our hero

Monday, 15 April 2013

Not so much Air Guitar...

Have been giving a lot of thought over the past few weeks as to how I would produce the cake for her Prince Charming as requested by Mags, for his special birthday.

His party was on Saturday so I spent Thurs afternoon baking and then all day Friday filling, trimming and decorating.

You see aside from Mags and their sons, his most prized possession is his Lowden acoustic guitar which was made for him during the expected arrival of their first born. So Lowden 2 needed to make an appearance.

To say I was pleased with the result is an understatement and the birthday boy was very happy, until he had to cut it.

The only inedible items were the strings (wool) and the cocktail sticks holding the tuning knobs on.

Orders are NOT being taken!

Monday, 1 April 2013

All over the place

I feel all over the place at the moment. British Summer Time starting whilst the snow is still laying here in Dalewood is seriously playing with my mind. I've been unable to settle to just one crochet project, so Main Project Aran McPhee (as the blanket for Ann's bed is now known ) has slowed down somewhat - having said that, I only have 3 more weeks worth of designs to work through.

Side project #1 - Aran Granny Hexagon jacket (in the same colours as Aran McPhee) is still progressing but will need quite a few more rounds before it will be big enough to sew up.

Side project #2 - Ann's bathroom needed a clock but I couldn't find the right one so picked a plain white one up from my favourite Swedish store and am decorating it. All the crochet and blocking is complete - just need to get hold of a hot glue gun to finish.

Side project #3 - my polystyrene rings have arrived. First one will become a garland for Ann's bedroom door. Many thanks to Lucy at Attic 24 for her unending supply of inspiration and patterns. Have finished the stripey cover using the same Arans that feature in Aran McPhee - just need to finish sewing up and then will gradually work on the decorations. This will be a garland to last the whole year so I'm not going to rush this side of things.

Side project #4- Needed a cute basket for the little chocolate eggs so started this on Good Friday - finished this morning. The basket was loosely lifted from Mags 'cupcake' and the spring bunny is from Laura at Love the Blue Bird  .

Side project #5 - Brown Owl is interested in learning to crochet and she found this cute fellow also courtesy of Laura - have managed to complete him this afternoon but don't think this is a good beginner's project. so will have to find something else for her, in the meantime he is now perched at Ann's window watching over her slumbers.

Friday, 22 March 2013

I'm dreaming of a White Easter...

A rear view of the Easter Bunny caught on film in Dalewood earlier this evening!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Once upon a time...

When I started my latest crochet project - a colourful blanket for Ann that could be buttoned into a 'cosy toes' for when she is in her wheelchair - I called it the 'Berry Blanket' as the majority of the colours put me in mind of the beautiful berries, and the Molly Makes article also called it that! Just need to attach it to the gorgeous purple fleece and add some buttons.

However, Berry Blanket has now become 'Fairytale Blanket' named by Mags - she says the colours put her in mind of fairytales. Well every good fairytale needs a princess, and whilst our Princess Ann has been enjoying her holiday in Castleview,  I turned my hook to a mini-project (also from Molly Makes).

Every fairytale princess needs her princess slippers!

Sunday, 20 January 2013


After working hard to clear the drive & footpath outside the house I rewarded myself by building a 


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

All Things Orange

Another wonderful morning with Dermot & Mary Hughes, better known as Forage Ireland, at the Mossley Mill Museum at a Marmalade Workshop. Chuck said that every time I mentioned this over the past week or so he was imagining Tangerine Trees & Marmalade Skies over Newtownabbey, we do like a bit of The Beatles here.

 In addition to marmalade, homemade Citrus Peel was also created and in true Blue Peter fashion some had been prepared earlier - so different to the stuff you buy at the supermarket, full of flavour, juicy and not so sweet. I'm just imagining what homemade mincemeat made with your own citrus peel would be like - I imagine it would transform most of your Christmas baking. And just as with marmalade any citrus fruit peel can be used.

The aroma was amazing! 
I have bought my Seville Oranges & will be making 2 batches - Dark Thick Cut and a Golden Fine Shred.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

At last.....

...I started to type this on Christmas eve whilst waiting to be able to do the next bit of prep for the big dinner, but didn't get it finished. So have updated it a little to reflect the entire holiday.

The Saturday evening before Christmas saw 19 of us tuck into chilli con carne and honey mustard chicken, as all bar 1 of the Rainey siblings and associated entourage gathered round at #68 for the (now traditional) pre-Christmas tempting of the Fermanagh flock to the bright lights of Dalewood.

There is a reason soup kitchens are like that - it works!!!

A big thanks to Cooking Catherine for yet another great idea which will be firmly embedded into the traditions for Christmas - Wassail. The husband, that would very rarely take a drink downed 4 cups! Which is possibly why the game of Trivial Pursuit was so close.

The 3 brothers (2 undergraduate degrees, 3 masters and a professional qualification) versus Maria & myself (1 undergraduate degree & nursing diploma and Banking exams) - All cheeses/wedges owned; if only we hadn't talked ourselves out of an answer, we would have won!

On Christmas eve we went Danish to honour brother in law Richard's heritage. This gave me the excuse to pinch an idea - thank you Angela - home made Danish Pastries. A few tweaks -  we had maple pecan plaits instead of the apricot squares and I used a home made plum jam I had been given instead of the cherries. Yummy Plummy Pinwheels sounds so good!

Aunty Margaret was able to join us again this year - perhaps another tradition in the making? Apparently the meal I produced, whilst traditionally Danish, according to most of the blogo-sphere, was not the traditional one according to his family; having said that we enjoyed the food. The Caramelised potatoes were different, not sure I would make them again but the cold  rice pudding with hot cherry sauce has been requested to be made again - before next Christmas eve.

Christmas Day started with Champagne and smoked salmon bagels - thanks to Richard & Maria - and the usual turkey dinner followed. Anne and I have this down to such a fine art now that (with the use of a spreadsheet to keep everything on track) Christmas Day is really enjoyable for everyone.

I think seeing so many of the family over this Christmas season has helped to make it feel more special this year.

My reading list

  • One Shot by Lee Childs
  • The Girl who kicked the Hornet's Nest by Steig Larsson
  • The Children's Book by AS Byatt
  • The Girl who played with Fire by Steig Larsson
  • Nation by Terry Pratchett
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
  • No!I Don't want to join a Book Club by Victoria Ironside
  • The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin