Sunday, 22 September 2013

Easy like Sunday Morning (and a gluten free recipe)

Good Morning to you all - I hope you're having a fab weekend now that the sun is back with us. Hubby is out in the garden pruning and chopping and I'm enjoying a leisurely Sunday morning - for once I had a lie in (well deserved if I may say so!!). I've been so busy over the last couple of weeks that yesterday I felt absolutely shattered. It didn't help that for some unknown reason I decided to have a spring clean. But I'm feeling the benefits today as the downstairs of the house is lovely and tidy. Not sure when I'll tackle the upstairs, but it can wait for now!!

I've had a lovely week here at number 10:
 
  • I finished two nice Christmassy commissions that I really enjoyed although they were both extremely time consuming. I really need to tackle my time management at the moment as simple things seem to be taking me absolutely ages!!! I designed and made 4 Russian style Christmas decorations and also designed a non-knitting project that involved yarn, baubles and lots and lots of gluing and sticking. The good news is that I didn't get any glue on the carpet, the not so good news is that it literally took hours and hours (and hours!!!!). Not cost effective at all!!
  • I bought 3 lovely books from the book people for just £12, which is an absolute bargain as one of the books alone has a recommended price of £16.99. I really wanted the Knit Nordic book, and due to free delivery I splashed out and bought Mollie Makes Feathered Friends and Fiona Gobles Twelve Knits of Christmas (just because it made me smile).
  • Yarn support arrived for my next book. A lovely bag of gorgeous yarns from DMC. I think the cottons and merino yarns will be my choice, but I need to work up a couple of samples just to make sure I can achieve my desired results. I'll have fun trying!!
  • I made the most delicious gluten potato cakes this week with left over mash potato. Want to know how? Well here goes:
Gluten Potato Cakes Recipe
1. You'll need some cold left over cold mash potato (I had about one third of a mixing bowl full), a cup and a half of plain gluten free flour, toppings (butter/cheese/beans/bacon - anything you like!).


2. Slowly mix gluten free plain flour into the mash until it no longer feels wet or sticky - a bit like making dough but not as stiff (I used about 1.5 small cups full). I used a fork to begin with, then my hands.
3. Cut the dough into even-sized chunks and press into round patties.


4. Pop into a hot oven for 40 mins on 180 degrees (turning once after 20 mins). They will feel crispy on the outside but they'll be nice and soft in the middle.
5. Top with a sprinkling of cheese, beans or just butter. Absolutely delicious and almost as good as my mums. I'll be making more of these yummy and satisfying delights when I next make mashed potato.

 
I hope you've all had a happy, crafting week too and have a great week ahead. I'm off to YARNDALE next Saturday - yippee - and I'm making a list of yarns that I need for Christmas pressies. I can't wait and am super excited!!! Are you going to Yarndale? and what will you be buying??
 
Happy crafting, Lynne x

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Feeling Christmassy yet?

Wow - I know it's only just September but I think the weeks are racing by - don't you? I've noticed that most craft magazines are gearing up for Christmas with free books, yarns and festive designs. This issue's Let's Get Crafting is full of Christmas fun, including my mini Christmas brooches that you could pop on a gift or in a card.



I always like to add a handmade touch and I'll soon be sharing some free patterns with you so that you can use up those odds and ends of yarn and make something fabulous for your friends and family.
 
I've been working on lots of Christmassy designs including these festive baubles for Homemaker Magazine. They have printed the free pattern here: homemaker festive baubles and tea cosy and the charts for the baubles are in the tea cosy download. They're really easy to make and wrap around a polystyrene ball - simple shapes with just a touch of fairisle.
 

I've also been working on some Christmas decorations that will be published in Russia. It made me smile to think I'm going global. I also have an 80 part blanket published in the same weekly magazine made from pretty squares of knitting and crochet. Sadly I can't share photos, but I've found some lovely free patterns for a snowflake and snowman that you might like instead if you want to get your Christmas knits going (click the image for the pattern). The snowmen are by Jill Watt and the snowflake is Lucy at attic24 :



I'll be back soon with some of my own free patterns for Christmas and until then, happy crafting. I'd love to hear if you've made any handmade gifts yet xxx

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Book review - Ros Badger "hook, yarn and crochet"

A few weeks ago, I heard a dull thump on the carpet as the postman delivered my review copy of Ros Badger's latest book, "hook, yarn and crochet". How exciting!! As soon as I saw this quirky little book I fell in love with it.
  

Crochet is increasingly popular at the moment and my learn to crochet classes are always full. My students amaze me with their enthusiasm to make something pretty from just a hook and a ball of yarn. I can see that I'll be recommending this book to them as it contains 20 simple and very cute projects that suit all abilities, from new crocheters to the more experienced, like myself.
 
To be honest, this book is right up my street as I loves quick and whimsical projects that can be whipped up in no time at all.
 
The book is styled beautifully and projects range from accessories and homewares to gifts and decorations. On my to-do list are the tea light covers, storage bowl, wrist warmers, jute shopper, scarf and star garland. These will make perfect Christmas presents for friends and family and I can't wait to get started. The jute shopper and star garland are my absolute favourites.
 


 
 
The introductory chapters take you step-by-step through the basics of crochet, showing you everything you need to know in order to make the projects in the book, including how to hold the hook and yarn, how to make a slip knot, foundation chain, basic stitches, shaping, tension guide and finishing off. The accompanying image guides demonstrate the various stages using a large hook and chunky yarn so everything's really clear. Perfect for those just about to embark upon new crochet adventures. But be warned - crochet is addictive and before you know it you'll have an ever-growing yarn stash and a list of projects that you just can't do without.
 
So if you love to crochet pretty, contemporary projects for yourself, your friends and your family, then this book is perfect for you. I'd definitely recommend it and I'm off to find some pretty yarns to make a start on my star garland.
 
You can have a look inside the book here on amazon and I think it's great value at just over £9.00.
 
Happy Crocheting xxxx

Quadrille Publishing kindly sent the review copy, and all of the comments above are my own.