Monday, 23 November 2015

Somebody Stop Me........

......I'm outta control.

Last week it was trying, but failing miserably to resist Christmas decorations in shops. This week it is cake.

Baby Bear's Birthday cake. Oh my word, a seriously chocolate fix going on here (sorry Sandrine, no tank baking expertise only got as far as this!). 

I've only just recovered from my seriously indulgent Birthday Cake....then some seriously indulgent coffee cake (of which was such a favourite here, I noticed the ingredients to make another are back in the cupboard). Now this. It's Big Bear's Birthday in a few weeks, and he declared he wanted one of these too. Middle Bear's Birthday follows not long after, and he's declared this is his dream Birthday Cake (he hates sweets and only likes two types of chocolate......guess which two types?!!!).

This thing is staring at me. It's so rich that only tiny amounts can be eaten at a time.

Oh go on then......just one Malteser with a cup of tea........yeah right.......


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Random and the Everyday......

Wow, the weather has been a bit of a mixed bag. I know it's a great topic of conversation for the British folk, but mainly grey, wet and really windy this past week.

There was brief glimpse of sunshine yesterday.....all for about an hour.....then grey and wet and howling winds.

It has meant cosy for me. To tell you the truth, I am loving candles, fairy lights, evening hot water bottles and frothy drinks. So, can't all be doom and gloom!

The usual thing to do after the school collection, is get in, make me a hot cuppa and Baby Bear gets a sandwich. Then we sit on my bed with fairy lights on and spend 10 mins chatting about our days and what was great about it. We usually then go off on a tangent having funny laughter from silly made up words, then the Bigger Bear's are home and it get's more lively. This week though, all chatter has been on Tanks. Yes, Tanks. Baby Bear is quite obsessed about them. Not sure why. He played a computer game with them in and from that day, he is obsessed. We have tank pictures galore in the house and for his Birthday we are all going to a Tank museum. That dude is SO excited......his brothers not so. They are teenagers, and it's embarrassing hanging out with the baby brother and the elders, but he is so desperate for them to join his day of Tank fun. I'm sure it will be an interesting day!

I have been putting a christmas scent on the hob most days and there is a lovely christmassy stinky in the house. I have to tell you, it really does make for a happy, mellow mood. I witnessed some rather mean spirited actions yesterday. I hoped karma would come round and bite them back in the bum, then I came home and the scent of christmas hit me and I thought how lovely and calming. I just ADORE the christmas scent of orange rind, cloves and cinnamon.

I also made rhubarb compote to go with my yoghurt........and CRAVED stodgy Rhubarb Crumble with lashings of custard.Comfort food is quite essential on old and wet days.

I have come to the conclusion that online Christmas shopping is the way for me to go. Heading into town yesterday to do a little bit and finish up for Baby Bear's up and coming Birthday, I realised I was shopping more for myself than other people....which kind of defeated the whole object. They get me.....EVERYTIME. Seriously....I'm a total SUCKER for Christmas decorations.......and unusual chocolates. If you are a 'Friends' fan, the episode after Monica and Chandler's wedding with Monica and the Wedding presents springs to mind. One of my favourite episodes. Urgh, I cannot be trusted in a shop with Christmas decs. I came home with a snowglobe (was seriously planning to make my own having gathered a ton of inspiration on Pinterest - See my Christmas Board here ), but the skiers were just too cute to pass up. I will make some of my own. I'm searching for the best jars I can to fit the bill. I got some dark chocolates....well just because. I thought they might be good for my Christmas eve ritual, of doing last minute wrapping, whilst knocking back the mulled wine and watching the movie 'Chocolat'. I'm not sure they can last that long to be honest.

I seemed to be obsessed with Caravans. I went for understated, and then full on bling! The christmas lights around it sold it for me. I'll find it hard to put him away. The Santa mug made an appearance. I'm trying hard to resist using him yet. I thought I'd wait until the 1st of December, but his jollyness is calling out to me.

I got a big pile of books around my Birthday, which I have yet to fully relax and read. I am loving the inspiration though and have so many projects of all types I want to get cracking on. 

I have some cushions I want to crochet, some cushions I want to sew, some cushions I bought plain so I can do a bit of needlework on them. I want to make some of these and I would love to make one of these. I love these and these, although I do not like the price. Wowzers. Lovely inspiration though, so I'd love to make my own hand made versions. I do, however like this as an alternative to a stripey stocking. My ultimate dream would be to learn to MAKE something like this (the fair isle colourway). For now though, anything like this would have to be shop bought. Sigh.  I want to make a gingerbread cake and a house to decorate with Baby Bear. I still need to re-cover some hot water bottles, I want to knit another Bella Wrap and have a go at some socks. I have 3 very different patterns that I want to try to see which is the easiest. So much wanty crafty making....and so little time.

I have some plans to make some wrist warmers for my Narnia Coat. I was thinking blue plain ones, and then some whispy and whimsical Narnia-esque ones. 

I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas magazines. I love the 'high' they give me form seeing all the lovely christmas joy, then I come back down to earth with a bump when I look at the reality of never achieving anything, and subconsciously feeling like a total failure.

I have to say though that I succumbed to the only mags I really buy these days, simply because they were just so cheery (and you got a gorgeous floral calender with one for next year. One I might add that I may even put up!).

So.......the day is grey and wet. I have that smug feeling (which is virtually unheard of I might add), that I am up to date with the laundry and the whole of the downstairs is all clean and tidy. I have had my frothy coffee and my 5 mins of mag flicking and I'm about to tackle boys bedrooms (wish me luck), whilst I have a batch of soup on the go. Warming broth seems so apt to have on a cold, wet and windy day.

I cannot bring myself to move Mr Grizzles and little Miss White from my kitchen shelf. She has the stunned look I have when I open the Bear's bedroom doors, and he has the look I have to adopt when I go in to tackle them. Oh dear, the silly little things amuse me the most.........

Until next time........


Friday, 13 November 2015

Ray Of Sunshine Scarf........

My little.......

Ray Of Sunshine

I tend to gravitate towards Pastel shades in the summer months. Maybe it is because there is so much colour out in nature that I feel the need to keep things calm in the colours that I wear and in my house. The opposite happens in the Winter months. The grey, dull, depressing days call for bright colours to chase away the winter blues. I think it's only in the last few months I realised this colour cycle that I have. It's always been there, I just never really picked up on it before. 

Working on pastel blankets, as soon as the Autumn started to approach, I started to hanker after colour. Strong, vibrant colour.

I ordered some yarn trying to find the brightest shades that I could. Some were bordering on neon, which was a touch scary. I just wanted bright and 'in your face'. I wanted zing and wake up colours. I wanted colours that made me feel alive.

I know it was to be a scarf or shawl or cowl of some type but actually I wasn't sure what on earth I was going to make. I didn't have a pattern in mind, I just thought it might be fun to make something up as I went along. Errrrrrr, not such a good idea.

I started with a shawl, but after several hours of working on it, I didn't like it. I just liked a chunk of it. So I took that chunk of it and made a scarf. But after several hours of working on it, I didn't like that either. So I took the bit of it that I did like and the Ray Of Sunshine scarf was the result. I just sewed in the ends and I just couldn't decide what I wanted for the ends. I toyed with a fringe, or a lacy border, or even little pom poms. In the end I just left it plain, and it will probably remain as so.

So, the shell pattern was what I ended with, and I have to say, I think it was meant to be just that. I did the lines long ways which I think turned out better than having short lines.

I love it. It's gorgeously bright and uplifting. Quite 'in your face' but it makes me smile and it really is a little Ray Of Sunshine on a horridly grey day.

Today has been high winds and grey and wet, but then the sun came out for 5 minutes so I took it outside for a few snaps. I just managed it before it went grey and wet again.

I used Stylcraft Special DK as they seemed to have the best colour range of bright colours. Nothing seemed to beat them for colour except some cotton styles, but I didn't want to make this in cotton.

I used:

Lipstick 1246
Sherbert 1034
Fondant 1241
Grass Green 1821
Royal 1117
White 1001
Citron 1263

Do you know, I'm still not 100% convinced about this yarn. I LOVE the colour choice, and it's nice to work with, but there is still something, which I just acannot put my finger on, that is making this not a perfect yarn for me. I know it is so well used here in crafty land, but, as much as I love the pattern and the colour of this scarf, there is something about the yarn that has not put this scarf up there in my laminated list of scarf favourites.

However, the colours more than compensate for it, and it shall be a 'go to' when I am in the need of a complete colour boost and pick me up.


Tuesday, 10 November 2015

By The Light Of The Moon.......... kitchen Mr Moon.

The dark and dreary days seem to have landed. Still incredibly mild for this time of year, but the darkness has come. It's REALLY hard to take decent pictures at this time of I'm not really.

It's been so busy these past few weeks. I've been itching to get some crafting done in my spare time....but there doesn't seem to be any. Birthday week gifted me some books that have given me plenty of inspiration. More wanty makes to add to the list. So little time. Oh well.


So.....Cake....more of it.

I'm trying to eat healthily now, ready for the christmas indulgence (says she, who is typing this with a huge latte at her side (skimmed milk and decaf, but brown sugar, 'cos I can't have coffee without brown sugar)). It's a start.

But cake, well it just keeps on coming. 

Coffee cake this time. 

Cake taken from inspiration here

Coffee cake with Coffee icing, and Cadbury's Flakes and crushed walnuts sprinkled on top. was good. 

Oh so good.

The trouble is....I think every coffee cake made from now on might just have to be a woodland coffee cake. For no other reason than I like whimsical. 

Any excuse to get animals on top of a cake. The animal tea party cake I made for my birthday last year was almost made again this year, but I liked this one so it was made. No pics of that as it was made late in the day and tucked into straight away. Rather indulgent, but rather good too. Seriously, the scales are covered up in my house.

This cake was baked and decorated in the early evening, while christmas scents were simmering on the hob and Nat King Cole played in the background. It's my idea of heaven really.

I'm not sure why really , but I seem to be feeling quite christmassy. What's going on? That's not like me. Maybe it's all the little decorations that keep being put in the shopping basket and then taken out and hung (really because I am too lazy to put them away for a few weeks). I'm typing this 'Winter Wonderland' sung by Michael Bublé has come on (I'm working my way down my iTunes playlist).

Talking of Christmassy stuff. I had tea with Mr Tumnus this week. It was incredibly delightful. I saw a coat a while back. It was utterly lovely. A thing of beauty, and reminded me of Narnia. Anyway, it was way out of my price league, but I did have a try on, and I really felt like I should be having tea with Mr Tumnus. Anyway, to cut a long story short, my lovely Folks bought it for me. So I put it on, closed my eyes, and walked through the wardrobe to the lampost. I was met there by Mr Tumnus who took me to his house for tea and cucumber sandwiches. We had a lovely chat about this and that and then I said my goodbyes, came back through the wardrobe and hung the coat back up. I do love going into stories. When Middle Bear was a really little boy, he came up to me one morning and told me that during the night he had gone into a story. He was so little that we hadn't really talked about dreams, but this must have been his first vivid dream and it was a big thing for him. I thought it was so lovely that he said he went into a story, so ever since, we talk about dreams as going into stories in our house. Anyway, tea with Mr Tumnus was rather nice, and I shall probably pop in and say hello every time I put on the coat. We can have a good old catch up.

Yes, yes. I'm a Brit. A bit of eccentricity is good for the soul.


So, it's been soft lights in the evening and christmas scented candles. Nothing beats being snuggled up in the house all warm and cosy with the scent of christmas. I bought a figgy pudding candle the other day which was rather nice, although, nothing beats vanilla and cinnamon in my humble opinion. Anyone got any other recommendations for nicely scented candles? I'm always on the lookout. I have some lovely Yankee Candles in Cranberry which smell amazing, but I don't like Yankee Candles for the simple reason that they always burn with a soot flame. It doesn't matter how much I try to sort out the wicks, they do that, so I snuff them out and poo poo the candles for that very thing. Anyone know how to stop the soot flame from a wick? I'd love to burn the candles. They are the huge pots too, so it seems a waste. I just wonder if they coat the wicks in something and that's why they burn like that.

Anyway, No picks of my scarf just yet. I still haven't decided what to do with the ends, and the strands still have yet to be sewn in. Whenever I have a moment, the weather is grey and rubbish, which isn't really motivating me to get it finished. It would be nice to wear it though to brighten up the grey days now.

Right, time to wrap it up. I think I've rambled on long enough and I have a ton to get done today.

Cheerio for now.....