Friday, 22 September 2017

Finish for the Weekend

Hello dear friends and readers!

Welcome to this week's Finish for the Weekend, it would be lovely if some of you wanted to join in, see below for instructions :)


Sorry I'm a bit late this week, its been a busy couple of days. Anyway, here I am now with another Finished Object - hurray! I had a rummage around my abandoned projects drawer, and found half a ball of lovely red, white and blue Lily's Sugar N Cream cotton that I'd won in a giveaway a couple of years ago, and of which the other half had been hooked into a circle - what it was going to be I have no idea!



I decided just to add a couple more rounds and use it as a table-mat thingy on my kitchen table, it matches my spotty tablecloth quite well don't you think ?



It also goes well with my red "Juice" jug/vase which was a £1 bargain from the charity shop, I love how bright red it is, sort of a proper Red red if you know what I mean. (Just hope no-one ever tries to drink juice from it as I only ever use it as a vase - bleurgh)



There we go, looking lovely :)
What have you finished for the weekend ?



Til next time,
Jill xxxxx

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Welcome to Finish for the Weekend, a weekly chance to link up and share with the blogging community some of the projects you have completed this week. The only rule is that your post must be about an item you have finished this week, hopefully to help reduce some of those piles of UFO's!

Here's how to join in:

1. Write a blog post about your finished project.
2. Link back to Finish for the Weekend by adding this text as a link on your post:
http://emeraldcottage.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Finish%20for%20the%20Weekend
3. Publish your post
4. Link back from here to your post by clicking "Add Link" and adding your post's URL
5. Spread the bloggy love by visiting and commenting on the other Finish for the Weekend posts.

The Finish for the Weekend post will open for new links on a Friday at 12noon London time, and it will stay open until Monday at 12noon to allow for overseas bloggers to join in. These time may vary but I will do my best to keep it roughly the same. Looking forward to seeing all your posts !

Friday, 15 September 2017

Finish for the Weekend

Hello dear friends and readers :)

Welcome to the first proper Finish for the Weekend. (Please see below for How it Works).

In last week's post I talked about my series of posts entitled "Finish for the Weekend". The idea is over the course of the week, to have finished up with an ongoing project, to post about that finish and link to your post here. Hopefully we will get to see lots of lovely finished objects, and posts to inspire us, and some of those UFO's will finally get completed. You can find the rules at the bottom of this post.

My finish this week is a little cross-stitch motif that I started about a year ago, I know this as I was working on it for my Mum's birthday, which is in November!



I liked the symmetry of this design, clearly that's my scientific brain at work. I was going to say scientific and orderly brain, but its not very orderly these days. Anyway I made it up into a simple card to give my Mum this year - better late than never. My Mum is not one for fussiness so I think (hope) she'll like this.


I also made another couple of cards while the papercraft stuff was still out.


I'm not sure about the organza bow on this one, a more opaque ribbon might have worked better. Ah well, as long as you try, you can only learn from your mistakes, am I right?

I think this next one is my favourite so far ....


I especially like the little button on the tag, this was purely to cover up a rogue black blob from my stamp, but actually it finishes it perfectly.
I like this card so much that I seriously think I will make a few more the same, I definitely have enough of the papers for another 5 or 6. I find the design stage takes the longest so I may as well capitalise on a good (well, good in my eyes) design.

I'll leave you today with the start of another cross-stitch. I couldn't look at the purple scarf any longer last night, and I opened a new little cross-stitch kit - naughty Jill. That's why I'm having to do these Finish for the Weekend posts, I keep starting new things. Oh well, its only a small kit, and the hoop then becomes the frame so once the stitching is done, the kit really is complete. Here it is ... can you tell what it is yet ?


Thats it from me, I hope some of you decide to join in with Finish for the Weekend :)
Til next time,
Jill

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Ten

Hello dear friends and readers, thanks for popping by, I hope you're having a good week :)


My Little People have been back at school almost a week now, and we are settling back into the familiar, and mostly comfortable, routine that comes with school life. I say mostly comfortable because I will never find getting up at 6.30am to be comfortable, but it is lovely to get the house back to some semblance of normality.



By the end of our 6 week summer holidays the house usually resembles a slum with no room (nor the garden) escaping the ravages of 3 mess-makers. Honestly, how do they make SUCH a mess EVERYWHERE ???
Anyway, they're back to school now so I can get a bit of order back, and the fridge isn't quite so empty. Of course being back at school bring its own delights and challenges - last night we had to attend a GCSE meeting for Mr14, and a curriculum meeting for Little Tomboy. The meetings were in different schools, at the same time. Great. We decided to not attend Little Tomboy's, but to both go to the GCSE meeting. Which turned out to be somewhat of a waste of time anyway, the message simply being - This is an important time. They need to be in school. Support them with their learning at home. Nothing earth-shattering or particularly useful.

This morning before 7am I had Little Tomboy thrusting at me a pile of forms which needed handing in TODAY, Little Miss dictating to me a shopping list for food tech tomorrow, Mr14 shouting that his lunch money account was empty so could I top it up, and oh can we go to Hobbycraft after school (and after the hairdressers as they are getting haircuts today) to get a birthday present for a friend for tomorrow. Seriously, when will they learn asking me this stuff before my first coffee is never going to elicit a cheerful reply.  Luckily Little Miss' kickboxing isn't back til next Thursday and it's just hairdressers and Hobbycraft before dinner. Term-time is fairly manic, and having three at three different schools is bit of a juggling act to say the least.


With the start of term also comes the onset of autumn. The mornings are getting darker, the sun is dipping a little lower and the air is that little bit cooler. I have very mixed feelings about this. I love the turning of the leaves, and the windfalls, and gorgeous colours that herald autumn, but I don't like the darker mornings, and I really, really don't like the fact that winter is around the corner. I definitely suffer from seasonal blues, and have come to not quite dread winter, but I certainly don't look forward to it. I do try though to relish the opportunity to sit inside all cosied up with my crochet, and, having a few tricks up my sleeve this year for dealing with the winter blues, I'm hoping to stave it off a little at least.




We've also had Little Tomboy's birthday this week, she turned 10. 10!! Double figures! How did that happen ?! Her presents included a stunt scooter, a massive football goal and goalie gloves: she is goalie for her football team and wants to be able to practise more at home with Daddy.


She had a trampolining party with a load of friends. Best party ever, 2 hours of them jumping while I sat in the cafe and crocheted. We worked out we have now done 36 kids' birthday parties. I'm rather a dab hand I think. We've done trampolining, laser quest, miniature railway, cinema, craft, dancing, football, making-a-bear, and traditional party games. I know they don't much care for the food bit, plus it causes extra stress because inevitably they all end up running round like maniacs threatening to crack a head off the corner of the table. So, often, we don't even bother with food, and for this party they just had time bouncing instead. I know parents hate party bags full of sweets and tat, the children also aren't bothered with the tat, and, I am very sorry parents, but the party is all about the children, so I just do party bags with sweets. No expensive tat. Judge me if you will!



On her actual birthday we went out for birthday tea and I'd brought along a cake for the waitress to bring out for pudding. What I'd failed to notice was that the candles I had bought (which the waitress kindly put on the cake for me) spelt out "Birthday Boy"!! I'd assumed they spelt Happy Birthday. In the shop I'd just seen a pack of blue candles with letters and grabbed them, thinking "those will be perfect". I did think we could have spelt out "Birthday Yob", which, given her behaviour on occasion, would be quite apt. Little Tomboy did see the funny side though, she would definitely rather have had blue birthday boy candles than pink birthday girl ones.

Meanwhile in crochet-land, my purple zazzle scarf is growing nicely.


Here is the pattern opened up a bit ...


Its going to need a fair bit of blocking, which I might have to do in a couple of stages, as I don't think my blocking boards are big enough. I'm hoping to get it all done by Saturday night as the friend whom its for is having a birthday party then. I wouldn't say its likely that I'll hit the target, but its possible. People may need to go without food tonight and tomorrow though.

I'm planning to come back tomorrow with another "Finish for the Weekend" post, so I look forward to seeing you then,

Jillxxxxxxx

Friday, 8 September 2017

Finish for the Weekend

Good evening and happy Friday to you :)
Are you all like me and have lots of unfinished bits and bobs lurking around ?Who fancies joining in with me on getting some of those UFO's done and dusted ? I'm going to call it "Finish for the Weekend".

I've got sooooo many UFO's, I've decided its time to take matters in hand and start completing some of them. Quite a lot are half-made blankets, honestly I am so fickle when it comes to these things, but I am going to try really hard to be a monogamous hooker from now on. As boring as that is. Yawn. I'd much rather flit about between projects, but then of course I miss out on the glory of a Finished Object. Aaaaargh the dilemma!


But no, I am going to try and be faithful to one crochet-love at a time. Well, actually its going to be 2 or 3: I need to be progressing blankets so I am currently working on a ripple one, which is my sort of do-a-mindless-row-every-so-often project:


Then there's my Pink Razzle Scarf (though mine is purple) for my friend's birthday next week. This is my bring-in-the-car-on-the-school-run project, and its also my watching-telly-at-night project. Its a bit complicated, but I've got the pattern in my head now, so I'm able to get through the rows at a reasonable pace without constantly referring to the pattern. Incidentally it's from a copy of the US crochet magazine "Interweave Crochet" which my husband's colleague's wife kindly sends over for me periodically :)


And then finally I'm going to try and have some small (or big I suppose) finishes to show you on a Friday. I have lots of half-finished granny squares, flowers, hearts, and dear only knows what else lying around, waiting to be made into something wonderful. So every Friday I'm going to do a post about a finish I've done this week. Hence "Finished for the Weekend".

It would be super lovely if anyone fancied joining in with me, so I'm not feeling all silly doing this on my own. I thought I could put up a "Finish for the Weekend" post on a Friday, with my finish, and then over the weekend other people could out their links on it to show what they've finished over the course of that week. I'd leave the link up til Monday morning so everyone has plenty of time to join in, you don't have to have finished on Friday, you can still be finishing on Sunday night! I'll only set up the link adding thing if people want to join in, so please do let me know.

So without further ado, here is this week's "Finish for the Weekend" .... you'll have noticed the photo of the heart key-rings at the top of this post, I started a whole bunch of these about 18 months ago to sell at a craft fair. They didn't get completed before the fair and they have sat in a basket waiting to be assembled for nearly 2 years!!!


There is a definite predominance of blue. I have no idea why. I decided to join each pair of hearts in a contrasting yarn, mainly to balance out the blue-ness of it all. I have a basket full of leftover balls of yarn and it's these leftovers that I use for projects this small. I'd love to show you a sweet picture of my little yarn-filled basket all full of lovely foofy balls of yarn, wound perfectly like the way they always are in pictures, and nestling amongst each other is a pleasing fashion. But I can't because my basket is a mess. Well, okay, here is a photo of the mess. I have dumped some small unused balls I found on the top, so that's hiding a bit of the mess anyway.


Anyway, here are some of the colours picked out for each pair of hearts - looking a bit more cheery now ....


I joined a pair of hearts together and did a row of UK double-crochet all the way around, stuffing lightly just before I closed up the last few stitches. Embellished with a little flower and button on the front, and a bead and a charm at the end. I love these little heart charms ....


I hung them on my Easter twiggy tree (yes I know Easter was months ago, don't judge me) and love how they look, little flashes of colour against the pale wall ....



I think I'll save these to give as gifts as I have no plans to do any more craft fairs at the moment. Although I suppose I might consider doing one nearer Christmas. I do still have another 12 or so to complete so I'll have to get rid of them somehow, even I don't need 15 keyrings l!

Til next time,
Jillxxx




Monday, 4 September 2017

A Walk in the Woods

Hello dear friends and readers !

I hope you've all had a great weekend. Ours was very chilled, we are enjoying the last weekend before the Little People go back to school. On Saturday it felt like summer was still in full swing, I had about 6 loads of washing fluttering in the heat and gentle breeze, whereas yesterday was a much cooler affair, with not a small amount of rain, it feels like autumn has arrived. I did actually contemplate putting the heating on.

Anyway, back to my post. There are some woods near us called The Coombes, only 10 minutes drive away, but we'd never been. Not because we didn't want to, but because we weren't exactly sure where they were. I realise this seems faintly ridiculous. They seemed to be a kind of well-kept secret, which of course makes them all the more enticing. I'd asked friends before how to get there and the reply was always "oh its really easy, just go along this road a bit and they are there on the right". Still I could never find them. The other appealing thing about them is there is sometimes a secret cafe there too. I really wanted to be part of this secret gang who had been to the secret cafe, so I asked another friend for Really Detailed Instructions, and hurrah, she came good.


So yesterday morning I announced to my very grumpy family that we were going to find the woods, and go for a walk. Little Tomboy was grumpy because she was stuck on the xbox game she was playing. Little Miss was sulking because it was the morning and she is nearly a teenager, and those two things don't mix. Mr 14 was asking his usual autistic-person-detailed-questions - what will it be like ? how long does it take to get there ? how long will we be there ? what is there to do ? what will WE actually do ? will it be busy ? And Mr EC said flatly he wouldn't go. Undeterred I told them all that they were coming, like it or not. And then it started to rain.


Anyway, after several arguments about raincoats, ipads and headphones, we finally got everyone ready to go,  and loaded up the car. Off we drove, following my friend's directions. We found "the little track", but "the field on the left", where we were meant to park, was locked, and there were no "teacups hanging from the trees". We did see another car, and another family next to the car so we went and asked them if we were in the right place. We were ! We had found the secret woods. Hurray! But the secret cafe was closed. Booooo.


But we were there now, and the dog was at fever pitch by this point, so we decided to stay and go for a walk anyway, despite the now quite persistent rain.


Things started off quite grim, Mr EC was quite grumpy because the secret cafe was closed. I think he'd been secretly looking forward to a cream tea. Little Miss complained Very Loudly about getting wet. Apparently this was my fault: even though I had suggested wearing a raincoat might be a good idea, she had refused to wear one. It was extremely muddy, her nice new trainers were in danger of not looking quite so new. Again my fault even though I had suggested she might like to wear her old ones. I will admit that at this point I was thinking that this waslk was a really bad idea, and I was losing the will to live, but then we noticed a massive area of blackberries.


I LOVE picking blackberries so all the grumpiness of the others fell on deaf ears as I pounced on the blackberry bushes. I fished a dog waste bag out of my pocket, and Mr EC said to me "eurgh are you really going to use a poo bag to collect them ?". I pointed out that it was currently empty so technically at this point it was just a "bag" and yes, I really was going to use it. Well that was it. They all joined in and the grumpiness totally vanished. Suddenly everyone was in full swing, enjoying themselves, chatting and laughing, and helping each other to reach the high ones. (Everyone knows they are the best ones.)


Amazing how such a simple activity can transform everyone's moods! We picked blackberries for ages, Little Miss and I saving ours for later, the others eating as they went along. The patch of brambles stretched a really long way so we got loads. I could have spent all day right there, in the rain, but the others started to get twitchy so we finally gave up and carried along on our walk.

My friend had also told me to look out for "blue arrows painted on logs" but it wasn't clear what they were directing us to - the secret cafe, a hidden carpark ? pot of gold at the end of the rainbow ? We never did find out as we only ever saw one anyway.


It was a gorgeous walk. As it was in the woods this meant there were no sweeping vistas or amazing views but there was still plenty to catch one's eye.


The horses had obviously been through recently ....


And indeed we happened upon some deserted little stables in the midst of everything ....


Everywhere we looked there were signs of autumn's arrival: the leaves turning and falling, berries appearing, nuts and seeds littering the floor.




But still the odd summer bloom just clinging on ....


I love being out with my family like this, just the five of us - six if you include the dog - no technology, just fresh air and nature in all its glory. These times feel so precious, I know the days where we will all go out really are numbered as my older two increasingly spend more time with their friends, so whether it's bucketing or boiling its just lovely to be out together, chatting, pointing things out, laughing, running with the dog. It feels so wholesome and right somehow, just us versus the world.

Despite the rain the walking was so enjoyable. There were mossy banks to scampered over ....


Hidden pathways to explore ....


Little ponds waiting to be discovered ....


And wood piles to clamber over ....


Very excitingly in this pile of rocks we found a painted stone ....


In our area over the summer there has been "a thing" where you paint a little rock and hide it. You also look for other rocks and keep them when you find them. There is a facebook group where you can leave messages saying what you've found, or, what you've hidden, and roughly where. Sort of a swap-cum-treasure-hunt-cum-geocache. I'd been meaning to find some stones to paint but had never got around to it, so we hadn't really looked for any either. MrEC and Little Miss spotted this one, nestling amongst the logs! Super exciting! I really couldn't believe it! It seems amazing that we could find such a little stone in such a big area! We decided to keep it, that is the point, its not stealing, don't worry. So we now have a nice little souvenir of our walk. And we did gather a whole load more to paint and hide some time.

At this point we realised we had come full circle back to the car. This was by design, Mr EC has a built in human compass that I simply don't have, I hadn't really noticed that he was leading us in a big circle. Left to my own devices I'd be hopelessly lost.

When we got home we were all starving, so I got lunch underway. As we had so many blackberries, out cam the ingredients for a crumble ...


Its a really, really simple recipe:

Put 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 100g flour in a bowl and rub in 50g butter (which has been cut up into small pieces) until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.


Stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar and 3 tablespoons porridge oats (optional).

Wash blackberries, and chop up 3 apples, mix into a casserole dish with a small drizzle of lemon juice, and a large spoonful of sugar. Cover with the crumble topping.


Bake at 200 degC until top is crunchy and middle is cooked.

While the crumble was cooking we had a really simple lunch of carrot soup - not homemade - and crusty bread - also not homemade.


And for pudding we had the crumble ....


(I forgot to take a photo before we all dived in lol)

... and every last bit was eaten. the word "divine" was used. Praise indeed!


I'm so happy we found the woods, and next time we hope to find the secret cafe and then we will really be part of the secret club :)

Til next time,
Jillxxx