Thursday, 31 January 2013

What A Week!

Trying to keep to my resolution of only working on one project at a time this year, I've been working very hard on the toddler blanket that I want to finish. And with the broadband being out of order for nearly two weeks, I've been putting in more hours than I normally would.  But unfortunately being more of a knitter than a crocheter, this put quite a bit of strain on me an by Sunday night I could no longer move my arm.  I had managed to trap a nerve in my shoulder !!  what a wally am I??

So now that I can't knit or crochet for a while, what will I do next, I ask myself (not so politely I must be honest).  Perfect opportunity to get started on my sewing.  Thankfully the fabric for the gigantic curtains has yet to arrive and I can potter on at the smaller things that need doing.  I chose a beautiful selection of fabrics from my stash to make some cushion covers.   I cut out what shapes and patterns that I needed together with any trims that I had.  All ironed and pinned and sat down to my sewing machine to get started and what do you think happened?  The tension would not set on my machine.  Believe me when I tell you that the air was nearly blue in the kitchen today with all the words that I screamed at the sewing machine.  But no matter how much I tried the tension just would not set.  Whether I turned it up or down, I still ended up with massive loops at the back and stitches not even catching at the front.  Wish my Dad was still with us, he would have fixed it in a jiffy.  Would any of you know how to fix this problem, before I fling it into the bogs of middle Ireland, preserved by nature to be discovered in a few thousand years as some ancient artifact.

I just don't know what is going on with the technology in this house.  It's like an all out strike.  First the internet, then my sewing machine and finally the kids xbox.  
This has made me wonder if all this technology is really worth the effort.  
Is there enough benefits to qualify all the work and costs that are involved when something goes wrong?  
Were we lost before without it or did we just cope fine? 
Is simplicity the answer? 
But then again I wouldn't be able to follow all your lovely blogs.
I'm undecided!  What do you think?
Rosie xx

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Walking the Dog

This week I've had major problems with my broadband connection.  A few years ago it probably wouldn't have bothered me but now it drove me to distraction.  I couldn't look at other blogger's post and if I managed to access them I couldn't look at their beautiful pictures which is my favourite bit.  Nor could I post when I felt like it.  Pictures wouldn't upload or posts save.  Arrrhhhhhh technology!!!!

So I spent my week walking the dog in the lovely frost.  We walk along the canal and Molly loves to spend her time jumping in and out of the water.

She really spends more time swimming than walking.  But this week the canal was completely frozen and she was not a bit impressed at all.

Molly is a bit of a chicken.  In that I mean that she is scared of everything.....loud noises, horses, sheep, cows and most of all dogs that are bigger than her.  All along this path we are nearly guaranteed to meet at least some of these.  I think that is one of the reasons why she spends most of her time hiding in the water. But this is the middle of the bog and unfortunately these things cannot be avoided.
So this week when we came across the friendly, giddy dog but big dog at the end of our walk, she sat rooted to the spot behind my legs, peeping out through the gap between my legs.  My poor little furry friend!!

My new resolution has been working much better than the original one.  When the weather has permitted I've walked the dog. I've been cooking and baking and enjoying it much more because I stopped putting myself under pressure and then feeling deflated and disappointed because my day didn't meet all my expectations.  This has also left me so much more relaxed to crochet in the evenings and try to finish the baby toddler blanket.  It's growing rapidly B, I promise.

How are your resolutions going?  Did you make a change to them to make them better for you?
Hoping to be able to chat you soon,
Rosie xx

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Big Project On The Cards

I have two secret loves.  The first one is that I love making curtains. I have made all of my own curtains for my house.  Shop bought curtains are so expensive and are not very well made.  I love the whole process of searching for and choosing the right material and suitable lining.
My mother is redecorating her sitting room and knowing my love of sewing and making curtains, asked me to help her out.  And this is going to be one very big project.  Literally.  The windows in the room are massive so just one curtain is 4.2 metres wide!!!!  That's 8.4 metres of material on just one window.  And there are two windows with the same measurement.  So for the next month I will be swimming in giant swathes of material.
My Mum also asked me to make new curtains for her kitchen and cushions for both rooms also.  I am really looking forward to starting work on this.  It will give me something to sink my teeth into and focus on.  And if i'm honest, I do like a bit of pressure too.  I can't leave my Mum with no curtains, now can I?


The other thing that I absolutely adore, is collecting tins.  Sweet tins, biscuit tins, sewing house if full of them.  Unfortunately I haven't as of yet found any vintage tins.  They're not that easy to find here in Ireland.
But I was routing yesterday in my attic and I found this little beauty.  It is a Churchill Jelly Bean tin that I bought a few years ago for my daughter.

Each detail is raised off the tin and each side shows a different scene.

This is definitely a keeper and will be in our family a long time.  It is just soo cute.  Or am I being a bit daft over a sweet tin??

What do you like to collect?

Monday, 21 January 2013

I Kid You Not !

As Christmas approached, I decided that I didn't want to buy in any sweets or biscuits for the holidays.  I wanted to bake our treats and not end up having half eaten tins of biscuits sitting in the pantry until Easter which is what happens every year.  And I kept to this promise.  But unfortunately I forgot to tell my husband and one day he came home laden with a big variety of all that I was avoiding.  Then at Christmas we got even more as presents!  Ahhhh Pulling out hair time....  I tried to give away some of the Hubbies purchases, but no everybody had enough already.
So since Christmas I have eaten......TWO tins of Cadbury Roses, TWO tins of Quality Street, one LARGE Panetone, one small Pantetone, one tin of biscuits, two trays of mince pies, two packets of Lebkuchen biscuits, a kids selection box!!!!  I Kid you not.  I feel like such a pig.  After my Hubbie buying all that stuff, he said that he didn't like any of it and the kids weren't interested either.  I'm not one to say no to chocolate and I didn't want to let them rot in the pantry...Am I just making excuses for myself now?  I never thought that I would say this but if I never see another piece of chocolate again, it'll be too soon!

So off I went today for a super long walk with the kids and the dog in the lovely cold crisp day.
The river was very high after a week of very heavy rain and gurgling gently as we walked alongside.
I was surprised to see the first signs of spring emerging.

I simply love the colour of the tiny buds on these branches.  Such a lovely shade of lilac.

My son took this picture of some fungi that he found.  It's just amazing what beautiful colours can be found in nature.

And now that I've made the big confession to you about what a glut I've been, I'm going to continue walking off all of the excessive festive feasting.
I bet nobody else has made such a pig of themselves as I have.  Or have you?
Chat you soon,

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Knitting Nutter

My energy levels have been at an all time low over the last few days.  True to my promise to myself, I've walked the dog every morning.  Unfortunately all I was fit for after that was to surround myself with yarnie comfort and knit and crochet to both calm and sooth.
I managed to finished another Christmas present.  This cute little bag was such fun to knit.  Being the twit that I am, I lost the pattern but I think that it is one by Louisa Harding.  I used Lambs Pride Worsted and Irish Tweed.  It's a slip stitch pattern which I think is the best for things like handbags because it forms quite a robust material.  I lined it with a lovely dark green cotton that was a lovely contrast to the outside.

I also finished a cute little colourful mittens for my son.  He's been asking me for ages to make these and even bought the wool himself.  I've been doing the 'Mittens and Gloves Galore'  by Marly Bird on Craftsy.  As I've said before, I love doing craftsy courses.  It is great to be able to follow it at your own pace and it also comes on a mobile app. Brrriliant!  So waiting for the kids outside the school or long journeys in the car is now a lot more interesting.  Unfortunately like everything crafty, it gets addictive and I keep finding new courses that I want to take and new things that I want to learn.  Even things that I had never even heard of before and hadn't previously known that I want to know it!!!!!

Before I go, I need to ask for a bit of help with something that's been driving me loopy lately.  I'd love to know how to put in breaks between topics in my post.  I've seen some blogs that have gorgeous little hearts or stars or the like but I just do not know how to put them in for my posts.  Are your posts written on Word?  Is there something that I'm missing out on in my toolbar.  I'm not the best at computers and since I started this blog I've learned so much and  I'm hoping to keep on improving it all the time.  A little help on this would be greatly appreciated.

Rosie xx

Monday, 14 January 2013

With Just Three Simple Ingredients.....

I have found that the best way to get a wide variety of vegetables into the kids is by making some soups.  I can hide all their least favourite veggies in the guise of something warm and comforting.  This leek and potato soup is very easy to make and it is really tasty considering that there is only three vegetables required.  I find it great as an after school snack or even substantial enough for an evening meal when served with some fresh bread. Sometimes when I have some leftover baked ham from a previous dinner, I like to cut it into small cubes and sprinkle them on top of the soup.  A complete meal in a bowl.

Potato and Leek Soup

  • 3 Large Leeks
  • 5 Medium Floury Potatoes
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 Litre of Stock
  • A Knob of Butter
  • Cut away the dark green tops of the leeks as they are too tough, slice and wash the rest of the leeks leaving a little water on them.
  • Peel and roughly dice the potatoes and onion.
  • On a medium heat the knob of butter in the pot until it bubbles slightly, add in the vegetables and reduce the heat a little.
  • Stir well and ensure that all the vegetables are covered in the butter.
  • Cover the vegetables with a sheet of greaseproof paper and put the lid on the pot.  
  • On a low heat allow the veg to steam for 10-15 minutes or until the leeks have softened.  This is very important, otherwise the leeks will stay stringy and won't release their full flavour.
  • Remove the paper and add in the stock.  I like to use a mixture of vegetable and chicken stock, just to give it a little depth of flavour.
  • Replace the lid and allow to simmer on a medium heat for a further 10 mins.
  • Whizz it up with a hand blender until smooth.
  • Season to taste.
  • Eat.  Yum yum diddlyumsciuos.
I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.  I'd love to know what you think about my recipes.  Do I write them ok?  Are they easy to follow?  Or will I just give up on this side of my blog?  A little advice would be seriously welcome.

Rosie xx

Friday, 11 January 2013

Rethinking My Resolutions

I've often intended to show you this little beauty.  Well it is a beauty to me anyway!  This is one of the first purses that I made on my sewing machine and I'm so very proud of it.  It goes everywhere with me as it contains my emergency stock of medicine.  I thought that if I have to carry something ugly like my drugs than I should put into something pretty.
When I first saw this fabric in a shop in Galway, I burst out laughing much to the bewilderment of the shop owner and the embarrassment of my friend.  I laughed because my Dad once had a tie with the exact same pattern on it, except that it was made out of silk and was shiny!  It was out of his 1970's collection and was really, really wide.  Think 'Streets of San Francisco', psychedelic style!

Chorizo Pasta Bake

This has to be the most requested dinner in our house.  It is an easy dinner that is great when there's any peppers or tomatoes that are lurking in the bottom of the fridge, crying out to be used up.
I hope that the picture does it justice.  I make it so that one side is crispier than the other to accommodate different preferences in the family.  And my oven always kindly helps me on this issue because for some reason on side is more enthusiastic about cooking than the other!
200g Penne Pasta
1 Chorizo Ring
2 Peppers, I used yellow and green here
1 Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tins of Tomatoes
2 Tbs Tomato Puree
1 Tsp Sugar
1/2 Tsp Hot Chilli Powder
2 Mozarella Balls, cubed


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Put the pasta on to cook in slightly salted water and drain when it is al dente (not sure about the spelling here but you know what I mean).
  • Roughly chop the peppers and onion and add to a pan on at medium heat.  Add to this the sliced chorizo and the two cloves of garlic that have been only slightly crushed with the blade of your knife.
  • Cook until the chorizo turns to oil red.  It's nicer to have a slight crunch to the peppers so be careful not to over cook them.
  • Sprinkle in the chilli powder.  I only use 1/2tsp because the kids don't like it hot.  You can add more to suit your liking but just remember that the chorizo can be quite hot too!
  • Add in the tins of tomatoes and stir in the puree and sugar.  Let is simmer for about 10 mins until the tomato puree has slightly thickened the sauce.
  • Add the cooked pasta to this and top with the mozarella.  
  • Bake in the oven for 15 mins until to top is nicely melted and crisping at the edges.
  • Serve with garlic bread and a lovely glass of vino.
How Easy is that??  I hope that I wrote it clearly enough.  I haven't put up a recipe in a while and I'm a little out of practice.

Rosie xx

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A Very Thoughtful Gift

I received this cute little 'Happy Bag' from a friend as a Christmas present.  When I first opened the package I was baffled that somebody would give me a bag with string, a marble and a rubber band in it.  But when I read the label, I realised how sweet it really was.  This is what the label read;
An Eraser so you can make mistakes disappear.
Five Cent piece so that you are never broke again.
A Marble in case someone says you've lost yours.
A Rubber Band to stretch yourself to the limits.
A piece of String to tie when things begin to fall apart.
A Candle to shed some light on the situation.
A Heart to remind you that someone loves you.
A little Angel to guide and protect you.

How sweet is that!  I think that I'll keep this little pouch in the pocket of my handbag so that I can read it and cheer myself up when I'm feeling down.

So now that I'm back to my crafting again and now I'm back to knitting, crocheting and sewing like somebody obsessed.  I finally finished two of my Christmas gifts for my friends.  I will show you one now as I still have to post the other.  I just hope that they will like them!
This is one of my little crochet hook pouches that I made for the crochet expert in our knitting group.  I picked really girlie colours because she is so feminine and I thought that she would like them best.  One thing that I really must learn properly though is how to corners in bias binding.  I always end up sewing them by hand but I'm never happy with the end result. I know its only something small but if I hope eventually to open a shop on Etsy, they will need to be perfect.

Could anybody recommend a good tutorial site that I could look up?
Did you get a thoughtful gift over the Christmas season?
Chat you soon,

Sunday, 6 January 2013

All For The Love Of Harry Potter

We've all become slightly obsessed with Harry Potter here in this house.  The kids got the complete set of films as a Christmas present and every night since we have sat together and watched the each instalment.  Being a massive fan of anything that captures or feeds the imagination, I was completely enthralled in this fantastic magical story.  Each of the characters are so incredibly well developed and the acting is just outstanding with performances from some of the biggest names from England, and one or two from Ireland too.  It was such a joy to watch
 My children said that they felt like Harry, Ron and Hermione had become their friends by the time that it all came to an end.  But they loved Hagrid the best.
My hat goes off to JK Rowling.  She is one very creative lady.  Each story twists and turns and she keeps you guessing right to the very last.  I'd love to know where she got such great names like Dumbledoor, Hagrid and Snape.
The day after each film, while out for a walk or in the car (not travelling by broomstick unfortunately), the kids loved to chatter on about what happened in the previous night's film and all of the characters.  Lucy asking all the while if she could go to Hogwarts too when she turns 11 years of age.  And wouldn't I love to join her much fun would that be!  Tonight we watched the final episode and there wasn't a sound nor a movement in the house except for the sound the sound of the tv and our gasps when things got exciting.  What a big child I am, I know but I just cannot help it.  I love to live in a world where my imagination can run wild.


Saturday, 5 January 2013

The 'Empty My Stash' Year

This new year brings a very big change for our family. As of Monday my Hubbie will be returning to college. I'm very proud of him as its a very big step to take at the tender age of..... 21 and a bit. But it's something that he's wanted to do for a very long time.
So for the next couple of years the pennies are going to be tight in our household. I'm going to look at it as a challenge though.
A chance to be as thrifty and frugal as my imagination allows and to prove to myself that I can really do this. The fun starts here!
The biggest promise that I'm making is to not buy any yarn or fabric at all in 2013 and use up the majority if not all of my very extensive stash. Over the last four months I've had a serious lull in my creativity. I saw some of the most beautiful designs and patterns but nothing at all inspired me or got me excited about trying it. I tipped away at a few projects that i had on the go but all with little enthusiasm. I knew that this would pass in its own time, so I decided just to enjoy the rest. Over the Christmas holidays I started knitting a pair of mittens for my daughter and I found that I enjoyed it terribly. And all in good time too for me to start the 'empty my stash' promise. I intend to start by finishing some big projects that have sat unfinished for a while in my wool basket, especially the blanket that I started over a year ago for my friends son who celebrated his first birthday last month. Sorry Bernie!
Looking through my boxes of yarn and material yesterday, ideas flowed freely once more... ..much to my relief I must say. So I'm hoping that I'll have lots more crafty posts to put up this year.
Well you heard it here first and i am very serious about carrying this promise through. Wish me luck with my endeavours!
Has your creativity ever abandoned you? Have beautiful things failed to inspire? How did you restore your former crafty self?
Rosie xx

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Have You Guessed What It Is Yet?

One Christmas Eve I sat on our sitting room for a half an hour wrapping this little fella.  It was a present for my son from me and I just knew that he'd get such a kick out of seeing it packaged off like this.  And i was right too.  It was the first present that he ran to on Christmas morning, before he even looked at what Santa had brought him.  He was delighted but informed me that I was such a wally.  Me, I think it's a work of art myself.

Christmas here was a hectic one.  My mother, brother and his girlfriend all came out on Christmas day for dinner.  It's been a long time since I've made a big meal for a few people and even though it was hard work, I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was lovely seeing a crowd around the dinner table again.

Well the New Year is here and I'm not generally one for making resolutions but this year I've decided that I will.  For 2013 I'm going to take better care of myself.....stop the ciggies, which I started again after being off them for 7 years, try and exercise as much as I'm able and to give up on all the sweet treats which is probably my biggest downfall.  So to end 2012 I had two little glasses of wine with my dinner and two massive slices of panettone for dessert.  But unfortunately justice being served, I went to bed five minutes past midnight with two headache tablets and woeful indigestion.  No fair!  No fun for Rosie at all!

Finally I just want to wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year and I hope that it brings you your every wish and the best of health.

Lots of love,
Rosie xx