Thursday, 21 August 2014

21 August 2014

Well, I'm back from a lovely week at my mother in law's in The Lizard in Cornwall. Actually got back last Friday but it's taken me forever to catch up and have just spent the best part of an hour trying to remember my log in etc for this blog!! I'm getting old, my memory isn't what it used to be!
Well, I lied when I said I wouldn't have time to do any stitching whilst I was away. I stitched these two Christmas cards and am already on another one.

I've also been a bit naughty and have been bidding away on Ebay for lots more card kits that I don't really need but I have to have!! I've also found a great little Lucie Heaton website ( and have found a free chart of a Christmas Fairy on there that I want to make into a card. Sadly, I didn't have many of the threads so I went to my local craft store, In Stitches in Crediton to order some and hopefully will be ready next week.

I'm also going to try and have a go at making a tea cup candle after seeing some on a website and have got a free candle making kit from I found a lovely bone chine cup and saucer in my local charity shop so shall be having a bit of play later!

Inspired by the return of The Great British Bake Off  I've also been busy baking - a Farmhouse Fruit Cake which was delicious (not normally a fruit cake lover but this was really light) and today I made scones, which we'll be having with clotted cream and jam later on.

Devon Scones

Farmhouse Fruit Cake
I'm currently on the hunt for empty jars as I want to make chilli relish, jam and chutneys with the abundance of chillis I have on my Prarie Fire chilli plant.

Still not won anything on the hundreds of competitions that I've entered but did win a free chocolate bar on a Cadbury's Dairy Milk wrapper and also won £10.00 on a scratch card that I bought on a whim. Maybe my luck is about to change?

Back to work for me in just over a week after having the summer off looking after my children on their school holidays. Really not looking forward to it as I don't like the job and am currently looking for another one - fingers crossed. So, I shall be spending the last few days sorting out what needs to be bought before the start of term and ironing in name labels into uniform like a dervish!!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Just had to share....

Thought you might like to see this that I did a couple of years ago - it was a Russian (I think) kit that I picked up a craft show in Exeter and I absolutely love it.

Gorjuss update

  Well here she is! Finished at last. I started her in February 2014 and finished yesterday. She was originally meant to be an anniversary gift for my husband but that was back in July so had to rethink that option!! I'm really pleased with her and really enjoyed working on it. It was my first Bothy Threads stitch and I love the layout of the charts and the thread is really nice too. I've got the rainbow cupcakes kit of theirs squirreled away in my stash.

However,  I've just started this one from Luca-S called Impression which I saw in Hobbycraft in November which I just had to have even though I didn't really need anymore. Well, you have to don't you?! I thought it looked really beautiful, kind of like an old sepia photograph.

Yesterday, I started my Christmas card stitching too and finished this cute little cat as part of a mid-week challenge on a Facebook group that I'm on.

Going to Cornwall to visit my mother in law for a week on Saturday so I doubt I'll get much stitching done then so going to try and do as much as I can in the next couple of days. Wish me luck!

Monday, 4 August 2014

What a lovely weekend - despite being ill

I woke up on Saturday morning with a raging sore throat - great! Just what I needed when the family were going on a BBQ on Exmouth beach that evening with my husband's work colleagues. Still, I consumed lots of cold relief tablets and sore throat sweets and prepared to battle on. I'm glad I did, as I had one of the best nights out in a long time. I'm normally quite a shy person - that's why me doing this blog is a bit of radical thing for me - and normally on Steve's work occasions I tend to not really say anything, as I feel that a humble civil servant cannot possibly have anything interesting to say to a group of ecologists.  However, his colleagues are a nice gang of people and I think the 3 bottles of cider helped things along! Yes, I did get rather drunk - much to my childrens' embarrassment/amusement.!!

I woke up on Sunday with a slight headache - I blaming the cold and not a hangover!! After popping some pills I set to work on making a carrot cake with orange buttercream icing. My daughter Liana has been asking for a carrot cake for ages and after trawling the internet and not finding one that I really wanted to make, I came up with this one with is a combination of two different recipies - icing is courtesy of the Mary Berry Complete Cookbook but I substituted orange juice for her lemon juice.


225g self raising flour
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
150g soft dark brown sugar
180g finely grated carrots
2 medium eggs
150ml sunflower oil
2tbsp milk
100g butter
225g icing sugar
juice of half a small orange
rind of small orange


Heat oven to 180*C, 350*F, Gas mark 4

Grease and line 20 cm cake tin

Mix flour and mixed spice in a large bowl. Stir in sugar, grated carrots and some of the orange rind (reserve some for decoration).

Make a well in the centre of the ingredients and add eggs, oil and milk. Mix together well so no flour is visible.

Place mixture in cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until will risen and golden and a skewer is clean when inserted.

Leave to cool in tin for a few minutes, then turn out of tin, remove greaseproof paper and leave to cool completly on a metal rack.

To make the icing, mix half the icing sugar with the butter and whisk with electric mixer. Tip - cover the bowl with a tea towel whilst you do this or you could end up with more icing sugar on the worktop and yourself rather than the bowl, like I did!!. When mixed together, add the rest of the icing sugar and enough orange juice to get the required consistency.

Decorate the cake with icing and sprinkle with reserved orange rind.

Carrot and orange cake with orange icing

I also went on to make pot roasted chicken with sun-dried tomatoes, cinnamon and oregano served with orzo pasta from the Rick Stein Mediteranean Escapes book for our evening meal. I've attached a photo here - excuse the presentation. It did taste a lot nicer than it looks!!

I also managed to get a lot of stitching time in. I'm currently working on Bothy Threads Gorguss "The Collector". I'm on the final bits of back stitching in her hair with the wording and button still to do. I'm finding it difficult using the metallic thread as it's the first time I've really used it. I did invest in some Thread Heaven as I'd heard that is very useful but I'm still getting the hang of it. I'm hoping to finish her today and will post my completed picture on here later. After that, I want to make her into a cushion - but that's another story and I haven't a clue how to do that. Thanks heavens for the internet!!

Bothy Threads Gorjuss THE COLLECTOR cross stitch kit

Stitchy pictures

Here are a few pictures that I have stitched over the years that are hanging around the house. I've stitched countless cards and gifts in the 20 years I've been cross stitching.

A recent birthday card for my husband who is obsessed with Belle from Beauty and the Beast

John Clayton's Fuschia panel

Jane Greenoff

Michael Powell's Greek Window - reminds me of holidays