Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Oh My Lord! It Finally Happened!

As regular readers will know I have been trying to master the Choc Chip Cookie.  The proper American style, crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle!  Ever taunted by Millie's Cookies and spurred on by the marvellous creations of a friend of ours!  She makes the greatest cupcakes ever, see photo for the ones we got to celebrate Farm Baby, but she is also queen of the cookie.  Grr!  PS see here AMAZING cupcakes here Aunt Tiffy's Bakery - was that a sneaky plug for a friends site and blog? You bet!!

But I refused to be beaten and after multiple - "well that tastes like a cookie but looks like a cake" (and visa versa) attempts - I finally succeeded!  The excitement in our house that day was of the jumping around type.  I have never been so happy to bake anything in my life!  There is nothing for it but to share the recipe and have everyone dancing around their kitchens too.  Share the joy....

Triple Choc Cookies
1/2 lb butter - room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 large eggs - room temperature
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2lb of chocolate chunks - use whatever chocolate type you wish, I used a mix of white, plain and milk.


Friday, 22 October 2010

More Amigurumi - Octopus

As you know I have been crocheting some bees to make a mobile for farm baby's nursery and as a result I have discovered the toy making style of Amigurumi.  The first thing I saw in this style on the internet when I went investigating was an octopus and I thought it was extremely cute.  I have since then been searching for  pattern that gave me an octopus that I really was happy with - I couldn't find one.  So I had a go at making my own pattern, and this little guy is what I came up with!  Don't ask me what I am going to do with the octopus now I have it and neither should you ask what I will do with all the little octopi that now fill our house. 

The colour isn't perfect - obviously but I think I am happy with the pattern now.  This is my first attempt at writing a pattern so I hope it makes sense.  Here it is....

Amigurumi Octopus

Work in continuous rounds of st unless otherwise indicated.  Mark the first stitch of each round as you go.

ch = chain stitch
st = single crochet stitch
hdc = half double crochet
dc = double crochet

Start with 2 ch
Rnd 1 = 6 st into 2nd chain from hook
Rnd 2 = 2 st into each st around - 12 st
Rnd 3 = [st in next st, 2 st in next st] 6 times - 18 st
Rnd 4 = [st in next 2 st, 2 st in next st] 6 times - 24 st
Rnd 5 = [st in next 3 st, 2 st in next st] 6 times - 30 st
Rnd 6 - 12 = st in each st around
Rnd 13 = [st in next 3 st, dec 1] 6 times - 24 st
Rnd 14 = [st in next st, dec 1] 6 times - 16 st
Rnd 15 = dec 8 times - 8 st

Stuff head.  Do not cut yarn.

With yarn still attached 
Row 1 = 20 ch
Row 2 = hdc into 2nd st from hook, dc into next 16 st, hdc into next st, st into last st.
Repeat the above on each of the remaining 7 st around base of the head.
Fasten off.
Using the tail of the thread weave into base and pull tight to seal.  Fasten again.

If you have a go please leave a message and let me know how it goes or any changes you made yourselves!  Or indeed if anything doesn't make sense and I shall try and clarify!!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Rebranding of the Recipe Site

Just to let you know that the recipe blog that goes with this site has had a face lift and is now completed.  The address is still the same and if you subscribe by any means that is all still the same.  I decided that it needed to have an identity of its own and be that bit more 'foodie' and I think that I have pulled it off.  Check it out from the badge in this post or at any other time from the same badge in the side bar of this blog!!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Nursery Decorating Part Two...

So the next step of the Nursery decorating was to add some farm animals to the walls. Now, I was uneasy about drawing directly onto the wall without any help, I didn't want to get it wrong and ruin the great paintwork underneath.

So I decided to draw the animals on paper first and use them as a kind of template when I start painting on the wall.  So far I have five animals drawn, I am not sure how many more there will be as I am painting them to fit around the furniture.

I have drawn the animals about 24 inches square, I think this is going to be a reasonable size on the walls without becoming 'scary giant animals'!

I will let you know how the painting goes and whether the template idea works at all!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Bumbling Around wth Amigurumi

Meet the bumbles! I have only made four so far but I think I am going to need about 7 - 10.

I have discovered Amigurumi which is a method of crocheting small toys, I believe the name comes from the words for cute and yarn but I am not 100% sure on that fact! I am crocheting them to make a nice mobile for Farm Baby's Nursery. The plan at the moment is to have a bee hive drawn on the wall and a nice bee mobile above. I know, I know, Bumble Bees don't live in hives but I think I can get away with it!

I am liking all the patterns for Amigurumi animals that there are out there so you may see more of these on the blog in upcoming times. I'll try and supply patterns where I can!

If you are into crochet and want to have a go then here is the pattern, it is really simple! If you aren't into crochet give it a go anyway, it's honestly very simple!

Bumble Bee Amigurumi

NOTE: Work in continuous rounds of sc without joining
unless otherwise indicated. Place a marker in first stitch of
round and move up each round.

ch = chain
sc = single crochet
dc = double crochet
hdc = half double crochet

To increase (inc) crochet twice into next sc.
To decrease (dec) pick up the next two sc and sc through both.

Begin at top of head with A, ch 2.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook.
Rnd 2: 2 Sc in each sc around – 12 sc.
Rnd 3: [Sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc] 6 times – 18 sc.
Rnd 4: [Sc in next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc] 6 times – 24 sc.
Rnd 5: [Sc in next 3 sc, 2 sc in next sc] 6times – 30 sc.
Rnds 6-12: Sc in each sc around.
Rnd 13: [Dec] 15 times – 15 sc.
Neck-Rnd 14: [Sc in next 3 sc, dec] 3 times – 12 sc.
Body-Rnd 15: [Inc] 12 times – 24 sc.
Rnds 16 and 17: Sc in each sc around. Cut A. Stuff Head.
Rnds 18-21: With B, sc in each sc around. Cut B.
Rnds 22-24: With A, sc in each sc around.
Rnd 25: Dec] 12 times – 12 sc.
Rnd 26: [Dec] 6 times – 6 sc. Fasten off.

Finish stuffing.
Weave yarn tail through remaining 6 sc, draw up firmly to
gather; fasten securely.

WING (Make 2): With C, ch 7.
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next ch, hdc in next
2 ch, dc in next ch, 6 dc in last ch; working on opposite
side of ch, dc in next ch, hdc in next 2 ch, sc in last 2 ch;
Row 2: Ch 1, sc in next 2 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, dc in next
st, 2 dc in each of next 6 sts, hdc in next 2 sts, sc in last 2
sts; turn.
Row 3: Ch 1, slip st in each st around. Fasten off.
Sew in place on back of bee.

LEG (Make 6): With B, ch 7; 3 sc in 2nd ch from hook, slip
st in last 5 ch. Fasten off.
Sew in place.

FEELERS (Make 2): With B, ch 10; slip st in 2nd ch from
hook and in each ch across. Fasten off.

Sew on eyes and mouth, you can use thread, plastic eyes or left over wool like I have to make the features, there is no right or wrong way!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Potato Patch Update

I was weighing all of the potatoes that were coming out of the potato plot but once we decided that it was time to dig them all up - it's getting quite wet here and we were worried they would spoil if left in the ground any longer - it appeared that it would take an age to weight them all with my tiny kitchen scales! As a result I decided to just lay them all out and take a photo instead! These potatoes constitute the last of the potato crop and will join the other (approx) 4kg that we already have!

There are various types shown here. The majority of the potatoes you see are the Maris Piper (towards the front of the photo). Right at the back, with almost black skins, are the Blue Danube. Mixed in amongst them are the rest of the Kestrel and Charlottes.

PS. Yes, we drink a lot of Diet Irn Bru, lets hear it for Costco!!!!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

How Goes the Nursery

As I have revealed already the room at the top of the stairs is more than just a bedroom, its a Nursery. I have been planning the nursery theme for a while and am going with a Farm theme! It was a fight between Jungle and Farm and farm won, as there are so many Jungle themes already out there! The first thing we needed to do was make the wall that splits the existing room. Farm Dad and Farm Guy made huge progress with that, so much so that we managed to get a plasterer in while I was in the hospital!

The plasterer made a fantastic job! The finish on the walls can only be described as feeling like glass, it was amazing to paint on and meant we have an amazingly smooth finish on the paint! The first step was to paint some blue for the sky.

After painting the sky I added some hills with green and painted that green all the way down to the skirting board - or at least to where the skirting board is going to be! For those worried I am not actually doing any of the painting, I have some great helpers actually doing the work while I recover from the hospital. All I have actually done paint wise was the top of the hills! The green on the picture looks quite dull, it is in fact called 'Spearmint' and is quite bright and cartoony!

Next step put on the skirting and door and get it all wood stained. Then on with the next step of the painting....

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Accident At The Farm

This is actually about an incident that happened nearly four weeks ago but I hadn't wanted to say much about it at the time as it was quite difficult and I didn't want to have to report bad news at the end if I had given an ongoing commentary!

On Sunday night (Sunday the 5th September) one of our cats, Rocco, appeared on the doorstep at about half eleven at night looking very sorry for himself. He had obviously been there a while and was shaking with the cold. He could barely walk and only just made it in through the door. His tail was limp and dragging behind him and he was struggling to breath. There was blood around his mouth. We scooped him up and put him on the living room chair, it was too late for a vet appointment so we called our local 24 hour vet helpline. We were advised to keep him warm and quiet and his symptoms were most likely shock based and they would see him at an appointment in the morning (Monday) at 9am. I have to admit I wasn't convinced that it was shock based, he was unable to lie down and seemed totally 'out of it'. We left him overnight and the following morning found him in exactly the same sitting position as we had left him, nothing had changed. We headed to the vet.

They listened to his chest and said he had a heart murmur and appeared to have fluid in his lungs and stomach. He was given an injection to help clear this fluid and we were told to return him the following evening for a check up. Over the next few hours he did seem to pick up but he was still uncomfortable when he tried to lie down and wouldn't eat or drink anything. We returned him that evening and his lungs were now apparently clear but the vet was still not happy with what she could feel in his abdomen, she asked to keep him in and give him and x-ray; she would call us to say what she found. And call she did. We were shopping for a few groceries when she called, it wasn't good news. She believed that he had severed the duct from his liver and his chest was filling up with fluid. Without an operation he wouldn't make it but the procedure itself was extremely risky and he only had a 50 - 60% chance of making it through that. The operation wasn't cheap either. Money was no matter to us, we wanted to give him every chance to pull through and after a great deal of heartache we agreed to let them proceed. His operation was on the Wednesday morning and that was a day of great apprehension.

We finally got the call saying that he had made it through the operation and was okay. Phew! They wanted to keep him in till Friday to watch him as it was touch and go as to whether the operation worked and the fluid may return. By Thursday however they decided he could come home as he was doing so well. He had to be in a cage for two weeks however to stop him injuring himself. When we went to pick him up we were told the full extent of his injuries. They believed that he had either been hit by a car or had fallen from one of the outbuildings (this was our preferred theory) and in basic terms everything that should have been in his abdomen was now in his chest! His liver and spleen had punctured his diaphragm and gone through, he had also ruptured various other organs. Luckily his heart and lungs had remained undamaged so he was able to pull through. The vet had said that she wasn't sure why he had even made it back to us on Sunday let alone through the operation.

Fast forward to today: his last visit to the vets resulted in the all clear. Lungs and heart are strong again and he is healing up fine. He has now been given the all clear for going outside, which has cheered him up no end although he can't do much and quickly gets tired and comes back in. His tail is still quite limp, but they believe that it will heal and is most likely fractured but he can lift it slightly now which is a vast improvement from it dragging along behind him!

So he has made it through but he has definitely used up one of his 9 lives!