Oh dear, weeds!

My poor little garden has been neglected of late. With the coming of Spring I have wanted to get back into it and boy oh boy, do I have a battle with weeds on my hands! I have more of a jungle than a garden. Yesterday I went out early and cleared one patch of grass and weeds and happily set to planting some new lovelies; some purple ageratums, mixed cosmos and red salvia. It won’t be long before the agergatums bloom, they already have tiny little buds. Unfortunately, the battle between me and my arch-enemy, the dreaded oxalis, is back on! I have my battle armour to wear in the form of a lovely Laura Ashley gardening apron and bright green gloves!

Garden Armor

The Snapdragons are flowering in a mix of beautiful colours, including the one below which was self-sown and quite a lovely treat to find! Last season we grew lots of tomatoes, eggplants, chillies, lettuce and potatoes. This year I want to mix in more flowers and herbs, I would love to grow some flax so I could prepare the fibre, dye and spin it and then knit something from the yarn. Going though the complete cycle of making something appeals to me immensely. Grow, harvest, prepare, spin and knit. It sounds a bit magical, to me!

Snapdragon Flowers

Sewing Tips and Tutorials

As I have only begun to learn how to sew with a sewing machine, I have been browsing pinterest and weblogs for tips and tutorials. Some of my favourites:

sewingmachine

I Can Sew!

Sewing Machine

I’m learning how to sew! After my previous machine started smelling like burnt rubber with use, my wonderful husband bought me a new machine. It isn’t a fancy schmancy machine but is perfect for me to learn on…and it doesn’t smell like burnt rubber! Of course, being a crazy cat lady, I could not resist the cute little sewing basket with kitty-print fabric. I’m collecting a little stash of tools and fabric and have so many things I want to sew. Ah, if only I had more time!

Crafty Lass

The main crafts I enjoy are knitting, spinning and most recently, sewing! I also love to get out in the garden and am in the middle of planning a new garden; a mix of ornamentals, herbs and vegetables. I have two Ashford spinning wheels, a Joy and a Traditional, as well as a teensy collection of spindles. My sewing machine may not be fancy but it doesn’t smell like burning rubber every time I use it like my old one did, which is fantastic! I have a basic Brother machine. I’m very new to sewing having only just mastered the basics like threading the machine. What I lack in experience I make up for with enthusiasm! I already have a small fabric stash and a collection of sewing tools. Other crafts that I dabble in occasionally are embroidery, paper crafts and crochet. Crafting is wonderful, whatever the medium!

Hi, hello!

After much thinking and umming and scribbling on paper, I decided to start blogging again! The main focus of my blog will be all things craft, gardening and cooking related. Make all the things! Check back soon when I will have hopefully added some real posts!

Winter Fibre Camp

I am incredibly envious of everyone who has or will be attending fibre related fairs and retreats around the world. After looking at the photos on Instagram of people arriving at the wonderful Super Summer KnitTogether, I had the idea to have my own retreat of one, at home. I can’t join in on the fabulous social events but I can use my envy to spur me back into the challenge of learning new skills in the crafts I love.

My Winter Fibre Camp is my self challenge to learn some of those techniques in knitting and spinning that I have always wanted to learn, but been afraid to try for fear of failure. I’m planning on using the Craftsy classes that I have bought and also some of the many books and magazines in my collection. I’d like to also share links to related websites that have info and tutorials and find some fab videos on YouTube to share. Hey, I might even make some of my own! Bonus: I might actually start blogging again!

I’m still nutting out all the details and will post more soon. I want to set goals of what I want to learn and a program or timetable of sorts to keep me on track. This will be fun!

Pantry Meme

Nigella Lawson keeps a secret stash of pigs ears in her freezer that she deep fries for a crispy solitary snack. Do you have anything similarly sordid in yours?

Not really, although I seem to be one of the very few people who like Cherry coke, and I do have a stash of that in the cupboard. As for Nigella’s treat, I do enjoy a pork roast but I’m not sure I could eat the ears. Especially since they always seem hairy. *shudder*

What foods would I always find in your fridge and why?

Eggs are always in the fridge. I love a sandwich made from a sliced, hard boiled eggs with salt and pepper between two pieces of toast. There is always butter plus olive oil spread, hard cheese of some kind, usually cheddar. Some cheese slices (Kraft) I love the way they taste when grilled on bread. Fresh veggies such as carrots, cucumber, cabbage etc. Milk for cereal, coffee and tea. A selection of mustards including seeded, dijon, hot English and Australian.

Do you have a stand-by, never fail recipe, that you like to have the ingredients on-hand for unexpected visitors?

Not really, I’m not big on unexpected visitors and prefer to know when people are visiting in advance. I’m a bit odd that way; I really dislike people visiting unannounced.

What is your favourite comfort food?
Potatoes, mashed with gravy or some lovely thick wedges with sour cream. Dal is another dish that I find comforting, especially when I’m not feeling well; it always makes my tummy feel much happier.

Do you have a chocolate drawer or secret hoard of sweet or savoury snacks?
Chocolate is something we usually buy as a treat sometimes when shopping, we don’t have an actual, regular stash of it. Although we do have some at the moment! I don’t think I’ve ever had a secret stash of food. I have bought myself treats when I’m shopping alone, and quite enjoyed the naughty feel of eating said treat myself. But that is very rare, I usually tend to feel quite guilty if I don’t share. heh

Lots of Joy

My fabulous birthday present from my darling husband & parents was an Ashford Joy! I’m still getting used to this wheel and I won’t deny that there have been moments of frustration, but I absolutely love this wheel! The frustration comes from the weighted flywheel which wants to stop in a particular position when you stop treadling. I’m getting used to it – it’s like learning to spin again in a small way.

aje_ashford

There has also been progress on the knitting front! I have finished a pair of fingerless mitts and am on my way to completing my Wingspan Shawl. Photos to come very soon.

Wow, I’ve made two posts in less than a month – wonders will never cease!

Knitting Around

There has been knitting! And studying, but that isn’t very interesting, so back to the knitting! I recently finished my first shawl, based on the pattern ‘The Sunlight Shawl for Sad People‘ which is on Ravelry. The shawl still needs to be blocked, but I am very happy with it! I was going to block it last week, but after unwrapping my new rubber mats and being overwhelmed by the obnoxious smell of them, I put the mats in the garage and will wait a bit. The shawl is on the right in the photo below. Obviously I need to learn the art of photographing knitted items. Hmmm.

Yesterday I cast on for ‘Wingspan‘ another pattern that can be found on Ravelry. I am making this with Schoppel’s Zauberball yarn in the Frische Fische colour (left in the photo). I am using it as my dissertation (long project) for Nerd Wars on Ravelry. The colours of the yarn remind me very much of the Sixth Doctor’s frock coat, and as I am on Team Tardis, that fits perfectly! The Doctor thought his outfit was the “height of sartorial elegance” and I think my shawl will be, too!

More knitting to come!

Making Whoopies

Whoopie Pies

Now that I have more free time while on holidays, I’ve been doing some extra cooking and baking. Last weekend I made Whoopie Pies for the first time. Verdict? Yumm! I used my lovely little whoopie Pie/Macaron tray from Christmas. I filled each hollow a little too much I think as my pies were kinda mushroom shaped, but that made a nice well for extra filling! And they were so very yummy!

Last night I used the leftover stock from the previous nights chicken, corn and zucchini casserole. I added some roasted butternut pumpkin and a generous amount of spinach, blending the stock and spinach before adding the pumpkin. The stock was creamy from added sour cream but after sitting in the fridge overnight it became even creamier. Some of the creaminess was also from the collagen that came out of the chicken bones – very thick and toothsome, as Nigella Lawson might say. Such a yummy soup! Will make again.

Of Stock, MacGyver and Flu

Typical, get thinking about posting regularly again and then get the flu badly! The last week has been full of trying to get rid of the flu and laying on the lounge chair watching daytime tv – something I only do when I am sick. Yay for repeat episodes of MacGyver! Did you like MacGyver? I loved it…and pretty much everything else Richard Dean Anderson was in, especially Stargate SG-1. If you also like MacGyver, you might enjoy the MacGyver Lexicon.

I am currently making chicken stock for tonight’s Chicken and Fennel risotto! OmNomNom. I should return to cooking dinner lest I burn it!