Sunday, 26 September 2010


I've had the urge to bake again. This time I plumped for Parkin, again another from Sue Lawrence's 'On Baking' book.
One of the advantages of Parkin is it's easy to do, basically sieve all the dry ingredients, add oatmeal

Add the melted butter and black treacle.
Now, when you've mixed everything together you're supposed to put the mixture (which smells lovely by the way) into a 2lb loaf tin, however, I must have checked mine a while ago so had to use a square cake tin. I really must start to check I've got everything I need before embarking on anything in the baking line!
As it was a lot thinner than it should have been I had to guess how long it should have be cooked for. I found I've got a timer on my phone, which  was useful. The end results were delicious though.
I think fairy cakes next.


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Knitting the washcloth

When I've been meandering around the internet looking for knitting patterns, I've often come across those for knitted washcloths (or facecloths). We're cat sitting at the moment and I wanted something that I could easily take with me and would be quick and easy to do. What ever I decided on would also have to be saleable as I'm still trying to get back into the work habit! So,as  I'd got some knitting cotton left over from a throw/afghan I made a few years ago I thought about having a go at a knitted washcloth.

As this was my first attempt I used a pattern I'd found on the Lion Brand website called the Bluebird Beach washcloth. The pattern is over four rows and easy to remember and only took a couple of hours to complete.

 Having completed my 'prototype', I went in search of some more knitting cotton (I'd not got as much left as I thought) and found some organic cotton made by Twilleys of Stamford at John Lewis'. It's from their freedom sincere range and comes in a lovely range of colours.

I've now started on my first washcloth using a darkish pink (see below) using a simple basketweave and seed pearl pattern I've put together myself.

I did wonder why people (the Americans in particular) used knitted washcloths as I'd have thought they'd be a bit soggy compared to a towelling facecloth, but having used my prototype in the shower I'm converted. It was easy to use, 'felt' better than a towelling one and dried just as quickly. I foresee a few people getting these as birthday/Christmas presents! 

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Displaying jewellery

I’ve got quite a large collection of jewellery, and I have a number of jewellery boxes to keep it in, but I was finding that I couldn’t remember what I’d got and, consequently, I tended to wear the same few pieces over and over again.

In a few of the magazines that I read, I have seen various examples of the way different people display their jewellery, including using hooks, mirrors and picture frames etc. And I thought by doing something similar I’d be killing two birds with one stone, I would not only be able to see what jewellery I actually owned, but also create a great display.

For displaying these, I bought a lovely glass-topped triple hook in amethyst and matching door knobs that I’d seen in the Graham and Green catalogue. The hook went on the wall and the door knobs onto the front of a glass cabinet, both in our bedroom. I use them both to display my longer and chunkier necklaces.

Last Christmas I was given a Laura Ashley table mirror as a present, and I now use this to drape my finer, shorter necklaces, including an aurora borealis one I inherited from my grandmother.

I borrowed another idea I’d seen, using pressed-glass cake stands, for my bracelets. I’ve got two, both generously donated by my mother, one that is flat and the other more bowl shaped with a crinkly edge (this one was also my grandmother’s). The flat-topped one I use for my chunkier bracelets that can stand up on their own, including a lovely red kitsch one I’ve recently bought from Primark.

I use the other on from my more delicate and drapey bracelets as I can hang this over the edge, using the crinkles to stop them falling off.

I use an old-fashioned idea for these, a pressed-glass ring tray with the sticky-up bit in the middle to slot your rings on. These are easy to get from Ebay or charity shops, mine only cost 75p.

Again, I use a conventional way of storing ear-rings, my jewellery boxes! As everything else is now visible, I’m wearing different jewellery every day, and if you put on a necklace or a bracelet you have to have ear-rings that go with it. The only problem I have now is that I can’t always remember which ear-rings are in which jewellery box!

I'm steadily building up a collection of brooches. I find them on Ebay or in charity shops and as well as using them pinned to jackets etc I also add them to handbags when I go out etc. Again as I like to see what I've got, I display these on a brooch cushion.  I made mine using cream silk and embroidered it with flowers.

None of my jewels are hugely expensive, but displaying them as well as wearing gives me twice the pleasure.

Louise XX

Sunday, 12 September 2010

We're off.....

Well, I'm off, but I was trying for an appropriate title for this post without starting with something biblical like 'in the beginning'. Why? Well, having taken voluntary redundancy from work, and I can't say I miss it, though I do miss the people, I'm setting up my own little website selling the things I make. And to start this off I've been busy sorting through my stash of fabric, doing a bit of purchasing of vintage fabric on ebay and cutting up bits of fabric to make into cushions, lavender bags and jewellery cushions during the past couple of weeks. Yesterday I completed my first item for sale, a union jack cushion. It's still needs a good iron, but I couldn't wait to see what is looked like with a cushion pad in it.  I've also been able to make use of my new labels (though it's not the first item I've used them on as I added one to the jewellery roll I made for my mother's birthday so she could have the inaugural piece) for Elsie May and Bertha, my shop, as well as this blog, once I get it up and running. They're the names of my two grandmothers, Elsie May Hancock and Bertha Hodson.

Louise xx