::Returning::

Oh my it has taken a while to get around to this post. Returning from holiday, returning to school, returning back to the rhythm of life after a stupidly hectic Autumn term.

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Paris and France seem like an incredibly long time ago; wandering in the steaming streets following the summer downpours, a visit to L’Oisive The (even though it was closed for the french national holiday fortnight), balconies and beautiful architecture at every turn, great coffee, the views from the Eiffel Tower, the smell of freshly baked pattisserie, fields full of maize, sunflowers and grapes, returning to the farmhouse for simple freshly cooked dinners.

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It was a swift return straight into school with a bump, returning home on Friday and back to school Monday, having washed, cleaned, filled up cupboards of food, planned lessons and whooooosh, there I was back in class with a lovely bunch of new Year 6 children. We are studying The Victorians so the class is themed around Sherlock Holmes, at the moment.

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The following weekend it was the returning of my eldest E to Leeds for year two of Music production and composition. Moving him into his new flat, with flatmates and a new location for him to investigate, new relationships for him to forge and a new set of challenges for him has taken it’s toll on him and consequently me too. I miss him._DSC0098

A twenty second wedding anniversary meal followed the next weekend; returning to the two of us in the next few years is something we have begun to talk about. When both of our boys are at university, exploring their path through the world and it is just the two of us at home isn’t, in reality, too far away. I have mixed emotions about it. Having a house full of laughter, little feet, daily, hourly, investigations and wonder with small children will be replaced by time spent together again, returning to the two of us of twenty or so years before. I relish the thought of coming and going as we please. I look forwards to seeing our boys, now almost men, make their way and supporting, enjoying, and feeling so incredibly proud of their skills, personalities and choices.

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Returning to Yarndale the next weekend was amazing; taking my Mum as a birthday treat, catching up with Lucy from Attic24 and Amanda from The natural Dye Studio. Showing off my Poncho and my kaleidoscope blanket to them filled me with joy. So much in common, so many shared pleasures and time to indulge and share. Lovely. Treating my lovely Mum to the Yarndale trip filled me with such pleasure, the kind of pleasure you get from being generous and unselfish with your time for the delight of others. Spending time with my one year old nephew and my ‘baby’ brother in nearby Harrogate over the weekend and his “How long does it take to look at wool?” comments made me smile.yarndale 14 2yardale 2014Then there was the many happy returns of J’s fiftieth birthday weekend last week. Yes my husband is a whole big fifty! Where did the time go? He had no idea of the surprise birthday party, returning to my brother’s house to host it. We enjoyed a love filled, family filled day of reminiscence, memories and laughter and a wonderful hillwalking cake made by my lovely mum. Then I was forty five the following day. Hmmmmm…..

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So here I am with a half term of …. no plans. Wow. I have some catching up to do, the house needs some love, tidying, and sorting. I am full of cold, I have shared my germs unfortunately as I have shared my past four weekends. I am in need of some crochet therapy and intend to do just that. Recharge my batteries, drool over my Yarndale purchases, reflect on my last few weeks and return myself to full health before round two and the run down to Chrsitmas. Oh boy, it looks like it will be some ride! :O)xx

::Easter Simnel Muffins::

ImageHappy Easter everyone!!

Here is a little treat post, won’t be a long one I promise, for those of you who enjoy a Simnel cake but find the cooking of it takes an age! These Simnel Muffins are amazing and are from the BBC Good Food cookery Book. I discovered them through a Facebook friend, who posted a picture of her muffins fresh from the oven. Ooooooh I wish I was able to smell them as they promised to be AmAzInG!!I have included any dairy or gluten free adaptations.  Anyway here are the recipe and the pictures.

They really are easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!!!!!Image

Soak 9oz Mixed fruit for an hour with the juice & rind of an orange, (keep back 2tbsp juice for the icing) – or microwave for 2min if you forget!

Beat together:
6oz butter (or free from margarine)
6oz golden caster
3 eggs
1tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
10oz self raising flour (I use gluten free)
5tbsp milk ( I use rice milk)

Add in fruit.

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Half fill muffin cases then put in a flattened ball of marzipan ( I put in small chopped chunks). 6oz will do all 12 muffins
Top with remaining mixture.

25 – 30 min 160-180C

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Make a thick ish icing with 8oz icing sugar & the orange juice then top with Mini Eggs

Then you can have your very own TA-DAH!!! moment and once the icing has stuck a little bit, enjoy them. They are really delicious!Image

Well I did it!!

Hi there to any new peeps over from my old blog site and a BIG grand HELLOOOO to any new peeps checking out my new and improved blog!! Great to have you here! Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!! Karen xx

:: Year End Review: 2013: Part Two::

So here it is… part two. In some words (but mainly pictures). It took me so very long to get the pictures sorted I have resolved to organise my photo library for the new year!! A New Years resolution I hope to keep! Enjoy :o)xx

•∆• July

July 2013

Camping at the Cambridge Folk festival, finishing my Sunshine Granny Square Blanket, Ta-Dah post here, and new yarn arrives for Festival granny stripe blanket!

•∆• August

August 2013

Rome and Pompeii was AmAzInG!!! Amazing weather, amazing sights and history and amazing company. Our first family holiday without E was a bit emotional but we moved on and we're ok! Plodding on with new projects.

•∆• September

September 2013

E went on his way to Leeds College of Music and so so so proud we are, you can read all about it in my post here! My studio in the HayLoft was finished. School started back and the old routine of life springs back quickly. Weekends are taken up with visits to Leeds while E settles in. We all miss him. :o( However a super special trip to Yarndale cheers me up no end with my friend Fi!

•∆• October

October 2013

Tutti-fruity lampshade is finished see the Ta-Dah post here. J and I have our birthday, and we splash out on a night at the malmaison in Leeds and visit E at the same time. Half term visit to Saltaire was wonderfully relaxing and a bonus visit to E too! :o)

•∆• November

November 2013

Cold, cold, cold… wet and windy too. But beautifully Autumnal, see here for an autumn walk. Bonfire night, busy with my Autumn Wreath and the little details for that. So happy with it's completion- a new challenge having never made one before.

•∆• December

December 2013

With a deeply satisfying sigh we reach the end of the year. E home from College, end of a challenging school term and a joyous time making and creating presents for friends and family. Chilly hands dug down deep in pockets for a head clearing Boxing day walk.

It is so lovely, happy and satisying to look back over my year – finding crochet again around late spring and beginning my blog and Facebook page. It felt strange 'talking' and sharing my life with the great wide world, but that has now become such a blessing when I look back over my year in print and photos.

Thank you to anyone and everyone who has supported me, with comments, likes, and shares- they mean a lot!

I look forwards to finding new 'friends' and learning more, trying more and challenging myself to even greater heights!

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favourite MixTures from the year 

::2013: Year end review: part one::
::Transition::
-Lovely – Sunny Festival Granny stripe blanket!-
- Whilst the weather…-
::It's great to have a catch up…::

::2013: Year end review: part one::

So here it is… my year end review part one and what a rollercoaster of a year it was too, both personally and professionally. It is always sentimental and lovely to look back over the year – normally looking back is a tricky place to go, as inevitably there may be regrets and wonderings about the path that was not taken.

However I can honestly say I haven't anything to regret, only lovely, happy family memories and times spent with my lovely bunch o 'boys' before our family entered a new chapter. With E leaving home for University and Little J beginning his GCSE's in September, and my work place changes, we have weathered the changes remarkably well and are very much intact. 

Here it is in pictures; some happy reminders of times spent with family and some of blossoming projects, blossoming confidence and blossoming gardens! Enjoy :O)

•∆• January •∆•

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•∆• February •∆•

February 2013

Very wet, lots of snow and then the glorious fire of the garden in full flame!

•∆• March •∆•

March 2013

Mother's day, family walks, snow and then the gloriousness of beautiful daffodils!

•∆• April •∆•

April 2013

E's 18th Birthday, walks at Glaramara and Loweswater, picnic's in the car, music exams and the beautiful practising that went with it, and the ever so sleepy awakening garden.

•∆• May

May 2013

The beginnings of a Summer Sunshine granny square Blanket and the tiny idea for a personal blog, explorations, cake and new kittens arrived in the middle of the night, behind the bath of all places!! Oh so cute.

•∆• June

June 2013

Tickets for The Cambridge Folk Festival arrive, more cake (another family birthday) crocheting projects and growing mischievious kittens.

From Little J's birthday at the start of the year (2nd of January!!) all the way to Christmas and family times together, it has been an amazing year full of delights, trials and tribulations.

So far so good… more tomorrow.

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More mix-tures!

-Garden developments, sunshine blanket and rainbow colours-
- Whilst the weather…-
Tickets for 50th Cambridge Folk Festival go on sale

:: All is calm… All is bright::

Merry Christmas everyone… as the good song says!

It's been a little busy leading up to the Christmas break, and now Christmas day is over, I'll be having a well deserved and longed for rest. Christmas cake turned out well – I use Mary Berry's Aga recipe and it always works wonderfully well.

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Busy making and crocheting Christmas decorations, presents and organising all of the food, housey things and family timetables(after a very intense end of term at school) almost drove me over the edge of tiredness into can't be bothered ville! However, family, sleep, food, sleep and family all rallied around to make christmas special, warm, cosy, and filled me up with good old fashioned family love and warmth. Aaaaaahhhhhhh…. (sigh of contentment.)

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(Got to love my youngest son's sense of humour – handmade cards!!)

Enjoy your Christmas and New Year, and I hope that the coming new season brings everything you need for a happy, healthy and homely life.

 

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A selection of other Mixtures!!

::Autumn wreath – Ta-Dah!!!::
::Ta-Dah!! Meet little Owl::

::Autumn wreath – Ta-Dah!!!::

I cannot contain my EXCITEMENT, I’m so so so so so so EXCITED!! (I think I might burst).

I hope you’re ready? All will be revealed very, very, very soon. Please be patient – don’t spoil the surprise.

The journey for this wreath has been AmAzInG!!

_DSC0004It’s my very very first wreath and I’m so so so so so extraordinarily thrilled, excited and exstatic to be sharing this, I can’t begin to tell you. It is such a huge undertaking for me with all of the other commitments I have with school, family being a mum and seeing my friends I really did think I would be finding myself snowed under very quickly. BUT, what deep joy and escapism this project has turned out to be.

It all started with this photograph and colour pallette.

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I was feeling very brave when I set out on this project with so many wreaths that began to appear on Google of the stunning Fall photos from America and Canada. This one caught my eye immediately and I shared it on my Facebook on 15th September this year.

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I had also been very inspired by Lucy @Attic24 with her beautiful May flower, Easter and Christmas wreaths. I decided to make my Autumn wreath just before I went to Yarndale where I knew I would see and gather bits of inspirational ideas and maybe even some delicious yarns.

I also wanted to use the glorious countryside around my beautiful Lake District Landscape home as my inspiration, the colour combinations, textures, variety and jaw-dropping beauty of the incandescent light some days.

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Rememeber the Autumn walk blog here? Then there was the visit to Shipley, Skipton and the Dales for autun inspiration here.

Then just when I needed a little bit of something to add some personality to my wreath ideas looked what came through the letter box? Simply Crochet magazine  provided leaf patterns, and the most adorable lttle Hetty hedgehog!! (I think she looks like a Hetty!!)

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So ok, back on track. Don’t get distracted now! The yarn and the colours.

Remember how I started this project with my little collection of ideas. Well I say little, I had HUNDREDS of ideas all jostling for attention and waiting for me to get organised. 

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A lazy saturday morning breakfast before hitting the great outdoors for inspiration.

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The gathering of lovely, juicy little treasures. (With their smart little hats on ready for the drop from the tree).

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Then my new book for flowery, leafy inspiration and tuition.

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And we’re off!!!

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Then the colour organising began.

I crocheted this wreath using a pallette of rich and vibrant autumnal colours and took a little bit of artistic licence in some of the choices, as I wanted it to be a bit zingy but also true to the season. I ordered Stylecraft Special DK yarn in bright pink, teal, emperor, copper, khaki, meadow, walnut, aster, claret and graphite from The Wool Warehouse for a 4mm hook and I used a 35cm half round wreath.

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I added a little eggy yellow stash yarn and a few other olive greens and browns from my odds and ends and off we go again!!

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It really began to burst with life very, very quickly and that spurred me on to keep going. The colour changes were really quite random and I deliberatly liked that it was organic and grew with a mind of it’s own.

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With all of my other little items coming along beautifully too, it was looking sooooooooo lovely!! I just had to get a snap! The fern leaves, marigold and oak leaves are from 100 flowers to knit and crochet – here! 

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Toadstools I found a little pattern for on the good old internet, and then I made a little pumpkin inspired by this brilliant  blog

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Then the making up. It is a bit like the reverse of opening up your christmas presents as you begin to put it together. You have to be rEaLlY careful not to rush in your excitement and glee to see the end result!

Hang on a minute… I’m not showing it to you yet!! I’m relishing every moment of this reveal. 

Now for the little parts…

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They were beginning to mount up and I used lots of different shaps and colours so that I could get that autumnal range of beautiful colours. Do you like it so far? I LOve LOve LOve it and I lOve the part when it starts to take shape and you can begin to see how the picture in your head, starts to turn into something tangible and maybe even WORKS!!! Oh my goodness it was exciting.!!

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However it needed something sparkly and pretty amongst all of the brown, khaki and deep red. Ah HA!!! beautiful beaded blackberries – juicy and glisteningly delectable. I fiddled about for a bit with a kind of tiny weeny ball pattern and they came out fabulously – don’t you think?

More leaves, gerberas, marigolds, michealmas daisies (from 100 flowers to knit and crochet – see above) and some twirly bits (just chain a length and then 2trb into each one. They will curl and spiral all by themselves.)

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Are you ready? Nearly there…

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Putting it all together and it’s starting to emerge.

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Adding a few buttons from Grandma’s old button tin. (You didn’t peek to much I hope…)

Then…

Are you ready?????? You can scroll down now

TA-DAH!!!!!!!!

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So here it is, my Autumn Wreath in all it’s delicious, happy, scrumptious glory. I am bursting with pride at this project and how I persevered and finished such a mammoth task! 

And for desert, here are all of the little bits that make up the whole.

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The beautful blackberries and  shades of bright pink help to lift the autumnal colours. I love it here on the Hall wall…

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The beautiful and adorable Hetty hedgehog having a little SNUFFLE at the extra blackberries at the bottom of the wreath. I love love love her so much!

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The finished wreath on the kitchen table – to give you another background colour.  Yes I was standing on the chair!! 

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Here it is sitting in the hall, you can see the lovely stripy sides!

I am so incredibly happy happy, happy at this lovely wreath and soooooo proud that I made it. I feel like I really achieved what I set out to make and it surpassed all of my expectations. 

Thank you all for following it’s progress on my blog. Now to recover from the mammoth photo taking and trying to write sensibly instead of babbling with happiness. 

Thank you Karen. :O)xx

Other marvellous mixtures @Mix-Ture43

:: Ta-Dah!! Sunshine Granny Square Blanket::
::Ta-Dah!! Meet little Owl::
::Ta-Dah!!!!! Flower Burst cushion ::
::Autumn walk inspiration::