Saturday, 31 January 2009

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

I don't know about you but my hands have been Freezing over the past few weeks.
This has prompted me to search for nice patterns for hand warmers. Although I like the idea of a full glove, they prove to be unpractical and I hate the loss of dexterity that comes with having the ends of your fingers covered.
So for me the perfect solution is market gloves, hand warmers or fingerless gloves.
I found these crocheted beauties on Etsy, made by the lovely Salina.

You can find more lovely things made by Salina on her blog Salina's Home Journal. I just love the cotton lace trim so much.

Thank you Salina. They are so comfortable, warm and most importantly pretty.

There is a saying that goes "Cold hands , Warm Heart" so to prove this true I've decided to have my first Give Away.

While searching for pretty patterns I have been tinkering with my own and have come up with these.

Please excuse the dodgy nail painting, nail art is unfortunately not my forte. I must get M trained up in the art of manicure.
If you leave a comment to this post with a link or copy of your favourite soup recipe before the 1st of February, I will enter you into the draw to win a pair of these hand warmers. You can choose the colour.
Good Luck.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The challenge of a Chocolate cake.

There has been some Very cold weather around here lately , so the fire has been lit most nights.
Some of the best things in the world according to O are a real fire and a Chocolate cake. I tend to agree.
Now I must admit to being a lot more proficient in the cupcake making department.
I tend to burn large cakes a lot !
Not sure why as my scones, cookies and other baking are usually OK, some of it I'm told is very good.

So I saw 2009 as the year to conquer my fear of the CAKE !!

Luckily for me one of my Christmas presents was "Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer" by the ingenious Jane Brocket. While following her blog Yarnstorm I had always admired her cake making expertise. Jane's cakes were never runny in the middle and burnt to a crisp at the edges like mine.

Book in hand I accepted the challenge from O to attempt the Bruce Bogtrotter Chocolate Cake. The ideas for the recipes in Jane's book all come from children's fiction. They can all be found either being made or eaten by the characters in stories that we all know and love.
The origin of the Chocolate cake is from Roald Dahl's "Matilda" were Bruce Bogtrotter is made to finish eating a large chocolate cake by miss Trunchbull as punishment for stealing. My children have always loved this story and were delighted at the thought of having a slice of the cake from "Matilda".

The resulting cake I'm glad to say was a complete success. I'm so pleased that at last I have found a chocolate cake recipe that works for me and my oven.

Another Christmas present was the pastry tin to make these pretty buns.

They are made using the Garden Gang cake pan from Lakeland. Available here. Small buns are much more familiar territory for me . The tin is made of really heavy aluminium. I was apprehensive that it would be difficult to remove the cakes in one piece after baking, but the tin works beautifully and gives a beautiful result.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Starting the Year

I can't believe this is my first post of 2009 ! Where have those two weeks gone? Working night shift over Christmas has meant that the holidays have zoomed past for me. The Maternity unit where I work was has been very busy over the past few weeks.

I thought I'd post this photograph taken by D on the first walk of the year. It's of the road approaching Slieve Binnion in the Mourne Mountains. I think it is such a tranquil scene. It reminds me to slow my pace in 2009. The natural colour scheme of purple, pink and green is so soothing and the dry stone wall is a beautiful contrast.

So far in 2009 I've been smitten by the hand stitching bug and have spent the past few nights stitching these tiny fabric boxes while sitting by a lovely peat fire.

They are great for holding small items of jewellery. I've also used them over Christmas as gift boxes to hold small surprises. They are also a good way to use up those little scraps left over from bigger projects.

The pattern for these little gems can be found in this book.

Which is available here.