March Sampler


Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The end of another month. Despite the fact that I needed my woolly hat again this morning Spring is here, there are signs everywhere I look and Easter is nearly here. We don't celebrate Easter in a big way but I shall be baking hot cross buns tomorrow in time for Good Friday and I have plans for some pretty Easter decorating. I'm also going to be handing over a large chunk of cash to my butcher for a leg of lamb which we don't often have. You can be sure I'll be making use of every last scrap.
: :

I made my little pouch in which to keep my 'ladies' things' :o) I'm  pleased with it although I could have made a better job of finishing it, particularly the red edging. I used a bit of every colour from my new stash of Debbie Bliss cotton DK.

Sorry to harp on about this subject but I just have to show you this. What a hoot! At least my pouch is multipurpose- it also contains a mirror and some paracetemol.

I shall be back tomorrow with hot cross buns and maybe a bit more crochet.

Cath Kidston and Debbie Bliss


Monday, 29 March 2010

Good Monday to all of you. I want to thank you all for the lovely comments you are leaving at The Quince Tree. I do appreciate each and every one of them. I am having such fun writing this blog and one of the best bits is seeing that another comment has been left, it makes my day!

Cath, it was no trouble, really!

You know that phrase 'a want not a need'? It's something I trot out fairly regularly in an effort to make my children (particularly son number 2) realise that they rarely need what they think they need. In son number 2's case an Xbox is the current object of his desire. I tell him he has everything he needs and anything else must be saved for from his pocket money which, by the way, is extra to his needs. Sometimes, though it is hard to practise what you preach which is why the postman knocked at my door not once but twice today bearing parcels for me, me, me! Both containing wants not needs.

I could not resist this Cath Kidston bag.

Aren't these retro badges utterly fab?

I love it! I have been looking for a roomy across-the-body bag for a while. I needed wanted (oops!) a bag large enough to hold library books and the ring binder I take to my French classes. I also loathe bags that fall off my shoulders all the time. This one is perfect. You can see it here at The Cath Kidston online store. Hurry, it's a limited edition. By the way I've suggested they sell the badges as a separate item for customers to sew onto their own items. I think they'd be really popular don't you?

I also bought a new purse, something I definitely didn't need.

Needless to say I have nothing to put in it now.

My other parcel contained more excitement. Fresh, new yarn from Debbie Bliss. This is her cotton DK and I bought it from Consider The Lily who were very friendly and helpful.

Yum, now, what to make....?

I had all sorts of plans for an Eastery garland but I had to wait longer than anticipated to buy the yarn (saving up you know) and I don't think I'm going to be able to get anything together in time for Easter this year. My first project with this lovely yarn is going to be a little purse/pouch  in which to keep 'personal' items. The one disadvantage of my new bag is that it has no zipped pockets. It has pockets but they are bit big and easy to see into.

Obviously I don't want my tampons rolling around the desk when I take out my French books at my class, it would frighten the men. Oh la la! Il y a des tampons sur la table! So, a little crocheted purse seems like a good idea and a much better one than spending more money.

But what to do with the bulk of the yarn? I'm leaning toward a small blanket, possibly of little squares of one colour each. What do you think? I'd love to have your opinions :o)

The Quince Tree in March and Cinnamon Rolls


Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Quince Tree in March is really not much more exciting than the Quince Tree in January and February. Partly due, I think, to the fact that I don't seem to be able to take good outdoors photographs. Anyway there's a bit more sun today than there was for the Jan and Feb pics. Here she is.

She still has bare branches but if you look closely you will see that they are full of buds.

We're on our way. I have high hopes for April - blossoms and leaves.
There isn't much in my garden but a few judicious close-ups and I can make it look quite good :o)

: :

Cinnamon Rolls

As a change from my usual wholemeal loaves I thought I'd make white bread today. The children think this is really special. I've built up quite a good stock of bread in my freezer so I thought I'd use some of the dough to make this sticky treat. Cinnamon rolls are a bit like Chelsea buns without the dried fruit. Recipes I have seen  for them include fat and eggs in the dough and a sweet glaze is usually added after baking. My version is much plainer. I just use a plain old bread dough (strong white flour, yeast, salt and water).

I cut my big batch of dough into four and put three pieces into loaf tins. I rolled the fourth piece into a big rectangle and smeared it liberally with butter. Margarine will NOT do, for this or indeed anything else. Throw that stuff away, it isn't food. Next I sprinkled sugar over and dusted it with cinnamon.

 I rolled it up and sliced it into chunks.

I put the chunks in a greased cake tin. A rectangular traybake tin works too.

Leave them to prove for about 15 mins under a damp cloth.

See how they have grown. Bake in a very hot oven for 25 mins. If you are using a loose-bottomed cake tin be sure to place it on a baking sheet first or a lot of the buttery sticky syrup will escape all over the bottom of your oven. Ask me how I know.

Yum. Note, if you have heeded my advice about baking sheets the bottoms of the rolls will be covered with a glorious sticky goo. Mine aren't.

Enjoy with a cup of coffee. Repeat as needed.

My basic bread recipe is here.

Japanese Crochet Book


Tuesday, 23 March 2010

It's so exciting to receive mail from far away.

Last week Lucy posted pictures of her new Japanese crochet book. What gorgeous loveliness there was inside. Well, this morning the postman brought me the second book in this series.I think it's called Pretty Colour Crochet and Knit Goods 2, but can't be sure owing to the fact the I can't read Japanese. Will there be more? I certainly hope so because this one is just as gorgeous.

Scrumptious purse or little bag


Stunning hexagons

Sweet slippers

I'm not too sure what these are, I think they must be wrist warmers. Pretty whatever they are.

These must be where the expression 'cute as a button' comes from.

Yes, the instructions are all in Japanese, but no matter for there are diagram patterns as well as written ones. In any case I see the projects in this book as a source of inspiration not necessarily to be followed to the letter (or character).

I bought this little book, like Lucy from Pomadour24. She has an Etsy shop and an Ebay shop. I got mine from Ebay. I can't see it there at the moment but maybe she will restock.

My Princess


Friday, 19 March 2010

No, not my daughter this time. Much as I love her I'd never describe her as my princess. Princesses, I am sure, comb their hair and clean their teeth everyday.

No, the princess in question is my beloved bicycle. My Pashley Princess. Here she is.

The time had come for a ride. The sun was shining, wine was needed. Tesco is only a ten minute cycle away, the Princess has a capacious basket and I needed the exercise, so off I jolly well went. I arrived at Tesco with a face like a beetroot and legs feeling like rubber.

Pashley Cycles are as English as Shakespeare and come from the same town. They have extended their range recently to include the heart-stoppingly pretty Poppy (I love the blue) and the new Britannia which comes patriotically in red, white or blue. They also have a funky contemporary range. Those delivery bikes and the red Royal Mail bikes you see are by Pashley.


Unfortunately if you want to acquire a Pashley, you will need to save your pennies or divert funds from the housekeeping. They aren't cheap and why should they be? They are handbuilt and gorgeous. I was a terribly lucky girl and was given my Princess as a birthday present a few years ago. C found her advertised in our local paper. She had been bought for a lady who had been unable to use her due to illness. I'm afraid I profitted from that lady's bad luck, her husband was keen, however, to see the Princess go to a good home and he was asking £200 less than its retail price.

I really didn't buy flowers solely so that I could photograph them in the Princess' basket.

They do look nice though don't they? :o)



Wednesday, 17 March 2010

A pile of loveliness for one special 10 year old girl.

Want to see what's inside? 

A lovely crochet book plus some yarn. I think she'll find it easier to follow righthanded instructions than have her lefthanded mum confuse her.

A gorgeous book of patterns for teeny tiny felt toys which I saw on Athene Noctua and a stack of four inch felt squares from Paper and String. It arrived beautifully wrapped in green tissue.

Pink ribbon too

Cute doggy

Weird but sweet. I do have more fingers by the way.

This is the one she wants to make first. And who can blame her? I added a packet of tracing paper and some decent scissors so she's ready to get started.

New clothes. Boden has done rather well out of us this month and Fat Face has done well out of my mum-in-law and my daughter has done well out of everybody.

A friend came to a tea which consisted mainly of sweets, crisps and fizzy pop.

Oh yes there were some tomatoes too. I think 3 were eaten.

Birthday cake -suitable for a ten year old.

All in all a successful day, daughter has gone to bed well pleased. C has bought a bottle of wine, it's a celebration after all ;o)

One final pic. My sister in law is renowned for her impeccable taste (she gets it from her mother) and always chooses gorgeous cards and gifts. Look at the exquisite cutout card she gave her niece.

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