I'm so excited for Christmas!! It's our first Christmas as a little family in our new home without our own parents doing the cooking etc for us so I'm getting really into all of the preparations this year! However as per usual I started a long list of hand knitted presents in October......then left them untouched for a few months while i was busy looking after a poorly toddler or trying to keep up with my long list of things to do so I am now in full on speed knitting mode trying to finish all of the homemade presents in time! It will be worth it though as there is nothing quite like giving presents that have been lovingly made especially for the recipient......also although I am usually quite cash poor, thanks to years of yarn, material & button hoarding I am craft supply rich so I may as well turn them into beautiful presents!
I've been wanting to share pictures of all of the lovely things I'm making lately, but i an't until after they have been given or else it will spoil the surprise.....I'll be doing a post Christmas post of all of my homemade projects & I'd love to hear what everybody else made too.
I cannot remember the last Christmas Eve that I did not spend manically knitting trying to finish the last of my homemade gifts, last year it was a giant knitted blanket that i made for my sister. But Christmas Eve to me is sitting in the warm with a glass of mulled wine watching the Polar Express knitting presents! Every year I swear I'll finish everything sooner, but really I do love that feeling of finishing & wrapping the last of those special gifts!
Tonight is the last knit club of 2012 at Cordial & Grace (seriously where did this year go?!) and I am really looking forward to a toddler free evening of knitting & chatting. I love my son to pieces but his idea of helping Mama knit is to run off with my ball of yarn shouting "Mummy's Ball!!".......not really very helpful at all! I think that quite a few of my students from my last Christmas knits class are coming too so it will be lovely to see them all knitting Christmas decorations!
If you are interesting in learning to knit something for Christmas it's not too late, I have places left for my class at the Making Things Pop-Up shop in Cabot's Circus On
19th December 6.30-9pm. It's £16.50 for the evening and this includes all materials and patterns and a glass of mulled wine or spiced berry cordial and yummy gingerbread (i don't like minced pies!). Also because I'm super excited about this class & Christmas in general I'm giving away a present to everybody who signs up to the class to make the evening extra special!! For more details about the class see here
. Also I don't know if you all know but I now offer Knitting lesson Gift vouchers.....so if you know somebody who wants to learn this would be a great Christmas gift. Vouchers are available from £10 and can be emailed so are a great last minute alternative to commercial vouchers. I think it's lovely to take a break from buying generic commercial presents for everybody and to either go handmade or shop local with independent makers You can get some lovely gifts from as little as £5 & they are so much nicer than something mass produced. If you are short of inspiration I would really recommend a trip to Making Things club when you're shopping In Cabots for some fantastic locally made beauties!
It's been a while since I've posted again, but not due to a lack of blogging motivation this time! November hasn't been that kind to our household. W§e have all been ill, I've had a couple of root canals done too after being in horrible dental pain for a few days, and if you follow me on twitter or facebook you'll also know that we had mice in our house too! I initally thought it was rats because my terrified mind convinced me that the rodent i saw was HUGE however apparently they weren't that big. Apparently i'm a drama queen when it comes to rodents! Anyway we had to decamp to the in-laws for a week while we tried to get the issue under control........and well moving your family in to another home with different ideas on how to do things is always interesting isn't it?! Anyway I can't say that I'm sad to see the end of November.....the only real shining glory in November was that I had the mst fantastic Christmas knitting lesson at Cordial & Grace last week! It was such fun & listening to A very She & Him Christmas album while knitting christmas ornaments with a lovely bunch of ladies was a lovely was to end a pretty tiresome month!
So It's now December so it's time to put this misfortunes & stresses of November behind us and start looking forward to the fun & festivities that this month brings! I love Christmas, I always have but I have to admit that i'm a worse with it this year as It will be the first year that we are having our own family Christmas in our own house. We won't be rushing around trying to appease all of the grandparents, but staying home and enjoying a more relaxing day together. This Plus the fact that Henry is starting to appreciate the magic of christmas seems to have us all a bit more excited this year. He loves seeing all of the lights and the fact that there are chocolates wrapped in colourful foil in all of the shops......the thought of making Christmas as magical for him as it was for me as a child fills me with Joy! My mum made Christmas amazing for my sister & I every year regardless of what else was going on in real life! Despite being a single mum who worked full time she always saved up her holiday days up and took lots of time off of work at this time of year to make it extra special. We had lots of traditions that she kept up long in to adulthood for both of us! I guess with Mine, (and his dad is even starting to come around to Chrismas cheer too!) my sister's and My mum's love of Christmas Henry is never going to be short of people who want to do festive activities with him.
Today being December 1st marks the beginning of advent and the first year that Henry seems excited and gets involved. Last year after seeing the idea on Pinterest I spent October and November scouring charity shops for 24 Christmas themed books for his book advent calendar. We're doing it again this year too, with each book wrapped in brown paper & numbered 1-24. Christmas eve is obviously going to be the night before christmas, but he also has a new pair of christmas Pyjamas wrapped up ready to wear to bed that night.
A few of the books wrapped up for our advent calendar....
He also has a chocolate advent calendar and a set of advent crackers that are each filled with a little character to make up a Nativity scene throughout december. This was originally on sale last year in M&S for the rather steep price of £20, but my Mum bought it in the January Sales ready for this year. Although the crackers will only last for this year next year each of the characters will be wrapped up with the books so it will become part of our yearly traditions. Henry loved this morning & seemed really excited by all the surprises that were waiting for him! He even requested to watch The Polar Express too, bringing the DVD up to his dad saying "Choo Choo train!! All aboard!!"........well it did seem like a pretty perfect way to start December!
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Mary being taken for a toddler tour.....thankfully she's still in one piece!
We're off to a Christmas market tomorrow where Henry will get to ride on a mini steam train which i know he is going to love! I hope you all have a lovely weekend too!
If you want to make the Knitted Christmas ornaments at the start of the post you can still book in to one of my Christmas classes & I'll be popping the collection of patterns up for sale over the weekend on Ravelry & Etsy too.
P.P.S. Watch out for a little giveaway at the beginning of next week because I'm feeling particularly festive! :)
Today has needed cake, I have spent in all in a sleep deprived fog looking after a toddler who is full of cold. I am so exhausted that I tried to open our front door by pressing the unlock button on our car key, and I tried to put a box of cereal in the fridge. You know those days where your brain never wakes up so needs a constant supply of sugar & caffeine to get through the day without walking into a wall?! Yeah that!
Anyway I wanted cake.....actually I needed
cake, but had zero energy or motivation to make one! Luckily about 6 months ago thanks to the wonders of Pinterest
I discovered that there is such a thing as a microwave brownie in a mug! The original recipe I used was from here
, but I found it to be too dry. So after a bit of tinkering I have come up with my perfect Brownie....and it literally takes 2 minutes from start to finish! It's pretty life changing for a cake lover!
If you want the recipe to be vegan just omit the chocolate chips.
This is perfect for days when you fancy something sweet but are running low on supplies & I personally think it's as yummy as any shop bought desert & costs about 20p to make! This serves 2 people really, but don't feel bad if you eat a whole one to yourself.....we've all done it before!
**I have used proper measuring cups for the ingredients not the mug just in case people think it's a 1/4 of the mug. That would be a massive cake though! :)
Microwave Brownie Recipe:
1/4 cup of golden caster sugar
1/4 cup of self raising flour
3 heaped tsp of coco powder
2 tbsp of sunflower oil
1/4 cup of warm water
Pinch of salt.
To mix it up a bit I add one of the following to the mixture, depending on my mood:
1tsp cinnamon ( for a more wintery feel!)
A handful of white chocolate chips (for those days when you want it really sweet!)
1 tbsp of sour cherry jam (for a black forrest brownie)
1: Get a large microwavable mug. Add all of the dry ingredients & mix well.
2: Add the oil & water and mix until you have a smooth cake mixture.
3. Add any of the additional choc chips, jam or spices now & mix in.
4. Pop in the microwave on high for 1.5 minutes.
5. Serve with cream or ice-cream if you fancy or eat it straight from the mug.
I'm going to be running a couple of knitting events for Windmill Hill City Farm.
I'm really excited as Henry loves the city farms that we have in Bristol and Windmill Hill and since we've moved it is now walking distance from our house. I was really pleased to be asked to get involved, especially as I'll get to teach some children to knit at Apple Day in October. I've got some amazing apple related craft projects lined up and I'll share some of them with you on the blog nearer the time as they'll be great for autumn!
I'm also teaching a beginner's Knitted Bunting Class there next Saturday 21st September & you can book via their website here
. It's a mixed age one to give anybody who wants to try knitting a go.
They run some amazing workshops there so have a look at their website if you fancy learning something new this autumn. The eternal student in me always gets the learning bug at this time of year! I'm quite tempted by the build your own bread oven......but I'm not sure our garden is big enough for one!
I'm really bust lately on the knitting lesson front & I love it!! I've already started to plan my Christmas patterns & lessons ready for November & December! The next few months are going to be great fun!
Anyway I hope you're all having a great Friday, I'll be back tomorrow afternoon to post up another free pattern as promised!
As I have mentioned before, I am totally in love with using my slow cooker. Time is limited in our house, especially in the evenings so I really like to have dinner ready with as minimal fuss as possible. Especially lately as I have been teaching a lot in the evenings so I need sometime that can be ready for the Mr (who can cook toast & oven chips......nothing else!) to have with Henry for dinner. Also when I am tired after trying to get stuff done around the house, running after Henry & sorting out Homemade mama stuff the temptation to get takeaway is strong.....but our bank account can't afford such a luxury! If dinner is already cooked in the slow cooker this problem doesn't arise, meaning we save money & still get a delicious dinner...win, win!
Anyway I love mexican food, burritos especially, but always find the process of cooking black beans a bit laborious! However I decided to see if I could make a 'cheats' burrito in the slow cooker.......and it worked!! It was delicious! I have frozen a big pot of it as well as it was quite a hefty serving.
Because the whole point of this is for it to be quick & easy I served it with 'microwaved' rice, but next time I may try adding rice to the beans for the last hour of cooking to see how that works out.
So here's the recipe.
Preparation time: 5 minutesCooking time: 5-7 hours.
Serves 4-6 people
Ingredients:1 large onion1 red pepper1 orange or yellow pepper1 green pepper2 cloves of garlic crushed250g of black beans (soaked over night)1 pint of boiling water1 teaspoon of chilli powder1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper1 teaspoon of smoked paprikaLarge handful of fresh thyme stalks1 tablespoon of Soy Sauce
1 heaped tablespoon of Smokey Chipotle paste. (optional)
1 small tin of sweetcorn (drained)
1: Chop the onion & peppers & add them to the slow cooker pot along with the balck beans and crushed garlic. Stir all the ingredients together.
2: Add the chilli Powder, paprika, cayenne pepper & thyme to the pot & Mix
3: Stir in the boiling water & Soy Sauce.
4: Cover & cook on low for 5-7 hours depending on your slow cooker.
5: Just before you serve the beans add the chipotle paste, sweetcorn & season to taste.
6: Serve in tortillas with rice, salsa, guacamole, salad cheese & Sour Cream
I wrote this pattern ages ago to teach in some of my lessons, I thought it would be a nice quick 'summer' knit for students as people don't seem that excited to knit hats, scarves & gloves in July & August for some reason! Anyway seeing as it was my birthday yesterday & I'm feeling in a good mood, throughout September I will be giving away a free pattern every week. Next week will be a more complicated & bigger knitted bunting pattern that I wrote at the same time as this one.
This bunting is made of 2 different sized garter stitch flags & it knits up very quickly. A single flag takes me about 15 minutes to knit when i'm watching the tv. This is a great size for hanging on bookshelves or around a baby's cot and makes a lovely little present for somebody.
Easy Knitted Bunting:
k: Knit stitch
ssk: slip, slip, knit together.
k2tog: knit 2 stitches together
I recommend that you use Double Knitting (DK) weight yarn & 4mm sized needles to knit this bunting. You can however change this, but the size of your flags will vary.
Small Bunting Flag:
Cast on 12 stitches.
Rows 1-4: k all stitches
Row 5: k1, ssk, k6, k2tog, k1 (10stitches will be on your needle at the end of the row) Rows 6-7: k all stitches
Row 8: k1, ssk, k4, k2tog, k1 (8stitches on needle)
Rows 9-10: knit all stitches
Row 11: k1, ssk, k2, k2tog, k1 (6 stitches on needle)
Rows 12-13: k all stitches
Row 14: k1, ssk, k2tog, k1 (4 stitches on needle)
Rows 15-16: k all stitches on needle
Row 17: k1, k2tog, k1 (3 stitches on needle)
Row 18-19: k all stitches
Row 20: k1, k2tog (2 stitches on needle)
Row 21: k all stitches
Row 22: k2tog
Bind off the last stitch.
Large Bunting Flag:
Cast on 18 stitches.
Rows 1-4: k all stitches
Row 5: k1, ssk, k12, k2tog, k1 (16stitches will be on your needle at the end of the row)
Rows 6-7: k all stitches
Row 8: k1, ssk, k10, k2tog, k1 (14 stitches on needle)
Rows 9-10: k all stitches
Row 11: k1, ssk, k8, k2tog, k1 (12 stitches on needle)
Rows 12-13: k all stitches
Row 14: k1,ssk, k6, k2tog, k1 (10 stitches on needle)
Rows 15-16: k all stitches
Row 17: k1, ssk, k4, k2tog, k1 (8 stitches on needle)
Rows 18-19: knit all stitches
Row 20: k1, ssk, k2, k2tog, k1 (6 stitches on needle)
Rows 21-22: k all stitches
Row 23: k1, ssk, k2tog, k1 (4 stitches on needle)
Rows 24-25: k all stitches on needle
Row 26: k1, k2tog, k1 (3 stitches on needle)
Row 27-28: k all stitches
Row 29: k1, k2tog (2 stitches on needle)
Row 30: k all stitches
Row 31: k2tog
Bind off the last stitch.
© Kimberlee Daly/The Homemade Mama
All rights reserved
This pattern is for personal use only. It may not be reproduced, distributed or archived in whole or in part without prior permission from the designer. It may not be sold or used to produce garments for resale. Contact via: www.thehomemademama.co.uk
Ok so you know I said I was excited about autumn, well I really meant it! I dug my slow cooker out from the back of the cupboard on Friday & I have already cooked 2 meals in it! I love having a slow cooker as it give us more time to relax as a family in the evening......I don't have to worry about dinner as it's already been cooked! I just chuck everything in the slow cooker in the morning & like magic we have dinner ready as soon as the Mister gets home from work. Plus the house smells amazing with dinner cooking throughout the day......although i have to admit this does make me hungry!
Ken's working hours have changed recently & involve an earlier start, but thankfully also an earlier finish. However the earlier start means that breakfast has been neglected over the last 2 weeks in our house, often just grabbing something on the go. This is not good for me as I have been indulging in pastries ALOT & my waistline is not very happy about this matter. So in my excitement about my slow cooker & autumn food I had a flash of inspiration......Slow cooker porridge!! You can pop the slow cooker in a timer plug & wake up to delicious porridge. Now I know that I'm a bit early with autumn, but just imagine how great this will be when the mornings are cold, dark & generally a chore again! Like waking up to a warm hug! AWESOME!
Anyway I cooked this for breakfast yesterday as my Mum & Step-Dad came over to do some DIY on our house & I wanted something hassle free to cook for us all. It went down a treat & I know i'll be eating this alot over the coming months. Sorry for the poor quality picture.....I was hungry & in a hurry to eat my breakfast couldn't be bothered to take a decent one!
Slow Cooker Apple & Cinnamon porridge:
Ingredients: * 1 pint of boiling water
* 1/2 pint of milk or soya milk
* 150g porridge oats
* 2 apples, peeled & diced into small cubes
* 4 teaspoons of muscovado sugar
* 1 heaped teaspoon of cinnamon
1. Pour the water & milk into the slow cooker pot & then add the oats in stirring constantly.
2. Add the apple, cinnamon & sugar & stir well.
3. Cover with the lid & cook on low for 1-1.5 hours depending on how thick you want the porridge. I like mine quite thick so cooked for 1.5 hours, but if you like it runnier then an hour will suffice.
4.Serve the porridge with a sprinkle of cinnamon & chocolate chips or raisins (depending on how healthy you want to be!)
Last night I went along to the Tobacco Factory Theatre to see the Catwalk opening of Amber Hards Spring/Summer 2013 collection. Amber is a friend of my sisters, but I went along with my knitting geek head on because as somebody who designs 'little things' the concept of designing big elaborate knitted outfits fascinated me! Also having seen the work that Amber produced for her graduate show from UWE which you can see here
I was excited to see what she would come up with next! Her work is full of amazing shape & texture & really is unlike anything else I have seen before. Thanks to her previous design work Amber was a Knitted Textile Awards finalist in 2010, also winning an innovation award from the craft council both of which were well deserved from what I saw last night!
Before the show started the everybody mingled in the bar area which was adorned with Amber's design artwork & inspiration boards and examples of her knitwear. There were also complimentary Cosmopolitans to enjoy as well & they were delicious!
The show was well put together & the make-up was fantastic thanks to the help of Victoria Hemmings! I could describe all of the outfits to you, but I'd be here all day & I'm sure you'll get bored so instead here are some pictures from the night! 😊
I'd love to say that I stayed & partied late in to the night, but I have been feeling rotten this week thanks to a large Ovarian Cyst causing me a bit of grief so I was home by 9pm in my PJs knitting & watching Fringe on dvd in bed!! However I think everybody else stayed & had a great time! Amber did a great job putting on a show by herself! Also seeing her work has me really interested with the different things machine knitting can achieve! If you would like to know more about Amber's work then visit her website: www.amberhards.co.uk
We have olympic fever in our household, even Henry has it bad! He's cheering "Go Go Go!" whenever a race starts & cheers with both of his arms in the air whenever somebody wins.......It is so cute! I'm now convinced that he will be an olympian because of his early enthusiasm for competitive sports.
I really wasn't that excited about the olympics before they started mainly because of the politics involved. Watching David Cameron's smug face on every news report related to the Olympics really does dampen ones enthusiasm for the event! However once they started my opinion completely changed, I have been hooked! Watching how hard these athletes work & the amazing things they can achieve has moved me to tears on numerous occasions.
It has been fantastic to watch every country's achievements & the gamesmanship between athletes. However i have to admit that seeing Team Great Britain doing so well has been the icing on the cake! I have been cheering along with Henry watching sports that I really wouldn't under any other circumstances! Also I have been blown away by the achievements of women in this Olympics! It makes me so proud to think that my son will grow up expecting to see women competing & performing like champions! It will never occur to him that females are less worthy of competing.
Anyway in the spirit of the Olympics I have made Henry his own medals! They are super easy to knit & even the most novice of knitter will manage them. I knitted all 3 of them in just over an hour while watching the gymnastics yesterday so it really is a quick DIY. I'm tempted to show some of the older children in my wool workshops
because they're great for children as they can use them in games afterwards. Anyway I hope that you can spread some olympic fever with these medals like we are!
Olympic medal pattern:
Yarn: DK weight yarn in gold, silver & bronze.
Tapestry needle for sewing up.
k = knit
k2 tog = Knit 2 stitches together
Cast on 39 stitches.
Row 1-4: K all stitches.
Row 5: *K2, k2tog* repeat to end. (30 stitches)
Row 6-9: K all stitches.
Row 10: *k1, K2tog* repeat to end. (20 stitches)
Row 11-13: K all stitches.
Row 14: K2tog to the end. (10 stitches)
Leaving a long tail cut the yarn & thread the the tail through the 10 remaining stitches. Draw them together & fasten off. Then sew up the seam neatly at the edge stitches.
At the top of the work make a loop using the tail. Then weave all ends in to the WS of the work. The work may curl inwards at the edges, but if you block them by pushing them flat under a damp tea towel & iron on a low heat they will stay lovely & flat like a medal should be!
All you have to do now is tie some ribbon to your medals & now you can award them to everybody who you think deserves one! :) Have fun with them!
© Kimberlee Daly/The Homemade Mama All rights reserved This pattern is for personal use only. It may not be reproduced, distributed or archived in whole or in part without prior permission from the designer. It may not be sold or used to produce garments for resale. Contact via: www.thehomemademama.co.uk
So as you can see I'm running a few wool craft sessions for children over the summer holidays. There is something there for kids of all ages to enjoy so if you fancy a few hours peace & quiet send them my way & I'll teach them:
- How to make a pom pom garland.
- Finger knitting & French knitting.
- How to knit using needles.
- How to make flowers & bows to decorate homemade bracelets & hairbands.
- How to knit swiss rolls .
Classes are running on Wednesday 8th & 15th August 2-4pm & cost £4.50 per child. This price includes all materials & refreshments
Contact me here
to book & for more info.