With a newborn around it’s been difficult (i.e. impossible) to do any of my Pinterest projects, but I decided to give a bit of crochet a go. I thought that it would be something easy and relaxing to pick up any time the baby was sleeping and I couldn’t snooze. I wanted to make a gift for someone as all the crochet projects I had made previously I kept for myself! So, who better to make a special Christmas crochet gift for than my lovely mum?
I had saved a Pin for a Bella Coco tutorial for an infinity scarf which seemed like a good place to start. I chose a 7mm hook and the chunkiest yarn I could find in my stash. It was a simple pattern to follow: a V stitch, and it was easy to put down and pick up whenever the baby was napping.
As the scarf was so straightforward, I decided to pimp it up a bit with some pretty crochet flowers – cue another Bella Coco tutorial!
I also gathered the scarf at the join for a bit more detail (also, I didn’t have enough yarn to do a separate ‘loop’) and to hide the join. I think it looks quite effective.
I wrote this post over three months ago, but something happened to delay it being published… I became a mother! Elise Patricia James was born on October 5th. 😀 So here is the original post, as I quite like how I ended it.
Another nursery decoration make for today; I’ve been gathering ideas over the past few weeks for decorating baby’s room. I wanted a way of displaying the scan photos and thought this was a lovely idea, especially as I already had an IKEA frame that was perfect for it.
I used leftover wallpaper samples from my butterfly frame project and cut them to the right size to use as colourful backgrounds for the scans. I wanted each background to be different to make it colourful and interesting, and to link in with the butterflies.
I tried out different layouts with the photos and labels – both in the middle (scan in top, label beneath); label on the mount; alternating photo on the left in one and on the right in the other – but I thought this layout worked.
I did attempt to write the labels myself by looking up some simple hand lettering pins, but they didn’t work so I settled on printing the labels in a nice font on some fancy paper leftover from my wedding invitations (nice link, I thought). I now need baby to arrive so I can fill in the final frame. ❤
My husband reminded me I had a bag of wild blackberries stashed away in the freezer, hint, use them or lose them. So I looked for a nice new recipe to try. Last year I chose a blackberry pie slice and it was lovely (and there’s an old blog post about it) but I wanted something different that I could freeze in portions for quick sweet snacks in the future.
This recipe stood out to me as I rarely make loaf cakes and it sounded tasty with the apple, orange zest and cinnamon mixed in. I used ‘Stork for Cakes’ rather than butter, which did melt a bit in the breadcrumb making stage instead of making fine, dry breadcrumbs. This didn’t seem to ruin the recipe however.
I used the blackberries straight from frozen instead of defrosting them so they wouldn’t turn to mush before mixing into the cake mix.
The recipe suggested checking the cake after 50 minutes that it wasn’t browning too much, and mine wasn’t, neither was it 15 minutes later, nor in the final 15 minutes, so all good there.
Once cooled and cut, I discovered the cake could have done with an extra five or ten minutes in the oven as it was very moist inside. This could be due to the amount of blackberries in it too, so next time, I’d bake for longer and adjust the amount of fruit I put in. Still, it’s a very tasty loaf cake.
A little-seen savoury recipe for today, rather than the usual sweet treats I try out. I had some slices of white bloomer bread left over from the weekend that had gone stale and I fancied making some croutons to go with an evening meal.
Embarrassingly I didn’t know how to make croutons properly – I thought it was a case of toasting the bread and then cutting it into cubes, which you can do but it makes for a very boring crouton. Instead I looked on Pinterest for some more exciting ideas and I found this pin for ‘easy garlic croutons’. Easy is always a key word in my Pinterest searches. And it was indeed an easy make. Cut the stale bread into cubes, sprinkle with salt, pepper, dried parsley and garlic.
The recipe suggested garlic powder but as I didn’t have any, I used crushed instead. Then drizzle oil over the bread and mix well before putting it all onto a baking tray and into the oven. I went for 190°C for 10 minutes, turning halfway.
They turned out very tasty and went well sprinkled on top of the evening’s pasta dish. I’d try the suggested garlic powder next time, or crushing the garlic more, to avoid the chunky, slightly burnt bits left on the tray. They last well in an airtight container for several days.
In looking for ideas for decorating a nursery, I found pins for framed butterfly prints and thought, I can do that!
I popped along to my local Homebase and picked up lots of samples of the girliest wallpapers I could find (free), to Wilkinson’s for a box frame (£4.50) and a tester pot of pink paint (£1).
One of the wallpaper samples I chose had butterflies all over it, so I cut out a small one to use as a template, rather than print an outline from Google Images or attempt to draw one myself. I then cut out 12 butterflies; two from each style of wallpaper. I folded six of them down the centre to make the wings appear to lift from the background.
I painted the frame with some basic emulsion paint in ‘marshmallow’. This needed three coats of paint as the bare wood soaked up the first coat almost immediately.
I then glued the six flat butterflies to a plain background and the six folded ones on top, and reassembled the frame. Et voilà!
On Pinterest, the frames I spotted were for sale on sites like Etsy for well over £10. Mine cost me £5.50 and only a few hours of my time. And I think it’s perfect for a little girl’s bedroom.
My faithful patch of rhubarb in my garden has produced what I think will be its last crop of the year, so I turned back to an old favourite bake of mine – muffins. However I have made rhubarb crumble muffins loads of times (see previous post) so I looked for a new recipe to try out. I chose this recipe as it didn’t call for too much rhubarb (I only have a small patch) and it used an exciting new ingredient, soured cream… It ain’t just for nachos!
Muffins are always an easy make and this was no exception, but it did create a lot of washing up, boo! The wet ingredients had to be mixed in a separate bowl to the dry; the butter had to be melted in a bowl; the rhubarb had to be chopped and kept somewhere – I chose another bowl; the lovely cup measures were used again. I’m sure I probably could have doubled up the use of some of the bowls and not made as much mess.
All in all, these are a lovely muffin and the cinnamon sugar on top is delicious, so move over rhubarb crumble muffins, these may now be my favourites.
I had some plums to use up before going away on holiday so turned to trusty old Pinterest for some inspiration. One of the first pins I found was for this, a spiced plum crisp, which on the picture looked suspiciously like a crumble. And like a crumble it was.
The description says “the easiest, most delightful dessert you will make”, and this was no lie. Chuck the plums in an ovenproof dish with some sugar and flour. Make the ‘crisp’ (aka crumble) topping and stick it on top of the plums. Bake and voilà!
It’s an American recipe so it meant I could dig out my lovely ceramic cup measures again and not worry about converting the measurements to grams. Though I did need to google what 350°F is in Celsius… 176.667°, if you’re interested.
I think what makes this a ‘crisp’ rather than a ‘crumble’ is, it’s American (haha) and the topping contains oats, although I often do add oats to my crumbles for some extra texture. I overdid the spice a bit so would use less next time to enjoy the flavour of the plums more, but the recipe was both easy and delightful overall.