Art with my Needle ~ mellow yellow

Who remembers this:

Work in Progress

Making the base fabric

or this:

jacket front

jacket front

I wanted to gather and double the fabric at the back, to keep my back warm.

Could I make a butterfly pattern out of the gathers?

Could I make a butterfly pattern out of the gathers?

I got kinda stuck.

Life interfered.

The unfinished creation remained on the dress form for many a month. The fabric was proving too soft for the effect I wanted, so it was a case of getting back to the drawing board once more.

I unpicked my surface stitches until I was back to the knitted fabric. Turning it around so that the pattern was vertical, I doubled it and remade the basic shape once more. The front is now similar, but the back has lost all the extra bulk.

I extended the sleeves while I was in sick-bay, ripping out the the same piece three times!

Now it looks like this:

Jacket back view

Jacket back view

jacket side view

jacket side view

Jacket front

Jacket front

I am not sure about the double buttons… I may remove one and make a finer loop. I still have plenty of yarn

Left over yarn

Left over yarn

Now I wonder what I can make with that?

 

I’m back!

I have been absent for a week, but it was certainly no holiday. Thank you for your patience with this old patient!

For the first time in sixty eight years I was floored by a problem with the waterworks. My waterworks (UTI).

I was as limp as a wet lettuce, with no interest in blogging or reading anything. The words went in and got lost in the cotton wool of my brain. My energy levels went out the window and all I wanted to do was sleep.

Did I have a temperature? Yes but not in the way you would expect it was 33°C. 35°C would be normal for me, I am the original ice maiden. 37°C is the recognised normal body temperature. Not wanting to go down the antibiotics route, I decided to go for the old home remedies.

Cranberry juice and mammy’s barley water. I know that cranberry Juice is a No-No for anyone on Warfarin, thankfully that is not one of my meds, but I am on a blood thinning drug so still need to be careful.

A glass of cranberry juice was followed by another of boiled water.

I tried to distract myself with an unfinished knitting project. I had to rip out the same piece three times! :mad: Eventually I have finished it, so maybe I will post about it on Wednesday.  :)

I noticed an improvement yesterday and today.

I WILL LIVE!

Maybe by mid week, I’ll be in form to venture out for a walk or a coffee.

I had some surprises in the past few days…

For the first time in thirty seven years of living in this house, I had not one, but two actual candidates for the Westminster Election on 7th May, ring my door bell and…….

Speak to me!

Sunset

 

The new header photo is the view from my kitchen sink, and I captured it from my back door last night at 20:40

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Dear Handsome Prince,

 

For many years I have lain sleepless in my lonely bed with only spiders for pillow friends.

My pillow partner

My pillow partner

Maybe my being awake is the reason for your non-appearance to kiss me gently on the cheek before whisking me off to your enchanted palace.

I fear the gifts of beauty, wit, grace, dance, song, and music presented to me as an infant princess, by my fairy godmothers, are fading fast.

Last night I did manage three sleeps…. Rather a miracle for me, so perhaps you could tip toe in my direction tonight.

I do make good cakes and treats and chocolate truffles worthy of a prince.

At this stage my garden is so over grown that you may well have passed by thinking it was a setting for Game of Thrones, the Vikings or some other modern day TV epic!

I do realise that like me, age is catching up with you too. Yesterday and again today, I spent time in the wilderness of my garden clearing a narrow pathway of brambles to ease your journey to my bedside.

Clearing brambles

Clearing brambles

Yours hopefully!

Princess Grannymar

April Firsts

I know. I know!

It has been a full week since all those pranksters played their pesky practical jokes!

We in Northern Ireland have far more serious issues to concentrate on right now.

Our Easter Holidays finished last night. The remainder of the western world who mark this Chocolate Egg Eating marathon Christian festival, celebrate from Good Friday through Easter Monday.

Not Northern Ireland. We do things differently! Our official days of celebration are Easter Monday and Tuesday. So this morning many a weary worker is trudging back to sit behind their desks until next month when we will begin and end the month with Bank Holiday weekends!

Over the past few years. changes have been planned, sorted and finally set in motion. On 1st April 2015, a total of 26 different district councils have been reduced to 11. So time and MONEY has been spent in each of these areas, providing all forms of information to ease the path for all the residents. We have new council names, logos, colour schemes and up to the minute online Websites, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

There is absolutely no excuse to miss out on any dates for upcoming events.

For example when we begin the week with a holiday, the bin collection due, often happens one day later than normal. This chart below makes this change very clear!

Alteration to Bin collection dates

Alteration to Bin collection dates

Thanks to my friend Emily for pointing me in this direction.

Food Monday ~ Two for the price of one

 

I had a different post in mind for today, but I already wrote it last year.

So since I have not posted any recipes for quite some time, I will do so today in honour of the lady in the link above – Mammy.

I learned at my mother’s side, all those years ago….. that having a recipe sitting in front of you, does not mean the dish or cake will turn out as printed! ;)

His recipe for Cranberry Walnut Apple Cake was shared with us by Cecilia of THEKITCHENSGARDEN back at the end of last year. She described it as being very moist and soft in texture. I liked the sound of it and was anxious to try it. I made it, loved it and will do so again and again.

I was a little worried about the moisture level: sugar, oil, eggs and cranberries, especially if the fruit had been frozen. So using my carrot cake recipe for reference (it is made with oil), I began with one cup of muscavado sugar the only brown in my pantry that day. A whiz round and it still looked oily, so I added another tablespoonful of caster sugar. Happy with that I added the eggs and vanilla.

The dry ingredients were as listed, and added to the food processor. The mixture seemed heavy like soft toffee, but I continued and put the mixture in a large bowl before adding and mixing by hand, the remaining ingredients.

I used:

1. Whole fresh cranberries – well, as fresh as they can be after swimming across the pond, we do not grow them in these parts.
2. A diced Bramley apple – about 350g before the skin and core were removed.
3. Walnut pieces without further chopping.
4. Lemon zest.

I like to see what I am eating in a cake.

My next change was to use my holy tin savarin cake tin for more surface area and to prevent a soggy middle. The extra, I put in a one pound loaf tin. And baked them at 175°C/340°F. The small cake was ready after an hour and I covered the ring tin with greaseproof paper for another 30 minutes.

resting and cooling

resting and cooling

Once cooled, I cut the small cake. It was delicious and not too sweet, nicely moist, but inclined to crumble when sliced. I liked the fact that it was possible to taste each individual fruit and nut piece.

want a slice

want a slice

I did make it again, this time doubling the quantities and filled two 2lb and two 1lb loaf tins. I used a small on in the days leading up to the holidays, gifted the other one to a friend, I wanted a two pounder for my sister and wrapped and froze the last one. When I thawed that last loaf cake, it cut like a dream in perfect slices without crumbling and tasted perfect!

Cranberry Walnut Apple Cake
 THEKITCHENSGARDEN 

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar and
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Blend.
add 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla
Mix.
….
In separate bowl.

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tsp salt

stir then add

2 cups grated apple,
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 pound fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries
the zest of a lemon

Toss, coating fruit in flour mixture.

Add to oil mixture, stir – then into baking tin and bake at 350 for 50 -60 minutes. Or until the cake is coming away from the sides of the tin and firm to the touch.

§*§*§*§*§

On Saturday last, I was in the mood to bake so I set this recipe on the counter. Since fresh cranberries were not available, I decided to try a little variation of apples apricots, and pecans adding ground almonds and almond extract in place of the vanilla.

Apricot Pecan & Apple Cake
Preheat the oven to 175°C/340°F

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar and
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Blend.
add 3 eggs and 1 tsp almond extract
Mix.
….
In separate bowl.

2 cups flour
⅓ cup of ground almonds
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tsp salt

stir then add

2 cups diced apple,
1/2 cup roughly chopped Pecans
1/2 pound ready to eat apricots, quartered

Toss, coating fruit in flour mixture.

Add to oil mixture, stir – then into baking tin and bake for 50 -60 minutes. Or until the cake is coming away from the sides of the tin and firm to the touch.

This time I used a rectangular spring loaded tin and it worked perfectly and sliced like a dream.

Apricot Pecan & Apple Cake

Apricot Pecan & Apple Cake

Fancy a slice?

Fancy a slice?

Today I will enjoy a slice or two as I sing a quiet Happy 101st Birthday to Mammy!

UPDATE: Viv asked about converting weights and measures.  This graphic below may help her and anyone else who might be confused.

Weights and Measures

Weights and Measures

A page from an old magazine that I found years ago. You can zoom in on any section. I think it covers most of the FAQs to do with baking.