Sorry I have just found this post in drafts from a couple of weeks ago – thought I had published it – oops senior moment!

Hello there, how are you all?

I have had a lovely weekend visiting Leeds Royal Armouries and going to the Imbolc Festival in Marsden so have been looking at lots of lovely shiny armour and watching fire juggling and fireworks.

It has been very cold and windy but we have had a lovely time nonetheless and kept warm by visiting some nice hostelries and sampling lovely ales and ciders on our way round.

Have got a few pictures for you, the Leeds Royal Armouries is free to visit and well worth it if you are into history.

As well as the medieval collection (which is very good) they also have Oriental armour, a tournament section with Tudor armour and hunting and gun displays.

Armouries

Armouries 2

Armouries 3

We also watched the sword fighting display and had to smile when the very nice young man taking part asked us if we wanted to feel the weight of the sword – we didn’t tell him what we do for a hobby :-)

Imbolc is a festival that celebrates the coming of Spring, there is a procession led by lanterns then fire juggling accompanied by drumming and it culminates in Jack Frost being chased away by the Green Man. Then there were lots of fireworks which I love.

Imbolc

Imbolc 2

Apologies as pics are not brilliant quality – there are some brilliant ones at this person Gary’s Flicker site

I am looking forward to the start of the re-enactment season now – all that armour and fire has made me long to camp in a field and sit round the fire of an evening with friends.

First show is in 3 months so not too long to wait. Better make a start on all that kit I have promised people for this season ;-)

Meanwhile I have a couple of bunnies to finish!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Hello again

The baking that is , the weather has been pretty bad, that lovely blend of freezing sideways rain that with wind Yorkshire does so well. So I used that as an excuse to do some baking and sewing (not that I really need an excuse but was considering a walk until the heavens opened).

I used a recipe from the BBC Food site for my gluten-free muffins, you can find it here and adapted it to a savoury mixture by adding leftover baked sweet potato and cheese.

I have found gluten-free needs more moisture and flavour as the flours (potato, rice and tapioca mainly) do not give much of these. I used the Doves Farm Gluten free self-raising blend.

Gluten free muffins 1

Gluten free muffins 2

Before they went into the oven they didn’t look very promising but came out nicely – a good crumb as Paul Hollywood (Great British Bake Off) would say and a nice colour. They could have done with a bit more flavour but ok with a bit of butter!

The loaf was an adaptation of the recipe on the back of the Doves Farm gluten-free bread flour, I added orange juice, cranberries and seeds , mainly sunflower and pumpkin my favourites :-).

Gluten free baking

Straight out of the oven it was very good, though the loaf weighs a lot and could prove a handy weapon if needed the warm slice was lovely. Later on when cold it was a bit dense and again could do with a bit more flavour but will be ok toasted.

I forgot to tell you yesterday about some very good books I have been reading, the Cobbled Court novels by Marie Bostwick.

They are a set of quilt themed novels (as in they are about a woman who owns a quilt shop) so quilting is mentioned and there are related free patterns on the author’s website. They are brilliant and I really enjoyed reading them and can’t wait to get the last couple I haven’t read, the one below will be released in April.

Marie Bostwick book

I have put myself on a strict monthly diet in terms of my Amazon books orders and have already had my quota for Jan. It doesn’t help being registered so all that lovely stuff is just a few clicks away :-)

I do try and buy secondhand and from the charity suppliers when I can so I don’t feel so guilty. And I do pass them on, Mum and her friends are really enjoying the Cobble Court ones I left in Spain.

Well back to making curtains now and I have a padded arming jack to start making this afternoon. Have a lovely rest of the weekend and thanks for visiting.

Hello and happy weekend!

I know we have one every week but still get stupidly excited about the prospect of the weekend, a whole two days just to do nice stuff.

I love getting up early on the weekends and just pottering around with the prospect of some knitting, stitching, a walk or some baking ahead of me!

I am planning some experimental baking this weekend as I am trying to be gluten free due to a few health problems so I have downloaded some nice looking recipes and will see what the results taste like.

I have some sad stitching news to report as for the first time ever one of my exchange pieces has gone astray :-( I have been doing exchanges for about 6 years and this is the first time a parcel has not got there.

I kept waiting and hoping but it was sent in Oct and has not arrived in the US. Possibly it got mixed up with some seasonal post and may turn up but in the meantime I am going to stitch another piece for the recipient.

Autumn Exchange

This is what it looked like, I can’t find the actual pattern at the moment to tell you the name of it but it was part of a freebie from this gorgeous Italian cross stitcher’s site – she is called La Comtesse & le point decroix and she has really pretty designs on the site.

Hope you are all having a lovely winter weekend and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

I know I may have said a few things recently about how I wasn’t going to buy any more yarn or fabric as I already have enough and the craft room really needs sorting out as I have run out of storage so there are bags everywhere.

BUT when you see really lovely yarn and it is very cheap (2 Euros a ball which is about £1.70) and it would knit up wonderfully and there is a beautiful grey for more cute bunnies and some pretty colours for dresses as well then you just have to don’t you?

So I did and here is my lovely new stash!

New bunny wool

It is a very silky yarn – it is a double-knit but quite thin so the new bunnies are going to be smaller but it knits up really nicely, there is a slight sheen to it and it is very easy to work with.

I have finally tried a bunny with striped tights, this is one for my sister-in-law for her birthday and she likes funky colours so I thought I would go brighter with this one.The picture below shows the body and ears.

Sully slippers

Oh and I got some fab new slippers while in Spain – I love Sully from Monsters Inc and they had these in the Primark in Elche, sadly only in children’s sizes but I managed to squeeze into a size 5.

New Sully slippers

Am back in the swing of things again after what seems like a very long break from work :-) Can’t believe it is nearly the end of Jan already.

Was thinking back to this time last year when we had lots of snow – so far we have just had a bit of wet and windy but the spring bulbs are starting come up in my garden so hopefully we are on our way to warmer weather (leaving the house in the mornings in daylight would be nice!)

Hope you are enjoying yourselves whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Cactus and Ivy

Hello everyone and a belated Happy New Year.

I know it is supposed to be holly and ivy but I liked the way the cactus was growing with this ivy in Spain.

I hope you have had a lovely festive season, I did with lots of nice pressies including this beautiful tablecloth from my Mum which we used for our Christmas lunch.

Xmas table

I amused (or bewildered!) Jake by having no less than 4 Christmas table cloths and runners out over the two days- he thinks I am a little mad but I do like things to be pretty!

I have had a wonderful 2 weeks away, knitting, cycling and enjoying a new spa that has opened – Mum, my Aunt Maureen and I went twice for lots of lovely bubbles :-)

We had a picnic and a bbq on the beach as well which is a first for me, lots of people do take bbqs down to the beach especially on Christmas Day – here was my glass of bubbly at our New Year picnic and Mum enjoying the sun.

New year on beach

 Spain New Year

It was lovely and warm as usual so had lots of chance for walks as well and taking pictures of pretty plants.

I really liked what these people had done in their ‘verde’ the public areas in between roads, isn’t this planting in the old tree roots nice?

Tree garden

We also visited a couple of our favourite local towns, Torrevieja for the 3 Kings parade and Elche for a bit of retail therapy and tapas and had a chance to see the large outdoor nativities called ‘belen’ that they have.

Torrevieja Belen

Torrevieja Belen 2

The Elche one was my favourite – the level of detail is amazing.

Elche Belen 1

Elche Belen 2

Elche Belen 3

Back to wonderful. wet Yorkshire this week and still lots and lots of bunny knitting!

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

Xmas Door wreath

Hello and Happy Christmas to you all. It is 7am on Christmas morning and I am taking advantage of having older children who will not be up for a couple of hours to have a quiet cup of tea and a little blogging time.

I have sorted out the stocking and the presents are under the tree, we have baked gingerbread and a Yule log and so we are all prepared – except I have still to finish knitting the final Xmas stocking which I plan to do today while watching some festive TV.

I have finished the bunnies though and have done one in a Christmas dress.

Xmas bunny

This one is for Ellie and I have called her Chloe as when I was expecting Jacob people kept asking Ellie if she wanted a brother or a sister.

She decided she wanted a sister when she was told she had a new baby brother she burst into tears and said she wanted a sister called Chloe :-)

She got over her disappointment though and she loves having a little brother (albeit a 6 foot 2 inch brother is hardly little) now.

This is our first Christmas here in the new house and so far we have had a lovely time, Ellie and I went to the Christingle service at the local church last night which was lovely, then for a meal in the local pub (rare for me to be in there without my knitting as it is our group’s venue).

They are staying here for New Year but I am off to Spain so will be back in a couple of weeks, term finished late this year so I have taken advantage of the fact that we do not start back until mid January and am on leave for 2 weeks which will give me plenty of time for sitting on the terrace knitting.

I have already chosen next year’s stitched Xmas ornaments after seeing the same design on a couple of blogs so will be making a start on those – nothing like being well prepared! And of course there are always more bunnies to knit :-)

Hope that you have a lovely festive season, take care and see you all in 2014 – thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

You would think that someone who makes Christmas ornaments nearly all year round and started knitting gifts months ago would be finished well in time for the last posting dates wouldn’t you?

You would not imagine a weekend of frantic finishing and a sudden realisation that one of the bunny gifts does not have any legs at the moment :-(

Only realised yesterday as well that the bag that was going to be given with one of the bunny gifts was still unfinished – oops.

However I am doing well despite the lateness and have the gifts that need to be posted ready to go and will be doing more finishing this week including the legs – was sure I had a whole bag of completed bits but one bunny has had too much Xmas cheer and is legless ha ha :-)

The finished bunny I have named Lucy though she is going to my cousin’s daughter who will name her, hope she likes her as much as the other cousin’s daughter did with the first bunny I made.

I made the bag in the summer – it is made from recycled jeans and a pillow case and it was the colour scheme of the pillow case that inspired Lucy’s 3 dresses.

Lucy Bunny's bag

Lucy Bunny and bag

Lucy Bunny dress 2

Lucy Bunny dress 3

I love the way she has wonky ears, all the bunnies turn out with such different faces. Lucy looks quite serious don’t you think?

Lucy Bunny head

Have also made up all the stitched ornaments into little hanging pillows.These are all JBW Designs from Sew and Sew.

Xmas ornies finished

I have little to excuse myself for this tardiness except the fact that I have been very busy at work and possibly have tried once again to make too much in too short a space of time ;-)

I think when I sort out the craft room in Jan I shall have a noticeboard and will write a list of projects and timescales so I can keep track, especially as I have so much medieval kit to stitch for next season.

Planning not helped by the fact that I have just subscribed to a new magazine called Love Patchwork and Quilting which has given me so many new ideas for things that I want to make.

Love Patchwork magazine

What about this little bird ornament – can you imagine some of those in Christmas fabric?

Love patchwork mag

They have a first 3 issues for £5 deal on their website at the moment and it is a very lovely magazine with links to lots of other lovely blogs.

I have been looking at the work of Amy Smart whose Diary of a Quilter blog is full of lovely, lovely things. So many ideas and so little time!

Anyway back to my finishing now – only 9 days to go till Christmas eek! Thankfully the food shopping is nearly all done so I can concentrate on crafting!

Hope you all have a good lead up to the festive season and thanks for visiting.

Hello there

Sorry that I did not get around to posting this yesterday but got distracted finishing ornaments and forgot!

The winner of my Christmas ornaments giveaway is Rachel – sorry but I can’t link to your blog at the moment. Could you e-mail me at alisonmryan@yahoo.co.uk with your postal address and I will send your ornaments.

Thanks for visiting – ornament finishes update coming soon!

Xmas tree 2013

Hello everyone

I now declare the Christmas season well and truly open.The turkey is in the freezer (along with the gammon and beef) the tree is up, most of the cards have been written and I am just frantically finishing off the ornies and gifts to send to family and friends.

You would think that since I make Christmas ornaments nearly all year round there would be no last-minute finishing but despite having done all the stitching and knitting I haven’t quite got around to putting them all together and as they need to go in the post by the end of the week I need to get cracking!

I did quite a bit yesterday while I was doing my stall at the lovely Oakwell Hall Christmas Craft Fair.That is another thing that always makes me feel very Christmassy as I sat and listened to Christmas songs all day and chatted to people about my ornaments.

Xmas craft fair Oakwell

Xmas craft fair Oakwell 2

Xmas craft fair Oakwell 3

I love doing this event ( did not make it last year due to being in China for most of Oct). I did sell lots of things which was great but even nicer were the lovely comments people made and it is very nice to know that my work will be hanging on other people’s trees this year.

There was one very cute little boy who had come to the fair with his grandparents just to buy a nice bauble and he choose one of my favourites from this year’s new stock.

He looked so pleased, bless him, and a little bit later they came back to buy two more ornaments for their other grandchildren so that they wouldn’t be left out!

I also bought this very lovely pine cone from one of the other stalls, it is similar to the ones I make but is made from fabric and very neatly done with little sequins with the pins at the top.

Xmas material cone

There were also these Tudor musicians entertaining us with a variety of instruments, very lovely and made me nostalgic for being in kit!

Xmas Oakwell Hall Craft fair musicians

I have been busy sorting out the menu as well, we are at home all Christmas this year in the lovely new house – a rarity for me as we often go away but we don’t see much of each other now with Ellie at Hardwick and Jake at Uni so we are looking forward to some good food and a catch up. The children are always very appreciative of my home cooking now that they have to cater for themselves :-)

I have been experimenting with bread recipes from my new Paul Hollywood book, here is a rye bread I made with a parmesan and poppy-seed topping – yum yum.

Rye bread

Have lots of other lovely stuff planned to cook, especially on Boxing Day when my brother and sister-in-law come round as they really enjoy cooking and will appreciate my efforts as well.

I have a busy week ahead with 2 Christmas dos, the knitting group when we have a crafty Secret Santa and all come home with a new ornament and a work do with a 50s theme.

Hope you are enjoying the run up to the festive season – don’t forget to comment on my giveaway post as I will be choosing the winner on Friday so that I can get the ornaments in the post in time.

Thanks as always for visiting.

Hello everyone

Hope you are all well and happy. I have been having a very lovely quiet weekend making ornaments for my upcoming craft fair next Sunday and decorating my house.

The tree is up, the baubles are out and all is looking pretty :-) It is a little bit earlier than I normally do it but I am so busy this week and next weekend with various Christmas related things that I thought I would indulge myself (since the kids aren’t here to tell me I am mad lol).

I have taken some pictures of the latest makes – apologies as my camera has run out of batteries and so these are taken on my phone and in not very good light.

The first one is more of the ribbon pine cones that are so pretty and the second picture is of two ribbon tress that I made using the same technique.

Xmas cone ornies

Xmas tree ornies

I have had the polystyrene cones for these for a couple of years but only just got around to making them and they are just for me! I had a lovely day yesterday watching the Doctor Who 50th anniversary programmes while doing these.

Both designs are from Sue Schofield of Springwood House Designs, and are from the book ‘Fun with Ribbons’.

Books and kits and the polystyrene shapes are available from her website as well as oodles of lovely ribbons so go treat yourself and make something nice just for you. It is really easy, no sewing just pinning!

It is also my 6th blogaversary tomorrow so to celebrate I am giving away three of my hand-made Xmas ornaments to one of you lovely people.

Thank you for all your support and appreciation for this blog, it is really nice to know so many people enjoy what I do.

All you have to do is comment on this post – I will pick the winner on Friday 13th December (which will be lucky for someone!)

I will return next week, hopefully after a very successful craft fair, really looking forward to it. I am at Oakwell Hall in West Yorkshire if any of you are in the area.

Thanks for visiting.

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