Knitting Pattern, knitting project!

Halloween knit; Part 2

My knitted character is finally taken shape, I have reversed the front seam as it made a bodice effect. Luckily my colour changes work well with the base shape of the body, packing the shoulders and using a seam at the decrease row to define the chest was relatively easy. Following the seam throughout the back added central definition to the chest, all in all the knit pattern was simple to modify through adjusting and padding as required.

The shoulder colour pattern is added to the arms creating a great visual of an off the shoulder dress. I chose not to add the skeletal arm and leg of the corpse bride as it would be too vulgar and as a Halloween decoration she requires a little adaptation. I intended to build a flesh tone version to dress however we shall see how this knit goes. I fancy creating a version off the patchwork dress from nightmare before Christmas.

The hands are simple but effective, twisted and gnarly as the genre requires. I have to say it really looking Good, even my youngest is fascinated by it. Anyway I have planned the leg pattern already created my own visual pattern with photos to reference so I can use it again. Today food is our focus as we settle in to enjoy our Sunday, I will build the rest as and when I can.

Happy knitting!

Cheryl

Home Craft, Recycling, Storage

Recycled Kitchen!

This summers renovations have been really good for our space, as I have enjoyed a good kitchen for many years our expanding family has meant a greater need to create a efficient environment to fulfil our requirements! This started with a random bid on a kitchen, one of those cheeky bids that rarely pay off .

However after being let down on our first win, we finally won the kitchen which I thought was amazing! I like the new styles, twists on old shaker kitchens with there clean lines and crisp finishes but to upcycle our cupboard doors would cost over a thousand, not to mention any added base units. If the first bid had been in Good condition I could have painted the similar cupboard doors a nice blue, grey or green but thankfully I avoided the patchwork kitchen.

Anyway my bid of £350 won this bespoke kitchen, Oak doors, island, two wall units set dressers and five pieces of wooden carvery worktops, two lengths of Granite worktops with taps, double oven, hood, extractor were all included. As I always longed for a farmhouse kitchen it seemed amazing that for the cost of one worktop I could have a full fitted kitchen.

So, After a marathon of a day my husband collected the kitchen, returning he set it all down in our kitchen! The impact of the task dawned, “what now!” After my husband had a rest we built up the wall units, beautiful they swamped the space. The corner pan cupboard would only fit one space, adding the island base against the back wall and levelling we finally had an area for the massive work top to fit!

We made a little area to organise the rest of the space, the oven fit was next and as built up the kitchen around the oven centre piece I was debating whether the hood was worth the effort! I sorted my old display wall units added brass hinges to some false doors which had been used to back their breakfast bar. I added a shelf in each cupboard to fit the cooking staples and cups.

Finally I gave in and my husband began to fit the extractor hood, massive it makes the cooker a central feature. Over the next few days we used the pantry units to underfit the sink area, resetting the washing machine we added inlay drawers in a large cupboard which I can use to store vegetables, potatoes and savoury items.

I found a few of the old tiles for the walls of the kitchen these I used to fill the gaps, after I had taken down the half tiles. Relatively easy with the right tools, which I shall grout when the larger jobs are completed.

The beautiful display cupboards are set next to the computer, to this area we added a shaped off cut to make a small corner breakfast bar. This space is for our eldest to do work, a bonus as it is vital for there to be somewhere to focus away from the hustle and bustle of life, essential in a busy home.

With the units and doors in place the flooring set was in need of replacing, I chose a marbled stone effect, feeling it would be hard wearing we bought in a few packs and my husband finally finished the kitchen floor. This is the only time I have not put quality over cost, I could have spent a few hundred pounds on a bargain but they would not be as strong or hardwearing. They are visually striking, with the depth of external tiles but the texture underfoot is an added bonus that you cannot buy in the sale area.

The large tiles allow the original floor solid coverage, although a lot of adhesive is required to ensure a strong adhesion to the tiles below. We chose to order in batches, allowing us time to complete an area before collecting some more, still at the original reduced price we were offered.

A few weeks later our second purchase of tiles arrived and after cutting the first row he was called out, this left me with a bucket of grout about to dry, my daughter set for her snack time I set to work, After half an hour I had laid the two rows needed to set our unit back. It is a messy job, needs a level hand, good lines and the grout spaces even and smooth but the finish is amazing and full of texture. After a few hours the unit was ready to move back, quick drying the tiles set quickly so clean and accurate is key.

Yesterday I set the main walkway down, after stressing the need for completion I set my daughter in her highchair to eat and completed it myself, despite being full of cold. Last night, exhausted and after my daughter went to sleep I set the last few full tiles we had that I could lay, after moving the fridge to lay the floor with everyone asleep it was far too late for cutting tiles.

Before resting I cleared the table of kitchen extras, allowing a space to eat together again, the tiles look amazing and I cannot wait for it all to be complete, as I sat back to see my bespoke kitchen, designing and organising, I address the needs of everyone else first, but the satisfaction of creating with quality products is amazing!

This satisfaction as with my gardening, allotment and crafts is creating something to appreciate, from rescued plants, recycled and clearance products costing relatively nothing at all. The floor cost will be worth the investment, if cheap ceramics last twenty years these should last twice as long, taking the ware of a large family.

I have saved all extra cupboards, panels and worktops to build up in our summerhouse, but finally when work is finished we will have a space that is un-cluttered and full of character. For now I am grateful for a wonderful space, fabulous children that keep me focused and the opportunity to recycle a wonderful oak kitchen!

So today I hope to get the cuts done, lay the area needed to reset the fridge and get my husband to order the last few packs needed to finish the room. Our homemade benches and wall unit will need a second coat, the table a sand to polish down the artwork and eventually we will have managed a refurb for ten percent of the usual cost of a new kitchen.

Hopefully next week we will have shifted this cold!

Happy Renovating!

Cheryl

Allotment, Grow Your Own

Pumpkins Progression;

After evaluation of this years pumpkin setting I feel my groundwork  was successful, the plants are thriving in the space and stretching out setting multiple fruit across the ground bed.

I set corn and 12 twelve cucurbits in a ten foot bed, these have all filled the space to provide a fabulous selection of fruit. My treasure is much smaller but I have visited once every few weeks to water the greenhouse and weed, so those everyday waterers and weeders are able to push it everyday. I have been working on home projects, that have been set aside as we have been blessed with another daughter, who is finally finding her feet!

Whilst I rely more on nature to produce my plants, I have time to nurture my seedlings, so  I visit if the rainfall is low, I really would like to work a space daily but my garden is our oasis. A summer haven, we open the doors into the garden and relax and play on the warm days, we grow a few home staples but a few tomatoes, nasturtiums and corn is hardly enough spade for the plants we set.

I sow everything but I do not panic if something vanishes, I just prefer to see what treasure our efforts deliver. This means every year is different, my plan is to see what succeeds without daily visits, the crops that will make the most of what is already there.

I do not stress as I know with the right conditions eventually I will find the space and process that I can utilise more frequently. However I prefer the forest style, planting in layers to restrict the weeds, vegetables are different as were they are set promotes weeds. Despite this my straw mulch suppresses the small mass of weeds and I rarely find more than a dandelion, where evasive weeds re-occur I can easily deal with them as the straw acts as bark would in no dig.

My energy is put into the seedlings, planting the strongest and nurturing the stragglers moving everybody on until they catch up or blossom in their own space. I can fill my greenhouse, plant what is needed and enjoy seeing what is delivered in our harvest!

This allows me time for everything, so the goals are achievable and we can share the process of growing something new. Plant seedlings in smaller spacing to avoid gluts of one crop, transplant the stragglers to maximise the crop, my version of thinning without wasting seedlings. I do not plant what we will not eat as the whole point is enjoying the process.

Do not get me wrong, I admire the pristine rows of set crops however I could not eat twenty courgettes so if I receive one every week it will not go to waste. If the next plant turns out to be something different what a bonus!

There is something glorious about the leaves and flowers and sets, the Gunnera of the allotment it is great to find the hidden gems set behind the grandiose foliage. One day I will grow a Halloween decoration the size of a tractor tyre, until then I will see what our efforts bring!

Decorative or for additions to our table, it fits my need to grow with my children!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

 

 

Allotment, Grow Your Own, Harvests

September Harvest!

As I strolled around the allotment the beans were bundled together nicely, so after selecting mainly! I set them aside to dry out for seeds. With ten plants we have managed at least 10 punnets of beans, these have been added to our chilli’s and bulked up our Favourite meals.

Somehow we managed to grow a very unusual looking cabbage, its veining leaving it more a Halloween prop than food! It really is the most unusual thing, I think it will find its way to the compost pile as despite being perfectly formed it looks like a sci-fi creature which is really too unusual to eat.

The outdoor tomatoes look fabulous and had a punnet of green tomatoes, which I shall set to ripen on the windowsill. The greenhouse is too hot and dry for my tomatoes and cucumbers, my polycarbonate which blew to pieces retained moisture and I got amazing results. Its glass replacement just frazzles as the southern position, maximises heat and light on hot days.

My little treasure is a miniature pumpkin, the little jack is perfectly formed and will be a real treat for our autumn table. So as we return to wash and store our courgettes I am already planning the meals to add them to….

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

Allotment, Writing

Friendly Giants;

As usual I have recently sown winter brassicas, since then we have had a flurry of growth at home and at the allotment, but this week we are worn down with cold! I have returned to homemade meals to improve our vegetable intake as the return to a weekly shop allows me to concentrate on finishing home projects. With all of my kitchen in place It is a few final fixes to finish, and with two thirds of both rooms tiled it is looking great!

My pumpkins this year have been few, watermelons, squashes, courgettes, and marrows are nicely mixed. Last year I had five different jack o lanterns, but this year we are set a few treats to save seeds.

My friend planted four plants, two Big Max (see header photo!) and two lanterns a quick postcard and note for next year I will be ordering some seeds, grown on our site without preparation or added manure it is well worth setting the seeds. So I will be trading some of my beans for some seeds of these beauties for us to try!

I have already resourced the varieties, a few that failed to appear despite an abundance of sowings. I will try my Atlantic giants with their Australian set the Big Max, I am sure we will be gifted a few of whatever we set.

Despite a difficult start this year, I achieved my goals, Greater variety of cucurbit crop, yellow tomatoes, and a far more successful coverage of  plants in my main beds. Next year as my time is more flexible, I will focus on building up our front beds and setting a few giants of our own!

And as my September sowings start outside I hope to clear my raised beds to fill with my climatized winter crops! For now the plants are still producing, as everyone enjoys the end of the season, I can plan, resource and prepare for next year!

Happy Harvests!

Cheryl

Home Craft, Knitting Pattern, knitting project!

Halloween knit: Emily/ Corpse Bride

Tim Burton’s inspired corpse bride: Emily;

As my daughter begins to crawl it is time to find a small project what better than a Halloween knitting pattern creation. After seeing an amazing homemade cake of Tim Burton’s character I felt an urge to transform it into wool, so this morning I started on my first pieces.

I will change the colours of the hair to create another nightmare before Christmas character, either way my larger patterns will be in True to form in Mary Shelley ideal, create your own characters by building up a collection of patterns, until you have a completed character or a selection of part patterns suitable to devise your own…

Whether from leftovers to shop bought wool, create your own unique character at your craft level. The more you create, the better the pattern, but for know I enjoy my hobby enough to share, given a few moments as my youngest begins to start moving I can create a few new pieces.

Obviously their are much more intricate patterns, as my previous posts show my skill set was built around the masters, this pattern was created using a picture for reference from experience with no other point for reference.

So if you fancy learning to build your own dolls, whether for home or work, the first pattern would be a great story addition.

Happy Knitting!

Cheryl

 

 

5 ingredients recipes, Writing

Halloween Cup cakes;

Ingredients;

  1. Prepared Cake mix,
  2. Eggs
  3. Water
  4. Icing
  5. Decorating pens

The pre- Halloween I planned baking was a success, the children managed five great Cupcakes, literally, In cups as I refused to pay £8 for a bundt baking tray, however our garden cups which are a great size worked wonders! After a well prepared selection of baking products, reinforcing the need for handwashing as we are all full of cold, they set to their cake mixes.

A box mix carrot cake and a chocolate mix from Aldi, all of which were simple to prepare and took very little mixing, great for toddlers to work as they required very short work process. Once they were mixed they were added to a selection of cups suitable to withstand heat of the oven.

The icing packs, decorating pens and marshmallow for making fondant! We eventually  worked through flattening the icing to cover the cupcakes however I had to place oil down to stop it fixing to our work surface. We needed a few laminated sheets to roll it between, we eventually managed to get four fully covered and decorated.

So, for around five pounds we managed to make five small cakes, this was a trial to see what we could achieve, I think they did well. A nice break in a week of nursing snotty noses… Today I will be making homemade chilli, for medicinal purposes, followed by a large piece of carrot cake!

The marshmallow fondant was a fail, we do not have a microwave so if anyone has a easier process for making an icing alternative I would appreciate the information…

Happy baking!

Cheryl

#Next time I will buy more so I can make my own, using my Christmas cake base!Recipe – Christmas Cake!

 

Allotment, Harvests

September Sun!

So today after a week of the children off with cold I decided to check on the allotment, I was surprised to see a Good selection of squash and small pumpkins. Despite a busy year it is doing well, a few of the pumpkins will need to colour but they will save me spending on harvest dressing and carving for Halloween.

Sweetcorn thriving, pumpkin patch almost filling our ground bed I feel another tarpaulin  will be necessary to prep next years bed as the pumpkins stretch out over the surface. After a heart shaped tomato, courgette, red cabbage, calendula seed, and some beans we left to complete our chores.

An hour later we returned to help a friend move her amazing Pumpkins, she only got four but two required a bit of braun, After setting them on the pallet we carried on, I was lucky to find the baking items for our next family project reduced so I could buy twice the amount.

After an evening making traditional cupcakes with my children we have set them aside to decorate… They are under orders not to eat them, hopefully they will be ready for tomorrow nights fun, trying to ice and decorate their own cakes.

So apart from waiting for the crops, I shall leave them to ripen and get back to enjoying our new kitchen…

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

 

5 ingredients recipes, Home Craft, Storage

Seasonal Preserves

 

Ingredients;

I cup of diced courgette (small chunks)

1 onion (diced into small chunks)

Three green tomatoes

Three yellow tomatoes

1 large mushroom (diced into small chunks)

Vegetable oil

Utensils:

Small jar sterilised

Sharp chopping knife

Chopping board/ plate

So occasionally after a few harvests you return with small amounts of vegetables which individually amount to nothing, but added together they can add nicely to a stir fry, Bolognese or chilli.

With this in mind, After collecting some small tomato sauce bottles a new cooking addition favoured by the rest of my family, tolerated by me. I decided to use the jars to preserve a few additional ingredients before they went to waste.

After chopping the additional vegetables, I begin to layer them into a jar. Once mixed i added a table spoon of oil and filled covering with boiling water. It is easier just to leave set in oil, but I cook with as little as possible as they remain textured and tasty without oil.

The bottles are left to cool adding the lid as the contents cools, this can be stored for a week and added to bolognese, chilli, stir fry, breakfast and curries. The yellow tomatoes are a real treat set to keep giving I shall save seed from our best plants, a growing first we have added them to sandwiches.

So if you only manage to collect a few bits from your allotment or garden this way you can make a meal from a small selection of fresh vegetables. My staple buys are red onions, mushrooms and peppers added to our harvest these make a great basis for any meal.

Happy Harvests

Cheryl

 

Allotment, Harvests, Home Craft

First Fruit and Harvest

 

My husbands new project is a bargain caravan which we hope to use over the holidays, but my project is refurbing my kitchen. Usually I choose frugal over a first choice but today I am being treated as my bargain was exceptional, despite winning a basic used kitchen for sixty pound’s it was clear that despite best efforts their fitters demolished the kitchen. So after a second delay I spotted a fantastic kitchen with appliances and extras which I thought would sell for a few zero’s more than it did, so after covering the lowest bid I continued searching for other requirements.

After a few days we found that we had won it! So today I am looking forward to its arrival, the old kitchen we have chosen to set along one wall along with our storage and appliances. The rest will be used to make work space in our summer house as we plan on making a space for the children to play…

So, a few weeks ago it arrived, as I stood in my kitchen surrounded by cupboards, work tops and drawers it would have been easy to close the door and forget about it. After my husband had sat, fed and rested I moved around pieces and organised the doors and shelves to get a better idea of the project ahead. With some fabulous wooden worktops resting on the stairs it was apparent I needed a plan and quick as the holidays were well underway.

A large corner unit was the first problem, this became the basis of the whole design as it would only fit the far wall. I had moved our wall units a week earlier, hoping to fill this wall with all new cupboards we set these aside, the new kitchen had an island and free standing units with doors as panels, these I hoped would transfer to the high units to allow new cupboard doors for the old units.

As my husband transferred the corner unit and island base units level to the back wall I set about harvesting the trees with the children, our fruit harvest was amazing the larder fridge trays filled and several popcorn tubs of pears and plums.

This beautiful reclaimed kitchen was to become a modern workspace, set in quality materials for the cost of an oak worktop. I was unsure about the new hood, at over a metre wide I felt it was too heavy but as it was set and i re-laid tiles to fit the new space it began to show promise.

So as the children return to school well rested, I am enjoying the relative luxury of my new kitchen. Again enjoying the space and focussing on our needs, grateful for the opportunity to build something new for us all to enjoy.

Above are the beans and courgettes from our recent harvests, red cabbage and tomatoes are a regular pick but the beans flourish as ever. All a bonus to our table…

Happy Harvests

Cheryl