Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saturday (and Sunday) pudding

So keen am I to win back my hard-earned Posh Yarn that I have had fruit salad for pudding two days in a row. No chocolate, no cream, no fatty stuff. I have been good. But oh, what's that lurking at the side of my dish? Couldn't possibly be home-made summer fruit ice cream (yet another must have book!) could it? Well, come now, you didn't expect miracles straight away did you?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Too much!

While 'chatting' with WMK last night, we both decided that there was , how do I put this delicately, too much of us. We have both decided that enough is enough and drastic measures must be taken. Dare I mention the dreaded D word (diet) ? No, I thought not.

Anyway, we decided to start a club right here on this blog for us and anyone else who wants to join in and lose weight. Starting from now, we are trying to shed a few pounds. Well, maybe more than a few. OK then, lots and lots.

The incentive? Well, to join this club, you must send me a skein of yarn, some gorgeous fabric or anything crafty that you really like, that you would like to own. For every pound you shed, you win a raffle ticket and go into a draw to take place sometime in the future (New Year's Day possibly). If enough people join, there shall be a first, second and third prize. If no-one else joins us, then it's just a draw between the two of us!

I have started it all off with a skein of hand-spun yarn from the Felt Studio and a skein of Posh Yarn. Now I really, really want to keep these, so the only way to keep them is to lose loads of weight and then win the raffle.

What do you think? Anyone else up for this?

Send me something fabulous and crafty, lose weight (gain it or stay the same and no raffle tickets for you I'm afraid!) win tons of stuff back. Cheaper than weight watchers I think. I shall trust your honesty - anyone who says they've lost 14 pounds in one week will be pushing my good nature.

Weigh days are Thursdays - don't tell me your weight, just how much you've lost each week. Shall I put it in the side bar like a leader board? (Can someone very clever tell me how to do that?) (And is there anyone really clever who can do linky buttony thingy?)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I was bad - again. I succumbed to the Posh Yarn Sale on Sunday. But tell me - could you have passed this by? I have had many favourites over the years, but this one, oh my word, this one really has done it for me. Martha in Evanescent.

The pattern is already lined up - I fully intend casting on tonight. After the ironing, the cooking, the baking, the cake decorating, the taxiing and whatever else it is I have to do. But you know what? I'm not sure I'll be doing any of it. I'm swooning at the thought of knitting this up. (Startitis is still alive and tormenting me!)

I've never used Martha before, so in the interest of Market Research, I just had to do it didn't I?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Food for thought

Hugh would be proud. Saturday pudding was another leftover affair. Chocolate and banana ice cream (made with bananas that were brown and spotty and quite horrid to eat as a banana - but mighty fine in ice cream), some leftover (home made, she adds virtuously!) chocolate sauce, palmier butterflies (puff pastry trimmings from another pud), and in season English strawberries. It was clean dishes all round chez Stash Basket!

It seems almost flippant to talk about eldest son's trip now and I don't want to appear morbid, but I shall just tell you very briefly that he enjoyed the whole experience. I wonder if 'enjoyed' is the right word. He went to France to the Battlefields of the First World War and came back with a great many pictures - I shall just show you this one, my favourite of the whole lot.

I cried looking at the photos. Such a waste. So many young lives snuffed out. It affected him too. He had not wanted to go on this trip, but both Mr Stressy and I insisted that he should go.

It shocked him to see graves of soldiers who died at the same age he is now - remember that naive certainty that you're immortal? He even found the name of a soldier whose body had never been found with the same name as him. He has grown up a lot in the last 2 days.

I really do strongly believe that this sort of trip should be compulsory. But I also fully recognise that it is not a cheap trip. I also fully recognise that no way could I ever go there - I would cry all the time and would be a complete and utter wreck.

Suffice to say, Lest We Forget.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Just a thought, but does anyone out there use flora and not have children in school? They are offering the chance to 'buy' cooking equipment - tokens can be found on the inside of Flora tubs. If you use Flora and don't send the tokens to your child's school, then please can we have them? Just go here to register your token number and select Lionel Walden Primary School. Many thanks! (We only have a rather pathetic £3.60 so far, and as we all know, every little helps!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Following Moogsmum's example, here is a pudding created with leftovers. 4 leftover egg whites lurking at the back of the fridge, half a pot of double cream and half a pot of yoghurt fast approaching its sell by date. Admittedly the strawberries were fresh from Sainsbury's, but who ever has leftover strawberries?

Individual strawberry meringues.

Mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm.

Eldest son is going on a school trip tomorrow to the Somme in France. He is taking the camera with him, so no more pictures until his return. And I don't care what any of you say, as much as I shall miss him, I shall enjoy the peace!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The stripy blanket has returned!

It has come home! The final blanket has been doing the rounds, being knitted up by lots of very kind people, and to all of you involved, thank-you so much. This blanket is wonderful and I am in awe of some of the beautiful stitch work (who did the green stripe, 4th from right? What is that stitch? How did you do it? It's like woven fabric). I am busy knitting a border round it as we speak. It is taking a very long time though. Not only there hundreds of stitches on it, but the blanket is so warm and cosy that within minutes of me picking up the needles, it has sent me fast asleep.

I never know if stripey has an e or not. Spell check says I can have it either way. And on the subject of spellings, youngest son has come home with 'gibbous' in his spelling book tonight. Will someone please enlighten me - what on earth does it mean? I can honestly say that I've never used the word in my entire life. Does anyone else get stupid spellings sent home to learn, or is it just me?

But then you may not think that gibbous is a stupid word and that it's used every day in your house.

But it isn't here!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saturday Pudding - gone wrong!

I just daren't show you a picture of Saturday Pudding. No, I'm not going to do it.

We were going to have a summer fruit cheesecake. I made the base. Perfect. I made the filling... and that's where it all started to go wrong. You see, in true slop jockey fashion, I was convinced that I knew better than the recipe. No point in whipping everything up separately and messing up every mixing bowl in the house, no, just bung it all in together, mix it up and it'll be fine.

It was not fine.

It did not set. At all.

Never mind, I had some meringue nests just ready for such an occasion, let's make a sort of Eton Mess instead. So I mixed it all together and put it in the serving dish. There was too much for the dish so it spilled all over the table. Never mind, again. Spoon some out into mouth. Hmm. Bit sweet and sloppy. Aha, brainwave. If I crumbled up the perfect cheesecake base and mixed that in the Mess, it would add texture and cut down on the sweetness. Yes?


Base went soggy and gloopy. Quite unpleasant really.

So today I have decided to bung it into the ice cream maker and see how that turns out.

Let's face it, it can't be much worse!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's raining again...

It's raining. Well, it just had to - tomorrow is our summer fair at school and there appears to be enough rain up in the sky to last us for at least another 2 days! So it looks like it will be another indoor affair!

Whilst I don't really mind the rain (although I do prefer it at night so I can dry washing during the day) the plants are all loving the change in weather. Here we have all the tomato plants outside the kitchen. Never grown them before and I really did grow these from seed. Not sure how well they'll do outside, but we can but try, and if all else fails, green tomato chutney sounds promising in the autumn.

Sweet peas by the back door

Youngest son's pumpkins and gourd plants. Not grown these before either. No room in the garden so have had to put them in pots.

As well as these goodies, we also have shallots, onions, potatoes, peas, beetroot, lettuces, beans, apples, pears and lots of pretty flowers. I'll show you the front garden another day, but just take a peek at this foxglove.

Love foxgloves. Love their colours, their speckly throats, their tall spikeiness. Love, love, love.

And just incase you think I've been inside knitting today while the garden gets wet, here's something I made at 7.30 this morning. Impressed? My children were!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Rubbish photo, sorry. Here are the felted jumper blankets, all done, ready to be sent off to my sister-in-law's care home. In real life and in nice weather, they are much brighter and far more cheerful than the photo indicates. They were originally supposed to be knee blankets, but they have turned out somewhat larger. Still, they will be used to keep a few people warm, so that's all that counts.

I have been busy knitting blankets as well as sewing them. The Golden Wedding one is proving very addictive, so while the mood takes me, I'm getting as many squares done as I can. Which isn't actually very many - they take a long time (particularly the flower ones, which coincidentally are the ones I'm enjoying making most). I have 9 squares done so far, which means only another 90 to go - and 14 months to make them in.

Every time I finish another square, I get the ironing board out and gently press it. It's amazing the difference a quick steam makes to them. I then get all the other squares out, lay them out and look at them, stroking them and telling them that soon they will have lots more friends to join them! Oh dear. How sad am I?!

However, all this means that the Mystery blanket is not progressing very fast. I have only done one of this month's squares and not started on the others yet. Better do one of those tonight though - but secretly - and don't tell a soul this - I'm not enjoying knitting with Rowan cotton Glace nearly as much as Posh Yarn Helena. And Dee, if you're reading this, I've nearly run out of the cream for the back ground...

Lots of you said that you'd like to join in our very informal 'Blanket Knit Along'. So come on, own up, how are they all coming along? If you've got a blog, post about it and give us a link. If you're blogless (Kathryn!) just send me a photo and I'll post it here instead - if my somewhat limited computer skills let me do that!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saturday puddings

Did you notice the plural in the title? Puddings again rather than just pudding?

Well youngest son put in a request for today - Wellington Square (aka caramel shortbread / millionaire's shortbread). Eldest son wanted Rice Crispie cakes. Mr Stressy didn't mind what was for pudding - providing there was one. And I have been wanting an egg custard tart like my grandma used to make. This is very different to hers though - hers was about 2" deep and wonderfully creamy and delicious and nutmeggy and oh so good... memories of times long past.

I feel that mine won't be a patch on hers. Not deep enough (I didn't have the right tin), not enough nutmeg and looking at it, a little over-cooked.

But I suppose I'll force it down somehow.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Oops, I've done it again...

Well I did warn you that I quite liked the latest selection from Posh Yarn didn't I? I was bad, but all things considered I was quite restrained! The green and the orange skeins are definitely growing up into a pair of stripy socks. Or maybe mittens or gloves or a hat or oh I don't know, something! But I feel they look so good together that they are just screaming to be used together. Startitis will be very bad in the next week I know!

In my quest for yarn for the Golden Wedding Blanket, I hunted around on Ravelry and very cheekily asked one lady (Siw) if she could bear to part with this incredible green yarn (which in real life has lots of lemon in it too). She was sooooo kind and agreed to swap something with me. I sent her 2 skeins of Posh Eva 2-ply which I loved, and in return got all of this - Posh Helena, 2 skeins of something delicious hand dyed by Siw and a huge bar of Norwegian Chocolate. All very wonderful.

Thank-you so very much Siw. It is all fantastic - and I have already cast on with the green for another square! As to using the purple , I think I'm going to have a go at knitting 2 socks together on 2 circular needles. How about that then Marit?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Show and Tell

Look what arrived today! The blanket, which I had begged for someone to crochet round has turned up. Eve, you are a complete star, the crochet is fantastic and really sets off the whole thing. I love this blanket, so bright and cheerful, I cannot begin to tell you how well the border matches it all. Thanks to everyone who has joined in with this. It is very much appreciated!

Incidentally, the stripey 'round robin' type blanket is still out there somewhere - must make a mental note to chase that one up, haven't heard from it for a very long time.

I have a new scarf. I saw this one and fell instantly in love and managed to convince mum that she needed a spot of knitting to keep her busy! It's made in Posh Yarn (other yarns are available, but frankly my dear, don't bother wasting your money on anything else!) Charlotte - silk and merino mix - and is gorgeous. I almost regret the sun shining quite so much lately as I want to wear my new scarf!

Progress on the Golden Wedding Blanket is slow but sure. I need to make 2 a week for the next year to be able to get it done. The stripy squares are going to be perfect mindless knitting - suitable for football matches, waiting to collect children and rare visits to the cinema. The flowers are much more complicated, involving intarsia, Swiss darning and beads. They also take a very long time! I am refraining from sewing it all together until every last one of the 99 squares is made. I am not organised enough to have a plan of colours, just doing whatever takes my fancy at the time.

Oh yes, and on the subject of Posh Yarn, look what I was lucky enough to grab from last weeks sale - a skein of Esme Riband. I love this so much that I was very bad last night and ordered more Esme. Well, I think I did. I ordered something, but such is the panic on a Sunday Evening, that I just tend to press 'buy' whenever I see something that I can't possibly do without. The Stash Basket will be very happy soon as it was starting to look a little bit empty.

Well, perhaps 'empty' is a slight exaggeration...

Finally for today's Show and Tell, here is some beautiful jewellery bought from Silver Pebble. (Please excuse rubbish blurry photo). I could spend a fortune in her little shop, and just as soon as Paypal has recovered from the latest Posh Purchases, I may very well be heading straight back to her shop...