Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Finally!!!!

Way back in February I excitedly started a new blanket using Lucy's Hexagon tutorial. I had a big bag of my favourite cotton yarn in 24 delicious colours all ready to go and within a few days I had made a very good start on this new adventure of mine. I was loving it and had no doubt in my mind that I would have it done and dusted in no time at all.


Unfortunately this initial enthusiasm started to wane with the passing weeks and warming weather and soon I found myself falling out of love with the hexagons. I started working on it less and less and picked up lots of smaller projects to fill my crochet time, to the point where this blanket went into total hibernation, something that has never happened to me before.


However, since coming back from Canada and with the evenings drawing in and getting cooler, I have found a renewed vigour for getting this blanket finished. I soon started enjoying working on the hexagons again and before I knew it, I was loving this blanket once more, working on it every spare moment I could find.


Last week, I worked the very last of the total 180 hexagons and finally I could start on the edging. I had two colours picked out that I had not used in the main blanket for this very purpose and got to work over the weekend.


As luck would have it, I ran out of yarn just before I got all the way round and had to wait for some more yarn to come in the mail.


Thankfully my wait was short lived and I was able to work the last few stitches yesterday afternoon. Just like that, it was done, finished, complete! I have to admit, I did do a little happy dance while I stood back to admire all of the colourfulness in it's entirety.


Maybe it's not quite as big as I had first envisioned it. Sure it took a lot longer than I ever thought it would. And perhaps my love for it was in question at one point, but there is no two ways about it now, I am one happy bunny that this blanket is done and ready to use for the coming winter.



Thursday, 11 September 2014

Long Overdue

We have been back from our Canada trip for well over a week now, and have been slowly settling back into our normal lives here at home. After three weeks of having grandparents, aunts and cousins all around, it has been a bit tricky adjusting to being just us again, especially as P is working away from home for a while and only comes home on the weekends. I feel a bit teary every time I think back on our trip, it was so mazing to spend time with my family again and for them to spend time with Little T, and yet it seems like we hardly had any time together at all. We waited so long to see each other, years to be exact, and then it was all over in the blink of an eye. I don't want to sound ungrateful though, I know that some time together is always better than no time at all and I do have some wonderful and beautiful memories of our time together to look back on.



My sister is a wonderfully talented cook and treated us to many, many delicious meals over our stay, but the one meal that stands out from all the rest was the time she came home with a squirming bag of live lobsters! Caught that morning somewhere along the beautiful coast line of Nova Scotia, these were a treat like no other. There was some deliberation on the best way to get these little critters into the freezer, but in the end with plenty of squeals and screams from all of us, and a big pair of kitchen tongs, we got them in.


From the freezer into huge pots of boiling water they went and then we waited with ill disguised impatience for them to turn bright pink.


As neither my parents nor I had ever tried lobster before, my sister was very generous and bought each of us our very own lobster, plus a couple of spare ones. A good thing that was too or there may have been a bit of a scrapple to get another little bite of sweet and delicious meat :)


We were very lucky with the weather and got to enjoy weeks of hot and sunny days, and we were very happy to spend most of our time in my sister's beautiful home and garden. Finding trips out that would cater to all of the ages in our group of seven was a little bit challenging, so staying at home, letting the kids run around and play together, while we caught up and chatted away was one of the best options for all of us.



Don't worry though, we did do a few fun things, like going to the Annapolis Valley to pick blueberries. I have never seen nor tasted such big and sweet blueberries in my life and we spent a glorious morning between the bushes, picking a huge boxful to take home.


On our way home, we stopped at the gorgeous Gaspereau Valley Fibres Farm Wool Shop. This little gem of a shop is stocked to the rafters with all natural fibres, plenty of them from Canada and some even spun right there on site from the fleeces of the animals on display on the farm surrounding the shop.


My mum and I had a leisurely browse around the shop while the rest of the family had a look around the farm. The friendly and helpful staff was happy for us to squish and fondle the yarn to our hearts content as we desperately tried to come to a decision on which yarn to buy.


It was without a doubt one of the most amazing yarn shops I have ever had the pleasure of visiting and I dearly hope that I will have the opportunity to go there again some day.


We also had a great day walking around the stunning Shubenacadie wildlife park, where we encountered some of Canada's beautiful creatures. The kids were able to run around, feeding the peacocks and ducks while my parents marvelled at seeing moose, mountain lions and wolves for the very first time.


Of course we did make several trips to the shops too, I couldn't go home before I stopped by Michael's first and as always I had to stock up on all of the wonderful choc-chips and other baking paraphernalia that can only be found on that side of the pond.


This visit may have been heart-wrenchingly short and even though I now miss my family even more than before, I wouldn't exchange it for all of the money in the world.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Holiday!

Little T and I are waiting to board our flight to Canada where my parents, sister, nephew and niece are waiting for us. As this is a long awaited family get together, you can imagine that our excitement levels are through the roof :) Needless to say, I won't be blogging for the next few weeks as I will be too busy catching up, but I promise to share my trip with you when we get back!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

PB & J

During my teenage years I had developed a bit of an obsession with the United States of America. I was able to name all of the fifty one states and their capital cities, could sing the Star Spangled Banner National Anthem with accompanying piano and even adopted a bit of a Midwestern accent when speaking. As only a teenager can be, I was absolutely certain that I would end up living in California or Colorado one day. Obviously I outgrew this particular obsession and gave up on my American Dream, but I do still have a certain love for the culinary treats that America has to offer and do spend a lot of time watching shows like The Barefoot Contessa and Unique Sweets on TV.


PB & J sandwiches are one of these American treats that I just love and something I do eat very often. Peanut butter in general is one of my favourite things, there is always a big jar full in my store cupboard and I am not ashamed to admit to eating it straight from the jar by the spoonful from time to time! Today though, when I was hit by a PB & J craving, I just knew that a normal sandwich was not going to cut it...


I suddenly remembered some peanut butter cookies that I had baked for a friend years ago and just knew that they would make the perfect sandwich cookies, stuck together with my home made strawberry jam.


Soft and chewy cookies, sweet and sticky jam, what more could a girl ask for :)
Feeling very inspired by the success of these cookies, I went on to turn our whole dinner into a bit of an American affair.


The pork shoulder, originally destined for the stew pot was transformed into slow cooked sticky barbecue pork.


The baked potatoes were scraped out of their skins, mixed with chopped chives, grated strong cheese and sour cream and loaded back into their little vessels for a quick blast under the grill.


No steam for the carrots and cabbage, instead they were put to good use making a fresh and crunchy slaw.


A meal that would surely make Ina Garten say "mmm, so good" :)

PB & J Cookies: 

  • ½ cup soft, unsalted butter
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ cup soft brown sugar, packed
  •  1 egg
  •  1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup plain flour
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 190°C/ 375 F/ Gas Mark 5 and line two large cookie sheets with greaseproof paper.

In a large bowl, cream together the butters and sugars until pale in colour and fluffy in texture. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt, thoroughly mixing everything to ensure there are no pockets of dry flour in the mixture.

Using a table spoon, drop walnut sized balls of dough onto the lined cookie sheet, leaving about 5cm between each cookie as they do spread a little and slightly flatten them using a fork dipped in flour. Bake them for about 10 minutes or until they are lightly golden brown and looks set. Leave them to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring them to a cooling rack.
When the cookies are completely cool, dollop about half a teaspoon of your best jam/ jelly onto the flat bottom of one cookie, and lightly press another on top to sandwich. You should get about 12 - 14 sandwiched cookies.

Enjoy!