Made from scrap

Made from scrap
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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Life is Yummy in More ways than one....

Over on Ravelry the 'Yummy Yarns' Group have been busy knitting Yummy Yarn to celebrate Wool Week that was at the start of September.  It is a competition to win more yarn!  To enter you just need to make something from 'Yummy Yarn' Purchased from Yummy Yarns UK.  I bought this gorgeous yarn 'Floral Dance and tried to knit a shawl, I did not get beyond ten rows when I fell out with the Yarn, the pattern and knitting. I frogged it and started to make a Ruffle Scarf.  I now have over 1000 stitches per row and it is taking me ages to knit a row.  I am not sure how this scarf will turn out, it is a leap of faith, but I love the yarn.  I am hoping it will be finished by Friday!
This little tree is providing more Yummy of a different kind, what these apples lack in appearance they make up for in taste.  I have made Tomato, Apple and Chilli Chutney:
My partner dug in to the chutney and then came and asked me 'What sort of Jam is that?'  Hmmm I would ask before I spread it over my toast!  We have enjoyed Roast Pork with good old Apple Sauce:
The apples are sweet so I do not need to add sugar.  Quite a bit has gone into the freezer to be used over the winter.
The diet Healthy Eating Plan recommends eating fruit, you can eat all the apples you would like, nobody mentioned the pie!  Forbidden Fruit tastes so delicious.  Why is that?  Normally I can take or leave Apple Pie.  Now on this diet Healthy Eating Plan I could happily gorge the entire pie!
For tea/dinner or whatever you like to call it, I have made Turkey, Bacon and Apple Casserole:
I am looking forward to this.  The only question is can I resist this as an accompaniment?
I doubt it because I am a bit of an Old Rascal!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Knitters/Crocheters/Weavers Wanted - Your Country Needs YOU!

Today was great fun, we took two spinning wheels to go and demonstrate at the 'Woolsack' stand at The Malvern Autumn Show.
"A personal gift for every athlete handmade by people of the UK using British Wool.  We want to welcome 2012 Olympic and Paralympic athletes to the UK with a Personal gift of a cushion made of British Wool.   Woolsack is the project that enables anyone to contribute to making a cushion made from British Wool.  Woolsack is part of the Cultural Olympiad having been granted the inspire mark.  This is about British Wool and celebrating the importance of wool in Britain's history and recognsing what wool has to offer the UK today."
Further Information please contack Sue Blacker -
More information can be found at
Any cushion will be received with gratitude, it is intended 7000 will be given out, so far 3000 have been pledged.  Cushions need to be approximately 16" square and can be sent unstuffed to Woolsack.
It is a great opportunity for Yarn fans to get involved with the UK's celebration of the Olympics whilst promoting a valuable British resource.  If you cannot manage an entire cushion, maybe you could work collaboratively with others.  I am wondering if Ravelry groups or Buddies could get together to make Collaborative cushions.  I would be more than happy to sew smaller 4" squares into cushions if Blog Buddies wanted to send me a square or two!  Knitting or Crochet would be fab.  I have started to crochet my cushion from Scottish Shetland Wool.
We seemed to have a steady supply of interest folk today, people took patterns for cushions and seemed enthusiastic to have a go.  It was a lovely day for the show and it was busy.  We were based in 'Severn Hall' where the finalists of 'The Young Farmers Cookery Competition' was held, it smelled absolutely heavenly, especially to someone on a diet Healthy Eating Plan!

Here is the 'Woolsack' stand:

The setting is beautiful, with the backdrop of The Malvern Hills the show ground is enormous.
We live about thirty miles from Malvern and my partner goes every week to collect fresh Spring Water, our tap water is Orrible!  Malvern water makes a superior Cuppa and is worth the effort.
I was having a lovely time spinning and nattering, so I did not see hardly any of the show, I am not happy in crowds but I did venture to a giant 'Food Hall', I forgot the diet healthy eating plan, as we battled our way through the crowds to buy lunch.  'A Tickled Pink' Smoked Salmon, cream cheese and potato ball, followed by a large Duck Pasty with Plum Sauce, Mom and I were good and shared!!  I enjoyed the free samples, Port, Cider and Whiskey.  All of them complemented the Duck wonderfully.  I went and sat back at my spinning wheel for the afternoon with rosie cheeks!
I would have like to view the show without the crowds as there were lots of animals to see.  There were events right outside the hall in the Arena involving Galloping Horses towing people behind on Skateboard type contraptions, it looked far too dangerous to me and it was too fast to photograph after whiskey!
I saw a great net frame that would cover my vegetable beds, it wouldn't have fit in the car though and it is too late as my Chicken Babies have already scritched and scratched around my 'Winter Vegetables', they have done untold damage to my leeks!  It is a good job I love them.  I did get delusions of grandeur when I spotted a great new chicken coop too.  I will have to add Woodwork to my list of skills to learn!!!  The coop wouldn't fit in the car either.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Woolsack - Malvern Autumn Show

"The Woolsack in the House of Lords

The Woolsack is the seat of the Lord Speaker in the House of Lords Chamber. The Woolsack is a large, wool-stuffed cushion or seat covered with red cloth.

The Lord Speaker on the Woolsack

The Lord Speaker presides over debates in the House of Lords, but does not control them like the Speaker in the Commons, as Members of the Lords regulate their own discussions.
If a Deputy Speaker presides in the absence of the Lord Speaker, then that individual uses the Woolsack.
When the House of Lords is sitting, the Mace is placed on the rear of the Woolsack, behind the Lord Speaker."  (taken from:
"It was introduced by King Edward III (1327-77) and originally stuffed with English wool as a reminder of England's traditional source of wealth - the wool trade - and as a sign of prosperity."

"Woolsack is part of the Cultural Olympiad.  The project enables anyone to contribute to making a cushion from British wool. It is intended that these will be given as a personal welcome gift from the people of Britain to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic athletes."
 (Taken from:

This all sounds very exciting.  I mentioned in a previous post here: How to prepare raw fleece that I had an old colleague that given my Mom and I some fleece, previously he had been burning his fleece as it had no value, my Mom and I have manged to spin some of it and it has been nice to work with a local resource that would otherwise go to waste.

However I believe this year has been the first year in many that British wool has started to make money once again for British farmers.  It is a terrible shame that the British Wool industry is not thriving as in this country there is such a fantastic variety of quality fleece that can and is being produced.  Many Craftspeople do want the choice and are willing to pay for it.  Hopefully projects like the 'Woolsack' ( will go a long way to promote British wool.   I am feeling quite excited as I have manged to volunteer myself and my Mom ( That's another Fine mess I have got us into) to demonstrate working with 'British Wool' at the 'Woolsack' Stand on Saturday:
An eclectic mix of country pursuits, inspiring displays and unique shopping,
there is something here for everyone.

From delicious food halls with celebrity chef demonstrations to a spectacular
RHS flower show, world of animals and giant vegetable competitions,
the Malvern Autumn show brings together everything we know and love
about nature at its finest.

I have no idea what to expect, but I am excited!  I will be taking some fleece, a trusty Spinning Wheel, a spindle, some Hand Carders and a crochet hook.  I will probably spend more time chatting than doing!  We will also get time to view the show, so I may ease off the shopping this week as I am sure to find some tasty Autumnal delights to fill my basket!  I feel like I really have to make a cushion too...something else to add to my list of projects.  I am planning a plain Tunisian Crochet Cushion.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Busy, Busy Week!

This week has been a right old busy one, just the normal stuff...School runs, work work, house work, routine vet visits, car work, etc etc.  I don't really like busy.  I spend a lot of my time trying to find stuff in my house and really need a declutter.  That would save hours.  I did take two large black bags to The Salvation Army that were full of outgrown children's clothes, so I try!  On Thursday I went to collect my youngest from school and he had a whopping great hole in the knee of his school trousers, we have spares but I like to keep enough pairs ready and waiting, so we had to go shopping for school trousers one week in to the new school year.  I don't know about anyone else, I did not find it simple.  He tried on loads of pairs in four different shops until we got sorted.  He made me laugh when he tried on the first pair he announced 'These are good!  It's just I can't bend over!'  I told him it was an essential function of school trousers that they allow you to bend over!  I have a few pairs of trousers like that though too.
Today I had my MOT test for my little car.
It passed the test so I am legal for another year.  The garage was running late so I made the squares at the top of the post while I waited.  The hour and a half passed very quickly and I enjoyed the rest and the peace and quiet.  I told the owner I would be back the same time next week!
I used these beauties:
Very pretty and indulgent, but as I am feeling extreme deprivation from my diet Healthy Eating Plan, I refuse to feel guilty!  Jeepers a girl has got to have some pleasure in life!!!  I did lose weight this week by the way, but not really enough to shout about in the first week.  I have stuck to the diet Healthy Eating Plan though.  Euan is worrying himself and has said he thinks I will look weird thin, he doesn't want me to be thin!  I reassured him that there is no fear of that!
Also today we had some Autumnal fun together.  It is a family tradition, Once a year to go and gather Conkers, like they are going out of fashion.
We found hundreds of the shiny little lovelies.  They were all on the ground this year due to the blustery weather.  I use them every year for a week of 'Bonkers about Conkers' Maths Lessons.  Then I bring them home and my boys enjoy 'Conker Tournaments' in the back garden.  I must find some laces.  They thread them and take aim at each others conkers, taking turns to hit each others.  There is much excitement as they assess the damage after each strike.  The last conker standing is the winner. I used to play this at school in the Autumn but now due to 'Health and Safety' rules Conkers are banned in most schools.  My Dad used to take my brother and me conker picking each year and my brother used to go to great lengths to select and manufacture a winning conker, baking them, pickling them, drying them and keeping them for a year...I was never quite so serious about it.  We used to throw sticks into the trees to knock the conkers down.  Poor Lacey came 'Conker Picking' she had a lovely time wrestling fallen branches and then ran over to me and sat down with a raised paw:
She is a very strong dog and as tough as old boots but when she is hurt she usually runs to 'Mom'.  I looked at her pads and almost straight away found the culprit.  A nasty Bee sting!  I managed to pull it out and she limped back to the car feeling very sorry for herself.  The pain seems to last two or three hours.  She has only been stung twice, once in Cornwall, where again I managed to remove the sting and today.  Poor old soul.  She is all better now though and was very reluctant for me to photograph her.
I don't think I have ever told you about my 'Old Sausage'.  Josh was my first Dog when I left home.  He really was my soul mate and the love of my life.  He was was fourteen and a half when I had him put to sleep a couple of years ago.  He had been blind, deaf, diabetic and smelly for the last two years of his life but we still loved each other!  He used to get a reaction to bee stings and his face would swell up like Scooby Doo.
Here is a photograph of him with his best friend 'Blue'.  They were the same age.
This was his last 'walk' with Blue.  ( I drove him to the field so they could meet up.)  Bless him he got stung on the paw by a bee that day too!  Josh and Lacey overlapped by about a year.  Josh thought she was wonderful and always tried to sneak into her basket, she seemed to think he was disgusting and not a day went by when she didn't growl at him.  It didn't bother Josh though because he was deaf.   I had to keep them separated unless I was there.  He used to come before the kids many a time!  He would also have prize position on 'Mommy's' lap every night.  When he was put to sleep I took up craft again after a break of many years!  I guess it was hard to work with an old Sausage dog on my lap.  One day I would love another Sausage dog and so would the kids...we still miss him terribly.  'Better to have loved and lost. . .and all that. . .than never to have loved at all!' . . . . .   

Thursday, 15 September 2011

It's Official - I'm Warped!

I really can't believe it is the middle of September.  What a year, already!  Phew.  Today I thought I would share another product of my yarny divergence.  I fibbed a bit I am only partially warped!   I hope to be fully warped over the next couple of days.  Last year I bought one of these from a charity shop:
I was lucky enough to buy it for £1.00.  It was priced up at £2.00 but I bought it on a 'half price special' day. I think these little looms are great.  I loved playing with it and was amazed at the unique beauty of the fabric I could make.  Every sample I made I would would love a suit made out of it.
It took just a couple of hours to make a scarf.   Not to everyone's taste, but I loved it.
This warp was a mixture of solid brown, hand dyed Autumnal yarn and gold metallic thread.
I also experimented with black and neons which I thought was cool.  I made a little purse type of thing!  It is a cover for the i phone I don't own!
I made some other little purses but they have hidden themselves somewhere.  They are destined to become 'needle cases'.  So this £1.00 loom got my enthusiasm going for weaving.  When I saw this baby appear for sale 'pre-owned'  I couldn't resist:
It is an Ashford 24" Rigid Heddle Loom.  I am yet to put it to work.  Needless to say it is slightly more complicated than the £1.00 children's loom.  Currently I am running totally on guess work.  I am partially 'Warped'.  Not one for doing things by halves, I have chosen to warp it up and go for a wrap type of thing, rather than start 'easy' with another scarf.   Fingers crossed and the yarn God's be willing!  I have high hopes for this!  Can you imagine what my small town house looks like?  It is squished to the brim with Yarn, fibre, fleece from various animals and origins, boxes of yarn and unfinished projects, spinning wheels and looms!  I have spinning on the go, knitting on the go (two projects), crochet on the go (currently three projects) one sewing project on the go...I am always on the look out for more.  I saw a badge once that said 'Yarn is Cheaper than Therapy.'  Hmmm I don't think so!  I am sure a stay at 'The Priory' would be cheaper!  It would probably be much much less fun though!
(Edit I must point those of you who are interested in Weaving in the direction of Knits and Crosses.  Sarah is new to weaving but has made some great fabrics already...she has inspired me to get cracking on my loom and have a go.  She has even written a Tutorial explaining how she warps her loom which is very helpful...)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Healthy Progress report!

I didn't bake home made goodies  baddies to take to the Guild meeting this weekend.  I made these 'Mini Fruit Kebabs' to take and share.  They do look pretty on the plate and they did go down very well with everyone.  Me and diets healthy eating plans just don't seem to get along.  I am on day five and it feels like year five!  It is like trying to quit smoking.  I have been crabby with a capital 'C'.  If I have not lost a pound this week you will hear my tantrum!  What makes it worse is I know this has to be long term!!!  I read somewhere that psychologists reckon it takes 66 days to change a habit!  Just another 61 to go then!  

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Flower Pounding with Linda Rudkin

Today I went to Birmingham and District Guild of Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing.  There has been a couple of months break for the Summer and we are now back to monthly meetings.  Today was a days workshop with the very talented Linda Rudkin.  I knew the workshop was on 'Flower Pounding' but other than that I had no idea what to expect apart from a lot of noise.  I really didn't think this workshop would be for me.
Here is one sample of Linda's fabulous textile work;
This one is beautiful;
Linda bought many inspirational pieces to share with us of her examples of 'Flower Pounding'.  Flower Pounding is literally that!  You pound with a hammer to extract the natural pigment of fresh flowers and foliage to create a print on fabric.  Essentially it is very simple to work on a sampler, experimenting with which flowers and foliage work well.  Linda's book is very concise and beautiful and will explain step by step what you need to do to create fairly instant gratification of  stunning, unique and natural prints.  If you are skilled in hand embroidery or machine embroidery or quilting,  then the sky is the limit for how you can use and enhance your prints.
The above is the result of me playing and experimenting for about an hour and a half.  Can you imagine the noise of twenty people flower pounding at once?  The blobs that look like squashed blackberry and squashed tomato are from flowers with quite fleshy petals.  Linda has an amazing knowledge of flowers and had no problem naming them, for me however it was more that is a nice 'Red One' and that is a nice 'Purple one'.  I loved the ferns, and the Pansy turned out well, so did a small Primula.  Very interesting results were gained in a short amount of time.  'Flower Pounding' does not create fixed dyes and they cannot be washed but they can be dry cleaned.  In the afternoon we tried something much quieter, 'Flower trapping'.  A method of 'Trapping' the flowers into fabric, using a fixing web and chiffon.  I used some fern and beautiful blue Hydrangea.
These are now preserved in the fabric.  The prints from flower pounding fade with time, where as with flower trapping the colour should not fade to the same degree.  I can recommend both for methods for a fun bit of experimentation, for pounding you need a hammer, a wooden board, masking tape, cotton and fresh flowers. You tape your flowers to the cotton and pound with your hammer on the reverse, when you remove the tape the print is left on the cotton.  It really is that simple.  Trapping flowers in fabric is a little more complicated, using a sandwich of baking parchment, cotton, fine bonding web, your flower design, more fine bonding web, fine chiffon, and baking parchment.  You then use an iron on the cotton setting to seal it all.  Ironing, not pressing as you do not want to singe your flowers.  Flowers need to be as flat as possible so you may need to snip bumps and lumps off prior to sealing your design, tweezers are also very useful.
This is a sample of a piece of work that has been outlined with a fine etching pen.  It looks amazing and really highlights the detail.  
Everyone who took part had something attractive to take home and feel proud of.
All the different designs displayed on one table looked fantastic.
This was my favourite.  It reflects what is happening outside at the moment, everything is turning decidedly Autumnal.  The nights are drawing in and as if by magic more crafting time appears.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Shock Announcement!

This is the last delicious Steamed Suet Pudding with Homemade Raspberry Jam that will be passing my lips for a good while!  After puffing and panting up hill and down dale during my Summer Hols I met a few of my Demons and I came to a few conclusions!  I will be trading the pudding for more more of these:
I have not weighed myself for about three years!  Silly Billy!  It is now official I have done something that I have resisted for so long, I have joined 'Slimming World', my target weight is about 2 stone over what I weighed the last time I jumped on some scales!  When I reach that target I will still have about 3 stone to lose!  That is pretty heavy!  No wonder I have been puffing and panting.  Where did all that weight come from?  Aaah!  Must be the love of baking.  Hopefully I can still blog delicious recipes but they won't cause a cardiac calamity.  Today I have been busy making 'Low Fat' Turkey Burgers, and 'Sin Free' Meatloaf to put in the freezer.  Henry said "But Mom you won't be you, if your not. . . . . . "   "Not what,  Henry?"  He was actually gonna use the 'F' word!  Euan doesn't quite know what has hit him as we went out yesterday me walking and him on his bike and today I left the car behind for the school run and carried his scooter when I went to collect him.  He loved scooting home, while I puffed and panted behind.  Day 2 of Diet   Healthy Eating Plan, I am not seeing any results yet!!!    

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Purple Haze Crochet Craze

It has been a while since I have shared a crochet post, so I thought it is time to show what I have been up to.  I love starting new projects and have great difficulty completing them!  I may adopt the 'One a Day' method which appears to be getting very popular.  I can manage one 'Mini Granny Square' a Day and still dabble with the numerous other projects I have on the go.  I was inspired by the scarf I spotted in a shop window in Glastonbury High Street.
Part of me wishes I had bought this scarf, but if I had of bought it I would be thinking I should have made my own....can you see what type of person I am?  I dread to think who made the scarf because whoever it was, wherever they are, they were not paid enough if it can be sold at that price!  I don't know if machines can make Granny squares, if they can I want one!!!  I have to admit with all my crafting projects there is something comforting, therapeutic and gratifying about the good old Granny.  I love the Granny look.  I didn't have the colours to replicate the 'Shop Window Scarf' but somehow in my stash I have collected several shades of purple, it wasn't deliberate and I don't know how it happened.  Somehow purples have infiltrated my stash more than any other colour.  Good job I like 'The Colour Purple'.  I am hoping to be wearing my Granny Scarf with pride some time over the next couple of months.  Yin and Yang, I love Granny Squares but Oh sewing in all those ends....

Sunday, 4 September 2011

'Warning' Long Rambling Post with lots of Holiday Photographs!

Euan was very proud of his big pile of sand, it is called 'The big mountain'!  Has you ever seen 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'?
Henry was very proud of his 'Big Hole' I think he was trying to reach The Antipodes.
Lacey loves the beach too.
The Cornish coast is excellent for swimming, once you are all kitted out.  Beach shoes are necessary to avoid Weever Fish.  They have spines that can give a painful sting if they are trodden on.  Does anyone actually know if they can sting through shoes?  There are a lot of surfers, body boarders and Surf Schools in Cornwall.  The Life Guards did a brilliant job keeping everyone safe.
The boys enjoyed splashing around.
They practiced their swimming, while I enjoyed the views...

and breathed in the sea air.
The Beach at Bude was very busy.  My Mom was well organised so we could enjoy a flask of coffee on the beach.  I was happy not to swim in the sea, I did consider it though as I liked the idea of being rescued by a Life Guard.  The furthest I got was to roll my trousers up and have a paddle.  We had to have the customary 'Fish and Chips' at the seaside on one occasion.  On other trips we indulged in the odd Proppa Cornish pasty or two!  It may be a while before we visit Cornwall again so it really had to be done.
We also had a trip to the small Cornish village of Boscastle.  This was an interesting little place.  I loved the stone houses and the setting.  Boscastle had a terrible flood in  August 2004.  It has been predicted as a once every four hundred years event.   It was hard to imagine the devastation seven years ago, on our visit in August 2011.
The village has recovered well and it was a thriving little tourist village on the day of our visit.  We enjoyed Cornish ice cream.  Euan had 'Charlie Chocolate' Flavour, Mom and I were more adventurous with 'Lavender and Honey' Flavour.  Dad stuck with good old 'Rum and Raisin'.  Euan and I visited the Witchcraft Museum.  We enjoyed looking at the Mandrake roots and strange artifacts.  It was interesting to learn about the history of the persecution of 'Witches' and to read accounts of witchcraft trials.  Much of the museum was destroyed in the flood, but 90% of the artifacts were saved.
The flood level is marked on the door of the Museum, you can just about make out the green rectangle on the left hand white door.
As I start back to work tomorrow after a Summer of adventures, I have decided to make this a bumper post and share my holiday snaps.  I have one more visit I would like to share with you.  In a previous post I talked about the Grave of King Arthur at Glastonbury Abbey.  This was a visit to discover the place of King Arthur's Birth, Tintagel Castle.  We parked the car in 'King Arthur's Car park, walk past King Arthur's tea shops and gift shops and started a steep decent down a hill past some classic Cornish views.
I have a few sprigs of Montbretia that grows in my garden.  In Cornwall it is a prolific wildflower.  Beautiful.
This flower always makes me think of Cornwall, it lines almost every road you drive down.
English Heritage own the site at Tintagel.  Which has a Website here.  This is one of the sites that is said to be Camelot Castle, home of King Uther Pendragon, King Arthur's Father.  Many pilgrims visit the site and attempt to search out the truth.   I am not sure I discovered the truth, but if I thought climbing Glastonbury Tor was hard work this place made it look like small fry!  When you had climbed down the steep hill, you had by my definition a massive climb up to the Castle.  I saw about half the site and was more than happy to leave it at that!  Besides they have a Facebook page Here I can learn more from that!  Poor Euan seems to have inherited my Vertigo and got quite upset, he refused to go any further and was only happy on flat, solid ground away from the edge!  Even the beautiful view of 'Merlin's Cave' didn't wash with him.
It certainly is a magical place.
How it was built right up there I will never know and more to the point who would want to?
I am not sure if the gentleman in the left of the picture is real or not, he seems to be carrying a sword and a knights helmet.  I may have captured a photograph of an apparition!
My parents managed to get to the summit, but kindly assured me I did not really miss anything.  There was however a 'Well' right at the top.  I have a thing for wells.
I can't quite believe I managed to take this photograph from such an elevation.  I do not put myself in the situation to get a 'bird's eye view' very often and of course 'What goes up, must come down!'  I am not too ashamed about the traffic jam I caused on the decent as Euan and I clung to the handrails and crawled like crabs, slowly all the way to the Gift shop!  We very sensibly paid through the nose to take a Land Rover trip back up the very steep hill to 'King Arthur's Car Park', where we purchased another Cornish Pasty, Cornish Clotted Cream, Scones and Strawberry Preserve.  You gotta keep your strength up in these situations.
I think it is about now I end my story of Summer holidays and Adventure, I have my work bag to sort and my shoes to clean for tomorrow.  The boys are back to school on Wednesday.  It is sad, but in a strange kind of way I can settle down, back into routine and have a bit of a rest!  Bob the budgie and the chickens are glad to have us back.  I may even squeeze in some craft time again.