Thursday, 30 May 2013

Clearing the decks.. Tah Diddly Dah Dah! A chevron pattern for you.

We leave for a holiday to Spain on Monday but before we go we are making a flying visit to see William. These visits are becoming very precious as my son, his wife and William leave for Dubai in August. So, it's definitely cram the memory banks full of special times just now.

He is growing so fast... And definitely more delicious every time we visit. Lookat the concentration on this little face.

I love to clear the decks before we go on holiday. Tick the list and sort the stuff. Usually of the woolly variety. I am lucky enough to actually have met Anne from my Charity Knitting Thread and a real friendship has developed between us. We met today for a brunch and exchanged blankety loveliness.

I said goodbye to nine blankets I have been working on for Mrs Twins and her wonderful charity group SIBOL. In exchange Anne brought me a bag full of knitted squares for the next blankets to be assembled. At least the bag I gave was heavier that the one I collected. So goodbye to a pile of blankets and how lovely to think they will be of comfort to an elderly person soon.

 

Then it was time to finish a blanket I started ages ago for an expected great niece or nephew. Well, I failed on that delivery. Baby has been welcomed with woolly loveliness but not the planned blanket. It has been in the cupboard of doom under the stairs. But, no more!

It is finished. I used King Cole smooth DK. Quite a pricey yarn at £3.80 for 100 grams. It is smooth,soft and cuddly. Maybe a little heavier than other double knits but it gives a lovely finish with a shimmering sheen.

Too late for the baby maybe .. But maybe it's a blanket that can stay with us. Just perfect for cuddling and snuggling under.

Not a ripple but a chevron. A little sharper. More jiddedy jaggedly. Soothing to hook.

All finished with a border worked in rows of half trebles and a whisper of single crochet and picot edging.

 

Folded and finished. Decks all cleared and I know one thing. Little William will not be needing a cuddly blanket in Dubai.

 

If you would like to make a blanket like this here is how I hooked it.

Using a 4.00 hook work 163 chain.

It may help if I explain treble 3 together .... (Yarn over hook,insert hook into next stitch,yarn over hook and draw through, 2 loops on hook)3 times.yarn over hook and draw through all 4 loops on hook.

1st Foundation row... 1 treble in 4th chain from hook.( this counts as 2 trebles) 1 treble in each of next 8 chain.( treble 3 together,1 treble in each of next 10 chain,2chain,1 treble in each of next 10 chain). 6 times,treble 3 together,1 treble in each of next 10 chain,turn.

Pattern row. 3 chain( counts as 1 treble) 1 treble in each of first 9 stitches, ( treble 3 together, 1 treble in each of next 9 trebles,work 1 treble,2 chain and 1 treble in the 2 chain space, 1 treble in each of next 9 trebles) 6 times. 1 treble in each of next 8 treble,Finish the row with 2 trebles in top of 3 chain.

NB it is these final 2 trebles in the 3 chain space that keeps your work straight. Once you have mastered this and remember it every time you finish a row you will have a perfect straight edge.

Work as many of these pattern rows as you want. Changing colours and having fun.

I finished the edge of the blanket with 5 rows of soft blue worked in half trebles . And as a finishing touch 1 row of single crochet and then a picot edging worked like this. 4 single crochet,5 chain, 4 single crochet. Pretty little loops to add the final touch.

So, my Giveaway is on its way. I have finished my blankets. Cuddling to do and a special Thank You to all my lovely followers for making my day with your lovely blogs and the kind comments you leave here at Chalky's

 

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Giveaway Winner has been selected...

Firstly I would like to thank all the lovely friends who left such kind comments about my last post.
It did strike me that it might seem a bit strange to have such a personal post amidst a Giveaway. But I really do like my blog to reflect my life as it unfolds and that is exactly what it seems to have been doing this year. Life tumbling along with all kinds of ebbs and flows and ups and downs.
I would like to say a big "Thank you " to all the lovely people who have joined my lovely band of followers. I really do appreciate each and every one of you. Your comments brighten my day and your support means a great deal.
So. Getting down to business I asked the "Sporty One" to choose a number this morning and he chose number 14 out of a big pot. And the fourteenth comment left on my Giveaway was from the lovely Una from Great Balls of Wool.
I am so pleased to be sending Una a parcel as she works so hard crafting for Charity. So I hope she enjoys a treat for a change.
So thank you all for joining in the fun and I promise to hold another Giveaway before too long.
Just to finish. We are off to Spain next week for a holiday so I hope to post about all things Spanish for a few weeks but May here in the Uk has filled me with joy. I took this picture in the lane just up from our house and I really do feel that there can be no more beautiful sight than bluebells in May.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Beautiful Weekend and a final Goodbye.

It was a really stunning weekend. That really does make a wonderful change for a British Bank Holiday. The sun gently shone. The breeze softly blew and I had some quiet times waiting for the family to arrive.

Time to arrange flowers. Time to just gently meander through the things I enjoy. Walking in the lanes in our village. Picking wild flowers, Laying tables and filling pots with loveliness. Listening to nostalgic songs on the Ipad. Time to reflect.












Everyone is arriving to say a final farewell to my Dear Mother In Law. I have blogged about her often and was especially touched when such kind comments were left on my posts about her after she died in January.

Of course the time passes and an acceptance grows. She was our last remaining parent.
My dear " Sporty One" and I are now at the top of that Generational ladder. Sometimes you want to stand at the top of that ladder and shout for joy,wave a flag in celebration to let the world know of a special family celebration. But sometimes it feels cold, sometimes it feels a little rocky and unstable. Sometimes you need someone to just give you a guiding word or the softest hug. And of course parents can offer reassurance like no other. How wonderful if you could just have them back for a day. A tea party with best cups and lemon meringue pie ... all the favourites.

Accepting the loss of your parents makes you wonder how often they felt just like that. Of course you saw their joy when wonderful things happened, but how often did they feel a witness to the worries which being a parent can bring. How wonderful they all were to keep their concerns quietly to themselves. How loving to witness,encourage,sympathise and empathise all without judgement as we made our way through life.

Of course like all children we never took enough time to tell them how much we loved them all. But, luckily we are a close family and we all lived in the same village about six hundred yards apart. Now they are all at peace in the village churchyard. All reunited as they wanted to be.
My parents by the church gate


 And my parents in law under the shade of the big apple tree overhanging the church wall.


So we will all say goodbye and remember with thanks the legacy they have all left and remember the special times. Most importantly of all try to follow the pathway of life they lovingly trod.

Indeed Rest In Peace and love .

Thursday, 23 May 2013

200 !!!!! Lovely followers. Time for a Chalky Giveaway

Thank you so much to all the lovely people in Blogand who have decided to follow a little bit of life here at Chalky's.

I have been asked where the Chalky comes from. Am I grey haired? Do I like chalk drawings.

No the "sporty one " and I met in 1973 at Weymouth Teachers Training College and one of my lectures at college at that time involved being able to write neatly on a chalkboard. Measured lines,round letters and clear ascenders and descenders. A lot of practice was involved and he used to watch me writing with chalk on a small board. Hence Chalky!

So, now down to business. My blog has developed gently,quietly and as far as I am concerned lovingly. I often get stuck on numbers... I was on 35 followers for eons. Now I have reached the magical number 200 so I would like to organise a Giveaway. I love collecting and wrapping presents so I will have great fun

No rules. Just leave a comment and I will draw a number. If you ave a nickname you could always share it with us all. But most of all just join in the fun. Can I bear not to blog for a few days whilst you join in. Of course I shall be busy wrapping special parcels.

We are off to Spain for a few weeks on the 3rd of June so I would like to get the goodies sent off by then. So lets see how we go.

 

 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Update about Triangular Bunting and a coincidence.


Blocking

Anyone who has a little bit of hooky love and follows blogs will have undoubtedly heard about Lucy in Attic 24. Her work is both inspirational and enchanting. The generosity she displays on her blog has quite rightly made her one to aspire too. She shares ideas,tutorials and lovely happy things in her world in the Attic and beyond.

So this morning when I was checking my blog list I clicked on Attic 24, and, lo and behold Lucy was blogging about triangular bunting and I, of course was really interested in her post.You can read about her post here---

http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/2013/05/granny-bunting-for-yarndale.html

Now, as I read I really stopped and considered my attitude to blocking. Am I always in a rush? Am I always looking towards starting a new project? Am I lazy?
Well, I have no need to rush now I am retired. Yes, I am always keen to start a new project. In fact I have a queue in my head! And, I think I can be lazy.... maybe more accurately a bit slapdash.

Anyway when I looked at Lucy's blocked triangles I thought I must give it a go. Wow! What a difference. I now have pointy corners and so much smarter triangles.

So, this is an update on my triangular bunting.

 If you want to make some maybe you could pop over to Lucy's blog as she is "calling" for help just now with this very thing.... Triangles.

Oh, and here is mine. All pointy and smart. This string is on it's way to someone to give them a lovely surprise.

So, will you give blocking a chance?


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Tutorial for triangular bunting.

Before we get going I would like to thank all my lovely followers for taking time to leave such lovely comments. Just waiting now for my followers to hit the magical 200 mark and I will be having a Giveaway. I love,love,love making up parcels of goodies!

Right, now back to the task in hand. I have been waiting for some quiet hooky time to share this tutorial with you. I made some triangular bunting a little while ago. 1 string for me and 1 to share and I loved it. I hope you give it a try and if you have any problems just send me an email

Triangles 

1. Make a chain of four and slip stitch to make a circle. Some of you might like to use the magic circle  here.Chain 3 ( this represents your first treble of round 2)

2. Working into the circle work 17 more trebles. Please work them like this.The three chain and 2 other trebles are your first group of 3. Chain 1. 3 trebles. So you have 6 trebles with 1 chain dividing them. Work 1 chain. Then repeat the groups of 6 trebles twice more. This gives you the 18  trebles in total. You may have to pull them a bit to fit them all in but your work will soon get more spread out.



3.Again work 3 chain ( that first treble in the next round again)


4.Working in the same space (the one at the base of the chain) work 2 more trebles,2 chains , 3 trebles, 1 chain to complete the first corner of your triangle.


 5. Miss a clump of 3 trebles from your previous round and work 3 trebles in the next space.1 chain. Moving on to the second corner work in exactly the same way. 3 trebles,2 chain 3 trebles.
I think you can see this clearly from the picture. By working 2 chains in each corner the triangular shape becomes more pronounced.



6. Continue to work round 2 in this way until you get back to the beginning and slip stitch to finish the round.Work 3 chains.


7. Remember to work the remaining 2 trebles in the same place as the chain and you will have made your first group of three on round three.

 8. Work round 3 in exactly the same way. Groups of 3 separated by 1 chain and the group of 6 by 2 chains in each corner.


9. Here you can see round 4 completed.


10. And the final round completes your first pennant of your triangular bunting.
I have pinned it so that it is clear. You may want to block your work now but I don't as I am always dying to get on with my next project!


Make a lovely pile of hooky triangles.

 

I wanted to give my triangles some definition, so I worked a row of single crochet around 2 sides of each triangle. This border will be completed in cream when you attach the pennants to your bunting chains.


And then I wanted to add some button love.
Then the fun begins to make the bunting.
Work a chain as long as you want. Firstly make the hanging loop.A vintage bell or a shell finishing that off nicely and adding a bit of interest. You could easily embellish your bunting with something meaningful if it is for a special gift or occasion.



Work the chain and then add each pennant on like this.
Work a single crochet in a corner of your pennant. Chain 3 and then work a single crochet in the first chain space. Keep working like this making sure you finish with a single crochet in the other top corner. This will keep your bunting hanging evenly.You can see how this works in the picture below.




Now this was nearly a "tah dah" moment but somehow they still looked a little bit plain, a little bit sad. So I wanted to introduce something a little frivolous. Tassels seemed the perfect thing. And if you want to add some have a look here for easy full instructions.


There we have it  a tutorial for triangular bunting. Only one thing left. Hang it up and enjoy. A pretty peg really does complete the picture.





Monday, 20 May 2013

Chocolate loveliness!

I love having visitors and I always like them to leave with some goodies or other. This stems back to my childhood when we used to visit family very often. My parents were both from farming families and I used to love to go and visit my Grandparents and uncles who still had farms in rural Devon.

The were always places of great joy to me. Lambs being born, Devonshire clotted Cream being churned,collecting eggs and most of all the delicious teas.

There was always home made pasties, saffron cake, rock buns and other farmhouse goodies.
And whenever it was time to go home either a dozen fresh eggs would be tucked in the car or a sweet smelling lardy cake to tempt you all the way home.

Well the wedding flower discussions went really well. The young couple are real "foodies" and I thought I had better get baking. Not perhaps the Lardy or Saffron cakes of my childhood but chocolate in lots of different ways.

Some chocolate cupcakes. Sweet and gooey.And some cookies made with plain,milk and white chocolate.




Some to eat and some to share.I found these sweet cake boxes at our local Garden Centre. Too good to miss.






Perfect for a takeaway.
As for the cookies, well we enjoyed some, and kept some for our coffee time treat tomorrow.


If you want to try some chocolate loveliness these are the recipes I used.

Chocolate Cupcakes
   20 mins to prepare and 25 mins to cook Makes 12 cupcakes For the cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.

Ingredients for the cupcakes
100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1½tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
120ml whole milk
1 egg
¼tsp vanilla extract
chocolate vermicelli or edible silver balls, to decoratents.

Put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a jug, then slowly pour about half into the flour mixture, beat to combine and turn the mixer up to high speed to get rid of any lumps.

Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the Chocolate Frosting on top and decorate with chocolate vermicelli or silver balls.

For the chocolate frosting
Ingredients

Chocolate Frosting
300g icing sugar, sifted
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
40g cocoa powder, sifted
40ml whole milk


Beat the icing sugar, butter and cocoa powder together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.

Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Add the milk to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Double chocolate chip cookies

Makes twelve.

50g unsalted butter
450g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 eggs
170g soft light brown sugar or light muscovado sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
85g plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
2 baking trays, lined with greaseproof paper

Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas 3. Put the butter and half the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Leave until melted and smooth.

Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until well mixed. Pour in the chocolate mixture, beating on slow speed until well combined.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a separate bowl, then stir into the chocolate mixture in 3 additions, mixing well after each addition (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Finally, stir in the remaining chocolate until evenly dispersed.

Arrange 6 equal amounts of cookie dough on each prepared baking tray. Make sure that the cookies are spaced apart to allow for spreading while baking. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, checking regularly after 10 minutes. They are ready when the tops start to crack and look glossy. Leave the cookies to cool slightly on the trays before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Hope you try them.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

The second star in my calendar.. Wedding flowers. Love,love,love it!

I often wish I had followed a more arty,crafty, designer type route through my working life.
I did love the " littlies" and they indeed taught me so much. And I like to think there are some scampish boys in particular who had a happier time in school by meeting me.
To be honest I taught at a time when creativity,expression and artistic talents were encouraged.
So I count my lucky stars for that.

And, looking on the positive, retirement has allowed me to make friends with my creative side all over again.

Well, I have a lifelong friend and her son is getting married in August and they have asked me to do the flowers. 
I was so happy to say yes.

I feel quite confident after my first forray into wedding flowers for my nieces wedding when I was thrilled to do those too.


I wrote a post about it here
My niece looked so beautiful and I loved the simple hand held boquet she had asked for.


My very favourite picture from  that day was of my great niece who was a bridesmaid carrying the brides posy as she wanted the big one!


So tomorrow another "soon to be bride" and I are going to be talking flowers. Perfect.
My love affair with Pinterest is ongoing and there are some beautiful ideas for wedding flowers there too.

Friday, 17 May 2013

A New Day and Thank You .....

Thank you so much for all your kind comments about my bug!
I certainly seemed to bring lots of happy generational memories back with my " Button Love"post.
How I wish I could wander back through time and collect the buttons of dreams and wooden cotton reels of my memories.

Well. I had a bad night. I even disturbed the " Sporty One " but when I awoke this morning to see the Spring sunshine peeping through the crack in my curtains I realised I felt better. Those razor blades in my throat were blunter.

I missed an early morning walk through the lanes but I was so glad I felt better as I was so looking forward to two events starred in my calendar for the next few days.

One of my 60th birthday presents was a photography course, given by my much loved other half.
Hannahs at Seale Hayne runs photography courses and I had commented ages ago that I would love to go on one.


I so admire beautiful photography everywhere and some of my favourite blogs have images which entrance me.
Well, sadly the courses at Hannahs were not well attended and they decided not to run anymore. But, we had a card and in great secrecy a course just for me was arranged and this morning I met my tutor for the first time. I wanted him to come to my house,to see my surroundings, my space if you like. Luckily he does not live far away and was happy to oblige. I was nervous. I was excited and I was so happy to think I might move my photography to a new level. I might indeed begin to understand some of the functions on my camera!

It was wonderful. I loved every minute. And this kind man would not charge a single penny for this first visit .We chatted and got to know each other for nearly two hours. How wonderful was that.

Here are just a few of his photos.




And you can read about him here or have a look at some more photos that he has taken from around the world.


Well, I am seeing him again in a few weeks and now just have to take my camera and enjoy it --- how easy is that!
Given full permission to wander around the countryside near me and snap away.
I wonder if,in the passage of time my lovely followers will notice any difference in my photos.

I promise to pass tips on.
One interesting comment this morning was " Just remember your camera does not "see" exactly the same image as you.
I had never thought of it like that.

Thank you again for all your kind support.
And talking of photography.... my goodness it is easy to spend hours looking at all the lovely images on Pinterest. 
My head is buzzing ---- in a nice way.