Monday, 28 June 2010

Lang's Super Tuna Salad

Hello dear readers!  I am dashing in to share with you this excellent recipe from my old friend Mr Lang.  It is the perfect side dish for those long and sunny barbeques, as long as you're not planning on snogging anyone soon after...

Lang's Super Tuna Salad

1 x can of cannellini beans (they come in smallish cans)
2 x regular tins of tuna
2 cloves of garlic
3 spring onions
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together, the amount of olive oil you use is down to preference, I like quite a few hefty glugs.  Season to taste with the salt and black pepper and, if you really want to jazz it up, add a handful of chopped fresh basil too.

(Serve with blackened sausages and charcoal chicken drumsticks!)



Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Emlyn the Gremlin

My sister gave me her car recently.  Rather nice of her I'm sure you'll agree!  She had a very old little jade green toyota starlet coming to the end of its life, so she upgraded herself and bought a new one.  I therefore inherited the starlet as I was desperate for a car of my own since hubby nicked our family car for work.

In return she asked that I make her a handbag that was "big enough for work folders and a lunchbox and made out of dark fabric as it will spend a lot time shoved under my desk".  I think actually the true cost of the car will be handmade bespoke bags for the rest of her life...

Anyway, of course I am happy to oblige and here's what I came up with...

It is made from old woolen suit fabric and organic cotton gingham and I am really pleased with how it came out.  I took the picture in a bit of a hurry otherwise I'd have popped something else in the shot for size reference, but trust me it's big enough for work folders and a lunch box, and quite a lot else besides.

Inside the lining is the reverse of the outside and in fact the whole thing can be turned inside out and used either way round...

Mmmm, lots of lovely crisp organic cotton!

My sister lives with her long-term boyfriend though.  So if she is getting a gift in the post this week surely it would be unfair to leave him out, right?  Exactly.  Therefore I had to create Emelyn the Gremlin...

Emelyn, unlike Rosie, is a manly gremlin, grrr grrr.  He is about half Rosie's size and is made from the same suit fabric and organic cotton as the bag, it's important after all that one's gremlin matches one's girlfriend's handbag...

I love these gremlins, I sense more to come!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Whitstable and Gremlins

For father's day today, after Dan's chosen breakfast of pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, we headed for the fresh air of the sea.

We headed to one of our favourite places in Kent - the lovely Whitstable.  I've always had a dream to live in the country surrounded by fields, but visiting Whitstable always makes me feel I could easily live the seaside life.  It's so fresh and friendly and cosy and...just lovely.

We didn't go alone though, oh no.  Today we had an extra addition to our group.  Meet Rosie the gremlin...

Made using a pattern from the fabulous book, "Curious Creatures for Immature Adults" Rosie is an inquisitive little gremlin.  She was keen to buckle up and join us for the trip to Whitstable...

Lillia and I made her together yesterday, she chose all he fabrics and embellishments, I did the cutting out and pinning, she did the placing of pins into the pin cushion, I sewed, she stuffed, and we all had a lot of fun with lentils for Rosie's feet and hands.

Rosie particularly enjoyed hanging out on the beach, the blustery winds didn't bother at all as she is made from the soft and wooly material of a pair of upcycled curtains.

When we went for a father's day lunch of fish and chips Rosie discovered a love of mushy peas...

Then it was time for one last breath of sea air before heading home for a nice cup of tea...

We do love Rosie.  In fact she was so much fun to make and to hang out with that there just might be more gremlins to come very soon!  Watch this space :)


Saturday, 19 June 2010

Completed destash blanket

Apologies for the unscheduled break in service there, we've had some family things to deal with this week and blogs have been very low down on the agenda.

However normal service is starting to resume and creativity is back in full swing.  As well as dusting down my sewing machine now that the nausea has passed, I have also managed to completed my destash blanket!  Woo! 

It's still in need of a spot of blocking (which I shall probably never get around to doing) but I love it.  As the colours are fairly gender neutral it'll be the perfect blanket for my winter baby.

There has been a lot of creating going on lately so there is more from me to come, but for now I am just dropping by to say hello :)

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Bargains and Destash blanket

Despite feeling completely hideous this morning (whenever I begin to believe I am feeling better the hormones turn against me, grrr) I managed to have a sunshiney bargainy morning at the local car boot sale with my hubby, mummy and little one.

In fact the little one did rather well for herself, we couldn't believe our luck when we found two girls selling off their vast collection of Polly Pocket toys.  We picked up a house, complete with dolls and magnetic furniture, plus a camper van which folds out into some form of disco mansion extravaganza, complete with camping couple and a little dog.

£2 in total! Unbelievable bargain!  In fact, we even sneaked back when Lillia wasn't looking and snapped up a Polly Pocket water park with its own blow up pool to put away for Christmas. 

I came away with, amongst other things, a gorgeous enamel bracelet...

It is set with shiny stones all the way round, the enamel is cream and the inside is gold and it is just so funky, I love it.  I can't wait for somebody to comment on it and ask where I bought it so I can reply "Oh this? It was 50p at a boot sale"!

Work is underway on the completion of my destash blanket...

After some consideration I decided to edge each of the large granny squares in a lovely creamy aran wool I have left over from the ripple scarf.  I then intend to sew them together and finish it all off with some form of edging in the same creamy wool.  I enjoy working on things that just take shape as you go, it makes it all the more exciting to have no idea where you're heading!

So tonight I am going to bed ridiculously early.  I will be popping on a chick flick, taking my cup of tea to bed and will settle down here to crochet the evening away...

I do hope you have all enjoyed a lovely sunny weekend :)


I just spotted on the Toy Society website this drop using my matryoshka doll tutorial (link on the right)!  It's so exciting to see that my tutorial actually works, and especially exciting that more dolls are being dropped all round the world! 

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Destashing fun

With the new addition due in December we have started to have a clear out. I think I may have mentioned it a few times before (what do mean hundreds of times?) but our house is small. Very small. Drawers are being cleared, the loft is being tidied, storage is being streamlined and, yes, lists are being made.

There is no luxurious craft room in this little cottage, in fact I'm lucky to get half a craft drawer and my wool jostles for space with muslins and lego.  So it's time for a destash which, I am discovering, is rather fun. Today's post brings you the first product of the snippings bag!

I needed a little bag for all those ends of wool that get snipped off as I weave in ends, I save them for stuffing toys and sachets later on.  So I started on a circle, then started just working stripes of double crochet stitiches in any colour that was nearest to me.

There was a few moments earlier this afternoon when Lillia nearly nicked it for a hat, and I have to admit she has a point, it does make a bloody good hat.  But no!  It is my snippings bag.  But...I do need a little bag for transporting my crochet on the daily commute.

So now I will have to wait and see what it becomes.  Commutable-crochet-transportation-device?  Or snippings-vessel? 

Only time will tell. In the meantime I am working on my destash blanket, more on the progress of that in a day or two.

It's funny, I am a winter girl at heart, so in this heat I still take comfort in crocheting snuggly things, despite sweaty hands!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


When I first started to crochet I bought a load of cheap acrylic wool to work my way through.  It's great stuff- soft, colourful, easy to work up, and best of all you can bung it in the washing machine when it gets covered in strawberry milk.

But it's time for me to start branching out to the real stuff, proper wool.  I mentioned in my last post that I love natural things so I started googling different types of wool, looking at what shops are around for me to visit and have a poke around, when I came across alpaca wool.  A few searches later and I found Quarterhouse Alpacas.  Their website said they sold wool from their own alpacas and when I emailed them to ask about how to purchase some they suggested we visit and see the alpacas at the same time.  Just outside Wittersham and near to Tenterden it is situated in one of the most beautiful parts of Kent so how could we refuse?

The alpacas were beautiful creatures, all big eyes, eye lashes and inquisitive sniffing.  They were newly shorn and looked like they had been hoovered!

The wool was soft and gorgeous and beautifully natural.  The colours were the natural colours of the alpacas, no dyes.  At £10 per 100g ball though it ain't cheap.  I bought three balls to play with.  Considering I get twitchy about spending a tenner on new clothes or more than a fiver on a bottle of wine 30 quid on wool is pure extravagance!

And what does one make with super soft alpaca wool at the beginning of summmer time?  Why, cosy snuggly arm-warmers of course! 

It works up beautifully, making a simple staggered double crochet stitch look like luxurious cable knit.  It is soft and drapey and I can't wait for winter so I can waddle about fat and pregnant and very very warm.