I just got finished making this little fellow. Isn't he so cute? He's not perfect, in fact he's a little bit wonky in places but I love him. And for my first attempt making a... character, and only my third or fourth attempt at following a crochet pattern, I'm actually really pleased how he turned out! I'm already planning on making one for my Mum and my mother-in-law. A snowman family! If you'd like to make your own snowman, you can find the snowman crochet patternhere. (I followed the pattern as is, with the exception of the nose. I didn't understand it, so I crocheted a triangle, rolled it up and stuffed it and used that as a carrot).
Only two more sleeps until I can officially get in the Christmas spirit (no Christmas music/decorations before December in our house - it's bad luck) and start trimming and belting out Christmas songs non stop!
Sunday morning walks have started becoming a bit of a ritual for our little family.I've been really enjoying them too. It feels so nice to get outside in the fresh, cold air and just walk and talk with my husband. We've been walking round a couple of different places, but this is my favourite, with the reservoir and the trees and then walking up onto the moors. I took my phone with me and snapped a few photos when we were there last Sunday. It's really beautiful.
Okay so it seems kind of silly to share a recipe for Rocky Road, as it's probably the most simple thing in the world to make. You don't even have to bake anything! Just melt the chocolate and stir in whatever you fancy.
That being said, I made my youngest sister Beth some Rocky Road for her 18th birthday (don't worry, I bought her a proper present too!) and documented it, so I thought it would be fun just to share. For the record, my sister said this was the best Rocky Road she had ever had! I think she knows flattery will get her everywhere with me...
My sisters extra special birthday Rocky Road included:
White chocolate buttons
Please note: Normally she wouldn't get anything quite as fancy, but it was her 18th so I decided to spoil her!
Chopped bourbon biscuits. I chopped the bigger biscuits (twix, bourbons, shortbread) and the marshmallows and I bashed the maltesers up a bit but I left the mini oreos whole.
Waiting to be stirred. My mouth is watering so much looking at this photo. I could just dive in!
The finished product
All packaged up in a cute tin with birthday card and ready to go!
Now we're heading towards you-know-what, this would be a great to make for a homemade Christmas present! Put it in a Christmassy tin instead, or package a couple of pieces in a cellophane bag and tie it with a pretty ribbon to pass out to family, friends or coworkers.
I'd been wanting to learn how to crochet for ages, and in particular I'd been wanting to make my own blanket. I'm so pleased that I managed to learn how to do it! I'd been trying to teach myself for ages but never quite grasped it, then last year I worked with a girl called Sarah who crocheted and she kindly taught me.
It was really easy to make, so simple and worked up quickly. I didn't use any particular online instructions, but you can find them easily by a quick google! I made it pink to go in my spare room/office.
It's not massive, just a lap blanket and it was done up until a few days ago, when I decided to add a couple more rounds to it to make it slightly bigger. But I love it and I'm excited to snugglee up under it this winter.
I've already crocheted a couple more things too - a tiny bobble hat for an egg and one baby shoe!
Now that October is here, the cold weather is starting to draw in, the garden is winding down (although I still have some kale and other bits to continue to feed myself with!), and we start spending more time indoors again. One thing I love to do in the winter is to make fat ball feeders for the bird, and hang them around my garden. I'm sure the birds love them too! This is a great little project to do with little ones as well, as if you have the patience you don't even need to melt the fat, you can just soften it by beating it with a wooden spoon and stirring the ingrdients in. They're absolutely so easy to make
You will need:
Block of lard or solid vegetable oil
Whatever else you have on hand! Raisins, coconut, nuts, seeds, oats, biscuit or cracker crumbs, bacon rind
Wool or string
Gather your ingredients for the fat ball, if using biscuit or cracker crumbs either bash them by hand or add them to a food processor and process until crumbs
Melt the lard/vegetable oil until it is a liquid (or soften it by beating with a wooden spoon), leave to cool slightly
Add the other ingredients. I usually make these when I have some stale crackers or baking, or old cheap biscuits that aren't being eaten. I add this first and stir together, then add in the other ingredients a bit at a time. You don't want the mixture to be too dry - it needs to stick together to form the balls.
If you melted the oil, let it cool until almost set. If not, you can start straight away. Using your hands (or if you don't want to get them dirty an ice cream scoop works well) form balls with the mixture about the size of golf balls. Transfer to a piece of kitchen roll or baking paper and let cool until completely set.
Cut squares out of the netting/mesh and wrap a ball in the centre of each one. I used pea and bean mesh that I bought in the summer to grow my plants up. If you don't have any, using a needle you can thread wool or string through the centre of the balls whilst still soft and hang them up this way.
Hang them around the garden, then watch the birds come!
I'm so sad; I love this tree, I think it's beautiful and it drops leaves in gorgeous shades of red, brown and gold all over my garden. But we need to make room so Adam can have a garage/store in the garden.
I'll be sad to see the tree go, but I have to look at the positives; no longer using my dining room as storage, which means that I can finally get a new dining table and a chalkboard wall!
And at least I have this cute little face with me to cheer me up:
It's been a bit quiet over here of late, my laptop broke and so I am photoshop-less! But I just ordered a new copy which I hope to get soon, so I can get back to a semi-regular posting schedule.
Over the past few weeks, I've been updating this blog with some of the old posts from other blogs I've kept over time. I've been thinking more and more about how precious my diaries and journal entries are, both my online ones and my ones in my actual old school pen-and-paper diary and I want to protect them as much as possible. They mean so much to me, especially the ones that I wrote whilst I was travelling.
So I've been copying and pasting them over here. I've lost the comments on them but I don't care. If you're interested in reading through them, you can do so here.
I apologise in advance for how terrible they are ;)
On one of the few sunny days we've had this summer, I took a few snaps around my garden - or the patio at least. The constant rain has meant we haven't been able to get our garden finished as we'd hoped, but at least our patio looks pretty!
I keep seeing bloggers around the internet posting about the most delicious sounding ice cream - chocolate coconut, I think this is the actual ice cream.
Dark chocolate and coconut is one of my favourite flavour combinations and I love that this ice cream is vegan too.
150g dark chocolate (I used lindt)
400ml coconut milk
50g coconut butter or creamed coconut*
1 tsp amaretto, kahlua or malibu
Melt dark chocolate and coconut butter in a bowl set over a pan of boiling water, making sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl
When the chocolate and coconut butter has melted, whisk in a can of coconut milk and a teaspoon of liquer. Kahlua, tia maria or malibu would be especially nice but I used amaretto. You can't taste the liquer, but it just helps the ice cream to not freeze into a rock hard, solid block
Add to an ice cream maker and process according to the instructions, otherwise put it in a lidded container in the freezer and stir every 15-30 minutes until it reaches ice cream consistency
It's ridiculously easy and insanely good. It's a good job I wasn't making this for a special occasion because I ate half of the tub already. I forgot to freeze the bowl of my ice cream machine so just did it in the freezer, and I'd eat a spoonful every time I went in to stir ;)
So I urge you to make this. I promise you won't regret it!
*In the past, after being unable to find it in the UK, I purchased a jar of coconut butter from the US and paid a small fortune for it. I loved it, but didn't have the spare cash to buy more. Then I discovered creamed coconut (I used Pataks brand; it cost me about £1.50 from Tesco and is basically the exact same thing!)
The rain. So much rain. Normally I love rain but it has rained almost contstantly for the past two, maybe three months. In that time we've had probably no more than two weeks worth of nice days scattered throughout. Some summer!
Don't get me wrong, I do love rain. It's good for my garden and I get to wear my wellies. But it's barely stopped, the puppies are miserable having to go on their walks in the rain and it's killed off almost all of my plants.
Fingers crossed we get a few days of sunshine before the summer is over!
Gardening is addictive. You plant your first few seeds and before you know it, you're hooked and buying purple carrots, yellow beetroots and all other kinds of crazy seeds.
Of course, you also need somewhere to actually plant these seeds, and I ran out of space and containers, oh about a month ago?! We're in the middle of doing our garden up, it needed a lot of work and I'll eventually have some raised beds to put things into. But right now is when I need to be planting seeds so I'll have something to put in in a few weeks time.
I also love to recycle and save money, so rather than buying plant pots or using peat plant pots, I had a look around the house to see what I could recycle as plant pots.
Here are some alternative things you could use:
Take away boxes or cartons
Reuse plant pots from other plants you've bought and planted on
You might remember a recipe on the blog for easy cookies a couple of months back. I've been making these cookies since, they take about 15 minutes from start to finish and are just really delicious.
I made a chocolate version of this recipe a little while ago, and due to the fact that I didn't realise that I didn't have any eggs on hand until after I'd started, and I'd already used a sunflower spread in the cookies, these ended up being a vegan recipe and to be honest, they're even better than the original!
Today I've got a recipe for you - but unfortunately not for something edible!
I make this nettle tea all the time to feed to my plants, it's a great, free, organic alternative to plant foods, and really easy to make!
You will need:
Find an old container - it needs to have a lid - I used a glass jar this time, but I often use big old plastic tubs of screws which I get from my electrician husband.
Pick some nettles (and be careful - they sting!) to loosely fill the container.
Pour water in to fill the container.
Put the lid on, and leave out of the way to rot down for a couple of weeks.
After a couple of weeks, dilute the liquid to about 1 part nettle tea 8 parts water, and water over your plants. Warning: It will smell vile, but it's worth it as it's so good for the plants! You can use it over pretty much any plant, but tomatoes in particular love it. Scoop out the nettles and plant directly with the tomato plants, or you can put the nettles on your compost heap.