Thursday, 29 August 2013

Free knitting patterns (owl sweater, wrap over booties, Rowan cowl scarf)

I've recently added some buttons to my blog with links to sites I use and of course my Folksy and Pinterest accounts. If you are looking for Free Knitting patterns (I am frequently) here is a link to Deramores free knitting patterns some of them I've featured in past blog updates like here and here. The complete list includes some lovely patterns - an Owl Sweater by Peter Pan; open work cowl by Sarah Hazell and Wrapover baby shoes by Val Pearce. There is something for everyone and if you are a new customer you get a 10% discount voucher! A Win win situation. Happy knitting. Amanda x

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

crochet, gardening and bread pudding

Bank holiday Monday was quiet for us; just the way I like it. A quick trip for some DIY bits for decorating the dining room - 2 rooms in a week we must have the decorating bug! A little harvest out of the garden (as shown) For a newly planted veg patch it has done really well rewarding us with runners, French beans and lots of tomatoes. The plums are a little slow to ripen but I'll use them for chutney so no rush. But its lovely to be able to prepare dinners all weekend and something has come from that small patch. Tastes better, less or rather no air miles and no waste, oh and saves a few pounds per meal. If you look at the price of French beans it must be at least £1.60 per meal.

small harvest on Sunday

glad I only grew one courgette!
totem toms on the patio

runner bean wig wams need to be taller next year

Before we popped out I made a huge bread pudding using my favourite recipe from good old Nigel Slater. I know you don't really need a recipe but after finding this on online I would highly recommend it, my family love it and I'm lucky if it lasts one day!

The afternoon was spent crocheting a new scarf for my mums birthday in a couple of weeks time the pattern link is here at Mousenotebook. I've decided after 3 years (self taught using You Tube and books) that I was actually crocheting a little wrong and now I am doing it right and I love it again! It looked right but it was the way I was making the first stitch - hard to explain but I'm on the right track now so that's the main thing. I've also been using my Kindle for Pinterest and looking for digital patterns, I love it. I can sit in front of the TV and look at the pattern without having to get up! But there is one downside, I can loose an hour or two looking at Pinterest. Look me up if you need a recipe or knitting/crochet pattern, I've got quite a collection now.

On Friday night I made some cute buttons using a kit I bought myself back in June in Canterbury. I've got a box of small scraps crying out to be used for buttons. I also had an order for two lavender stacks and I love making them Pinterest Eight by Six

I thought I had a quiet weekend but after reading this it wasn't that quiet after all!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

crochet Peter Pan collar - my weekend project

Isn't the weather awful? Rain, rain and more rain - well it was here in Kent all day Saturday. We were decorating the front room all day or rather hubby was! All freshly painted now and after a day of housework I finally got round to reading this months Simply Crochet. I've only recently subscribed after my special 3 issue subscription ran out a few months back. I don't normally try anything just look and the lovely colourful pages and then pop it on m craft shelf.

But this evening I did try my first pattern - the Peter Pan lacy collar and I did it! I'm pleased with it and plan to crochet another one over the weekend for a friends birthday. It's almost finished as the ends need sewing in and the button sewn in but I did manage to follow the pattern and learnt a new stitch (htr) which I've been meaning to try;the magazine shows you and its so simple to follow. I used an odd ball of of Stylecraft Pure Luxury Merino in a soft lilac that looks more denim (a bargain from a few years ago), it will look nice with a cream top for my dads 70th birthday in two weeks. Maybe I will try a top next month! I also found this link on Pinterest, there are lots more free patterns on there too. I have a crochet, knitting and gardening boards - just look out for Eight-by-Six; but beware you can loose and hour or two just browsing! Enjoy the rest of your bank holiday weekend. Amanda x

Monday, 19 August 2013

Stylecraft Special DK (Attic 24 granny stripe blanket colour pack)

This picture made me smile this morning, my Stylecraft Special DK  lined up ready for more granny blanket stripes. I bought my Attic 24 blanket pack from eBay and you won't use all of it, which leaves some for the next project ;-)

Friday, 16 August 2013

granny stripe blanket, growing slowly

A little update on what's been going on in my life for the past few weeks. I haven't spoken about this before but my dads been on a radiotherapy course of 3 weeks for cancer. Its not something you want to talk about but actually by talking about it you realise just how many people this affects and it helps you sort of understand.When I first found out I was a bit shocked, numb - you name it all sorts of things go through your mind. Why my dad? But we are a positive bunch and just got on with it - like you do. He's almost finished at the hospital with two more sessions next week and he's doing really well. He's a very positive person and our way to cope has been to give as much support as possible, no fuss just helping with their house move, transforming their garden with my sister Danielle which was a very positive thing to do, very rewarding seeing his face when we'd finished and included lunch with lots of laugher (laughter is a good tonic); visiting as often as possible to just chat and drink lots of tea. We talked too much tonight, anyone that knows me will know I love to talk!

So tonight I drove straight from work to Canterbury to have dinner and cook with my mum. We made macaroni cheese, the recipe I posted earlier this week. And he loved it, nice and comforting and soft and did I mention he loved it? I think my mum will have to cook it every week :-) I like doing things for other people, giving is very rewarding and if it makes the receiver happy then its a win win situation. Sounds corny but when things like this happen it puts it all into perspective. Small things are far more important and family comes first.

It was a lovely and relaxed evening, sat chatting, drank lots of tea and finished another row of my blanket. It goes so well with their colour scheme my dad has requested I make him one! How could I refuse, nice to have your work appreciated and its a joy to do. So pleased the weather has changed so I can crack on with it, plan is to get it finished in two weeks so I start the next one. I've really loved making this one so far, my summer project to keep me warm in the winter. Its been on a journey with me, to hospital with my dad, to my parents house, sneaky row in my lunch break and in front of the tv.

Big thanks go to Lucy at Attic 24, without her bog I wouldn't have started this blanket. I've followed for years, like many other bloggers. Her posts cheer me up, full of colour and happiness. How could you not get immersed in all that colour? Blogging is not just about showing the world you can do something, yes its a record of your achievements but also about every day life, just as it is. I hope I didn't get carried away, but this week I've had a lot to say!

My friend Bianca lives in Holland and celebrated her birthday on Monday. I was a little late sending her present but it was worth the wait and she loves it (phew!) I used some of my vintage fabric stash with three metres of pretty bias binding I found in Canterbury last month. So happy birthday Bianca and looking forward to seeing you in September x

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

mid week recipe (macaroni cheese)

After I've been at work all day the last thing I want to do is be a slave to the kitchen! This recipe is really simple and makes a satisfying meal in about 30 mins. You can halve the recipe for two people but if your hungry go for the full recipe, you wont waste any! I've added one tin of drained tuna and chopped cherry tomatoes before but last night chose ham and slices of tomato on top, yummy.


  • 350g macaroni pasta
  • 40g sunflower spread
  • 40g plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 150g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Method

    1. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook for 10-12 minutes - until just tender (or follow pack instructions). Drain well.
    2. Meanwhile, melt the spread in a pan and stir in the flour, cook for 1 minute stirring, then add the milk, whisking as you do so. Cook stirring until you have a smooth thickened sauce. Beat in the mustard and half of the cheese.
    3. Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and mix well. Spoon into a large heatproof serving dish (or individual dishes) and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
    4. Grill under a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until cheese melts and is bubbling

    Monday, 12 August 2013

    Hydranga infinity scarf (my weekend project)

    I was feeling a bit under the weather on Saturday so decided to have a PJ day. To cheer myself up I raided my yarn stash, well part of it. Working with yarn always lifts my spirits; I love being able to produce something quickly out of a couple of balls of yarn. Working with wool and colour is something that cheers me up almost instantly, along with a little early evening sleep.
    With our October holiday in mind when there will be a chill in the air I decided to knit a scarf – an infinity scarf. I refer back to a pattern written by Julia Marsh quite often; it’s an easy pattern and always has good results. I made a number of these as Christmas presents in 2010 and I may do again this year.

    The pattern suggests Sirdar Indie but I’m all out of that particular yarn and found some Wendy Skye in Hydranga I bought on Cucumberpatch last year (a lovely mix of blues with a tiny bit of gold) I’ve never knitted with this before and used two strands held together to get a similar tension – not that I ever pay much attention to this aspect. I cast on 105 stitches (odd numbers for moss stitch – my favourite stitch). The colours work really well and using two balls picks up the uneven colours in the two strands which show up on the moss stitch pattern really well – almost like it was planned. It knits up quickly on no 10 circular needles with only one join. Using 100g balls is so much easier and neater. Here is a link to the pattern free pattern for Moss stitch infinity scarf

    My ta da moment ....... my weekend’s unplanned project ready for Anglesey we will be visiting for our five day stay in a converted barn. Just me, Ian and Moss!

    I'll post one of me wearing it later this year

    This weekend was so quiet compared to last Saturday. Jack was just about to turn 21 and we took him to London to the Thames RIB experience. We loved it even though it was a bit scary for me!
    Jack and Mandy at the Thames RIB experience
    Happy 21st Birthday Jack
    Sunday veggies fresh from the garden

    I hope you’ve had a good weekend; did you start a new project or celebrate something special?