Wednesday, October 31, 2012

IF its WOYW WEDNESDAY178 ...what happened to tuesday???

Ok ...if one of you out there has my Tuesday ...please can I have it back.

I sat down to check emails and saw one with woyww on it ...suddenly I realized it was Wednesday and I hadn't posted. Not that I have done anything again but my knitting is growing ....slowly....managed a few evenings.
You may wonder what the cream ball is well ....its crafting cotton for knitting dishclothes.You may wonder why ...I would have a few months ago, but having read several US blogs ,..where the ladies are Homesteaders ... they sounded a great idea. After bending DIL ears, she picked a ball up for me yesterday.

 If you are a frugal person and love home made things and self sufficiency ...  pop by Moonberry Farm Homesteading Journal ...  and Mornings Minion ...I am sure they have 48hours in their days ....and the former has eight offspring that she home schools too.

Just thought I would add a Feline Fix again ...this is Smudge .....I nearly sat on him ...he was originally almost totally covered. ...notice it took him no time to fall asleep again.
Take Care xx

Friday, October 26, 2012

Weather???? a Feline Fix.

Today is one of those  days ...when you have no idea what to do with  the heating or the clothes you put on your back ....every season has been covered.
Over night it was about Zero degrees C 
The early  morning was chilly but bright with a glorious blue sky (Spring)
By late morning the cats were basking in the sun that was  streaming through the window.(Summer)
By early afternoon it became over cast and the sky took on a strange hue (Autumn)
By late afternoon we had snow ...not a lot ...more of a dusting ... but the boys were jumping up and down while it fell.(Winter)
Dear friends from other lands ....such is the weather in the UK ....and that is why it is a common topic of conversation here.

 Sid fell asleep in the sun ...while having a scratch on the post

 I snuck behind him for a closer look peaceful
 He awoke ...I dont think he was amused.
Take Care xx

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

WOYWW 177 ...I'm knitting again

Is it really Wednesday …. not really sure where the weekend, let alone the week went … but we did go to a small Family Fun Day in aid of ‘Maggies’, on Sunday ... but I forgot my camera.  Vicki and I did some baking to donate to the cake stall her sister was running …and we had a really good time, which I have to admit I was not expecting....usually not my thing.

Here I am making a  …..well …what am I making??? ….that is the question …but I expect most of you know…the answer is at the end in case there are a few who don’t.
  I still have not done much crafty tidying …in fact I seem to have managed to loose things I had already found when I did my tiny tidy a couple of weeks ago…. so … feeling really frustrated, I turned to my knitting and started a jumper ….just a simple one …the same as a blue one I made earlier in the year which is so comfy for every day….and so practical with its elbow length sleeves.
 I am not a fast knitter but I did this much in four evenings and I am very pleased.

 Thought I would now give you a Feline Fix again.

Wanda … I really must tell you her story one day.

 Smudge …just about fitting in to the basket that Ellie and Barnaby love.

 And China  ….giving him some loving
Must sign off before this gets too long…but before I go …what was I making? ….
Tassels …. for an other triangular scarf …made from Josart’s pattern …I just make mine a little chunkier … as it’s so cold up here in Bonny Scotland.

I didn’t get round to all that many on  week 175...only about 40 …then missed last week…  as ever, will try to do better.

Take Care xx

PS Maggie’s is the name of a group of Cancer Centres named after th lady who had the idea …they are there to help at any stage of the illness …the first opened 10 years ago, 6 months after her death, and Fife’s centre opened  in 2006.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

For Cat lovers everywhere …Our disgruntled Smudge.

One gets used to translating ‘Cat’ over the years ……

 ‘Let me in …how come you are in the warm …all snuggled up .’

‘ Get someone to open this window …NOW.’
 Take Care xx

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Best Fish and Chips

 Yesterday was the first sunny … and dry … day for ages …not that it was in any way warm …about 7degC (45 F ).On the spur of the moment, I decided to take the bus to Anstruther …so glad I did as its dreich (dreary) today... and wet.
 Anstruther is a  picturesque harbour village, the largest of those found along the East Neuk (ie. east corner of fife) …and still a working harbour unlike many of those along the coast  … and, as a bonus, it is a beautiful ride to get there too.
 Well it normally it is but the incessant  heavy rain we have had, has left soaking bails of hay sitting in water logged fields….so bad in places that it looks as though ponds have sprung up in the dips of  the  undulating land….and it made me feel sad for the farmers who are having a bad enough time any way. The sheep that scatter the hills do not seem bothered at all.
I decided that I needed a treat …a fish and chip lunch was in order.  You may wonder why this is a treat when there are so many Fish and Chip shops/bars around, well this fish and chip restaurant is well known in Scotland…and has had many awards over the years … visitors from abroad are often recommended to visit too.

 It doesn't look alot does it but even on this October  day …just later than’ Lunch Time‘ …I had to queue …about 12 in front of me and more behind. In the summer, locals stay away …I took friends once and the wait to ‘eat in’ was unbelievable but even the line to ‘take away’ an order seemed never ending…maybe 30 or so in front of us...often the queue winds down the street.
It has a wide range of battered and breaded fish,  fresh fish cakes and Scottish puddings, on its menu …the traditional Haddock is probably most peoples favourite but there is also a menu board with ‘Catches of the Day’ …where something a little different may turn up.

 All the fish is caught locally and the batter used is  a secret recipe. It is so light...almost caramel in colour …this crispy coat encases the perfectly cooked fish of your choice ….no ’stodgy’ batter  in sight here…and the chips are like the best of home made ones. The price includes a hot drink and a slice of bread and butter...and sauces of course …the meal is served in a shallow cardboard tray ….which seems to keep it hot and crisp longer than if it were on a china plate … and as you take in the first piping hot  mouthful you know it was worth the wait.

I need to return and visit the Fishing Museum and maybe tread the cobbled streets …capturing the beauty and history of the  buildings that edge them ….maybe on a warmer day but before the Summer when it is so crowded with tourists. …in the mean time here is the harbour and its surrounding buildings..

If you ever visit Fife you have to sample the beauty of this village and the taste of the fish in the glorious batter.
Take Care xx

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Photo Overload ...Kids and Cats ...proud Nana

There was a house full here on Thursday …so wonderful to hear them laughing  and playing …and arguing and screaming… and I have to admit my head hurt a little after a while …more a matter of not being able to hear myself think ….three is my brains saturation point I think.
Emma was definitely convinced that three is enough, when she sat with the six of them as they had their tea together…I really should have captured them after they devoured chocolate cup cakes …I think they enjoyed them!!.

 I dont see Ben, Jake and Olly every week, so  they seem to grow up so fast to me.  Please forgive me for being a camera mad Nana.




and OLLY x5 ....well he stood still for once and I grabbed the oportunity.
 I so miss them  when they have gone home ...but I make sure I get some good hugs ...they are not so keen on kisses.

We have bought a new cat house/sctratch post thingy
 Ellie was the first to venture on to it and chose one of the basket hoops
.... then Lucky, Mika and Smudge ....and Rusty who is annoyed that Willow(who you cant see) is inside the main house part.
 When Willow vacated it, Smudge took her place and Phoebie tried to stare me out. She is the smallest...not counting the kittens ... but so feisty.

I had to finish with one of Ollys cheesy grins he looks so like his brothers too.

 Thank you for indulging me
Take Care xx

Friday, October 12, 2012

Remembering Billie

Some times one finds some thing that causes wonderful memories to flood back and that is what happened to me a few days ago …. and prompted me to share them with you.

Auntie Billie was my late husbands aunt… her actual name was Winifred but no one ever called her that ... even  from when she was a tiny child. She succeeded in everything she attempted and made her mind up at an early age never to be married. This was maybe due to her father running off with a girl of at least 30 years his junior.
 She served in Italy during the war and I think she may have met… and lost … the love of her life there, as I found a photo of a soldier secreted in a book of poems.

She was very creative and when she retired from her career as a boarding school burser, she started a City and Guilds in needle work, which, needless to say, she passed with distinction. Her other main love was animals …especially cats …and she was a fantastic cook ...baking cakes for fundraising events …her chocolate fudge cake was renowned. Her Bread and Butter Pudding was to die for …how I wish I had asked for the recipe. …strange thing was that I had often begged for that wonderful chocolate cake recipe but she always managed to avoid giving it away.
I still remember her special sandwiches for parties in the ‘70s …including small salmon pinwheels and a cheese sandwich  gateaux. It always took centre stage …inside were crust less slices of white fresh bread, cut length ways, sandwiched together with a Gorgonzola, curd cheese and chopped walnuts mixture….the  whole delicious master piece encased in cream cheese and decorated in walnuts. She would then slice it into finger sized pieces that miraculously never fell apart.
She had a knack with a knife….Jesus may have fed  the five thousand but I remember Billie turning a small uncut loaf into a heaving platter of sandwiches by buttering and carving off the thinnest of slices, which I then managed to carefully fill … saving the day when I had forgotten to buy bread one Xmas, and had a house full waiting for turkey sandwiches.
She was independent and strong and never more so as when she was told she had  Pancreatic cancer. She refused treatment and medication and told no-one but her closest friend. The first we knew about it was a phone call saying she had been rushed to hospital that evening …she passed the following morning.
At her request it was Pete and I who were asked to clear her house and it was not an easy job. We found enough empty packets of over the counter pain killers to fill a black sack …we found amazing works of stitched art that she had created during her course …we kept the amazing seating and storage unit she had made from scratch in the late sixties and in fact it then lasted my daughter another 10 years.
 It was during the clear out that I found the soldiers photo but I also found the answer to the chocolate cake recipe …there wasn’t one.

 In one of her kitchen cupboards I found a catering bag of Chocolate sponge mix and another  of Fudge frosting ….who would ever have guessed her secret.

What was it that I found that triggered all this???...
 I came across a bag of Catering chocolate sponge mix in a shop ...and had to buy it..

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

WOYWW 175 ...Biting the bullet

 I love the Log Cabin design of knitted squares …I just have problems with knitting each one to the same tension. Each time I knit a couple they match …then I put them down  for a few weeks and when I take my needles  up again, the next couple of squares turn out smaller or bigger.?????
The result is that the cats will be having loads of little blankets until I solve the problem. …not sure a tension square will help sadly.
These were my largest pair .... Toto is wondering where his is. lol

 Now...( large intake of breath).... I really have to bite the bullet and show you my desk was a hard desion ...but I feel it is the only way that I am going to create again.
Those of a nevous disposition .... LOOK AWAY NOW.

I thought today that if I showed you my mess  it might make me feel so guilty and ashamed that I would do some sorting and tiding over the next week or so .... and then possibly .... some crafting would emerge in the future that was not knitting or cooking. 
This is actually after a tiny bit of organization …believe it or not …things that should not have been there in the first place have been removed.

BTW ...If anyone uses my recipes I want to say that my conversion might be wrong when it comes to cups and  flour …I went by what the charts say but when I checked it myself today I found it to be wrong …or maybe I had not packed the flour down properly….not very good with cups and spoons lol. I have made a note on my last post.

This is a short-ish one this week. …makes a change lol.

Thanks to all my friends that left comments last week …I so love reading them and knowing you dropped by.

Take Care xx

Thursday, October 04, 2012


Pre heat oven 180c/350f/mark4 gas
This is for a 5”x7” dish  or 7“ round deep pie dish or sponge tin…
(serves 3-5 depending on appetite lol)

NB ... POSSIBLE ERROR in cup conversion below....All the sites state that 8oz of floor = 1 cup
I go by weight  BUT I used a cup measure for some baking today and checked the weight...
It was nearer to only 6oz so I thought I had better warn you ...I did not pack it down in the cup though.
Might be worth checking if using any of my recipes .
Take ….
1 Bramley apple, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 eating  apple,  peeled and chopped finely

Toss in
3 tsp lemon  juice
I tsp cinnamon

Set aside

Cream together
2 oz marg/butter
3 oz castor sugar

1 egg
Beat well

Lastly fold in
4 oz SR flour,
 a little at a time and a
Splash of milk,
 to create a dropping consistency.
To Assemble
Grease the dish well and sprinkle sugar (brown or white) over the base.
Cover the base with the chopped apple mixture.
Drizzle Maple Syrup or Honey over the apples (amount to your taste)
Spoon the sponge mix evenly over the apples and smooth out with a fork
There should be just enough to cover the apple thinly.

Bake  for  about 30 mins … topping should be firm to the touch and golden brown

Useful Notes
Types of flour and methods of measuring vary from country to country. I have realized that you probably don’t have Self Raising flour  in the US so use All Purpose, with a little raising agent as though you were making a cake.
4oz is ½  cup 3oz is about 1/3cup …A US ½ stick of butter is 2oz  …hope that’s a help.

Double the  quantities above for a 8” square dish …for  a larger family …mine served 3 adults and 2 kids …I like it warm with custard but cream would be nice too. Best eaten when warm, on the day it is baked.

Use any apples but I like the mix of a cooker that breaks down and an eater that stays in shape. If you have pears then use them instead …good way to use autumnal fruit as I remember Mum making one with brambles picked in the woods instead of the eating apple but she always used Bramley cooking apples in it …maybe because we had a tree in the garden. They break down quickly creating an apple sauce texture so use any variety that softens well if Bramleys are not around.

Have fun …hope it works for you. xx

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

WOYWW Week 174 ….Sorry … still no craftyness I am afraid

I so want to craft …I keep seeing things I want to do …things that inspire …things that look fun … but nothing comes forth from my muddled brain.
I am trying not to look at the new things on the market as I really cant justify spending  but when I get back to crafting I think I will treat myself.
I have not even knitted since I had to rip back my last piece …but my hands are itching to start again which I feel is a good sign.

I am still getting over  the shock of loosing several of my ‘cat collection’ …I hasten to say NOT the real ones …but at their hands …or should I say paws.
 I had my cat shaped mugs teapots and jugs  on top of  one of the display cabinets …quite high up …sounds a stupid place with so many cats ….but nothing had ever happened even when Rusty once decided to roll amongst them and Mika sat in the middle of them, defying me as I shouted DOWN…but that should have been a warning.
There I was in the kitchen when the horrifying sound of breaking china reached my ears … I ran in to see two shocked and guilty kittens surrounded in a mountain of broken china ….but such is life with felines …  a great photo opportunity missed though …. too stressed to grab my camera.

This evening I made an Eves Pudding  for supper … something my Mum used to make when I was a child and her Mum for her …I tweaked it a little to make it my own … Robbie and Kris loved it….forgot to take a photo until we had eaten it ….this is all that was left ….it was yummy if I say so my self and even DD loved  it. I will add the recipe in a couple of days, in case anyone fancies trying it.

 I shall just finish with these photos …
Two little tired souls….

and another one of two sleepy heads…
Barnaby  with  Mika, who was standing in for Rusty as ‘uncle‘.
Hopefully my creativeness will be back soon ….I feel it is struggling to emerge but until its return, I do not want to miss out on the weekly gathering, and my visits to my wonderfully crafty friends.
I seem to manage about 75 of you each week...wish I could manage more visits.

Take Care xx