Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Settling Back In

It's been a week since my last blog-post. It's a bit like confession isn't it, and I'm not even Catholic.
We've been gently lowering ourselves back into the murky waters of early mornings and school runs, after a lovely Christmas break. 

The early starts are a killer for me, I'm not a morning person, so that part of the routine is always challenging, but at this time of year, when it's still dark when I get up, and still dark upon leaving for school in the morning, it seems really hard. Thankfully all the after-school clubs haven't re-started yet, so the Mum-taxi service to and from football, basketball, dancing, gymnastics, drama, or - my favourite - sewing club - has yet to resume service. I'm not a big club fan, I survived quite well without attending every club going, but it just seems to have worked out this way, and I suppose I should be happy that they like to try different things. Just the girls though, Little Man is a home bird, no clubs for him!

I seem to done a lot of pottering about this last week, sorting, clearing out, doing all those post-Christmas/New Year jobs like rehoming old toys, donating old books and shredding old paperwork. Jobs that are very therapeutic but don't exactly make for riveting reading.

I spent a pleasant hour or two sorting out my crochet books and magazines. They're in the top part of my old bureau, the fold down desk-y bit broke so I can't stuff random paperwork in there any more. Instead I have all my crochet literature (which is much prettier and far more important than those silly old bills and bank statements) all filed and on display.

Although, and now I'm talking to you Simply Crochet, what's with the stark black top part of the spine on issue 27? Bring back the properly coloured colours please. Thankyou.

The slow cooker has been earning it's keep. As a vegetarian family with one child who does't like "shiny" sauces - you know, the sort that have gravy, flour, cornflour, roux type bases - we eat a lot of tomatoey based meals from the slow-cooker. 
Last night was (meat-free) meatball pasta bake, tonight is quorn paprika, tomorrow the other half of the mixture for tonight's dinner will become a lasagne. And later this week we'll have jacket potatoes done in the slow-cooker.

I love that you can bung something in it in the morning, or even the night before, and it's just ready and waiting patiently for you at tea-time. So you don't get that "oh groan what will we have for tea tonight" feeling at 5pm. If anyone has any vegetarian non-shiny non-tomatoey sauce slow-cooker recipes, fire them over please! Always looking for new ideas :) By the way, is it "tea-time" or "dinner-time" in your house ? I always say tea-time, I have VERY vivid memories of my Mum shrieking "TEA'S READY!!!!!!" repeatedly, and getting annoyed if we didn't come straight away. In a very similar way to myself nowadays.... So maybe it's the Northern Irish way to say "tea-time" ? I'm sure my Southern English Mum friends say dinner-time. 

On the crochet-front I've started a hat. For myself. I love hats, but not on me. I can't work out if it's because I wear glasses, or is my face too round-y ? Anyway, I thought I'd tailor-make myself one. I'm totally making it up as I go along, it's so great when you can try it on pretty much every round! I'm using a really gorgeous deep berry red Sirdar wool-blend DK. But to speed things up, and chunk up the hat a bit, I'm using two strands at the same time, with a 6mm hook. It's supposed to snow overnight (I have my doubts though) so I'm hoping to finish it tonight.

The playroom project (you'll be so disappointed, it's a bit funky but not that amazing) is progressing. I tried to get a decent photo of some of the squares but the light is just so bad. Here's one that is neither glaringly bright nor overly dark .......

.... but the teal colour on the right is a big lie. it's actually a very bright green. More like this ...

.... I love this green. What would you call it ? It's not neon, lime, sage, mint, pistachio, emerald, forest, petrol, not even really jade. Is it Mid Green ? Just "Green" ? 

The WIP that's taken up most of my time is the cross-stitch I'm doing for Little Tomboy. She spotted this kit at Hobbycraft one afternoon, it was reduced to a fiver - bargain! - so I agreed to make it for her. I'll do an over the top reveal once I've done the last few bits and framed it somehow. Here are a few sneak peeks though .... 

Cute little flower detail in the corner ....

Some of the writing yet to be outlined ....

And some of the writing with completed outlining detail ....

I love how the outlining adds so much depth to the picture.
It's not my usual choice of picture, or style, but Little Tomboy is going to love it. Well I hope so anyway :)

I'll be "Five on Friday"ing this week, see you then :)



  1. January is a time for pottering and giving new things a home, I too have done a lot of that this week. Love the colour of the squares. I call our meals breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  2. I'm from Kent and it was always Teaaaaaaaaa Time here too, slow cooker sounds amazing my sister keeps saying she is going to get one. loving the bright crochet squares
    Clare x

  3. It does take a while to get back into the swing of things, doesn't it? Especially when the days are still so dark. I love the colour of your hat yarn - lovely! And I'm a Southerner, and have always called it tea time as well:)
    Cathy x

  4. Wow, I'm really impressed with how you make the most of your slow cooker! I bought one last autumn but never really got to grips with it and only used it a couple of times. Your meals sound delicious. x

  5. I use my slowcooker at least once a week, it's one of my best tools. I think the green yarn, if it's Stylecraft, is just called Green. I have some here. I like it for boy things, it's a perfect grassy green. Now I wish they'd come out with a good apple green. I think your hat looks great so far. Purple is my favorite color.

  6. It is amazing what a difference the outlining on cross stich makes isn't it, I never realised before I did some at the end of last year that had outlining. You certainly make the most of your slow cooker, I heard that you could do jacket spuds, but never tried them - I wondered what your method was? You have some lovely crochet books too! xx

    1. Honestly, it's so easy. I do exactly what I'd do if I was putting them in a normal oven. Prick them with a fork, brush (or spray) with oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap in tin foil. Place in slow cooker. I normally put them in in the morning for most of the day on low. They go really soft, it's amazing. The first time I did it I was sure it would explode or set the house on fire!

  7. It always takes a while for things to calm down after a break I've always found. I'm already looking forward to half term! I truly don't think I could survive without my slow cooker & I quite often use it for jacket potatoes too. Much nicer than sticking them in the microwave.

  8. Love your WIP's Jill. Haven't done any x-stitch for ages, it's very satisfying to do I find. X

  9. Dinner or tea? Now that's a question! I think (!) I talk about what we're going to have for dinner but it's at teatime. That doesn't make sense of course. We have great confusion about what is lunch or dinner. People from a farming background here in Northern Ireland have their dinner in the middle of the day. So when I ask 'what would you like for dinner?' both my husband and my father think I am asking what they'd like for lunch. When I ask 'what would you like for lunch?' my father has to confirm that I mean the midday meal!

  10. Beautiful tulips and cross stitch, I really enjoy cross stitch too. I'm Scottish and we say tea here as well.
    Marianne x

  11. I've been reading everywhere about those slow cookers - I really should get one myself !!! It sounds so easy, everything in in the morning, and everything ready by dinner time... (Oh yes, here in Belgium, tea-time is a non-existing time.....

  12. I am not Catholic either but feel I often have to confess about not being blog available. Love your crochet and that yummy "dinner" in the crock pot. We say dinner time, but I am a boring American and anything said by anyone from Europe sounds so much lovelier than how we/I talk.


  13. I'm Sussex born and bred and have always said tea time. I love my slow cooker and wouldn't be without it now. I tried jacket spuds after reading about them on another blog but was afraid to put them in 'dry' so put about an inch of water in. Will try your method next time. Looking forward to seeing your titfer. x

  14. I'm with you on gently making my way into the New Year. It seems to be taking some time this year.

    I love all your makes and the colours too. So very pretty. I think I would call your green "kelly green" though maybe I am a little off on the shade. It's sometimes hard to tell with photos.

    This week I'm trying out some new vegetarian dishes that might work for you. Check my menu plan where I have links to the recipes and you can decide for yourself or find other vegetarian dishes.

  15. Your slow cooker meals sound delicious. If I can think of anything meatless, I'll let you know. Your projects all look wonderful, as usual. I love the color of the hat you're making for yourself. Here, in New York, we call the evening meal dinner. I do, however, love the sound of "Tea", sounds so formal.

  16. Wow, those tulips are gorgeous! And I love that hat you're making. Such a nice little noggin warmer! I hope you model it for us. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  17. I love how pretty all of your crochet books look in that desk drawer. The color of your hat-in-the-works is gorgeous! Can't wait to see how it turns out.
    I would definitely call that green in your other project a nice emerald or jewel-tone green.
    The cross stitch project looks adorable too - you are a busy Gal!!
    I love how you say things differently over there. Like here it's called supper or dinner (instead of tea time). And I love that you call them "jacket potatoes" as here it's "baked potatoes". I love the sound of jacket potatoes better. Lol
    Keep us posted on those projects! xo

  18. We say 'what do you want for dinner' but it's 'tea time'! I guess we are a bit muddled... All your crochet materials look wonderful, and that hat as well! The stitching is very cute, looking forward to seeing the reveal :) Slow cooker wise we do the occaisonal vegetable tagine, good food have some lovely recipes :) xx

  19. I would call that green 'grass green'. I'm South of England and say 'dinner time' but my mum always shrieked 'tea time' much like yours altho she is from the Channel Islands ... and hubby's family who fancy themselves as a bit middle class say supper time. We flit between dinner, supper and tea....! We're confused! :-) x

  20. That hat colour is gorgeous are we going to see the finished thing,I wear glasses and always say that hats don't suit me.Your crochet is just divine.Love that slow cooker recipe looks yummy.Jacket spud though done in a dry slow cooker,never heard of that.When I was growing up it was always T time only posh people said Dinner lol.


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