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      Sunlit days and sunlight hours

      29th March 

      I am still buried under my pile of clothes from sorting out the wardrobes and beginning the spring clean.  I am a slow worker and its hard to type from under a pile of clothes, but I'm trying so bare with me.

      Today is the last of Karen's Sunlit Sundays posts and I have enormously enjoyed being a part of this group.  Why is today the last post, because we have all survived the winter and for many spring has truly sprung and for others glimmer of hope is beginning to shine thorough.  What a winter it has been.  For me the best part about the thinking about Sunlit Sundays is how it makes you stop and ponder and appreciate the world around us, even when we are dropped in the darkness and dampness of winter.  Thank you to all those bloggers out in the interweb world for carrying me along this past winter.

      Todays sunlit post is reminiscing about the winter and the hope that I found within and thank yous to everyone who has commented, peaked in to my world and shared my moments.  I love your comments and love the positivity that comes with blogging.  We know life is not all roses and we all have demons to fight but blog hops such as this eases those difficult moments in life, so THANK YOU

      Despite deep winter, for the UK,
      we noticed the beauty around us

      To keep warm, I looked back at sunnier times

      It becomes cold and damp in the UK in the winter,
       but we do have stunningly glorious frosty days

      Log fires were a constant in our house to
      try to eradicate the dampness

      Eventually the frosts became less harsh
      and the flowers began to pop through

      We often have dramatic sky lines, so have remembered
      to look up during those winter months when all
      you want to do is bunk down

      Sunrises become a thing of beauty again

      Snowdrops cheered me up no end,
      despite still being cold, hope was beginning

      The sun started to come out to play, although
      not gloriously warm, just seeing her lifted the spirits

      Week end breaks and walking became a
      possibility again, although a good fire was needed
      on return to warm us from the brisk cold air

      The UK is stunning

      My daughter travelled to Kenya for voluntary work,
      we have much to be thankful

      Food always becomes a big
      focus for me in cold months
      The odd days gave us clear blue skies and the promise
      of a warm summer, but in typical fashion these are few
      and far between at this time of year

      Weekly cake baking has seen me
      through the winter

      And crochet classes have given Thursday evening a new happiness

      Sunlight streaming thorough
      on one of my crochet ladies work

      Yes, I can feel the beginning of warmth in the air and longer day light hours, bliss.
      Joining in for the last time this season with Karen On Sunlit Sundays  thank you so much for hosting and thank you ALL who take such time to comment, it means oh so much

Voted best cake

27th March 

Crazy busy in life but wonderfully happy, I seem to be on a rollercoaster dashing from one thing to another mostly enjoying myself but at other times totally befuddled and unsure of what I am about.  This week however has been a crystal clear week with many many positives.  Grab a coffee and spend a little time with me...


Woke up full of energy and to a glorious spring morning.  Took one look at the fence panels in the garden and realised they needed some TLC, an unexpected four to five hours later and I had painted the fences back to green.  Very satisfied.  Just look at the colour springing up around, happy days.
Newly painted fences

Spring has sprung

Painted fences make a good backdrop


Various crochet edges for class
Remembering that I was only two days away from teaching crochet edges, I began to set to in earnest with making up some samples.  I love a good excuse to make the world stop around me and crochet away.  Along with the edges I had to put my attention to Eric.  Who is Eric, you may well ask, he is my first crocheted commissioned piece and he is coming along VERY slowly as I am having to make the pattern and design him as I go along.  I am not a natural designer and this is a painful process for me, but I think he is beginning to shape up...

The best thing of all about Tuesday was that I finally managed to make it to an evening knitting group that takes place in a pub!  What fun, being surrounded by like minded people in an English pub.  We took over the corner and out came all our yarn in various colours and in various states of progress.  Bare with me here and let me explain the hour before arrival at said knitting pub.  Note the word knitting... I am still knitting my Arne and Carlos baubles and enjoying them, so felt that as I can now knit them almost with my eyes shut that this would be a good thing to take along,  I could knit and natter and hopefully do both coherently.  PROBLEM, two of my dpn were missing, I searched everywhere for them and realised time was running out, shouting at the family to help me look, (they can never find their own things so why I thought they might be able to help me, is still a mystery,) but I was flying around the house to no avail.  So, no knitting for knitting club meant that I had to resort to crochet.  Didn't want to take
Tapestry crochet is reversible
Eric or the edges as they required thinking, my other projects are too large to cart into a pub, I would have been refused entry, so thinking cap on, decided to take my harlequin cotton washcloth, genius.  Could do that and natter no problem.  Its been a while since I tapestry crocheted but it's like riding a bike right?  Pulled it out of its bag and remembered why I had not touched it for so long.  I had been lazy and was crocheting from skeins and had not caked the yarn.  Feeling I couldn't take all the skeins needed for this multi-coloured washcloth I decided I needed to cake them and fast.  Have you ever tried caking yarn in a hurry?  Well don't.  I ended up with knots every where and a tangles of multi-coloured mess.  I flew out of the house almost like a witch on a broomstick, dishelleved almost in a menopausal hot flush, screeching goodnight to the kids forgetting to kiss them good bye and off I flew...leaving the kitchen in a yarn bombed not in a good way mess.  And would you believe it, this night my first at the knitters meeting, not one knitter was knitting!  It was crochet heaven, he he he.

The beginnings of Eric


Work took over most of the day but it was highly successful and I felt I made some headway, always a good thing.  I came home to find my daughter in bed, asleep recovering from her operation being kept company by her cat.  Wherever Ella is, Pip is not far behind. My heart melted.  Precious moments. 
Love is...having your cat with you when you are ill


Today the crochet ladies voted this Simnel cake the best of all the weeks... Its a fruit cake but really moist and inside there is a very thin layer of marzipan and a thin layer on the top too, with 11 marzipan balls representing the disciples.  11 as Judas was not to be included. To see a full and really interesting history of simnel cake just follow the link  here

Really moist fruit cake

Simnel cake in the sun

Easter cake with crocheted Easter bunnies

I used this recipe but adapted it. here Instead of soaking the fruit for 2 nights, I did not leave enough time for this I soaked my fruit overnight.  Again, I did not have the liquid required and used mango juice instead.  I also ensure that my marzipan layers are thin, so that actually those that do not like marzipan have been converted and will eat my simnel cake!  In my oven the cake only takes 1 hour and 50 minutes.


I have woken up to another glorious spring day here in the South of the UK and the world is my oyster and I have decided to spring clean my wardrobe.  If you do not hear from me for a while I am buried under the mess but will resurface perhaps sometime after Easter.  Have a wonderful break and hope the sun is shining for you wherever you are.

I am joining in with  Amy  and sharing my five days of the week with you with her
Five on Friday post.
  Have a great Easter 

Spring has Sprung!

22nd March

It's been an incredible week here in the South of the UK.  We were treated to a very rare occurrence, a partial eclipse of the sun, about 95 percent.  Of course we were covered in cloud and unlike the north of our country who were able to see the moon move from right to left across the sun, we managed a parting of the clouds towards the end of the moons covering of the ball of fire.  Not as impressive as the total eclipse we witnessed here in 1999, where I travelled to the south west nine months pregnant, what a sight and memorable day that was.  But this was a special day none the less, and at the school where I was that day, all the children were allowed out to see if they could see anything between the clouds.  Those who were patient enough were rewarded.  Unlike the physics teacher who decided they would see nothing and returned to the class room, I do believe he nearly cried when he realised he had missed it and others saw it.

However, an hour or so after the event, the clouds miraculously disappeared and we have had the most glorious of blue skies ever since, Spring has Sprung.  A walk around  my village and in the garden today bears witness to that, come along with me and see...

By the village hall

Old and blue

Blossom in full bloom

My front garden

Fantastic shadows created by the sun

Spring flowers cropping up everywhere

An abundance of hope for the coming year

Smiling daffodils

Sumach tree striking against the blue sky

Rhubarb is growing!

I've potted up my shoe

...and the potatoes I planted two weeks ago in a potatoe bag have peaked through, can almost taste those new potatoes already...

This weeks partial eclipse...

Joining in with Karen on the penultimate week of  Sunlit Sunday
  Hope Spring is springing with you

Crochet edging and a mug cake

18th March  

Yesterday I posted about upcycling a tee shirt, see here and I asked for some help.  I have heeded advice given and have moved forward in my edging.  The house and anything that stays still for long enough could actually become crochet edged...

It all began here at the beginning of the week

Determined to keep the blanket stitch small this time

Blocking was essential to this type of edging

I feel all homely looking at this, almost vintage retro!

I could be hooked on edging, watch this space...
Although I did not follow a pattern completely, I was totally influenced in this edging from this link here  Thank you to Val for drawing this post to my attention.

I often like to have a piece of cake with crocheting and as I was alone in the house felt making a whole cake a little extravagant.   I hit upon a mug cake.  Vanilla to be exact.

Make sure the mixture is not lumpy
Moist not Spongy Vanilla Mug Cake 

You will need:

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. plain flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract OR 1 tbsp. if not using vanilla paste
2 tbsp. butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients together.

Mix milk and vanilla.

Add milk mixture to dry ingredients  and whisk making sure there are no lumps.  Add melted butter and whisk it all in.

Pour into a 16 ox microwavable mug

Microwave on high for 130 seconds, my microwave is 950 watt, so you may need to adjust your timings for your wattage.

Eat and enjoy!

It tasted great but I was surprised at how it deflated on cooling

It really was moist, but I couldn't eat it all despite my best efforts

♥  Enjoy  ♥

T shirt upcycle

16th March 

Mamma keeps clothes at my house so she doesn't have to cart her belongings back and forth to Norway.  When last here, she sorted through her clothes and chose to charity some and bin others.  It was left to me to dispose of said garments in an orderly fashion, but they were out of sight and out of mind, literally.  Until that was, yesterday. 

Amongst her items was a very serviceable t shirt in the charity pile, when suddenly I had a light bulb moment.  My next crochet class I have asked everyone to bring in small towels as we are going to learn how to crochet edges.  Looking sideways at the t shirt, I decided to have a pre teaching practise.  It didn't hurt either that it's Monday and I had nothing in mind for the Make It Sewcial make, click on the link if you are clueless to what I am alluding: Make It Sewcial   Below are my results.  Not sure yet that I would wear this out, might do for a spot of gardening, but it has started my creative juices flowing, what about you, any suggestions as how to improve, expand on this...

Using pen marking on my index finger to
make spacing of the blanket stitch even

Completed blanket stitch

Adding slip stitch around the whole armhole
after the blanket stitch

Beginnings of the scallop edge

Ta-dah! or is it?

Close up of the finished sleeve
I am thinking the blanket stitches are too long and makes it too much of the home crafted feel.  I do not want to throw myself back to the 1970's (nothing wrong with that era, don't get me wrong or write in in your hoards that I shouldn't be slamming such a glam rock age, but I remember the hippy fashion only too well...)  I am sure this could be developed further and be rather fun, just need to figure out how, that is where it would be great if you could all help me please.

♥  Here's to a great creative week  ♥