Monthly Archives: January 2012

Lucy’s colours


What a Wonderful Christmas Present :0)

Special DK 100g 17 Assorted colours Pack

apparently it came from Masons of Abingdon

who actually have Lucy’s colours already packaged – all 17 of them!

Special DK 100g 17 Assorted colours Pack

they also have a super selection of Stylecraft yarns

I couldn’t decide then what to do …..

ripple, granny stripe? ripple, granny stripe? ripple ….

well in the end

I decided on ….

Granny Stripe

I’m   L O V I N G  every hooking minute!

and it is growing ….. very quickly …..

It is so scrumptious! All thanks to Lucy!

What an Inspiration she is :0)

if you haven’t visited attic24 yet …. pop over soon ….

It also goes rather well with my decopatch window light …

I  L O V E  decopatch too!

Happy Rainbows …..

till next time XX

Quiet/Busy Book 3 and 4


Last Wednesday I introduced my

Quiet book to you with pages 1 and 2

plus my happy I Spy book courtesy of Fish Sticks

today I have two more pages to share:

page 3

a zebra crossing, two felt house neighbours,

one house has a little red button car to run up and down it’s driveway,

a deserted road to drive the little blue felt car – left side please! on visits or

go for petrol at the yellow petrol pump … (self service!)

the car is “garaged” behind the flower bed and attached with a string :0)


imaginative play, fine motor skills, simple story telling

page 4

Counting 1 – 10

This proved to be a very popular page.

lift up flaps reveals a number and corresponding buttons –

star buttons – 1,4,7

flower buttons – 2,5,8

heart buttons  – 3,6,9

and 10 pencil buttons


counting 1 – 10, touch and count,

repeating pattern in the materials for the flaps –

dots, bicycles, dots, bicycles, etc.


there now! ……

hope you enjoyed todays editions!

back next Wednesday with two more pages ….

until then xx

Cover up recipes!*


*see previous post: a cover up!

First come First served:

Apple and Cranberry Chutney

1 k cooking apples peeled and chopped into small chunks

500g eating apples, peeled and chopped into large chunks

450g onions , sliced

50g fresh root ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp peppercorns

500g granulated sugar

250 ml cider vinegar

500g cranberries

Place all ingredients except cranberries in a large heavy-based saucepan,

then gently heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.

Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 50 mins,

stirring regularly until the apples and onions are tender,

the mixture has thickened and no watery juice remains.

Add the cranberries, then cook for a further 10 mins or so until just softened but not burst.

Spoon the hot chutney into sterilised jars and seal.

Store unopened in a cool, dark place. The chutney will keep for up to 6 months. Chill on opening.


Brandy Mincemeat

600g mixed fruit

100g cherries

1 large bramley apple

200 ml brandy

70g broken almonds

200g suet

250g dark brown sugar

1 orange zest and juice

1 lemon zest and juice

1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger

Mix all together in a large bowl and stir (I just like to stir often!)

Next day, stir again and pot :0)

(this will be for next Christmas)


back on Wednesday with two more pages from the Quiet Book :0)

Bye for now xx

a cover up!


It all started because I just couldn’t discard this …..

an unused Royal Horticultural Society diary ……

but with such gorgeous artwork ……

These are NOT photos, but beautiful botanical drawings …..

SO what to do with it, tear out pages and make cards with them?


frame one or two?

THEN I had this what I call a “BRILLIANT IDEA”

I would use it Just As It Is!!!

But it would be my very own, very special diary of


each month I will add a recipe suitable for that season and month of the year …

Brilliant Idea, don’t you think?

I started with the month of December, adding the Gorgeous Christmas Cake,

and …..

a Brandy Mincemeat, and a gorgeous Apple and Cranberry Chutney Recipe

(recipes for you in the next blog on Monday :0)


well, this is the Title Page ….

and I made a Journal cover ….. just to hide it being a 2011 Diary!

Well, I think it is a brilliant idea!

Recipes coming on Monday :0)

Bye for now, xx

Quiet Book or Busy Book


I had seen QUIET/ BUSY BOOKS on many blogs and I decided


so my journey began…..

I say journey because it took in many aspects before even cutting into any fabric …

a few decisions had to be thought about first:

How many activity pages?

How to fasten the pages together?

What size?

What activities did I want to include?

BUT my one criterion was


no bits to get lost!

With that in mind I thought I would show a few pages each week

with a comment or two ….

So here is page 1

The velcro shapes live inside, and are attached to the pocket by ricrac,

also attached to the pocket outside ….

is a waistcoat buckle to undo,

this also fastens with a velcro tab,

(the two slide up and down buttons are just to fiddle with!)


simple shape recognition and hand eye co-ordination

page 2

a sorting page,

novelty buttons attached to coloured ribbon to sort into pockets

two for each colour, : red car, scissors, yellow rabbit, blue house etc.

ribbons fastened under black velvet ribbon for sensory touch,


early problem solving and colour recognition


in a pocket on the inside cover of the book lives ……

a concertina

I Spy book!


this encourages:-

language development, adult participation,

observation and FUN!

I   L O V E D making this flip flap concertina book :0)

for a tutorial skip along to …..

I will add the next few pages each Wednesday….. so

till next few pages are due,

Bye for now xx

Best ever Christmas Cake! Really!


What to do

a week before Christmas and you want a Christmas cake

but NOT from a shop?

Until a week before Christmas I had no working oven, so as soon

as the new one was connected up ……

Google here I come!

“Last minute Christmas cake “…… P L E A S E !


Jane Asher is a Genius :0)

Last minute Christmas cake recipe

Prep time:
30 min, plus soaking time
Cook time:
4 hrs
Makes 1 x 20cm cake

“Don’t worry if you haven’t made your cake weeks ahead –

Jane Asher’s luscious cake packed with alcohol-

soaked fruits and nuts can be made as late as you like”


  • 750 g mixed dried fruit
  • 150 g glacé cherries
  • 225 ml stout, (Guinness, for example)
  • 100 ml whiskey
  • 75 ml orange juice
  • orange, zest only
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 200 g butter, slightly soft
  • 200 g muscovado sugar
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 75 g brazil nuts, or almonds, chopped


1. For the cake: place the dried fruits, cherries, stout, whisky, orange juice, zest and treacle into a large pan and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Preferably, transfer to a bowl and chill overnight – but don’t worry if you can’t: just leave it soaking as long as you can.

2. Preheat the oven to 140C/gas 2.

3. Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin and line with baking parchment or a shaped silicone sheet.

4. Place all the remaining ingredients except the nuts in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I do mine in the electric mixer when I’m feeling lazy). Beat until smooth, then fold in the soaked fruit and the nuts.

5. Spoon into the prepared tin and level the top, making a slight dip towards the centre. Bake for 3 hours, then check and cover the top with more paper or silicone if it is over-browning. Bake for a further 30 minutes-1 hour, or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

6. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so in the tin, then turn out and allow to cool completely on a rack.

7. Wrap the cake in baking parchment and then in foil, and store in a tin somewhere cool and dry until it’s time to decorate it. Every couple of weeks (or more often, if you’re short of time), unwrap the cake, make a few holes in the top with a skewer, spoon a little brandy or whisky over the top and let it soak in. This keeps the cake moist – and makes it taste even better. You can use orange juice if you’re avoiding too much alcohol. Rewrap the cake and store.

I know!   no marks for the decoration …..

but I really WAS late in the making!

Really it was the best Christmas cake I have ever tasted :0)

and so said everyone else!

I won’t bother Google next year ….

from Bella and Me xx

Well, Hello 2012!


Yes, I know I’m a little late …..

but hey! We are making our come back!

So from Bella and Me, we say ……

Hello to you all in 2012 ….

and may this year be a year full of new inspirations,

new beginnings,

and new thoughts and delights …..

and so here is my new thought for this New Year …….

Whilst walking in the park on an early December morning,

delighting in the beautiful Oaks

and the winter trees,

I suddenly stopped and took another look …. at the Chestnut trees,

everywhere around were winter trees,

in fact the Chestnut looked like a winter tree,

but standing under its huge branches I noticed ……

new sticky buds …… the promise of Spring.

I was struck again and marvelled at the the faithfulness of God,

that in the middle of winter ….. He gives the promise of Spring.

May this New Year bring ….. a new inspiring spring of inspiration to you!

thanks for visiting  ….. till next time …..

from Bella and Me XX