Monday, 29 August 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Monday seems to have become my unofficial laundry/cleaning/baking day, but it's nice to start the week with a day at home and a chance to get 'ontop' of the mayhem caused by the weekend.
Feeling slightly blah today, so needed a carb fix on the baking front  - enter Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread...

I have mentioned 'Joy The Baker's' blog before in a post, and I have to tell you I have never had a 'miss' with any of her recipes.  I found her cinnamon pull-apart bread recipe via Pinterest ( Isn't Pinterest amazing? -I know, 'old hat', but I'm new to to it,  and honestly you could get lost for days re pinning gorgeous images!)

The bread turned out beautifully - soft, doughy and luscious with a slightly caramelised base - the boys demolished half of it on their return from school - I'm hoping it'll stay nice and soft for them  to take to school for their morning snack tomorrow - if there is any left that is...

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Let's Crochet like its 1974...!

'Green Goddess' shift
Thank you  to my friend Diane for the link to this fab Etsy shop ( Wonky Zebra) which sells original vintage crochet patterns .  Check out some of these dresses..

Tunic Dress
Afternoon Dress

Goddess Dress

Granny Square Maxi Dress

Surprisingly wearable!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Thrify Book Covers

Whoooosh....where did that week go? Getting back into the swing of things now after last weeks shock to the system.  This Week I have been inundated with school exercise books and requests from teacher to cover them - for some reason the books seem rather large this year; too big for my usual 'old comic page' trick.  During a recent clear out I found an over sized 'Where's Wally' duplicate copy, purchased for 40p from our local charity shop, so I didn't mind pulling it apart to use the sheets - problem solved! (BTW, did you know Wally is called 'Waldo' in the US?)

Have a great weekend, the tonic water is chilling as we speak.....

Saturday, 20 August 2011


Ever since a child, my drawing tool of choice has always been a black fine liner - I must add, I'm no artist,  but like most people with a slightly creative leaning, I enjoy a good doodle on a nice new pad of paper. I really enjoyed drawing out the new banner for this blog (black pen on yellow paper), there was something really relaxing and immensely satisfying about stepping away from the computer and creating something by hand for a change.  Whilst browsing Amazon the other day, I spotted the above book -'How to be the best bubble writer in the world ever' and for the price of £5.51, I decided I couldn't pass it up.

To be honest, this book is probably aimed at children, as opposed to a 36 year old wifey like myself, and I know my 11 year old self would have been all over this book.  It's printed on heavy matt paper, similar to a child's vintage colouring book, and as well as instruction on creating different 'bubble' alphabets there are activities to complete and cut out.

Nonetheless, its a book that makes me extremely happy to flick through, and I can't wait for a moment to sit down and doodle some of the funky alphabets (did I just say 'funky'?  ...oh dear).  I have left it around the house in the hope that my eldest son will pick it up and look at it - yes,  I can but try....

Friday, 19 August 2011

...and off we go again..

first week back at school and for me back to work.  I am lucky enough to have a term time only contract (I work as a technician at our local secondary school), which means I get all the school holidays off, and to be honest, by the end of this long six week break I had almost forgotten I had a job!

On one hand it's been good to get back into the old routine, and on the other it's been an emotional roller coaster - tired children adjusting to new teachers and the confinement of the school day, early starts and having to be organised with packed lunches and homework, breakfast dishes sitting at the sink until I come home from work, Cubs, swimming, football, etc... Its a merry-go-round, that keeps going round and round and round...

But tonight, the sun is still peaking out from behind a cloud, the boys are outside kicking a ball, I have a very large gin in hand and a lovely weekend of 2 x 40th birthday parties to look forward to - its all good.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Tawashi - Japanese Wash Cloths

I score pretty low on the cleaning and housework front, lifting a duster or pulling out the hoover only when the dust is so bad you could write your name in it or if we have visitors coming to stay. However living with 2 boys, bathroom hygiene is pretty important. 
For  the last 10 years or so  I have tried to keep household chemicals to an absolute minimum and either buy eco-products or make my own.  Vinegar is a staple in our house -I slosh it around the toilet with some clove oil, or make my own surface spray with a 50/50 of water/vinegar and some lavender or peppermint oil - and contrary to belief, vinegar evaporates quickly leaving no smell.

I also use a lot of E-cloths, (microfibre cleaning cloths), especially for dusting and wiping down the bathroom - they are however fairly expensive, so I now make my own.
A Japanese Tawashi is a cleaning cloth made with 100% acrylic yarn.  Acrylic yarn is made of very fine synthetic fibers similar to microfiber, and it's this fine-filamented material that is, as you may know,  the key to brilliant cleaning.
As a crocheter, it couldn't be easier to knock a couple up - I tend to use chunky, or double stranded yarn and a single crochet stitch to make the cloth nice and dense.  The yarn MUST be acrylic, but as this is probably the cheapest yarn around, it makes it pretty cost effective to make a few.  I find that they work best used dry - they are great for picking up the dust that gathers on porceline in the bathroom and anywhere else for that matter. They are fully washable and make a pretty addition to your cleaning supplies - I love mine!

Saturday, 13 August 2011


The sun came out today, so after hanging out 3 loads of washing on the line, we headed off to Deeside Activity centre in Dess.  We fore-went the axe throwing in favour of a walk to look at the falls, which were looking spectacular after all the heavy rainfall.

..and then back to the activity centre for some lunch

Burgers made from the meat reared on the farm itself with sauteed potatoes - extremely tasty by all accounts.

Friday, 12 August 2011

The Popcorn Bracelet ♥Pattern♥

Finally a pattern for you have a go at making these fun bracelets - so quick to make you'll want one for every outfit!

Popcorn Bracelet (written using US crochet terms)

You will need

♥Yarn of your choice, for this example I used bamboo tape
♥Button for the closure on the bracelet
♥Size 4mm and 3.5mm hooks (adjust if you are using slightly thinner yarn, such as DK)

Step 1
Using the larger hook, crochet a length of chains long enough to wrap around your wrist (remember the yarn will stretch slightly - I made approximately 28chains)

Step 2
Now swap to the smaller hook and single crochet into the second chain from the hook, and then SC into each chain across

Step 3
Turn your work: Row 2 - (this is going to consist of SC stitches and Popcorn stitches)
Chain 1 and Sc into first stitch in row, now work a popcorn stitch into the second stitch.
Note: to make a popcorn stitch:- work  5 Double Crochet stitches into the second stitch , drop the loop from  your hook and  insert hook from back to front in the top of the first dc of group (see below)

... pull dropped loop through stitch (a slip stitch really) (for further clarification see this Link for instructions)
continue the pattern of SC, Popcorn, SC, Popcorn.etc..across entire row, your bracelet should now look like this:-

Step 4
Turn your bracelet, you are now ready to work the 3rd and final row.
row 3:- ch 1 and SC into each stitch across row (working into the top Slip Stitch of each Popcorn stitch and each Single Crochet from previous row)

Step 5
At the end of row 3 you now need to make a loop for your button to go through.  Chain 4 (or more or less depending on the size of your button) and join to make a loop using a slip stitch (see below)

Fasten off, and weave in any loose ends

Step 6
Sew your button onto the other end of the bracelet

....and there you have it!

Make some more in different colours and stack to your hearts content!!

Please let me know if you have any questions or need clarification on any of the steps - Elaine x

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

It's Raining again...♫

These photos were taken at 1pm today from my kitchen window - this summer has been truly awful...This evening we have had to put the central heating on - I mean, come on! its suppose to be Summer!  I have just been reading Attic24's latest blog entry, and feel even more fed up! The sweet possibilities of a long warm summer are slipping through my fingers as we near the end of the school holidays - no lazy days and picnics by the river, no trips to the Lido at Stonehaven, or playing on the beach - humph.......! F.E.D  U.P!!!
On a plus side, I have been crocheting up a storm whilst the boys raced on the scalextric today.

The 'hoop' type bangle wasn't working, I just couldn't get the tension the same on the first and last row, so have been working on a strap type bracelet with a button to close.

They are really quick to make and very addictive - think of the possibilities! one to match every outfit!

I'm currently working on a simple pattern, so watch this space - Crocheted Bracelets! yeah, lets start a new trend!

♥Update♥ - sorry annaboo, meant to say:- used 100% cotton yarn for the dark blue one and bamboo tape for the light blue and green one and used a 4mm hook

Monday, 8 August 2011

The count down....

More bangles hot off the hook - still a work in progress as regards the design and getting them to sit properly, but a brown one this time made from cotton that has a sheen finish to it. I made this one a bit thicker and sewed it together on the inside to make it a bit flatter

The actual pattern consists roughly of a chain ring, one round of single crochet and then a round of alternative 'puff' stitches to give the 3d relief. I repeated this to give a deeper bangle this time round. 

It's the last week of the school holidays up here - tempers are slightly fraying, not helped by the wet weather and trying to persuade my two to go out and do something feels like an impossible task - my suggestion of a walk into town to visit the library went down like a lead balloon - the are currently playing 'wrestling matches' on the living room floor - its all going to end in tears.......

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Lemongrass .....

Caravanning this weekend in Glen Affric....Midges, lots and lots of midges......

Lemongrass essential oil seems to do the trick...burning it, spraying it, sniffing it, dabbing it.....

Beautiful scenery though.....