Saturday, 28 March 2015

Surprise, Surprise!

P1000863You remember that strange knitting I posted about on Monday?

Mags and others suggested it might be a sailor collar. Wrong!

 

P1000869It isn’t a shawl collar either. It took me less than a week on my circular needles to create this rather weirdly shaped piece of knitting. Look at where the cast on and cast off edges are.

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P1000943Turn it upside down, and flip the top edge down and the bottom corners in – and surprise, surprise, it becomes a baby jacket. I am still marvelling at this genius piece of knitting engineering!

Here’s the finished item, with the buttons and shoulder seams sewn.

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I did have enough red wool in the Great Stash to have knitted it all in one colour, but I decided to do the stripes in order to give myself a better understanding of how the pattern comes together. Its called the BSJ – Baby Surprise Jacket – and was designed by the doyenne of USA Handknitting, the great Elizabeth Zimmerman.

I bought the pattern in I Knit London two weeks ago. I had seen it on the Internet but was reluctant to shell out £9 without knowing exactly what I was paying for. The pattern book contains ABC sizes [Adult, Baby, Child] and extra instructions for adding hoods, collars, and making the jacket longer. As I shall definitely be doing this one again, I think I will get my money’s worth from it.

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There are loads of bsj examples on the net. I found these 3 – one with a collar, one with contrast crochet edging and one with a hood – lots of ideas for making variations on a theme. Stripes are optional!

bsj

Has anyone else out there made a BSJ?

… and if so, how did you customise yours?

Friday, 27 March 2015

Show-Offs

more seeds

A while back I bought a bag of ‘cereal topping’ on offer in Lidl. A mixture of “nutritious milled linseed, cranberries, blueberries etc.” I wondered if I could use it in ways other than sprinkling on my porridge or yogurt, and found one or two muesli bar recipes. I adapted these and made my own bars. It used up the honey at the bottom of the jar, and some leftover dried fruits too.

  • 175g butter
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 120g demerara sugar
  • 3tbsp honey
  • 250 porridge oats
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 150g mixed dried fruit [I used sultanas, apricots, cranberries]
  • 50g mixed seeds
  1. Heat the oven to 160ºC [fan] Line a baking tray [27 x19cm] with parchment paper
  2. Melt the first four ingredients gently in a large pan
  3. Mix the next four together, then tip into pan and stir well till all is evenly coated.
  4. Turn into turn, flatten out evenly, bake for 20 minutes, until golden at the edges, but slightly soft in the centre. Leave too cool in tin- mark into 15 bars whilst still warm.
  5. If you like, warm 1tbsp honey and brush over surface of the bars in  the tin as they cool. Leave for 5 minutes, turn out, and cut into bars.

The amount of honey/sugar/butter seems a little high. I may tweak this a bit next time  [I realise you need a certain amount to make the dry ingredients stick together. I have stored mine in an airtight container. I wrapped some in parchment for our Wimborne Picnic.

honey muesli bars

Bob declared them to be very good, and he admired the professional wrapping. Therefore I have decided to rename these home-made muesli bars Show-Offs, to remind me of the ingredients –

Sugar, Honey, Orange zest, Warm butter,

Oats, Fruit, Flour, Seeds.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Wimborne Wanderings [Part Three] **

On Tuesday we went to Wimborne early,for a coffee in the Coffee Saloon – then on to nearby National Trust property, Kingston Lacy.

P1000881 I went here more than 20 years ago with Liz and Steph [we were on holiday, and Bob stayed behind at the caravan for some reason] I loved KL, and was determined to visit again one day, and take him with me. We walked round the beautiful grounds for an hour or so before our guided tour inside.

So many lovely flowers- in every season there are things to see. We’d missed the best of the snowdrops – kind friends offered to take us to see them a few weeks back, but we were just too busy then [next year perhaps…]The strange green sentry boxes are covers round the garden urns, to protect them from frost through the winter. These will be coming off soon, the guide told us.kingston lacy-003

The men and women tending the plants were all working so hard- but seemed willing to stop and talk to visitors with questions about the plants. This is part of the Japanese Garden

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Mags- you’d have loved the Camellia Walk!

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At the end of the Kitchen Garden was a little man with a van – and a refreshment hut. He says his [refurbished] Citroen is 50 years old!

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This picture is a cloche-up of the rhubarb bed!

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The Egyptian Obelisk was interesting. As we watched the members of the school trip running towards it, we heard one teacher say

“Children, this is not a climbing frame, it’s an artefact!”

I may copy out that wonderful quote, and stick it up on the fridge. It may possibly become a Family Saying. I am still chuckling about it.P1000905

We had misunderstood the NT Handbook, which said that on Mondays and Tuesdays there were tours. In fact on these days you can only visit selected parts of the house on a guided tour. The rest of the week you can go to many more of the rooms. I will go again on another day and take lots more interior photos. The weather was turning chilly.We bade farewell to the armillary sundial and the shepherd’s hut, and returned to sit in the car and eat our picnic lunch. All this beauty less than eight miles from our new home!

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**other Dorset Destinations ARE available!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

More Digging Up Of The Car Park

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The Building Inspector says our trenches must be deeper. So the digging goes on – but the church activities are still happening despite the car park excavations. No dead kings found yet!

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I just love this sign from Leicester!

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Soap Opera

Do you use liquid soap in a pump dispenser- or do you prefer solid bars? There are apparently five reasons why bars are still popular, according to recent studies.

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  1. Tradition  - bars of soap have been around for 3000 years [obviously not the same bars, you know what I mean]
  2. Luxury – plastic bottles don’t feel very glamorous, but bars can be wrapped in tissue, be embedded with rose petals, can nestle in the drawer and perfume your lingerie, and tied up with ribbons they can be elegant gifts.
  3. The feeling of cleanliness – the physical act of scrubbing away dirt in the shower leaves you feeling truly refreshed.
  4. Ecology and economy- less packaging is better for the planet.And furthermore, 60% of the cost of your liquid soap is paying for the plastic bottle and the squirty pump.
  5. Bottles are fiddly – initially you have to manage the unscrewing of the pump, and in operation you need one hand to pump and the other to catch the liquid as it squirts out. You can hold a bar of soap and turn it round and make a lather one-handed [I proved that last week, whilst in a splint!]

I think I would add a 6th reason – I am not sure about the excess use of ‘anti-bacterial’ chemicals. If you wash your hands properly with bar soap, they will be clean. I realised when we were packing to move that I had lots of bars of soap squirrelled away – and so decided we would use them up before buying any more bottles. I have put the small ones in a dish on the windowsill in the downstairs loo [the one beside the kitchen!] and larger ones in Steph’s Ceramic Sheep [made in Technology at school years ago] in the bathroom.

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Very Old Joke – there were two bars of soap in the bathroom. The first one said “Can I stroke your palm, Olive?” and the other replied “Not on your life, boy!”

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lifebuoy

So – how do YOU lather up – liquid or bars?

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Pastor Visits The Trenches

What’s going on down this’ ole then?

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We stopped by UCF this afternoon and saw that lots more work had been done today. The ladies arriving for Slimming World seemed confused having to drive in the ‘out’ gate of the car park!

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Trent … And Trenches

recentSad to read at the weekend of the death of talented singer-songwriter Jackie Trent. The music she made with her husband Tony Hatch resounded throughout my teens. The press have made much of the fact that she wrote the words for the Neighbours theme tune – but she did so much more than that. Her songs were sung by loads of stars -Petula Clark recorded Don’t sleep in the subway, I couldn’t live without your love, Colour my world and loads of others. She was perhaps the best known singer of the Trent/Hatch oeuvre. But Frank Sinatra, Jack Jones, Bruce Forsyth, Jim Dale, Marti Webb, Peter Duncan, Cleo Laine, Des O Connor, Dean Martin …they all had hits with Jackie’s songs. I think that when I was in my early teens, my absolute favourite was Scott Walker singing Joanna [that’s probably more to do with watching SW on Top of the Pops than the actual song!]

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Ms Trent clearly shared my fondness for rainbows- “Opposite your smile” begins

When I'm opposite your smile then I'm opposite a rainbow
Who can make the rain go? Nobody but you
And in everything you do you are lighter than a feather
There is brighter weather when I'm opposite your smile

and “Colour my world” ends with

Just as long as I know you're thinking of me
There'll be a rainbow always up above me
Since I found the one who really loves me
Everything I touch is turned to gold

The trenches? well, Monday marked the start of building work at UCF. How fantastic to arrive at a church which is about to start extending the worship area, because it is a squash to get the congregation in on a Sunday! Here’s the workmen, the digger and the first trench.

building 2015 23 03

Monday, 23 March 2015

Perhaps It’s My Age…

I have definitely been doing a few crazy things lately.

  • My friend visited with a major sewing crisis. We moved the dining table into the lounge and had fabric and stuff all over the dining room floor for about 6 hours. At one point she asked if she could use the loo. I directed her to ‘just by the front door’ – but that’s in Kirby, in this house it is next to the kitchen. Fancy not knowing where your own WC is!
  • For two weeks I muttered about missing my wrist watch because I was wearing a splint. Only on the morning I when went back to the hospital did I suddenly realise that if only I had taken off my WWJD bracelet, I could have worn my watch on my right hand!
  • For 20 years, when Bob has been working out in the garage, I have banged on the kitchen wall and shouted Food’s Ready! at mealtimes. I got a little frustrated that he didn’t seem to respond when I did it here. It finally dawned on me – the garage is not directly behind the kitchen - there’s a downstairs loo in between. I have to go into the loo and bang on that wall to alert him.

Are these ‘Senior Moments’ do you think?  I am certainly at the age where I believe in the Hereafter – I get upstairs and ask ‘What am I here after?’

In recent weeks, I know that quite a few more people [both in Norfolk and Dorset] have started reading the blog. Welcome aboard, and thanks for the kind comments

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My wrist feels fine, and I have been able to start knitting again. This is a little project I have started to use up some of my stash off double knit yarn. It is a fascinating pattern, one I have not attempted before – I am intrigued to see how it will turn out. Watch this space!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Pause In Lent #5– Sun Of My Soul

A Pause in Lent Floss

Pictures of Friday's Solar Eclipse have been pretty amazing [these from The Guardian] Nothing except grey clouds here in Ferndown. But I remembered two old hymns that talk about the Sun – the first by American poet, O W Holmes [printed in full] , the second by the quintessentially English John Keble [first verse only]

somerset

Lord of all being, throned afar,
Thy glory flames from sun and star;
Centre and soul of every sphere,
Yet to each loving heart how near!

1 c0rk

Sun of our life, Thy quickening ray,
Sheds on our path the glow of day;
Star of our hope, Thy softened light
Cheers the long watches of the night.

northantsOur midnight is Thy smile withdrawn;
Our noontide is Thy gracious dawn;
Our rainbow arch, Thy mercy’s sign;
All, save the clouds of sin, are Thine.

 

wyorksLord of all life, below, above,
Whose light is truth, whose warmth is love,
Before Thy ever blazing throne
We ask no lustre of our own.

 

edinburghGrant us Thy truth to make us free,
And kindling hearts that burn for Thee,
Till all Thy living altars claim
One holy light, one heavenly flame.

 

warrington

Sun of my soul, thou Saviour dear

It is not night if thou be near

Oh may no earthborn cloud arise

To hide me from my Saviour’s eyes

May you walk this week in the sunshine of God’s love, feeling the warmth and light.