Made from scrap

Made from scrap
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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Blogtag - You're 'IT' !

I read about 'Blogtag' first Here at The Quince Tree.  It seemed like an interesting idea I would love to read other  'Blogtag' posts too.  I tend to dump a post and run....  I have been meaning to welcome new followers and thank you lovely folks for all your comments for ages.  I still get a buzz out of all your comments, I really enjoy reading them and many give me a chuckle.  I also learn a lot from networking on blogs :)  Blog Buddies are the best, they take up no room on the sofa, don't mind if my house is a tip and never use up any teabags :)  I am slowly watching my 'counter' work its way up to 50 000 hits, which is amazing.  I am fascinated by my flag counter and looking at the countries blog visitors come from.  At the last peep it was 97 different countries.  My very bestest favourite is 'new followers' ( It makes me feel very flattered :) and big headed! )  It also motivates me to post more of my random musings.  Every time I get a 'new follower' I am very self congratulatory and do a little happy dance.  Modest?  Moi?

To play Blogtag you answer the following questions:

What is your most Beautiful post?
I think these photos are pretty  
What is your most popular post?
The above post is also the most popular it has had 1645 hits!  Wowzers!!!
What is your most controversial post?
I try to avoid controversy.  Is Poo Free controversial?  It has had 1057 hits!
What is your most helpful post?
Who doesn't want to know 'How to make delicious Lemonade Scones' ?  Everyone should try these they are so easy and quick to make and really are delicious scones.
Which post's success surprised you most?
Poo Free!!!  1057 hits, it is the only post with an image of 'me' in far, maybe that is why it is so popular...or do you think it could be the play on words?  People read 'Poo Free' and are expecting to read about something entirely different.
Which of your post's do you feel didn't get the attention it deserved?
Gandhi-India's Spinning Wheel Revolution  It has had 871 hits and only four comments.....It does still get a steady flow of readers though and most of the traffic comes from a 'Google search'.  
Which post are you proudest of?
I am proud of all of them really.  I love my blog.  I was very proud when I posted this Eggsiting News Alert.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Chickens in The Mist

Today was a very misty morning, Euan was fascinated when he opened his curtains.  I am feeling a bit sorry for the chickens as the days are getting shorter and the weather is colder.  They were so happy in the Summer basking in the warm sunshine and gorging on summer fruits.  The above photo is Poppy, leaping for the last remaining Raspberries.  They can do quite high standing jumps.
This morning my shoes were a great source of fascination and all three were giving me a severe pecking, they also pecked my trousers and when I crouched down to take a photograph someone pecked my on the bottom!
I keep trying with my 'Chicken Photography' but trust me, it aint easy!  I think the chicken colours look gorgeous in the Autumn Garden.  It is giving me colour design ideas, I would definitely like to weave something in red and 'ginger'.  I couldn't really capture them in the morning sunshine but they did look lovely.
The North Wind shall blow and We Will have snow, what will poor Chicken do then?  Poor thing!  She'll Go in the 'barn' and keep herself warm and tuck her head under her wing!

Yesterday they all stayed out in the rain and looked like drowned rats.  Chickens are not really supposed to get wet, but I think they can look after themselves and run for cover if they need it.  Maybe as these are not a year old they are like children and cannot think sensibly for themselves.  Freedom is their main objective, they love to run around, rain or no rain.  They are spending lots of time puffing up in the colder weather and preening to maintain their feathers.  They have been looking like 'Fat Little Hens'.
I was in the kitchen and I heard a bit of a commotion, all three chickens were furiously pecking the door, which I thought was strange.  They each come and peck the door in turn but not all three at the same time.  When I went to investigate I noticed a 'Daddy Long Legs' on the inside fluttering at the window.  The chickens were trying to make a tasty snack of him!
Doh!  This is Daisy with a bit of mashed potato on her face, they love to eat kitchen scraps, vegetables, bread, cake, oats, cheese, yogurt and their favourite is cooked spaghetti.  I think they think it is worms!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Swap yarn Scarf - Ta Dah

I had some lovely yarn from a 'Swap' in June.  They travelled across the pond from the USA and are brands I am not familiar with.  Pinks and Greens are my favourite colours, especially together.  I think these two yarns were made for each other.
Mini Mochi - Strawberry Lime
Lion Brand 'Amazing'- Rainforest

I used double crochet to stripe them together and make a warm scarf.  I love the  resulting 'fabric'.  I cannot yet master very fancy or technical patterns but I love the textured and colour effects you can create with simple stitches and combining yarns.  The way the weather has changed I will be needing this scarf really soon.


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Knitted Halloween 'Baddies'.....

I asked the very talented Anne  (Seller 'Fingerpuppets33' on Ebay) if she could make some 'Halloween' finger puppets to add to our collection.  I had some help from my photographic assistant to enable me to show you these.  I think Anne has done a brilliant job again.  The orange of the Pumpkin Man glows a bit in this picture, isn't he cute with his sweeping cloak and his little lantern?
 The Bats eyes are glowing too, giving him a particularly menacing look.  Not quite as menacing as when he turns into:
Count Dracula!  He is complete with his Cape and blooded fangs!
This Ghoulish couple are ready for a Halloween wedding.  They would put the Gothic Weddings to shame.  Isn't she a beautiful bride with her long veil and bouquet?  He looks posh too, in his Top hat and tails.  We love these but I have saved the best picture until last.  We had fantastic fun adding the finishing touches to 'The Zombies'!
The filthy rotters!  They are very scary with their vacant stare!  Halloween is very popular in our house.  I hope I can find my
 Who's Got My Hairy Toe?  book by Monday I love reading this poem.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

X Marks the Spot!

I was a bit bleary eyed when I did the early morning Chicken Coop run in my PJs.  I looked up and thought this was weird so I photographed it!  It looks like it could have been a close shave to me.  I do not live under a busy flight path (thankfully).  Yep this post is going to be a little on the 'Random' side.  It was a chilly but very bright and clear day.  'Crisp' would be a nice way to describe it.  I had nothing planned (apart from crochet) but I had a dog and a seven year old with 'Cabin Fever'.  Both of them like to go to some local meadows.  I can usually sit down while they wear each other out running around like 'things possessed'.

Euan is always quite enthusiastic about Blog photograph suggestions, here he is with The Lovely Lacey posing angelically on the church steps.  I didn't realise Lacey was sticking her tongue out.  Never work with children or animals!  This Church is 'Saint Peter's Church' but I have always known it as 'Ipsley Church'.  It was built in the 14th Century.  Within the last decade it was someone's great idea to add on an ugly brick extension tut tut tut.    My Mom and her brothers used to walk here to Sunday School, I think my Mom said from about the age of four.
It is a pretty little church and it looked all the lovelier for the bright blue sky and the sunshine.  Most Churchyards boast a Yew Tree and this one is no exception.  Yew trees are considered by some to be The Sacred Tree of Transformation and Rebirth.  They are believed to ward off evil.

Yew trees are very poisonous while the berries look very decorative I wouldn't touch them.
 The Yew is the longest living plant in Europe there is a tree in Scotland that is confirmed to be 2000 years old.  According to 'Wikipedia' some trees have been confirmed as between 5000 - 9500 years old.

 Lacey is blissfully unaware of all these facts and figures and as long as she finds a 'Big' stick she is happy.
She will play for ages with a big stick, the bigger the better!  This is lightweight compared to some of her usual finds.
Euan found a big stick too.  All these expensive toys...but give a kid a stick and they are quite happy.  The sticks usually find their way home and litter our garden.
I live in a busy, built up town but there are lots and lots of trees that hide all the sprawl.

The trees do a great job at hiding all the factories and large buildings.  In among all those trees is a large industrial estate.  The whole town is pretty much like this all the highways are edged with trees and shrubs.  It hides the 'ugliness' really well.  I really don't know of an 'Urban' town with more greenery.

My apologies for the rambling post...I just wanted to share my pictures :)

Hope you have all had a good weekend.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Green Enchilada Sauce

I am so easily lead.  I read this post Green Enchilada Sauce over at 'Sheep Spinach and Strawberries' back in March.  I had never heard of a 'Tamatillo'.  I promptly popped on Ebay and ordered some seeds.  My Dad planted the seeds and nurtured them into healthy plants.  He has had a bumper Tomatillo Harvest too and plans to make 'Salsa Verde'.  This was this mornings pickings.
This is a ripe and ready Tomatillo.  You peel back the paper lantern and inside is a tomato looking thing.  It is a bit tacky to touch.  I harvested more than I thought I would, I probably had about a Kilo.
This is what the inside looks like.  I was a bit hesitant to try one raw but I popped it in a chewed.  They are strangely pleasant.  They taste like a cross between a Tomato and a Green Pepper.
I found some dried up chillis in the greenhouse and a surprise cucumber!
I decide to make a 'Green Enchilada Sauce in the slowpot.
I put them all in the pot on 'High' with four or five chillis, four cloves of garlic, a chopped onion, salt and pepper and two tablespoons of Olive Oil.  After a couple of hours I whizzed it all together with my hand blender.
I am left with a large pot of 'Green Sauce'.  Let me tell you it is delicious.  It is very tangy.  The only key ingredient I was missing is fresh coriander and this sauce seems to be crying out for it.  I am going to freeze it in small pots and will remember to buy the coriander.
I have just had a lovely lunch of 'Cheese Enchiladas with Green Enchilada Sauce'.  (Half fat cheese, honest!)  I used Mozzarella and Cheddar.
It tasted better than it looks!
Yum!  I will definitely be growing more Tomatillos next year.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Yarn Eating Monsters, Big Balls and 'Ninja Gloves'

Here is my Yarn Eating Monster
Each new stripe is greeted by an appreciative 'Woaaahhh!' from my seven year old.  You would think crochet were alchemy with how amazed he is that Mom can make things.  (Unless he knows how to make me happy!)  He loves getting his sticky mitts on my stash and shows an interest in whatever my current project is.
He just helped me hide put these away, he was passing his opinion on each colour and thought they were all nice, his favourite was the 'Pinky Purple'.  I have three 'big' projects planned using 'Black' DK so I searched Ebay for a bargain.  500g Balls.  I love them and they get the seven year old excited.  They are big balls!
The weather has really turned here and got very chilly.  When I went to open the coop today the grass almost crunched underfoot.  We have lots of single gloves around the house and not many pairs.  So I used this pattern Ninja Gloves as a basis to make these last night:
The idea is if you call them 'Ninja Gloves' then they become very coooolll indeed.  They certainly have enhanced his 'Ninja Skills'.  He will be 'Airbending' before I know it!  Euan loves them and said his mates at school think they are cool.  They should be quick enough to rustle up replacements too.  Hey, and I think I will have enough black DK for a while.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

While The Cat is Away....

I just had to share this photograph, it made me chuckle.  'When the cat is away, the mice will play!'  When my partner goes out to work I let the 'ladie's out!  They love to be free, pecking and scratching in the garden.  They trash the joint!  Scratching up bulbs, pecking the fruit and vegetables, scratching soil all over the lawn, but their 'joie de vivre' is unrivaled.  I leave them playing out for hours!  I keep checking them like 'A mother Hen'.  There are lots of cats in our street and the occasional Sparrowhawk flies over, the sparrowhawk has taken several pigeons from my garden.  There is a very cute black and white cat in particular that is fascinated by the chickens, they cluck loudly when he is about, he sits outside their coop and scarpers when he sees me.   The Chickens stick together though and they like to hangout in the undergrowth for most of their time.  They also make a 'Clucking Commotion' if anything troubles them.  When I pop out to make a head count they delight me in their enthusiasm to see me.  The other day Daisy literally came skidding to a halt on the path.  Today I took the camera out and managed to get my definition of a  great 'Chicken photograph'.  All three of them are in it and facing the same direction!  Poppy and Daisy are sprinting down the path Aka 'Roadrunner style' beep beep!  Poor Rose is so desperate not to be left behind, she is flapping and running her fastest.  This is a lovely greeting, I have a little chat to them, they might peck my shoes or jump up to peck my clothes and then I leave them to it again.  I am still getting 3 lovely eggs each morning.  I am worried about the cold weather and glad they love each other so much as they sleep huddled together which keeps them warm.
( I do thank you all for popping by and humoring me with your kind comments on my ramblings. x )
'While The Cat is Away, The Mice will Play.'

Monday, 17 October 2011

Frittering Away!

I found this recipe at 'Alia's Creative Life' Blog, they are quick and crispy Vegetable Fritters.  I have never made anything like these before and ignoring the 'deep fried' aspect thought they are a good way to get the kids to consume vegetable.  They made a nice weekend snack in front of the T.V.  It is almost essential to have something to dip them into.  I used Home made 'Tamarind Sauce' the kids preferred Ketchup.
1 small cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrots, grated
2 onions, finely sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 small can of drained sweetcorn

Plain flour 125g
A mug of water.

Mix the flour and water to make a thick pouring consistency, you may need to add more water or more flour.
Stir the batter in to all of the vegetables and mix well.
Plop spoonfuls of this mixture into a hot deep fat fryer, until the fritters are golden.  Drain well and enjoy!  Next I would like to try Pakora, by adding Curry Powder to the batter mix and making spicy fritters....

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Rippling Along

Attic 24  and Little Tin Bird invited us to join their 'Ripple Along'.  At the last count on the 'Flickr' group there were 167 folks all rippling away!   I just couldn't resist over committing myself to a massive crochet project.  The back of my sofa is crying out for this, so we can snuggle under and watch TV.  I can see it now, me, my seven year old and the dog all fighting for a corner.  My seven year old thinks it is already fab and likes to drape it around himself and the 15 year old said he would like it for his bed!  I am delighted both boys have an appreciative eye for handmade hooky goodness.  It is a bit of a Yarn Eating Monster and highly addictive to work on.  I have tried a ripple pattern before and failed so I am rather chuffed to have mastered this.  I am now chugging along quite nicely.  It is a bit Bob Marley at the moment, but it isn't going to stay that way.  I am having help from my seven year old 'Supervisor' when it comes to colour selection, so I can blame him! 

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Teenagers! 'Bob Dylan' Cardiff 2011

I thought I would do a quick Bob Dylan tribute post with one of my favourite Bob Dylan songs.  My son, Henry, went to see Bob in Cardiff on Thursday.  Just don't tell his school that I thought a Bob Dylan gig would be infinitely more educational than a couple of days in a town centre High School!  The friend that he went with first saw Bob in 1964.  Henry has listened to Bob since he was tiny and then grew into buying  Dylan CDs with his pocket money. He also likes to play acoustic guitar and practices Dylan songs.  He loved the gig, he said Bob was "Very Rock n Roll".  That is not bad as he was 70 this year.  I don't feel very Rock n Roll at forty so I hope I improve with age!!!  I have ordered a harmonica for Henry as his ambition is to tour pubs playing Dylan songs!  What a week, Muesli, chickpeas and Bob Dylan....I will be knitting my own Granola in no time.
Love and Peace to All Y'all Maaannn!
"Keep a clean nose, watch the plain clothes,
You don't need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows."  

Friday, 14 October 2011


My friend was very proud of this little plant and sent me the photograph.  It is a 'Chickpea' plant complete with cute little pods.  I did not know you can grow these in the UK.  I love the fat little pods.  I also love chickpeas.  I buy the dried variety as this works out more economical than the canned and use my 'Slowpot' / 'crockpot' to prepare them in bulk.  When they are tender I then put them in to little bags in the freezer, so they are ready to drop in to soups, curries, stews, and salads.  I will also have to have a go at 'falafels'.  I love the Blog 'Alia's Creative Life' and really enjoyed the photographs that accompanied this recipe here Masala Garbanzos.  Garbanzos are good on 'Healthy Eating Plans'!  Inspired by Alia's recipe, I tweaked it a little to make 'Aloo Chana Chaat' in my trusty old 'Slowpot'.  I think this is a great healthy, tasty and thrifty recipe.

Aloo Chana Chaat

Garbanzos, (Chick Peas) 2 Cups (You can use them straight from the can or just boil Chickpeas)
Onions, 3, finely sliced
Tomato, 3, finely chopped
2tsp Garam Masala

2 red chilies finely chopped
six cloves of garlic finely chopped
Boiled Potato, 3 Medium, Peeled and Cubed
Coriander Leaves/Cilantro, 2 Tsp, Chopped

1) Heat some oil in a sauce pan or a wok.( I used that spray oil honest Guv!)
2) Saute the onion it becomes tender.  Put it into a slowpot on the hot setting.
3) Add the Garlic, chilies, Garam Masala, Chopped tomatoes and Potatoes.
4) Add the Garbanzos (Boiled Chickpeas) and stir well.
5) Cook on hot for 3 hours then turn it low until ready to eat.   Garnish with Coriander Leaves!
6) Serve Hot, with Tamarind Sauce or Chutney.

I also had a block of dried 'Tamarind' at the back of the cupboard.  I have never used Tamarind at all.  The same friend with the 'Chickpea' plant said her Hubby bought a block too and wondered what you do with 200g of the stuff.  I 'googled' and found a recipe for a sauce, the sauce apparently keeps really well.  Again I tweaked the recipe to suit my store cupboard.  

Tamarind Sauce
200g of Dried Tamarind
500ml of hot water
1tsp of chilli powder
2tsp Garam Masala
1tsp Salt
75g of sugar
1 large dessert spoon of Black Treacle

Put all the ingredients together and soak for 30 minutes.   Using a liquidizer or hand blender whizz until smooth.  Now for the labour intensive bit...rub the mixture through a sieve.   Bottle and store in the fridge.  This makes a delicious tangy sauce to add to curries or to eat as an condiment.  
Aloo Chana Chaat served with Homemade Tamarind Sauce

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Muesli Bars....and Chickens

I thought these would make a really healthy, quick breakfast.  They are very tasty...but this flamin diet Healthy Eating Plan does not seem to be working for me!  This week I put on half of the weight I have lost over the last four weeks.  I don't think it is all Muesli Bar either!  I have had a bad back this week, so I have not been very mobile.  I will be glad to feel well again and be more active.  I must try harder with the diet Healthy Eating Plan.  I would recommend these bars to anyone hoping to gain a few pounds!!!  They are great for kids lunchboxes too.  Oh and chickens are very partial to one or two!

Muesli Bars
Makes around 25 bars
2 oz/50g Butter
200 ml Golden Syrup
50g brown sugar
3 oz/75g wholemeal flour
6 oz/150g rolled oats
750g Muesli 

50g Craisins (Dried Cranberries)
6-8 eating apples (peeled and grated)

Melt the butter, syrup and sugar together.
Mix it into all the other ingredients.
Press into a baking tray and bake in a medium oven for 30-40 minutes.

Here is 'Poppy' scarpering past the 'Sage' she must be telepathic because I get 'bad' thoughts when I see 'Chicken and Sage' together.
Rose enjoying 'Windfall' Apple
Daisy, hanging out on the back step staring into the kitchen waiting for 'Goodies'  she would not like a  Diet  Healthy Eating Plan either.
I can't believe how quickly my sons have grown, I also can't believe how quickly my 'Girls' have grown.  They are about six months old and getting ready for their first Winter. They need fattening up with Muesli Bars.