Thursday, June 26, 2014

Seasonal crafting

Do you find your preference for different crafts changes with the seasons? I've noticed a distinct pattern with my making over the past couple of years and it seems to be a seasonal thing. When autumn arrives and we move into the short, dark days of winter I begin to hibernate and seem to choose cosy, woolly knitting and spinning as my favoured crafts.

As the days lengthen through spring I gradually slow down on the knitting and seem to find myself with a hook in my hand, crocheting as if my life depends on it. It's a more immediate craft as it seems to grow so quickly and gives the instant gratification that I don't seem to need in the winter. As the summer comes on I lean away from anything yarny and seem to prefer crafts involving fabric.

So it is that in the past couple of weeks I finished off the last few bits of crochet that I just HAD to do - you know, HAD to do it or the sky would fall in... 

It seems my thing for rainbows shows no signs of diminishing. Several people have admired these little bowls that are now nestling on my kitchen island unit and all have asked what I use them for. I didn't realise I had to use them for anything :)

Whilst on my crochet binge the seedling of an idea had germinated and once it took hold there was to be no stopping until it was done. So with this:

 and rather a lot of this:

and the addition of a bit of cardboard and some moving parts, I made me a crocheted clock for the kitchen, complete with flowers placed not even approximately where the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock points should be. Still, I like it being approximately something o'clock-ish.

Having exhausted my crochet fixation I dug out some paper-pieced patchwork that I started ages ago. I hadn't got very far initially but it's been growing steadily over the past week or so and I have over 100 more hexagons ready to add to it. I love just picking it up whenever the fancy takes me and doing a few hexies.

I've also machine pieced a couple of lap quilts and both are ready for hand-quilting. This one is still waiting whilst the other is under way but unphotographed:

It's been a bit warm of late to sit stitching under a quilt but with a cooler weekend on the cards I'm planning on plenty of quilting fun.

In other news, I'm currently conducting a culinary experiment on my family. 

During a chat with my work friend she told me she'd seen a very disturbing film about the terrible impact of meat production on climate change - I think it was this one Meat the Truth. She then told me she and her family had taken the decision to stop eating meat as a result of seeing the film.

My first instinct was to say we couldn't possibly do that as Mr Moog loves meat and would miss it too much and the children would too. Then, after one particularly meaty filled weekend with the in-laws down to stay
(father-in-law is a total carnivore, has sausage and bacon every morning for breakfast, and has at least one more meat centred meal a day on top of that) during which we'd had a barbeque and a huge roast lamb dinner, I felt it was time for a change.

I know I'm not the only one who gets thoroughly bored cooking every night, trying to come up with different meals that everyone will enjoy but usually sticking to tried and tested favourites and lacking variety. 

So, after that meat-fest of a weekend I pulled out my recipe books, poured over foodie websites and set the family a challenge to each find a meat-free recipe they liked the look of, which I would cook for them. I wrote out a menu plan for two weeks of evening meals and have surprised myself by sticking to it!

We've had some delicious meals, which everyone has enjoyed, and I'm thoroughly enjoying, planning, shopping for, and cooking our meals. Favourites so far have been Spinnachio Pie from the Abel & Cole cookbook; tomato, thyme and goats cheese flan, and feta & pesto stuffed peppers from River Cottage Veg; and homemade savoury rice from Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook

Tonight we've had a Middle-Eastern feast of pitta breads, with homemade falafels, homemade tsatsiki and the best homemade hummus I've ever made:
Everyone tucked in and it was a resounding success which will definitely be repeated. I found these recipes somewhere online and wrote them into my recipe book, so have no idea where they came from! Let me know if you want the recipes and I'll do a recipe post.

I'm amazed at how well the family Moog have taken to this change in diet, and we're now down to one or maybe two meals a week which contain meat or fish and the meat is no longer the star of the show but a small addition to add a different flavour. I've got Aubergine Lasagne planned for Saturday - I'll keep you posted!

Moogs xxx

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

She's hooked again

After my last post I was fully expecting to crack on with more weaving and some sewing, using my woven fabric. I had a plan and a head full of ideas.

However, my lovely niece came to stay for a week, as she was working down here and as a recently self-taught and now thoroughly addicted crocheter, she asked me to show her how to crochet a granny square.

This led to me hauling out my stash of acrylic yarn, which happened to contain a work in progress - my rainbow circles that I started last November.

Being me, I immediately got thoroughly obsessed with finishing this blanket, forgot all those other things I had planned, and in just a few days it was all done.

 Naturally, whilst busily hooking away at my rainbow circles, my head was already racing ahead to my next project, which turned out to be a super-bright and colourful patchwork of a blanket, based on the Babette blanket pattern on Ravelry. I started this on 25th May, hooked all the way through the half-term holiday, and finished it on 5th June. Fairly safe to say, I was a little absorbed in this project!

Both of these blankets have decided they want to be draped over the back of the armchairs in the kitchen, where they really brighten things up.
As is always the case with me, one thing leads to another and all of a sudden all of my cushion covers were looking a bit tatty and jaded, so I set about revamping them.
Cushion #1 - in pretty shades of blue. This is my favourite :)

Cushion #2 - a ripple cushion cover in subtle muted shades. 

Cushion #3 - bright, in your face, colourful African Flower squares. I wasn't expecting this to turn out quite so garish!

I did all three of those covers over four days/evenings. When I get obsessed I really do get properly obsessed!
I'm still planning to do that sewing and weaving and have a million things I want to make but this crochet thing is ongoing for now. Rather than get stupid and stressed about all the other things I want/ need to make or finish I've chosen to just go with it and see what happens.
I do have quite a few other little bits and pieces of crochet that I've made this week but they're as yet unphotographed. I have one project in my mind and I'm waiting for something to arrive to finish it off, so I'll be back with that one soon. 

 In other news, the Wobbly puppy has been recovering from being spayed. Having her spayed was a condition of her adoption (as was having Merlin Moog's boy bits lopped off) and our vet does this procedure from six months onwards. Wobbler was seven months old a couple of weeks ago.

She's been a real star about being forced to wear the cone of doom and is now once more lampshade free. A reaction to one of her sutures has led to two short courses of antibiotics but all is now well.

Merlin and I, however, are still recovering from the severe bruisings we received when she ran full pelt into us with this thing on her head - we ended up wrapping the edge with sticking plaster to soften the blows, which didn't work!

 As you can see, it totally messed her hair up and she developed a fetching pair of devil horns through wearing it. How apt.
Moogs xxx