Saturday, 1 August 2015

SHOPKINS BIRTHDAY CAKE

 Having been spurred on by cheery words which, I thank you for from fellow bloggers I was finally ready to jump back on my roller coaster ride of amateur cake making.

Charlotte in her role of cake designer had specific ideas of what she wanted and had given me a drawing so I had something to work from


and once I'd stopped panicking in the end, I came up with this!


The bottom cake is plain sponge and the top tier, chocolate. I think the bright colours of the icing really set it off and I am so pleased with the result.

My daughter in law literally worked her socks off organising the children's parties this year. Charlotte's friends arrived in the afternoon, using up some energy on the bouncy castle and enjoying crafts like face painting and the art of tattoos.
As the afternoon moved into evening and after feasting on BBQ food they lounged indoors with popcorn and watched a movie.
Then before finally crashing out in the tent in the garden, they danced the night away in the spare room that had been stripped bare of furniture other than a glitter ball, disco lights and sound system.
Were they exhausted, unfortunately, not quite!!

When the morning came, breakfast was consumed and by lunchtime a sleepy bunch of Charlotte's friends went home.

After a quick tidy round preparations were again soon under way and as 1pm approached Jessica's friends arrived for a tea party for the afternoon. More fun was had on the bouncy castle and lots more face painting.

I had made another cake and this time it did look more like a teddy bear.


The children's birthdays and parties are now over for this year, no more 'till next March.
A good time was had by all  and my daughter in law now deserves a rest. Me, well I"m pleased to say I have washed and ironed my "pinny" and it's neatly folded back in the drawer.

I have also managed to do some knitting, I've just finished my hat.


I sat last night with needles and yarn ready to start a hat for baby Alfred ready for the autumn but did not even get to the casting on stage. As the end credits of Ripper Street rolled, I found I'd dozed off instead, totally missing out on the program and the knitting!

Enjoy your weekend, fingers crossed for some summer sunshine!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

BACK IN MY COMFORT ZONE!

Mid July and another birthday in our family, on Friday we celebrated Charlotte's 9th birthday. Another cake was called for and I have to tell you I was much happier making this cup cake than that bear type monster creation that I made for Jessica.
I felt back in my comfort zone!


As I sat with the cake perched on my lap en route to her tea party there was a brief sense of relief on my part when my husband commented that my birthday cake making season was at least over for another year.
This may not however be strictly the case.
The girls are having a joint party at the end of the month and they've asked me to make a "shopkins" cake.
 Do you know what they are?
I actually don't know myself yet but I have thought briefly about purchasing one already made.
The only thing is that my grand daughters have come to love my take on their birthday novelty cakes even though they are often lopsided and not totally recognisable.
I think I'll do some research of what the cake should be like before I decide, to buy or not to buy!

As part of Charlotte's birthday present, I gave her her finished cardigan


and by the skin of my teeth I managed to finish this one for Jessica.


This has turned out so much better that I thought it would. I ran out of yarn (Drops Muscat)  and couldn't get another ball of the same dye lot so ended up taking a chance with a different one. Thankfully, it's not noticeable at all and it looks really lovely on Jessica.

So now I am moving on to a quick little project, using this Pam Murray yarn that I bought while on holiday in the Orkneys.


When I find the right pattern, the right needles (you never have the right ones, do you!) I will be making myself a hat!

Enjoy your Sunday!


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

WHAT IS IT?

Sometimes, things go so well and sometimes things go oh so badly.
On this occasion it was the latter.

Jessica celebrated her 6th birthday on Friday and as is the tradition Granny was asked to make the cake. I was all prepared in advance, making the cake a couple of days beforehand and keeping it in the freezer.

On Friday, all I had to do was decorate it, what could go wrong?
Well, basically everything!

My, I have all day to decorate it turned into just 1 hour.
To add to that, it was such a hot day but I shouldn't really use that as an excuse.
The picture that I had in my head, did not materialise as I imagined on the cake
and I thought it looked hideous.

Have you guessed what it is yet?


We soldiered on, taking the cake to Jessica's tea party and were met by oohs and arrhs from Jessica and even an, "amazing!" from her Mummy.

In the end, I asked everyone if they knew what it was supposed to be and they got it right straight away - it's a teddy bear!

I wonder did you guess that?

Next week, I'm supposed to be making a cake for 30 people for my son to take to work for his birthday and Charlotte wants a Shopkins cake, which she has designed herself and I have the drawing attached to my fridge freezer.
I am beginning to wonder if my novelty cake making skills have now been stretched to their limit. Perhaps it's time to hang up my hand mixer. 

Getting away from cake making, I have finished this cardigan for Charlotte and I'm really pleased with it. It is a Drops pattern, using their muscat yarn.


This is the colour Charlotte chose herself and I have another on my needles for Jessica but in orange. Her choice again but extremely bright, hopefully that will be finished sometime next week and I'll include it in my next post.

I received lots of lovely comments on my last post, thank you very much.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your week!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

DEDHAM VALE

When England gets it right  it couldn't be finer.

The last day in the month of June when the sun shining brightly in the cloudless sky lingered on well into the late evening.

It was our wedding anniversary, only 36 years and with us both being so busy recently, me with my parents and grandchildren and he at work we wanted to head to somewhere quiet and peaceful to eat, chat and while away a couple of hours.


We found the perfect place, The Boathouse at Dedham to do that very thing.
Doused in insect repellant,
(I have to say driving up their with the air conditioning on the pungent smell was unfortunately  a little intense for my liking.)
we managed to get a table outside right by the river.
There were swans and their cygnets to see but by the time I'd got my phone out of my handbag to take this photo they had passed and were probably half way along to Flatford Mill.
We always enjoy being in Dedham and the surrounding area and we had such a nice evening here, the food and the service at this restaurant was lovely and I would definitely recommend it.

Today, Michael is off to work again and I'm ironing!!
Yes, ironing on the hottest day of the year.
However I'm also taking time out to write this post, eat my lunch and watch a little tennis.

I have finally put buttons on my 2 finished cardigans.


This one is for Alfred
and this one is Jack's.

Jack's is quite thick  so will be ok for later in the year.
I really like the yacht buttons 
but ........


I also liked the football buttons that I bought originally for it, but bought five instead of six.
I'm always doing that!!!!

Thank you for all your comments, I really appreciate them.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Monday, 15 June 2015

A CRAFTY WEEKEND WITH THE LITTLE ONES!

 It's school sports day today and I've just returned home for a short break between junior and infant races. With a cup of coffee by my side I thought I'd just keep you up to date with my blog before heading off again.

The life of a busy grand parent!

We've had little people staying with us for the weekend. We collected the two girls straight from school on Friday and Jack earlier in the day.  Pre weekend I'd made my mind up to ensure that I'd got lots of things planned to do either indoors or out and a fridge/cupboard full of a variety of things that they might like to eat.

I didn't want them to get bored and I didn't want them to go hungry either, I needed them to be three happy children and for the most part they were so, I think I should get a star for that!

I popped into my local Hobbycraft the other day hoping to pick up some nice things for them to do and saw these knitting and crochet basket kits, half price. They were a must have as I knew the girls would love them and was really pleased that Charlotte had a good try with a hook and yarn and learnt to chain and DC stitch.


They brought nail varnish with them to decorate stones, that kept them busy for an hour or so, making ladybirds. 


Grandad was kept busy too. Alas, he had no time to work on his boat this weekend


but I ensured he had a little boat project to make for Jack.


We planted four sunflowers, one for each grandchild and while I headed to the park with Jessica and Jack, Charlotte and Grandad made these wooden labels. The nail varnish came in useful again!


While Jessica was happy to play and draw Charlotte sewed this pencil case together. 


When the little people went home last night, everything was again quiet in our home.
We had a really lovely weekend but boy, were we shattered.
Our bed beckoned early and we overslept this morning.

I think I need another coffee!

Friday, 29 May 2015

MY MAY DAZE!

Before my daughter's baby was born in March I would never have believed that once Alfred was born I would spend so much time with them both. He is eleven weeks old today and I don't think there's been that many days where we haven't seen each other if only for a short while. As Kate is returning to work in September it's been really great to spend so much time together. I've had lots of cups of tea, quite a few lunches and endless cuddles with Alfred so how can I not be happy.

May has just flown by so I thought I really must get back to my blog and give a quick update of other things I've been up to.

We've been talking about taking my parents for a sightseeing drive around London for sometime and as it was my mum's 91st birthday last week we thought it was an ideal opportunity to take them on a tour. They both were born in East London, Dad in Plaistow and Mum in Stepney so we headed off in that direction and then on to Stratford so they could see the Olympic village, they were quite amazed. 
From there we headed into the city and parked so that Dad and I could walk down to the bank where he used to work. He found that quite nostalgic I think but was pleased that we went.


We drove along the embankment pointing out the Shard and other new buildings and then headed to Canary Wharf where I'd booked a table for lunch. We were lucky the rain held off until the afternoon so we were able to to have a pre lunch drink sitting outside. Mum and Dad reminsced about their younger days and told us many stories, some we'd heard before but others we hadn't.


We all had such a good time, it was a perfect day.

Unfortunately both Charlotte and Jack were under the weather over the bank holiday weekend so on Monday Jessica came to us for the afternoon. Her Grandad was working on his boat in the garage (I shall post a photo next time!) and after watching me for a while sewing she headed outside to do some woodwork herself. Between them she helped create this little table which she was very proud of.


This week we've had a family day out. Our plan was to go to Walton on the Naze but with the children recovering from their ailments we decided just to head for our park by the river in Maldon.
Carter's Steam Fair  is there this week so Charlotte and Jessica loved that and along with Kate they enjoyed flying high. Jo and I took the easy option and watched them while minding the babies. That was thrilling enough for us!


Encouraged by everyone's comments regarding Blossom the rag doll, I made Tom.


 He was a rather difficult little man to make. The week before last it took me 3 hours to make 3 arms!
You may be questioning 3 arms but, even worse there wasn't a matching pair amongst them. I was so frustrated with it all I gave up. A whole week later, I picked him up again, undid 2 of the arms and remade them.  He did eventually turn out ok but I think he's quite delicate and will need plenty of TLC.

And finally, having said, no more yarn until Yarndale, I have just received my order of Drops Muscat to make the girls little jackets for their holidays. They are very excited as I emailed the colour chart to Charlotte and let them choose the colours for themselves. Mint green for Charlotte and the orange for Jessica.


Message to self: I must not start these until I've sewn up the cardigans for the boys!!!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

HERE I AM!

Yes, I am still here. Although we gained a day last bank holiday weekend I feel I've lost one this week, if you understand my meaning. I thought I really must this afternoon catch up with my blog, thank everyone for the lovely comments in my last post re: Blossom and give you an update on what I've been up to.

I'm really pleased to say that my cardigan for baby Alfred is on the verge of completion. Unfortunately though, it has been at this stage since last Saturday. I've since started knitting a new cardigan for Jack and if there's a choice to be made I'd rather pick my needles up and knit than sew a garment together and finish the button hole edges. A stumbling block for me but, one I must rectify in this coming week.


At last I've finished the cushion I've made for Kate. It only needed filling but every time I've been to her house to pick up an old duvet for this very purpose (she seems to have an abundance in her airing cupboard), I've been so distracted by my cuddling and cooing over Alfred that I've come back home without it. This morning, I did finally bring home the duvet and it's done, finished!


I've also cut out the pieces of fabric for Blossom's playmate so now I've got to get on with some stitching.


I'm really pleased that we now have a Knit Natter and Stitch group in our village and we're going to meet every fortnight. On the first afternoon I took Alfred's cardigan along to knit and there was just a handful of us there but at the next gathering the word had spread and there was quite a turn out. Some ladies had come along to learn how to crochet and one thing led to another and I was asked if I could teach crochet. My crochet skills are self taught so I was a little concerned that I might not teach them correctly and as the afternoon progressed we laughed as I told them that I was actually a swimming teacher and they had more chance of going home and swimming butterfly than using a hook. But we muddled through making chains and the odd dc and by the end of the session we agreed to return in a fortnight and have another go. I suggested that we should try and make a granny square.

Over the bank holiday weekend, I found an easy to follow video of how to make a basic granny square as I just wanted to check that I would be teaching them correctly and armed with a step by step pattern I went along to the group for our next meeting on Tuesday. Though a little daunted at first     and after a few false starts they did eventually all make a granny square which I thought was brilliant. Not because they made it, obviously that was great but, that I'd actually been able to teach them how to make it.

Hopefully now that they've made something, they'll be keen to come along and give crochet  another go. Who knows they might even get hooked!

Hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend, tomorrow is supposed to be warm here. My plan is for gardening and sewing, let's see how I get on with that.