Crochet Ferris Wheel Coaster and Tea Light Holder

I cracked.......I couldn't help myself. My crochet addiction just got the better of me and I had to rummage in the storage container for my stash of wool. Fortunately, it wasn't buried too deep and I only had to climb up one layer of boxes.......Anyway, I found some remnants of the axminster wool used for my circular doily rug and the heart and flowers bunting, chose a pattern and got started. I found the ferris wheel coaster pattern on the boys and bunting blog which I discovered after reading Simply Crochet magazine. The pattern is perhaps not a beginner pattern but would definitely be suitable for someone who is ready to progress past granny squares. It has bobbles and crochet cables (front post double crochet) so there is plenty of surface texture. The tea light holder pattern I made up with a bit of playing about. I made so many of these for homemade Christmas presents a couple of years ago that I could remember how to do them, and then added some bobbles since I had just been doing these in the coasters. I'm still finishing off a second tea light holder but I need to find a jar exactly the same size as the original as I'm using this as a pattern. Hopefully this won't prove to be more difficult than the actual crochet!    

Crochet coasters and tea light holder

Chocolate and Banana Sourdough Muffins

 I ran out of time to bake bread this weekend and my sourdough starter had been sitting in a warm kitchen and really needed some urgent attention so I made some speedy chocolate and banana muffins. The recipe is from Vanessa Kimbell on the bakery bits website and can be found here.  Even in our pathetically small cupboard of a kitchen, they were relatively easy to make and if the proof of the pudding is in the eating, they were all demolished at family tea so can be declared a success.

chocolate and banana sourdough muffins

Hardwick Hall - more glass than wall

I love where we live, not specifically our temporary rented hovel, but our bit of Derbyshire. It has many attributes but one of them is that it has stately homes all over the place. Today I dashed out to Hardwick Hall - it's only maybe 10 miles from where we live - and it was such a beautiful afternoon and we are members of the National Trust so it's easy to pop over for an hour. I took some really nice photo's of the herb garden in all it's loveliness but have just accidentally deleted them. Oh well, I will just have to pop over again another time and take some more. I did manage to salvage one of my photo's but I've a feeling that I've taken this very view before. One thing I didn't know about Hardwick was that it was featured in Harry Potter as the outside of the Malfoy mansion. When I saw it in the film I thought that it looked very much like Hardwick Hall!

Crochet baby blanket

I haven't any of my own home made offerings to show, but can share the crochet glory of a daughter. She did all the crochet hard work but needed a bit of speedy joining up by me to be able to gift the baby blanket at a baby shower the following evening. There wasn't enough time to do the edging, so it has been given and taken back to complete the finishing touches which may also include some little flowers if the baby is a girl. The photo doesn't really do it justice as the colours have a lovely fresh spring look. I have to say that the best bit about this blog post is that (at last) I have an offspring who has persevered with learning to crochet!

Sutton on Sea.......and relax

We have just had the most relaxing couple of days at the seaside. We managed a little bit of light exercise, a swift pint at the pub, lots of sleep, a trip to the cinema and some sitting around reading and fiddling with new phones. It really could have done with being a longer break but 2 nights away has been marvellous. The exercise part of it included some gentle walks by the sea where there is a lot of digger activity on the beach. Nope, not giant sandcastles, but a lot of beach nourishment. I have always thought that 'beach nourishment' was a strange term for pumping a load of sand from offshore and piling it up on the beach for sea defences, but that's what it is called. It certainly feeds my strange fascination with big diggers which I will share with you in the video below.

It's all about bricks....

At the moment my life seems to revolve around bricks, physio, and work. On the brick front more specifically it is talking about and cleaning them. If that sounds a bit of an obscure reference, see our barn conversion blog. I do manage a bit of speed baking and cooking for meals but there isn't really time or energy to experiment or photograph. Just cook and eat. Which is absolutely fine, but doesn't give me much to chat about. On the textile and woolly front there is absolutely nothing to talk about because I'm not really managing to do any of it except for a bit of half hearted hexagon sewing. I've really lost my sewing mojo. I'm not worried about it though because I know that there is a time and a place for it all, and now is not the time. I have been doing quite a bit of interior design research in preparation for having a new home, someday, maybe even this mentioned previously, see our barn conversion blog!

Light Rye Sourdough and Super Granola

I haven't been doing much making of late, but I'm still baking. That's mostly because the sourdough starter needs a regular workout, and also because it is so easy to make sourdough bread. I have to say that it's taken a couple of years to get to the point where sourdough has become easy to make, but at the moment my system appears to be working. This week I have made a couple of light rye loaves. For some reason I've been baking loaves separately when I've made double the amount but this morning I had a light bulb moment and squeezed both into the baking dome. I really don't know why this hasn't occurred to me before. Doh!

My other baking triumph has been an absolute mountain of granola. My current favourite breakfast is granola because you can have oats, seeds, nuts and fruit all in one health boosting (I hope) bowl. I add raw milk or yoghurt and an apple for extra, extra goodness. Well, anyway, it tastes nice whether it does any good or not. So, fortified with good intentions and porridge (no granola left in the jar...) I set forth with my trusty, if messy, oat roller gadget and squashed flat a load of oat groats, rye and barley grain. To this I added lots of seeds; pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chia, linseed and then chunks of nuts; brazil, cashew and walnut. I throw in pretty much everything I've got. I then mixed a couple of table spoons of rapeseed oil with maple syrup and honey (enough to coat all the granola mix without being too runny or sticky) and then baked it in the oven at 150C for 15 mins. Then I added some mixed dried fruit; cranberries, raisins, sultanas, prunes, with some desiccated coconut and baked for a further 15 mins. After leaving it to cool, I filled nearly every empty jar I could lay my hands on and it will be distributed amongst the children later today. The granola is good for 1 month.

Local industrial heritage walk

Last Saturday it was a beautiful day so I took the opportunity to walk in the sun from our rented hovel to the barns. I went via my parents house and from there it was a bit of a nostalgia walk as it took me partially along our route to secondary school when we were saving our bus money as teenagers. I took some photo's along the way as it is mostly a rural footpath sort of walk with quite a bit of industrial heritage thrown in.

Leaving the 'modern' housing estate and following the footpath away from the roads and houses, the path takes you under the disused railway bridge and intersects the new part of the 'Ripley Greenway' path which follows the route of the long since removed railway line. I haven't walked this yet but it is on my list!

My footpath eventually leads past Padley Hall to a small hamlet called Hammersmith. Padley Hall dates back to the late 15th century, and apparently author and poet DH Lawrence was a frequent visitor to the hall. (Read more about the hall here).  At the end of the Hammersmith cottages, the road continues onto the left but this is where you take a right turn onto the coach road. This is probably not fit for coaches any more as it is a bit pot holey, and it definitely needs care if you are cycling. At the end of the coach road the reservoir comes into view and eventually the disused Butterley works buildings. The reservior is not huge as reservoirs go, and was originally built as a top up for the Cromford Canal which opened for use in 1794.  The Butterley Works are listed under the Ancient Monuments  Act for the C19 blast furnaces, late C18 canal tunnel, underground wharf and related mineral extraction works. For more info, read here. There are some really interesting sources of information on the internet, but I particularly like this short video merging the original buildings with the remaining buildings today.

After the Butterley Works a short distance away is the Midland Railway Centre with steam and diesel engines. 

I should really have continued along the road but was tempted by the footpath sign after the railway centre. It was a lovely day and I couldn't resist, and it was lovely to be in the fields, but blimey was it muddy. The stiles were a bit of a challenge as well, so not many photo's of the walk up the fields.