Friday, August 31, 2007

Nicole's Cake

This cake is for Nicole, a friend's daughter who is a Goth apparently, or am I imagining that? Anyway, her mum asked for a 'purple and silver cake with lipstick and music things on'. It stumped me, I have to be honest, but this is what I've come up with. What do you think?

Yesterday my neighbour gave me some blackberries that she'd just picked. Ooh, goody, I love blackberries and thought about my favourite autumnal cake - blackberry spiced crumble cake. Believe me, it's delicious. So I set out this morning to make one, eagerly awaiting trying it for my dinner. Or tea. Or snacking on it. Or any other way I could get this rammed down my throat. It went in the oven looking very promising. The smells coming from the kitchen have been driving us all mad. Get me to that pudding! At last it was ready. Out it came. On to the cooling rack.

The new cooling rack

The new non-stick cooling rack.

And guess what? It didn't stick. It slid beautifully off the damn rack and straight onto the floor.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Important Announcement

Life will not be the same here. There is a Very Important Announcement to be made. After a very productive holiday, Blossom and Alfie have become Parents. I know, it's marvellous news isn't it? Both mother and baby are doing well. Alfie, bless his little cotton jumper, is still reeling with the news.

May I introduce you to Bartholomew Archibald, The Stash Basket's latest addition.

The proud parents went into the garden to show off their young son to the world. Julie he is so beautiful, words fail me. Thank-you for making our life complete!

Little Bartholomew more than makes up for the fact the Monkee Maker inadvertently pulled the wrong name out of the hat for the back pack. She did of course mean to get my piece of yellow paper out but obviously didn't want to steal his thunder.

Oh, and so you don't get bored of Tipsy, I'm planning on a once a week update. Tipsy Tuesday. Sounds like a good idea to me!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Well I've looked in the dictionary and the definition of 'Posh' is 'smart, stylish, high class'. So here we go! What could be more posh than this orange bag from Hermes in Lower Regent Street (I think). Husband brings me back all sorts of lovely bags like this, ones that his boss is throwing out. I've yet to have a posh bag with anything in it brought home. But this is going to be my latest knitting bag for, yes you guessed it, Tipsy. I've cast on as you see...

... and am loving everything about it so far. The little bit of lace pattern, which is so easy even I can manage it; the frill round the bottom of the sleeve (am I having a bit of an 80's revival with all these frills lately I wonder?); the colours and of course the ever perfect Posh Yarn - Sophia 4-ply which is 100% pure unadulterated cashmere.

I did wonder if I had enough yarn, but having assembled it all together, I think that possibly I might manage. Good job too as anything posh, be it bags or yarn, does not come cheap. But hey, a little extravagance now and again never did anyone any harm did it?

So follow me please for the journey that will be long and slow. I am a very slow knitter, so do not expect miracles. But perfection has its price does it not?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pink sock

So here as promised is the knitting done at my brother's house. Well, on the train mainly. And what a quick knit it was, despite casting on 180 stitches for the top. I love this sock and will definitely make more. Youngest son modelled it, that's why it looks so huge. He was not impressed to be wearing a pink sock and wants you all to know that he doesn't normally wear that colour.

Isn't the yarn lovely? It's from Kerrie and I think is merino, but I've had it so long, I can't remember. I really like the way it's going in stripes. What a cool sock. Unless you're an 8 year old boy of course.

By popular demand I'll be showing you the cashmere I've got for Tipsy tomorrow. Daren't take a picture of it when husband is around - he would completely freak out if he saw that much cashmere. I have cheated a bit and already cast on, so I might give you a treat and show you that too. Oh I'm just too good to you! Starting again on the cake orders too after a break in the summer, so knitting progress will be slow again.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

In which we talk about London and trains

Yesterday was youngest son's 8th birthday. Where on earth have those years gone? It seems like only last week that I was grabbing the midwife round the throat demanding an epidural (and husband saying calmly that I was too far gone to have one - 'shut you patronising b.....d, what the hell do you know?')

Anyway, all that aside, we went to London on the train for a nice family day out. On the Train. Pah. Had to stand all the way there. 55 minutes in a hot a sweaty cattle truck. Arrived in our capital feeling slightly harassed. But that soon all melted away. I love London (so did everyone else in the world, as they were all there yesterday. It was packed). The street entertainers particularly in Covent Garden are so funny, the boys just loved them. This Gladiator Statue was hilarious, his facial expressions were wonderful. Wandered around a bit before heading off to the highlight of the day - I managed to get tickets to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Well what can I say? Lee Mead - the one who won the competition from the tv - was so fantastic. And so damn gorgeous. I mean really gorgeous. The show is amazing, it's one of my favourites anyway, the costumes, the humour, the songs... oh I could go on for hours! If you get the chance, go, go, go...

After that we went to TGI Fridays for something to eat (the whole restaurant sang Happy Birthday to our little boy) and then back on the train to come home.

The tube was packed, must have been about 100 degrees in there too. The train was packed so stood up all the way again. And if I thought it was hot and sweaty in the morning, it was nothing to the evening train. And then they couldn't find a driver. So we waited (still standing) on this stationary train cum oven for nearly an hour. By the time we got home - oh having missed our connection - all good moods of the day were severely tested. Husband was particularly grumpy! (Nothing new there then!)

But was Lee worth it? Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

On holiday with bunnies

Holidaying with bunnies was so lovely. Look at their little faces as they ran through the long grass (think they were playing kiss-chase, Blossom is a bit flirty lately and of course Alfie is so up for it!). Expecting the patter of tiny feet very soon! This picture was taken at Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire. It is a truly beautiful place, totally awe-inspiring at the size of it all. Built before cranes and diggers and JCB's too. How did they do that? More pictures another day when I can't find anything else to show you.
After the Abbey, we found our way to this little sweet shop - a gem of a place if ever there was one. And guess what everybody, they do an on-line service too. Jars and jars of sweets, all the sorts that used to be around when I was a little girl. Oh such nostalgia! Oh, so many calories. Oh who cares? Blossom and Alfie loved it here too, as you can tell by the look on Blossom's face. They were expensive chocolates, but mighty damn fine! Of all the places we went to on holiday, this place sticks in all of our minds more than anything else. We are obviously very greedy!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Really back this time!

Now I don't normally do this - put a photo of me and the boys here, but I thought you ought to see us just this once. OK, that's over with now. Don't expect another for ages!

Had a lovely few days in the Lake District with my brother and sister-in-law. For once the weather was perfect (apparently it hasn't stopped raining here at home). We had some lovely walks - nothing too strenuous for a couch potato such as myself! Even got some knitting done, haven't photographed it yet, but I think you'll be very impressed with me.

No more holidays booked - we're back to school in just over a week - but plenty of knitting on the cards and more cakes too. Oh it's going to be a busy old month September. And before too long it's going to be my 100th post. That seems to be a traditional time to organise a give-away. Don't you normally get presents when it's your birthday not give them away? The world of blogging is very mysterious!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Holiday knitting

Just to let you know - I've decided on the Ruffled Garden Socks from this month's Magknits. Cast them on last night using some gorgeous merino from Kerrie (one pink and one blue skein). Very excited by this pattern - it looks so pretty. Oh hang on let me take a picture... (I never have liked a picture less post!)

There, that's better. What do you think then? Expect great things when I return - the train journey is nearly five hours long. Mind you, am more than likely to use spare yarn to tie up children... 7 and 12 yr olds 'sitting still' for that length of time? I think not!

And before you all complain about me taking another holiday, the last one was a week with my in-laws where it rained nearly every day. This time am going to my brother - it will probably rain every day there too, but will be much more relaxing! He's very computer-minded, so he might let me post from there. See you soon maybe?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Another finished project

I suppose that the benefit of having so many things on the needles is that lots get finished all at once! Managed to get these socks done on holiday too, well, managed the second one, the first has been hanging around for ages. The photo is not a good one - the colours are so pretty in real life. More Posh Yarn again - Emily in Garden Path.

So glad you all liked the forest canopy shawl. And in reply to some of your comments, no, Dee, I am not addicted to lace now. I much prefer stocking stitch - especially fair isle (more of that another day...) And Annette (hello by the way, nice to have you here) no, I will most definitely not be making another. It went on for far too long, and I want to get back to stocking stitch. Preferably fair isle. And preferably in some very posh cashmere...

But for the next few days, Tipsy will just have to be on hold, ready to be cast on another day. I'm off to see my brother in the Lake District and need some little portable knitting. Probably another sock, unless you can come up with something else - be quick though, I need to pack my suit-case.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Forest Canopy

So here we are - as promised. Forest Canopy got finished at long last. The yarn was a present from the Fabulous Dee - Lucia sock yarn in the rather wonderfully named shade 'Scrumptious'. Does anyone else wonder where she gets all those names from? Does she sit there with a dictionary, or does she just have too much time on her hands?!!!! (Only jesting my dear!) I used 4mm needles and managed to do 23 repeats with 2 skeins. I was very worried at the end if I'd run out of yarn - had a mere 3 metres left.
It's a lovely size and I can't wait to wear it. The colours are just great, so very 'me' and I really think this will go with everything in my wardrobe. I love it so much, thanks Dee and Tony (who no longer wants to be called Mr P). More cake for you one day!
Close up - have I blocked it right? Should the leaves be squares? There are loads of mistakes on it, but by the time I was down to repeat number 21 and at least 5 million stitches on the needles, there was no way I was going to take anything back down!

Oh and some very exciting news, I've been nominated for a Rocking Blogger Award by Julie (Blossom and Alfie's first mum). Don't know what it means, but hey, an award! Me! Yeah man, I rock. Shall I be going on tour soon?

Friday, August 17, 2007

I'm back!

Hello then all of you - missed me? I've been gone for 2 weeks and it seems like a month, boy am I glad to be home! We stayed at a 'borrowed house' in North Yorkshire for the first week which was fantastic. a real home-from-home kind of place (only much bigger and not as much wool!). We had glorious weather, sunny without being too hot. Just perfect. This picture was taken at Brimham Rocks - if you've never been and have children, hot foot it over there asap. The place is just a mass of these rocks which have been around for millions of years. Children are allowed to climb all over them. There aren't any signs to say 'Stand Back' or barriers to keep you firmly . on the ground. It's a massive natural adventure playground and only cost us £3.50 to get in.

We had a great week in Yorkshire - more details of trips later in the week - rounded off on the last day by a trip to Sheepish Wool Shop in Knaresbrough (another wonderful place with an extremely bonkers assistant!). So of course I just had to buy more yarn. After all, I've had a very productive time knitting on holiday. Come back tomorrow to see Forest Canopy all blocked and dried...
The second week was spent in North Wales with my in-laws. It rained. But at least I got more knitting done. (Second sock finished, Debbie Bliss Cable cardigan back and fronts finished, beaded bracelet finished) See, I so knew you'd be proud of me!

Oh, and I forgot to say - husband's reaction to the hand-made card? 'Cheapskate' was all he said. Marvellous!

Thursday, August 2, 2007


We're off on our holidays soon so this is likely to be the last post for a couple of weeks. Next week it is our 15th Wedding Anniversary. 15 years - blimey that's a long time. I hunted through all the card shops and yurk, what a load of sentimental old bunkum there! Nothing even remotely suitable (unless I wanted to pay a fortune). Now don't get me wrong, I am quite happy to spend plenty of money on husband, but when I feel I'm being ripped off, I'm not so happy. So decided to make a card instead. Not quite up to Piglottie's standards, but hey, I gave it my best shot!
And as we're going away - self catering - I thought I'd better do something to eat while we're there. So clockwise from bottom left corner we have chocolate chip flapjacks, chocolate coconut and cherry slice, fruit cake, bacon quiche and chocolate marshmallow tray bake. I have a sweet tooth - expect me to come back at least a stone heavier!
I feel my priorities are in the right order. Tomorrow I'll think about packing (first things first, decide on knitting projects to take) and wondering if we have enough clean clothes. Maybe even hunt for a suitcase. Husband has been in the garden since he got home from work - wants to make it all look perfect for when we're away. He's planted some grass seed, trimmed the hedges, dug the borders and even - get this people - swept the gravel drive. With a brush. Yes I know. Strange isn't it? See Monkee Maker, you aren't the only mad person around!!!
See you all in a couple of weeks. I'll miss you!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Last year, for mum's Christmas present, I had the idea of making her a throw and knitting lots of flowers to go on it. So I chose the yarn - Colinette's Point 5 - and knitted away. The throw was huge - it used 5 skeins - but was a bit floppy and thin, not like I wanted. So I decide to felt it a bit (a bit, note) to make a firmer fabric. So in the washer it went. Oh dear me. The original throw was about 5 feet by 4 feet - it came out of the washer a mere 1.5 by 2 feet. So I had to do some rapid re-thinking and came up with the idea of a bath mat. At least I didn't need to make quite so many flowers!

I still like the idea of a throw and will no doubt put it on the list of things to do at some stage. Oh and as for Forest Canopy - who was I trying to kid saying that it would be done before we go away? These rows are taking forever. At this rate I'll be lucky if it's finished for when we get back from our holiday. I am never knitting another shawl ever, ever again in my whole life.

Just remind me I said that will you?