Friday, 15 June 2012

My attempt at the good life

Well it has definitely been a while since my last blog. It has been an eventful time for me, but life should start to get back to normal now. So I thought since I've been out enjoying the sunshine whenever I get a moment. I would share my attempt at the good life.
Thankfully my fruit garden is fairly self sufficient and due to the amount of rain and then the occasional bit of sunshine everything is growing beautifully.

The blueberries are looking good. It is their third year and it should be the best crop so far. Hopefully if I get enough I will make some jam.

 a little beasty heading towards the raspberries! I try and garden organically and enable all things to live in harmony. Ladybirds for greenfly, copper tape for slugs and snails as well as egg shells and special grit. So I have learnt to love all of the creatures that cross my path although when they eat my lupins I really could scream.

Rasperries are one of my new fruit crops for this year. I received them as what can only be described as 3 sticks last autumn as part of a Gardeners World deal, I am hoping they will be yummy. I can't decide if I should net them or just let any little creatures share in my fruity goodness, if they are prepared to risk the cats. 

In my opinion there really isn't anything better than home grown strawberries. They are safe from the crawling beasties in an old wheelbarrow found behind the shed when we moved in.  I like to make use of items that although don't fulfil their original purpose are brilliant in another. Thus with some paint you can use directly onto rust the old wheel barrow has turned into a brilliant planter. It looks rather pretty full of my lush and soon to be red and juicy strawberries.
Well if we ever get anymore sunshine!

My potatoes are growing well, some self grown from last years crop, then there are some new ones added this year, again from a deal in the Gardener's World magazine. They came with the giant green growing sack and a pair of brown rough gloves to clean all the mud off when harvesting and preparing to cook. If they work as well as last year then there will be a few yummy meals of little new potatoes cooked with homegrown mint and smothered in butter.

My next new plant this year is blackberries. After a few years of trying to contain brambles from over taking behind the shed but never getting to enjoy the fruit.  I decided to dig it up and plant it where I wanted it and see if in a pot I could make the brambles work for me.  Especially seeing the cost of buying a bush (stick) from the local garden centre!

This year we haven't been blessed with tree bees using our compost bin to live in.  However thanks to trying to be a bee friendly gardener we do get a large number of these clever little things.

However the plant that has so far given me the most joy is a rose bush that has been flowering come what may for well over a month and looks like it will keep going for another few months yet. It is so delicate and so beautiful as it smiles out across the garden through the rain. 

I love my garden it inspires me to see the wonder in life and remember that whatever is happening in your life there is always beauty, calm and encouragement to be found if you just look at the window. Or better yet dig in the soil and then you can say I made it and it is beautiful.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Fluffy Tea Cosy

This week I wanted to knit but not a scarf. Hopefully at some point soon -pleeeeeeeeeease the sun will come out to stay and shorts and t-shirts will be the attire of the day. So I decided this week’s knit would be a fluffy tea cosy.

The pattern is from ‘Homemade – Gorgeous things to make with love’ by Ros Badger and Elspeth Thompson.  I made a few adaptations using fluffy gold and white wool instead of Aran yarn.  Also I didn’t embroider the motif on the front.

It was really lovely to knit and easy to put together, apart from I made a mess up of the pom pom!

Start by casting on 84stitches on 4.5mm needles.
Then knit row/purl row, then repeat.

At this point you knit half the work and put the other half on a stitch holder so you can make space for the handle and spout.

 You Knit 2, purl 38 knit 2 / knit - 10 times, then put the stitches on a stitch holder.

Repeat the above process on the other half.

When the two sides match knit along the whole piece of work. 

You then gradually decrease the work over the next 13 rows until you end up with 27 stitches.

Now thread through the remaining stitches and pull tight to make the top.

Stitch up the sides remembering to leave space for the spout, and add the pom pom.


I then changed my lovely but quite simple tea pot into a fluffy extravagance!  

Anyone for a cuppa?

Monday, 30 April 2012

This weeks knitting

This week I've been playing with ribbon wool. When you knit this wool you don't wrap it round the needle you put the needle through the loop.


  It's Wendy Rococo Scarf and Trims Yarn and I brought it in gold, silver and black.

 As you can see it is frilly and has little sequins on it. One ball will make a scarf and it has the instructions on the inside of the paper wrap which is very helpful if you haven't knitted with ribbon wool before.

 I used a circular needle for the first time which I had been given by my Gran. It was fun and very easy to use and was also a good way to keep the ribbon loop row on the needles safely, as you don't don't control the tension or size of stitch the loop size does. 

The joy of knitting these scarves is that they grow really quickly. There is only 10 stitches per row so you seem to be starting a new row every minute or so.

They are light and frilly and actually come out really long so you can do a double wrap round your neck.

Which is your favourite colour?

I really enjoyed knitting these and will definitely knit with this sort of ribbon wool again. has some great free patterns for this and other yarn. 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Well it's been a great few weeks, I have been a very lucky mouse.
 I had a wonderful birthday which started with a trip to a show which was such a great night out, the cast were amazing!

Then out to lunch with a good friend at Jekka's Herb Farm near Bristol, a truly inspiring place, they don't have many open days but when they do I highly recommend it.  Everyone was so helpful and friendly, Jekka gave an interesting and really useful talk and the selection of organically grown herbs was massive.  For more information go to -  I brought a number of wonderfully smelly herbs one however just for the name - a marsh mellow plant it is meant to have gorgeous flowers.

 I was blessed with being able to spend time and have a meal with my lovely family who spoilt me rotten.  They gave me a wonderful gift which once I'd recovered and dried my eyes, enjoyed looking at the photograph album of my life and those who have been a part of it, some of whom are no longer with us, I will treasure it forever, so many memories. I was especially surprised by the amazing cake that my niece organised - it looked stunning and tasted really yummy although it almost felt wrong to cut it. It was made by a very talented lady, see her page on Facebook - Cakes by Trish

The next day I met up with some friends for a picnic in the park, it was a beautiful day filled with so much laughter.

Hylands Park in Chelmsford is beautiful place to spend time. As a child many hours were spent there running around the formal gardens and the more wild areas with my family and friends. So many happy hours at anytime of year.  I remember with my brother making a snowman by rolling a snow ball for ages until it got so huge we couldn't push it any more. We got slightly separated from our parents and our dog who liked to try and round us all up spent so much energy running back and forth between us.  The house and stables used to be boarded up but now they have been renovated and now have tea and gift shops and a crafts centre, there was also an additional market on selling all sorts from local traders, you can even get married there, or attend a V festival.

So after being thoroughly spoilt all I could come up with was to make some thank you cards. Not nearly enough to express how much fun I had and how loved and blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life, and that's without a special mention to the wonderful photo genius that I am lucky enough to be married to.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

First Event - what did I learn?

Well the first Wobblymouse selling event has occurred, I went to support my friend 'the Jingles' who was holding a charity event and wanted some stalls.  The event was for NOFAS - a support group for families and children who experience the effects of foetal alcohol syndrome (

So wobblymouse and chum  CD went to support and for the first public showing (not friends or family) of my craftiness. I was feeling rather scared of what people would say about my attempts at making things, and that no one would buy anything. I decided that we would also supply some little plants to the plant stall, some spider plant babies that mum mouse and I had potted up a few weeks previously.

We arrived with many boxes of different cards - birthday, easter, thank you, get well, thinking of you and blank for your own message in a mixture of true wobblymouse invention,  some with photographs others with brought to be put together with a few extras (Hunkydory) kits. 

There was also a box of scarves - on the hottest day of the year so far!

And a few additions - candles and wine charms, plus hubby's photographs all packaged up.

A very good band were playing - Encore, and the sun shone. Luckily Starbucks were also supporting the morning so we were able to have caffine to add confidence, or hyperactivity which is what I find happens now after many years of drinking decaf or Redbush.  Plus the WI had a cake stall which added great cakes and sugar into the mix.  

After setting up and realising that I didn't quite have the right selection of display boxes, the cards were too heavy for my display flower, and we needed paper clips to make the price labels stay put, plus some other labels to make things make sense I began to breath more easily.

I'm not sure if saying to our first customer "Are you sure?" was the best selling technique but time past and we sold, some photographs, easter cards, a couple of thank you and birthday cards, a couple of boxes of wine charms and even a scarf. We didn't win the raffle or guess the name of the bear, however a good time was had by all and the event over all made nearly £600.

What did I learn - it's hard to put an appropriate value on your own hand made items as you are too invested in them.  Different display boxes are needed to group cards more clearly,  people like to know where photographs were taken and better labeling is important to avoid misunderstandings.  Most of all having a freind with you is invaluable, thank you wobblymouse chum CD! 

Most of all it was good fun, generally people are very nice and enjoy a bit of chatter. Will I do it again - yes and supporting and giving money to a good cause is a great way to use my craftiness.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

So little, so tasty, so cute!

Well what to do when you can’t decide what sort of cakes to make and only have enough ingredients for one batch of cupcakes – half the mixture and make mini ones!
These are so much fun to make and eat, there is a real feeling of satisfaction when quite so many little cakes can be made by so little mixture, only half the ingredients for each batch – they are so cute!
Both recipes came from ‘Cupcake Heaven’ Anthem Publishing, Volume 1
Coconut cherry cupcakes
115g butter, 115g caster sugar, 2 tbsp milk, 2 free-range eggs, 85g self-raising flour, 1/2tsp baking powder, 85g desiccated coconut, 115g glacé cherries (this is the full quantities, I halved these).
Preheat oven to 180° and put the tiny little cases in the mini bun tin.
Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy, stir in the milk and then gradually beat in the beaten eggs.  Sift the flour and baking powder, and then fold in along with the coconut. Gently fold in most of the quartered cherries.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and scatter the raining cherries on the top.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, transfer to a wire tray to cool.
Top with vanilla frosting a sprinkle of coconut and glacé, fresh or maraschino cherries on the top (I used a ¼ of a glacé cherry)
 Adapted valentine heart cupcakes
85g butter, 85g caster sugar, ½ tsp vanilla extract, 2 free range eggs, 70g plain flour, 1tbsp cocoa powder, 1tbsp baking powder (no need to half these quantities).
Preheat the oven to 180°, put the tiny little cases in the tray.
Place the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in the beaten egg.  Sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder and using a metal spoon, fold into the mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To make the frosting - Put 55g butter in a bowl and beat until fluffy. Sift in 115g of icing sugar and beat together until smooth.  Add 25g of melted plain chocolate and beat together. Spread frosting on the top and these are meant to have a marzipan heart and sugar flower on, I didn’t make the marzipan hearts but used a giant chocolate button instead, I think a white one would work better.

They were great little cakes and I found that they were brilliant for taking away that sweet craving and I felt like I'd had a treat even when only having one little tiny cake.  They also went down great with the children I was with. 
The large (normal size) chocolate cupcake was for a friend who enjoys wobblymouse cakes and cards.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Do Something Yummy - Cherry Bakewell Cup Cakes

From my favourite cookbook at the moment – ‘The Great British Bake Off – How to Bake...’ and also inspired by seeing them on 'Sweet Mabel's' site.

Have to say they really are yummy and go great with a cuppa.
CLIC Sargent is such a great charity good luck with all the great work you do. 

A cuppa and homemade cake, can it get any better – I think not!

It really has been a great few days, my mum’s been visiting. We’ve been shopping, gardening, crafting and baking  (The picture of which I am going to link up to ‘do something yummy’). 

 She’s been helping out as I’m still recovering from surgery and it’s been great to have her here to share time with, chat about life and generally laugh with.  Sometimes when we’re younger we don’t always appreciate our mums, we struggle to grow up and do things our way. However, having lived away from home at various distances, from the other side of the world to now being at least three hours away. Having lost my father and life taking us to various dark places over the last few years.  I really appreciate how lucky I am to have a great mum who is willing to come and stay. She is so supportive an inspiration to others, how she looks at life and the people in it.  Always trying to see the best in others, help where she can and is my friend.