Sunday, 16 October 2011

Hello again!

After a break of over a month I'm back and raring to go. Several things have happened since then which has meant that I feel the happiest I have in a long time.

I have a new job which came out of the blue. I was offered an interview for a job as a nursery nurse/ classroom assistant in a yr 2 class. Something I probably would never apply for, after spending almost ten years looking after 2-3year olds. But i went for it and got the job.
 I have to say its the best decision i could have ever made. Everybody is lovely. The holidays are great and for the first time in ages I want to go to work.

The 2nd big thing for me is that I've just started treatment for IVF after waiting 4 years. So my fingers and toes are crossed! and the change in my attitude has got to help with that.

But my crafting has not been pushed to one side i have joined Ravelry, i made my mum a crocheted scarf for her birthday and i made myself a lovely chunky knit spiralled scarf.
my mum's scarf

I'm also gearing up for a crafting Christmas so expect to see more within the next few months.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Cute and easy crochet

I've always looked at crochet and admired it but never thought i would be able to do it. To me it just looked way too difficult.
Being inspired by issue 3 of Mollie makes magazine, which shows a handful of beautiful crocheted flowers on the front, i decided to ask my sister if she'd teach me. 
I seemed to have a mental block when it comes to understanding a written description of how to do something, I need to be shown how to do it first. At first i tried the double crochet then the half treble, then the treble crochet and then i had a go at working in the round and making a flower. It was then I felt ready for my first crochet project.
I noticed this book on amazon...Cute and Easy crochet by Nikki Trench.

It is really lovely and has lots of beautiful projects in it, from beginner to improver to enthusiast. It had a pattern for a crochet hook holder so i thought this might be a good place to start.
So here is my version, funnily enough my crochet is the neatest part of it, I'm afraid i didn't do a great job of sewing the lining, i still need much more practice there, but I'm still quite happy with it. It's unique!

But it's safe to say, I'm well and truly hooked to crocheting!!

Monday, 1 August 2011

My seaside souvenirs.

I've finally got around to doing something with my beachcombing treasures and this, hopefully is the first of many. I love mussel shells - the deep blue, blacks and silvers and I wanted to make something with them.. so here it is!
As a wall hanging..
or  a candle holder.                     
And I have lots more ideas to come!
Bye for now! x

Sunday, 17 July 2011

I'm back!

Well I'm back from my holidays and it was lovely, the weather was great most of the time. It was very relaxing i don't often get time to read and i managed to read 2 books and numerous magazines, I also discovered a fantastic magazine that is right up my street it's called funnily enough 'MOLLIE MAKES'. (Which sort of looks like I've copied their name, in fact its only the 3rd edition and it only began in May 2011 and my first post was in ner! Maybe they copied off me! OK so I know Mollie Makes is more catchier than Abigail makes..but hey ho!)
The tag line for the mag is Living and Loving Handmade which sums it up beautifully.I will definitely be buying it again.
Anyway back to my holiday, St Ives is full of inspiration for crafts, the shops are full of beautiful handmade goodies and I also spent lots of time beach combing for natural goodies which i hope to use in future crafts. So now I'm back home i hope the inspiration has rubbed off on me. For now I'll leave you with a photograph that i took from the island looking down towards Porthgwidden beach, i love the mixture of the blue turquoise sea and the beautiful yellow flowers clinging to the rocks, it's gorgeous and it makes me home sick for the beautiful place i wish i could call home.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Dreaming of St. Ives

You probably won't believe me but this was taken on the 1st January 2010...Beautiful!

St Ives has got to be my favourite place in the whole world and it is very special to me, my husband and his family have been on holiday here every year since before he was born. I decided to go with them in 2003 the year after we met and fell completely in love with everything about it. We got married here in 2006 and we continue to go every year, twice a year - 2 weeks in July and 1 week over new year.
And guess what...we go next Friday!!!

8 weeks in the's my first knitting project!

When I decided 8 weeks ago to start a knitting project I found a pattern in a shop bargain bin for 10p. It was a pattern for a shrug, you knit it all in one piece and it looked simple enough so I thought it'd probably take me a couple of weeks at most. First big it's 8 weeks later!! But I got there in the end.
I'm pretty proud of myself but it's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, there was a few times when I thought I'd wrecked it altogether. The other massive mistake was... however much wool it tells to you to get .. get more. I ran out and was unable to get more, so I had to finish 2 rows earlier than I should have and only had a little bit of wool to cast off. Luckily I had some embroidery thread that was similar to the colour of the wool so i used that. 

Surprisingly it doesn't look too bad, see for yourself:

At least I've learnt some valuable lessons along the way :-)  and it really goes well with my favourite summer dress so I'm all ready for my holidays!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Look what I made!

I have spent this afternoon making a cushion for the shoe bench in the hall, I know it doesn't seem like much but I'm so proud of myself! LOOK.. 
Hmmm..what should I make next!

Happy Birthday Hubby!

It's my husband's birthday on Wed 22nd June, but this weekend we have had BBQ at ours with both his family and mine.

It's a tradition that i always make him a birthday cake, i asked him what kind he would like and he said a chocolate cake.
So here it is...
I used a silicone giant cupcake case that I bought last year and I've never used, and had the idea of making a cake using 2 things that Matthew loves: Dark chocolate and Bourbon biscuits.
I would have put chillies in too, cos he's a chilli addict but i think it might of put the rest of the family off eating it, so i settled for putting small bars of chilli chocolate around the cake, These are from a small shop in St Ives, Cornwall called 'I should coco' , where you can see them making the chocolate. It's great and the chocolate tastes amazing! I think it would taste good with the chilli chocolate, i have made cupcakes with it before.

Chocolate cake
8oz butter
8oz caster sugar
7oz self raising flour
1oz cocoa powder
4 free range eggs
1tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

Mix it all in a blender and put half in each side of the greased cupcake mould.
Bake for 45- 50mins in oven temp 180C.
When taken out of oven leave in mould for 15 mins before turning out.
I scooped out more of the cake from the bottom mould so i could add the filling, I spread a layer of jam then a layer of slices of strawberries, keeping some back for the top and drizzle dark chocolate on top.

For the filling:
6 Bourbon biscuits - crushed
150g butter
350g icing sugar
Vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
Mix together the icing sugar, butter and vanilla until thick and creamy buttercream then add the crushed biscuits and mix gently.

The bourbon buttercream then goes on top of the strawberries and put the top of the cake on and press down gently.(there will be some buttercream left over depending on how much you put in for filling and if you use more for the decoration)

For the decoration
Melt 100g of dark chocolate and pour it over the top of the giant cupcake and let it drip down the sides, leave to set slightly put a blob of buttercream on top and push a bourbon biscuit into the top. Position the reserved strawberries around the top of the cake and pour on some red love heart sprinkles to show it is made with love! aww!

And yes it did tastes as good as it looks!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Baking day

Question: What do you do with a spare day, with nothing to do and horrible weather outside?

Answer: Put your pinny on, put a bit of Carpenters on the Ipod and do some baking!

As I was making my Apple dessert cake with the damaged apples left over (which my husband refuses to eat if they have the slightest blemish on them) and pelting out the words to "Close to You" it occurred to me that i should have been born in another era, i love nothing more than doing some cooking or baking, escaping into my little bubble in my kitchen. I think i would have like to have been a housewife.
People at work say to me that they would be bored if they didn't work but i would be anything but. I would love to be able to have the time to keep my house in order and still have the time for the past times i love such as baking, sewing, knitting etc. At the moment i have to divide my time between them. But until I can I'll just have to dream and take the opportunities while i can!

So today i made Apple Dessert Cake ( i think it is a Mary Berry recipe, my sister gave it to me) Its great for using up my bruised apples!

 8oz self raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
8oz caster sugar
2 eggs
half a tsp almond extract
5oz butter melted
12oz apples, peeled and cored
1oz flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 160oC/ Gas mark 3
Lightly grease a deep 8in tin

Measure the all the ingredients except the apples and the flaked almonds in a bowl and mix together then beat for a minute.

Spread half the mixture in the tin, thickly slice the apples and arrange them on top of the mixture mostly in the middle.

Spread the rest of the mixture on top, then sprinkle on the flaked almonds.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 and a quarter hours until golden.

It is delicious served warm with ice cream or custard, or cold on its own, my sister also has it for her breakfast at times!

I also made some flapjacks, basically i melted butter, syrup and honey together and mixed it together with oats, seeds, chopped nuts, cherries and sultanas, then spread into a tin and baked in a oven 180oC for 30mins. Cut whilst hot. I guessed a bit with the amounts but basically i just lobbed it all in!

I did have a photo but  for some reason my bluetooth isn't cooperating so I'll try to post a photo later!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Foodies Festival

Yesterday I went to the Foodies Festival at Tatton Park. It was a really good event, There were lots of stalls selling amazing food from all over England but mainly the Cheshire area, food and drink masterclasses and chef's demos. We went to a chef's demo, Norman Musa a malaysian chef from the Ning Restaurant in Manchester. The food he cooked looked and smelled amazing, we said that we must go and try out the restaurant. I later found out my sister Evangeline is friends with him! We bought some smoked chedder from the Cheshire cheese company, some jamaican jerk sauce and a bag for smoking food in the oven. Matthew had a kangeroo burger and  I had some paella. I tried some of the burger, it tasted nice. It was a really good day, I could have spent a lot of money but we only had about 20 pound cash which was probably a good thing! 

Sunday, 15 May 2011

At last I have had the time to do some sewing. Since being back at work I've only had chance to do knitting (which is coming on slow and steady, but nowhere near finished).
I have several projects floating through my mind but i initially wanted to have a go at shirring, and make a shirred top. I have some lovely floral cotton fabric which i thought i could use but after reading up on how to do it I have discovered that you need double the width of fabric so i didn't have enough fabric.
I decided to put together my Cath Kidston bag kit that I got with the Cath Kidston Book 'Sew' and it turned out to be really good to do. The fabric was pre-cut so that was the only bit i didn't have to do myself.
I don't know what it is I find it hard to just read instruction and do it i have to go through it in my head and work out how it would work, nevertheless i managed to get the hang of it and was amazed at how easy it was. I learned how to do the T-junction seams and did my buttonholes using the sewing machine.
Good eh? I was very impressed, I bought the book from amazon, for less than half the price, well worth it.
A closer look
My T-junction seams
My buttonholes

All in all I'm very pleased with it and there are lots more projects in the book which I'd like to try.

I found it much easier to do straight lines and keep a good margin from the edge. But my Mum was telling me about when she worked as a seamstress in a factory she went to work there when she left school.  She said that when they started they were taken to a room to practice their sewing skills and one of the things they had to do was to get a square of material and sew around the outside then into the middle keeping a good margin from the sides and when you had done it and it was neat you could progress on to the next thing.
So i decided to have a go on a scrap of material.
Not bad for my first go, It's quite a nifty thing to do to get to grips with your sewing machine!

Friday, 29 April 2011

what a lovely day for a tea party!

If there is ever is a reason to throw a party then I'm on it! I love it! Well today we had a double celebration not only was it the Royal wedding but me and my Mum and my 4 sisters came with there other halves and my 2 nephews to celebrate my sister Evangeline's birthday.
Whilst getting the party ready I kept dipping back to the television to watch the Royal Wedding, I mean even if you are not a royalist you have to watch, it is a part of our own history and our British heritage.
I also found out today that my late Grandad bought us a coin to commemorate the wedding of Charles and Diana, at the time Rebekah, Evangeline and I were alive but my younger sisters, Susanna and Christiana were yet to be born, he also however bought my Mum and Dad a coin each, so my Mum has got 5, she has given us each one, I was really touched and thought it was such a lovely thing to do.
I gave Evangeline her present I bought her a lovely personalised note book and I made her some bunting, I remember her saying that she loved bunting and i know that she has the same love of writing lists as me! She seemed to really like it.( the notebook was from and for the next 5 days you can get 50% off everything including notebooks with this code ROYAL50)

I made the bunting on Wednesday and wanted to make double sided bunting so at first I tried sewing two triangles together but inside out, but when i turned them the right way it it wasn't pointy enough. So i decided to sew them together the right way round it looks a bit rustic, cos the edges are slightly frayed but think it looks good. If you are looking for a good first project for your new sewing machine then this is it, it's simple but effective and really gets you used to spacing of the thread and sewing in a straight line! I used the fabric that I bought from Abakhan the day before and i think they went really well together, and whats best is i have lots left for more projects!

We also had a cracking tea party, Mum made a yummy Vanilla Birthday cake, I made the sausage rolls and pink lemonade and some open ham sandwiches and Rebekah made some delicious scones(served with scones,strawberries and clotted cream) and egg mayo and cress sandwiches with homemade bread (served with salt and vinegar crisp an absolute must), even the birthday girl Evangeline made a lovely tea cake. (all dairy free I might add! apart from the clotted cream!) we are such a talented bunch!

This isn't today's spread this is actually a tea party we did for mothers day but you get the idea!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

A day to myself.

I love days off, and as much as this sounds bad I like it when I'm off on my own, I can get stuck into my creative activities without feeling guilty about other things I should be doing.
So yesterday I spent the day getting to grips with my sewing machine and creating a surprise for another one of my sisters Evangeline's birthday. It's actually her birthday today but I can't tell you what I have made yet because I will only see her tomorrow. We are doing a tea party for her tomorrow afternoon, she's 32 but you're never too old for a tea party!
I also started my next knitting project. On Tuesday Rebekah and I went to Manchester to a place called Abakhan it's on Oldham street in the Northern Quarter. And if you haven't been it's definitely worth a visit.
I got the knitting pattern from there for 10p!! It's a pattern for a short sleeved shrug, it's made from all one piece and it looks simple enough (famous last words!) I also bought the wool, some lovely fabric and lots of other stuff, it was great, daunting at first but the staff there are very helpful.
They do have a website  which is good but doesn't do it justice.
Afterwards we went to a little place on the same street called 'Sweet Tooth Cupcakery' which is also worth a vist whilst your there, it's one of those places that you go to and think "this is my kind of place" it was full of retro posters and vintage style decorations, you are given vintage china tea cups with mismatched saucers, it's great. Rebekah has a dairy free diet and who loves cupcakes but there are very few places that cater for her, but the cupcakery always does at least one Vegan cupcake(which she can have) and one Gluten free cupcake. They also do Vegan shakes which she can have too. The website for it is have a look at the beautiful cupcakes.
It wasn't supposed to be nice weather yesterday but it became lovely and sunny in the afternoon so I sat out in the garden for a bit. This is the life!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011


I have a new found interest in making things and learning how to make them, well it's not really new found I've enjoyed creative activities since I was little. As I have got older I have dabbled from time to time in different hobbies; card making, glass painting etc without much success - i don't thing i really believed that i was good enough.
Over recent years however I my confidence has grown first it was with cooking, each time I enjoyed a meal I would look at how it was made, try to find a recipe and try it for myself, the more people said "mmm delicious!" the more I would try.

This lead me onto baking and in particular cupcakes and birthday cakes which I had very good feedback from I even managed to make a bit of money by selling them in boxes as gifts and I saved money by giving them as gifts! My masterpiece was a Mickey Mouse cake for one of my friend's son's first birthday which had cupcakes around spelling out his name.
I enjoyed making something so good that I could say " Look what I made!" but as I got more orders the more stressful and less enjoyable it was especially as I also work full time as a nursery nurse.

I still make cakes but for family birthdays and special occasions, or sometimes i make cakes and take them into work. It's more enjoyable without the deadlines. And I still continue to do cooking I try to make at least one brand new meal that we haven't tried before. (At the mo, I'm working my way through Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals- the guys a genius I haven't had a bad meal yet from it!)

Anyway to get back to the reason i started this blog, I always see pretty things in shops I see it, I WANT IT, i can't afford it :-( , so I look at how its made "I can make that" I say to myself. So now I want to try.
My sister Rebekah who shares a lot of interests with me, has been taught how to knit by a friend and so she showed me. I did knit when i was younger it is surprising what you remember whenever I was stuck I found tutorials on YouTube where very helpful. My first project was a heart cushion from an Usbourne book called "how to knit" that Rebekah lent me. Which i completed in a week it was a good project to start because it taught me about increasing and decreasing stitches.

Then I did a little rabbit  which I got as a free pattern  from a website called  which taught me another skill using double pointed needles.

I also found a book called "Stitch" by Cath Kidston which you get a free project of a little cross stitch purse including everything you need to make it up.

This really got me thinking about making things for myself, so my sister Rebekah and I bought a sewing machine between us so that we could adjust clothing, make things for the house and hopefully at some point we'll be able to use it to make our own clothes.  So this blog is to document all the 'makes' i do be it cooking, baking, sewing, cross stitch, knitting or anything else i  have made. And hopefully you will like it and it will give you ideas of projects you might like to try. Wherever possible i will post links to places that i have found free patterns.

Well that's me, hope you enjoyed it!
Abigail x