Friday, 6 December 2013

The weather outside is frightful...

Whilst feeling festive last night I decided I wanted to make something other than a tree decoration. As a child I never had a stocking so I decided that would be perfect to make. Armed with my cereal box (to make a template), felt, embroidery thread and needle I set to work...

In my opinion, there is nothing cuter for Christmas than blanket stitch... would you agree?

I drew a stocking template on my cereal box, several times might I add; I just couldn't get the right amount of 'curviness'. However, I am happy with the final shape, especially the heel and toe patches.

The idea for lettering came from looking at a picture in a magazine where there were several stockings hanging on a fireplace and each had a name on. When I'm older and have a house and a family I will definitely be doing that! I wanted to try it out with a simple letter shape, but one that could also be used to give as a gift (providing it turned out okay)... so, T for Tom.

The actual colours are a forest green, red and white but my mobile phone camera filter didn't quite do the colours justice so here is one with no filter.

I hope you like the design, I'd love to know your thoughts! Please leave a comment. xx

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Christmas is coming!

I have been waiting until it is officially December to post pictures of my Christmas decorations! How exciting? This is just a quick post to show you some of my designs... there ill be more in the coming days! I'd love to know your thoughts on them and hear any ideas you have of more that I could make. Leave me a comment in the comments section :) 

Christmas pudding... I hate the taste but they look so cute!

Ginger the gingerbread lady, I'm working on a special boyfriend for her.

Ronnie the Christmas robin

ADDED: Having seen a post on the Planet Penny blog about creative ways to wrap Christmas presents, I have dug out some pictures from last year where I used pages from an old book to wrap presents.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Ripple sample

Here is a sneak peak of my ripple blanket colour scheme... What do you think?! I was too excited to show you all so i took this without any natural light so the colours are a little off :( 

I can't wait to start the blanket now; I have got the hang of the pattern so hopefully it will turn out really nice.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Festive Pies

Last week I tried my hand at hot water crust pastry to make pork pies, they were a resounding success! This morning Tom and I decided to get festive; we made chicken and stuffing pies. For dinner last night I roasted a small chicken and four chicken thighs, we ate the breasts and the rest was left for pies.


for the hot water crust pastry...

  • 720g plain flour
  • 320ml water
  • 240g lard
  • 1 egg yolk (for glaze)

for the filling... 
you can use whatever you have, the following is what we used

  • leftover chicken, shredded
  • leftover gammon cubes and onion
  • stuffing

to prepare...

  • Cut 5cm wide strips of baking paper to wrap around your pies before cooking
  • Cut 20cm strips of string to hold the paper in place (wet the string to ensure it doesn't burn in the oven)
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C


1) Prepare the filling by cutting up your meat and combining in a bowl with stuffing. Get your hands in and give it a good mix.

2) Shape filling into balls, roughly the size of a golf ball. It depends on how big you want your pies to be really. Set aside and start to make the pastry.

3) Cut the lard into cubes and add to the water, heat on the hob until the lard melts.

4) Weigh the flour out into a bowl and add the melted lard and water. Mix with a spoon first because it will be too hot to handle.

5) Combine to form a dough, it should be okay to handle once combined.

6) Roll the dough out on a floured work surface to about 5mm thickness, cut circles for cases and smaller circles for lids. (I used a cereal bowl for the cases and a glass for the lids)

7) Place a filling ball in the centre of a pastry case, wet the edges and form a case around the filling. Wet the edges of a pastry lid and pinch together until it looks like a little pork pie. It won't be pretty... but it will look rustic and homemade!

8) Wrap the pie in a strip of baking paper and tie with string. Repeat for all the pies.

9) Brush eat pie top with egg yolk.

10) Place on a baking tray with room for air to circulate between the pies.

11) Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until nicely browned.

12) remove from the oven and ENJOY!

These chicken and stuffing ones truly taste like Christmas, we even have cranberry sauce to dribble over them. I'd love to hear what you put in your pies and I would especially love to see pictures... please leave a link to your blog in the comments section.

Whilst the pies were cooking, I cleaned the kitchen and made DIPPY EGGS!!! you are never too old for dippy eggs. To stop any confusion dippy eggs are soft boiled eggs with toast soldiers. I even found a Milkybar kid egg cup with cowboy hat to go with it.

Dippy eggs are a far cry from my Christmas day breakfast. Tom enjoys croissants with bacon, stilton and cranberry sauce with Prosecco on Christmas day, my family opts for sausage butties and a bottle of Stella... you can tell who is Northern!

I will leave you with this... 31 days until Santa arrives! xx

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

I have ripples of excitement for this next project

Look what arrived in the post today... yarntasic, yarnilicious, yarnahoy!!

The weather is utterly miserable today which made photography a bit difficult; I had to line these up right next to the window to get any natural light on them.

When this lovely lot grow up they are going to be a Ripple blanket :) I will be using and adapting this pattern from Attic 24 and if my blanket turns out half as nice I will be so pleased.

I wanted the same yarn as I am using for my granny square blanket (Rico essentials 365 aran) but the colour range isn't as vast; this is Rico essentials cotton dk. They were purchased from Deramores on Sunday evening and have arrived this morning (Tuesday), I am very impressed with their service. Congratulations Deramores!

The colours I bought (left to right in picture) are:
1 - Cardinal (84)
2 - Silver (03)
3 - Blue Green (42)
4 - Mauve (17)
5 - Dusky Rose (19)
6 - Burgundy (00)
7 - Aqua (95)
8 - Anthracite (28)

Also sneaking in the picture, my giraffe slippers. A Christmas present last year and I love them! I always wear them in my flat, today they will be helping me through a very extensive lab report I have to write. So I need to put down all this lovely yarn, get out of creative mode, into scientist mode and write all about drugs I have been analysing. Wish me luck... x

Friday, 15 November 2013

All creatures great and small...

I had a weekend off crafting in order to go home and visit my family. Here are some pictures of some mimi pygmy goats (Cookie and Crumble) and two mini Shetland ponies (Dolly and Donna) who belong to my Mum's partner's neighbour. He lives in a small hamlet which we went to visit after a delightful Sunday roast.

Mini pygmy goat, I don't know if this is Cookie or Crumble.

My sister loves horses, unfortunately this stable does not belong to us.

A view across the fields on a crisp Sunday afternoon.

Cookie and Crumble playing in the field.

My sister with a normal sized horse and Dolly, the mini Shetland pony.

My brother feeding Dolly.

My mum talking to Dolly. She uses the same tone of voice to talk to animals and babies.

Dolly's mum, Donna.

My brother and Dolly again.

A proper Sunday roast with all the trimmings... it makes me hungry just looking at this picture.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at pictures of mini animals, what could be cuter?! More crafty posts to come in the future, pinky promise. xx

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


I have got in the Movember spirit by crocheting this moustache... brilliant for women (and those males who can't grow a moustache) to show their support for this fantastic cause and raise awareness.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Crochet Coffee Cup Cosy Pattern - No More Naked Coffees!

In recent weeks I have discovered coffee - and I love it! The University library has a Starbucks inside and I have visited more times than I care to admit. Sometimes my coffee can get neglected for a while if I 'get in the work zone' and ends up going a bit cool, I found this pattern on pinterest for a cute coffee cup cosy. I'm going to start a 'no more naked coffee cups' revolution!! (I'm getting a bit giddy now... maybe it's all the caffeine)

This is not my pattern, the original pattern can be found here. I have simply translated the pattern from US to UK crochet terminology.
The one I have made uses scraps of Rico cotton so it is easy to chuck in the washing machine to get rid of all the drip stains. It keeps my cup looking cute and my coffee warm.
You will need...
  • Scraps of yarn, I have used some Rico cotton leftover from making my granny square blanket
  • Crochet hook
  • Cute button
  • Needle

  • ch - chain
  • dc - double crochet
  • tr - treble crochet
  • htr - half treble crochet

Pattern (UK crochet terminology)
Ch 8.
Row 1: 1dc 1tr in second ch from hook, *skip next ch, 1dc 1tr in next ch, repeat from * to end of row, ch1 turn.
Row 2: *Skip next stitch, 1dc 1tr in next stitch, repeat from * to end of row, ch 1 turn.
Rep Row 2 until work measures 8 inches from beginning.
Next row: Skip 1st stitch, slip stitch in the next 2 stitches, 1 htr in each of the next 4 stitches, turn ch1.
You will now be working on these 4 stitches to make button hole strip.
Next row: 1 htr in each stitch, ch1 turn.
Rep last row until button hole strip measures 2″.
Next row: 1 htr in 1st stitch, ch 2 and skip next 2 stitches, 1 htr in last stitch.
Work dc border evenly around, working 3 dc in corners and 2 dc into ch2 button hole space. Join with a slip stitch in 1st dc.
Fasten off and weave in ends. Sew on button.

Enjoy! xx

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Sneak Peek

As mentioned previously, I have revised the pattern I made for baby mittens. The other evening a new pair were cast on in yellow and a dusky purple (Sirdar snuggly baby wool, I can't find the labels)... and here is a sneak peek!

Unfortunately my phone camera hasn't captured the colours quite right :(

Pictures of the completed mittens coming soon!

This is also my first post via the android blogging app so I do hope it works okay. I am currently on my way to the craft shop as a break from uni work. X


Okay, so it might only be free if you win but still... 'gotta be in it to win it'. Just click on the link below to visit a lovely place in blogland and follow the instructions.

Good luck! Not too much though; I have my eye on it ;) haha. x

Monday, 4 November 2013

Busy, busy baker

I have been meaning to write a post for a while now but I just didn't have anything crafty to write about. I didn't want to bore you with details of my life: get up, go to uni, go to library, make dinner, go to sleep. Unfortunately, since learning to crochet last month I have developed an acute granny square addiction so any crafty time has been spent doing those.

With the lack of variety craft-wise I have been doing a bit of baking. A few weeks ago I made mini victoria sandwich cakes which were a massive hit! So when I asked Tom what he would like me to bake yesterday he requested those again but I also wanted to try something a little different... I decided on apricot chelsea buns. 

I used the Paul Hollywood recipe  as I have never made dough before. I added apricots, raspberry jam and chunks of chocolate. They turned out very well but I will probably omit the chocolate next time because the chunks poking out look a bit burnt.

The first time I baked the sponge cake mixture in a swiss roll tin and used a circle cutter (it was actually the plastic lid from a deodorant can which I washed) to make the shapes before individually filling with jam and buttercream.

The second time I decided the first time created too much mess and fuss so baked the mixture in a square tin, split the cake in half, filled and then cut squares from it... quicker, less mess, not as cute but equally as delicious!

To prove I don't spend my life eating cake (oh how I wish I could) I snapped this colourful picture of some veggies. They were turned into bolognese or chilli, I can't remember.

Aside from a lovely weekend of baking (and not so lovely uni work), Tom and I took a little trip on the train to Southport. It was freezing cold, windy and raining but we had a fab day! We went to watch Southport v Cambridge because one of Tom's friends currently plays football for Cambridge and he managed to get us some tickets. 

Our football day out in pictures: 
1) Underground train station. At this point I had every intention of photographing everything.
2) Checking our accumulator bets... we didn't win (as usual). 
3) It isn't a trip to a football match without lager and crisps right?! We had pies too but they didn't stick around long enough to be photographed! 
4) A double rainbow at half time.


Late last night I cast on a pair of baby mittens after a slight pattern revision. 
Should be finished soon, eeeek!!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

How I upset the neighbours...

My living room looks like a bomb has gone off; there is hessian, rickrack, ribbon, tiny little pegs and general crafty goodness everywhere! I have been making hessian covered cork boards this morning to be used as pin boards, notice boards, jewellery displays... you name it.

I really love the shabby chic, neutral design. Unfortunately, they require the use of a staple gun which has rendered me quite unpopular in the flat... whoooops. Does that count as an occupational hazard? HaHa.

These boards are so versatile...

... a wall display

... a jewellery display

... a notice board or picture display

What do you think? I hope you like them!

They will be going on sale in my Etsy shop verrryyyy soon.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Weekend adventures

I haven't posted for a few days, it has been pretty busy with University work and working in the bar, but I have crammed some good things in. Tom called by my flat the other day and told me he had a present for me!! He was caught by the caretaker trying to bring it into my building and was sent back outside... I was very intrigued when he rang me to come down and meet him. 'What did he get you?!' I hear you ask?... a pony? a puppy?...

...a pallet!!

He thought I could make something with it, n'aaawhhhh. Cute thought. Unfortunately, I live in a Liverpool City Centre flat on the third floor with no room for a pallet. BUT one day I will have space to make wooden crafts *sigh*. Back to the skip the pallet went.

The same day we also made pie and crumble. Steak and stilton pie with apple and pear crumble. Delicious! With Tom's culinary background in a North Wales restaurant and my love of eating we make a good team.

I lost my voice at work on Saturday (too much singing) and had to resort to mouthing at customers into the wee hours of the morning. Luckily, I had Sunday off... the first Sunday off in ages and it was not wasted. Tom and I went for dinner with his parents who came over for the day. We started off in a little Irish pub near my flat, called Shenanigans.

Shenanigans is decorated with newspaper articles instead of wallpaper and full of random bits and bobs. I particularly like this mosaic as soon as you step in the door.

The good thing about the cold weather setting in is... Log Fires! I got cosy in front of this one with a nice vodka, lime and lemonade to soothe my husky man voice.

During the week we managed to secure a booking for afternoon Sunday lunch at a place called Alma De Cuba. It is an old church in Liverpool City Centre which has been turned into a restaurant/bar. I had my 21st birthday family meal there and it was fantastic; not just because I got a free birthday cocktail. It is wonderfully decorated and a gospel choir sings whilst you eat your meal. 

If you are ever in Liverpool for an evening I can highly recommend this place for drinks. At 11pm on the weekend Cuban dancers perform a carnival/parade and confetti rains down from the balcony restaurant area above... think glitter, feathers, sequin bras etc.

My favourite features are the chandeliers designed to look like Antlers. Above is a view from the restaurant with the bar on the ground floor.

I also think the tables in the bar are beautiful, they are covered with slate pieces. Dinner lived up to the decor, Sunday roast was the best ever. Even the bread and oil to start was amazing. The simplicity of bread dipped in oil shared with friends will never go out of style.

We had warm bread rolls accompanied by chilli jam and sundried tomato flavoured olive oils. Sunday dinner didn't last long enough for me to take a picture of it; I remembered half way through. Thinly sliced pink beef, Yorkshire pudding, the crispiest roast potatoes I've ever eaten, baby carrots, minted peas and cabbage and pancetta. 

Everything was washed down with a bottle of red wine which I chose. It is so much pressure to be the 'chosen one' when it comes to table wine, but I didn't do half bad (if i do say so myself)...

I would love to hear from any readers who can recommend good places in Liverpool to eat or drink.