Questionaire

Published April 14, 2014 by Ruth

I’m conducting a little market research project and I’m really hoping that you could spare me 45 secs to complete just a quick 10 question survey I’ve put together.

The link is HERE and it’s completely anonymous so just be honest.

If you have taken the 45 secs to help me out I really do appreciate it.

Ruth.

YOP Year 3 Update

Published April 13, 2014 by Ruth

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It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted a yop post and yet as I look round at the projects on the go I’ve not got a lot to show for it.

Some of the weeks I missed have in fairness been taken up with bugs and what not but anyway lets forget about those and move onto projects.

What I have been doing is trying out my new drop spindle. For those of you who do this you’ll know from my comments this is something I’ve been admiring on your blogs for the longest time so I finally bit the bullet and purchased a starter kit, the lady ever so kindly popped in lots of other sites with her instructions for me to get help and find the info on how to do it.

What I’ve got on the spindle now is my second attempt. I was hit by conjunctivitis and that halted any more attempts at it for the last week.

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I’m finding getting the tension right the hardest thing but I can see from my first attempt and this one that it’s getting somewhat better so practice practice practice seems to be the key.

I’ve got some more of this white to practice on and then the lady very kindly sent me a top for when I’ve the hang of it.

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I’m wondering is it possible to spin thin on the drop spindle? As you know I rarely knit with anything above a 5mm needle so I want to end up with something thin enough.

The other thing I’ve been working on is my Miss Winkle. This has been my take out and about project as it’s just a great simple pattern. In the last few weeks it’s been hauled round to different quizzes and events with the children and I’ve happily sat knitting away on it while waiting for them. I really must make sure I’ve something equally as easy and handy when this finishes.

It’s very nearly at the end of this ball so it will soon be off the needles ready to be worn.

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So there you have it, projects for the last few weeks.

I have been designing and working on new characters and the characters now have their own blog, to be found here so if you want to check them out head on over, I’ll be introducing the characters in the next day or so now that my eyes are all better.

Looking forward to catching up with you all as I’ve missed the last two weeks.

Ruth.

YOP Year 3 Update

Published March 24, 2014 by Ruth

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I am a day late with my update but here none the less.

Yesterday the children and I enjoyed a walk to see a megolithic Calendar Stone as part of  a locally organised Spring Equinox festival in the area.  It was such a beautiful afternoon for it and a great opportunity for the children to learn part of their heritage and history. Here in the midlands of Ireland you can’t travel a mile without coming across parts of our history that are thousands of years old. Not hundreds but thousands and thousands. It amazes me when people come to Ireland it’s always the well known sites they tell you they have to see to see Ireland when in fact if you head into the midlands of the country that is where most of the people would have lived (why would you live beside the see on an island that could be invaded, you’d have travelled into the centre to live) and that is where you’ll find the Ireland of thousands of years ago.

I’m sure though you’re not all here for a Irish history lesson, but just if you visit you’ll know where to come.

You are here though for a catch up on the yop list. So well what have I been working on *note I’m trying to frantically remember now what I did actually work on.

I worked on Miss Winkle the shawl as part of the Crafts from the Cwtch rav group kal. I’m loving this but then it’s a shawl and when I knit a shawl they are always for me so it’s my selfish knitting part. It is also for my shawl section on my yop list. This is the latest picture I’ve taken although I think I’m a loop or two further on. It’s such a great easy pattern to knit, I took it with me to do while the children had a table quiz competition, they finished joint 4th, but it was perfect knitting project material.

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I’ve been working on re-make of Sam Burrow, again making him suitable for children of all ages and I’ve a new Billy to do. This will be the last order I take to sell for the moment because for now I’m concentrating on the designing and pattern end of things. I’ve a few things to do with that for the next week or so and then I can show all. I know I’ve been saying that for ages haven’t I but it’s all finally at the stage where I can.

So there you have it, not a lot produced yarn wise but it’s been a busy week.

Ruth. x

YOP Year 3 Update

Published March 16, 2014 by Ruth

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I spent most of my week at the computer with notes in hand writing up my first for sale pattern, Rose Burrow. She is now gone off for testing, while she is I’ve others to write up with a few more ideas to start.

Because of all the computer work involved in writing the pattern up this week not much crochet or knitting work got done.

It is becoming increasingly hard to find time for both designing and crocheting/knitting other things other than what I’m designing. As I’m enjoying the designing process so much I don’t mind too much but it makes for some very boring yop updates.

I do have a picture of Rose with a mini makeover. She’s been worked in soft dk acrylic and has stitched eyes so she becomes suitable for children of any age.

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I have started a new spring kal with Sarah from Crafts from the Cwtch over in her Ravelry group.

The pattern is Miss Winkle. This will be added to my yop list.

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I’m calling this project Miss Winkle after the pattern at the moment unless another project name comes to mind.

This week work will be on some other samples, maybe another pattern started and the shawl. Wip’s will be worked on if the mood and time strikes.

Ruth.

YOP Year 3 Update

Published March 9, 2014 by Ruth

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This week has been a flurry of activity most days and yarn work has only gotten done at night time.

I’ve started writing patterns this week. I’d forgotten quite how much I enjoyed the writing part and this morning I’ve been editing pictures taken for some patterns as well. I’ve also been editing another project that should hopefully be able to be seen really soon.

If you were reading the blog earlier this week you may have noticed a recipe for a Chocolate and Coffee Cake recipe that went up for Alan’s birthday (hit the link to take you to the recipe)He wanted one of the toys I make, any of them he said he wasn’t fussy so I designed him this bear and dressed him in a scarf of his school colours so now when he’s playing hurling with the school he’s got a supporter.

This is Colin.

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Alan showing him off

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I’ve been working with rainbow colours again this week but again it’s on a project not yet quite ready to show.

I didn’t get back to my blanket, I’m so close to the end with it and all. This week I really need to make the effort to finish it up and cross it off the list.

Speaking of lists it’s only March and I’m already knocking ideas around in my head for next years yop list! I haven’t even completed this years list!

I also need to finish up my hat while I’m still in hat wearing season.

Projects for this I think shall be blanket, hat and patterns.

Ruth. x

Chocolate Coffee Cake

Published March 6, 2014 by Ruth

Today is Alans 11th birthday and with all birthday’s in the house I make or try to anyway make the birthday persons choice of birthday cake. After all if you can’t have that on your birthday when can you.

Alans choice for his birthday today was a chocolate and coffee cake decorated with some of his favourite chocolate.

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This recipe comes from two different recipes both by Mary Berry. I’m a fan of her recipes as they always come out tasting so delicious and are quick and easy to make. This chocolate cake recipe is also my favourite and the only one I tend to eat.

Chocolate Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 6tbsp boiling water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 50ml milk
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 rounded tsp baking powder
  • 100g softened butter
  • 275g caster sugar

For the Coffee Butter Cream Icing:

  • 75g softened butter
  • 225g sifted icing sugar
  • 2 tsps milk
  • 2tsps instant coffee
  • 2tbsps boiling water

For Decoration:

  • Whatever chocolate you desire, I used flake bars and rolos.

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/ Gas 4. Grease two 8inch loose bottomed deep sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment.
  • Measure the cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl, add the boiling water and mix well until is has a paste like consistency. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, yes isn’t that so easy trust me it works, beat until just combined. I use my hand-held mixer for this. The mixture will be a fairly thick batter and be careful not to over beat.
  • Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and gently level the surface. Bake for 25-30 mins in the centre of the oven until the cakes are well risen and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper. Leave to finish cooling.
  • To make the icing, mix the instant coffee with the boiling water in a bowl and add all the remaining ingredients except the apricot jam. Beat together just until you have a smooth butter cream, again I use my handheld mixer for this.
  • Spread a thin layer of apricot jam over the cake, this prevents crumbs coming into your butter cream. Use a third of the butter cream between the layers of cake and sandwich together.
  • Break up the flake bars onto a plate. Spread another third of the butter icing round the edge of the cake giving it an even layer of butter cream all round the sides. Carefully holding the cake top and bottom turn the cake onto its side and dip into the broken flake. Continue until the edge is covered in the broken flake.
  • Use the last third of coffee butter cream to spread over the top of the cake. For grown ups to have with a cuppa it would need no further decoration but as this is for a birthday I decorated the top with rolo sweets.

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Enjoy. Ruth x

Flowers and appetizers for Mum on her special day

Published March 4, 2014 by Ruth

This year, March 30 marks the date we celebrate the most important woman in our lives. This corresponds to the day when Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday is commemorated in the UK, a close neighbour of Ireland. The dates might be different around the world but just like in other countries; the Irish people honour their mothers for all the love and support they have received over the years, on this special dedicated day.

The entire country is expected to be flooded with flowers on the 30th. Some of the most popular flowers given on Mother’s Day are callas, freesia, gerberas, hydrangeas, irises, lilies, orchids, roses and tulips. Pink is the traditional colour for this special day but nowadays, people are opting for bolder colour combinations for flower arrangements. A famous online retailer offers some advice to people who want to experiment with more sophisticated combinations. According to Simon Richards, M&S flower specialist, trusting your own judgement when it comes to colour is very important. “Two simple rules are to either combine tonal shades of one colour or choose vibrant clashes such as cerise, purple and yellow. I do not mix red and white as this can look harsh,” explains Richards.

If you think flowers aren’t enough to show your mum how much you cherish her, you can also whip up a simple appetizer for your Mother’s Day dinner provided that you are dining at home. This is a simple but remarkable recipe from Food Network celebrity chef Giada de Laurentiis: Sweet Pepper Crostini. It is so easy; you can do it in as little as 17 minutes.

Ingredients:

6 slices baguette (1/2-inch thick)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup roasted red bell pepper strips
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella cheese or fontina

Instructions:

First, preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF). On a baking sheet, arrange the bread slices. Brush some oil over the bread slices. Bake for about 15 minutes until pale golden and crisp. Arrange the bell pepper strips on top of the bread. Sprinkle with mozzarella. For about 2 minutes, grill until the cheese melts. Makes 6 servings.

 

Happy Mothering Sunday

Ruth

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