Made from scrap

Made from scrap
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Thursday, 31 March 2011

10 day old chicks - finally I have girls!

The Cosmos blessed me with two sons, I thought I wanted girls to cook and craft with but I did get over it and adjust to boys and one out of the two likes cooking and craft!  A Mother of my youngest son's friend has two sons and has just found out she is expecting twin boys, she is a little disappointed.  Today three girls arrived at my house, Poppy, Rosie and Daisy (named by my six year old).  They are the chicken variety.  They look quite exhausted with their adventures.  They are cheaping away in the living room.  The dog is bannished to the kitchen and she isn't happy about it.  The budgie however seems delighted to have company.  My 14 year old did not want chickens but thinks these are great and keeps asking if he can hold one.  The six year old did a victory dance when I told him the chooks had arrived.  He told me tonight he has always wanted chickens.  I have chicken researched myself senseless, to the point of obsession.  My youngest has gone to bed tonight reading the chicken care manual.  The chicks will be 10 days old tomorrow.  Seven had to go back to the 'Farm' today as I felt three was a sensible amount to take and couldn't take any more.  Everyone at work has said they will buy eggs off me, what they don't know is I will charge £1.50 for each egg!  I will try and get pictures of the 'Girls' tomorrow. 

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Floral Dance - Yummy Yarn



This is Patricia's photograph as she has the knack for photographing yarn and capturing the true colours.

 I bought some gorgeous yarn from  YummyYarn UK
Kettle Dyed Shetland Wool 2ply 100g -
458 yards/419 metres per 100g approx
It is called Floral Dance.

I have never knitted with such fine yarn before but I couldn't resist the beautiful floral colours of this.  I searched long and hard for a suitable pattern to try and decided on...
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/violets-are-blue
The pattern is rated as 'easy' and the reviews I have read said, it was a pleasure to knit and very quick.  They also state the pattern is 'Spot on'.  So far I have frogged it seven times and this afternoon I gave it to my Mom to see if she could work out what on earth I am doing wrong.  My Mom struggled a bit but my sons were being boys and the dog was being playful so it was hard to concentrate.  Well, my Mom now thinks I should be on track with it, I am worried to try again as I have given it only one more chance!  I have work to do before I can get back to knitting today.  I seem to be a little jinxed lately.  Does anyone have any advice for when one feels they are about to throw a knitting tantrum or get aggressive with knitting needles?  It would make me feel better if you could share your disasters and frogging records!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Attention - Fantastic yarn and Fibre Give Away -with lots of other goodies too


This is a sample of MHE's fibre not the actual prizes for photographs of the actual prizes go and look at Helen's blog :)


I must draw your attention to a fabulous Blog Give away, that is to celebrate 1 year of myheartexposed on folksy.  "My Heart Exposed Yarns - Home grown natural dyes, home made, 100% natural organic spinning fibres and handspun yarns made by independent mother and daughter fibre artisan's Helen and Angelica Jacobs-Grant. No harsh chemicals or irritants are in any of our products so they are kind to your delicate skin and our environment. Inspiring creativity for life. MHE are proud to be regular contributors to The Fibreholics UK sample box scheme http://thefibreholics.co.uk/ More info and access to all of the online pages go to http://myheartexposed.co.uk/."


Examples of some beautiful hand dyed Kid Mohair (Rumplestiltskin)

(Duchess)

(Carmen)

(Phantom)

  See Helen's Blog for the various ways you can enter this 'Give away' competition there are Twelve fantastic  prizes up for grabs including generous vouchers for the online store, Helen's photographs of the prizes can be found on her blog.   Ooooh its exciting I love them.  Helen you are a fantastic 'Fibre Artisan' a real inspiration in many ways and a great cyber buddy x



Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Aaaaahhhhh! Spring Chicks...



I woke up this morning with my mind on chicks, rather than the Lesson observation I was having today by a representative of The Local Authority!  I hurried myself to work early, like a broody mother Hen.  I wondered how the little fella from yesterday would have managed the night.  I met my colleagues who were also early and excited to see what had happened overnight.  They was much ooohing and aaahhhing and we managed to get a final beak count of nine fluffy chicks.  They were all cheaping loudly in the incubator and rocking and rolling the three remaining unhatched eggs.  They needed to be transferred to a heated 'Brooder' box.  We plugged in the brooder to warm it up and immediately the bulb that heats it blew!  We had a panic, two shops later and three bulbs later we were sorted.  Then a chick got its head stuck between the element cover of the incubator and the incubator wall, it looked very poorly.  I ran around like a headless chicken while my workmates tried to release the loudly protesting chick.  Thankfully they managed.  At one point we were actually checking each others pulse rates as the stress was considerable, before any pupils arrived.  When the kids arrived we had transferred the stronger looking chicks to the brooder.
The children were very excited to see their chicks.  They spent an hour observing and seemed fascinated, but they have not seen one hatch yet.  About an hour after hometime chick number ten made its appearance.  There are two eggs left and I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will hatch.  The children have named the chicks, Max, Ken (Tucky), Chicken Little, Kung Fu Panda, Bob Marley and Charlie,  I can't remember the other names!  Aren't they cute?  Incidently my lesson observation went pretty well I got 'good' in several areas and 'outstanding' in three areas.  The three areas of 'outstanding' were my relationship with the pupils, classroom organisation and planning and the management of pupils behaviour.  I am eggsausted after a cracking day at work, shell I go on...sorry they are terrible yolks!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Spring chicks...


I stayed late at work today, but I wasn't working!  I teach children with Emotional and behaviour problems, I am in my eleventh year at the same place.  Currently I work three days a week but occasionally more if there are staffing issues.  This year is the first time we have had an incubator to hatch chicks.  The eggs were delivered this afternoon.  At home time a little crack appeared in one egg and four out of twelve eggs were wobbling.  If you were quiet you could hear the eggs cheaping.  Very cute.  I have never seen a chick hatch before it was fascinating.  One chick was an early bird.  I called my Mom to bring my sons round to watch.  After approximately a two hour struggle with little cracks appearing and alot of wobbling the egg split open and out popped a bedraggled and heavily panting chick.  He unfurled his little self and stretched his legs and wings, with lots of resting and panting.  Within about ten minutes his little beady eyes were open and he was cheaping like crazy, bumping in to the other eggs.  We were all spellbound.  I felt sorry turning out the lights and leaving one lonely chick, but I am sure by the morning he will have playmates.  I think the pupils will be amazed tomorrow, it is a shame they missed the first one.  It will be nice to see the bedraggled chick all fluffed up and dried out.  He looked like a little alien.  My camera was not at work but I will take it tomorrow and see if I can get pictures to show you.  I am not sure if chicks like flash photography.  The man that dropped them off will collect them in twelve days he said if anyone wants any they can have them.  He suggested a minimum of three.  I have a small garden and a dog that currently loves to chase birds (I think I could teach her to leave them though) and twelve days is not long enough to build a chicken enclosure.  I would love chickens, I have twelve days to convince myself it just isn't practical.  Impulse buys with yarn and looms and stuff is one thing but chickens!!!  My youngest son is on my side and wants chickens too.  Any chicken advice for the urban garden would be gratefully received....   

Monday, 21 March 2011

Another 'Ta Dah' Tunisian crochet scarf, cowl but definitely not mobius type of thing!


I am beginning to think all of my 'Ta Dah' moments maybe like this...I have finished my Tunisian Crochet thingamebob,  I wore it proudly to work today.  I knitted with the Recycled Sari Silk Waste Yarn and then I loved the way it looked in Tunisian Crochet - Simple Stitch .  Unfortunately it is a much denser stitch, so the same amount of yarn did not go nearly as far as Garter and Drop stitch.  I thought I would try and make some sort of Mobius twist scarf/cowl but I was foyled again.  I think a true mobius twist has to be made in one piece rather than seamed.  I managed to get my 14 year old son to model the 'Thingamebob' as he is far more beautiful than me!  My next couple of projects are dish cloths, I shouldn't go far wrong with them!  I also have a 'Lucy bag' from Attic 24 in progress.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

'Ta-Dah' Meadowsweet Granny Stripe

This is my first Attic 24 inspired blanket, I have crocheted plenty of Granny Squares and Granny Stripes in the past but had never seen such lovely colourful blankets as those on Attic 24.  When my work colleague found out she was expecting a baby I was delighted for her and knew I wanted to make something special.  She has had a baby girl, called Imogen, so this is Imogen's blanket.  I am thrilled for my friend but I so miss her at work as it just isn't the same without her!  I have only just completed the 'Blankie' so I have not handed it over yet, I can't wait too.  I don't actually like holding other peoples babies, I like a little look and then I would rather chin wag with the new Mom and see what I can do to help out...washing up, making a cup of tea etc...It will be lovely to catch up and meet Imogen.
I made this with a 'Lucy Pack' of Stylecraft.  I am hopeless at choosing and co-ordinating colours, it was somewhat of a random selection, but I wanted more pinks than any other colour.  I also decided to be a bit experimental and break each row with the Meadow green colour.  I worked it in two rows of Granny stripe, followed by one row of double crochet in Meadow Green.  The three row pattern meant that there was no right or wrong side, and the rows of double crochet appeared in thin and slightly thicker alternate stripes.  I quite like the effect.  I think these blankets are like our children 'We all love our own!'  
I thought long and hard about edging, I wondered about a frilly shell pattern, plain meadow double crochet, I love the Tutorial on 'Crochet with Raymond' for the neat little zig zag edge.


Then I looked at Teresa's edging, I loved the idea of Tulips, grass and sky.  How Arty for a granny stripe.
  

I chose the carnival edging and my six year old son approved and complemented the work in progress.  I nearly frogged it many times, as I was unsure of the the wonky zig zags, but resolved to keep going and try blocking, I have never blocked anything before. 

I wondered should I have just kept a plain edge or should I have gone for a shell edge...I decided you could ponder it for ever, so stuck with the 'carnival' zig zags.   I bought a packet of 200 pins for the blocking job and ran out!   It has taken all day to dry on top of the washing line in some warm sunshine.  I am now feeling underwhelmed by the finished article, it is a bit of an anti-climax.  I am trying not to be disappointed and I don't have the heart to frog the edge now and try to make myself happier with it.  It is pretty just not quite what I hoped for. 


It may be a while before I Granny stripe again and even longer before I try 'carnival edging'.  I think 'Carnival edging' would be great for smaller projects.  Not quite the Triumphant 'Ta-dah' moment I had anticipated.   :)


Friday, 18 March 2011

Weaving Spinning and Dyeing Guild - Design Workshop


On Saturday 12th March I attended the Monthly meeting of the 'Birmingham and District Guild of Weaving Spinning and Dyeing'.  This month it was a design workshop lead by Stacey Harvey-Brown.
"Stacey Harvey-Brown is an artist weaver, speaker, teacher and author, specialising in creating satellite, aerial and microscopic images in 2 ½ dimensions, sharing her love of weaving through exhibiting, giving talks, seminars and workshops, teaching absolute beginners through to advanced jacquard students, and writing widely on weaving, life and philosophy."
  I had no idea what to expect.  I am not at all 'arty'.  I need not have worried.  Stacey was very reassuring and I just soaked up all sorts of information and ideas not only from Stacey but other guild members and visitors.  It is really refreshing to be a room full of creative people, working on different projects with varying levels of experience.  Our task was to choose a 'design focus', an image or object, to work on to translate into a textile.  Stacey's focus was weaving.  She produces fantastic tapestry weavings and textured weavings.   I couldn't do justice to her work by attempting to explain it, you can link to her website here
The Loomroom
Guild members were not expecting to take a completed project home, we were exploring the process and collation of ideas and the stages involved in working ideas into textiles.  I am a complete novice to these concepts.  We had access to a wide variety of materials and books to explore.  My Mom settled to exploring a 'Sunset' and she was busy painting and finding yarns to match the colours and textures of the photograph, she claimed not to know what she was doing, but it kept her quiet and it looked great to me.  I have made a note to myself I need to invest in a large scrapbook and a pallet of water colour paints for exploring colour.  As is usual with my 'Learning style' I did not settle to my task well,  I started out looking at a photograph of a 'Summer meadow', then changed my mind a worked on a Pheasant tail feather that I have had for about a year.  I spent a long time closely examining the colours, patterns, line and texture on my feather, I tried to sketch it and recreate it in 'alternative' colours.   I get easily distracted nosing at what everyone else is up to.  I do learn a lot that way and I am in total awe of what individuals can and do achieve.  I learnt about 'Weave it' style square looms and had a demo and a play.



Examples of completed 'Weave it' squares

I am on a promise next month to learn how to warp a Rigid Heddle loom.  This may be ambitous though as next month is a 'Spinning Workshop' looking at creating Arty Batts of fibre.  I should stay focussed for that.  One guild member had a large collection of work she had produced for a 'City and Guilds' Textile course a good number of years ago.  She was the only member in the class to achieve a distinction, she showed me her process for getting from ideas to completed designs and it was fascinating.  For one example she used the designs from the outside of Romanian monastries to create woven Romanian style Aprons and recorded the process from start to finish.
 
This is an image from a 'Google' search to show the style of an 'antique' Romanian Apron

I found this image on a 'Google' search just to illustrate the decorative features on the outside of a 'Romanian' Monastry 
In this meeting I also managed to aquire a weaving book, some cones of thread and a fantastic Inkle Loom!  Not only is my impulse buying bad enough but the Inkle Loom was positively thrust in my direction, I did not know I even wanted one!!!  I accused the offending Guild member of being a bad influence but she insisted she was 'encouraging' me...as if I need it!

An Inkle Loom
I always return home exhausted from these meetings as my brain goes into overdrive.  I need a month to recover ready for the next adventure.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day 2011 - Beef Brisket slow cooked in Guinness




I really enjoy cooking using the Slow pot/Crock pot.  I find it very convenient if I have been working for the day to come home to food all ready and waiting to be dished out.  It is an economical way of cooking taking into account ingredients and fuel.  This meal is ideal for a Saint Patricks Day Celebration.  It makes a rich, hearty pot roast, using a relatively cheap cut of meat that is cooked in a way to make it tender and succulent.  It also makes use of healthy pulses, barley and lentils and whatever seasonal root vegetables you have to hand.  The only liquid added to the pot is a large can,or bottle of Guinness.  It is always nice to have some extra Guinness to slurp your merry way along. 

Ingredients

1 joint of Brisket
2 or three large carrots/peeled and chunked
half a swede/peeled and chunked
2 onions or leeks/ washed/ peeled and sliced
1 parsnip/peeled and chunked
1turnip/peeled and chunked
2 sticks of celery/washed and sliced (or any combination of vegetables you like or have to hand)
2 to 3 oz of pearl barley
2 to 3 oz of lentils Green or red
1 large can or bottle of Guinness
Salt/ Pepper and herbs to your taste. 

Method

Place all the ingredients into the slow pot, and cook on high for approximately 5 hours, or on medium for about 7 hours.  I use a gravy thickener just before serving if necessary.  Serve with roast or mashed potatoes or crusty bread.

Top of the Mornin to ye.
I will leave you with a some traditional Irish blessings...

May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your windowpane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.



Bless those minding cattle,
And those minding sheep,
And those fishing the sea
While the rest of us sleep.



“May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgotten”


    “May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past”

May your troubles be as few and as far apart
as my Grandmothers teeth.


Phew I think I am back!!!

I have been missing Blogland a great deal, I have had serious withdrawal symptoms.  I have had Laptop troubles as I was not on wireless and I had slight computer damage that meant I could not connect.  You never miss the water until the well runs dry.  I do not know how I have managed to solve my problem it was trial and error tonight, I didn't have a clue what I was doing and then suddenly I had my Internet connection again.  It's like magic!  Good job I prepared my St Paddies day post in advance!   I am glad to be back :)

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Pancake Day 2011

It is that time of year again...I have no will power so I have never observed Lent or giving anything up for Lent but I am partial to a Pancake or two.  This year I had two able assistants and they did a good job, both with the making and the eating.


We eat our pancakes with sugar and lemon...Mmmmm
 Pancakes
Basic Batter Recipe - Ingredients for making about 8 pancakes (More if you use a smaller pan)
4oz (100g) plain flour.
Half a Pint (250ml) of milk.
1 Standard Egg. (Size 2)
Pinch of Salt (half teaspoon)

Method
I have got a favourite small pan for pancakes, I use vegetable oil and heat it until it smokes.  Then I drain off the excess oil into a cup and swirl around some pancake mixture into the hot pan.  I cook it until it looks set and little holes appear in the pancake.  I did try tossing, but the dog gets in the way so it was safer to flip!  Both of my sons ate until they lost count!  When they were fit to burst they generously let me have a couple.  They experimented with cream, then butter, but both returned to the traditional sugar and lemon juice.  My youngest said 'Pancake Day was the best day of his life'.  I like kids that are easy to please :)


Saturday, 5 March 2011

Thank You for 2000 Pageviews


I am delighted to have reached 2000 Pageviews, on my Birthday too! Thank you for reading  :)
from The Birthday Queen - (well I have a couple more hours until I abdicate!)

Give Away Winners - Announced

These are my Birthday Blooms, the dog sat on the daffodils in the garden so she selected those for me. 

The Gerberas have little crystals pinned through their centres...I have never seen that before...
Now on with the business...

I randomly selected four winners for 'Teatime Treats' and they are:
 Apricot corner ( I only entered her once although it looks like she is following me twice)
Helen
Louise
and Kirsty xxx

If the winners could PM me their address via Ravelry I can get the prizes posted out.

Friday, 4 March 2011

The Philosophical 40th


One more day of being 39, tomorrow I will be in my Forties.  I think it's a good age to be, I can probably work it to my advantage somehow!  I have found a few thought provoking quotations that I think are rather apt. 

Life begins a Forty - written by John Lennon (for Ringo Starr)
They say life begins at forty,
Age is just a state of mind.
If all that's true,
You know, that i've been dead for thirty-nine.

And if life begins at forty,
Well, i hope it ain't the same
It's been tough enough without that stuff
I don't wanna to be born again.

Well, i tried to sweep the slate clean
With a new broom ev'ry day
If that don't work,
I'll jerk around until my next birtday

Yeah, life begins at forty,
Age is just a state of mind.
Well, if all that's true
You know that i've been dead for thirty-nine.


__________________________________

"Lived in this town all my life an' I'm goin' on forty-three years old. Know everything that's happened here since before I was born."
To Kill a Mockingbird
Sheriff Tate, Chapter 30.


 "You're not 40, you're eighteen with 22 years experience."
Anonymous ...


"Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age." 
~Victor Hugo


"It's sad to grow old, but nice to ripen." 
 ~Brigitte Bardot


"I was wrong to grow older.  Pity.  I was so happy as a child." 
 ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras, 1942, translated from French by Lewis Galantière


"To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old." 
 ~Oliver Wendell Holmes 

"Age is opportunity no less,
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away,
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Morituri Salutamus



"None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm." 
 ~Henry David Thoreau


"Middle age is when a narrow waist and a broad mind begin to change places." 
~Author Unknown

"I don't do alcohol anymore - I get the same effect just standing up fast." 

 ~Author Unknown

"Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age.  Sometimes age just shows up all by itself." 

 ~Tom Wilson

"It's hard to feel middle-aged, because how can you tell how long you are going to live?"
  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960






Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Glamorgan Sausages - Vegetarian recipe

These leeks were picked this evening
(Staying with the Welsh theme I decided to make Glamorgan Sausages)

Glamorgan Sausages
500g bread crumbs
250g of strong Welsh Cheddar (grated)
4/5 Medium leeks (washed and sliced)
3medium eggs
50g of Welsh butter
A bunch of sage leaves (finely chopped)
Pepper for seasoning

Gently fry the leeks in the melted butter.  Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese, and sage.  Season the mixture with pepper.  When the leeks are soft add them with the butter to the breadcrumb mixture.  Mix really well.  Add the eggs to bind the mixture to a firm 'dough'.  Shape into sausages and fry until they are Golden brown all over.  (You could also add mustard to the mixture, wholegrain is tasty in this recipe.)


There are many variations on this recipe.  They contain no meat but are very substantial and make a good main course dish.  They are very easy to make and they make an economical use of bread that is going stale and may otherwise go to waste.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Knitted Daffodils... I Wander'd lonely as a cloud





As a child I had to learn this poem off by heart at school, needless to say I can't remember it now!   For oft I lie on my couch in a vacant or pensive mood!  ( Some may say a little too oft!)

"Daffodils" (1804)
I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.


By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).