What do we want... half term WAFFLES

28th October 

Waffles in the  making Norwegian style

This half term we are staying put so to speak.  Life is often lived in the fast lane and there is little time to spend at home doing nothing.  Other than a couple of day trips out, the plan is to be home bodies and enjoy doing nothing!  (Believe that and you believe anything, the number of new projects I have started this week is ridiculous! but the good intention was there.)

So to sweeten the half term staycation, I promised my lot that I would make waffles and lots of them at that.  So far we have had waffles for breakfast two mornings this week already.

So what are waffles?  Waffles are leavened batter heated between two iron plates with an engraved/raised pattern to provide the final product with shape and impression.  See above photograph.

In our household there is only one type and it comes in a heart shape.  But many know waffles as the American favourite used with maple syrup and called Belgium waffles.  To us, these are not waffles, sorry, but they are not!  These 'waffles' are large in size with deep grid pockets and the batter uses yeast.  They are incredibly popular and when out and about in the UK and America, these are generally what you are served.  True waffles, not that I am biased at all you understand, come from Scandinavia.  Scandinavian waffles are heart shaped and have a thin, easy to hold in one hand size about them.  They tend to be made with sugar and are sweet, although there are several savoury versions of the batter available too.

Nothing beats a stack of Norwegian waffles

Whenever I am not sure what to make, waffles are our families firm stand by, they are quick and easy and as mentioned can be made sweet or savoury.  If the children have a class party day, they always request waffles to take into school.

I do not follow a recipe anymore as I have made them so often over the decades, wow, decades, that makes me feel old, but it is true, I have been making these for about 30 years and eating them for a lot longer than that! So I tend to go by look and I add a bit more here and a bit more there. As a rule of thumb, I make the mixture quite a bit thicker than you would pancake mixture.  So you can use the ingredients below and just make sure the batter is thicker than pancake mixture and there is no need to measure, just go with your gut feeling, or alternatively below are a couple of recipes.  I have successfully substituted the flour with gluten/wheat free flour before and although the mixture looks different, the taste is fairly similar, I know my friends with these intolerance enjoy the waffles.

Basic waffle mixture

Waffles best served with crème fraiche
and home grown raspberries

  500g plain flour
  250g icing sugar or 150g sugar (we prefer icing sugar)
  1l milk
  3 eggs
  150g melted butter
  optional cardamom powder or vanilla essence

Melt the butter and then add all ingredients together and mix till smooth.  I use an electric whisk.  Leave to stand for 30 minutes in an ideal world.  Often the children cannot wait and the mixture only stands for a few minutes, but it is best to wait if you can.

Heat waffles iron, spray for the first waffle with oil to prevent from sticking, but this should not be necessary after the first spray.  the melted butter in the batter should prevent sticking to the sides of the iron.

Each waffles takes only a minute or two at most to cook. 

Continue cooking until all the batter is used up and serve.

Any topping work well, but traditionally in Norway in the summer months you would serve with cream and sliced strawberries.  but anything goes!

Sour cream waffles 

  600ml sour cream
  1 tsp salt
  1 tsp baking powder
  220g plain flour
  200ml water

Mix all the ingredients together until smooth and let stand for about 10 minutes before cooking.

These are savoury waffles and work well with smoked salmon and crème fraiche, thin omelette on top of them, sliced meat etc.  Anything that you fancy really!  These make great canapés and just that little bit different!

No waffles maker, no worries. 
Make drop scones instead!

Don't have a waffle iron?  There is a way... 

You can now buy waffle irons here in the UK, so I suspect you can in most countries, however you can still use the above recipes  and make drop scones on a griddle or in a frying pan instead.  Make the mixture as normal, but instead drop some mixture onto a very hot griddle or frying pan, sprayed with a thin coating of oil and cook for a minute or two on each side.  Add toppings as desired! 

I am sure we will be having waffles again for breakfast tomorrow, after all isn't half term about having fun and enjoying yourself?

Heart shaped waffles

♥ Enjoy half term everyone ♥

Too many WIPs!

October 17th

I have suddenly become overwhelmed by the number of projects I have begun and not finished. Not least because I have two projects that I really want to begin but feel I must complete the outstanding ones first. Am I alone? Do you always complete what you begin  or are you little like me?

So without further ado the next week is all about finishing off. Wish me luck and hope I come out the other end triumphant. 

Wine bottle carrier in the making

1930's hat in the making

Cushion cover in the making

Small blanket in the making, terrible tension!!

Decorative pictures in the making

So I have some crocheting, knitting, embroidery and machine sewing to tackle this week. Hope to see you on the other side!!

 Have a wonderful weekend whatever you do!

Felted bowls

October 8th  

Drops Eskimo felting wool with a 8mm hook
So I have had this yarn in my stash for a while as I am a little bit in love with wool for felting.  In fact I love the whole idea of felting that a good friend sent me on a wet felting course for my birthday some years ago with the wonderful Gillian Harris, when she used to work from a colourful shed in her garden, before the Fluffatoriam was born.  What?!?! you have not heard of the Fluffotoriam, you are missing out, pop over and see all her colourful goodness and amazing creativity that she is. Click on link here

But to be honest, despite buying all the kit for wet felting it has sat under the spare bedroom bed, gathering dust and increasing my guilt feeling of neglecting it.  So I thought it time to start on felting by crocheting first to re connect me with the texture I enjoy so much.  My favourite slippers to don on at this time of year, when the wet rot and chill begin to set in are a are knitted pair of  felted ones, I'll share the pattern soon.  I digress, onto these bowls.

I had spotted a fantastic set of melamine nesting bowls in vivid primary colours and it began me thinking about making some in wool.  this is my first attempt and as I had only green was not able to re create my own rainbow effect of nesting bowls, but you have to start somewhere, right?

Crocheted bowl before hot water felting
I used a very quick basic pattern for the above bowl and just adapted it for larger and smaller sizes.  It was all a bit of a guessing game, but for the basic bowl, the pattern was:

  • Make a magic circle and chain 3
  • ROW 1:  12 dc into the ring, sl st into the 3rd chain and then pull the magic ring tight (you should have 12 stitches)
  • ROW 2:  ch 3 and dc x2 into each stitch, sl st into 3rd chain (24 stitches in total)
  • ROW 3:  ch 3 *dc into first and second st, then dc x2 into third stitch* continue in this pattern between the * till the row is complete, sl st into 3rd chain (32 stitches in total)
  • ROW 4:  as row 3 (42 stiches in total)
  • ROWS 5-8:  dc into each stitch
  • ROW 9:  ch 1 then sc around until the end of the row.  sl st into the ch 1
Your bowl is now ready for hot water felting.

Failed attempt at felting by hand

I tried boiling some water and using fairy washing up liquid but failed miserably, although I did succeed in really hurting my hands with the hot water, picture me whining "oh, oh, oh" and hopping up and down whilst still trying to felt by hand.  It was a messy sight!  It didn't take me long to realise this was futile, so I resorted to the washing machine.  I should have known better as this is how I felt my slippers, but thought a small bowl, surely felting by hand would be OK...

Various crocheted bowl sizes

Crocheted bowls ready for the washing machine

So out came the delicate bag and in popped the crocheted bowls.  I set the machine on at 60 degrees and waited the hour or so for the programme to finish.  Of course it worked and the bowls had shrunk somewhat in size and had produced a lovely thick texture.  They had felted well.

Felted bowls left to dry on upturned vessels
found randomly in the kitchen

I wanted bowls and so placed each one on various vessels that I pulled out from different cupboards to try and find the right size for each bowl.  This felting business is not an exact science in my household and no two bowls were the same size.  Here I left the bowls in this position until completely dried out, so that they would hold their new and forced shape.  In my case this was 3 days.

The bowls are not the same height,
but I did manage to get them to nestle within each other

Autumnal and ready for Halloween later in the month

Autumn sun streaming in through the windows on the filled bowls

I have had such fun making these that I now need to put in an order for bright colours of felting wool and make a whole range!  The Drops Eskimo yarn was easy to use and these bowls crocheted up in less than half an hour each.  Easy TV crocheting! I think a bowl filled with little treats would make lovely thank you gifts too...

What are you crafting/making these days
as the nights draw in?

Crochet rings

October 1st 
I think  my crochet mojo might be slowly returning.  I have been squirreling away making things for
Christmas and I will show you all in good time, but do not want to freak anyone out about the C word yet!!

However in the mean time, to ease myself back into crochet I have begun on small and very quick projects.  Shh, these would make good Christmas presents, ahh, did I say that!?!?!?

Ring blanks ready for a crocheted adornment

A good friend of mine recently sent me some happy post of ring blanks, these are rings with a small circular base ready for attaching whatever ornament/decoration you choose for your ring.  This got me thinking and as I have several books that include crochet flowers and a quick search on the internet will produce many free patterns also.  I set to work.  Again using just what I had at home, often these ideas take hold after shop hours and when the small ones are in bed, I used cotton yarn and a 1.75m hook.  I was, pardon the pun, hooked.  Such fun trying out different crochet flowers and seeing how they turn out.  Red is one of my favourite colours and so as it is the season of remembrance, albeit in 6 weeks, I thought to try my hand at a poppy first.

A great book for both knitters and crocheters is one of my favourites and one which I return to again and again for inspiration is Lesley Stanfield's 100 flowers to knit & crochet.  It was from here that I used the three patterns below, the poppy, the Michaelmas daisy and the rose.

A quick crochet flower, some glue and a basic jewellery
making ring and you have a unique custom made ring!
Once the flowers were made I used crafting glue, very similar to PVA which when wet is white, see above picture of the poppy, excuse the blurred picture and on drying dries clear.

This was made by crocheting four separate petals and then stitching
 together.  The centre was a larger version of a petal but then
gathered together to make the bulbous look


I think the rings rather quirky, a little bit of frivolous fun and am looking forward to wearing them and making more!

Have a happy October everyone!

Bunting and bits

September 25th 
Bunting can be used at any time of the year, not just summer!

 My crochet mojo has gone momentarily and the sewing bug has taken over for a while.  This week has seen me burning the midnight oil and making bunting and lots of it.  The British are excellent at putting up bunting for summer parties, just to make us feel jolly, picnics and some even when they are camping.  2012 saw nearly the whole country become bunting mad, especially with those depicting the national flag for the Queen's diamond jubilee and for the summer Olympics in London. A street party, and the British know how to throw those so well, is not a street party without bunting.

However, bunting does not need to come down now that the days are shorter and the temperature is dropping.  True, I have removed the bunting from the garden, but now is time to dress the house a bit and continue that summer feel indoors.

Cutting out all in one go was
the quickest option

I have made bunting this week for all sorts of occasions, some for a children's bedroom, some for the dining room, short lengths for hanging over the fireplace, I will be careful when I light the fire and some for the kitchen too.  Dare I mention the C word in September?  Look at the last pictures and you will see that I have made several in preparation for the festive season also! 

Bunting is fun to make, but boy is it time consuming.  I found the best thing to do was to cut out all my shapes first, then sew them right sides together, straight away, one after the other.  Then I had a
mammoth turn them all inside out and iron session before I could place them on the tape or bias binding depending on which I was using at the time.  It took a long time, but it was worth it!

I think bunting looks lovely and I may turn my hand to some elegant lacy ones for the dining room, hung up for grown up dinner parties...

Bunting for a child's room

Bunting does not have to be triangular, play with shapes, it's fun

Bunting and fairy light, a good combination

Miniature bunting on a short length,
perfect for dressing up an internal door...

...or perfect for dressing up a fire place
Funky shaped bunting made from retro men's shirts

 Look away now if it is too early for you to even consider the C word in September... these are all to be finished on the sewing machine, but I am almost there!

A short piece of bunting, ideal for chair, door
or fireplace dressing.  Where else would
you put the bunting?

Changing the colour of the bunting line
but keeping the fabric the same creates
a different look very easily.

Same bunting material, but different sizes
and different colour bunting lines

  What have you been up to this week?

Cushions again?!?

September 19th 

On Tuesday I drove over to my MIL to collect some of my FIL things.  It is always a difficult and raw time after you loose someone and touching their belongings too seems both right and wrong.  Mixed emotions.

On return home, I could not lift some of the items out of the car and so there they stayed until the children came home and helped me, but I did look through one bag on Wednesday morning and my whole day suddenly changed.  That which I had planned flew out of the window and nostalgia took over and the sewing machine had to come out.  What did I find?  My FILs old shirts...  I knew that they were coming into our house, but I did not realise the effect they would have on me.  I had a day full of memories and began to cut up the old shirts and make cushions for the grandchildren out of them.  Something to hold and snuggle, something of their grandfather.

As I was making five cushions out of six shirts I had to be a little creative in how I used the shirts, but think they turned out well.  The two that have received theirs certainly appreciated them and have pride of place on the sofa.  I still have three to finish, the fronts are made, but I am waiting on cushion inners and then I will make the backs up and hope to post them to their new homes next week...

Each letter had a template made up first

Trying to keep the stripes in line!

Good old zig zag on the machine

Attaching the 'J' was the hardest letter of them all

The pink and blue looked particularly good, I thought

The three cushions still to complete

Completed shirt cushion
I used an envelope style pattern, so no zips needed and
incorporated the breast pocket of the shirt too
 on the back side of the cushion

This shirt back was so soft and very tactile

The children loved their new cushions and
snuggled up with them immediately

Even the cat loves the cushions,
 they hold memories for us all
Memories are important and this little thing I did on Wednesday made me look back on happy days but also forward.  Life has to go on...

Hoping you all have a beautiful weekend