Monday, 31 December 2012

Goodbye 2012...

Good morning!

I thought it would be a nice idea to post some pics of 2012 as seen by me and this little blog. 

January - one of my first attempts at making icing decorations - I attended a cake decorating class with my friend Sue, we both had a great time!

February - a beautiful snowy walk on our 24th Wedding Anniversary - it actually snowed a few flakes on our Wedding Day, but nothing as much as this!!

March - a collection of crochet blanket squares made for the Blanket Swap - taken outside in the sunshine!

April - I was blessed to be able to visit the beautiful Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and on this visit was able to re-visit the achingly-beautiful Rose Red City of Petra (cue Indiana Jones music please!!)

May - a little cross stitch project made me smile...

June - a big Diamond Jubilee celebration saw me making some bunting - my first ever attempt!

July - London 2012 - what a fabulous event, I was lucky enough to get to go to Old Trafford to see the football tournament.

August - in London to gaze at the newly opened Shard - cant wait until they open the viewing platform!

September - I got all poetical in my post about a visit to the sea...

October - feeding my obsession with crochet and pumpkins...

November - enjoying the 5th of November with our friends...

December - crafting gifts for loved ones...

I have loved this little retrospective look at the year just about to pass by - blogging really helps to lock in memories of special times - some big and spectacular (think visits to Jordan!) and some just small quiet moments, such as sitting out in the spring sunshine taking photos of crochet projects.  Precious Times with loved ones are forever captured in the archives to be enjoyed again and again.

Thank you - for reading and commenting on my varied writings, and to all my followers old and new - a special thank you!

Enjoy New Years Eve - lets hope the weather is kind for the fireworks!


Sunday, 30 December 2012

Heart stitching

Hello everyone

Yesterday's miserable weather meant a lovely, cosy day at home stitching.  So relaxing! 

I thought I would share the results with you....

Here are a couple of close ups of the stitching

I love how the pattern looks like patchwork

Here they are together...

 I loved making these, so nice just to make something deadlines, no reason, just because I want to!!  Cross stitch is one of the first crafts I learned from my darling Mum when I was little.  She really had so much patience with me!

Have a lovely day, Helenxx

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Loving these in-between days...

Hi everyone, hope you are keeping cosy today, the weather outside is truly frightful, hasnt got light yet (even though it is lunchtime, this is how it must be in Scandinavia at this time of year), lashing it down with rain (at least in Finland or somewhere like that it would be snow!!) and very windy.

BUT - I love these in-between days in the holidays, not quite one thing or the other, and the bleak weather outside makes being inside even more appealing dont you think?

Im lucky in that I am on holiday for a while longer, so Im making the most of these lazy, comfy, cosy days.

I have had time to do a bit of cross-stitching - all to be revealed soon...

...time for reading, these lovely vintage books were gifted to me by Sue from @home - she knows me too well...

Enjoying the cosy candle light, this was a gift to me recently from my DD, she knows me so well...lovely autumnal motif....and the candle was a yankee candle scent called warm spice - I wish you could smell it - the most super, comforting, something-nice-baking scent you could ever wish for...

And yesterday we had a lovely celebration round at mine as my darling Mum turned 87 years young - this is the cake I made for her...

...all gone now of course!  It was a lemon cake, filled with cream and lemon curd.  DH made us a fantastic roast dinner, the evening was full of laughter and memories.  My darling Mum taught me the love of all things crafty and creative when I was little, when we truly did have to make do and mend.  Thanks Mum!

Well, Im off to make another cuppa, and get on with a bit more leisurely stitching.

Have a lovely day!


Friday, 28 December 2012

"Tis the season to be swapping..."

Good evening all, its way past my usual bedtime for a Thursday, but as we are on holiday its all good - no terrible mad rush round in the morning, sheer bliss.

So, I thought I had better show you all how blessed I have been recently regarding swaps.

I joined in 4 festive swaps - the Snowflake Swap, the Cracker swap, the Decoration Swap and the Stocking Swap and was paired up with Katherine, Lisa, Suse and Liz.

What a very lucky lady I was to be paired up with these lovely bloggers - would you like to take a peek at what I received?  Here we go then...

 How lucky was I??

These are the things I sent out to my partners:

Thanks so so much ladies for all the lovely treats you sent me - all very much appreciated!

So, on a bit of a high from all this I have signed up to another swap, organised by all4meggymoo, - it is a heart-themed swap:

 As those of you who are regular readers of my blog will know, I love all things heart-themed!


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Baking part 2...

Good morning everyone, hope you are having a nice and relaxing
Boxing Day - after a very busy day at my darling Mum's house yesterday we are taking things very easy - 2 out of the six of us are still snoring away in bed!

So thought I would make the most of it and get a bit of computer time in...

As promised I can now reveal what else I made as part of my cooking extravaganza recently as everyone has received their pressies.

Little shortcake shells stuffed full of a lovely, fudgy, caramel filling - so delicious!  They are cooked on the stove top using this device

A little ball of dough is put into each cavity, then the device (known as a thingy in this house) is snapped shut and put onto the stove top

This then makes little half-shells of shortcake

The sweet is a little delicacy from The Caucaus region, but is also well known in Russia and Eastern Europe.  My device was bought in a little shop in Manchester by my brother-in-law - these sweets are a great favourite with my husbands family.  Here is the box it came in

The manufacturer calls it a nut maker, but I prefer "thingy"!

Some more of the yumminess in close up

Not very many are left now...

I have decided to make a healthy veggie stew for today's meal, it is bubbling away in the slow cooker and filling the house with delicious smells! 

Have a wonderful day, Helenxx


Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Eve and all through the house...

...not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Have a wonderful time, whatever you get up to! 


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas Baking part one...

 Good afternoon everyone, hope all is going well in preparation for the holidays.

I have been baking today, with a couple of my kids helping as well which has been

a) - a lot of fun, so nice to spend time with them now work and school have finished for a bit
b) - really helpful, they are super cooks and take a lot of care with their cooking!

First of all, I must show you my lucky bargain from Laura Ashley yesterday, for some reason these were on sale - they were out of their shrink-wrap but in perfect condition...and so I thought "those kids are going to make a real effort with the baking.  Lets get something chic to put the goodies in - something more interesting than old celebrations tubs!!"

So here we have it, a trio of Scandinavian-inspired tubs:

Here we have a yummy batch of mince pies.  I made my own mincemeat from a Hairy Bikers recipe - you can find it here.  I use orange juice instead of alcohol, and a veggie suet which is readily available in supermarkets:

It doesnt look much does it - but it is absolutely delicious.  These little beauties are brimming with lovely mincemeatiness and made by my daughter.  We will drift a blizzard of icing sugar over them just before serving...

Then we went on to make veggie sausage rolls, my son is the acknowledged expert in making these

These are so delicious!  We absolutely love them.

Going back to the start of this post, I have really got into Scandinavian inspired themes this last couple of months.  I bought this lovely book as a little treat to myself just recently:

It is a lovely collection of recipes and general eye candy.  A most enjoyable read.

Well, Im off to get on with more craftiness - cant say anything more as the recipients may well be reading this ;)


Saturday, 22 December 2012

Crafty makes for Christmas

Good morning everyone - a wet, dull day but whatever - the holidays have started - yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Two whole weeks off, I can hardly believe that its finally here.  Im so tired from work, I have been just crawling along to make it to the end of term - but, finally -

(and you dont have to worry about marking or planning for next week!!!!)

So whilst in this deliriously happy mood, I thought I would share a few of the things I have been making as gifts for Christmas (none of these are destined for any bloggers so they are not getting sneakly previews!)

I made quite a few, they are stuffed with soothing lavender

I used running stitch instead of blanket stitch this time, and cut out the felt with pinking shears

I rather like the effect, what do you think?

Then I got my knitting needles out

and made a frilly scarf for my cousin -

The colours are much richer than they look in the photo, Im just hoping she likes it!  They are lovely and warm, I have made a couple for myself as well - they are really lightweight but snuggly at the same time.  Perhaps the lacey nature of the yarn traps in the heat?

Well, Im off out in a bit with DH to do a bit of shopping - nothing too stressful today.  Might make my own mincemeat this evening - there is a nice recipe on the BBC food website - I replace the alcohol with orange juice and the suet for the veggie version.  It is absolutely delicious and takes no time to make if you have a food processor.  My daughter is making the mince pies tomorrow, whilst son makes the veggie sausage rolls.  I meantime am going to be tackling a new treat, but I cant say too much at this point as if it works out well a reader of this blog might just be receiving some of them (nod nod, wink wink, say no more.........)

Have a wonderful Saturday, Helenxx