LJ Stitch and Sew

I’ve just set up a Facebook page as a dedicated place to showcase all of my crochet and sewing pieces. I’m trying to develop my skill set and offering pieces at low cost before I potentially start to sell things more regularly!

This hobby has helped me through a lot of stress and is currently keeping me sane through my teacher training, so any encouragement, feedback and suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Please use the link to connect with me on Facebook!

https://m.facebook.com/LJ-Stitch-and-Sew-1649939345266062/

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Halloween

For me this ‘celebration’ has no real meaning. At school we learnt about Hallows Eve and the time of harvest, at home I enjoyed fancy dress halloween/birthday parties with fireworks, toffee apples and of course costumes.

Some hate the date, some love it and we all have different reasons for making a deal out of the day or not. I love fancy dress and pumpkins, the colours of autumn vegetables, the smell of rain and freezing cold sunny days. So I see Halloween a time to celebrate this perfect season.

I haven’t carved many pumpkins in my life, maybe two or three? They never looked impressive so this year I tried out my new hobby skills and made one. I love it! The stalk needs to be made with a darker brown to accent the orange yarn more, and I need to neaten up the stuffing, but then again pumpkins aren’t usually perfect in shape.

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First granny square

A granny square is a popular choice for beginner crocheters as they are pretty, easy to do and fairly quick projects.

I finally got round to attempting one myself and am extremely pleased with the outcome. I introduced new colours for the first time and have a head filled will pattern writing ideas!

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I am using DK yarn while I am still practising and getting used to this skill but I can’t wait to get some finer cotton to work with. Hopefully this will help me achieve a crisper finish with finer and professional detail to my projects.

Books of 2015

With some inspiration from Instagram and other bloggers I have decided to write a list of all the great books I want to reread and introduce myself to throughout 2015. Life can be hectic and some people say they can’t make time to read. I however see it as they usually won’t make time for it, choosing to prioritise other things ahead of a book. For me reading is a must and is time well spent!

Reading takes you away from your worries just for a moment and releases your imagination. It helps you form opinions on certain topics, teaches you new styles of writing and new vocabulary is inevitably picked up. Reading for pleasure is an inexpensive hobby yet it really enriches your life. In a part of the world where there is free access to endless amounts of books it seems a shame to not be grateful for the opportunity to read and make the most of what we are fortunate to have!

So for 2015 the following books are what I plan to read. Of course books are not always our taste and sometimes get forgotten. Other books can also pop up in our lives so this is a flexible list which I will keep returning to and adding titles to. I am not very good at writing reviews and I hate to be a critic of people’s art so I will probably write a short post on each of my reads and say whether or not I liked it! Oh and the books are not in any specific order, I read a book when I feel ready to.

The Book Theif

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Jane Eyre

The Secret Garden

The Railway Children

Rooms

Divergent series

Before I Go To Sleep

The Rosie Project

The Fault in Our Stars

The Help

The Reader

The Kite Runner

A Clockwork Orange

The Diary of Anne Frank

Looking for Alaska

Animal Farm

Gone Girl

Of Mice and Men

Nineteen Eighty Four

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Taming of the Shrew

The Wasp Factory

Elizabeth is Missing

Their Name is Today

Syrup Loaf

After the success of my Banana Bread I felt encouraged to make a syrup sponge cake/ loaf. With lots of syrup and sugar this turned out quite a hit with the family and the burnt top was quickly over looked.

Ingredients
225g self-raising flour
220g butter
225g sugar
3 eggs or an amount equivalent or near to 225g
4 tbsp golden syrup
A splash of milk!

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I never really follow set recipes, I tend to just read how other people make their tasty treats and take the bits I like and alter to suit my own baking preferences. The ingredients are nothing fancy just things I already had in the cupboard. As you can see a splash of milk is vague because whenever I follow a recipe to the word, the moment I add the milk it just turns to slush or it’s too dry still and I feel like I can’t add anymore! So using initiative helps when baking and going off course can lead to great results.

So I just threw the sugar and flour into a plastic mixing bowl, no sieve! Cut some butter and mash it in with a wooden spoon. Crack the eggs. Add the syrup. Stir with wooden spoon. I added a big drizzle of syrup too which was beautiful to look at! A splash of milk added whilst stirring.

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After about 8 minutes of stirring by hand (I don’t like the electric whisk) my mixture was ready to go! I made too much to fit into my cake tin and I have only got the one. So instead of throwing mixture away I filled the tin up (recipe for baking disaster). Carefully put on the top shelf of the oven which by the way was preheated at gas mark 4. Recommended cooking time is until you see a nice rise and slight browning on top.

If in doubt stick a knife in and out. If it’s clear you can cheer!
– my baking jingle.

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I knew the tin was too full but I got lucky and the middle cooked with only a slight crisp layer on top. Finally I drizzled more syrup over the warm top and let it sink in. I ate this warm and it was divine, I at this cold and it was also divine. I think I just like sweet syrup cake and was thankful it cooked.

2015 will see a lot more adventurous baking from me as it’s so therapeutic and a great hobby to have.

Rag Lights

My scrap fabrics have got out of control and I need to clear some, but I can’t bring myself to bin things I know I can recycle and reuse.  A quick search on Pinterest found me this mini project which turned out to not be so mini!

All you need is some Christmas lights, strips of fabric long enough to tie a single knot, and patience.

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A little tip: Although it might be tempting to have nice and neatly cut strips of fabric, this really goes look nicer when it has a little bit of variety in size and texture. Don’t cut away the fraying edges either!