So this year I set myself a couple of goals and one of them was to learn how to knit.... I've done ok so far and really wanted to share with you my first completed knitted project... This was a kit from www.gifthorseknits.co.uk given to me by my friend who said it was great for a beginner... Seriously I was scared! But with simple to follow instructions, taking it one step and one stitch at a time, I feel I've managed and achieved my very first home knits!
I don't know why it is but here on Nanna Kate it is feast or famine right now in terms of blog posts! For that I must say sorry but life is so hectic right now and I have baby crafts to deliver right now for babies who just won't wait until I post a few blog posts... I have lots on at work, a baby shower to plan and have several projects which I want to complete at home too.
I will leave you with a little thought for now, until next time I have a minute to blog, stressed is desserts spelt backwards... I am off to eat cake!!!
Another day month, another dollar... I can't believe it's already 3 days in to April. Possibly because of the busyness of my March! Are you ready for this? I hope you have a cup of tea in your hand!
29 = age I turned on 17 = March. Awesome, St. Patrick's Day, amazing birthday day, best ever! 5 = pints of the black stuff consumed, 0 = whiskey (disappointing), 1 = screaming leprechaun (don't ask...) 2 = days in Scarborough to celebrate at the cool Merchant bar. You can read all about the Harbour Bar here.
1 = craft stations given to me by my beautiful other half for my birthday. Along with a Jam Pan, various preserving tools and a Jem T-Shirt. Best. Presents. EVER! I also got a Pyrography Tool which you can read about here and you can read about my first preserving adventure very soon.
1 = cute easter cupcakes eaten. I have been SO bad this month diet-wise. Eek...
2 = books read. Jodi Picoult's Lone Wolf (unputdownable) and The Perks Of Being A Wall Flower by Stephen Chbosky (I cried).
11 = posts posted. I am still getting in to the swing of this again, but I think I am starting to get there. I am up against it though, as 0 = coffees consumed. I have gone at it cold turkey and cut the caffeine out! And don't my work colleagues know it! He he...
4 = hours in the Spa which was a present I got for Christmas. We upgraded to get the works, Back, Neck & Shoulder Massage, Facial, Manicure and Indian Head Massage. Pure Bliss. I have got to do more of this!
6 = sandwiches and cakes consumed at afternoon tea for my joint birthday celebrations with my crafty buddy who shares my birthday month. 3 = post-afternoon tea cocktails consumed and 6 = bottles of pink prosecco shared between the girls... by 10 = I was making a very drunk phone call to my residential taxi driver. Ahem.
74 = pounds spent on new hair. I mean my own hair coloured and cut. And that was WITH a discount voucher. Chest pain galore.
3 = lovely days spent in London for Viva Forever. We went to Camden and saw a psychic, ate street food and bought some bargains, we saw the show in Piccadilly, ate in Soho, visited Buckingham Palace, went to see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, crossed the Thames and walked right along the South Bank to Waterloo, went to Kings X to see Platform 9 3/4 (little Sis is a Potter fan, NOT me!), PHEW a massive 18 = tube journeys later we were accosted by the gorgeous Angelos who serenaded Clair on the Victoria line. You have to check out the video here, his voice is unreal.
Thank you for calling by, make sure you pop in next month. Join in with Julie's band of brothers bloggers...
I'm all about trying new things and when I saw Elsie's blog posts on Wood burning I knew I had to try it, it looked so much fun! I asked for a Pyrography tool for my birthday and after some reading, I set to work making a sampler of the different tips and techniques.
I bought a wood blank door hanger from Hobbycraft and I made a name hanger for my nephew by drawing my design on to the wood in pencil, burning the outlines, then filling in the colour using Acrylic paints. What do you think? I haven't mastered any of the extensive techniques yet, but I love this first, simple attempt!
I have a bunch of wine corks (if you want some - get in touch I have loads!) and I am constantly looking for little projects to complete using them. I was in serious need of some new magnets so I decided to make some with my corks as they would look quirky, unique and would be easy to grab a hold of.
Using a small hacksaw, I halved three corks. Then, using a hot glue gun, I glued on the magnet back which I bought for 99p from my local Boyes. I left them to dry (although the glue creates an instant bond) overnight before popping them on the fridge. They look cute, are practical and I have now used THREE out of my bazillion corks!
I went to Liberty of London again recently (pretty sure I should just take up residency there) and I bought a pack of Liberty fabric FQs in four coordinating prints. As I was wandering around, I noticed their button bowls which are filled with cards which have 2/3/4 buttons on them, either fabric covered, or hand painted, or decorated and they ranged in price from £6.99 up to £16.99. I may be a little strange, but £16.99 for FOUR buttons?! Jeez Louise, I like a splurge but that's more than half of my weekly food budget!
I recently told you that one of my goals for 2013 was to learn to crochet. Well, guess what, I have and I have also completed my very first crochet project. To begin with I was using some self patterned wool which my friend gave me to practice with. Then, I was given Cath Kidston's Crochet Kit in a Book Tin as a gift by a friend at work and I must say although it was a bit scary at first, there's not a colour change or Granny Square I can't manage now!
I wanted to share some pictures with you of my journey...
What do you think? Have you mastered any new skills this year so far?
I burnt my stove top with a pan when I was boiling milk, it spilt right over. It's a glass oven top and I tried scrubbing it to no avail. I live in rented accommodation and the oven is part of the furnishing, so I was a little worried about the mess. After some simple Googling, I found that most people recommended waiting until the stove top was cool, then using a craft knife blade to scrape away the residue. I did this and it was pretty effective.
While I was searching I bookmarked this article from the Reader's Digest which chronicles over 60 ways to use salt... I hadn't time to read it all, so I left it for later and used the knife method. Anyway. Once I read it and discovered you could use salt as a sprinkle to prevent the spills on the stove top from hardening, I planned to use it if ever it happened again.
As luck would have it, it did happen again (no, I did not do it on purpose to test out a tip...) and I sprinkled salt on right away. Would you believe, the salt absolutely did the trick and once the hob had cooled all I needed to do was wipe it away to reveal a clean stove top!
Today I wanted to share another of my recent soup discoveries with you. For Christmas, I got possibly one of the best recipe books I’ve ever read (and when I say read, I mean, cover to cover, every delectably delicious word). It’s called Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef and you can purchase it from Amazon for a bargain price of just £16. Worth the investment. Seriously! Anyway, I wanted to try a recipe from it so bad, but I am following Weight Watchers, so wanted something which was pretty easy to adapt. I settled for the Farro and Lentil Soup that Allegra had tried in Italy. It sounded (and looked) amazing, so I went shopping!
Here’s my twist on Allegra’s undoubtedly beautiful recipe…
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 4 Large Red Onions 1 Large pack of Celery, with the leaves left on 1 or 2 Leeks ½ Pack Smoked Bacon Lardons (around 100g) 2 Pints of Chicken Stock, made up to 3 pints with Water 2 Cloves of Garlic Chilli Flakes, Sea Salt and Peppercorns 100g Pearl Barley 100g Soup/Broth Mix (Lentils, Split Peas, etc)
Dice the onions as small as you can. Similarly, the celery and leeks; I found that splitting them lengthways as Allegra suggests works particularly well. Heat the oil over a medium heat and add the smoked bacon lardons, onions and leeks, sauté for a few moments, add the pan lid and let them simmer.
Meanwhile, make up 2 pints of Chicken stock, or if you are not lazy, retrieve 2 pints of stock from your freshly made supplies. Add a pint of water to it (3 pints of liquid in total). Prepare your cloves of Garlic by peeling and crushing them. Grind your chilli flakes, salt and pepper.
Once the onions have started to go translucent, add the celery, leeks, garlic and a pinch of the chilli, salt and pepper to the pan. Rinse the pulses and grains, then add them to the pan. Stir fry them and coat them in the seasonings, vegetables, bacon, etc. Pour on the Chicken stock and ‘put the lid on askew’. Then leave to simmer; I used hob setting 3 and left for around 45 minutes.
Now for the magic (which is so not my own!). Take about half the soup and stick it in the blender, just roughly blend it for a short amount of time and put it back in the pan. Season with the remaining salt, pepper, chilli grounds and then cook for about 10 more minutes.
Allegra serves hers with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I opt not to because of Weight Watchers, but even without, it’s incredible.
This recipe serves 6 and for those following Weight Watchers works out at 3ppts per serving. Enjoy!
I was feeling under the weather last week and I couldn't work so I called in sick, my boss (I am lucky) said plenty of chicken soup and rest... we had every soup but chicken in the cupboard and so I decided to knock my own up!
This recipe will clear you sinuses and comfort you, plus it's very low in calories and fats so added bonus! This recipe makes two generous bowls...
Spray of olive oil
30g raw chicken breast
2 pints chicken stock
30g dry noodles (I used pumpkin rice noodles and then another time plain egg noodles)
Chilli (fresh or flakes)
Garlic (fresh or salt)
Salt and pepper if desired
Spray a pan with olive oil, cut the chicken into shreds, add it to the pan and 'seal' (no pink bits) over a medium heat. Then when it starts to brown add the chicken stock. Chuck in the noodles, herbs and chopped parsley and then pop a lid on it askew. Reduce the heat down to low (I used 1 on my electric oven) and cook for about an hour.
Serve alone or with bread. Amazing! Will keep for about 2/3 days if you want to make a big portion.
Good for freezing, once defrosted warm gently on the hob. Don't re freeze.
What seems like forever ago I won a lot of broken Tatty Devine jewellery from eBay. I got two broken bracelets with vinyl record charms dangling from them in Black, Red, Orange and Pink. I also had a Tatty Devine Name Necklace with an old nickname on it which I no longer wear, so I decided to repurpose it!
Using some small long nose pliers similar to these ones I carefully took the existing pieces apart. The vinyl records were quite frail and I am quite heavy handed so I broke a couple - but with the ones I managed not to break, I managed to create a matching bracelet and jewellery set.
I used the lightening bolt from my name necklace and attached it to the similar coloured vinyl record to create a brand new piece. I love how they turned out... Have you tried re-purposing, recycling or upcycling your broken jewels?
When my Sister and I were small we loved Care Bears... so when she announced she was going to be moving in to a new home right around her birthday I decided to make her a personalised recipe journal using some Care Bear Washi-Tape I'd bought last year (don't ask me why, I saw it, it had Care Bears on, I had to have it!).
I used an oversized A5 multi journal with a Kraft cover, which I purchased from Paperchase - you can find it here, a Sharpie Marker in black to match the elastic on the journal and the binding and I downloaded Irish Spaghetti from dafont.com (an invaluable source of legal, free fonts - but always remember to check the licences) to use as a template.
As well as the front cover I added a little 'Recipe for life' recipe style poem to wish her luck love and happiness in her new home, collecting recipes and making new dishes.
So, I was positively enthusiastic about recommencing blogging in January. Then I don't know what happened, but life just seemed to run away with me again and I thought I would try to at least keep up with Month in Numbers, but then I went to London from 30th Jan - 1st Feb so once again I missed updating Nanna Kate. But! I read Julie's post this morning and I thought it was so lovely to think of us all as 'company' for one another each month and I decided to get down off the guilt trip and get on and just write when I can!
Januebry is a mash up of my January and February statistical measurements, if you want to see what it's all about check out Julie's pages and as she says, join in as and when you want!
2 = the number of pesky work trips to London, 2 = the number of trips I conveniently merged with shopping trips to ensure the boredom of work was kept to a minimum. 4 = times I visited Leon over those days [mildly obsessed], 7 = designs of fabric purchased from Liberty of London. I visited Camden Lock Market and Oxford Circus all on my own, yep, on the Tube, on my own! I stayed with my cousin both times which was lovely, we went to All Star Lanes on Brick Lane where I was defeated horrendously 70-something = my score over our game! 70-something also was my scrabble score when I played against my cousin's flatmate and his uni pal... seriously, he introduced himself as 'Richard, 3rd Generation Scrabble Player'... Jeez! [however, I took all his tips and plan to annihilate anyone who crosses my Scrabble path from now on in]...
London aside, there were some lovely things going on at home. We bought a record player and some vinyl, 7 = LPs now owned, I also completed my set of Soup mugs when a girl at work gave [not so willingly] me her 'Tomato' mug
6 = total mugs I now own. Which makes me very happy in the soup department. Now I've got to get over my obsession with having the right soup in the right cup! 2 = new soup recipes I made, Chicken Noodle Soup (I have a serious cold!) and fancy Farro & Lentil from Allegra McEvedy'sBought, Borrowed & Stolen Cookbook which is fast-becoming my favourite ever kitchen companion.
Phew, 6 = projects completed & 1 million = projects started. I am doing O.K. with getting stuff completed though which is why my time seems stretched [note to self: be less ambitious!]... tutorials will follow soon!
5 = Valentine's together with my lovely other half - time flies when you're having fun and we do have so much fun, we can always make each other laugh no matter what life throws our way and to still be this much in love after 4 years makes me feel pretty spectacular! 0 = the amount of Valentine's plans we had because we currently have my Dad living with us which kinda kills the romance! He moves out soon and my sister also got her own place [yesterday!] so the next month is going to be filled with moving home for the whole family!
And lastly, my resolutions are coming on pretty well, 57 x 3 = number of rows I've done in stocking stitch (knit one row, purl one row) after achieving a life long ambition to learn how to knit! I am following a pattern and when I finish it I should have two baby bunnies and two hearts which I plan to make in to some kind of baby mobile... 4,589 = steps from my house to work, I have walked it 8 = times now and I love it, I've cut my time down by 3 = minutes to just 38 = minutes and it's so much nicer than sitting in traffic for the equivalent amount of time! 58 (give or take) = pictures posted to Instagram for my #365project (which I will share soon)...
Oh and did you notice? 1 = blog designs overhauled. Hope you like the new style. Thanks for calling by...
Nanna Kate X
P.S. Leave a comment and I promise I will call by your M.I.N. too X