Little Box of Crochet

I know it has been ages since I updated my blog, I think summer got in the way, I was busy in the garden & with family stuff, also my iPad gets ‘borrowed’ by other family members so I don’t get much chance to use it..

I’m up & about at 5.00 am today as it’s Friday & bin day, this means Tilly has been barking since she heard the lorry about half an hour ago, she has done this every bin day for 4 years! Wish we were on a different rota……  

Here she is looking like butter wouldn’t melt!

Anyway today I wanted to share something special. About a year ago I discovered a lovely subscription crochet box. I have seen other subscription boxes – my sister subscribed to beauty boxes- & there are ‘yarn clubs’ for beautiful limited edition yarns, but I had never come across a crochet one.

Then up popped these Cute mushrooms in my instagram feed! I was smitten & headed over to www.littleboxofcrochet to find out more. 

Amanda’s story really touched me & as a mum myself I was in total awe of her & her daughter Jenny’s strength & determination to build a business around their hobby at such a difficult time. I immediately signed up!

Sadly by the time I discovered LBC the subscriptions had closed & I had to go on a waiting list, but I did that & now I receive a little box of gorgeousness each month!

Here is my first LBC make



Each box is so pretty & beautifully packed with everything you need to make a small project, exclusively designed for LBC & some extras too including cute stitch markers.

Amanda has been so successful that the business is now moving to bigger premises & she can open up even more subscription places so head over to www.littleboxofcrochet to sign up! February’s Box has been designed by the lovely Lucy from Attic24  so is bound to be cute & 

Sadly Amanda’s daughter Jenny’s condition has worsened & she now only has a few weeks to live but Amanda is still totally involved in her business & Jenny wants her to carry on with their plans & dreams, they have built a large community of instagram followers & supporters since launching LBC,  you can follow there journey here @ Little Box of Crochet Instagram

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Whistle stop visit to Normandy

We were invited to a family friends 80th Birthday in Normandy so planned a few extra days to visit some of the beautiful places here. 

The party was in Le Bec Helloin – a small village famous for its Benedictine Abbey – & so pretty. 


Their cakes are good too!


We then went to Caen before staying in the countryside near Vire. 


Our friend’s gite- perfect!

We then visited the beautiful medieval town of Bayeux, which miraculously came through the allied bombardment before DDay in 1944 unscathed – amazing when you see photos of the damage to the surrounding area at that time. 


We visited Arromanches – one of the DDay landing beaches – there are so many places, museums & cemeteries relating to DDay that you could do a whole dedicated to this. 

We then spent a day visiting Mont St Michel. A totally awe -inspiring place. It should be on everyone’s bucket list!


We couldn’t wait for the tide to come in as high tide was quite late,  but we will go back again. 

We ended our trip in Rouen – another medieval town- the place where Joanof Arc was killed ( it was English at that time). 


A very quick trip but leaving us with lots more on a list for another visit!!

Learning to Knit Socks

I seem to have been busy with gardening & family stuff but have found time to learn to knit socks!

Thanks to Lucy at Attic24 for introducing me (via her blog) to the basic sock pattern and the sock along from  the amazing Christine at Winwick Mum. Here are some pics of my first ever socks. I used Drops Fabel self-striping sock yarn which magically produces a lovely fair isle pattern as you knit.

   
   
  

  These were a bit too big for me in the end so I had another go. It’s fiddly but Christine’s pattern is ok once you understand how it works. My advice to newbies would be to make a smaller pair with a short rib just to practice all the elements. I would also suggest using lifelines (esp if you are a hooker) so that if (when) you have to frog it is easier to pick up your stitches. The sockalong Facebook group is full of helpful people who will help & won’t judge you even if you are making a total hash of your early socks!


My second pair – also in Drops Fabel sock yarn- fit better & were finished in time for a few days of hot weather! It’s cold again now so I can wear them!

Cooking for my  family’s ‘special needs’

As I write this Easter Monday storm Katy is raging outside bringing wind rain & even snow!

We have a large extended family & at all major holidays & birthdays we always have a big family dinner with myself & my sister in law sharing the cooking duties. We have always had to consider food intolerances as my brother in law suffers from cheese & chocolate induced migraines,  recently my husband has been diagnosed with gluten & dairy intolerance & one of our boys has become vegan!

 For Easter Sunday I was on dessert duty & As you can imagine thinking of desserts that cover all needs has been tricky, gluten free flour is ok but I find it too dry so often use flourless cake recipes – a favourite being the whole orange & almond cake see Here – there are lots of variations, it’s very simple to make & is gluten & dairy free. Another favourite is Nigella’s Lemon polenta cake also gluten & dairy free.

Finding vegan desserts is a little more difficult – fruit salad being the obvious choice but a little boring. Yesterday I tried something amazing, vegan meringues made from the waste liquid in a can of chick peas!

OMG it actually works – whisked, it has enough protein & starch to become a direct replacement for egg whites. It is a total revelation & I can’t wait to try making mousses & cakes without eggs!

  
My first attempt – a little flat – I probably should have added the sugar more slowly but I will be experimenting with this a bit more to make the perfect vegan pavlova. I also made a lovely vegan lemon cream/curd using coconut cream to go with these meringues – both recipes from Vegan Lass – hers look much better than mine! No one could believe they were made without eggs.

We make homemade hummus all the time so chickpea water is in abundance here- lots of experimentation to come:)

I need to continue to add more vegan dessert recipes into my repertoire so that I don’t make ‘special’ desserts just yummy ones that everyone wants to eat!

Garden Revamp #5 (potager)

The garden is starting to spring to life & I need to get on with the last corner in the new revamped garden – the veg plot. I have decided to try to make a little potager garden- a mix of fruit veg & flowers, all grown together to look pretty & act as companions to reduce pests by confusion /distraction. In France this is a common style of productive but pretty gardening,  my plot is quite tiny, approx 2m square, I will try not to get too carried away……

   

 
 
At the end of the summer I covered the area in cardboard & then emptied emptied the compost bin on top & then covered with well rotted manure. We found an old carpet & more cardboard to cover over winter & to encourage the worms to do their work, so now it should be ready for some planting. 

My plan is to have a permanent structure of columnar fruit trees / standard bushes & then grow some beans, sweet peas, squash etc up obelisks & edible salad & flowersin the space around.

The trees are ordered & should arrive soon but I need to purchase or make some type of obelisk & decide on some veg varieties. 

This is the picture in my head – watch this space……………

  

This is the tiny potager in a beautiful Berkshire garden – see here for more stunning images from this garden.

Alternative Baby Blanket

imageIn my last post I showed you my Gaudi inspired project that was going to be a blanket for a friend’s new  baby girl due next month.

I liked the wavy ripple pattern & colours so much that I have decided to keep it & make it into a wrap for myself & so I needed to find another newborn gift.

It took a while but finally decided on a soft chunky blanket that will double as a play mat (I needed something  quick to make too)!

I chose Bernat Baby Blanket yarn which is super chunky, lovely & squishyly soft & lightweight. It’s machine washable & dries quickly too, so very practical.  

   
 I decided on a modern colour palette & simple stripe pattern using dc throughout. I used a size 10 crochet hook & a foundation chain of 60 stitches. The 2 main Colours were cream & sand with a pink multi yarn for the stripe. I did 3 rows each in the 2 main colours separated by 1 row of the multi yarn. I used 2 big balls of the main colours & carried on with the pattern  til they ran out & then made an edging with the pink – one row dc then another (dc,ch1) all around – gives a sort of gentle frilly edge. It’s big enough to be used as a pram blanket or a comfy floor mat.

    

I had enough leftover yarn to make a little cocoon/ bowl

  
 Hope they like it:) 

New Year New Projects

I’m home alone for a few weeks as all my boys are away – one in Australia, one touring with a band & one back at Uni so its just me & the pooch mostly. This means lots of crochet time:)

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Since visiting Barcelona in November I have had in mind to make something inspired by the amazing Casa Batllo – Gaudi’s House of Bones.

The colours & shapes used throughout this building are just beautiful, no straight lines were used in this building design -if you get a chance to visit it is worth the queing!

I particularly like the front with its wavy lines & mottled colours. It also has beautiful stained glass windows – circles of different colours – only just visible in this picture.IMG_7411

I already had some leftover yarn in my stash with similar colours but I couldn’t decide what to make or how to give the feel of Gaudi’s work.

I decided on a baby blanket using up my Drops Baby Alpaca Silk yarn leftover from my squircles blanket, using a wavy stripe pattern, I chose this Lazy Wave pattern available on the lovely blog lookatwhatimade.net. Its a very easy pattern & has a lovely rhythm to it.

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Lazy waves pattern

I think the colours work very well together & I will do some kind of border incorporating some Gaudi circles I think.

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It’s growing nicely & the more I work on it the more I think I might keep it for myself & make it into a wrap, which means I need to find some more yarn & time to make the baby blanket gift I originally intended!