Saturday, 31 March 2012

Making the most of the weather

My daughter has been on a week's holiday from work, so I spent some of the days with her enjoying the unseasonally warm weather. 
On Wednesday we went to Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire and hired bikes for the day to explore some of the 3800 acres.  The bike hire shop had tandems too, but we tried one out and it was a bit scary, so we stuck to bikes.
I remembered it as being mostly flat the last time I went, but you soon notice even a slight gradient when you haven't ridden a bike for a while.  My daughter got way ahead of me going up the hills but then I caught her up again on the way down, because she doesn't like going downhill.

Clumber Park is a mixture of woodland and parkland  with some farming.  There's a lake with swans and ducks

They come up onto the grass in front of the Chapel and cafe and are very friendly

We had a really good day and the weather was brilliant.

On Thursday we went a lot further South and stayed over, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow when I've managed to go through the hundreds of photos we took!  

Saturday, 24 March 2012

and we have winners

As buttons were involved in my giveaway I tried to think of a way to randomly select the winners using buttons, and I came up with button Tiddlywinks.  Here is my egg cup that I used for the pot

I used the same button for everyone, and the idea was for each person to have a go and if the button didn't go in the pot, they were out.  However, I'd forgotten how rubbish I was at Tiddlywinks and I only got one button in out of 40!  I had to have another two rounds before I got the second one.

Without further ado, the two winners are

Lyn from everyday life

and Liz from Just hang on a minute

If you could email me your addresses, I'll get your prizes posted off.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Low fat chocolate brownie recipe, plus lambs

Some of you have asked for the recipe for the chocolate brownies that I pictured in the February scavenger hunt.  I got the recipe off the back of a packet of Tesco prunes

100g ready to eat prunes, chopped
6 tbsp apple juice
175g plain chocolate, roughly chopped
4 eggs, beaten
300g dark brown sugar
150g plain flour, sieved
50g mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/Gas Mark 4
Line a 23cm square tin with baking parchment
Put prunes and apple juice in a saucepan, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.  Stir well to make a puree.
Stir chocolate into prunes and set aside to melt.
Beat eggs and sugar together for 5 minutes or until foamy.  Fold in the prune mixture and flour.  
Spoon into tin.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the brownies are cooked through.
Scatter with marshmallows, and cook for 2 minutes.
Leave to cool.  Cut into 16 squares and serve.

Disclaimer  - When I was buying the prunes and noticed the recipe on the back, I bought a bar of chocolate to make the brownies.  It wasn't until I'd started making them that I read the quantity and realised that I'd only got 100g and was 75g short!  I added cocoa until the colour and taste seemed right, so if you make them they'll be slightly different (there wasn't a photo on the packet to go by either).

Here's a few lamb photos

This little one hadn't long been born and kept falling down

While his Mum was occupied in cleaning him up another bigger lamb that didn't belong to her, snook in for a cheeky feed!

There's still time to enter my giveaway.  It ends on 22nd March.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Good Fortune Giveaway

To spread my good fortune in getting such a bargain at the car boot sale, I'm having a giveaway!

I've used two of the zips to make a couple of lined zipped pouches

The greeny fabric is pretty plain so I've added some of the buttons as well.  It's the first time I've made a zipped pouch and I used this tutorial but I haven't quite mastered the turning out of the top corners yet!

There will be two prizes, each consisting of a pouch, these buttons
there's over two hundred and both lots will be the same as I've counted them out (have I told you that I love sorting buttons?)

and twelve zips all about 8 inches long
there's 24 in the photo so it will be a random selection of these colours.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post.   Perhaps if you mention what you might make with the buttons and zips, it will give me a bit of inspiration too.

The closing date for the giveaway will be 22nd March.

Oh, and as a thank you to my regular commenters just for letting me know that I'm not talking to myself, you will automatically have an extra entry.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Boxes of delight

I can hardly contain my excitement to show you what I got at the car boot sale this morning

When the lady said I could have the whole lot for £6, I jumped at the chance.  I'd only opened one small box and had a look in the carrier bag which was full of other little bags but I knew it was too good to miss.

This is what was in the first box

Twelve boxes of colour separated buttons!

The next box contained zips......
.....hundreds of zips!

In the carrier bag were lots of bags of buttons which I've emptied out and will be sorting through later into the boxes

There were also these bobbins and sewing machine feet.  They look pretty old judging by the labels

I'm off to do some sorting out now....

Thursday, 8 March 2012


It's funny how things come about isn't it?
When I was out yesterday I saw a small piece of shiny curled ribbon on the ground.  It was only a short piece but it caught my eye when the sun shone on it.  I immediately thought of crisp packets and how, if cut into strips they would probably have the ability to curl.
Later on at home I was making my husband's pack-up for work.  He likes to take a KitKat chunky so I buy multi packs of them.  I got the last one out of a nine pack which is silver inside like a crisp packet and has the added advantage of being bigger and doesn't need washing.
I cut a strip off to test, and when pulled against a scissor blade it did curl nicely.
Luck would have it that I sold a bag from my Folksy shop in the evening.  I usually wrap them in tissue paper and tie round with wool, but I though I would try out the KitKat wrapper instead.  I cut narrow strips and and used three together to tie round, which gave glimpses of both the silver and red sides.  I curled the ends and then tied a few more to the knot to fill it out more and this is what it looked like

I also tried making a gift bow from the rest of the wrapper using this tutorial.

My husband has been tidying up the shed today and found a bucket of forlornness.  It was full of things I must have intended to plant in the garden and then forgotten about.  Some plants that I had dug up and also a couple of pots of hyacinths from last year that I was going to plant out after they'd finished flowering.  One pot that was underneath the other was actually flowering, bless it.  I've given them a good watering (they must have been very thirsty after all this time!) and picked some moss from the ample supply in our lawn to decorate the tops of the pots.
I had some of what I'm calling plaffia (same as plarn but instead of knitting with it, you use it like raffia) left from the bracelet I covered in my last post, so I used it to wrap round the pot with the pink flower in it.  There was only enough to go so far up, so I finished it off with a white and green bag, which I also used for the other pot.

They're probably giving a great big sigh of relief now they're out of the bucket!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

What rubbish makes

After using the cans I found at the side of the road for my bag, I started thinking about what other empty receptacles you see discarded that I could make something out of. 
Plastic bottles, crisp packets and plastic carrier bags sprung to mind.  I didn't need to venture out for empty crisp packets as there's often one by the computer that my son's left, and I've got a drawer full of carrier bags; but I did find a plastic bottle at the side of the road.

First of all I used crisp packets to make this bracelet (I was going to put a link to the tutorial that I used but I can't for the life of me find it now)

Then from the plastic bottle I cut two strips to fit my wrist and put one inside the other for strength.  I found a bright pink Superdrug bag which I cut into a long strip and wrapped round and round like raffia.
I can put the crisp packet bracelet on top for a different look

I then made another bracelet out of the bottle, slightly wider.  I thought I would cover it in the same way, but with a crisp packet right side out so that just glimpses of the words and pictures showed.  That didn't work though because crisp packets aren't stretchy like plastic bags so it didn't lie flat.  I used another crisp packet inside out to cover it in one piece with the join on the outside and made another woven bracelet which I stuck on top.