Friday, 18 August 2017

FNSI ... Berries & Bluebirds

Yup that's me for Friday Night Stitchin'

Berries & Bluebirds Block No.3

All pressed, glued and two thirds stitched

The Aurifil 80 wt was so much nicer to work with that I got the colours I needed to carry on with the project.  The thread just disappears into the fabric and makes it look so professional.  It definitely is worth the money if you can get hold of it.  I did struggle for some of the colours I wanted and had to use alternative colours as there are only 88 colours.

I will carry on stitching tonight and then tomorrow it's off to Gosforth Show.  

Have a great weekend all and Happy Friday Night Stitching, thanks Wendy for hosting :)

Sizergh Castle...

A beautiful castle on the outskirts of Kendal.  It has been owned by the same family for over 778 years.

The stunning stairs at the back of the property.

Swans, beehives, an orchard and a kitchen garden.  They are stunning.

My favourite part.  This letter was written by an older father who knew he wouldn't be around when his child grew up.  

It was a brilliant day out, we worked over five miles so not for the faint hearted.

Plenty of parking, disabled access, tour guides and a gift shop.

The restaurant/coffee shop had meals for vegetarian, vegan, dairy free and gluten free.  The service was first class and the food tasted delicious.  I had tomato and fennel soup with a GF seeded brown roll and Baked To Taste Millionaires Shortbread.  It was nice going to somewhere that I didn't have to ask alot of questions about the food and to have a choice of what to have and all of it listed on the blackboard.

It might seem like I spend alot of time talking about food.  I am a trained chef and have nearly always been able to just get on and make what I liked but since my Ceoliac diagnosis I have been surprised by the lack of good eating places and the amount of people that seem to think it is ok to ask whether it's just that I don't like eating gluten or do I really have a problem with gluten.  I find it a very personal question to ask by somebody that you don't know.  It is a risk to my health to the point that in the last six weeks I ended up in hospital 20 minutes after being 'glutened' and I know that I am not the only Ceoliac that is this sensitive to food.  This is why it is such a bonus when you do find places you can just visit and eat without having to do the research first.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Gluten Free Picnic...

A day off so it's off to Sizergh Castle near Kendal with my son.

A gluten free picnic for two it is then.

Assorted sandwiches which will be made in the morning.

Prawn and Avocado salad (assorted leaves, chopped avocado, cucumber, drizzled with lemon juice and topped with prawns)

Mayonnaise (lighter than light Hellman's, fresh lemon juice, dashes of tabasco, tomato ketchup)

Salmon and Broccoli crustless mini quiches
Smoked Bacon and Vintage Cheddar crustless mini quiches

(Two cupcake 12 hole tins, 8 eggs, 1 pint milk, crispy chopped bacon, small pieces of broccoli, small pieces of salmon, 400 grams vintage Cheddar, Salt & Pepper. Mix the eggs, milk, salt and pepper.  Fill one cupcake tin with the bacon, then the other one with the raw salmon and broccoli.  Top with cheese, then fill each one with the milk and egg mixture, bake in a hot oven (gas mark 6/7) for about 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.  Totally gluten free.)

Cajun crispy chicken portions

Kettle Crisps
(Pringles are my son's)

Raspberry and White Chocolate Sliced cake

I am driving so hence no fizz!!

National Trust freebie tickets for the day out, thank you Natwest (along with vouchers for free parking and 20% off in the shop - spending spree!!)

Hope sunshine is available tomorrow :)

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Raspberry & White Chocolate Gluten Free Cake

Yes - it's absolutely gluten free and it's delicious...


7ozs Bob's RedMill 1to1 GF Baking Flour
6ozs Golden Caster Sugar
6ozs Butter
1/4 tsp Vanilla Paste or 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
2 Eggs or 3 if they are small
50 grams White Chocolate Chips (Callebaut are GF)
60 grams fresh raspberries or two thirds of a tin of raspberries, juice removed

Cream Cheese Topping:-

50 grams Philadelphia Light Cream Cheese
25 grams White Chocolate Chips - melted
8 ozs Icing Sugar


Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and set a shelf in the middle.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Add the flour in parts along with the eggs one at a time until it is all mixed.  Stir in the vanilla.

Add the chocolate chips and stir well, add the raspberries, don't overmix or your mixture will turn pink and you are looking for a marbled effect.

Place the mixture into a loaf tin lined with a greaseproof liner, it will only look half full.

Bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes.  It will have a lovely golden brown crust on the top and split only slightly.

Leave to cool, completely cold before adding the topping.

Mix the cream cheese and melted white chocolate together and then sift the icing into the mix about a third at a time.  It will turn quite runny, then as you add the rest of the icing sugar it will thicken, make sure you don't have any lumps of icing sugar that are not mixed in.  I find Silver Spoon is the best icing sugar to use and barely needs
the sifting.

The loaf will slice into ten pieces.

Share and enjoy :)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Friday Night Sew-In

Pop over to Wendy's blog and sign up for the Friday Night Sew-In..

18th August 2017

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Berries & Bluebirds applique...

I have done a little bit more work on my applique quilt.

Block one is finished and I am happy with the results.

I have done the applique with Aurifil 50wt in matching colours.  However, after I started the applique Aurifil brought out the 80wt thread.  It is incredible, it just sinks into the fabric and disappears after stitching.  

The next block just waiting on me to stitch the brown and then onto a new block.  I use short applique pins from Clover for placement as well as a little Roxanne's Baste It Glue.

My hand stitching applique kit consists of the following:-

Clover thimble, this type doesn't slip off your finger and is really comfortable to wear.
Tulip or Bohin Size 10 large eye applique needles, quite short but glides through the fabric when stitching.
Aurifil 80 wt thread, sinks and disappears  leaving beautifully placed applique pieces and it is easy to thread the needle as it is so fine.
Gingher Applique Scissors, who can't resist a pair of Gingher's.  I love them and these are curved at the bottom so they get very close to where you need to cut.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Shepherd's Bush Cross Stitch Anna Stocking...

Here she is...

All cross-stitched with the charms, beads and buttons attached.

I decided on the words 'Do not open until Dec 25th' because I didn't want my name on it and with those words it can be passed down through the family.

It needs a good press but I am not going to do that until I have chosen my fabric for the backing, lining and binding.

I will be doing a tutorial on making the stocking up very shortly but for now it's going to be folded and put away.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe Gluten Free

Lemon drizzle Cake Recipe Gluten Free

Both of these recipes are gluten free, one belongs to Juvela and the other is my own using Bob's RedMill 1to1 Flour

Juvela Ingredients:-

6ozs Juvela white flour Mix
6ozs caster sugar
6ozs melted butter
2 eggs

1 lemon
4 tbsps caster sugar


Bob's RedMill Ingredients:-

6ozs Bob's RedMill 1to1 Baking Flour
6ozs Golden caster sugar
6ozs melted butter
2 eggs

2 lemons
4 tbsps caster sugar

Icing sugar mixed with a little water, make as much or as little as you like.


Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 with a shelf in the middle of the oven.

Grease a 2lb loaf tin or use a greaseproof paper tin liner.

Put the flour and 6ozs caster sugar into a large jug and mix well.  Add the melted butter and eggs and give another good mix.

Add the zest of the lemon(s) to the mix and pour into your loaf tin, this is why it is easier to make it in a large jug.

Put it in the oven for about 30-40 minutes.  It will rise beautifully and have a split crust on the top that it is golden brown.

Take the juice of the lemon(s) and mix with the 4 tbsps caster sugar and stir well. Whilst the cake is still warm use a skewer to make holes in the cake all across the top and then drizzle the lemon juice mix over the cake.  Leave to cool.

Mix the icing sugar with the water to make the icing top, for extra flavour, use lemon juice instead of water.  I piped the icing across the top in a zig-zag pattern.  It sets lovely and gives an extra sweet bite along with the lemon taste.

For a non-gluten free cake just replace the flour with your favourite self raising flour.

Enjoy x

Shepherd's Bush Anna Stocking...

Wednesday stitches...

I made a start on the sheep and hills yesterday, this is the heel part of the stocking which is completed.  Now moving onto the foot part for the shepherds, more sheep and a boat, then it is onto the charms.  I haven't decided on the wording for my stocking, it says Fear Not on the pattern but I am not sure about those words so still thinking on that one.  

Baking again this morning and made a Bara Brith, which I have never made before.  You make it with strong tea, I don't drink tea but willing to give it a try in tea bread form.  Will share some pictures later.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Herlid Vikings at Heysham Viking Festival 2017

Heysham Viking Festival 2017

Herlid Vikings in action

A brilliant day out on the 15th July this year.


Viking Merk Borgesson in the light coloured trousers, deep yellow tunic and chainmail along with a three boar shield.

In action for photographs

Battling it out on the field

Rest after battle.

If you get a chance to go to any re-enactment shows, they are incredible.  Alot of work goes on both in the backgound and at the shows to make it as genuine as possible.  Most vikings have their own trade like making shoes, candles, jewellery and clothing as well as weapons for use and for show.  These are all available to see at the shows and gives a great insight into the viking history.  They have living history camps which show how the Vikings lived, cooked, slept and what they trade with.

Proud to be a Mork, our Danish heritage.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Friday Night with Friends Stitching....

My Friday Night and some of the weekend was spent stitching some more of the Shepherd's Bush Anna stocking.

It doesn't look like I have done much, but the top half is finished and I am tired so decided to fill in the red as it doesn't need me to check the pattern so avoiding mistakes.

I am still stitching now and not far off finishing the Lancaster Red.  Then it's out of the frame again to do the hillside scene at the foot of the stocking.

Hope everyone has had a good weekend.  I am hoping to avoid the migraines this week - got caught out by two seperate ones last week, what a nightmare.  

My gluten free Sunday kitchen...

Who doesn't love a Sunday lunch, in our family, they would have it everyday.

Ours isn't for the dieter I am afraid, lots of butter, honey, cream, you name it, it's there, I do a reduced fat version, but today, we are having guests so going all out.  I will put the recipe next to each item and if you fancy having a go, it's delicious.

Juvela Yorkshire Puddings 2ozs Juvela white mix, 2ozs cornflour, a little salt, 3 eggs and a little milk, mix it all together and it should be the consistency of single cream.  To get the best rise, put fat into a 12 hole cake tin, put in the top of the oven and wait for it to smoke, remove from the oven and place onto the stove with the burners on medium underneath it, it will smoke but it will start to cook the yorkshires as soon as the mixture hits the pan, fill each one, then carefully put the tin back in the top of the oven, I use gas mark 9, very high, they take about 20 minutes, don't take out too soon or they will drop.

Mashed potatoes - mashed with butter not cream, best results from Tesco Finest which are the same price as the maris pipers but they are fluffier once cooked.

Roast potatoes, par cooked potatoes then placed in hot goose fat and into the top of the oven.

Sage and Thyme creamed leeks.  Sliced leeks with chopped Thyme and Sage, sauted in butter, then a few minutes before serving, add about 80ml of double cream and stir on a low light.

Beef gravy made with Bisto Best gravy granules.  I am hypersensitive when it comes to gluten and this one works best for me.

Sliced carrots - steamed.
Broccoli and cauliflower - steamed.
Broccoli and cauliflower cheese - made the cheese sauce with 1oz butter, 2 tablespoons of Bob's RedMill 1to1 GF flour, 1pt milk and 3ozs strong cheddar, cook the flour in the butter until the flour is cooked (not coloured), add the milk and whisk until it has thickened and there are no lumps, add the cheese and whisk until it has melted in.  Pour over part steamed broccoli and cauliflower and place in the middle of the oven to brown on the top.

Honeyed parsnips, par boil the chunks of parsnip and then place in an ovenproof dish.  Melt 1oz butter, 1oz demerera sugar and 4tbsps honey in pan and once combined pour over the parsnips. Put in the oven to crisp.

Carrot and Swede mash - I cheat and buy either Tesco Finest or M&S as our daughter loves it.

Roast Beef and Roast Chicken - daughter doesn't eat beef so we have to do an alternative.  Courtesy of our local fab butcher - Hamblings in Whitehaven.  I buy a very large piece of topside - about 50.00 to 60.00 in money not weight, cook it, slice it and freeze enough for four people in tinfoil.  I usually get enough slices for 8 Sunday lunches without the hassle of having to cook the roast every weekend.

Last but not least - the pudding - 

Blackberry and Apple Crumble.

5 Bramley Cooking Apples
10ozs Blackberries, fresh, frozen or tinned
2 cloves
3 ozs Caster Sugar
150 ml water (reduce the water if using tinned fruit).

8ozs Bob's RedMill 1to1 GF Flour
2ozs Ground almonds
4ozs Butter
4ozs Caster Sugar

Demerera Sugar for sprinkling on the top.

Peel, core and slice the apples, place in a pan with the blackberries, cloves, caster sugar and water.  Cook until the apple has nearly mashed but not quite.  Pour into an ovenproof deep dish.  Warn your guests that they might get a clove in their pudding if you can't remove them.

Mix the flour, almonds and butter until it resembles a breadcrumb texture and then add the caster sugar.

Pour onto the top of the apple/blackberry mix, level out and sprinkle with the demerera sugar, cook in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with Carte D'or Vanilla Ice Cream - which is gluten free, not all ice creams are so please check.

Get the children to wash up afterwards whilst you chill on the sofa with a coffee.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Shepherd's Bush Anna Stocking and the next project.

Shepherd's Bush Cross Stitch Stocking Pattern Anna.

I started this stocking in March, it is going to be mine.  It is brilliant changing over from stitching on 36 count to 18 natural linen.  They make up beautifully when they are finished and I will be doing a tutorial on making them up once this has been completed.

The pattern from Shepherd's Bush.  The instructions are very clear and easy to follow, you don't have to photocopy them and enlarge to see the details.  They are stitched in No.5 perle as well, so no splitting threads, it is pretty chunky to use when you have been using one thread floss.

My Millenium frame arrived this week, many thanks Needle Needs for the excellent customer service and less than two week turnaround.  My last frame that had the stitching treasures on is now in the bin, the screws stopped working and the staples kept coming lose that the linen was stretched on.

On the Millenium Frame is my 28 count linen from the Lizzie Kate 2015 Mystery Sampler Kit.  It was really easy to get the linen onto the frame, it took a fraction of the time that it usually takes.  They are more expensive than the usual frames however I was lucky as mine was a gift but I can see why people have more than one.

There is a new kit coming out in September so I figured I really need to get this one completed before the next one turns up.  I have mine pre-ordered with Fobbles in the Lake District, they have fabulous customer service and a whole array of threads and patterns to suit all embroiderers.  

Off to get some work done and organize what I will be stitching on my Friday Night with Friends.

It's nearly the weekend already whooooh!!!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

My Stitching Treasures... The Finale

Here she is in all her glory atop the wooden box I bought for her but not where she will be permanently displayed as it is too small.

Over 70 hours of stitching including 7 hours of unpicking.

The golden needle in place, not the one I used for the box, as that one was no longer gold!

I altered the pattern slightly to suit me, I am not into putting alphabets on stitcheries so I did the vines very close in pattern to the one on Jeannette's original box.

The fruit is also better in satin stitch rather than the cross stitch I had stitched in.

All done and dusted.  She does look pretty good and that is without being stretched.  I have decided on a wooden watch display box to use that will be plenty big enough.  They seem to be available in all kinds of sizes on Amazon and I think it looks like a good alternative to the original box that isn't available in the UK.  I don't think the photographs do the colours justice, it definitely looks better in real life!

Thank you Jeannette for a great pattern.  I still have the accessories to do, but they can wait as I want to change onto some patchwork and quilting, of which, I am way behind.

Monday, 31 July 2017

My Stitching Treasures...

I have got alot of stitching done and even some beading and charms have been stitched on.

However, as you can see from the picture, yet again, I have put the peacock in the wrong place.  I am really annoyed, it is my own fault but I am not happy because I made such a nice job of the tail feathers, working from the blue on the inside to the outside green.  Cross does not come into it - aaarrrggggghhhhh.  That's another half hour or so to unpick them and then another couple of hours to stitch them again.

The rest of it looks good, not sure how much longer it will take to finish as I have to work out the placement of my name in the top box, which was the reason for putting the peacock in first so I knew how much space I had.

Never mind, count to ten and start again.

My Stitching Treasures...

WOW - What a difference a day makes...

I worked really hard today, unpicking, cleaning up, tweezering threads, tidying up and look at the results.  About 7 hours of stitching today which is a little over the top but I wanted to get back the time I had lost through the unpicking.  

I have a couple of leaves to go across the top, the other peacock, then it's the alphabet and my name and finishing with the charms and beads.  I am really happy with how it looks, the purple fruit is better in satin stitch rather than cross stitched and it has lightened that area.

The wording doesn't look straight on my picture but it is and will be more aligned once it has been mounted and put in the box I am using.

I am off to bed now, probably dreaming of stitches at this rate.  I will post the last picture on Monday evening of it all finished and boxed up and maybe a little hint of what I am working on next, it's not a cross stitch as I am going to have a change.

Hope those Monday blues don't get to you too much, have a great week.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

My Stitching Treasures Progress...

Progress... I don't think so...

I did have alot of stitching done.

Then I decided it didn't look right, after checking, I had the beautiful blue peacock stitched one over one - in the wrong place.  I spent most of yesterday unpicking the very tiny stitches and trying to tidy up the linen, I can still see where I have unpicked them on the picture.

I also checked all the other boxes, my chimney is missing, I don't like the 'n' on the word need with the little flourish as it looks like an 'm' to me so I am changing that as well.  I cross stitched the fruit on the flowers and they should be in satin stitch, that's another unpicking session.  I think I found two other faults on my stitching as well.  I fell out with it alot yesterday and did seriously think about putting it away, but I am that close to finishing it I am going to carry on stitching today.

Hope you are all enjoying the weekend and will be back tomorrow with a better looking piece of work I hope.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Muffins

I have just tweaked this recipe again and found it works even better as follows:-


300 grams of Bob's Redmill 1to1 Baking flour - gluten free
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
175 grams of golden caster sugar
2 good tablespoons of good quality cocoa powder - I use Callebaut
250 grams of dark chocolate chips - again I use Callebaut
3 eggs
100 grams butter melted
220 ml milk

You can use dark/milk and white chocolate chips instead of just dark.  The taste will be sweeter than using just the dark chocolate.


Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 and get your tin ready with 12 muffin cases.

Mix all the dry ingredients together except the chocolate chips.

Mix all the wet ingredients together.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and pour the milk/egg mix into the middle, gently incorporate all the flour into liquid and stir until there are no lumps of sugar or flour.

Put the chocolate chips into the mix and stir again.

Add a little extra milk if you think the mixture is too thick.

Spoon a good heap into each muffin case.  Use all the mixture.  They will look really full but don't worry they won't spill over.

Place in the middle of the oven and cook for 30 minutes.  Anymore and they will start to burn on the top.  

When you put them in the oven after about ten minutes you will look and think that they are not going to rise.  Just leave them for the full time - when you go back they will look like muffins.

Sprinkle with a little icing sugar before serving with your favourite hot drink.

It took me a while to get this recipe right for muffins as I wanted something that was like the real thing and this is it.  

My Stitching Treasures...

Friday's stitches...

Quite a lot of work got done on Friday.  I finished the house, put the tail on the bunny, the light leaves across the top and the golden pears in the bottom right hand corner along with the scissors that I love and the roses that look gorgeous.  I am going to change to a smaller needle now as the peacocks are stitched over one thread and I chose a 36 count linen to stitch on so the stitches are very small and it will be easier I think.  The gold needle that I started off with at the beginning has lost all of it's gold but I am going to put it in the needle case accessory and not in the bin.

I used the warm bulb on the daylight lamp for the photograph and I think it shows the colours alot better than the cool bulb.

Back later, off to make cake for hubby and his workmates now.

Enjoy the weekend all.

Friday, 28 July 2017

My Stitching Treasures continued...

Wednesday and Thursday evening stitches...

Still on course for finishing it at the weekend.  

The darning was a nightmare and if I was doing this project again I could do it first to get it out of the way.

It does look stunning though and I am pleased it is a project I started.

Gluten Free Blueberry scones


450 grams Bob's Red Mill 1to1 Baking flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg mixed with sufficient milk to make 250 ml
85 grams Caster Sugar
100 grams Blueberries
100 grams block butter cold and diced
demerera sugar


Preheat the oven to gas mark 7.

Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar together.

Rub the diced butter into flour mix until it resembles a breadcrumb mix.

Add the blueberries and lightly stir.

Pour the milk and egg mix in gradually until the mixture starts to bind together.  Don't knead it like bread just lightly mix until it comes together.  It may take more milk to do this or you might find you don't use all of the milk.

Flour your work surface and the cutter.  Gently roll the mixture until it is the height of the cutter you are using or about one/one and a half inches high.  Cut rounds out using the cutter and any leftovers can be bound together and repeat the cutting out.  You should get 12 scones.

Place on a baking tray, brush with any leftover milk/egg mix or just milk and then sprinkle a little demerera sugar on the top.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 12 to 18 minutes or until they are golden brown on top.  When you take them out of the oven you can check that they are cooked by looking on the underside and this should also be a golden brown colour.  Gluten free baked goods seem to take longer to cook so don't worry if they have been in 20 minutes or more.

For a non gluten free scone just replace the gluten free flour with a self raising flour of your choice.

Enjoy with loads of butter.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Gluten Free Blueberry & White Chocolate Muffins

A beautifully light, moist and really tasty gluten free muffin.


250 grams of Bob's Red Mill 1to1 Baking Flour
50 grams of butter - melted
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
100 grams castor  sugar
150 grams white chocolate drops
150 grams blueberries - fresh or frozen
250ml milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence


Preheat your oven to gas mark 4.  

Prepare a 12 quantity bun tin with muffin sized papers.

Mix all the dry ingredients together except for the chocolate drops and blueberries.

Mix all the liquid ingredients together.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry cake mix and stir well making sure you get all the flour incorporated and then add the white chocolate drops and the blueberries, mix again but not for too long.

Use a large ice cream scoop and place one scoop in each of the muffin cases.

Place in the middle of the oven.  Cook until they are browning on the top.  Mine took 32 minutes, normally muffins are quicker than this but when you use gluten free flour they seem to take longer.  Anywhere from 22 minutes onwards so just keep an eye on them.

If you want to bake these without gluten free flour just replace the flour with 250 grams of Be-Ro self raising flour or equivalent.

Enjoy with a cup of your favourite hot drink.

I cut one open so you can see how light they are.  They are the nearest I have got to a gluten containing muffin and as you can see from the picture I don't have 12 left - families in!!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

More Stitching Treasures....

Day 8

Tuesday evening...

It is looking great.  I have a dislike... it's that pineapple in Algerian Stitch.  I am really not sure if I like it and it could before I finish be unpicked, I look at it and it looks like a rabbit not a pineapple, never mind.

It's been a long day today and I haven't got as much done as I wanted in the last 36 hours but nobody is timing me so it doesn't matter, not going to pressure myself.  I think I am just a little impatient to see it on the box.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

My Stitching Treasures continued...

Day six and seven

Sunday and Monday

I worked out that my average stitching time per day is four hours so at this point the total number of hours is 28.  I don't think that is too bad for me.  Just the evenings and maybe grabbing an hour during the day when chores let me stitch.

I left the daylight lamp on to take this photograph and it certainly shows the colours off to their best.

Tip of the day would be when you are stitching and have a small length of thread see if there is another box you can use it in.  This is one of the most economical kits I have ever completed, I have hardly any waste considering the amount and variety of stitches.

Tomorrow is a hospital appointment so not sure what I will get done but I am getting ever hopeful that this piece will be finished this week.

Enjoy x

Monday, 24 July 2017

My Stitching Treasures continued...

Saturday and Sunday evening's stitching saw me complete five more boxes.

I love all the different stitches that are going into this project.  However, a little piece of advice if you do it, check the boxes as you stitch and maybe you won't put the strawberry in the wrong box to start off with like I did and then have to reverse stitch the whole strawberry and put it in the right box.

I will post some more updates of the progress and maybe show some pictures of other stitching that should be finished soon along with a stocking tutorial for your Shepherd's Bush Christmas Stocking.

Happy Stitching x

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Jeannette Douglas My Stitching Treasures

Here at last is a picture of last weeks progress on the stitching treasures workbox top.

I am working the sampler on 36 count linen which does nothing for your eyesight.  I stitch with a large magnifying lamp/light which is I couldn't do without.

I do love the pattern on the sampler however I am struggling with some of the threads knotting and splitting which is driving me a bit bonkers.

The black thread that you can see running vertically and horizontally in the linen is my centring line.  This helped alot during the stitching of the initial framework because it meant that I didn't have to keep checking the lines and as the frame was stitched I could slowly pull the centring thread out so it didn't get caught in the stitches.  

The work above is after five days of stitching just in the evenings.

I will catch up with some more photographs in a couple of days.  I do hope to have it finished soon.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Fobbles Annual Exhibition 2017

21st and 22nd July 2017

10.00 a.m. until 4.00 p.m.

Quilts, hand embroidery, cross stitch and handmade items all beautifully displayed at Fobbles, Gubbergill, Holmrook.

Sales table of patterns, books, wool and more

Plants including Lavender and a selection of Iris plants.

Raffle - 1st prize is a completed quilt, 2nd prize is a completed quilt, 3rd prize is a handmade doll, 4th prize is Prestat chocolates and the 5th prize is a Fobbles gift voucher.

The shop is open all day for both days.  

Outstanding displays of work by local quilters and embroiderers of all ages.

Hope to see you there.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Disney The Little Mermaid Birthday Cake

Having 25, 22 and 18 year old children I thought I was well passed doing any sort of birthday cake creations, but, alas, no my 22 year old daughter decided three days before her birthday that she wanted a Disney cake.

I couldn't rely on any of the supermarkets for a cake that I wanted so it had to be done at home.  I am a trained chef and have done home cakes before but I would not call myself a master baker however I do know some techniques and You Tube is fab.

Roll forward to 26th February and this is what I achieved.

The impossible can be done.  Four layers of coloured lemon sponge with a buttercream topping.  Ombre layers of aqua blue going from dark to light to make the waves.  Cake decoration mermaid on top and three fish tank ornaments from the local pet shop (boiled, washed, boiled again, ok so I have OCD for clean!!)

Fondant modelling paste, coloured and rolled out flat (good in a pasta machine, but I just used my rolling pin).  I then cut out holes of various sizes using icing nozzles and lay the sheet in different angles over the rolling pin and leave to dry.  

Press embossing tips into mounds of fondant paste for a different coral and also roll and shape tubes of fondant paste for a greater variety.  To make the reeds, just cut long lengths of triangular fondant and twist.  The sand is Unicorn mix from the local cake craft store.

The letters were store bought and I used a little bit of vodka brushed over the top and then dipped in the edible glitter.

Total cost - OMG, just don't ask, it wasn't cheap, the ornaments themselves came in at over twenty pounds along with the cake board and unicorn mix, lettering and fondant modelling paste at more than twenty five.  If you can do the models yourself then you can keep the costs low but I reckoned out at about 85.00 for everything with plenty left over for next time.

What next time I hear myself ask...

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Grimsby Beer Battered Haddock

Beer Batter Recipe

100 grams Plain Flour
Salt and Pepper
300 mls Beer

Vegetable or Sunflower oil for cooking in a high sided pan.

Kitchen paper to place the fish on after cooking.

Extra plain flour for coating the fish, which you can also season if you like.  

Put the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl and gradually add the beer whisking all the time until the consistency is that of double cream.

I had two very large Grimsby Haddock, each of which I cut into three smaller pieces.

Coat each piece with the flour coating mix.  I trimmed the tails of both of them for test pieces to make sure the fat was hot enough.

Heat the oil to 190 C or 370 F if you have a thermometer, if not, use the test piece method.

Dip one of the small pieces in the batter and slowly place in the oil.  Do not drop it in as the oil will splash up.  Also by placing the fish in carefully it starts cooking straight away and doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  If the fish starts to brown immediately with the fat bubbling, then it is hot enough, if it takes a while to brown turn the heat up and test again with the second piece.

Take each piece, coat with flour, dip into the batter mix making sure you coat all of it and gently place into the hot oil.  Cook for a few minutes until golden brown, turning occasionally if you need to with two metal spatulas, again, being careful not to let the oil splash.  Remove once you are happy with the depth of colour and place on the kitchen paper.

Repeat the process for all the pieces.

Enjoy with homemade chips, peas, bread and butter or be lazy and send someone else to the chip shop for chips and peas while you cook the fish.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Homemade Sewing Weights

A dozen homemade sewing weights, ideal for dressmaking so you don't have to break your back with all the pinning etc.

I used a sewing themed fabric.  You can cut any size for your weights that you like as long as it is a rectangle with the long side exactly double the short side.  So ideal sizes are as follows:-

7cm x 14cm - ideal for collar pattern pieces as they are small
8cm x 16cm - ideal for pockets and children's clothing
9cm x 18cm - a good size for most pattern pieces
10cm x 20cm - useful for larger pattern pieces
12cm x 24cm - one of these in the middle of your pattern piece while checking your pattern placement lines

I used dried rice for fillings and Aurifil thread for both machine sewing and handstitching.

Press your fabric pieces, fold them in half right sides together and stitch along one side and bottom on wrong side of fabric leaving one side open. Clip the corners (not too close).  Turn to the right side.  Fold in 1cm on open edge and press.  Fill with the rice, the more you put in the better the weight.  I filled them to the point that you can just pinch the edges together to sew the seam.  When you are ready to close the opening make sure you close the edge opposite to the bottom so that you get the triangle shape.  

Sew the seam together from middle out, then back along to the middle and across again so that it is secure with very small invisible stitches, mine were 1 to 2 mm apart, this reduces the chances of them splitting.

Think about what colours you mostly sew with before making them.  I used light colours as I am working with bridal fabrics and laces.  

Total cost of the project was 1.20 for the bag of rice (budget will do), as I used scraps of fabric I already had and cotton I already had. 

I took about four hours to make the 12 weights, this included pressing time, setting up the sewing machine and the hand stitching.