Tuesday, 22 September 2009

My Trolley is full........

Life seems to be passing me by at the moment.
My Trolley (brain) seems to be full and some what overflowing, I can't seem to concentrate on one project or find the enthusiasm to finish one either.
So I thought I would show you the Baby Bunting Gift that I did manage to finish last week, and my crochet progress.
First things first, I really did enjoy making the bunting, and am defiantly going to make more.
It was very satisfying to finish it and give it as a gift to baby Amelia.
I went with a pink & white theme, pink flags and white letters.
So here is my first attempt.

(Sorry not a great photo)

I have also finally taught myself to crochet, thanks to all who have encouraged me, sent me tips and links for tutorials.
I am a very visual person so find the patterns really hard to understand, but show me how or let me watch a DVD, film etc and I will get what I'm supposed to do.
So that is what I did after hours of searching I found some online filmed tutorials on "how to crochet a granny square".
So picture this .......
Me sat on the sofa, laptop on lap, headphones plugged in (not small ones either proper big DJ style) ball of wool and a crochet hook. Hehe, I did look silly!!!

But after lots of stops and starts I finally got it, and this is my attempt so far.

I'm aiming for a blanket, and I have done some more squares since I took the photo but I think it will be an as and when project. I am not going for any specific colours just collecting random balls of wool from CS & CB's.

Will be nice to work on it when it gets a bit colder as I will be able to sit under the blanket I am crocheting, Don't I sound silly???

Have a lovely week, I'm off to Felixstowe for Mum's Birthday and it is a special one!! so I wont be home until Tuesday but may post from there, hopefully a little relaxation will help my trolley unload.

Love Sophie xxxxxxx

Monday, 14 September 2009

A Day in the Kitchen

Yesterday I woke up and thought, I fancy cooking today.
So a day in the kitchen for me.
I had lots of tomatoes to use from our veg patch, what can you make with lots of tomatoes!!!

Well Pasta Sauce & Soup came to mind but the freezer is full to bursting so that was a no go, Chutney... But I prefer green tomatoes for chutney and mine were bright red & yellow.
So I had a quick sqizz on the Internet and found a recipe for homemade Ketchup on the River Cottage website, thinking about it now I'm sure I have seen Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall make this on TV.

So I set off on my Ketchup journey,
- 3kg ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 4 onions, sliced (I used the Red variety)
- 1 large red pepper, seeds and white membrane removed, chopped (I used a sweet red pepper)
- 100g soft brown sugar
- 200ml cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
- a piece of cinnamon stick
- 1 ½ teaspoons whole allspice - (I didn't have this so decided to a dried Chili flakes)
- 1 ½ teaspoons whole cloves
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground mace - ( I didn't have this either so just left it out)
- 1 ½ teaspoons celery seeds
- 1 ½ teaspoons black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf - 1 garlic clove, peeled and bruised
- paprika to taste (optional)
- salt

The process is quite simple
Combine the tomatoes, onions and red pepper in a large, heavy pan over a medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until very soft.
Push through a coarse-meshed sieve (I pushed it through 3 times to get the most out of the pulp) and return to the pot with the sugar, vinegar and mustard.
Tie the cinnamon, allspice, cloves, mace, celery seeds, black peppercorns, bay leaf and garlic in a square of muslin and drop it into the stew.
Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce to a slow simmer.
Cook, allowing it to bubble gently, stirring often and carefully, for 20-40 minutes.
(I actually let mine simmer for about 2 hours to get the required consistency, I must have had really juicy tomatoes) The time taken will depend on how juicy your tomatoes are but in any case continue to cook until it is thick and pulpy.
Taste a couple of times while it is cooking and remove the spice bag if the flavour becomes too strong.
Season to taste with salt and paprika, if using, then leave to cool.
Pour the ketchup through a funnel into suitable bottles and seal.
Stored in the fridge, this ketchup will keep for a month. If you bottle it in sterilised jars while still warn, it should keep for a year.
Recipe Source River Cottage.net

I bottled up 4 tall thin bottles, as you can see in the photos ready to store for the winter.
I am really pleased with the result, It does have a bit of a Kick to it where I added the Chili but I like that, It makes different not the norm.

So Ketchup making over, Gav requested an Apple & Blackberry Lattice that he had seen being made on Something for the Weekend.
These were really easy to make, I did cheat with the puff pastry!! but I think you have to when it comes to Puff as it is really tricky to make.

Gav had his for pudding with Ice cream and I saved mine (not sure what came over me) for breakfast this morning, made my Monday morning much better!!

I have become a bit addicted to Crochet so my blogging has been a bit neglected the past few days, but I think I have the hang of it and I am 5 squares out on my blanket. Thank heavens for online video tutorials is all I can say.
So have a lovely week, and don't forget it's national Cupcake week this week.

Teresa from TCake has a fab Cupcake Giveaway planned so hop over and take a look.

Love Sophie xxxx

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Shopping Chez Sophie Style.........

First CS of the day my local St Barnabas Hospice shop - nothing though so slightly disappointing start to the thrifting marathon.

Off I went to my next CS stuffed high st.

2. Help the Aged - 2 vintage blue & white floral pillow cases £1,

3. Oxfam - nothing,

4. Link Romania - 3 pretty tea plates 20p each,

5. The Lions Club - I struck gold, a box of sewing stuff shoved under a counter. Lots of little bits, patterns, cottons, 4 zips £1 bargain.

6. Mind - Nothing

7. Guild Care - another box of sewing stuff shoved under the counter - 2 bags of ribbons & lace 20p each, Fab.

Popped home for a bacon roll and to hang the washing out then off to my next CS sweep.

8. Scope - Nothing

9. Cancer Research - Nothing

10. Guild Care - Zip 30p, Crochet Hook 15p, Enid Blyton Malory Towers book.

11. Link Romania - 6 balls of wool 30p each, buttons, sewing/crochet patterns, fabric total £2.73.

12. Sue Ryder - Nothing

Still craving bargains I decided to go to an area I don't really go to for CS due to parking and what did I happen upon..... A CB at the local school...

Oh well I thought I should pop in and have a look would be rude not to, don't you think??

So in I went, and first stall a new wicker cat basket was purchased for £3.00, next stall a kilner jar 20p. I wandered around and then found an old ceramic hot water bottle, I picked it up and the seller explained what it was to me and then said those magic words of 30p to you!! Well that went in my bag pretty sharpish, quite heavy though and by this time I was juggling a large wicker cat basket too. So off to the car and a little wiggle through the town to my last 2 CS's of the day.

13.The Epileptic Society - 3 pretty blue cups and 1 saucer (photo at the top), and a new reel of cotton.

14. Then I went to one I have never been to before and for the life of me I can;t remember what its called - nothing interesting there anyway.
So home with my finds, 14 CS's in one day and a CB not bad I thought.
A good days thrifting in my book.
When I arrived home Gav was wielding a rather large Axe!!!
No don't worry he was chopping up logs in the garden ready for the cold weather as my Grandma said to me on the phone, such a good boy!!!

So I decided to help and weeded the veggie patch and re tied up the tomato plants. I was clearing round the Courgette plants and I found a cucumber!!! I thought I had planted a cucumber plant but couldn't find it amongst the huge courgette plants, well bonus a verry funny looking cucumber. Not sure what to do with it, any ideas let me know.
A little blackberry foraging was done & a pretty rose for my kitchen shelf was found.

So shopped out & garden looking slightly tidier time to relax.

In my last post I said I thought I would try and learn to crochet!!!
Well for the past 3 nights I have been trying and trying and trying and struggling badly.
It has however got better and I have watched quite a few tutorials online and I think by Jove I might nearly be there. More on that another day, ( when my granny square looks like it should do and not how it does at the moment!!)

So off now to finish my secret present for my friends new baby.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend Luv Sophie xxxxx

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

A Bit Of A Mish Mash!!!

So this post is a bit of a mish mash, so here goes...................
On Saturday I went on my first visit to Winchester.

It was for work so unfortunately I couldn't partake in any real retail therapy, although I helped plenty of others in TBS. We had a super sampling Saturday and Iain and I walked the length of Winchester High Street giving out samples to the shoppers.

It was a bit like torture really walking past all the beautiful shops (and when I saw CK I had to really hold back) but at least I now have a new place to go for a proper shopping visit at some point.
I did manage to go the CK for a quick 5 min's at the end of the day.

I treated myself to a new Mug in a Strawberry pattern, beautiful double sided wrapping paper and some small giftables.
So not all work and no play!!!

I just wanted to show you some of my Veggie patch harvest.
Tomatoes on the windowsill in the kitchen ripening nicely.

The pear tree is slowly getting heavier and heavier with fruit, the branches are slowly nearing the ground the tree is soo full of fruit, Chutney, Pie's, Crumbles and maybe Cider me thinks.

The Pumpkin is nearly all orange, Gav is looking forward to carving it for Halloween and I am looking forward to making lots of yummy stuff from the flesh, Pumpkin pie, Pumpkin muffins & pumpkin soup, mmmmmmmmmm.

I have been picking up lots of goodies on Ebay, CS's & CB's for my crafting. Ribbon's, Fabric, Buttons, Embroidery silks etc.

I am mid project on a baby gift for a friend at the moment so can't show you what I'm up to encase she happens to read this but I will post about it once its sent to her.
I also have to tell you about the Giveaway I won from Rose at Victoria Rose Crafts, some fabby paper craft items, embellishments and some Christmas punchies (I think they are called that? I not that up to speed on the Lingo yet) I am really looking forward to making some Christmas cards with it all.

Thank You Rose it was a lovely parcel to receive, you all know I love a parcel on the mat when I get home from the office.
Finally I have to show you my Baby Treacle who is loving the crochet granny blanket I found in the MIL's loft, think I might have to learn how to crochet. If anyone has any tips or knows of any tutorials please let me know.
Treacle is behind me now as I type sat on said blanket snoozing away..
Zzzzzzz purrrrrr Zzzzzzzzz purrrrrrrr Zzzzzzzz purrrrrr

All for now I'm afraid, another hectic week and the year is just passing before my eyes.

See you soon, Love Sophie xxxx

Friday, 4 September 2009

Off to Winchester to Giveaway Samples.....

Tomorrow I am off to Winchester with work tomorrow.
I will be in the High Street giving out sample pots for anyone to go and get a FREE sample of anything in The Body Shop.
I have never been to Winchester before so when the opportunity came up I grabbed it.
I do happen to know that there is a fairly New CK Shop there so in my lunch time I may just take a little lookie!!
Maybe treat myself!!!
So if you fancy a freebie tomorrow, come along to the Winchester Body Shop and meet me.
All for now I'm afraid, as J Ross is back on in a bit and Jamie O is one of his guests so I must go and get my cup of tea and something to nibble on whilst I watch.
Till Tomorrow, happy weekend Sophie xxxx

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Hummingbird Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

When I saw Victoria's of Florance & Mary post about the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook & signing she went to with Kelly, I knew I had to have that cook book!!
So I ordered it and it arrived a couple of weeks ago.

I have browsed it from cover to cover and last night I decided it was time to make my first endeavour in the delicious delights of the Hummingbird bakery cookbook.
I made the Chocolate Cupcakes (page 17)
They are really easy to make, I used my handy food processor for the whole recipe.
I made 12 mini cupcakes & 6 normal sized cupcakes and there was plenty of mixture from one batch.
Sometimes I find that recipes don't make as many as they say they will and you end up having to make 2 lots to fill requirements!
They turned out fab if I do say so myself!
I then made the Chocolate Frosting on page 12, I batch made loads plenty for all the cupcakes I made. ( I did have to go next door to borrow a cup of Icing Sugar!! As you do)

I also made the frosting in my food processor, and then piped it on to the cakes and finished them with Silver Balls.

4 mini cupcakes went next door in return for the Icing sugar.

3 were eaten last night

The rest went to work with me today, to a welcome response from the team in the weekly team meeting. (I always think cake makes a team meeting go well!!)

And there is 1 left in the tin for Gav and I to share later.......

My verdict is 10/10, definitely a winner in my book.

Do you have a favourite recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery book?

Luv Sophie xxxxx