Friday, 31 December 2010

# 28 Organizer for 2011

Every year I buy a diary to keep track of any important events, dates, holidays, etc. but somehow I've never found one that quite fulfils my needs. Then earlier this year I came across a web site with lots of free printable calendars, planners, lists, etc. and I thought that maybe I could put together my own organizer for 2011 using these free printables.

And here it is, ready to be used. What I like about it is that because I'm using a ring binder I can add any extra pages as needed. Also, bills to pay, etc. can be kept in the right section inside one of those clear punched envelopes so they are not forgotten or lost.

I took some photos to show you.

A4 ring binder with crochet cover.

Monthly planner perfect to keep track of doctor's appointments, school holidays, etc.

Weekly planner for the day-to-day run of things.

Meal planner and grocery list.

The coloured tabs make it easy to find the different categories.
Below are a few links to web sites with free printables for you to create your own organizer.

ePrintable Calendars

Free Printable Weekly Planners

Printable Forms

Have you created your own organizer? What categories have you included?


Psst! I'd like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. May 2011 bring you good health, a little wealth, lots of creativity and all things good. See you in the New Year :-)

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

# 27 Countdown to the New Year

And just like that Christmas is over and the New Year is only a few days away! Yikes, how can a year go by so fast? Growing up I remember a week seemed to take forever let alone months and years!

But anyway, hope you all had a very Happy Christmas and are now looking forward to 2011.

We stayed home most of the time as it was too cold and slippery but on Christmas Day the sun came out and we had the most glorious blue sky, just perfect for a walk and a few pictures. These were taken on the way to the nearby Deer Park.

Unfortunately there's no blue sky today but the temperature has gone up meaning the snow has melted and it's again safe to go out.


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Saturday, 18 December 2010

# 26 Cute little parcels

These pretty parcels all have a handmade gift inside and were given as Christmas presents to everyone at Knit Club.

If you'd like to know what's inside and how to create similar parcels yourself please visit my crafty blog.


Thursday, 16 December 2010

# 25 Carrot Christmas Cakes

This year the children at A's school are having an international Christmas and have been learning about the Christmas traditions of other countries. His class did Sweden and Portugal and I offered to make some traditional Portuguese Christmas cakes. Judging by the empty box and the fact that most children had seconds I'd say my carrot cakes went down well.

Here's the recipe if you'd like to try them.

1 kg carrots
0,5 kg plain flour
0,5 kg sugar
4 eggs
Zest of an orange
2 teaspoons Port wine
2 teaspoons baking powder

Peel and cook the carrots until they are soft enough to mash. When cooking the carrots add a little cinnamon and mixed spices.
After you've mashed up the carrots drain them as much as possible by placing them in a clean tea towel and twisting it to get rid of the liquid.

In a bowl mix all the ingredients and then fry spoonfuls of the dough until they are golden in colour. Remove them from the frying pan and sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. The frying oil should not be too hot as otherwise the cakes will not cook all the way through.

Enjoy :-)


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

# 24 Melting away

It felt good going out for a short walk today.

The snow is melting away quickly under an almost cloudless sky and the sun tried to do its best to make the temperature go up a little and about time too, although we've been lucky where we are compared to many other people in other parts of the country.


Monday, 6 December 2010

# 23 Nigella's Buttermilk Scones

Having watched Nigella make her delicious looking Buttermilk Scones on TV last week I just had to try them out as soon as possible, so yesterday was the perfect day it being Sunday and all of us being home.

I love scones and have tried several different recipes over the years but none so delicious, light and moist as these. Unfortunatley mine didn't turn out as pretty as Nigella's but I'm blaming that on not having a proper cutter which is now at the top of my shopping list for next week :-)

Despite not looking very pretty they tasted heavenly with clotted cream and homemade jam and a nice, hot pot of tea. If you'd like to try these you'll find the recipe here.

One other thing I wanted to show you is this.

Yes, I have finally finished the Christmas cards I'll be sending family and friends this year. They took me much longer than I thought they would but I'm quite happy with how they turned out and I especially like the look of the machine made blanket stitch.


Thursday, 2 December 2010

# 22 Splash of colour: December

Do you remember the Splash of Colour challenge I told you about in post # 12? Well, it's time for this month's splash of colour and here are the 3 photos I chose to brighten up this very cold and very grey December.

If you'd like to take part you can read more about it at Silverpebble's blog and also join the Splash of Colour, Winter 10/11 group on Flickr.

Hidcote Manor, June 2010.

Croft Castle, August 2010.

Yarn bought for £2 at the charity shop. What a bargain :-)


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

# 21 A very simple Christmas bunting

Today is the day me and A. start decorating the house for Christmas and as usual I always have to make a few new decorations to add to the ones we already have.

This is an idea I had the other day when I was trying to come up with a way of recycling last year's Christmas cards. I didn't want to make any more gift tags as I still have some leftover and then a little lightbulb went on above my head and I thought of this.

What do you think? I quite like it and I know A. is going to love having this in his bedroom.

I've put together a few instructions on my crafts blog if you'd like to make one as well. Just click here to see the post.

By the way, if you like this blog and my other one would you mind voting for it? All you need to do is click on the button that says "We're on the Fence" that you see on the side bar. It only takes 1 click to vote. Thank you :-)


Tuesday, 30 November 2010

# 20 Getting in the mood for Christmas

December 1st is the day me and A. put up our Christmas decorations so tomorrow is going to be busy after he gets home from school.

To get us in the mood for the festive season I've been busy baking some Christmas themed biscuits, cutting lots of tags from last year's cards for a crafty project I have in mind and trying to finish our Christmas cards so they're ready to be sent sometime next week, hopefully!


Thursday, 25 November 2010

# 19 A cold day + A hot cup of tea = Homemade biscuits

I love baking especially on a cold day and it has been very cold here in the UK in the last few days; the result of that is 2 new biscuit recipes tried and tested and very much approved by the 3 of us.

The 1st recipe I tried was the Choc-Chip Cookies recipe from the Stork booklet/web site.

I made a couple of changes namely:

- I didn't add the vanilla essence.

- Instead of chopped walnuts I used chopped, roasted almonds.

These cookies spread a lot while baking so you shouldn't try to bake too many in one go as I did or you'll end up with a batch of funny shapped biscuits instead of nice round ones! The ones you see in the picture above were from my second batch.

The 2nd recipe is called Lemon Biscuits and is from the Biscuits Recipes site.

Again I made a few changes as follows:

- I used plain flour instead of self-raising flour to which I added a teaspoon of baking powder and half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.

- I added the juice of half a lemon and used orange and lemon peel of which I added a  lot more than the recipe says, just a little over 100g.

- I also cut down slightly on the amount of sugar.

We loved both types of biscuits although A. says he prefers the Choc-Chip Cookies while my favourites are the Lemon Biscuits. Why don't you try them for yourself to see which are your favourites?


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

# 18

The last few days have been very productive craftwise. I have finally finished my blanket which is now on the bed looking gorgeous and have managed to make a few other items as you can see below.

Warm night slippers for mum.

Warm day slippers for mum.
Peg bag made from lefotver cotton yarn.

My 1st pair of wrist warmers.

I love my wrist warmers which I made Saturday evening to take on our Sunday outing to Wightwick Manor and Gardens in Wolverhampton. Although the house looks old on the outside it was actually built only 113 years ago.

Wightwick Manor and Gardens, Wolverhampton.

We found this scarecrow in the kitchen garden, it has a cute face don't you think?

The inside was furnished under the influence of the Arts & Crafts Movement and is rich in wallpapers and fabrics by William Morris and ceramic tiles by William De Morgan. Their patterns are beautiful, full of colour and detail, if you do a search online you'll see what I mean.


Friday, 19 November 2010

# 17 Pasta with Bacon

Tonight there's a Disco for the children at the school and as I'll be helping out I had to get dinner done in advance, ready to heat up later in the microwave.

I made one of A.'s favourite dishes and I thought I'd share the recipe with you. Whenever I make this wish during the week I always make one extra portion so A. can take it to school for lunch the next day. He absolutely loves it.

I'm not giving exact amounts so you'll need to adapt this to the number of people in your household.

Fry or grill enough smoked bacon slices, remove all the fat, cut them into small pieces and put in a deep oven proof dish.

Cook the pasta shapes in boiling water with a little salt and olive oil. When the pasta is al dente, drain and add to the bacon. Mix well.

Make the white sauce by melting a tablespoon of butter in a pan, add a tablespoon of plain flour and mix, then add double cream and stir until it thickens. Add a few drops of lemon juice and a pinch of ground nutmeg and stir. Pour part of the sauce over the pasta and mix then pour the remaining sauce on top.

Bake in a pre-heated oven until golden in colour.


* Instead of bacon you can use ham. In fact the original recipe mentioned ham but A. doesn't like it and that's why I use bacon.

* I don't add any salt to the white sauce as the bacon is usually quite salty already.

* To make this dish a little more exotic I sometimes add pineapple pieces and chopped walnuts. The sweetness of the pineapple goes very well with the salty bacon and the walnuts add crunchiness.

*As a way to measure the amount of pasta per person I use the soup ladle, one ladle full of pasta per person.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and I if you try it I would love to know what you think and what changes you've made.


Monday, 15 November 2010

# 16

I love our weekend family walks, they are our chance to spend time outdoors, have fun, get to know new places and do some exercise while enjoying the peace and quiet of the countryside.

Yesterday we decided to go and try to find a public footpath someone had told us about and which runs through the woodland area of the National Arboretum at Westonbirt.

 It did take us sometime to find it and then sometime more to find a place where we could park the car but it was worth it and we had a lovely walk despite the occasional drizzle.

The adventure begins, field across the road from the Hare & Hounds.

Finally a map tellings us where we are.

On the right path.

Pretty colours.

A reminder that Christmas is coming.

After the walk.

If interested you'll find more info about this walk here.