant Cake

This year we seem to have quite a few blackcurrants growing on the bush in the back garden.  I wonder if it is trying to prove its worth after the one at the front went to a new home due to never seeming to produce more than about 5 blackcurrants!

Mum made lovely blackcurrant pies and ice cream with the masses of blackcurrants in our garden when I was a child, but as my pastry making is, lets say, in need of perfecting (!) and as I have no ice cream maker I tend to bake mine into a cake.  Its been a few years since I had enough blackcurrants to make it but this recipe makes a gorgeous cake if you are wondering what to do with yours.  The recipe says 4 oz of blackcurrants but it doesn't need to be exact, I wouldn't put many more in but it will work perfectly fine with fewer if your bushes aren't that generous!

Blackcurrant Cake

3 ½ ozs soft butter or marg
7oz caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
8oz plain flour
2 level teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons milk
4 oz ish blackcurrants
small amount of granulated sugar for sprinkling

Cream butter/margarine and caster sugar together.
Beat in the egg and vanilla.
Fold in flour and baking powder.
Add milk and stir in fruit.
Put into a 8in diameter cake tin lined with non stick paper.
Sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake (350 degrees F, 180 degrees C, Gas Mark 4) for about 50 minutes.
Cool slightly and remove from tin

Lovely warm with cream or custard but equally nice cold.  If you only have frozen blackcurrants they work just as well, no need to defrost add them in to the mixture frozen.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Great British Bake Off

Yayyy!!!!!  It's back on our screens, I love watching the Great British Bake Off even though it doesn't do my waistline any good.  This year I have decided to set myself a bit of a challenge.  I love to bake but I tend to rely on a few favorite recipes.  This year I have set myself a challenge, to bake something new inspired by the program each week and blog about it here.  Don't worry I will not be crafting a cake guillotine, attempting lavender honeycomb or Japanese cake art but I will try to make something new to me loosely inspired by one of the bakes on the program.

I mentioned it to my much more baker-ee sister and she is up for the challenge as well so watch this space!  Anyone who fancies attempting one of the recipes from last night can find them on the BBC website here.

I have my ingredients ready and my helpers/testers keen to begin.  Any guesses on what we'll be cooking?!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Wool shopping...alone and a new bonnet

The small people were busy with my parents and I managed to make my first solo trip to the wool barn in a very long time.  It made it so much easier to be able to concentrate on all the different yarns, taking in all the colours and deciding which designs would suit the different yarns.  I could have come away with bags full but as I have a fair stash at home (!!) I was very restrained and just got some thick and thin yarn in a variegated green and lilac colourway.  Here it is knitted up into a bonnet, I am really pleased with how it has turned out.  I think that perhaps the colour is actually more Spring than Autumn but I think it will look gorgeous for newborn photo shoots and the lilac colours seem to match up well with Pantone's autumn/fall 2014 predictions of radiant orchid and mauve mist.

The bonnet is listed for sale on The Yarn Owls Nest Etsy shop.

Monday, 4 August 2014

A hint of Autumn?

There was a definite hint of autumn these last few days.  Very strange as it still feels like it should be midsummer but a couple of the trees had started to turn yellow and the first leaves were falling.  I also spotted rosehips and a blackthorn laden with sloes.  Made me think I really should be knitting ;) !