Saturday, 24 November 2012

New Baby & House Warming Ta-Dahs

So I finally finished a couple of projects and delivered them to their special recipients today. Remember ageeees ago I was chatting about picking yarn and going on and on about picking colours? Well my friend finally had her baby and I finally finished the blanket. I worked the blanket up in gender neutral colours since I didn't know the baby's sex and I decided that when I found out I would do a border in a gender specific colour. Well a little boy arrived, Baby E and this gave me the poke that I needed to finish the blanket. Oh I never used to be a last minute person, when I was at school I used to do my homework on Friday night so that I didn't have that Sunday night dread but now I seem to work best under pressure and leave things to the last minute. Very, very bold! Anyway I only really had a couple of stripes left to do so I guess it could have been worse (my new mantra in life! Oh dear). 

It's actually supposed to be a vertical stripe blanket but I forgot this when I was taking photos! I did the starting chain too long... hope it doesn't really matter!

My friend had just moved into a new house a few weeks before the baby was born so I wanted to make them I little house warming gift. I thought it best to do something small since I wanted to visit them soon after the baby was born and if I picked a larger project well sure I'd still be doing it well into 2013!! So I came across these little crochet jar covers on the internet...
I think they are so lovely, I don't mean my handy work I just mean they are so effective. They make the coldest evening seem so cosy, although I do suspect there is colder to come (please no snow in January!). The link to the very clever lady who made them and her tutorial can be found here. They are super easy to do and now I really want my own and I feel I should make some as christmas gifts for some craft friends but we shall see if time permits.

I like how they look with the baby blanket. I hope my friends and their new baby will be snug as bugs in rugs this winter!

I just love candlelight and yarny creations... 

Ooh and another thing I've been up to.....

 Well for years D didn't like coffee so if we ever went out for coffee or tea he would have a diet coke and while that's perfectly fine, there is something really nice about sharing coffee together.. maybe that's just me. Well anyway since the birth of my Little R, D has felt the need for some extra stimulation each day and as his teeth can no longer stick Coke he has persevered with coffee. At first it was sickly sweet mochaccinos and the like, then a gradual conversion to lattes. I really dislike milky coffees, I find them really sickly but I really wanted to perfect a homemade latte for D. I found this video on youtube for how to make frothy milk. I have been really intrigued by the coffees made by Attic24 as they always have a little embellishment on them.. a star or a heart and I really wanted to do this too. I found coffee stencils online but at £5 a pop I figured I could do a homemade one myself from a milk bottle. And today I finally made the perfect homemade latte for D...
It got a 9.5 score (I told you how my family like to give me marks out of 10!). So I was chuffed to bits. It really makes me smile, just going that extra little mile for my beloved. A little thank you for all the extra work he's putting in at the minute now the third trimester tiredness has kicked in! 

And finally we are getting super excited about Christmas. Today D taught Little R the  start of Jingle Bells... not the whole song but just "Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells" which I think is pretty cool for a little 22 month old to learn in about a minute. Oh we are in for a lot of fun this year. And I just noticed that there is a new animation this year... 'The Snowman and the Snowdog' which is going to premiere on Channel 4 this Christmas Eve. I am doing all I can to contain the excitement!!

Thanks for reading xx

Sunday, 11 November 2012

I can't wait, I can't wait!

Ok so I have been getting really excited about Christmas since about August (well probably January but so I don't look so insane we'll say August). I've been scouring the internet (blogs and pinterest mainly) for christmas baking ideas, present wrapping ideas and the like. I've been going through my blogroll and reading everyone's lovely posts from past Christmases. This has been getting me very, very excited indeed. So yesterday, in order to ease the excitement, D put up some fairy lights in the kitchen for me. 
 Then I did some baking as I haven't done any for absolutely ages, surrounded by lovely fairy lights while listening to The Cardigans on the laptop. 
I was inspired by the lovely blogs I was reading, especially Cherry Menlove's blog. I quite fancied making her White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies, well really everything on Cherry's blog looks so appealing and this seemed the least faffable to me. Well that was the theory, however..... A few years ago I lost my beloved electric hand whisk (a house warming present from my sister) when holidaying in Donegal. That sounds much more interesting than it really is, I just left them behind in the house we hired and I even rather stupidly thought that it would still be there a year later when we returned to the same house but they weren't! Boohoo. Then I purchased a really great and cheap electric mixer with a bowl attached, nothing fancy like a Kitchenaid or anything but it did the job, freed up my hands while mixing and I just loved it. Then one day I decided to try making dough with the dough hook, I felt like a little break from hand kneeding and who'd have thought it would be a good idea to read the instructions on where to put the dough hooks? Well clearly not me, and so I attached the hooks in the wrong way round and up the dough merrily travelled into the workings of the mixer. Although I needed a slap for doing that miraculously it continued to work for a few months, albeit with the odd bit of crusty dough falling out of the workings when it came out of the cupboard (but I never let it contaminate my baking in case you're worried for the people who eat my cooking!) and the odd bit of heat coming off the motor. But one day it decided it had had enough and it gave up on me. From that point I have been electric mixer-less. I toyed with buying another handheld one but thought it best to wait and get a replacement with a bowl but then I could never justify buying another one especially since we have so many other things to prioritise, childcare, nappies etc. Anyway this baking session left me feeling tired and a bit worn-out, I thought I had picked an easy recipe for relaxing Saturday afternoon (my brother had even offered to take Little R out for a walk - I thought I'd easily get the cookies made and put my feet up too ha!) but the lack of electric made it a bit too much work. So I decided we can't carry on like this, I can't keep avoiding recipes that require a lot of whisking and I just noticed this evening after a quick search on the internet that Argos sells a basic one for £6! I've been knocking myself out and I could have had electricity again for only £6 - I need another slap!! 
Anyway despite my doing the mixing by hand I did end up with a decent batch of cookies. Definitely no-where near as good looking as Cherry Menlove's but rather than cooking them in batches as suggested by Cherry, I ran out of patience and piled far too many on the baking tray at once so they all look a bit wonky. You see I was still hoping to get to put my feet up before my brother and Little R came back... I'm almost 29wks now and feet resting moments, while hard to come by, are very much appreciated! And I also wanted to have them ready for my brother as a thank you. So despite their random shapes they were well received and scored an 8.5 (my brother likes to score my work and fully admits that as a true critic he can't do anything himself). I'm not a huge fan of them myself, they are rather sweet but D and my brother like them a lot and that gives me a lot of satisfaction.
Since I started writing this post the lovely D has put up some fairy lights in our dining room and I am basking in their glow as I type (our living room and dining room are joined by an arch).
Teehee I love how a bit of tinkering in picmonkey can make a terrible, grainy photo look much better, well it does to me anyway. Little R's reaction to the lights has me in stitches. He looks at them and says "Oooh lights" and that pretty much sums up my feeling too. He is so much fun at the minute and I think he is going to make this Christmas even more special. I can't wait, I can't wait!!

I've been busy recently as my lovely friend has had a little baby boy. She also moved house so I have been busy making little things for her and her new little bundle of joy. I'll show them soon, fingers crossed. 

I'm off to the Creative Craft Show in Belfast with a friend this Saturday and I am also finding it difficult to contain my excitement about this. This friend has a special birthday this week and I've ordered her a beautiful pair of earrings from Folksy (love that site). She is very crafty and I'm not saying she's old, she isn't, but she has done nearly every craft there is and I know she'll appreciate something handmade. I really wanted to make her something myself but I just can't find enough hours in the day (need more sleep these days). So we are both looking forward to the show and I'm sure they'll have some Christmasy things too just to get me even more in the mood.

Thanks as ever for stopping by and good luck with your crafty preparations for the days ahead.

Helen xx