Thursday, 31 May 2018

Waffles and ice cream baby blanket

So anyone who knows me will tell you I have an A'level in waffle but not so in waffle stitch. That is until now. I have persevered and finally worked out how to do waffle stitch and as this is such a ground breaking moment for me I thought I would share it with you and hopefully one or two of you will find this of benefit.

The yarn I used is Stylecraft Special DK in parchment and cream and you will need 400g of parchment or your chosen main colour and 100g of cream or the contrast colour of your choice. You may decide to use one solid colour for both in which case you will need 500g in total and a 3.5mm hook. The completed size is 22 x 28 inches and the cost of the wool should be approximately £10 or $12.

For a test piece chain 22 and follow the instructions below, when working on the blanket  you need to work in multiples of 3 + 1, for my blanket I made 99 + 1 chain in parchment. This size will fit a pram, crib or car seat. You can if you wish make it bigger just remember to increase the width in multiples of 3. when it comes to the length of the  blanket I worked 99 rows including the foundation row but you can of course continue to the length you require. To finish off I worked one more row (row 100) by completing one more foundation row which gives you an even finish.

So how do you do waffle stitch?

The 1st row is your foundation row: from 2nd chain next to the hook  (as indicated by the needle in the photo) make your first treble

then continue to treble in each of the chain spaces to the last stitch then turn.

chain 2 you will continue to chain 2 every time you start a new row.

The next two rows will form the waffle pattern.

1st repeat row - Treble in the first stitch (as indicated in the photo)

FPTC (Front Post Treble Crochet)

then FPTC (Front Post Treble crochet) in the next stitch  putting your yarn around the hook then drop down to the treble stitch below put your hook behind the treble stitch wrap your yarn around the hook and pull back through and then yarn around the hook pull through the first two loops on your hook then yarn round the hook pull yarn through remaining 2 stitches this now forms your FPTC stitch now treble into the tops of the next two stitches. This process will form the 1st row of your waffle pattern. Continue to make one FPTC followed by a treble in the tops of each of the next two stitches to the last two stitches FPTC and treble into turning stitch and turn

Chain 2 - 2nd repeat row - Treble into top of first stitch next to turning stitches. Treble into top of FPTC, then FPTC into next two trebles and repeat this process to last two stitches. Treble into the top of the last two stitches. and turn.

Chain 2

1st and 2nd row repeat rows form waffle pattern.

4 rows + foundation row
For the border using cream or your contrast colour and starting two stitches from the corner complete two rows of double crochet your  third row will be of bobble stitch row.

To make your bobble stitch

double crochet into the first stitch then in the second make your bobble stitch by pulling yarn over, insert into next double crochet, yarn over, pull through  (you now have 3 loops on your hook) , yarn over, pull through first two loops on the hook repeat until you have 7 loops  on the hook. Yarn over and pull through all loops to complete your bobble.

Continue with one double crochet and one bobble stitch until you have completed a round and finish off

and there you have it my first waffle and bobble blanket and how I made it. 


Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Marmalade & Ginger Loaf

Good morning from a very wet & windy shire. Following a lovely sunny bank holiday weekend the weather has definitely taken a turn for the worse, there will be no time spent in the garden or leisurely walks with the four paws today. We're currently hunkered down watching  the rain and listening thunder overhead.   I hope wherever you are that the weather is being a little kinder to you.  I thought I would take the opportunity to catch up on writing up some of my blog posts starting with my marmalade and ginger loaf.

You will need a 2lb loaf tin greased or use a liner which you can purchase from the supermarket. 

for the loaf                                                             for the icing

115g (4oz)n butter                                                 175g (6oz) icing sugar
55g (2oz) soft light brown sugar                        6 tbsps of chilled water
2 eggs
300g (10oz) self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
8 tbsps of orange marmalade
1 tbsp of milk

  • start off by greasing or lining your loaf tin and put to one side. 
  • preheat the oven to 170c/325f/gas mark 3
  • cream the butter and light brown sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy and then gradually add the eggs and beat together.

  • sift in the flour and ginger into the mixture and fold in
  • add the marmalade and milk and mix to a soft consistency.

  • turn into the loaf tin and level off and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until risen and firm to the touch - or a skewer comes out clean. 
  • once baked remove from the oven, leave the loaf in the tin for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to completely cool.
  • in a small bowl combine the icing sugar and water together to make a thick icing. Spread this icing evenly over the cake and leave to set.

and if you manage to wait that long then you deserve to put the kettle on, make that cuppa, pull up a chair and cut yourself a slice of marmalade & ginger loaf 



Saturday, 26 May 2018

A little bit of R & R

Following last weekends royal wedding and all the excitement that went with it, this last week seemed like the longest week ever.  Time definitely seemed to go ever so slowly even though it had been the usual hectic week at work.  Still Friday finally arrived and at 5pm I put my out of office notification on the computer and shut it down for the next week.  Time for a bit of R & R for half term.  We are not going away  more of a staycation as there are lots of things I would like to get on with here, some of which will be catching up with writing up blog posts on recipes, knitting and crochet projects. Hopefully the weather will be kind and we will get out in the garden as the grass will need mowing, there are beds that need digging and plants needing planting. I dare say there will be the odd visit to the garden centre which may include breakfast or lunch out always a nice treat.  of course there will be walks with the furry paws.  We have lived here a year now but still going on a journey of discovery finding all the best places to walk with them. 

Thank you for all your lovely comments of congratulations about becoming a grandma. As you can see the knitting needles have been out. I do like these neutral colours I can foresee a few more bits and bobs being made with these colours unless they change their minds of course and choose to find out whether they are having a boy or girl at the next scan. 

One blanket is already off the hook

with a second currently being blocked

and this little guy is heading for the baby's nursery once completed with hopefully one or two more to join him before November.

Whether you are off for half term or just enjoying the bank holiday weekend enjoy your time off. OK time to go and tackle one of the jobs on the agenda - sorting out the wool stash...... 


Monday, 21 May 2018

Oh such a perfect day

From seeing Diana's boys walking down to the chapel

to Prince Charles escorting Meghan down to meet Harry who you saw say thank you pa

to Bishop Michael

to the Archbishop of Canterbury

the gospel choir

and that kiss

It was all just such a perfect day.  A mix of traditional and modern and everything in between. I cried all the way through especially when Harry himself got emotional and shed a few tears and tried to surreptitiously wipe them away hoping nobody would notice. From that cheeky little boy full of mischief,  able to get a way with things his older brother never could to a man very much in love.

In the words of Bob Dylan Times they are a changing for our Royal Family and all for the good. I think together with William & Kate this young couple are going to hit the ground running. 

Congratulations to the new Duke & Duchess of Sussex.


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Mums the word

Willow Tree 'Home' figurine
I started writing this post after Mothers Day (March in the UK), but couldn't publish until now as I was sworn to secrecy.  

There is to be a new addition to our family come the Autumn and I am beyond excited.  Middle son and his partner bought their first home last year and had been busy putting their own stamp on it when they discovered they were expecting. Only the mum's were told and for me it was the best Mothers Day present ever. I did have to tell D as I just couldn't contain that much excitement for another two whole months until after the first scan.

They are divided on whether to know if they are having a blue or pink one.  My son would like to know as he says he would like to prepare (not sure what he means by that a baby is coming son what more do you need to know), where as his partner doesn't want to know she would rather have what we have called a Que Sera Sera baby (for those not old enough to remember the song Whatever will be will be, baby as it's going to be one or the other) but she could of course change her mind by the time she gets to her 20 weeks scan. 

I had planned to make all sorts of things this year including a dress to wear to Yarndale, but as you can imagine all those plans have been shelved and all the baby patterns have come out of storeage. I knew if I kept them all they would come in handy again one day.  Some of them are 30 years old from when my eldest son was born right down to those from 15 years ago when my youngest was born.

As well as projects on needles there will be others on the hoop to cross stitch and crochet on the hook over the summer months which I will share with you as we go along. 

It's going to be a busy but very exciting time and I can't wait.

Take Care

Granny Mx

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Bank Holiday gorgeousness

Last weekend was a Bank Holiday here in the UK and it was a scorcher, which is virtually unheard of as usually a Bank Holiday means a 3 day weekend and 3 days of rain.  The trouble with getting up at stupid O'clock to go to work means that even on a day off you still wake up at stupid O'clock and nine times out of ten you can't get back to sleep.  I usually use this time to enjoy a cup of tea and a chapter or two of my latest read.  I started my weekend off with catching up on blog reading and writing of a couple of the recipes I promised to post before the rest of the house started to surface. 

I had big plans of using the extra time off to work in the garden. A stop off at a local garden centre for provisions, which included stopping at the restaurant for a full English breakfast and we were all set. I had started creosoting the gates, fences and garage doors the weekend before and was eager to get the rest finished.  

The bearded one said I was like a women on a mission and I must admit by Monday afternoon with four fences, eight gates and the garage doors completed, I was shattered but happy in the knowledge that it won't need doing again for another two years. The garden here is a definite work in progress, apart from three trees at the back there was nothing here a complete blank canvas, so I look forward to sharing this journey with you. 

During our journey you will notice a number of items that came with us from The Willows. This little bee wind chime was a gift from Jo Through the keyhole and he now hangs in the courtyard here at the farm house.. 

Along with the real thing that are loving the Rosemary at the moment.

And this year it would appear we have our little ground bees back in residence. I never knew these existed until we moved here last year and found their burrows in another area of the garden. Having contacted the Bee Conservation Trust they told us that they are harmless the queens will burrow under the soil to look after their young with the occasional siting of a drone flying around the burrow. They stayed over the summer and then just disappeared. 

The boys enjoyed the sunshine they can be real sun worshipers but equally know the best places to lie in the shade when it gets a little too hot for comfort. I love this shot of Buster he is a really photogenic boy.

Of course even when you are working out in the garden all day you need to keep your energy levels up. My Grandmother's Tea Bread continues to be a big hit both at home and at work. Its a great energy boost and good brain food, and as it contains fruit I tell people it is part of your five a day. This week I treated my colleagues to Ginger and Marmalade Loaf which was equally well received.  Whenever we are planning to work on the garden for the day I always try and have something prepared in advance for dinner that evening, as our nearest takeaway is a half hour drive away. To me there is nothing worse than having to start preparing a meal when all you want to do is get a shower and chill out in your PJ's. With the nice weather comes eating alfresco and one of our favourites for this time of year is vegetarian tart with salad and lemon tart for desert.

 And of course there is always a little time for relaxing with a little bit of crochet and a glass of something chilled whilst watching the sun go down.

Over the past few weeks I have received some lovely comments for which I am very grateful. I would like to welcome those of you who are new to Lazy Days & Sundays. You all know the time it takes to put a post together and the thrill you get when you see complimentary comments encouraging you to continue doing what you do so a big Thank You to you all.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend


Monday, 7 May 2018

Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna

Good morning here we are on a bright and sunny bank holiday here in the UK and how better to start the day but by writing a blog post before the rest of the house wakes and demands on your time are no longer your own. Thank you to those of you who visited and commented on my last post for the Sun-dried tomato focaccia, it sounds like there are a few of you who are going to give it ago and some who will be taking on a picnic this weekend. If you were one of those please share your photo's its always nice to see that sharing as party of a community really does work.I thought I'd use my peace & quiet to share with you the lasagna recipe that went with the focaccia. I'm sure to most making pasta from scratch would seem a real faff but actually it doesn't take long to make and after 30 minutes rest time is good to go. 

For the pasta you will need

350g/12oz strong plain or pasta flour
1tbsp of salt
60mls/4tbsp sunflower oil
12mls/1tbsp of chilled water
3 eggs

In a jug or small bowl add the sunflower oil and water and mix together. In a separate large mixing bowl sift the flour and salt, make a well in the centre and add the eggs followed by gradually adding the oil and water mixture.  Start and mix together until it forms clumps at which time its hands in and start to bring together until it forms a dough.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Put the dough in a plastic bag or wrap in cling film and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. 

Now I've had a pasta machine for around the last 15 years and at the time I purchased mine they were still relatively expensive that doesn't seem to be the case anymore and if you get your children or grandchildren involved in making the pasta it can be great fun.  Each of my three eldest children all left home able to make pasta from scratch, in fact one of my daughters friends thought you only bought pasta ready made in packets. This one also has an attachment so that you can make spaghetti and tagliatelle. Drying your pasta off can be more of a challenge.  I did eventually buy a drying rack but had also used a broom handle and a wooden coat hanger.  If you have a heavy based rolling pin you can use that but it will take you a little longer to get it as thin as you will need but I suppose it all helps with the bingo wings.

Whilst your dough is resting you can start and make your filling for this you will need

225g/80z fresh mushrooms (I used chestnut mushrooms but any combination of mushrooms can be used)
2 cloves of garlic crushed or 2tsps of garlic paste
1 onion finely chopped
675g/11/2 lbs of spinach I used fresh but frozen works just as well but just make sure it is thawed and well drained. 
Good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
450g/1lb of soft full fat cheese (I used ricotta)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Start by adding a little butter to your frying pan and add the onion. and garlic and saute for about 3-5 minutes or until the onions are turning translucent. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add the spinach and nutmeg and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes. Now stir in the soft cheese and season with the salt & freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the cheese has melted and blended with the spinach & mushroom mixture. 

Lastly you need to make the cheese sauce for the topping for which you will need. 

50g/2oz butter
1tbsp of plain flour
1/2 pint of full fat milk warmed 
6oz cheddar cheese grated

Now I always warm my milk in the microwave before I start this prevents lumps forming when you add to the butter and flour.  In a saucepan melt the butter and then add your tablespoon of flour stir continuously with a wood spoon for about 3 minutes to give the flour a chance to cook out.  Gradually add the warmed milk stirring continuously. You may get a few lumps to begin with or it may look like a sticky mess but trust me if you use warm milk this will make all the difference and you will end up with a smooth white sauce. Remove from the heat and add the grated cheese and stir until melted and there you have it your cheese sauce. 

Now you are ready to start and assemble your lasagna.  Grease your lasagna dish with a little oil or butter or the pasta will  stick. If using dried lasagna sheets you will need to follow the directions on the packet as some you will need to cook for a few minutes and others you can use straight away. Even if the packet says that you can use straight from the packet I still dip the lasagna sheets into hot water to soften them slightly. Put a layer of lasagna at the bottom then a layer of your spinach and mushroom mixture three times in all ending with a layer of pasta.

Now poor your cheese sauce over the top and if you want to you can add a little Parmesan cheese and a little more grated nutmeg over the top. If you are preparing this in advance then you can store in the fridge once it has cooled until you are ready. Alternatively once the lasagna has cooled you can freeze it at this point. I do this if I know family are coming and I don't want to spend the whole time in the kitchen. 

If you did freeze your lasagna take it out the night before to allow to defrost in the fridge. When you are ready preheat your oven to 200/400/gas mark 6 and cook for about 35 - 40 minutes until the top is golden and brown. I use and old knitting needle to check the pasta has cooked all the way through as I never did find the skewer after we moved and its just one of those things I've never replaced. 

And there you have it Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna, I do hope you enjoy it and if you have ago please share your photo's.

In the meantime the rest of the house is starting to surface and it looks like it's going to be another scorching day (very unusual for a bank holiday) which means I can continue working in the garden today. Whatever your plans are take care and enjoy your day. 


Friday, 4 May 2018

Sun-dried tomato Foccacia

Good morning lovely blogland followers.  As we are entering a bank holiday weekend here in the UK I thought I would take opportunity to start it off with adding another of the recipe's from last weekends bake & make.

Today is Sun-dried Tomato Focaccia which so many of you left lovely comments about here and on my other social media.

So lets get started with what you will need.  The only equipment you will need is a baking sheet to bake your bread on which you will need to grease and lightly flour or line with a piece of baking parchment to prevent it sticking whilst baking.

Ingredients required are:

450g (1lb) of strong plain flour, you can use gluten free if required.
1tsp of salt
2tsps or 7g sachet of easy-blend yeast
115g (4oz) of sun-dried tomato's in oil drained & chopped
3tbsp of oil either olive or oil or I use the oil from the tomato's
250ml (9fl oz) warm water
Coarse seat salt for sprinkling

  • Having lined or greased & lightly floured your baking sheet and left to one side

  • sift the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the yeast. Add your chopped tomato's and stir. 
  • Make well in the middle and add the 3 tbsp's of oil, I use the oil from the tomato's as this generally has dried herbs within it too adding more flavour and will also given extra tomato flavour to the bread.
  • Add enough water, mixing to form a soft dough.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

  • Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave until doubled in size.
  • Knock back the dough onto a lightly floured surface, then roll out to form a flat oval to about 2.5cm (1 inch) thick. 

  • Place the dough on the baking sheet, cover and leave to rise again or until doubled in size. 
  • Preheat the oven to 200/400/gas mark 6. 
  • Using your finger tips, make deep dimples all over the surface of the dough. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
At this point the bearded one came into the kitchen and when asked what he though of my efforts he asked if I had bought it from the supermarket that morning.  Having sought advice from facebook and IG followers we decided I should be flattered rather than insulted by this ridiculous comment.

You can eat warm or cold. We had ours with homemade spinach & mushroom lasagna (recipe to follow at some point soon) and salad washed down with the compulsory glass of wine. 

Hope you give this ago you won't be disappointed the smell of it baking alone was enough to make you hungry.

Take care one & all and as always thank you for stopping by and for all your lovely comments and welcome to anyone new.

Right I'm off to check on the weather to see if there is any possibility of getting the creosoting done but so far it's not looking that favourable, in which case there may be more baking or a little crafting taking place for sharing soon.


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