Made from scrap

Made from scrap
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Friday, 30 November 2012

Homemade 'Cookie Butter' - Oh Yeah Ya Hear me!

Blogland can sometimes get you into a whole heap of trouble.  Over at A Trifle Rushed I read about 'Popcorn Treats'.  Euan and I found a fantastic 'Ducky Popcorn' maker in a charity shop for £3.00.

 It uses hot air to pop the corn and make delicious Popcorn in minutes with no mess at all.  Air Popped corn makes a delicious healthy snack.  A small amount of corn goes a very long way and a small 'Ducky' hat full makes a huge bowl of Popcorn.  It is fun to use 'Ducky' to pop corn too.  Perfect for TV or Movie night snacking.  I read Jude's post about 'Cookie Butter coated Popcorn' and became obsessed with the idea.  I had never heard of such an invention as 'Cookie Butter'.  I set about some research immediately.  I found a recipe Here and adapted it quite a lot.  I have never heard of Spekulatius Cookies either but tracked some down in a 'German' Supermarket as they are Seasonal and eaten accross Europe for 'The Feast Of Saint Nicholas' on December 5th.

  My version of 'Cookie Butter' goes something like this:

600g of Spekulatius Biscuits  (Speculoos)  These are a delicious, seasonal, spiced biscuit.
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tsp of Vanilla Essence
4 Tsp of Ground Cinnamon (well it is nearly Christmas)
2 tsp of Mixed Ground Spice
Approximately a Mug of Vegetable Oil
Approximately half a mug of skimmed milk
(I pretty much guessed quantities and whizzed with my hand blender until I go the taste and consistency that I wanted.  Oooops it took a lot of taste testing to get it just right)!

Oh Yes...Just right! 

I made one great big jar full and a teacup full.  I will be making some more next week and putting it into smaller jars for Christmas gifts.
               Euan thinks it is absolutely delicious too and has had it spread on crackers.  He said he would like it in sandwiches too.  I fancy it in my porridge or on rice pudding or toast or maybe just with a spoon!  Of course we must try it on freshly popped corn too.  For now we have eaten quite enough though as it sure aint Weight Watchery!  It is a lovely Spiced Festive treat though.  You really must give it a go.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Blog Give Away ...And The Winner Is...

Thank you to everyone who entered my Blog Give Away.  I love me a good 'Give Away'.  I used a random number generator and . . . drum roll please. . .
is the winner.  Danielle, I will get busy with the 'make' if you could get in touch and leave me a message with how I can get in touch with you for your address.  Your package should be with you before Christmas with some luck.  XXX

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Spinning Shropshire Fleece and other stories...

Do you remember in September me showing you this photograph of our Weaving Spinning and Dyeing Guilds meeting.  This is Evelyn, an incredibly skilled and knowledgeable spinner demonstrating how to skirt a fleece in preparation for spinning.  Skirting is the term used for sorting the raw unwashed fleece into that which is worth washing and spinning and that which is better off being put on the compost heap.  This is a Shropshire fleece.
As a Guild we are preparing for the Six Guilds Exhibition in September 2013.  I have never been to a Six Guilds Exhibition before...I think they take place every three to five years.  Our task as a guild is to spin and create a collaborative project using only Shropshire fleece.  The fleece has now been washed.  At our Annual Exhibition it was carded and my Mom and I have a chunk of it, actually a shopping bag size full of it each to spin in its natural colour.  It is a nice fleece to work with.  It has a springy texture and I really do not know how to describe it as it is coarse but soft at the same time soft and airy.  It is not as soft as Merino but not as coarse as Hebridean.  I think I would wear it but not directly next to my skin.  This particular fleece is rather a labour of love though.
I have oiled my wheel and lightly oiled the fleece too but look!  Oh dear it has rather a lot of VM (Vegetable Matter) embedded into the fibres.  It is clean!  For my first couple of sessions spinning it I was spending more time picking bits out than spinning.  I find that quite a chore and an irritating task.  Spin a bit, pick pick pick, spin a bit more pick pick pick catch my drift!  Seriously if this fleece was mine I would have abandoned it.
The resulting singles looks like a little white dog with fleas!  Nice eh?  So I have had a bit of a dilemma.  I have decided to just try my best and get it spun without worrying too much about it.  The end project is not going to be a garment it is going to be an 'Art Piece'.  I just worry in a collaborative project that I will be letting someone down.  Really though I do not have the personality type to cope with hours and hours of pick pick picking!  It is rather like counting grains of sand.  I did find some commercially prepared Shropshire 'tops' to buy but decided that would be cheating!  I will plod on and keep that in mind as a back up plan if the resulting yarn is too disappointing.  I love it's fuzziness.  If I could have fuzzy without the bits it would be perfect.  
             I have also been 'Corking' some of my handspun.  I have corked myself into oblivion!  Let me tell you corking this particular handspun is not for the faint hearted.
This yarn I called 'Rainbow Scrappy Beard'.  It is two ply.  I spun one bobbin of commercial scrap fibres;
 and one bobbin of 'Old Man's Beard' a fleece from an old work mate who rears sheep for meat.  They are crossbreed 'mules' and he was previously burning the fleece.

 I spun this in 2011.  I like the yarn and now it has been washed it is nice and soft.  I love the colours as I am corking.  Small things please small minds and all that!  I only have one skein of this yarn but I really wish I had enough to make a cardigan.  

Today has been incredibly blustery and wet.  The garden is turning into a swamp but it does not stop the chickens from having fun.  Lavender is still broody and only getting off the nest if I pick her up.  She is a lovely girl and this broodiness is a nuisance now.  I feel sorry for her.  She had a brief run around in the wind and drizzle today before returning to her imaginary duties.

You can play spot the chicken here as there are actually four in this picture.  The wind was so strong they were actually getting caught off guard and blown along the garden with their feathers all puffed up.  They have found a sheltered spot here.  It was funny to watch because they looked like 'old ladies' getting pushed at a Bus Stop and the noise they made as they got blown along sounded like how I imagine an old ladies getting pushed at a bus stop would sound.  The chickens would still rather be out running around in the elements than cooped up though.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

I Would Like To Ask For Your Help Again...

You know my sons are the 'apple of my eye'.  They are like chalk and cheese.  Henry is the oldest and was 'an only one' until he was 8yrs old.  He is a very patient older brother.  It is not easy being 16yrs old, I can only just about remember.  Henry has completed and enjoyed his training for his first part time job and will now be working all day on Saturdays and Sundays.  Mom will provide the taxi service to and from work.  He has had his calculator out and has been busy working out his wages.  He is also studying for A levels full time.  He is studying Philosophy, Psychology and Media.  He would like to travel and go to University.  I am grateful he is a 'worker' and willing to help himself.  It is not easy finding a job these days.

              Now look at all that hair!  Henry started to grow his hair about seven years ago.  He was fitted with a bone anchored hearing aid...that he wanted to hide.  (He hated the hearing aid anyway and never wore it)! That is another story!  I must admit I love the long hair.  On December 21st Henry will have his hair cut on the School Stage.  He has had some help from his friends to arrange the event and the fundraising.  I am impressed by young people who are willing to think about and help others.  He has finally decided to raise funds and donate his hair to Little Princess Trust.
This charity creates real hair wigs for boys and girls that have lost their hair due to illness or cancer treatment.  I have created a Just Giving Page for part of Henry's fundraising as some of my friends and family have said the would like to donate to the cause.  We would appreciate all donations however small.   

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

You know when you see something and it just makes you go WOW!

I just had to point you in the direction of this beautiful, stunning piece of work.  It is 'Boxing Hares' a Hand felted Painting by Marmalade Rose.  If you click the link it will take you to the Blog Post about it with some more detailed photographs.  I just can't get my 'hat off' as to how clever and gorgeous this work is.  I would never get tired of looking at it.  There is some truly inspirational stuff going on out there and being shared in 'Blog Land'.  I couldn't resist sharing.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Lucy 'In The Sky' 'Festive Crochet Blog Give Away'

I think it is long overdue that I have a 'Give Away'.  Tis exciting!  I like to have little recaps of my Bloggy stats every once in a while and I am gobsmacked yet delighted that anyone should wish to read my wafflings at all.  Thank you.    291 Followers is awesome . . .visitors from 153 different countries.  Phew 153 different countries.  I could not even name that many countries . . .my newest country is Liechtenstein . . .gotta get me a map and find out where that is!!!  Doh!
              I still love 'Blogging' and reading all your comments and following your blogs.  I read blogs more than I read books or newspapers and I prefer Blog News and Blog Stories to 'Real World' news.  I also learn so much about all sorts of stuff and nonsense.  Stuff and nonsense of the bestest kind of course that makes me happy!  Hoorah for Blog Land!
               Now Down to the Nitty Gritty. . . the prize. . . there will be one winner drawn by random number generator to win:  The Lucky Ducky will receive. . . 
This incredibly Cute Christmas Crochet Book.

These incredibly sharp and pretty scissors


These incredibly fab and groovy buttons.

That is not all. . . oh no!

Finally I am offering to make. . . yep me. . . find time to make, one of the following projects of your choice;

To enter I would like you to be a follower of my Blog Wafflings and leave me a comment on this post telling me which one of the above items you would like me to make for you if your number is selected.  (Please don't forget to leave me a method to contact you if you are the LUCKY DUCKY).   New Followers are always welcome and I will post to anywhere on the planet!  The closing date will be 24.11.12.
To clarify the crochet items you can choose from are: 

All of the above make ideal little gifts for over the festivities.  If you click the links they will take you to the patterns.

Good Luck.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, 16 November 2012

What Do You Call This?

I call it 'Corking', I know some people call it 'French Knitting', others call it 'Knitting Nancy' or 'Knitting Dollies'.  This was the first 'yarn craft' that I learned as a child.  I was quite small too maybe five years old.  It is a great winter craft for kids, particularly competitive siblings.    I 'Corked' miles of this stuff as a kid.  I used to have races with my cousins to see who could get theirs the longest.  They grew so long we had to braid them to stop them from getting tangled. I do not think I have ever seen anything actually made out of corking.  I think I was trying to make a rug for the living room!  I have always been good at 'biting off more than I could chew'.  At the 'Weaving, Spinning and Dyeing Guild' on Saturday these little 'Corking dollies, looms or whatever you call them had been made by one of the members they were sold for the grand total of 20p.  Mine used to be made out of an empty wooden cotton reel with tacks in.  Now wooden cotton reels are pretty tricky to come by.  I have used 'mass produced' Corking thingamejigs and they do not work well in my opinion, the plastic ones in particular are terrible.  I taught Euan how to 'Cork' tonight.  At first he was all flustered and crabby about it but very quickly he got the hang of it.  He has now been sitting quietly 'corking' for an hour.  He is busy making a coaster.  He keeps measuring and rolling it up and is very impressed with his progress.  He has his colours all planned out.
He wants it big enough for the mug to fit on and all the colours to show around the edge.  He is already talking about breaking 'World Records' for 'Corking' and going into business with me, him corking and me sewing it up.
He has suggested a Yard Sale once every couple of weeks selling our 'Corking' makes.  In the current economic climate this really could be worth a try.  I may get him his own Etsy Store.
            If you have children you need to keep quiet you could do worse than get them 'Corking'  there is a good tutorial Here.
             Oh no!  I am getting delusions of grandeur again.  Look at this beautiful French Knitted Bag Designed by Debbie Tomkies.

Debbie has a Blog Hue and Dye and is the proprietor for DT Craft and Design a 'must have a look' for hand dyers.  I did not know 'corking' could be turned into anything so beautiful.  I will place an order with Euan!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Lucky Ducky (Part 2)

Euan has a couple of extra days off school this week.  Today as his school is used as a polling station and tomorrow is a teacher training day.  Since his brother started work at the largest 'soft play' centre around these parts Euan has been desperate to go.  He sat outside the play centre waiting to collect Henry in the car and 'longing' is not the word.  Euan really really wants to hit this 'Play Centre' with gusto!  Today is the day.  I am going to collect his little friend shortly and take them both.  Henry has worked one shift on Saturday and has another shift this week.  He totally exceeded my expectations and more importantly his own expectations.  He loved his first shift.  Dancing, partying, speaking over the loud speaker and making special appearances at birthday parties as 'Blossom' the dog in a giant pink dog costume.  The manager spoke to him at the end of his shift and said he had heard really good things from his staff about Henry's 'work'.  I am really proud of him and happy that so far is is enjoying work.  He does not so much enjoy cleaning the squished and half eaten party food.  It sounds like a fun first job and of course he is Euan's hero.
            Part 2 of Lucky Ducky post is another show off!  Showing off my 'prize' from another lovely Blog Give Away.  This time it was Amanda at Eight by Six.  Amanda's blog is lovely and we share many of the same interests.  I was over the moon to win this Give Away.
I opened the box to be greeted by 'red'.
Some lovely red felt, perfect for seasonal projects.
These parcels were great and sealed with an Eight by Six sticker.  They are cool aren't they?
I wish you could smell the lavender from this pin cushion.  The fabric is too cute.
This little felt heart will find pride of place on my Christmas Tree.  You never know I may find time to make more!
I love this fabric.  I wil think carefully what to make with it.  I am building a little collection of fabrics now that I am very fond of.  I have also signed up for a sewing course that starts in January.  Fingers crossed I will be 'sewing' things soon and becoming firm friends with my sewing machine.
Made in England needles!  My town grew up from the 'Needle Making Industry' and it was a heard life for many.  I keep meaning to take you all on a trip to our 'Needle' museum one day.  It is on my list of things to do.
Finally when I opened the 'Love Heart Tin' it is packed with pretties.  I love my sewing box.  I used to love my Grandmother's sewing box when I was a child.  I am over the fact that the Universe blessed me with two boys rather than girls but I do have a secret desire for a granddaughter one day and I hope to share my sewing box delights!  I might have to share my 'sewing box delights' with you all one day too.
             A big 'Thank You' to Amanda.  This parcel really makes me smile.
               I am long overdue a 'Give Away' of my own and I hope to get one up and running in the next couple of days . . .Watch this space. . .

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

I Am A Lucky Duck!

I spent my winnings from the 'Crochet Solar System' on a bunch of Roses for my Mom.  She did stuff the Moon for me and I think that was the deal winner.   Mom's can never have too many flowers.   I have been on a bit of a winning streak of late.  I am making the most of it!  I do not enter that many Blog 'Give Aways' but I do seem to get lucky.  I am quite embarrassed of winning for some reason.  When I read my name as the 'winner' I may as well have won the lottery for how silly I get!  Winning is great.  Life is a game, live to win!  When I share pictures of my 'goodies' I know you will appreciate them.  I won two 'Give Aways' in one week!  How good is that?   I would like to share the first 'win' in this post.  
           The first was from Mel over at Mellie Moo Crochet.  I love it over at Mellie Moos.  I found Mel's Blog as she is busy working on 'The International Diploma of Crochet'.  I find this diploma course fascinating and Mel shares her work in progress, her samples and her feedback as she makes progress along her journey to getting her 'Crochet Diploma'.  I would love a 'Diploma in Crochet' but as you know I do tend to hopelessly over commit myself to things.  Mel gets up to all sorts of interesting stuff as well as her crochet she is a 'Morris Dancer' and I always enjoy her photography.  We also live in the same county!  I would recommend you follow Mel's Blog it is a treat.  She has an adorable Crochet Blue Rabbit as her Blog Header and Mel leaves little crochet surprises in random places for the 'world' to find and her crochet creations to go and have adventures.  In my prize package there were two chocolate 'Halloween' lollies.

Both of my boys were very grateful!  These skellybobs did not last long.  Also in the package was a beautiful crochet doily.  You really can never have too many of these and this one is a beauty:
I have never made a doily but one day I am sure I will.
I also love this pretty wooden buttons.  The right project will come along for these and then I will be very happy to use them.
              Now I have a terrible terrible confession.  The day the parcel arrived I was in a rush as I got home from work and needed to get out for Bonfire Night with Euan.  I messaged Mel on Facebook to thank her and tell her how much I loved the 'prize' a vintage trio of a cup, saucer and side plate.  I love vintage tea cups so much.  I told Mel how I was looking forward to a Cuppa with my lovely 'new' cup and saucer.  They were all safely bubble wrapped in the box.  I left the box on my bed and rushed out.  On my return I found a disaster which made me sad!
Gah!  It pains me to look at it!  Still wrapped in the bubble wrap the cup was in pieces.  The only culprit I can think of is the dog!  She like is on my bed and she has avoided it for over a week now.  I think she jumped without looking and landed on box, breaking the teacup!  I love this pattern too!  On the bright side, oh yes I try to find the bright side, I do love 'mismatched' tea sets.  Poor poor cup though I never did get to slurp my tea out of it!  I already messaged Mel again to fess up as I felt bad!
          You have not seen the bestest part of the package yet!  I always try to save the bestest until last.  Just have a look who has come to live at my house:

 My very own 'Crochet Blue Rabbit' and I love him a bit too much!  He may be the 'cup breaker' as he has a naughty streak, he never seems to be where I left him!  Strange Rabbit!  He definitely likes to travel.  I am hoping he will join me on my adventures.  He is small enough to fit in my pocket but I really would hate to lose him if he hops off.  Rabbits of the mischievous kind are quite a responsibility.  I would like to say a very big Thank You to Mel for my lovely goodies.  I do actually feel 'Lucky' and it is a good feeling.


Sunday, 11 November 2012

'Rainbows Preemie Project' November 2012 Update

I can't quite believe how quickly these monthly updates come around.  I must be getting 'old' as time really does fly and I can't quite get my 'hat off' about it!
             It has been another fantastic month for this 'Rainbows - Preemie Project'.   The kindness and generosity of Blog Land Folk has really exceeded my expectations again.  Let me tell ya I have a lovely little stash of clothes to deliver to the 'Maternity Ward'.  I am going to keep going and donate in July 2013.  Euan would actually like to go on his birthday to donate the items.  As a child I always hated hospitals ( I am not too happy about them as an adult truth be know) but to Euan hospitals are familiar 'happy' places and he actually enjoys going to hospital.  As you know he was eight weeks premature.  He was a strong prem baby and did not need more than a couple of days of 'Special Care'.  He was diagnosed with 'Left Foot' talipes (club foot) during a 20 week pregnancy scan.  He was 'on the books' for Birmingham Children's Hospital and had a Consultant before he was born.  He was in full hip to toe plaster cast at six days old despite only weighing 5lbs.  He had his first operation at about ten weeks old and then had further plaster cast treatment most weeks.  Weekly hospital visits were just part of his life.  Plaster cast treatments are effective in babies with clubfoot for all but 4% of them.  Euan was one of the 4% it was not successful for.  His bones, muscles and tendons needed correcting with surgery.  He had his last operation the day before his sixth birthday and spent his birthday in hospital.  He has never complained or been fearful.  He actually remembers he had a great sixth birthday, the nurses gave him presents and made a fuss of him.  He like hospitals and he like hospital coffee shops especially the cakes.  If he wants to go to hospital on his birthday. . . I will see what I can do.
                I have been working on a couple of little cardigans made with some of the yarn donated by Helen and the Loveknitting Team:

That was a lovely and generous gesture of them to donate yarn for 'Rainbows'.  I was really delighted and surprised to find the offer of yarn left as a 'Blog Comment' after my last 'Rainbows Update'.  I have shopped with and the service and delivery was super speedy and efficient.  If you are sorting any 'Seasonal' knitting or crochet projects out, or are looking for gift ideas. . . they are a great place to start for your crafty needs.  The cardigans I have made need finishing touches and should be ready for me to show you for next months update.  Not to worry as I have lots to show you now anyway.
            I had a lovely box of goodies arrive from Steph and her Mom from 'Show and Tell Blog'.  Steph and her Mom have been really busy and the box was a treat to open.
It was all carefully wrapped in tissue paper.  I do not know where Steph gets her creative energy from she is a prolific crafter and artist.  You can check out Steph's work Here.
Steph's Mom made some beautiful, tiny hats, cardigans and booties.  
It is a shock to have a Premature baby.  No body prepares by buying clothes for teeny babies.  It is so lovely to be able to dress them in beautiful, well made clothes that make them look adorable.

I was so relieved to have clothes that fitted Euan.  It really pestered me what he would wear and that nothing would fit.  It seems like a silly thing to be worried about but we all want out newborns to look sweet and feel comfortable.
Steph's Mom (I do not know her name) found these pretty little patterns Here and Here, they are free patterns.  The hand knits I had for Euan were very plain.  All of these cardigans are very sweet and special and I am sure will be treasured by someone.
Also in the box were blankets.
Isn't this beautiful?  Even my July baby, born in a heatwave needed layers of woollies for indoors.  Premature  babies cannot retain or regulate their temperature so need wrapping up in woolly hats, cardigans, booties and blankets even for indoors in the Summer.  They are dressed like they are ready for the snow.  A big Thankyou and (((Hugs))) to Steph's Mom. 
  Steph made this collection of little hats.  They are so cute.  They really made me smile.  For the first few hours if you have no clothes to fit the baby they get wrapped in blankets and wear woolly hats.  These will be very useful.  I love the fuzzy ones.  I would have chosen those for my baby.  He would have looked like a tiny Bluebird chick!  
          If you have any time and would like to donate to 'Rainbows' I would love to hear from you my E-mail address is here On the 'Rainbows' Page.  I am also collecting links to 'Premature Baby' crochet and knitting patterns on this page.   'Mom to Bobby' from Upon Butterfly Wings also left me a comment on the 'Rainbows' page.  She has reminded me to also request knitted or crochet donations for 'Angel Babies' as a sad truth is not all of these precious babies survive.  Burial garments and blankets are always gratefully received.  I intend to make some items for 'Angel Babies' myself.  
Thank you for reading and thank you for your support.