god's country

god's country
near carrick-a-rede

Saturday, 30 January 2010


I realised this week that I had run out of 'emergency' cards and had better make some more - I have made a few valentines cards as well, since thats nearly upon us! I think i may start selling them for £2.50 or so - i'm loving my new heat tool and embossing powder, can you tell at all??

I have bought the new papremania breast cancer awareness stamp 'build-a-rose' - which is LOVELY, but I can get my hands on the poppy one that was out in november, no one seems to have any! I shall keep looking though, as this one is my new favourite stamp! I may make a few more purchases this month - there is a papermania font that i fancy (and i can never find stamps with the sentiments I want) and i also feel that i need the stamps with the chairs and things (chatsworth collection or something). I have been trying to convince myself that these stamps will be very useful, though i cant think for the life of me for what!

Friday, 22 January 2010

New Beads!!!!

My new year's order of beads has arrived!! I'm well impressed, I ordered them at 1pm yesterday and they were on the doorstep waiting for me when I got home from work today. That's no mean feat considering they had to come from all the way over the ocean! Oh, and they are lovely! I got tempted by a sale at www.beadsdirect.co.uk, this little lot cost less than £25!

I am especially excited about the 'lemon jade free-form slab's and also the 'lava stone barrel's -

the Jade I bought just because I saw it and wanted it, I've actually bought a lot of greeny- yellow things this time - but the lava stone I have been wanting to work with for ages! I've never got my hands on any before now - I was tempted to make some out of fimo but just never got around to it.

I saw a free tutorial for it somewhere, it involved pressing rock salt into the fimo before baking, then soaking it in water after to dissolve the salt! Not a patch on the real thing though!

I'm hoping I will finally get around to making something for my Etsy shop, but we shall see – there are a lot of things here that I will have trouble parting with at all!

I think I will try and make a tutorial at the weekend for one of my Troll (Pandora) bead lariat necklaces – there were loads of things that I wanted to post about last week that I didn't get around to – and now look – forgotten forever!

Happily I seem to be getting over my 'cant be bothered reading' slump – I think I read so much coming up to Christmas that my brain just couldn't take any more! Hardly surprising really, there is only so much Jasper Fforde that even a disturbed mind such as mine can handle. I'm maybe a sixth of the way through the first Charlaine Harris book, 'Dead Until Dark' (the series that True Blood is based on), and I think I'm enjoying it even more than the series if that's even possible! I am missing the title song though – Bad Things – must download to listen to while reading, wont Al be pleased!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Recipe - Post Match Big Yorkshire Breakfast

acting on Scarlette's excellent recipe share idea I'm going to post the breakfast I make for my Mr after a big fencing competition (like the Northern Irish Open).

This recipe is inspired by a fantastic recipe in Jamie Oliver's 'Return of the Naked Chef', the midnight pan cooked breakfast on page 27. (the recipe is also available online at http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipes/Eggs-Dairy/recipe.html?dishid=745 if anyone wants it!

My Al is a Yorkshire man, and is a huge fan of Yorkshire pudding, massive curly sausages, English mustard and pork pie's with mushy peas, so I have edited this recipe especially for him its sort of a cross between Jamie's recipe and toad in the hole!

This works best with a pan that can go into the oven or under the grill – with a handle on either side rather than a long handle.

For the base:

X quantity of sausages (if they are smallish sausages I do 3 per person – this is assuming that this recipe is being cooked for brunch and counts for 2 meals – it is NOT low fat )

x quantity of mushrooms cut into slices(the portabello ones are best for this, one massive mushroom is enough per person, or a handful of normal sized ones)

several tomatoes cut into slices (if desired)

several sliced onions if desired

*Jamie's recipe also calls for bacon and eggs but my variation works better with sausages than bacon and you will see where the eggs go!

For the batter:

100g of plain flour

2 eggs

a dash of milk

1 heaped tsp of wholegrain mustard

~ first make the batter, whist together the eggs and milk and then add the flour a few spoons at a time, beat with the whisk until fairly smooth and then beat in the mustard. Leave to rest while you do the rest.

~ if you are using onions, place these in the pan first over a medium heat with a little oil until they start to soften.

~ cut the sausages in half lengthways and then again across the middle and place in the frying pan. You shouldn't need extra oil here – I never have

~ when the sausages are just about cooked through, turn on the grill to a high temperature and add the mushrooms and tomatoes to the pan. cook on until the mushrooms are cooked through.

~ the key to a good Yorkshire pudding is to have the oil really hot, if the sausages you are using have not given up much oil add a tsp or two and heat through, you really don't need as much as you think.

~ when your oil is hot and the ingredients are cooked give your batter one last whisk and pour over the whole lot, and keep it on the heat until the whole thing moves as one piece when you shake the pan.

~ remove from the ring and place under the pre-heated grill, it should start to puff up – if your grill is like mine it only cooks at the back for some reason, but if your 'pudding' has come together you can turn the whole think around 180 degrees in the pan and put it back under.

~ when the top is starting to go crispy and is a goldy colour slice into portions and serve – and there's only one pan to wash up!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Busy Saturday!

Oh what a busy day we had yesterday! From the first bus out to the last bus home, it was all go.
Check in for the Northern Ireland Fencing open closed at 8.30 so we were at the bus stop at 6.50am waiting for the first bus into Belfast, it didn't show up of course, so we had to catch the second one at 7.33 and hustle for the connecting bus to Avoniel.

We got signed in and got Al all changed and warmed up, they were pretty well organized and got going fairly early, they started the first round of poules and I headed off on my red bull mission (and a cream egg for emergencies) which he really appreciated. I then headed off on my 'girl project' mission, and walked from Avoniel to the Kings hall to visit a quilting shop called the Silver Thimble. It’s not there anymore. :’( So I grabbed some lunch and headed back on the bus to coach Al and provide some field physio – he has now pulled both quadriceps and was already through half of the red bull, he was not in a good way! We got him through the last 16, where he beat Jonathan Weekes, who was the first seed after the poules and is ranked 37 in the UK!

The quarter final didn't go so well, it was a pretty funny match actually. His opponent ended up in the final so we can’t complain too much! First they couldn't find anyone to referee, then they wanted the WINNER to preside the match (this is the guy who is ranked 18 in the UK, he was rather busy keeping warm and concentrating at the time), then the opponent's sword had to be changed, then the body-wire had to be changed, then he was given a red card for taking too long and Al got a free point, then Alastair fell over, then his hand seized up (looked like he was being electrocuted), then the opponent was awarded a second red card; and Alastair another free point, for trying to attacking from behind (he had tried to He finished 8th and is fairly pleased, although he feels that he could have done better. Today he can hardly walk so I feel that we should count our blessings! The T-shirts for the last 8 in men's and women's foil and saber were presented by the Northern Ireland Minister for Sport after 6 and then we went to get some dinner and beverages with some friends. We tried a new (I'm saying new because I've not noticed it before – this may be a wild leap...) Chinese restaurant in the city called Hungry? (127, Great Victoria St, Belfast, County Antrim BT2 7AH)

It was so good! We each had 3 courses for £7.95, and it was really lovely, we will definitely try it again, as it’s near the cinema and not far from our bus stop home. I tried some Hobgoblin last night, a beer that I have been meaning to try for some time, and I have to say it might be a new favorite! It’s quite mild to start and then has a stouty after-taste, and it looks so cool!!!

By the time we got back home, well, bed has never been so welcome!
This has turned into a very long post, so I will post the things from today that I was going to talk about tomorrow – which should be a slow news day!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Perhaps never again…

So… this knitting pattern. It may be true that I did not actually READ the pattern before I started, I did the first few rows of K1 P1 rib before I read on, and this is where the problem started. It’s all my own fault! I am not an experienced knitter, and my knitting has always been tight. When I first learnt at school I drove my friends nuts with it – it was so tight it squeaked! Things have progressed somewhat since then I will admit, it’s gotten MUCH better, but this new pattern is really testing me!

It involves this little charm, K1, (P3 together, but do not drop from needle, YO, P same 3 stitches together again and drop from left needle, K1) to end. :’(

Not only is my knitting rather tight, which makes knitting or purling 3 stitches at a time almost impossible! But I have chosen to knit this hat with yarn which can only be described as FLUFFY. I looked at the picture and thought moss stitch! I can do that! This is not moss stitch. Or easy. I’m not sure that I’m enjoying it, but it does seem to knit up quite quickly – as you would expect working with 3 stitches at a time! I am determined to have a slouchy hat
and as I can’t knit in the round yet there are limited options.
It does look lovely though! The wool is beautiful, and the pattern looks really interesting, though not quite as impressive as it looks in the picture on the pattern leaflet (mostly due I think to the fact that all the FLUF is obscuring all my hard work!). I think I have made a few mistakes, and I’ve had to deal with random extra stitches a few times, but I think it will be ok – I intend to knit a pair of fingerless gloves in the same wool to go with it next – finding a pattern for these that doesn’t involve knitting in the round has proven an exercise in itself, but I’ve finally got one and its free on The Pink Sewing Machine!
How hard can it be to convert a pattern for knitting in the round to a flat pattern and then sew it up the back?!?! If I wasn’t such a slow knitter I would just have a go, but to contemplate spending a week knitting something that I ended up having to frog makes me want to weep! Does anyone know how to do this?

Right, I’m off for now, pic’s of lovely and terrible hat to follow… assuming it doesn’t all go wrong, in which case no one will ever see it again : (

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Oh the snow!

I know I said there would be lovely photos but i left the camera in Mum's car!!
Such a moo!

Also, have you seen outside?!?! I'm not too sure I want to go out there, -9 it was last night!

Penguins are warmer! (especially this one, he's so cuddly!)

In the meantime I am uploading some pictures from before the snow got put on my naughty list, when it was still just pretty and not also scary and a pain in the patella :(

These are pictures of our house and next door around Christmas, and next door's lovely doggy Harvey (he's a dear) -

well that wasn't easy! boy the Internet isn't friends with me today! Camera is being dropped off later today so if i can work myself up to it there will be more pics to follow, and I feel a recipe coming on...


I have just discovered raisins in the washing machine...

there weren't any clothes with pockets in there, or kitchen things...

I think I'm going out of my tiny little mind...

answers on a postcard? raisin gnomes?

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

My poor baby!

A little snow and everything goes to pot!

Wednesday night is Alastair's fencing night, he normally gets in at 10:50 on a Wednesday night. this evening, due to adverse weather conditions, our bus is unable to service our road, or any of the roads leading to it, or any of the roads leading to that. so at 10.55 this evening the driver asked him to get out and walk the last 3 and a half miles - through conditions that i won't drive through - sorry. we have apparently run out of grit. this also means that there is no way to get to work in the morning that we have thought of so far...

photographs of the "lovely" snow to follow, humph

Sunday, 3 January 2010

things that I love

I need to introduce you to one of the most important people in my life, the one who is always there for me when I'm lonely, or its really cold, or I start to take things too seriously... or I drop the carton of creme fraiche on the kitchen floor, or if I really need someone to claw at the sofa and not the scratching post that was got especially for them, or if i need someone to make bird noises while trying to trip me up or nuzzle my legs when I'm getting something heavy out of the oven... you get the picture :)

Here is a pic of our own wee Lucy - our very own
Maneki Neko, she has crawled into the middle of a sleeping bag waiting to go into storage - silly kitty!

and here she is in her darker aspect - being mental...

knitting chicken

As promised here is the link to the free knitting pattern that I used for my scarf - it's a fantastic website with hundreds of free patterns, you have to have an account to access the patterns but they don't charge you any money and they don't fill your inbox with junk - so well worth it!


I was however, a bit of a chicken with this pattern...

I had never knit a cable before, and it seemed a bit simple to be true so I wasn't up for spending quite so much on the wool as suggested.

For my variation of this scarf I used:
* 2.5 100g balls of a chunky weight fluffy wool that I bought at a charity store

I knit the pattern as directed with size 10mm needles and 2 strands held together (I don't want to scare anyone but the pattern was wanting 8 strands held together and there was just no WAY i was carrying 8 balls of wool + unfinished scarf on the bus to work every day!) I had a few problems with the instructions for the cable because it has the instruction the opposite way round from the pattern - just watch out!

this scarf knitted up VERY quickly - or rather it would have done if i hadn't hidden it in the cupboard for about 2 months.

Good luck to anyone who is going to try it out - i cant wait to get started on my next project which is a big floppy hat!

New post? First post!!!

generally speaking i am very bad at this... I always keep a detailed diary up until about January 12Th, I have about 3 weeks of the year when i remember to write to people and I flit about from one project to another at breakneck speed. So this is sort of a new-years resolution. I will write things here. I will post lovely photographs and talk about things and post completed craft projects (that's another new years resolution - actually finish things...). I have finished my first project for this year. I think I started it around September last year. You should not imagine that this reflects the difficulty involved or indeed the volume of work - its just that i wasn't sure who i was making it for and then i got put off finishing it and then i got distracted by something else, and then there were Christmas presents to make and it got forgotten about. anyway - now i have a new project that i want to get started on and I needed the needles back! So here are my first photos for 2010 - new year's weekend snaps from the North Irish coast (it's God's own country to me!) and my newly finished object!

here is my lovely other half modeling my first ever cable knit scarf. i found a free pattern online and thought i would have a go but it was going to end up too expensive for me so i modified some of the pattern. I'll post a link to the pattern and also the changes that i made at some point shortly. He's a little shy!

and here are a few of the pictures i took this weekend! Ireland is gorgeous!