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Monday, 13 October 2014

Crochet Baby Blanket

Baby Bell's Blankie

 A dear friend from work recently gave birth to her first baby -
a gorgeous little boy, called Harrison.
He is an adorable little chap, and I really wanted to give him something very special,
to keep him snug and warm,
and also that he could keep as a childhood keepsake
(or perhaps more for Mummy to keep).

I thought of all the bits and bobs I still have from my own childhood,
 and in deed the things I have kept from my own two little ones.
The thing that instantly sprang to mind was a blanket  to keep Harrison warm,
but that I could make myself and mean it was
handmade with love,
 for someone special.

I flicked through all of my crochet books
(which I must admit there were a few more than I realised)
 for some inspiration,
and came across a simple but lovely pattern by
The block is called Square Target.

The yarn I chose was Peter Pan Sweetheart double knit and was very easy to work with.
The colours worked really well together
(more by luck than experience).
I used pale blue, dark blue, dove grey and white for contrast.

This wool has now been discontinued,
which is a real shame,
because it really did feel so soft when the blanket was completed.

I am still getting the hang of putting colours together,
but my colour palate is broadening with each project I make.
Playing with colour can be so much fun.

The size worked out just right for a pram blanket.
I worked with 8 squares x 6 squares.

The border was worked using a row of simple treble stitches in white and alternate rows of a chain of five single stitches in each of the colours.
I found the tutorial from Lucy at Attic 24 very helpful with this.

The final edging was from a website I stumbled across and I must confess I cannot remember the name of it,
but it was very easy to work,
 and effective with softening the edge of the blanket
and giving a delicate fluted effect.
The finished item was carefully wrapped,
with little Miffy for company,
and given to my friend at her baby shower.
Now the autumnal weather has settled in I hope little Harrison is cosy and warm with his blankie,
and Miffy is enjoying lots of cuddles too.

Unitl next time, enjoy your day.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Rhubarb and Orange Jam

Time for a Summer Treat

June is here, and although the weather is somewhat 'mixed' at the moment,
my thoughts have turned to all the lovely Summer produce that is coming into season.
Rhubarb is in abundance in the shops at the moment.

The lovely Cynthia was also very kind to me this year,
and gave me a huge bag of these delicious beauties.

It's beautiful soft pink stalks beg to be used for something, 
but what I ask myself?

My first thoughts were of good old fashioned crumble,
 a batch of which are safely tucked away in the freezer,
but I still had a heap of the stuff left over.

So I decided to experiment a little and came up with this very simple recipe.

It really does not take a great deal of effort but the rewards are delicious.
It is best stored in the fridge and will keep for up to six months.

You will need :

1 kg fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch pieces
400 g caster sugar
2 tbsp grated orange zest
100 ml orange juice
105 ml water

1. In a large saucepan 
( I am lucky enough to have a jam pan for this but if you do no have one, a large pan will do), 
combine the rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, orange juice and water.
Bring to the boil, then cook over a medium to low heat for around about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until thick.

It should thicken a little more as it cools.
After you bring the jam to the boil, 
begin testing for the setting point.

To do this place a small amount of the jam on a cold plate.
If it wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it is ready to be put into the jars.

2. Ladle into hot, sterile jars and seal with lids.

3. Allow to cool and decorate the jars as you wish. 
That is the fun bit, 
and store in the fridge.

This is a lovely, sweet tasting jam.
I have given a few jars of it away as gifts and received some very kind compliments.

Until next time, enjoy your day.