Makings - Crochet Minion Chocolate Orange Cosy Pattern

Tuesday 30 June 2015

School finished for the summer here last week, which resulted in some very excited boys by the end of the week!

When I was searching for some inspiration for what I could make as an end of year present for the teachers, I was thinking along the lines of something like a crocheted apple, you know, for the old fashioned apple for your teacher.

 I came across a few patterns for apple cosies on Pinterest which, although cute, did make me wonder why exactly anyone would need an apple cosy?!

But then I remembered seeing a similar thing at Christmas time with Chocolate Oranges in them, and thought that this was a much more worthy use of a fruit cosy!

My final piece of inspiration came from that favourite of the boys - Minions!

I used this pattern here for the shape of the cosies, and just changed the colours to turn them from plain apple cosies into Minions! 

If you want to make one too then I used blue for rounds 1-6, yellow for rounds 7- 12, black for rounds 13-14, yellow again for rounds 15 -19 (the pattern only asks for 17 rounds but I felt it need the extra two to cover the orange nicely).

For the eyes I chained 2 using black, then into the first chain sc 4. Change to white and sc 2 into each stitch. Change to grey and {sc 2 into 1} sc1 all the way round. Finally sc 1 into each stitch, stitching only into the inside loops.

Make either 1 or 2 eyes depending on which type of Minion you want to make, then stitch on a cheeky wee mouth.

I had to take the photos of these cheeky chaps quite quickly because another little rascal was desperate to get his hands on them...

Which got me thinking that I should maybe make some more of these, but make them into complete ball shapes and then stuff them so that he is allowed to play with them!

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Recipe of the week - Scottish Tablet

Friday 26 June 2015

Tablet is a sweet Scottish treat that has been around for generations.

It is often sold at summer and winter fairs, and many Scottish restaurants will offer you a few wee cubes of tablet along with your after dinner coffee. 

It is quite difficult to explain what tablet is like to someone who has never tried it though, as although it may look like fudge, the texture is completely different.

Where fudge has a smooth  creamy texture, tablet has a grainy, sugary texture. Fudge comes in many different flavours, but tablet is almost always (although not exclusively) found in it's pure unadulterated state.

I've added this photo to try and show the grainy, sugary texture, but to really find out what it is like, the best thing is to make some!

Don't be put off by the huge quantity of sugar in this. Tablet is so extremely sweet that even someone with as sweet a tooth as mine can only manage a small cube or two at a time!

One thing to mention before starting, is to make sure you have a good pan that the mixture won't stick to, and that you use a bigger pan than you think you will need as the mixture rises up in the pan as it boils.

Oh, and one final thing, do make sure that you use real butter for this and not margarine!

You will need:

125g salted butter
1kg sugar
300ml milk
200g condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional, I often don't add and don;t notice much difference)

-Melt the butter in your large, non stick pan.

- Add the sugar and milk, then stir over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

- Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 8-10 minutes. You don't need to stir the whole time but you should stir it often, and definitely don't leave it unattended!

-Add the condensed milk and then bring it back to the boil.

-Simmer for another 8-10 minutes until it reaches 'soft ball' stage, or 115C/240F on a sugar thermometer. (Soft ball is when you drop a little of the mixture from a teaspoon into a cup of cold water, you can roll it into a soft ball with your fingers.)

-Once this stage is reached, remove from the heat and add the vanilla if you are using it.

-Now you need to get that grainy texture. For this stage it is much easier if you have an electric mixer, although not essential. If you have a mixer then either tip the mix into the bowl, or use a hand held mixer and keep the mix in the pan, and beat for about 5 minutes. If you are doing this by hand, as used to always do, then you will need to beat the mixture in the pan with a wooden spoon for at least 10 minutes. In a way I prefer mixing with the spoon as it is easier to feel when the tablet is ready, but there is no denying that it is very hard work and you will get a good arm workout!

-What you are looking for is the tablet to thicken up a little, and you will notice that the texture has become much more grainy.

-This is the mixture before beating, You can see it is still quite thin..

-And this is it after beating. Quite thicker, and with the grainy texture.

-Pour the mixture into a lined tin and leave to harden, then cut up into squares, remembering how sweet it as as a guide to the size of them!

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Things I'm loving...

Saturday 20 June 2015

Here is a selection of some of the things I have been loving the last couple of weeks.

Firstly, brotherly love.

I sat Fraser down beside David one afternoon while I went to hang out some washing and came back to find this...

I also often find him like this, chill-axing with his biggest brother...

One thing I haven't been loving so much lately has been the weather. Which might seem odd given the next bunch of photos, but that's precisely why I love them!

Apart from a couple of really hot sunny days just over a week ago, the weather has been so dull and grey. And not very warm either. I suppose at least it has been dry but it really doesn't feel properly summer-like at all yet. And everyone I speak to is getting tired of all this greyness!

Fortunately though, the Primary school sports day fell on one of those rare sunny days.

It couldn't have been a more perfect day for it.

It was lovely to get Fraser in his summery clothes.

The sports day was held in the big grassy park beside the school.

Parents weren't forgotten about, as there was a little stand with home-baking and plenty water and juice.

Sports day included those classics like the Wellie throw...

tattie and spoon race...

and the sack race - called the 'jumping in a bag race' by Alasdair (6)!

Fraser enjoyed watching his brothers and wanted in on some of the action too!

Mr Competitive was delighted to win gold in the flat race for his age group.

And at the end of the morning there was a visit from an ice cream van. When I first heard there was going to be ice cream I felt bad for Alasdair as he couldn't have it, but there were also slushies available and so he was perfectly happy with that.

In a bid to try and help things feel more summery with a taste of summer, I tried making some rhubarb cordial for the first time. I got the idea from my husband's cousin's wife who mentioned they had made some recently.

It was quite simple to make, although it does involve overnight straining through one of these..

The jury is still out in our house about whether we like it or not - I quite like it, although it is quite sweet -  but if you want to try it you can find the recipe I used here (although I didn't add the star anise)

Finally, despite the grey weather and lack of sunshine we were able to enjoy a fun Sunday School picnic to a nearby country park this weekend.

The children played at the playpark, we did some orienteering, ate until we were more than full and then had some team games.

I caught Fraser entertaining his little cousin Joanna.

And Alasdair got another chance to excel at the 'jumping in a bag race.'

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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Recipe of the Week - Gluten & Dairy Free Ginger Biscuits

Thursday 18 June 2015

These biscuits are the boys' current favourites and they make a perfect after school snack.

They contain a generous amount of ground ginger, as well as some finely chopped stem ginger, which adds to the spiciness and gives an extra bit of texture too.

If you haven't used stem ginger before, it is sold in jars. The balls of ginger are preserved in a sticky syrup. When you come to chopping them, be sure to rinse the balls of ginger well under a cold tap and this will stop them sticking to your knife as much.

The spicy kick of the ginger in these biscuits is just like that of a shop bought Ginger Nut.

I've decided to write up a printable version of my recipes now - as long as I get time, so perhaps not every recipe! - so that it is quicker and easier to transport into your kitchen, especially for those who may not have a tablet or who may not want to bring their tablet into the kitchen! I know I'm always a little nervous of something spilling on it whenever I try out a recipe using mine, no matter how safe the place I put it in is!

You can find the printable version of this recipe here - hopefully!

For these biscuits you will need:

100g dairy free margarine
75g golden syrup
350g Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200g sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 pieces stem ginger, finely chopped

- Preheat the oven to 180C and lightly grease 3 baking trays.

- Melt the margarine and syrup together in a pan and then cool slightly.

- Meanwhile, mix the flour, ground ginger, bircarbonate of soda and sugar in a bowl.

- Add the egg and stem ginger, then mix everything together with a spoon.

- Once everything is well mixed, it should be in a ball of dough, use your hands to make little balls - about ping pong ball sized - flatten them slightly and then place on the baking trays. Make sure you leave enough space between the balls to allow them to spread while cooking.

- Bake for 15-20 minutes.

- Leave them to cool for about 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

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Makings - Crochet Nordic Shawl Ta-da

Monday 15 June 2015

This weekend I finished off my Nordic Shawl.

And it's just as beautiful as I hoped it would be.

The pattern is by Annette who blogs at My Rose Valley and you can buy it on Etsy here.

I've seen quite a few different colour variations of this shawl on Instagram, all of them equally pretty,  and although I didn't use the exact shades in the original pattern, I did base my choices on them.

I used Stylecraft Special DK in the colours: parchment (as the main colour), cream, fondant, candy floss, turquoise, sherbert and sage.

I love the prettiness of them all together and definitely need to think of a project that uses them all together again to use up what I have left over.

The shawl has such a simple, vintage feel to it, and the scalloped border finishes it off perfectly.

I added a few more rows to the main part of the shawl as I wanted to be sure that there was plenty snuggling room in it.

It should be the perfect accessory for a hebridean summer's evening!

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Father's Day Printables

Thursday 11 June 2015

With only a week and a bit to go until Father's Day we've been thinking about what to make for dad.

While I was searching for ideas online I thought I'd share some of my favourites on here. If you are a dad reading this - especially one related to us - then perhaps you might not like to read any further lest it spoil the surprise!

I've seen some posts with 101 ideas of what to make for Father's Day, and I'm not sure about you, but for me that is just a little bit TOO much choice so there won't be quite that many on here!

I haven't decided which of these the boys will make this year but I think I've narrowed it down to something from this little bunch...

I rather like the simplicity of these printable cards from

Free Printable Father's Day Cards-- cute and funny ones to choose from! 

If you're planning on giving a gift card to dad for Father's Day then you could print out one of these cards from Written Reality to put it inside.

5 FREE Gift Card Printables for Father's Day {} #Father'sDay #printables

Another idea for gift packaging is these cute tie printables from The 36th Avenue.


I really like the idea of making a card or gift much more personal by adding one of these questionnaires in with it. These are by Thirty handmade days.
Super simple Father's Day printables - print and have your kids fill out to share for Father's Day!

Or there are these very similar ones by My Frugal Adventures.

Free Printable Father's Day Card for Dad or Grandpa

Another really personal gift that I love is this photo idea from Five heart home. I especially like the one with a collage of photos. Any dad would love something like that for his office desk!

Father's Day Free Printable: Dad Quote ~ Frame it on its own, next to a photo, or as part of a collage; available in 2 sizes and 3 colors | Five Heart Home

Moving onto something a bit different, but something that I know would be very popular with our boys. Look at this fabulous Star Wars themed printables by Sandy Toes & Popsicles. How cool would a bag of Han's Rolos be?!

Father's Day: Star Wars Kit Printables - Popsicle Blog

And leaving what is perhaps my favourite until last, I love everything about this set from Tiny Me.

FREE Fathers Day Printables ~ Tinyme

So, just a few of my favourites. 

I hope I have been able to give a few suggestions to anyone who is still looking for ideas for Father's Day.

Now, if I could only narrow down which ones we will be printing out ourselves!

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