Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!!

This year we are carving our very own pumpkins, from our allotment!!!!  Luke went to pick them up from the greenhouse this morning where they have been resting since being picked.  One was a little bit bigger than the other but they were both a perfect size for carving.

Rachael decided to carve hers on the front and the back which was a great idea as we put them in the window for the trick or treaters to see and don't get the benefit of all the hard word ourselves.  So the first one is the scary side...

...followed by the friendly side that is winking at you!

This is Luke...pretending to be happy at having to pose with a pumpkin at the age of 13.  That is his 'are you seriously making me do this mum?  What on earth...' look.  He actually did all his own carving this year with me holding the pumpkin steady and praying that I would still have 8 fingers and 2 thumbs left at the end of it!

The finished pumpkins (look who crept in Jo!)  The little pumpkins are the top of a cheap set of lights we have bought for outside this year - they had to be cheap as we are taking bets as to whether they will get stolen or not!

I found this brilliant decorating idea too, but I can't remember where it was.  Below is a photo of what we are putting down the other side of the garden path for the trick or treaters...these scary eyes.  They are SO easy to make.  It is just a couple of toilet roll middles with eyes cut out on one side and a glow stick put in the middle of it.  The kids really got into making them and there are some really good shaped eyes on some of the others.  (These ones were just a practice run to see what they were like!)



Thursday, 30 October 2014

Act of kindness

One of my blogging friends, the lovely Justine of justinescrossstitch knew that I was feeling a bit down at the moment and chose to gift me a GORGEOUS HaED chart to cheer me up and to help my stitching mojo return.

It was such a wonderful gift, on a day that needed something happy!  Thank you so much Justine. (BTW - I had some fabric for it)

Mini Checking It Twice
image borrowed from HaED
click on the link to go and buy it!!!!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Halloween Exchange

Before I lost my mojo, I had joined in the Halloween Exchange that Kim was organising.  This is the wonderful package that I received from my exchange partner, Lynda.  She did send me 2 of the marshmallow witches but the first one must have whizzed off on her broomstick as she never made it to the photocall :)

I have never had such lovely tea towels and dish cloths as these, so they will be put to good use. The scented reeds are gorgeous too, pumpkin scented.  The lollies were tasty too!  The best bit though were the 2 lovely stitched pieces which Lynda included though.  They are beautifully stitched and so cute!  Thank you Lynda, it was a lovely package to open.

My package hasn't arrived yet, sadly.  I am ok posting a photo of what I sent though as I am about 99.9% sure that my exchange partner doesn't read my blog.  Below is a photo of what I sent and a close up of what I stitched for my partner. The design was a BlueLadie Designs freebie from the last newsletter.  

Finally, a while back Kathryn had a Tour de France giveaway on her blog which I was lucky enough to win.  She sent me LOADS of bits, it took me AGES to open it all and look through.  Thank you so much Kathryn.  There were loads of cute San Man designs with the buttons to finish them or the little tuck pillow, threads, a project bag and all wrapped in the cute little pink bag you can see.  Well I say little, it was probably A4 size so not little at all.  My absolutely favourite thing though, has to be the frog bell pull end.  It is adorable.  I have even taken a closeup of the frog as he is so cute!  However, this is the ONLY visiting frog I want!  Thank you Kathryn for such a wonderful package :)

Sunday, 26 October 2014


Thank you to the people who noticed I had fallen off of the planet and emailed me to make sure I was ok.  It was much appreciated and lovely to know that people were thinking of me. I'm not going into details as to why I haven't been around for a while.

There has been very little stitching the last couple of months.  The death of Debbie seems to have taken my mojo too.  So I will tell you about everything else that I have been up to instead.  

We decided to have a family 'Come Dine With Me' challenge.  If you haven't seen the programme, it is where total strangers visit each others houses for a meal, scoring each person for their night. Whoever has the highest score wins £1000.  Clearly, that wasn't going to be the prize here!

After drawing straws for the order and sharing of menus, we took turns over 4 Sundays to cook our creations.  

Colin was up first with Sausage and Lentil soup, Beef casserole with crispy potato topping and butter crumble cake.  He did add red cabbage to the plate with the casserole.  Everything was really tasty too.

Rachael's night was next.  She made home made mini pizzas for starters (making the pizza base herself) with cheesy garlic bread.  This was followed by chicken and ham melt, roast potatoes and peas with a cheesy sauce and finally the world's most delicious cake - EVER! It doesn't look much from here but was wonderful!  So chocolately with a wonderful caramel filling.

Third, was Luke.  I have to admit that I wasn't looking forward to his night as I hate meatballs! Anyway to start with there was garlic bread and 'piggy kebabs'.  These turned out to be pigs in blankets but he did mine really crispy so they were tasty.  Then the dreaded meatballs - which were really delicious.  He served it with onion relish and mango chutney and made his own bread too.  It was supposed to be pitta bread but he didn't roll it enough so there was still loads of air in it BUT it was wonderful!  I have told him that he can make a batch of this EVERY week. We forgot to get a photo of his dessert but that was gorgeous too.  Pots au chocolat, with plenty of chocolate. 

Lastly was my night.  What a lot of pressure!  I made an Onion Soup with cheesy croutons but people were so keen to tuck into it that we forgot photos until it was almost eaten!  This is what was left of Rachael's at the time.  Then it was skin on wedges with buttered corn (on a massive skewer!) with home made Southern Fried Chicken, topped with pulled pork (also made from scratch), home made BBQ sauce and topped with melted cheese.  It was beautiful!  The pull pork took around 5 hours in the oven on a lowish heat but was SO worth it!  For dessert I made a shortbread stack, with whipped cream, strawberries and served with home made ice cream (not in a machine) and chocolate dipping sauce.

We made videos on the i-pad like they do in the back of the taxi and held up our score cards to find the winner.

And the winner is...


It was really good fun, although hard work and expensive.  The winner gets a meal for himself and 3 family members...I wonder who he will choose...