Thursday, 29 October 2009

Trick or treat?

Ohhhhhhh, ahhhhhhhhhhh- are you feeling a little spooked in anticipation of ghouls, ghosts and witches paying you a visit on Saturday evening? If so, I have just the thing to ward them away with no hint of a trick or a curse being left in their wake! Read on.....

Halloween comes just once a year, and despite all the protestations of Americanism and commercialism etc, I think that it is a jolly good chance to have some good old-fashioned fun!
Having recently lived in the good, ol US of A, I can vouch that the Halloween I spent there was absolutely  great! Goblins and monsters everywhere I looked that day- on the streets, in the parks, in the shops.

I am lucky in that parents of small children residing in the road where currently we live collectively organise trick or treating in a very sensible way. Signs are distributed to all houses a few nights before, and if you want to take part in the fun, you just stick the sign on your front door to indicate that trick or treaters are welcome!
You may recall in my previous blog, I presented this image with very little explanation.

Clearly, the more astute of you out there in blogland wouldn't have had any difficulty working out that what was pictured were the ingredients for toffee apples! Would you like to know how to make them?  Read on!

First of all, for the quantities of ingredients that I am going to give you, you need 14-16 small apples (ideally acquired from a farm-shop where they are currently in abundance).
Wash them thoroughly and then insert lolly-pop sticks. I bought these in a packet of 100 from my local Lakeland shop, but you can also get them from craft shops.

The next step is to make the toffee. For this you will need:

  • 750 grams of demerara sugar

  • 75 grams of unsalted butter

  • 2 teaspoons of vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons of golden-syrup

  • 175 mls of water

Put all the ingredients in a heavy-based saucepan and stir until they have melted.
Bring to the boil and then let it boil for 5-7 minutes without stirring.
You can test if it is ready or not by putting a tiny spoonful into a cup of cold water. The toffee will harden immediately when ready.

While you are waiting for the toffee to boil, line a tray or dish with foil and lightly grease with butter.

Okay- now the fun part.
When the toffee is ready, take it off the stove and place on a protected flat surface on your worktop. Then dip your apples, ensuring that they are thoroughly, well and truly and wonderfully covered with the delicious golden toffee.
They should look something like this:

Here's a close-up view. Mmmmmm- yummy!
Leave them to set- mine only took about 10 minutes to set and cool down.

Another fun bit comes next and that is the wrapping. Be as creative as you like! Now, that won't be hard for all you wonderfully clever crafty-types.

I used cellophane (purchased from the local florist shop- I simply could not find it anywhere else, despite searching high and low!) and Halloween-coloured ribbons!

Wrappity, wrap, tie, tie. For me, this part was the most fun and I must admit, the results were very pleasing!
What do you think?

Here they are all finished and packed into my Halloween basket waiting for those tricksters to come a knocking! Not having any children of my own, I love being able to be involved somehow in those fun things that I miss out on. Gosh, I hope the parents won't mind their children having toffee apples- at least they are organic apples and the toffee is chemical and additive-free!

 Last year I tried to encourage healthy habits as well as treats so gave out clementines with the sweets. Needless to say, I am not sure that the children felt the same way. I guess that not suprisingly, they were just interested in the sweets!

Don't they look good, all lined up on my kitchen bench? So easy to make too! Why not have a go yourself?

So, have a great Halloween and remember it is all just a bit of fun.

Bye for now,

An autumn afternoon

Hello All
I am working from home today but have just taken a little bit of time out to share some photos of my day with you. Well, actually not really my day as such, but some things that are making my day a good one!

I really love roses, and have some beauties in my home this week. Big yellow ones with some pretty carnations as well. The sunlight is streaming in at the moment and it is a stunning autum afternoon here in kent- just perfect for showing these beautiful flowers to their full glory!

Don't you think they look pretty?

My photography skills are not the best (as you will know!) but still, I don't think these snaps are too bad at all.

On another matter, with Halloween just around the corner, and me loving the fun that goes with it, these few items have appeared on my kitchen bench................................................................................................

I wonder what is to become of them?

Watch this space!
Now I must get back to work!

X Lucy

Saturday, 17 October 2009

A productive afternoon

Hello again,
Another post today- I am harnessing this very out-of character energy! I hope that you are not too shocked.

It is a cold, bleak day where I am today, so just the perfect afternoon for some sewing. That is just what I have spent a few very enjoyable hours doing and this is what I made:


 Two little cosmetic bags made from vintage- style floral fabric.

This one made from roses fabric.

And this one, which has little pink flowers on it.

They are lined inside with contrasting fabrics.

The pattern came from the "Sew Pretty Homestyle" book, which I know some of you have. To be honest, the instructions were not the easiest to follow, but I think they have turned out okay. Most importantly, they will come in very handy as I needed some new make-up bags. All I had to buy was the zippers, so quite a thrifty project!

While I had the camera out I thought I would take a few snaps of the crocheted quilt that I finished making a few weeks ago, but haven't shown you yet.
Here it is on our bed.

 Do you like the colours? I think it looks pretty and although it is only put on the bed like this at night, it does actually look okay with the floral patchwork quilt underneath.

I think the best thing about it is that because it is pure wool, it is deliciously heavy and warm- no doubt it will be getting lots of use from now on in!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend,



Hello and welcome to Saturday!

I hope that you are all having a good day.

Despite my rather uninspiring aand unimaginative title to this post, I am feeling energetic and full of creativity!
It has only just gone midday and so far I have already:
- finished the housework and tidied up
-put on a load of washing
-supervised the kittens while they played outside (still too young to be let out independently)
- shopped for groceries, including some lovely fresh salmon fillets for dinner tonight from a fabulous new fish-mongers that has just recently opened in the town
- made a huge pot of vegetable soup which is now contently bubbling away on the stove- it smells delicious and just the thing for a very chilly day like today!

Hooooray- that's all the mundane stuff over with (except the kitten part)! Now there's still loads of time left today for the fun stuff. My sewing machine is all set up and ready to whiz into action and I have a perfect project in mind. More about that later.....

Speaking of projects, do you remember the shopping bags that I made this week. Well, one was put into good use today!

Something that I also bought were some pretty pink tulips.

 I love fresh flowers, and having a surname like I do, feel that it is my obligation to buy fresh blooms regularly!

Besides, they definitely add something to the house, especially when displayed in one of my many jugs!

Enough  about flowers for now- I must get on with my sewing. Have a good day and I will be back later on.

Lucy x

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Big Knit

Hello again,
Every evening this week I have tried to do something creative as this is something that makes me feel happy and fulfilled and balances the stresses of work. So far, so good! On Monday evening I finished making the gorgeously bright green and pink bags (thanks for your lovely comments- no talent involved though-they were incredibly simple!). On Tuesday evening I bottled 6 jars of delicious grape jelly/jam and that was really rewarding. Needless to say with my excessive jam production this year, I really doubt that I will ever have to purchase jam again! I really must stop now as it has become almost addictive!

Yesterday evening I finished off my ten little bottle hats for the Innocent Drinks Big Knit 2009. What do you think?

They are cute aren't they? These were really very easy to make and when I looked on the website today to find the address to send them to I saw that they have extended the deadline until the end of the month. So, now I have time to make a few more. It is for a fabulous cause, so if you have a few spare hours, why not give it a go? Honestly, if I can make them and they turn out half-decent looking, anyone can!

Here's another snap (just slightly different from the first- I really should have posed them differently!)

Just one more thing- if you do decide to make these, keep your pets away from the proceedings! Our playful,mischievous kittenshad a ball stealing the completed pom-poms that I had made!
So much fun in fact that they completely destroyed 3!

Would you like to see how fast they are growing?

Have a good evening and I'll chat again soon!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Autumn is here

Hello Everyone,
Thanks for your lovely comments about my bags (glad that you liked the colours too) and the half-marathon. My legs are a little stiff today but I am still pleased that I did it!
It is really cool and autumnal here in Kent, the leaves and trees are very pretty and there is that definite earthy/woody scent in the air. It won't be long until it is time to get out my big winter coat!

I leave home to walk to the station quite early in the morning, before most of the neighbourhood are even out of bed, and this morning there was a light frost on the cars and the air was very chilly- it was also still quite dark. A sign that winter is creeping in!

I love coming home after a good day at work and settling into some creativity- this is another thing that makes me happy and adds some balance to my life. This evening I finished making some grape jelly (grapes from our own vine- they are in mad abundance and we don't know what to do with them all- any ideas????) and then I finished knitting some innocent drink bottle hats for "The Big Knit". I  have made ten in total and now just need to add the pom-pom to the tops and they are done! I will show you what they look like tomorrow.
Bye for now!

Monday, 12 October 2009

More happy things

Well, it is 10pm on Monday evening and I am writing feeling rather contrite, having said just last week that I would blog every day for a week. So much for good intentions as that resolution lasted all of two days! I am so busy with work that the time just flies and there are just not enough hours in the day. I guess that it really wasn't that suprising that I fell off the regular blog-writing wagon yet again......

 Anyway, here I am back to say hello and to share with you some more happy things. I was supposed to add something to my blog on Friday, and I had intended to ramble on for a bit about how happy Fridays make me feel, so perhaps it is just as well that you were spared the joys of that one!

Another motivator of happiness for me is making things, whether it be baking a treat to enjoy with my husband or doing something crafty. Some of you who have read my previous entries will know that I recently finished crocheting a woollen blanket. The whole process from start to end was very enjoyable and I used to enjoy picking up my crochet hook in the evenings to make a few granny squares after a stressful day at work. I really must post some photos to show you what the final product turned out like.

So, having completed that project I was on the look-out for a new one, and have been very inspired by you all- so much crafting talent out there in blogland! Feeling in the best of creative spirits on Saturday, I set off into the town to visit the local haberdashery/wool/craft supply shop with the intent of buying an armful of lovely Debbie Bliss yarn to start either another blanket or perhaps a scarf.  It just wasn't to be. The colour choices were dismal to say the least and the prices ridiculous, so I gave the whole wool thing a miss. Instead I set off in the direction of the fabrics in search of something tremendously bright and cheerful.
This is what I bought:

 As you can see, these are five bright and gloriously cheerful fabrics in bright pink polka dots, gingham and three fresh green prints.

Would you like to see what I made?

Okay- here they are- three, handy bags complete with front pocket and contrasting lining. The photos still aren't great- and truthfully, in reality they do look a lot better, but  I think you can sort of get the idea.

This photo really doesn't do them justice, so here are a few individual ones:

and inside, this one is lined with pink gingham.

I think my favourite is this one:

I like the polka-dot lining very much. In fact, it sort of makes me happy just opening it up and peeking inside.
See what I mean:

You might be wondering what on earth I am now going to do with three rather garishly coloured, large fabric bags...? Well, I think I will put them in the car and use them as shopping. They are much nicer than my current, rather non-descript, run-of-the-mill ones and I am quite pleased how they have turned out.

I ran a half-marathon yesterday and even though I did not feel the least bit happy while running, especially at the 11mile mark when I really just wanted to stop and go home, the lovely feeling of achievement at the end was worth it and  it did make me happy. I hope that you all enjoyed a nice weekend as well.
It is now getting late now, so until next time- bye for now.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Happiness is also.....

Hello Everyone,
Thanks so much for popping into say hello yesterday- it gave me a huge boost and your comments were lovely!
As I mentioned yesterday my challenge each day for the next week is to post about something that makes me happy.
Today I am going to tell you just a little bit about where I live, because that tends to make me very happy indeed.

I live in Kent, not far from the Sussex border and it really is a beautiful part of the country. Commuting into London everyday really means that I enjoy spending the weekends at home with my loved one. One of my favourite things to do is to go out on a country walk, and luckily, the countryside is literally just minutes away. I have spent many happy hours enjoying walks through some really pretty scenery.

Perhaps it is because I was brought up in a sunburnt country and lived all of my life (until 9 years ago) in a region that couldn't really be described as pretty, that I find the Kent countryside so beautifully and happiness inducing. Here's what I mean-

That's all from me for now- well at least until Friday when I will be back with something else that makes me happy. Actually, just the thought of Friday makes me very happy indeed!


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Happiness is........

I have been a little downhearted lately for no particular reason. I haven't felt like doing any of the things I usually enjoy and even blogging, which I was initially so excited about, lost its spark. So, I have decided to get myself back on track, pull myself up, dust myself down, snap out of it- in fact there are so many cliches that I could use that I could go on forever, but I am sure you know what I am trying to say.

To get things started, I am going to blog everyday for a week to share with you something that makes me happy.
So, for today it is my kittens Ruby and Bert. We've only had them for 7 weeks, but they are already a permanent fixture in our home and so much fun. I know those of you out there who are not cat-lovers may not agree, but they really do add something  special to a home.

Anyway, here's some photos and I will see you again tomorrow for my next post.

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