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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Arrrrrr! There be priates on the starboard bough!

The past couple of weeks the craftiness in this house has been focused on getting our son's new room ready. He's old enough to be moving into his first bed, and getting far too big for the nursery. We cogitated on what theme we wanted, and right up until the last minute had no idea, just knew what furniture we wanted. Then all of a sudden we came across the perfect thing with which to decorate his room. And we went into overdrive. Furniture was ordered, the paint was fetched from the loft, and more sourced in the correct colour. Then one evening, all hands to the pump, we got painting the room a lovely sky blue.

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But that's boring on its own. I mean any boy can have a blue bedroom. So time for some extra details. First were two coats of white paint and yours truly free handing some cloud shapes.

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Yes the shapes are not your typical clouds. They actually hearken to a video game series that the hubby and I enjoyed as teens. It certainly amused us both. But they looked far better after they were finished and detailed.

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Then hubby got to do what he loves best... not. Building flat pack furniture. I got out our secret weapon when he was done. Pre printed and pre pasted die cut wallpaper sheets. In the theme of... pirates. Well like you hadn't guessed already! Last night we spent an evening soaking the die cuts and getting them on the walls, starting with getting out the masking tape and working out where we wanted what, hubby soaking one piece while I put another up. We finished late last night.

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And beneath this ship is his ginormous train set! Seems every male I know loves playing with that thing....

12 Now all we need to do is wait for the sheets for the bed (its a junior sized bed and mattress so need the right sheets), and move him and his belongings in.

There are shelves to come to be added to the right hand wall when my parents visit next month, and my dear father will put them up for us, on which is books will go. But hardly critical for getting him moved in.

So there we are, project finished, and we're really happy. Now to find out what the small one thinks.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Odds and ends

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Ooof I have been busy, too busy to settle down and blog really, but making an effort now! I have been up to all sorts of crafty stuff.

I had hoped to show you pictures of the new bedroom we are getting together for our son, but circumstances beyond our control have delayed us a little there. Such is life, but pictures to come this week at least. I am so happy with the clouds that I painted in there, all done free hand. Took two coats of white, and one of detailing to get them done. They are funky and should add to the theme. Hubby has been building furniture like a made thing. If only I could get him to put the things in the loft that he needs to. I am already tired of half falling over them in our bedroom. Time to start nagging, he leaves me no choice.

I have been working on the huge oversized shawl a lot, and making great progress. It is so big though that it takes an age to get through a row. Still, I have discovered this weekend that audiobooks are a great help in allowing me something to enjoy and allow me to focus on my knitting, rather than getting distracted by every little thing, so some really great progress over the weekend. Its been really nice. I want to get it finished so I can start looking forward to projects for me and the little one on the way.

On that note, although I am valiantly resisting the urge to cast on an knit baby things. Its too early and I have things to finish. The oversized shawl, the gold lace shawl, and also on the needles a layering shrug. The last will probably get a lot of use in the coming months if I live and die in vests again this pregnancy. Our son was truly a little central heating unit so in the dead of winter I was in vests. That said, when I started to dabble in crochet, I dug out my cheap acrylic yarn that I had in several colours. I bought it when I first started knitting again with grand designs which never materialized. But it was great to start granny style hexagons with.

I had done a few, and I find myself picking up the hook and making about one a day at the moment and joining them together. I am under now illusions, this will not make a cuddly blanket for baby, but the bright colours and high contrast could be great for a play blanket, or a bed throw for our son's bed. So I will keep going despite how early it is because I enjoying it and can find a use for the finished blanket. its really rather fun.

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So what is everyone else working on?

Till next time.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

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I know I have been a touch quiet here after a bit of a flurry of  a start in my blog posts. I have had good reason mind, feeling rather unwell doesn't really incline you towards blogging. That said, I have also been avoiding places I can talk about news before we were ready, even if I was dying to tell someone.


Well dying I have been, of a bevvy of pregnancy symptoms. That's right, yours truly is pregnant again. Very early days, and babe looks set to be due around the 22nd of October. So yay! Time to start planning the baby projects! I have a skein of yarn set aside just for this eventuality!


Its lovely to know that I was right, I have suspected since somewhere around three weeks pregnant, and of course, you cannot detect a pregnancy till about four or so. So been sitting twiddling my thumbs and trying not to blab. But I have the perfect Valentines Day gift for my husband, and his face when I revealed was a picture. He's going to be a dad again and he loves it.


In other crafty news we are working on our first child's new bedroom. Here he is in his Christmas hat, You can't tell he put it on himself can you?

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Coincidence really that we were getting ready to move Patrick out of the nursery. All being well, we will be needing the nursery. I spent an hour and a half helping the husband paint the new room sky blue. It needs some touch ups, and then I need to paint some swirly clouds in there. We are going to use wall mural stickers, and he is getting pirates in his room!


The man of the house will be building the new furniture for in there at the weekend, and pictures will follow when we have a finished room.


So that's our current craftiness, you'll have to wait till October to see the project I am baking in my belly. If it turns out as pretty and as evenly tempered as our first, we are going to be very spoiled parents!


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Hope everyone is having a fantastic Valentines Day!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Noble Art of making Drop Scones

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Drop scones are an absolute favourite of mine. I have such lovely fond memories of making them when I was a child with my mother, with one of those now very rare beasts, a proper cast iron griddle. The kind of thing so solid that should you brain someone over the head with it (if you've managed to pick it up and swing it in the first place) that they will most certainly not survive the encounter. My beloved mother has assured me that she will leave it to me in her will.


And everyone has their own way of making them. Some put raisins in them, others lemon, some have them with jam or syrup, and some scottish folk I have met use them as part of a fried breakfast to mop up all the runny egg and tomato that's running around the plate. Personally, I like them warm or even cold with a smear of butter on, just as I had them as a child.

I am sure everyone who has ever made them knows, there is no art to the recipe of these little delights, the art comes in the cooking. Especially as we no longer have the old fashioned cast iron griddles to hand as we used to. However, with some trial and error, I am back making them once again. And here is my tried and tested batter mix:
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4 oz of self raising flour
2 oz sugar
1 egg
just enough milk to make a thick batter. 
blend together


Now here comes the trial and error. Do NOT think you can get away with adding baking powder to plain flour as a substitute for self raising. It does NOT work. What I wound up with when I tried it was inedible. So don't go there. 


Purists like my Grandmother would swear that it is impossible to make good drop scones without an old fashioned griddle. She would grudgingly admit it might just be possible with a heavy based saucepan. Its a myth, once you get the feel for it, you can make them in any pan you like. I have moved to making them in my cheap as chips IKEA non stick we picked up because they were on sale. Admittedly it would be easier if the pan bottom was completely flat, but it works just fine with some practice. 


A note if using nonstick. You will still want oil in the pan - oil, not butter, I use sunflower, but the bare minimum. I find a little on a piece of kitchen towel wiped around the pan periodically does the job nicely. And a good sized spoon for dropping your batter into your hot pan is a must. Which reminds me, I really need to buy some proper tablespoons instead of using the measuring spoon set that came in a Christmas cracker. Functional, but not quite cricket...


One discovery for me also came with trying to use up whatever was in the house. And it occurred to me that one challenge of getting a smooth batter with so little liquid in it, is the size of the sugar granules. And I had a box of icing sugar in the cupboard and I wasn't icing anything for the foreseeable future... makes for great drop scone batter I can tell you.


Other than that its just a case of getting the temperature of the pan right, which is purely a case of practise, and flipping your scones to the second side when there are lots of bubbles at the top. So go, have fun, and what do you like to have your drop scones with?