Tag Archives: baking

Homemade jammy dodgers

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Good evening! It’s snowy, snowy, snowy, snowy here today and there’s no relent just yet.  I love it! Although I wish the bitter wind would drop so that we can play in it a little more.  The wind is fierce and biting. Chills our fingers almost immediately and takes the pleasure out of the play we could do.
Still…. I have found a secret weapon to keeping warm with my budleia bombs as I call them.

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A month back, I trimmed down one of my budleia and it had really strong, straight sticks which I saved to use as plant props for the summer….

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Something told me to put aside the tops and my goodness! It was a great idea.

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These bristley, brushy  flower tops make the most amazing tinder for your fires. If you put these on top of the newspaper under your kindling they are like little fireworks in there!  As you know, our stove is a massive part of our homelife and has a hypnotic and soothing effect on us all. It is part of our routines, waking little b up in the afternoon, light a fire and cosy up….. Get little b out of the bath, take Jimjams downstairs and sit infront of the fire on the rug. Put b in bed and m and I snuggling up whilst it dries our clothes and ever-so rarely….

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I get a moment with it on my own. This was literally 5 minutes of peace and oh my. It was wonderful!
I often think that if they could measure the soothing effects of fires somehow, it would have scientific similarities with tranquilisers.  Enough….

What have I been up to?

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I have seedlings!

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Seedlings….

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Galore!  I am tending to them and looking forward to potting them on to encourage their glorious blooms.

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I decided to tackle a strip of land that I doubt has been touched in 20 years. Oh my…. This stretch is as long as my house and after 4 back breaking days, pulling the most established roots up….

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I have decided that the size of a worm is a direct consequence of how long it has been undisturbed.  There are some massive, I mean MASSIVE worms there!

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My little friend and I have been baking again and the little apron here that I made last year has split.  But look!!!!!

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Look what has come via our friendly post man this morning! The most gorgeous, vintage style aprons for my little one.

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So beautifully made,

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And so pretty! I want one for myself!!!
A wonderful lady can be found on facebook called talula button who made them and you can find her via my windyhill days page.

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And what were we baking? Muffins with coconut icing…. Really need some tips on squeezing it out though …. And shortbread jammy dodgers and I wanted to share the latter with you as they are scrumptious!

So here we are….

Ingredients-

175g plain flour
Pinch of salt
75g icing sugar
125g unsalted butter
1 egg
Jam of your choice – I used strawberry

Method-

Sift the flour, patt and icing sugar into a bowl.

Cut the butter into small pieces and rub in to the flour until it resembles bread crumbs.

Whisk the egg and add it to the dry ingredients.

Now, wrap the dough in cling film and pop in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 170 c or gas mark 3

Divide the dough into two equal parts and roll out.

Use a pastry cutter to make your bases and lids.

Get a teeny tiny cutter to cut out a shape in the middle of the lids.

Put your bases in the oven for 15 minutes then remove and spread on plenty of jammy goodness.

Now add your lids and cook exp a further? 10mins or until golden.

Be very, very careful!!!! When they come out, they are the hottest things you’ve ever held and don’t eat them until they are cool for goodness sakes.

Well, enjoy these yummy little treats and have a cosy and happy week.

Love to you all xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Bananas, coconuts and sledging

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On Friday night, it snowed and it snowed and it snowed….

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And today, it was cold and picturesque and full of fun! Look at those icicles!!! Now, if you are reading this from a snowy country, you might wonder why I’m so thrilled by this! Well…. For many years our winters have been cold but lacking snow. For the past three years, we have had lots and it’s so exciting.

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On went the snow boots ( these were such a bargain at aldi and have been awesome and warm for little b, I can’t recommend them enough.)

And off we went in search of a sledging spot. One of the roads down our big, windy hill was shut off due to its slope, it was ideal….

Safe….
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Steep….

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And very long!!!!

Weeeeeeeeee!!!!! Fantastic…. I love sledging.

Little b enjoyed herself, but was also quite reluctant, so we stopped to play with the snow and she asked her daddy to make her a dog!
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He of course obliged and made a lovely, happy snowy friend.
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We then climbed the mountain back home….
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And got cosy with a hot chocolate….
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And some yummy homemade banana and coconut bread.
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I’ll pop the recipe at the bottom of this post.

Beebop insisted on sitting by the window, so I joined her down there….

And found it to be a lovely spot for a piece of cake!

Little b settled off to the land of nod and I set about making these crocheted little birds.

Sweet aren’t they. I can say no more at the moment, but will reveal all and show you the tutorial very soon.
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When little b woke up we played and then decided it would be very exciting to sledge in the dark. Especially as at the bottom of that huge hill, is a very cosy pub.
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Little b was our guiding light and wore daddys headlamp.

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At the top of the hill, I hopped on and….
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Weeeeeeeee….
Away we went! It was fantastic, little b kept shouting ‘citing’ (exciting) and I hope little she will file that memory away to treasure.
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We had the rare treat of a drinkypoo in the pub and little b was very happy with a packet of crisps…. Something she has had very rarely!
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Poor old m had the job of dragging the little lady up the hill again, and she kept requesting ‘home peeeese daddy’.

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The little cottages on the hill looked so cosy and warm on the way back and it was lovely getting back indoors. My little friend had had such an exciting day and went out like a light when we put her to bed. What a lovely, lovely day.

Xxxxxx come and see me on my facebook page and say Hi!
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Windyhill-days/137001119791412

Here’s my recipe for yummy, scrummy banana and coconut bread:

50ml veg oil
3 oz sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 ripe bananas
100 ml coconut milk
Coconut flakes (amount to your own preference)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees c

Method

Mix the oil and sugar
Add the egg and beat well
Add the vanilla
Whisk in the flour, baking powder and salt
In a separate bowl, mix the banana and coconut milk
Mix the wet ingredients with the dry gradually
Stir in the coconut flakes

Bake for around an hour. Put a knife in the middle and when it comes out clean, it is done.
Allow to stand half an hour before turning out onto a rack.

Tuck in and enjoy! Yum!

Xxxxx

Granddad nee-nah

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This cheeky fellow is policeman nee-nah and he is a god send!!!! Made from a toilet roll and a yoghurt pot, he sleeps in a tissue box and keeps watch on b whilst she eats her dinner.  B loves police characters at the moment, fuelled by policemen catching baddies in her books. She loves Julia Donaldsons what the ladybird heard and the baddies ‘lanky Len and hefty Hughe’ and is quite fond of pc plod in Enid Blytons ‘noddy’.  When she found out her granddad was a policeman she was thrilled and loves wearing his old hat from the 1960’s. Quite a relic!
Anyhow, policemen are now collectively known in bs world as ‘granddad nee-nahs’…. Very amusing, and her own toilet roll version corrects her table manners and helps her eat her dinner and by George….. It works a treat!  She’s very keen to please him! Long may it continue!

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Well yesterday, Gale force winds hit the country and battered every inch of it. Today….. Who would’ve known what howling weather we endured overnight! Beautiful sunshine. We made the most of it and enjoyed our local park this morning. Poor little mite is suffering yet again with her canines coming through. Only two left though…. We’re almost there! She was crying out in her sleep last night for mummy so we went in and doctored our sleeping beauty. She was scorching hot bless her…. I’m glad we went in.  So when I asked her what she wanted for breakfast this morning, everything I offered was met with a resounding ‘no!’ oh dear…. Time to pull something out of the bag smartish! So with the help me my faithful friend Jamie oliver…. I made her these….

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Yum! A special treat….

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American style pancakes drizzled with natural yoghurt and honey.  Did it work???
No!!!!
But I certainly enjoyed them.  If you want to know how to make them, here’s how….

Put 125g of self raising flour in a mixing bowl.
Add one egg
Add 220ml of milk
Add a pinch of salt.
Jaimie recommends grating a pear, but we’ve eaten all those so I grated a small apple.

Mix up until smooth.
Put a knob of butter in your pan, allow to melt
Add a table spoon of mixture and let it go golden before you flip it over.
Simple!

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I use this amazing implement for measuring everything except liquids. It’s so handy and useful. I never use kitchen scales.  Look inside….

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You find the ingredient you need to measure on the side and then just fill it up to the line you need. It even has American cup sizes in.

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Now time for another fabric tease…. Isn’t this amazing. And also, this has arrived….

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You will have to be patient to see what it will become!

See you soon xxxxxxxw

Yummy scrummyness!

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Today’s been such a bright and lovely crisp day here on windyhill.  I’m just settling down to do a spot of knitting ready for the Christmas rush of homemade presents and thought it was about time I shared my delicious recipe that I mentioned last time.  What is it? Mmmmm…. The most amazing lemon cookies.  A massive hit in our house and gone nearly as quickly as they took to bake. 

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This picture doesn’t nearly do their yummy goodness justice.  I found the recipe online and have converted the measurements to uk quantities. They were super duper easy to make, especially if you have a 20 month old hindrance helper at hand!

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4oz butter
8oz sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice- fresh
Pinch salt
Pinch bicarb
Pinch baking powder
5 oz plain flour
Icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180degrees c
Grease a baking tin

– cream the butter and sugar together until nice and fluffy
-add vanilla, lemon zest and juice. I really wanted mine extra lemony so I used two small lemons and used all their zest and juice
-stir in all dry ingredients except the icing sugar
-it should make a nice dough, not too wet and sticky. Mine was too wet because I added extra lemon juice- if this happens, keep adding small quantities of flour until it is no longer sticky.
-sprinkle icing sugar on the counter
-roll in your hands the dough into golfball sized balls.
-roll the balls through the icing sugar until they are covered.
– place the balls on your greased tin away from each other. Do not pat down, just leave them as little balls.
-bake for 9-11 minutes. Mine took a little longer.
You will know when they are ready as they should take on a matte finish and loose their shine.
– cool in their tray for a few minutes before putting on a cooling tray.

Yumdiddleyumtious!!

Other things then….

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I have a new friend in the garden and my goodness, he is cheeky!  The grey squirrels chased the red squirrels away here in England with the exception of parts of the north.  This grey squirrel seems to have a red tinge to his tail and head though so maybe he is a mixed breed?  He is a cheeky little monkey though and amuses b and I.

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I’ve zoomed in here so the quality is poor, but the little monster is nibbling away on a cracker I threw to the birds!

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I absolutely love these Chinese lantern plants here. They are known as ‘honesty’ and dry really well. I caught site of them tangled in the thorns in the garden and battled with them to cut a sprig.

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Little b is still doing wonderfully with her wees in the toilet and has a new and burning desire to draw…. All. The. Time!!!!  I even have to keep her a drawing book by the loo now!

Well….. Enjoy those lemon cookies won’t you! I must start rattling those knitting needles together now.
See you soon xxxxxxx

Poppy day and chocolate apples

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Today is armistice day…. November the 11th. Known also as poppy day where we all wear our red poppies and remember those who lost their lives or were injured during service in the forces.  Our village has a beautifully maintained memorial stone, with a lovely little garden which is always pristine. Each year, there is a service at the stone and wreaths are laid for local people who we remember along with all those who died. Veterans present proceedings adorned with their medals and it is especially poignant as a little boy not much older than little b wears his daddys medals and presents a wreath with his mummy.   I’ve decided that whilst ever I am here, we will take little b to the service.  It was a really good turn out again (last year we went for the first time with b asleep in her sling.)

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People lined the streets much more than can be seen on this picture.  Strange lights again appear on my photograph!! They’re quite effective aren’t they!

We went to a belated bonfire party last night. I decided to make some chocolate coated apples…

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I sliced the apples as no one seems to finish a whole one. 

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Melted the chocolate in a bowl over some boiling water….

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Coated them and chopped some almonds up to sprinkle on. Then, thought…. ‘mm where on earth do I stand them to dry?’
I used wine bottles to pop them in to start with, but ended up using….

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Jam jars. Popped them in the fridge and then took them along with some bonfire toffee I’d made. I wish I’d got a picture of little bs chocolatey face devouring one!!!!

Well…. A lovely recipe for you next time….
Until then xxxxxx

Happy birthday Hilda

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So today we were celebrating Hildas birthday. I’m not sure how old she is, but I know she is somewhere in her tenth decade. Wow…. I hope I am as fit and active when I get to that age. She has a great, great, great granddaughter a little younger than my little lady.  I know Hilda from a trip to my library when b was only 4 months old. I love the library. It is so nostalgic of my childhood. The smell of the books and the high shelves make it seem so cosy, especially as our library is so small.  The librarian that day suggested I go and have a cuppa with the ladies in the knit and natter corner as they’d love to see baby.  I tentatively went over to see what they were making as it was all so foreign to me. My goodness, I was taken under their wing, despite the large age gap and I soon became a project to teach to knit!  my first cardigan was knit 2 months later. I’m so proud of it!!! Yet it is still enormous on b!!!! I saw them crocheting and decided to research it on the net and with the help of many tutorials on youtube, I did just that and have loved it ever since.  7 months later, I had finished my biggest project, a beautiful christening dress for little b. 
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So today, it was fuddle time for Hildas birthday and it was lovely.  I somehow managed to create these banana and oat muffins before 10am!!!

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That is a huge achievement as I never seem to be able to get anywhere on time in the mornings.
B enjoyed sticking the wool on Hildas card.  Happy birthday Hilda xxx

So, this weekend m set about creating me something to organise all b’s craft things.  I bought these boxes from Ikea ages ago and hadn’t done anything with them….

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M went and bought some pine and 5 meters of it later….

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And several hours (as m is the definition of a perfectionist)….

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I have this handy little unit to go in b’s play corner in my kitchen.

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And I have already filled it with yummy items like ….

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Cartons

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Toilet roll tubes

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Stickers

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And paints.  It also means my shelves above look a bit more tidy!

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I’m afraid the labelling of items and love of compartmentalising is a teacher trait which I can’t seem to shake off!
I’ve just discovered the charity ‘scrapstore’.  It sounds amazing and just our cup of tea!  Local companies donate craft items and recycled objects and for a minimal annual subscription, you can fill a basket full for £1!!!!! I can’t wait to fill the empty tubs in my cabinet and take b on a trip to what I imagine to be a very close version of aladdins cave.

So here is a sneaky peak at this weeks project….

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All will be revealed very soon!!!
But my ta-da moment today is this one ….

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40 bottles of home brew!!!!! I’ve made wine before but have made these for m (and a few cheeky ones for me) to try to save money a little.  I have christened the brew ‘the sneaky sip’ and it’s finally ready to drink. It is great!!!! A little sweet perhaps and I think very similar to my dads favourite ‘old peculiar’.  I was worried that it would be flat….

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I had nothing to worry about!!!!  It’s so successful that…..

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The next batch is on the go!

Well…. Have a lovely day where ever you are xxxxxxx

I thought I’d add the recipe for the banana and oat muffins.

Makes 6

120g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
30g of oats
40g demerara sugar
100ml milk
1 ripe banana mashed
50ml sunflower oil
1 egg

1. Preheat the oven to 400 f/200 c/ gas 6

2. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Add baking powder and salt. Stir in mats and sugar.

3. In a separate bowl mix the milk, mashed banana, oil and egg

4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet mixture. Mix well to a soft, dropping consistency. Fill muffin cases.

5. Bake for 25-30 mins until well risen and springy to touch

Finished projects!

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So today, I am enjoying the rewards of my own baking, with a little bit of help from b.  I’ve never made a Victoria sponge before and thought we’d make one to use up some strawberries that were on the turn in the fridge. 

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Mmmm yummy strawberries, blueberries and grandma’s plumb and rum jam.
I made b a little apron some time ago, and every time she sees it coming out and me puting mine on, she gets all excited. She knows she is going to sit on the sideboard alongside my mixing bowl and stick her fingers in and lick the spatular! Pretty much like we did as children.

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And I’m happy to say, it turned out well and was not as difficult as I thought!

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And doesn’t it look nice under my little cover. I bought that from Aldi for only about 3.00

Well I really want to share with you my latest project. Remember my sneaky peak….

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Well this is what it turned in to….

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A luminary! To put a candle in for the garden.

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There is a jam jar inside. What a nice way to recycle a jamjar.

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So I started off with a chain 4.
In the second round I double crocheted two stitches in every stitch.
I did this again in round 3.

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Like this….

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You need to check that your flat circle is the circumference of your jamjar or a little wider.  If it’s not, just do another round as before.
Once it is, then chain 4, and slip stitch in to the middle of every other stitch so your circle has a little frilly edge. Basically, you just keep going round and round doing this until it is about an inch taller than your jamjar.

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You then need to make the straps. I’ve gone for long straps but you can do as you wish.

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Just make a chain long enough to fasten either side, but make sure the stitches are tight.  You need to make two chains the same length.

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And sew them on really securely about an inch and a half down from the top. Make sure they are all in line or they are going to make your luminary wonky.

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I then made a contrasting chain to weave in and out to act as a drawstring. 

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And fastened a little button on. I am going to add some beads yet to the tassles.

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I’m really pleased with it and hope it makes a nice birthday present for the lady that it is for.

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My Echinacea got even more interesting since I last showed you, and finally, finally……

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Today it bloomed.
And look what m brought me the other evening….

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Another rescued plant from the yellow sticker bin. This time, the grand total of 2.50!!! It was very wilted but has sprung back to life in our south facing window.
Well, that’s it for now. Going to carry on with my stripey blanket that is taking forever!!!!

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Xxxxx