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Hi, My name is Kate and this blog is all about my adventures of happy living. By that I mean crochet, chickens and cooking. Here's to the good life - and being a good wife! xxx

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Pear Drops, Hooking and Chickens

Today has mostly been working and chilling.

I was lucky enough to work from home today as I had a report to write and need to get my head onto it. So I rolled out of bed and started at 7:30am.

That meant I could finish earlier and got some precious me time with a couple of pear drops and some serious crocheting.

I never used to like pear drops but now I really like their Strong flavour. Don't they look like jewels!

And my blanket is really coming along. I love the random colours and sometimes you get two colours that are randomly put together that just go together, like peas in a pod. I guess I should take some photos of these amazing colour combinations for you sometime. In the mean time her is my legs completely covered with stripey, hooky, goodness!

This evening I treated the girls to some pasta. They go mad for carbs ... defiantly women!

Here they all are having a good old munch.

Time for some close ups an proper introductions.

Here is Sarah-Jane, all black and si-fi. She's pretty timid and rarely wants human attention. She is the lowest in the chain I am afraid. But I think that's because she is the youngest.

Here is Ivy-Sue. She is defiantly the Marilyn Monroe of the clan. She loves dust baths and preening. She is the boos of Sarah-Jane and looks after her figure by listening to her belly and stopping when she is full.

Now onto the original three.

The brown Lohmanns are all about 3 - 4 weeks older than the black and white hens and boy do they know it.

Here is my favourite. Jill. She is full of beans and loves a hold and cuddle. She won't leave me alone when we are in the garden and she loves showing the other hens affection.

This one is Linda, the biggest, darkest and bossiest .... Jill wouldn't let her have her moment and still had to stay in shot. I love this picture though. Look and Jill's floppy bits by her beak. Heheh. They make me laugh.

Finally I have to present to you the naughty one, and the boss of them all. Cath. Although she had to show us her bum. She's too important for photos. My arse!

Sending you a cluck from them all,


Monday, 28 May 2012

Variations of Chives on a Sunday Afternoon

Today has been my first day back at work. It was so lovely to see everyone again. I work in a lovely fire station and everyone has each others best interests at heart. We really look after each other. 

Anyhow .. yesterday I went to my Mum's house and thought I'd show you her new little teacup. It is SO gorgeous. I really want it ... oh lovely tea cup ....

The she let me have a rummage through the button jar. My mum is so uncraftful its untrue. She hates sewing, hates knitting and hates making things. I defiantly don't take after her in that department. She let me have all of these though.

Can you see the lovely big black button at the front? If you look closely it's a post office button (strange, I know!), I'm sure it will really compliment my patriotic felt decorations.

What a find!

I can hear you all saying, so what's the title about Kate!!???

I now come to my main theme of the blog. I have a very successful chive plant growing at the top end of the garden, which came in to very good use for Sunday tea.

Let's discuss Sunday tea for a bit, if you don't mind.

You've had a huge sunday lunch so don't want much, but its your last bite to eat of the weekend so you want something nice and worth while. A pick me up, if you may.

Usually on a Sunday me and Craig have different things. I take the philosophy that; a little bit of what you fancy doesn't hurt you, on a Sunday. Let them eat cake, I say!

We only had one egg, which was defiantly mine seen as Craig had two for his breakfast, so that was me decided .... egg mayonnaise sandwich a la Katherine (I'll explain in further detail in a minute).

Craig fancied a lovely salad, with German sausage, gherkins and bread and butter (you can now see why I like separate things on a Sunday, as this options is most defiantly a man option).

My sandwich consisted of lots of chives, a perfectly done boiled egg and lots of cracked black pepper. My secret is to do this while the egg is still warm and then allow it to cool in the fridge. It allows all the flavours to combine and develop.

 And this is the finished mix .... yummy! See how yellow it is, even when its diluted with mayonnaise. You soooo can't beat free range eggs.

Then it was Craig's turn. A zingy, chivy, oily dressing for his perfect man salad. Firstly I put the chives and all the tomato pips that had ended up on the chopping board.

And then added ..... salt, pepper, garlic, chili, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, cider vinegar and olive oil.

These are the perfect Sunday tea, his and hers, chive using, finished products.

 Which one would you go for?

Kate xxxxx

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sleepy Sunday Morning

Good morning! If you were here I would sing you this....

I couldn't lie in much this morning. To much on my mind....

  1. The sun is already out, and the sun certainly holds no prisoners.
  2. I am back to work tomorrow and after three weeks off it is slightly daunting. But enough about that. I have just got to be bold!
  3. I have got the knitting. Got as in, I can do it. It's so exciting when the penny finally drops. You can't wait to get stated again.
  4. I feel a slight niggle of hay fever.
  5. I am seeing my nan today when we go around for Sunday lunch (oh yes, its lamb!) at my mum and dads. I get too excited when I am going to see grandparents of any sort. They know too much about things like gardens, pastry and crafts ... I have to sponge it up.
Here is the second pretty knitted flower I've made.

Won't it just look perfect on a little hair clip? Just 2 more to go. And then I must do a felty kinda badge for my two boy cousins.

I am the oldest cousin, in fact at 25 I am 17 years older than my eldest cousin, so I guess I more like an auntie. But auntie - cousin's get to spoil and take out their lovely little ones and treat them to lots of lovely things. I like being an auntie - cousin! :)

Here is our friends little boy at the BBQ we went to yesterday. He is two and a half, absolutely adorable, and when he saw me in my sunglasses, he put on his swimming goggles. He sat on my knee looking at me through them thinking he looked all grown up and cool. It was hilarious!

These were the sausages we had. They were the nicest sausages I have had in ages. You can't beat butchers sausages can you?

So, I'm not going to stay long, I have a thirsty garden to water, chickalata's to let out, 2 more glitter roses to make, 10 more lines on my vertical stripe blanket to hook (remember I set myself a goal of 35 this week ... well I've struggled - how can you have so much blanket on your legs when its this hot!) and some felty teacups and Scottie dogs to make.

In the warmth of the outside garden. ❀ Sigh.


Friday, 25 May 2012

Jenny Taught Me To Knit

Last nights craft class was a success. I went and showed off my new birds, and had a go at making my own felt from wool on a felting mat. Instead of making them up into a flower I am going to save them until next week and put the straight onto clothes. This can look really effective and I'll be able to show you next week. Here are the petals...

Then Jenny the tutor said it was time I started knitting. I'll be honest with you, I am happy not knitting, I like crocheting and doing crafty little bits. Why throw something else into the mix? Something else that will send my head whirring with yet more things I need to make and projects I have on the go.

But I sat there like a good little girl and learnt how to knit after Jenny had to cast on. My hands were all over the place. I was trying to hold the needles like the oh so familiar hook and getting the tension was terribly hard. But then after half an hour of doing 160 knits (sorry I don't yet know terminology) I had got it.

I brought a set of bamboo needles in lots of different sizes and a nice case (well that's me done for, I have to take it up now!).

I also got a sample of this luxurious wool which would make a lovely rug for the living room. But this is something that needs C's approval! It would be a hefty project! What do you think though. Isn't it beautiful! C thinks so :)

When I got home I tried to cast on. And cried. Cried because Jenny had done it and I couldn't even remember. I couldn't even remember when prompted by some on line tutorials. I guess I was tired from the heat and a long day. And those vodkas at lunch time, perhaps?

This morning I got up, quickly did the ironing and prepared for a day of self tutoring.

I chose to use my lovely bright pink glitter wool so I could make something for my little cousin. 

After mastering casting on I went and chilled in the garden with a cup of tea, cake ... mmmmmmmmm...

And listened to the groovy, trouser jazz sounds of Mr Scuff (if you haven't heard it this is my favourite). I went to see him live once and instead of a bar he had a tea hut with picnic benches and fairy lights. How original!

So I was going along fine, learnt how to cast on, I did three rows of 80, then decreased to 40, then 20, then ten. It was a little ropey but I was glad I made myself do it. I was starting to feel rather pleased for myself. I then went to thread the needle and this happened...


I was sooooo annoyed.

It had unravelled!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, you must know that this is very unlike me .... I have started again. I am determined. I have a plan and I'm going to stick with it, even if it hurts me!

On another note, do you fancy a little nosey at the chickalata's and garden. The sunshine has sadly wilted most of the blue bells but there is now loads of butter cups (a weed I know - but I love them).

and the wild geraniums are starting to show their pretty little heads,

And lots of lovely aqualegia, that has self seeded all throughthe garden in pinks, blues, lilacs and all kinds of other variations.

And this, tons of this, whats its name??? Can anyone help me?

And here are the chickens, enjoying in the sunny day.

I can't leave them in their coop while the weather is like this, They just stand on one leg looking gormless with their beaks wide opened, wings drooped, panting.

Enjoy your weekend - I'm off to percevier with the knitting. And stick a beer in the freezer for when my lovely hubby gets back after his week off work.

Love Kate


Thursday, 24 May 2012

Lichfield Love

 I was getting a bit annoyed this morning when doing my felt birds. Over the past couple of months I've acquired so much stuff. Reel's of thread, felt scraps, templates, needles, buttons ... the list is endless.

And the other day when my day was putting up a curtain rail and stood on a needle I knew I had to get organised.

The only slight bit of organisation was a gorgeous tine for my hooks. And I must say I pull it out proudly, and people admire not only its beauty, but my organisation.

So hellloooo - time to get a big nice sewing box for my kit. Of to town .....

You can't beat a little trip to your local town. Mine happens to be the cathedral town of Lichfield. Full of cafes, trinket shops and pubs. Pretty much everyone knows everyone and it's great ... unless your having a bad hair day, or forget your wearing your slippers whilst in Tesco's!

Look at the town, getting readying for something special me thinks ;)

And a lovely view of the bunting for the beer balcony (yes, I had to slip in a swift one, it would be rude not to have my wonderful concoction of raspberry and vanilla vodka with lemonade and a slice of lime ... have you ever had drumstick lollies ... well this drink is the same flavour!).

After my drink I remembered about my pile of crafty goodness waiting on the living room carpet, waiting to be homed in a lovely box.

And that's where The Sewing Shop came in.

The Sewing Shop is situated on the main drag down into town. It's placed there so ever time I go into town I HAVE to go in there. It knew even before I born it had to be situated there because one day Kate won't be able to resist temptation and not visit me. I see the door frame smile as it catches me on my way down. I can't even walk on the other side of the road because I swear the letter box is a magnet.

Today I was welcomed with lots of red white and blue goodies. They even had some ribbons, similar to the one I used on the felt birdies. They will defiantly come in handy for some teacups and Scottie dogs.

I also was dying to get a french knitting needle, and just above it, in full Sewing Shop Stylee, was a big version of my little tin.


The two go hand in hand like birds of a feather ♥


 As soon as I got through the door I was busy arranging. I found a lovely tiny jam jar for my buttons. And a little ring box called "coloured rocks" which I filled with sequins and beads ... this now my Diamonds and Pearls Box aka the Prince Box (get it? no, just me then?).

And there you have it, a Miss Organised and terribly content Crafter :)

 Now all I need is a Daddy Tin, roughly the size of a wardrobe.


Patriotic Felty Birds (tutorial)

I hope you enjoy my second felt tutorial. I really enjoy using felt. It's brash and bold and really lends itself to little hanging decorations and brooches.

So, as you know I had brought some red, white and blue felt for a jubilee themed project. And my aim this week was to create something and post a tutorial so you can all try it. I hope you do try it. And would love to see what you come up with.

What you will need;
  1. Felt in colours in red white and blue.
  2. Sharp scissors
  3. Paper for stencils
  4. Cotton and thread
  5. Scraps of fabric, ribbons, buttons, sequins ... you get the jist .... for decoration.

So first you need to draw a stencil. I wanted to make three hanging garden bird decorations. Obviously you don't have to do birds. You could do somethings as equally English. How about teacups, or crowns, or even diamond shapes for the jubilee.

You can make one stencil for all your decorations, but I wanted to have birds with different characters. Also add a wing stencil.

Then you need to pin the stencils onto your felt ....

and start cutting. I really recommend nice sharp scissors. If your really keep nominate a special pair for you felty fun.

You will need your front body, a wing and a back body. I've alternated my colours, what do you think?

Right now for the best part. Add your decoration. Go crazy! I've made all mine a bit different but in the main I've added a little cross stitched eye, details to the wing and a little detail on the tail. I've used sequins and broke a little bead bracelet I never wore. To be honest the little beads were a right pain! Only about 1 in 4 slide down the needle. Still, its all part of the fun.

Also see the change in the table cloth? That's because I'm OUTSIDE! I'm crafting outside, because today it's English summer time!

Then all you need to do is sew all around the sides, using which ever stitch you prefer, remember to leave a little bit of a gap and add some stuffing. This is the crafty equivalent to God breathing life into a little bird on creation day.

See it puff up and come to life.

Then add some ribbon. I specially brought some "Best of British" and I love it. You can get it here on Amazon. It's very British and suits a crafty kind of item.
4M x15mm Best of British ribbon (Natural rustic taffeta style material)
You can add the ribbon either after or before you sew up the bird, but think about how you want the bird to hang and have a little play before you sew it up. Obviously I wanted my ribbon to show off the words and flag so its more front facing. You could also use a crocheted chain to hang in your chosen colours.

Add here is the blue bird ....cute isn't he :)

Oh, I do hope you like them. I'm going to get them out every time there's a British occasion.

I've given them all names and called them Holy, Buck and Wind (all shortened names of the Queen's three palaces). Is this going to far?

The blue on is going to be names Buck because he is the most laddish looking.

Here's the red bird, Wind, because she looks like she is taking flight.

And the white one is to be christened Holy, because shes pure and white. Like a dove.

I simply cannot wait to show my craft class tonight. I already know they'll all want a go!

Please let me know if you take inspiration from this and make something. I would love to see it!

Now I'm going to make three similar items, but in Scottie dogs, and then three tea cups. I'll show you some photo's once they are done!

xxx Kate xxx