Baby Granny No. 2

Hello all! I promised you crochet this time so here we are.

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Just as with the Little Man, I made 2 new blankets prior to the arrival of the Little Lady. I had always intended to create another baby granny like the one that I shared here. So, with the arrival of my baby imminent, I reread that post and set to work as instructed – whip up 6 squares in each of your 6 colours and border with cream. Excellent.

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Although we did not know what the gender of our child was to be I was inspired by the autumnal colours around me so went for seasonal browns, yellows and pinks and got started. 36 completed squares later I decided that there’s no point in reinventing the wheel and began to copy the original colour placement. It did not take me long to realise that my previous post was wrong. The first blanket did not contain 6 shades of blue/green but 7. Whoops. I blame baby brain. I will revisit that post and amend the details! Never mind, onwards and upwards.

However I was not going to start crocheting more squares at this point. So Baby Granny 2 really does only contain 6 colours and cream but I do not believe that it is any the poorer for it!

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Ahh, my two blankets for my two little munchkins. As you can see, there is a slight disparity in size despite being the same yarn on the same hook. This is simply because, as the years have gone by, my crochet has become more relaxed and even giving it a softer texture and resulting is a slightly looser weave.

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(Excuse the clutter but this one’s just so darn cute!) There is an extra special reason why this granny means so much to me. It was the day before my due date and I was desperate to both finish hooking and have the baby! By lunchtime the blanket was done. A few hours later I went into labour and out she popped on her due date, clever girl. She’d just been waiting for mommy to finish before she arrived.

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Blanket Stats:

Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK

Hook: 5 mm (H)

1132 : Shrimp
1114 : Sunshine
1064 : Mocha
1035 : Burgundy
1123 : Claret
1029 : Copper
1005 : Cream

Pattern: 4 round Granny Square then Bunny Mummy’s ‘chain round a granny‘ before the final round

Size: 90 x 90 cm (36 squares)

Edging: Double V Edging

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Magic Moments

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Greetings all! Easter is over and spring has well and truly arrived. Lots of little things have been going on around here and I have a hundred posts buzzing in my head so I have decided to do a Magic Moments post to clear my mind and share a few bits and bobs that have been amusing me lately.

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Most exciting of all has been Little Man turning 3. His birthday was on Sunday and his requests were simple – a picnic, pizza for dinner and cake (‘If me has cakes mees will be happy’, bless him). The only other thing that he asked for was to take his cars and play with them outside at the picnic.

I am pleased to say that we managed to tick everything off his list and a wonderful day was had by all. We chose Packwood House as the location for the picnic. There was the added bonus that the National Trust were once again running the ‘Cadbury Easter Eggsploration’ so entertainment was provided! The day was topped off by a family pizza making party and ended on a high with us all tucking into the amazing cake made by my lovely mommy.

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The beautiful weather has lured us into the garden a lot more. Last autumn we planted a load of bulbs in the herb pots and these are really coming into their own now.

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This is the Little Man’s garden. A planter choc a block with spring colour! Over winter it provided a splash of colour in the form of cyclamen, primroses and pansies. Now the bulbs have sprouted and there are so many wonderful blooms to admire. It might not be a very subtle display but the Little Man is very proud of them and loves watching the bees that they are attracting.

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One of the best things about the warm weather is the opportunity for garden picnics. As you know, we picnic out and about in all weathers but it is only when the sun is shining that we start enjoying as many meals as possible al fresco.

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Finally, we have crochet! The other week saw me enjoying the luxury of a few hours on a train, alone. The sun was shining, I had downloaded a couple of programmes on catch up and I had my hook in hand. Bliss. There’s not been a lot of hooky action on the blog lately but I have some projects to share and even a few finished items! Making the most of the sunny weather on Monday I tried to photograph a few pieces. So I shall leave you with a picture of my little helper and will be back soon to share some more. Enjoy your own magic moments!

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The Easter Bonnet

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A beautiful bowl full of crafty, eggy goodness. The Little Man and I had a wonderful time gluing, sticking, glittering and painting these little polystyrene balls. The glitter has been an especially big hit but he also enjoyed using the metallic marker pens that we recently acquired. I personally love the metallic painted eggs. Simple and elegant, I could look at them all day. But of course, these delights were destined for a higher purpose – to adorn the Little Man’s first Easter Bonnet.

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Our cling film painting made an excellent base which was to be decorated with our eggs and some Easter themed critters – two bunnies and a chick.

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Et voilà! One Easter bonnet for an excited boy. It lacks the finesse of many but it does reflect a lot of effort on the part of my Little Man.

Happy Easter everyone! x

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Coughton Court

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Today saw us venture out to one of our regular haunts, Coughton Court in Warwickshire. This awe inspiring Tudor House is a fascinating place to visit but it is the gardens that are the real draw for us.

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Passing through the formal areas the landscape opens to reveal the beautiful Bog Garden. I love this quiet and peaceful oasis and could spend hours watching the reflections dance across the water.

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All around there was a promise of what is to come as the fresh green shoots were peeping out of the mud. Every so often my eye was caught by a clump of golden yellow in the form of pond lilies and primulas.

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Overall, this was the perfect habit for a curious toddler with a stick to explore.
imageThe only disappointment of the day was that we didn’t get to see any of these beauties.
imageimageThe photos above are actually from a visit we made to Coughton Court at the end of April last year. As you can see, the grounds were full of rows upon rows of gloriously technicoloured tulips. Unfortunately the walled garden was closed today but I am hoping that this is just a temporary arrangement and we shall soon be treated to such a visual treat again.
imageBack to this year and we all felt invigorated after our walk and ready for a sit down and a bit of sustenance. I shall therefore leave you with a cup of tea and a slice of Chocolate and Beetroot Cake served on my latest charity shop find. Wishing you all a lovely day, x

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Filed under Trips and outings

Mexican Brunch with One-Cup Pancakes

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I don’t know about you but I normally like to know what I’m cooking for dinner the next day before I settle down to bed at night. It is therefore unusual for me to be standing there at 4 o’clock pondering what to cook. However, that was me today. All I knew was that we had a lot of eggs. A quick Google search later saw me perusing 32 Jamie Oliver egg recipes and, hey presto, tonight’s dinner was sorted.

The Mexican Breakfast turned out to be simple, healthy and delicious. As the original recipe was for 6 I only used one can of tomatoes and a single pepper but I did cook two eggs each (this was dinner after all!). I also added a courgette and a dozen cherry tomatoes to the onion, garlic and sliced pepper and cooked them on medium for 15 minutes with some mixed herbs and paprika.

Then comes a tin of chopped tomatoes and a dash of Worcestershire Sauce and simmer for 15 minutes until thick and flavoursome. Next, slice 2 tomatoes on top and crack 6 eggs into holes in the mixture. Cover and cook until the eggs are cooked but still runny.

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With this I served the One-Cup Pancakes (or 2/3 of a cup to serve 3!). Simply whisk together 1 cup self-raising flour (wholemeal works well) with 1 cup milk and some salt. Then stir in the kernals from one corn on the cob or a large handful of frozen sweet corn, defrosted. The recipe calls for 20g feta cheese but I omitted this.

Simply ladle the mixture into a pan and fry for 2 minutes until bubbles appear. Flip and cook for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Delicious!

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Painting with Cling Film

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It’s Easter bonnet time here on Rosy Hill. The Little Man has a parade on Thursday so we’ve been painting, sticking and glittering like crazy! Still only 2, the Little Man is not particularly interested in reaching a particular outcome with his creative endeavours but he is interested in exploring new ways of expressing himself/making a mess! I try to introduce a variety of materials and techniques to have a go with.

As his concentration is limited when it comes to art the bonnet will be simple with the opportunity to use as many different items from the craft box as possible. As ever, the internet is full of inspiration and today’s task was painting with cling film (plastic wrap)  from Bare Feet on the Dash Board.

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We began by squirting some paint in spring like colours over some cardboard before covering it with cling film (ours was actually a clean used sandwich bag). The boy then got stuck in, squishing and swirling the paint around. Every time he touched the plastic he’d look at his hands, expecting them to be covered in paint. Bless him.
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The idea is that this technique is relatively ‘mess free’ but the fun that came after certainly was not! Once the plastic was removed the Little Man spent ages squishing, squeezing and splatting the paint around. The glee on his face was incredible! Such simple pleasures.
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Changing Seasons

imageSo Spring has arrived, how lovely! Apparently it began yesterday (I was unaware that the day varied, but hey ho) and it was a wonderful day, warm and generally sunny. The Little Lady and I spent it strolling around the park with my lovely friend and her baby. Fresh air, good company and some Vitamin D. Perfect!
imageThe beginning of this new season has led to my reflecting upon the weather that we have experienced over the Winter months.
imageThe lake has been as beautiful as ever, ever changing and reflecting the mood of the skies. There have been glorious sunsets in the distance…
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And a few times it has disappeared altogether!
imageHowever, overall, it has been rather mild and uneventful. A few cold snaps but generally we have enjoyed a mild chill accompanied by blue skies and fluffy clouds.
image imageForgive me, this post is terribly self indulgent but I cannot get enough of the bare trees silhouetted against those gigantic skies.
imageAlthough I don’t mind the cold personally, I have to confess that the lack of seasonal storms has made things easier with the little ones. As Winter arrived the Little Man became obsessed with the idea of snow. Every time it was mentioned he would ask when our snow was going to arrive.
imageWhen the flakes did begin to fall he began to realise that now is often more fun in theory than in reality.
imageSnow is cold and wet and he has not quite reached the age where it’s potential can be fully realised. But he got his wish, however brief, and it is now time to look forward to what Spring has in store for us!

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Viennese Creams

imageMmmm…don’t they look delicious?! Melt in your mouth drops of heaven. Every so often the Little Man will request a baking session and it is a plea that I am always happy to answer. The joy and concentration that he shows during the process is a delight to behold, not to mention the rewards at the end!

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The recipe for these shortbread biscuits has been lovingly preserved in my mom’s school cookery book. Essentially fat and sugar creamed together before folding in the flour. My mother was therefore quite horrified when the electric whisk appeared.

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She forgets that baking has to be adapted for a 2 year old and no cooking experience is complete for the Little Man unless it includes an electric whisk or blender. They are just endlessly appealing and I cannot resist the dazzling smile that they elicit.

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The other thing that I usually do is convert the measurements to cups and spoons so that he is in charge of the process. The quantities may not be exact but everything’s turned out well so far!

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Shortbread
115g (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
55g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
115g (1 cup) plain flour
Few drops of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Cream the margarine and sugar together.
Stir in the vanilla extract then fold in the flour and salt.
Roll into walnut size pieces and place on a greased baking tray then flatten with a fork.
Bake at 180°C/GM4  for 10 – 15 minutes then cool on a rack.

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Giving the Little Man free reign with one tray, he chose sultanas, mini smarties and chocolate sprinkles to decorate his biscuits with before baking. I love how careful he is, thinking before placing every sweet individually talking me through his thought process as he goes.

The other tray was mine to make the ‘grown-up biscuits’. When cool, simply sandwich two pieces of shortbread together using butter cream and, hey presto, you have Viennese creams – one of my all time favourite treats.

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New Arrivals

Tree Skeleton Well hello there my lovelies, how long it has been! It has been the usual story of life snow balling and something has to give. I do apologise and can assure you that I have missed you all so much. And now I return to share the exciting news of a new arrival at Rosy Hill – the Little Man is now a proud big brother to our lovely Little Lady. image These last few months have been a magical journey as our family of 3 has expanded to include this precious new bundle. The Little Man has been amazing and has taken everything in his stride showering his sister with love and affection and always including her in his conversation. image So there we have it – life has changed completely and yet is still the same. Happy, busy lives full of family, fun and, of course, as much crochet as time allows. I am excited about sharing it again here! x image

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How Do You Like Your Eggs in the Morning?

Poached Eggs

We eat a lot of eggs in this house. They’re cheap, easy, versatile and healthy. Weekend breakfasts often consist of scrambled or fried eggs. This week I had a sudden yearning for poached eggs. Quick as they are to make, there is something about them that makes them feel like holiday fodder. A treat.

Eggs Poaching

The secret to poached eggs is the vinegar. Two teaspoons in the water and something magical happens – instead of a mess of blobby rubber, the whites remain smooth and round.

Poached Eggs

I used to boil my eggs for 3 minutes but, since reading Lucy’s ‘Egg Poaching Knowhow‘, I now gently pour the eggs into boiling water before leaving them, off the heat, to gently cook for 5 minutes. Perfect!

Poached Eggs

Soft, white and just ready for eating. Tuck in!

Poached Eggs

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