I keep saying. . . . .

I will not add more projects to my Ravelry queue!

 

However this evening I decided to catch up on the blogs that I read and after reading Homesick Yorkshire lass’ post: ttp://recipeforayarn.wordpress.com/  that mentions the http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-beekeepers-quilt …… well I decided to investigate.  I had heard bits about it through twitter and now looking at it, it reminds me of my friends who are doing their own versions of sock blankets.

And well……

I sort of hit the button add to the queue and opps! – It’s in the queue.  The queue is still 5 pages long.  The Beekeepers quilt has become project no 150 in the queue.  Keep an eye on this.  One day I may just blog and say I’ve made it!

 

Celebrating Life

Saturday saw what would have been my father-in-law’s birthday.  My hubby’s sisters decided to open the garden to friends and family to try and raise some money for the hospice that helped care for him.  I was asked to make cakes so I spent Thursday morning and Friday evening making some.

 

Thursday’s cake making exercise didn’t go so well as part of the way through my electronic scales decided to die completely on me.  They had been iffy for a couple of days and were eating batteries like no tomorrow.  Thank heavens though for my local Co-op!  They had albeit small a set of scales with a dial.  It took me a while to get used to looking at the dial trying to work out which side were grams and which side were pounds and ounces.  I grew up in the time when metric was being introduced but imperial still ruled.  I use imperial quite a lot when cooking as I find it’s easy to remember.  However I decided that metric was easier to read so grams it was.   I must admit the brownies didn’t suffer from the brief disruption, but it that great baking tradition of making a mess I did managed to get the mixture over me and the kitchen!

 

The recipe I used was this one by James Martin.   http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/chocolate_fudge_brownie_29323

Being a Coeliac I was intrigued by Chestnut flour having never cooked with it before.  I hunted high and low for it round the Birmingham area trying to find it and failing.  I ended up resorting to the internet so be warned if reading this and you fancy making it start looking now!  BTW I didn’t and  haven’t made the ice-cream or sauce to go with it (sorry James) – I like eating them as they are!

 

Chocolate Brownies

Friday at work had been a bit of a stressful day.  I still had to make the cakes and I know baking can be therapeutic – so is listening to very loud music.  So Bon Jovi “Keep the Faith” album was my theme tune for the evening  – I even tweeted and faceached that very fact.  I had some blueberries hanging around and some ground almonds so I googled those two ingredients plus cake and came up with this:

http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/archive/blueberry-and-almond-cake__o_t__t_13511.html

 

It’s the first time I’ve used soured cream in cooking.  The recipe warned that the mixture might curdle but I kept on breathing and mixing and well as you can see they turned out very well.  Pretty tasty too!

 

 

I also made my famous lemon and poppy seed cake.  I’ve been asked to make one for my local Macmillan coffee morning at the end of September.  The recipe is a Dove Farm one and because I had some of their flour left I used that.  The mixture was doubled to fit the tray bake tin.  I think though I should have tripled it as I was disappointed in the depth of the cake.  But that’s just me being greedy!

The open day went well.  The sun shone, money was raised and we had a laugh.  I know that dad was somewhere around as I swore I heard him laugh.  It was when hubby and his uncle were playing quoits.  Every time they threw one at the cross the wind came and gently blew it off course.   The garden was looking good and everyone enjoyed themselves even the bee.

I know dad would have been proud.

Shelving snow in the middle of August.

Yes you’ve read the title right.  Inspired by the news that New Zealand has snow and to reflect how work has been.
It’s what I feel like we’ve been doing at work over the past few days.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m glad that it’s busy but I’ve noticed that the amount of books going in and out; and the amount of books being requested has increased (I guess I’ll have to wait till the stats to come out to be proved wrong).  Surely this must be an effect of the present economic climate we are in especially with the news that cost of living has gone up and that retail is  truggling (especially bookshops).

We take having access to books for granted ( whether brought or borrowed) but in some parts of the world they are a luxury item and having access to them for book lovers a dream come true.  I guess now with everyone tightening their purse strings buying a book is going to be a treat, but everyone loves reading and you can’t beat a good book!

I wonder if this and the threats of cut backs (the lyrics from the song “Big Yellow Taxi” spring to mind – “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”)ringing in people’s ears will make people realise how lucky they are and see a return to a golden age of libraries.  We’ll wait and see.

 

BTW If you’ve got the song going round in your head click the link and watch a live version! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t79hUuE2vuI

 

Review of “The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs” by Christina Hopkinson

I finished this book last night after I got back from knitting (still not finished one of the sockettes as yet but my MIL’s shawl is coming on a treat!  It’s the only thing I can knit whilst catching up with Mad Men) and well bits of it got me thinking.

Nearly all books have a dedication and this one is dedicated to her husband who she points out was not the inspiration for Joel (the husband in the book).  The story focuses on Mary who is about to turn 36 (same age as me) and feels like her life could be improved (don’t we all?).  She is un-happy working part-time juggling housework, 2 small boys Gabe and Rufufs; and decides that her life could be better without her husband around.  So she decides to give him 6 months to improve and to record his process he is given a reward chart to track the good and the bad that he does.  One thing Joel doesn’t know about it.  Can order lead to contement?  Where does true happiness lie?

The story is good and very funny in places.  It also addresses a lot of issues that women face today.  The fear of failure and the feeling that we are not good enough.  The way we judge our own lives by those around us and coveting what they have, forgetting to be grateful of the blessings that are in our lives.

I’m blessed to have a husband who is not like Joel.  He actually does quite a bit around the house, mostly washing and ironing (he brill at ironing – I iron more creases into a garment than out) but he will also do the vacumming and will cook when asked (like tonight even though it was fish and chips!).  However it was the character Becky  that struck a cord with me regarding the childlessness issue (I also read an interesting article in a magazine about it also today).  It’s made me realise that I should make more of this situation that I am in.  I do have Godchildren and I sponsor 2, I try and do a shoebox for Operation Christmas child and do bits of knitting for charity too. I know I’m blessed to be able to do this and that I have the freedom to do what I want.  It’s the freedom that I’m having issue with – I don’t use it wisely enough, it’s an area that I need to pray about and hopefully God will lead me to do His will and bless others!

Protests

Here in the UK we’ve had several nights of riots in various parts of the country.  I’m not going to blog about the ins and outs of it all.  The yobs however have scupper my plans for this evening – Knit Night is cancelled (we meet in the centre of Brum).  One of the reasons why there are riots is because of protest against the cuts.

 

I know all about the cuts.  I work in libraries which leads me on to the next thing I want to comment about – the WI.  I would love to be a member – it is one of my aims in life (however sad you may think I am) to find the time to attend meetings (maybe when I go part-time or retire – both are a long way off – not that I wish to wish my life away).  They’ve recently decided to have as one of their causes for this year a campaign to save libraries and as part of that campaign have set up a petition.  If you are reading this and live in the UK and care I would be grateful if you could click the link and sign:

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/1269

Thank you!

 

My weekend

So here we are on a bright sunny Monday morning in Brum!  Hope you’ve all had a good weekend.  Mine’s been a productive one – did some housework, did some shopping, meet some friends, did some knitting and cooking – overall had a geat time!

 

I managed to finish the shawl I’ve been working on for my sister’s brithday present – it helped that it was the only project I took to the SnB on Saturday!  It meant that I could then re-cast on the shawl I’m making for my MIL for Chirstmas (I’ve tried several patterns but kept on frogging it!) and start (which I’ve been waiting for a couple of weeks and getting really excited about!) these: http://purlthis.blogspot.com/2007/11/introducing-inspire-knits.html

Note pattern can be found on www.ravelry.com too!

I love sock yarn but get bored of making socks – I know they are quick but I get bored of going round in circles!  I know you can make other stuff with sock yarn – like the sock yarn blanket that several of my knitting friends are doing – I’m sort of taking the principle to make a bag out of yarn – when I get round to casting on the project all will become clear on here!  The reason why I wanted to do the Ballet School Dropout Sockettes was because on my birthday I developed some horrible blisters – I so didn’t moan about the pain because I had a FAB FAB FAB time on my birthday (I went to Leeds Kitchen!! =D)  There was one on each foot – blister plasters helped one but not the other ouch!  So since it’s still been warm and I’ve been alternating between crocs and fitflops I felt I needed a little something to protect my feet on the croc days.  I found deep in the back of my drawer some trainer socks and it got me thinking maybe I could see about buying some….. then hang on I’m a knitter surely I could make some?!  So there’s the story and so far the pattern is going good – hopefully I’ll have the pair finished by the end of the week since I’m planning on going to 2 knit nights this week!

 

I also got excited by cooking this weekend.  I collect cookbooks – I have a small shelving area in the Kitchen filled with them and my own notebooks – some have even managed to start living in the lounge, a couple that I don’t use that often live in the spare room and the Nigella Christmas one lives by my bed (not sure why).  I love cooking but only when I have the time – this weekend I got myself reasonably organised and managed to cook 2 dishes from 2 different cookbooks.

On Saturday I cooked “One-Pot Tomato Stew with pork meatballs, Chorizo and white beans” taken from Economy Gastronomy by Allergra McEvedy and Paul Merrett.  The recipe is actually by Paul and I loved it when he said pour two galsses of wine – one for the pot and one for the cook!  It reminded me of the late and great Keith Floyd and made me smile!  The recipe itself went well I had to do a bit of make do – no chilli flakes in the house so I used tabasco sauce and no ground cumin in the house so I bashed down some cumin seeds – still it worked well and there was plenty leftover to plonk in the freezer for another day!

 

On Sunday I made “Liver and Onion Yorkshire Pud” taken from Delia’s Frugal Food by (of course) Delia Smith.  Hubby loves liver, me I’m not a big fan (I am one of the kids who got traumatised by it through school dinners) but to wrap it in the Food of Angels?  Well I had to have a go!  I admit I didn’t use Delia’s pudding mix as such.  I’m a Coeliac and require a gluten-free diet.  I also had a hard time making Yorkshire Puddings – which as you can guess for a lass from Leeds was a bit of a no-no and made me feel like a failure….. that was untill I tried James Martin’s recipe – yes I know it uses a lot of eggs but IT WORKS!!!!!!!!! Which makes this lass SMILE!!! =) And to feel like she’s a proper Yorkshire lass even though she’s not living there.    Hubby approved of the dish – he even managed to take some off my plate – me I actually enjoyed it – the liver was so soft melt in your mouth way – so I guess result!

 

End of Sunday always leads to Monday morning but each day is a new gift and it’s up to us to use it wisely – so I’d better sign off  (I sort of promised to do the vacumming before I start work)!  Have a great day!

 

 

 

 

A thought

Praise Him for dreaming up such a fantastically innovative,
glorious, gracious plan whereby you and I can face anything this world can
throw at us, not due to our ability but to His ability through us. -Bill Gillham

 

I collect quotes.  Can’t always remember them  so that I can quote them!  But I like them – it’s a snap shot of people’s thoughts and their thought process.

This quote came as part of a daily email received by www.thisdaysthought.org.

Dreams and plans – everyone has them but we must remember to say “Your will be done”.