Thursday, 25 September 2008

Kindness from the other side of the World

Being such a novice blogger there are new aspects and activities of the blogging world that I have yet to discover.

This week I have discovered the generosity and excitement of "The Swap".

Last week an amazing surprise arrived from the other side of the world! I really can't tell you the excitement and gratitude that was felt in our house.

These beautiful notebooks and pencil covers were hand made by the lovely Mel from One Crafty Mumma blog.

The children have been using these all week and were delighted to bring them to school and show their teacher the wonderful surprise they received from Tasmania. Mel has such a lovely blog and writes about her creativity and family life. She amazes me with her energy and obviously has a mind just bursting with ideas and creativity.

I had sent Mel some cotton crocheted dishcloths as she had mentioned that she would like to have some.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Knitted I am.

What do you think of this little Yoda !

My little Jedi was thrilled with him. I loved making him, especially as it only took a few hours and takes up very little yarn. This great pattern is by Raynour at Jellybum on Etsy and is available here for anyone who wants one.

Yesterday we actually had a sunny day here! So we made sure it was spent outside. We took a trip to Castle Espie a Wetland centre on the shores of Strangford Lough. This weekend was their Lifestyle Green show. We had such a great day watching and feeding the birds.

We took part in a tree naming competition and bought a book on identifying trees.

Which came in helpful on Dad an O 's walk in Donard Forest this morning.

Yesterday we also tried wood turning and willow sculpture.

I loved the willow sculpture and the the kids got so involved that they didn't want to leave. I think they enjoyed it so much because it involved a certain amount of engineering as well as dexterity and design. Skills that I would love to encourage my children to develop. So I'm planning to try making some for our garden with the help of the children.

All in all a lovely day walking and playing in the trees and watching the birds.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Crochet cactus

It's been a busy week. I passed the exam I was sitting at the weekend Phew ! Thanks for the Good Luck wishes. On Monday I started a new job. I'm really enjoying it and the extra responsibility but I think first weeks are always tiring. So much new admin to learn etc. Working as a Team Midwife has been a goal since training and sometimes it's hard to believe that I'm actually here doing it !

Because of the exam and the new job the crafting has been a little sparse but I have managed to fit in a few little projects. I'm mostly crocheting at the moment as it is easier to fit in around other stuff. It also "grows" quickly if you know what I mean. Usually I can complete a little crochet project in a short period of time. I've just finished this -

The pattern for the cactus and pot are available here at Nadia's Flickr. She has posted a fabulous picture tutorial and pattern. I'm not the best at crochet but I found it easy to follow and the pictures helped a lot. The kids thought it was hilarious. I'm thinking of putting it on our office window as we never have time to look after real plants. I also managed to crochet some new cotton wash cloths.

I thought some bright colours were called for after receiving my order of 3 balls of "Fiesta" by Peaches and Cream. Cotton yarn is difficult to find here and expensive even when you can find it, so I usually order from ebay. The star in Fiesta is made using this lovely free pattern from Janelle Schlossman. There are some other great patterns on her site.

The flower cloth with the yellow centre is from this free pattern at Marlo's Crochet corner.
The flower cloth with the orange centre is a mistake ! (remember when I said I could sometimes be easily distracted), well I did a little to many stitches on the last few rows. I kind of like how it turned out though.

The garden is looking rather bare already but we still have some carrots left to harvest and boy are they sweet and delicious. There really is no comparison between the fresh from your garden kind and shop bought. I'm planning to make carrot and coriander soup tomorrow for lunch.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Beans ?

I posted last month about how the wet and humid weather had been good for the Beans that we had planted. OOPS!

The beans actually turned out to be Peas !!

I was beginning to wonder as the pods formed that perhaps they wouldn't be the biggest of broad beans. The colour also seemed to be too " Pea green "shall we say.
A taster last week revealed my suspicions. Yep ! They are definitely peas.

Oh well I suppose life is full of surprises. I'm not sure what happened. I must admit to being easily distracted at times and I was very busy the week of planting. Perhaps we planted different seeds than we thought! Anyway, nice surprise and delicious.

We also harvested the last of our spring onions this week. Otherwise known as "scallions" here and one of the main ingredients for a traditional Irish potato dish called "Champ." So guess what we had for tea last night ?

The recipe can be found here. I was attempting to write the recipe myself and then realised that I don't use one. Instructions like a colander of potatoes and chunk of butter may not be that useful for anyone making Champ for the first time. So I played it safe with the recipe on the link.

This dish is warming, filling and tasty, perfect for when the weather starts to turn colder and best of all ,virtually no culinary skill required.

I'm off to finish some revision as I have an important course and exam this weekend in Fermanagh.

Wish me Luck !

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Grandpa's railway

Recently we had a mini holiday to the seaside at Llandudno with Granny and Grandpa. The highlight of the weekend were Grandpa's trains.

This amazing garden railway has been made totally by Grandpa !
Including the signal box and suspension bridge.
Grandpa spent time training his new apprentice controller in the signal box.

The weather was good so we were able to be out about. While Grandpa went to teach sailing we went to a Country Fair were we saw sheepdogs herding geese, birds of prey and dog agility demonstrations. I loved watching the skill of the chainsaw sculpture.
I can't believe we fitted so much into one weekend. Even after the tabogan run on the Great Orme there was still time for swimming , shopping and lots of crocheting with Granny in the evening. A lovely way to end the Summer holidays before the return to School and work.