Thursday, 21 December 2017

Sea Salted Caramel sauce

Ooh you know its Christmas when you make sea salted caramel sauce. I serve mine with home made mince pies, vanilla ice cream and dusted with icing suger, perfect. You can find the recipe here

I'll be making two jars this weekend so its fresh for Monday (here's a photo I posted a few years ago)

If you make it, be careful, you'll be going to the fridge with a spoon to try it!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

chunky crochet V stitch cowl (a weekend project)

I thought you would like this easy project, its perfect for a last minute Christmas gift or birthday present. But this one is for me!

It uses chunky yarn (I’m using Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky 200g (4 x50g) but you should be able to use any chunky yarn, amounts vary. I'm using 200g and a 6mm hook

The origianl pattern credit is Bellacoco link here but I've added my notes that I think are easier to follow.

So this is how you make it ....

Foundation chain : Chain 23using a 6mm crochet hook

Round one: one tr into 4th chain from hook, ch1, tr into the same chain space (this is the V stitch) *Skip 2 chains, tr, ch1, tr into the same chain space* repeat 6 times, tr into last chain space. Chain 3 turn

Round two : *tr into chain 1 space of V stitch from the previous row, ch1, tr into the same chain space* repeat 7 times, chain 3 turn

Repeat round 2 until you reach your desired length. 65 rows should be enough until you almost run out of yarn but leave some to sew the two ends together.

Connect the two ends of your cowl together using slip stitch or you can sew the ends together using the long yarn end and a darning needle (use your preferred method).

That’s it, a simple weekend project to keep you warm!

Amanda x

Friday, 24 November 2017

make your own Christmas Cranberry Gin

I have a lot of friends at this time of the year and this is why! My Christmas cranberry gin infused recipe. Its so easy and so lovely to gift to your gin loving friends. Wrap it up with a bottle of tonic water and a hand made gift tag, perfect and the recipient will love you forever!

Christmas cranberry gin

So set aside an hour or less this weekend, hunt out some lovely gin bottles and sit back and let the gin infuse ready to bottle in just two weeks. I bought my sloe gin bottles on eBay for £12.95 for 3. Large Kilner jar £7.50 from The Range or Dunelm (3.5 litre for blending) I used Gordon's gin for this batch, so many supermarket offers this week. And I've crochet some cute twinkle stars for each bottle in gold thread, you can find the pattern here

  • 500g fresh cranberries (minimum)
  • 1kg granulated sugar
  • Peel of a large orange
  • 1.5 litres of good quality gin (I used Gordon's or Lidl!)

Get one large Kilner jar (I sterlilse mine with hot water but don't seal it, you won't get it open again!!)

Add the gin, the orange peel and fresh cranberries (prick each one, I use a vintage tomato fork I bought in Whitstable as its perfect for this job) and 1Kg of granulated sugar and stir. You can add some herbal tea bags, I used two Marks and Spencer spiced ones, they come in lovely organza bags perfect for infusing)

You can stir this every day until the sugar has dissolved and set aside in a dark room for a minimum of two weeks. Plenty of time for a last minute foodie/gin friend kind of gift. Mine has been infusing for 4 weeks now and perfect to bottle up for Christmas gifts this weekend and start another batch. 

Twinkle crochet stars

ready to bottle up

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Orla Kiely granny square blanket

After making a silly mistake I had to frog about 12 rows, but I'm back on track now and loving the new colours combination I've picked up. Its so lovely and very autumnal, I think I'll make this for my brother and sister in law to keep them warm this winter. But must make another for myself!

Its all Stylecraft Special DK using a standard granny square, two rows of each colour but I might change this as it grows.

Friday night catch up with my blanket

Sunday morning quick crochet fix

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

crochet granny square tee (top) revisited

Well since you last heard from me I've been mega busy finishing (and starting new projects) managed to have another quick break in Norfolk and yes, you guessed it made another granny tee! I think its fair to say that I am now addicted to this pattern!! I just love it, the best bit is turning the circle into a square and depending on which yarn you use, the stitch definition is wonderful.

So here is the denim blue version I made for my weekend in Norfolk but I didn't get round to wearing it as we had lovely weather.

This version uses three 142g balls of Lion Brand Heartland but you won't use all of the third. Why not experiment with other yarn like I did, it's great fun. Go raid your yarn stash!

my second granny tee in Lion Brand Heartland Glacier Bay

And I've started two more both in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran- I have six balls in the rusty rose colour so this will be a kids version for my Etsy shop. The purple version I bought 9 x50g balls of the same yarn but this should make a size 12-14 ladies. I'm only on row 8 and just over 25g used. I think it will need 4 x 50g per side. I'll update you as I go along so you know how much you'll need if you want to use the same yarn. Now this yarn is normally £4.95 per 50g but if you are lucky like me I got mine on eBay for an absolute bargain, and we do love a bargain!

this time in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran

I will have some exiting news to share with you next week about this pattern release by Sarah at and my versions. Watch this space :-)

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Birch Trees scarf

Well I've finally finished it! Yeah

I bought the wool last November and have been picking this up and putting it down. The last time I worked on it was March 2017, not that long ago really!

So here are some photos. You can find the pattern here over at Ravelry.

Here was my first attempt in 2014 here, I never did finish this one after I dropped a stitch, but it did get re-purposed into a granny snood!

Here is the old photo published in Simply Knitting magazine!

Birch Trees scarf in March 2017

Birch Trees scarf - ta dah

new winter scarf and Clarks loafers

Here are some photos of sewing in the ends last night. The pattern is so lovely that when you sew in the ends you can't see them!

sewing in the ends

Disclaimer: Please do not take my photos without my permission
Pattern credit: Julia Marsh, Hand Knitted Things.
Yarn: Fyberspates Vivacious DK (2 skeins) colour Pebble Beach

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

crochet granny square cushion

Here are some photos of what I've been making this month so far. Still time for more ;-)

First is my first granny square cushion, stripes to the back. I still need to sew in the buttons and undecided on whether to use three of my custom made ones. I've not followed a pattern, just made it up as I went along. Here are some notes I jotted down as I constructed it, not a pattern just some helpful tips.

granny square cushion

I joined both sides together on the right side (ws facing each other) using  htr. For the border I added a row of sc, ch3, sc - it gives it a vintage feel that I was looking for. But please note I left the bottom flap on the second row (sc, ch3, sc) and went around the coner, as shown in the picture. I added this simple border from Around the Corner Crochet Borders  You could use this to crochet the both sides together completely, I might try this next time for a smaller cushion that wouldn't get much use.

first row of htr missing the bottom flap where the buttons will go

joining both sides together with htr but missing the back flap 

I started in the middle bottom row and worked my way around,  I went through both the loops on the sides (not the bottom back) so that the cushion looks like one complete piece, clever? Not really it just happened that way after a little bit of jiggering around.

This makes the frilly edging hide the back piece but you should just see the buttons on the front using the holes in the granny squares. Hard to explain, I hope this makes sense. I have taken some photos, not really step by step, but this might help you.

the front with htr joining

the stripey back with htr joining

Next up is my new granny square blanket, using granny squares I had made and kept in a box (I do like looking at them from time to time, doesn't everyone?!) I've used Debbie Bliss Rialto DK from my stash of leftover bits that I keep in a plastic container.

The pattern is taken from the gorgeous book Granny Squares by Sue Pinner. I think I bought my copy last year in The Works. I wasn't sure about the colours, but I'm actually quite taken by the pastels and the bright petunia pink thrown in to jazz it up a bit.

granny square blanket

colourful granny squares

Monday, 4 September 2017

Granny square tee

I'm totally in love with this pattern from Inside Crochet issue 90 it's so clever and you can use just about any yarn substitute

the start

I've used Lion Brand Heartland for this version in this beautiful gold colour and I've also got a rich turquoise in my yarn stash to use for my next granny tee!

in the round

I hadn't planned on making one in this yarn, I'd actually started off in Debbie Bliss Rialto but ran out of one discontinued colour, when a lightbulb moment told me to use the Lion Brand in my stash.
It's come out better than I expected, a sort of lived in relaxed fit boxy kind of jumper in the softest yarn, with great drape and I love it!!

I can't give you the pattern (sorry if you've popped in expecting to find a free pattern, but I can direct you to where to buy your copy)

What I can tell you is my notes on how I put mine together if you fancy using the same yarn. Here are some notes I wrote as I was putting mine together.

1. I completed both front and back squares to row 18 of the pattern. This make a nice comfy jumper and gives the neck a feature.
2. sew top seams (shoulders) to 8.5 inches
3. sew side seams to 9 inches for the arm holes
4. add one treble row to each of the arm hole openings, the pattern suggests starting in any space but I started mine a little lower to hide the join.

That's it ......... and here is mine!

Ta dah 

Pattern: Granny Tee
Designer: Sarah Shrimpton (annabooshouse)
Magazine: Inside Crochet Issue 90
Yarn Substitute: Lion Brand Heartland (Shendandoah) (3x 142g balls)

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Granny square scarf (dreamy denim)

It's finished, hot off the hook! No idea why it took me so long to complete other than being distracted by lots of Sheepjes Whirl and other gorgeous yarns.

So here it is and the custom order has been received by my customer. I hope she likes it!

To make your own version here are some basic instructions (very basic as I haven't got round to making lots of photos but I will for the next one I make)

How to make a granny square scarf like mine

1. make 39 granny squares in your own yarn, colour combo, finishing on round 3 (you will join on round 4) I sew in the dangly bits as I go along to make it quicker at the end.
2. I've used Debbie Bliss Rialto DK in many colours that I have in my stash
3. to join I've used Debbie Bliss Rialto DK Heathers range (denim blue) I really love how this sets off the other colours. This yarn is so soft which is perfect when it will be so close to your skin
4. I used the join-as-you-go method as I find this works for me and I like the little hooks or hinges as I call them. You could use lots of colours to join which I will do for another version.
5. when you've joined all 39 granny squares finish off with one row of granny trebles to neaten up the edges or use double crochet or whatever takes your fancy.
6. finish off with a pom pom on each corner (I do love this bit!)
7. sit back and admire your work! 

Here are just a few of the many many photos I took!

You can also see the progress on my Instagram account here

coffee break in the garden

almost finished

ta dah

pom poms

Monday, 21 August 2017

Raspberry gin jam

I kept the raspberries left over from the raspberry gin recipe I posted a month ago, too good to waste. I kept them in a sealed Mason jar with some gin, shaking now and then to keep them coated until I decided what to do with them. I sieved out the gin and drank that whilst making my new recipe (a win win situation) On Sunday, I had a flash of inspiration, adult jam! Not just any jam, raspberry gin jam. Oh wow it tastes amazing!

If you are in the process of making my raspberry mint gin recipe you really must try this, its so easy and so delicious.


  • 1kg bag jam sugar (the one with pectin added)

Before you start, sterilise your jars (I do mine in the dishwasher) and put a plate in the freezer to chill, you will need this later. 


Bring to the boil, then boil rapidly for 5 mins. Remove from the heat and drop a little jam onto the chilled plate. Now push your finger through it – it should wrinkle and look like jam. If it doesn’t, boil for 2 mins, then test again.
The top of the jam may look like it has sediment on it, but I find that if you stir it well as it cools, a little of this disappears. Pour into the jars and seal. It will keep unopened for a year, but I doubt if it will last that long because you'll have lots of friends asking for the recipe! Once open keep in the fridge. I plan to use a jar in a home made victoria sponge over the bank holiday weekend, yummy

Tip the raspberries into a preserving pan and add the lemon juice. You will have around 500g left from the gin recipe and you'll need to make it up to 1Kg. Although I could only manage 800g because Morrisons had run out! 

Mash the berries to a pulp over the heat with a potato masher, then leave to cook for 5 mins. 
  1. Tip the juice and pulp back into the preserving pan and stir in the sugar. Heat gently, then add the remaining whole raspberries (I left out this bit). 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Raspberry and Mint Gin recipe

Ok, so here's another winner that I made a few weeks ago. It's a lovely refreshing drink and my sister loved it!  She's my official tester (taster) not a bad job on a Friday night, your sister arrives with another gin to sample! I've tried a little and loved it but have left mine to mature for another week. Truth is I'm still drinking my rhubarb gin and like to save it for sunny evenings and the weather isn't sunny right now.

Here is the recipe in case you want to try it .......

You will need...

500g Raspberries
Caster sugar
Fresh Mint

Glass Jar or bottle big enough to hold the ingredients, that seals well enough that you give it a good shake without wasting the contents! I personally love the Kilner jars and you can get them in most supermarkets, TK Maxx etc.

Add the caster sugar to the raspberries – I used about 100g (you can leave out if you prefer a less sweet drink, or alternatively add sugar syrup to taste once the spirit has matured)
Throw in a couple of handfuls of fresh mint - I've used spearmint thats growing in my new handy herb garden near the back door (the container I picked up at the Hampton Court Flower Show in July when we had sunshine!)

Top up with the Gin (I used Gordon's London Gin). I don’t sterilize my jars, I just go for dishwasher clean (I do this for my jam jars too)

Give the jar a good shake and store in a cool dark place. Then give the jar a shake each day for the first week. Leave to mature for at least 2 weeks, you will notice that the colour leeches out of the fruit into the spirit as time goes on.The original recipe I found here suggests a whole month, why wait, 2-3 weeks is long enough I think and the fruit is still nice to put in the bottle to give as a gift or to serve over ice.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

crochet granny square scarf

A customer recently sent a photo of a granny square scarf, it was a picture I'd saved to my Pinterest crochet account a while back. I took the order and as there was no rush to complete it, I've been making squares in-between other projects. Anyway its been some time since I started so I'm attempting to finish it soon and have started to join the squares, over half way since this photo was taken a week ago. The finished scarf will have another round then three pom poms on each edge. It will be a very cosy scarf in merino yarn (Debbie Bliss Rialto DK my favourite) I'll post some more pictures next week, I'm adding the two more tonight before bed.

The denim blue from the Heathers range is beautiful and sets of the other colours perfectly. I love it so much I plan to order more denim blue and make one for myself!

glorious granny squares
I tasted my rhubarb gin last night and its delicious and I'm now officially a gin drinker! We took Moss for a long walk over the fields tonight and the sun was shining the wind picked up, perfect weather for a walk and a G&T in the garden! I've started a new flavour gin today, raspberry and mint. I'll post the recipe next week, next plan is damson picking this week in the orchard near my house.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Rhubarb Gin

I came across this recipe over the weekend and I had a bumper harvest of rhubarb in my garden veg patch to try it out. I thought I'd share it with you. I've not tried gin before, but I know my sister loves it and its very popular right now and the colour is going to be amazing.

I also made rhubarb crumble cake and it was delicious served warm with cream. I still have lots of rhubarb left over, I think I picked over 3kg! More cake I think and yes more gin.

*1 litre of gin
*300g caster sugar
*600g rhubarb, cut into 2cm pieces
*1.5 litre jar (I tried a 1.5 litre jar and it wasn't big enough, try a 2 litre instead!)
Chop the rhubarb into roughly 2cm pieces, the redder the rhubarb the more pink your finished gin will be. I put mine in a bowl with the sugar and set aside for a couple of hours, I do this for jam making too, the sugar extracts the pink in the rhubarb. Then put the rhubarb into a 2 litre Kilner jar, add the gin. Make sure the jar is sealed and then give it a good stir until the sugar dissolves (most of it will be syrup from where you left it to rest previously). Leave in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks then sieve and bottle it up. I bought the lovely Kilner clip top preserve bottles in Dunelm for £3 each, will make a lovely gift and they come with a cute label ready for you to write on (or you could make your own as I will)

Rhubarb Crumble Cake
Serves 6 people
Cooking time: 45 minutes
  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 225g rhubarb (cut into 1 inch chunks)
For the Topping:
  • 50g butter
  • 75g plain flour
  • 25g sugar
Grease a 20cm/8inch deep round cake tin and preheat the oven to gas mark 5/180C. Make the crumble topping by rubbing the butter into the flour, add the sugar and place the bowl in the fridge. I make mine in the food processor as it saves getting your hands covered in butter.
For the sponge, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Lightly beat in the eggs and then fold in the self raising flour. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and level it off, place the chopped rhubarb pieces on top of the mixture and sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar. Cover the rhubarb with the crumble mixture and place in the centre of the oven for 45 -55 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch.

A lovely summer cake or pudding with squirty cream!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

follow your dream (knitted shawl)

I was asked to test knit a beautiful new shawl pattern recently by one of my lovely Instabuddies (Lisa at Lisasattik) and the yarn suggested was Scheepjes Whirl. You've probably seen this on Pinterest, Instagram and blog land. It's a fabulous new yarn made up of 60% cotton and 40% acrylic. My choice of colour was green tea tipple, there are so many to chose from but after seeing this knitted up (and crochet) I was drawn to the colour. You can follow my progress over on Ravelry just click here

looks too good to dive in

The only problem with starting with such a dark colour it was hard going but now that the subtle colour changes are emerging the knitting is much easier, quicker and far more enjoyable. I've not tackled many lace patterns before (but the birch trees scarf that I love) but because the panels are inter mixed with garter ridges and garter bands even I've managed to cope. The pattern flows beautifully and the colour change yarn guides you quickly to the next colour. Its a difficult pattern to put down and very enjoyable!

and we have lift off

Lisa is very talented and recently crochet me a beautiful shawl in this yarn from the pattern Lost in Time Shawl, its absolutely stunning and I've worn it a couple of times but saving this for my holiday later this month. So soft and warm yet light and very comfortable on your skin, which is a bonus after the last shawl I made which was a little itchy.

I'm hoping to get some knitting time this afternoon to continue with the garter band before going onto the longest zig zig lace panel (which requires a little more concentration) Enjoy your Saturday and here are some pictures of my progress so far.

The pattern has now been launched and is available to buy on Ravelry, please click here 

getting to grips with the Zig Zag lace panel

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Baby bunny costume

I've been working on the loveliest of custom orders (from my niece for my great niece). A request came in about three weeks ago would I knit a bunny costume for my great niece because she was attending a fancy dress party in May, she's only two months old so how could I resist!

I took two seperate patterns that I had found on Pinterest and made them into my own version adding a few little tweeks. I really love how the knitted bloomers turned out. The pattern does suggest the knitted band on the legs, but the first pair I made were made on 4mm needles and looked a little small and restricted on movement so for comfort I've left this part out.

The pattern links can be found here for an alternative pattern in garter stitch and here for the one I used. The baby bunny free knitting pattern can be found here

I do take custom orders (but please allow plenty of time because I do work full time and this is my hobby in my spare time)

So a big ta dah moment from me .......

it started like this

work in progress, love a pom pom

Ta dah
I love how the knitted bloomers turned out with my own flower drawstring design

Sunday, 23 April 2017

my vintage Sunday afternoon

Not only am I enjoying this new Drops Puna yarn (new to me) its like crocheting with cotton wool, I love it. My really-easy-crochet-shawl is coming along nicely in this yarn. I've started with the light grey, on my second ball and the next is grey then some rows of colour or maybe dark grey first. I'll decide when my next yarn delivery arrives from Woolwarehouse, I just couldn't resist ordering the colours they had on their Instagram account a few weeks ago (this is what made me buy the grey yarn!) I'm a sucker for yarn adverts, who isn't?

vintage Sunday afternoon

I've enjoyed an afternoon drinking tea from my vintage Alfred Meakin china I bought last weekend in Whitstable and of course yummy French Fancies. Reminds me of Sunday afternoons spent at my nans flat in London, drinking the, eating home made cake and counting buttons out of my nans large jar, fond memories.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

my gardening mojo is back

Earlier this month the weather was very warm for this time of year. After receiving some good news regarding my biopsy results I decided to chill out and potter in my garden. So glad  I did, a few hours on and I was totally loving it again and my compost bin was overflowing with gorgeous new soil! So my gardening mojo is well and truly back. Here are some photos of my work in progress. Lots of seeds have now been purchased, a huge bag of seed compost - I'll start sowing this week. I hope you've managed to get out in your gardens over the Easter weekend.

Next job is to get my veg patch dug over and some fertilser added ready for the dwarf beans - still deciding what else to grow. I have started one sack of spuds and two large pots of salad leaves (they germinated this weekend) Lots happening and lots to do in a small back garden in Kent.

Ladies Mantle
tea break

new life and pretty buds

Head Gardener Moss

gravel garden is tidy again