Monday, 3 August 2015

after the rain comes a rainbow or two !



Well hello folks how are we all diddling ?
 I'm feeling good and have flung myself into the wonderful homey hanging out with the kids time that is the school summer holidays ( I may not quite have this happy tone....... erm in about 3 weeks as the end of the school hols are in sight and the boys have had enough of one another and me !! ) 
But at present  we are in a happy chilled out place and long may it last.
There is so much I am really enjoying about the summer hols but one particular thing is not doing the daily dashing about , this inevitably goes with having school age children . However at this time of year we can indulge in not having to watch the clock and take our time in whatever we fancy doing .
 We do seem to be  having quite a lot of rainy indoor days but that's fine with us as we all find things to occupy our time with . I am inparticular  making the most of these indoor rainy days by making the most of what the season has to offer us in the kitchen .  I am still on my quest to make as much good quality produce for the family to enjoy and  as cheaply as possible . I am taking advantage of all the cheap abundant soft fruit that is available in our rural town at the moment . We so love to eat the sweet juicy soft fruits that our English summer has to offer and I want to capture  this for eating over the winter when these fruits are not available . 

So I've been Jam making , first I made Strawberry Jam , which worked out at 90p a Jar and I made 7 jars all packed with big chunks of strawberrys in the jam. 





Then because I had made Strawberry jam Mr P requested Raspberry jam , his favourite . Well how could I refuse , I was a little concerned at first it was going to be expensive to make but I bought 2 frozen trays of raspberrys from Aldi and 2 big  fresh  punnets of raspberrys from our local market @£1.49 each which meant I ended up with 1200g of fruit & because frozen fruit is often lower in pectin than fresh I used a scahet of pectin with my sugar to make sure it set well . I ended up with 8  jars and they worked out at about 87p a jar , very good value I think .


Well I was on a roll then next was marmalade bubbling away in the pan !!
  I was also nearly out of my homemade peanut butter so I made another couple of jars of that too .
 The peanut butter came in handy yesturday when I made the family these honey and peanut butter boost bars from Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Everyday recipe book .


Well I have been on a roll so I thought in for a penny in for a pound on the preparation front , I decided to make my own Christmas mincemeat this year , last year it was quite expensive to buy and I do get through quite a lot as I do volunteering and baking to raise money at Christmas and Mince pies are offered up at events , as well as baking mince pies for family and friends . So I had a search about on the Internet and found Mary Berrys Christmas Mincemeat recipe on pintrest , this recipe uses butter rather than beef suet which means its good for vegetarians . Well I've made 6 jars so far and still have lots of base ingredients left so a few more batches will be made over the coming weeks . I'm glad I've got around to doing somethings that will benefit us later in the year , in particular the build up to Christmas as I know from previous experience things get a little crazy for me from September onwards . I'm sure in the  months of  November & December I will be grateful of my endeavours in the kitchen now , I'm sure my purse will be a lot happier too !!
I have also brought a little bit of sweet homemade goodness to a couple of friends with my jams and marmalade as well , its always make me happy to share what I make .
 I have also been making sure that while my garden herbs are abundant that I am regularly harvesting and drying them for winter , I started late in the growing season last year and I ran out of a few of my dried herbs in mid winter and had to buy shop bought ones . Which slightly niffed me off as my garden ones are free . So hopefully this year I should be ok over winter if I keep on like this .

 In fact Autumn and winter have been on my mind recently and I don't know if its to do with the lack of summer heat and sunshine and the quite cool temperatures were having but I have  really been getting into my newly learnt skills of sock knitting . Thanks to Christine @ www.winwickmum.blogspot.co.uk and her fabulously inspiring sockalong I have now vanquished my arch nemesis 'sock knitting ' . I have nearly finished my second pair and have the wool in my basket for the next two pairs , I have decided  I am going to make sure all the family has a least one pair of lovingly hand  knitted pair of socks to keep their tootsies warm in the colder months . I am now quite addicted to it and I cannot wait until September and Yarndale when I will be making a couple of purchases in the sock yarn department , ooooo I can't wait !!





I've also been enjoying lots of family time , the other morming me and my youngest laid on our living room floor in our P.j's colouring .....it was sheer bliss !



So here is to more blissful days !!
I hope you can find moments of bliss in your days too ,

Thanks for popping by and ta ta for now .
Tracy xx

Friday, 17 July 2015

......and the winner is ??

 
Well as promised this morning one of  our yarnaholic ladies that attends our Creative Coopers group pulled  the winning name  out of the basket to win Mr Fox . Shall we have a peek at who's name  the lovely Cath pulled out of the basket !





 
I am sooooooo  happy to announce that Campfire has won Mr Fox and he  is now going by the name of Rufus and Campfire has plans to make some extra attire for Rufus out of her scraps of Harris tweed . I think Rufus is going to seriously like his new home and is going to be one spoilt gent .
Thank you to everyone who took part .
Campfire I will be in touch .
Anyway I must go dash in the middle of making our evening meal .
Thanks for popping by and ta ta for now
Tracy xx


Sunday, 12 July 2015

Mr Fox giveaway

 
Well hello ..........it's been a while , in fact I feel like a stranger to these parts !!
To be quite honest after my last post in March when I hadn't been too well and I was recuperating after a little op and I continued to be quite under the weather and I had a couple more investigations /visits to hospital  as well as another procedure as a day patient . To be totally honest I just needed a break from things .
 I needed time and space to deal with my health issues as well as trying to continue with family life . I  also needed to give  my very full mind the space and the time it needed to deal with everything that was going on .I just needed to prioritise the demands on my grey matter to move my thought processes forward to help begin improving my health again and gently get myself  firing on all cylinders  .
Thank fully the procedure's worked well , investigations were successful and I had diagnosis to problems and the thing I am truly greatful  for is that 2 weeks ago my biopsy's came back clear .
 
Whilst my health issues continued I had a good hard look at my health in general and 10 weeks ago I decided to do some thing about my ever increasing weight . Last year was a very stressful year for me and I ate my way through the stress , those cupboard & fridge doors were open for business feeding the emotions inside I was constantly trying to control  and subdue .
So 10 weeks on I am 1 stone 3 & a half pounds lighter and continuing this journey . I went back to sliming world  which I had  successfully achieved weight lose before  a  few years before. In addition to  this new healthy eating life style I have also started doing 2 to 3 power walks a week and I love and look forward to the exercise and the health benefits it is bringing . 
 
 Now I have given myself the space I needed to sort myself out I am back in control of my weight and I am back to being physically well and healthy and
I feel it is the right time to come back to my blog and share my life here in the Yorkshire dales with you . 
I really have missed this and you , here in blog land  !!!
 
So to celebrate coming back to my blog I think we are due for a little giveaway.....what do you think ??
 I'm sure you would love a giveaway wouldn't you !!
Well who would like to win and  receive one of my Mr Foxes ?
 
This is the Mr Fox that is up for grabs !
 







 
Mr Fox is a soft textile sculpture ( he is not a toy )
and he comes with a couple of needle felted toadstools and he is also worth £50.
I will send him any where in the world and all you have to do to enter  is to leave your name and the name you would give Mr Fox in a comment below on this post .
I will close this giveaway on midnight Thursday the 16th of July 2015 and the winner will be drawn out of a hat or a basket ( depending on how many enter)  by one of the lovely yarnaholic ladies on Friday morning the 17th July 2015  at our Creative Coopers group .
I will announce the winner straight away that morning on my Facebook business page for Handmade Over Yonder and as soon as I get home from Coopers cafĂ©-bar and have access to my computer I will announce here on my blog on Friday the 17th July 2015 .
Well I think on that note it's time for me to go and leave you lovely folks to pop your names down in the comments section and lets see on Friday 17th July who is going to be lucky enough to have their name picked out and win him .
So thanks for popping by and ta ta for now Tracy xx

Monday, 23 March 2015

Gently

 
Well how are we all , grand I hope !
I'm taking things slowly and gently at the moment , in fact the month of March is turning out to be a month of resting up and adopting a gentle pace of life .
On Wednesday I went into hospital as a day patient for my little op and everything went well , and once I had recovered from the anesthetic I was allowed home with a box of painkillers . I was told to take it easy for the next couple of days and I fully embraced the enforced rest .
So a bit of therapeutic crochet and a bar ( or two ) of chocolate seemed the way to go on my return home .
 
So the day after my little op I got comfy in my favourite chair with my feet up I sat gently working ,  bathed in the afternoon sunshine , bliss !
 
But that evening I started feeling rather unwell and by the early hours of Friday morning I had a full blown ear infection and burst ear drum , so back to doctors for antibiotics ( the second time this month ) . So all I've done is rest and sleep and pop pills for the last few days . Yesterday I woke with a swollen bottom lip with a cluster of 5 cold sores on it, so I seem to have some nasty virus whizzing around my system at the moment  .
 My husband kindly noted if I was a horse they would shoot me and put me out of my misery ., thanks Mr P !!
 
Today I've snuggled up in my chair with a hot water bottle under a blanket and sat gently knitting and working on my next batch of Mill Mice .
 I've been surrounded by yarn , texture and colour , particularly the vibrant colour of my get well soon  flowers  sent to me by two lovely friends . The colour of the tulips and daffodils are so vibrant in the afternoon sunshine which has really made me happy , a burst of colour has such therapeutic properties .
 
So I am taking this week slowly and at a gentle pace .
I hope you all stay well this week and if you are under the weather rest up and take good care of your selves and maybe get a bit of colour in your days .
 
So ta ta for now and thanks for popping by .
Tracy xx
 
 

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Spring is in the air !


Well hello , how are we all ?......good  I hope !!
I have just emerged from a fortnight of feeling truly grotty and exhausted with a horrid virus whizzing around my system , I even ended up on a week of antibiotics after ending up with a bacterial infection on my face , oh how attractive I looked !! not .
But on Thursday I woke up feeling totally back to normal , that's if I could ever be described as normal !
I feel full of the joys of spring , the days are getting lighter , spring flowers are opening up and giving us much needed bursts of colour after the dark drabness of winter . The sun has been shining too and there's even a bit of warmth in it if you get chance to sit in it . Oh how a bit of sunshine and little bursts of spring time colour lift my spirits . This week has really felt like we are waving goodbye to winter .
 
 A couple of exciting things have happened over the last couple of weeks , firstly I have a bit of an announcement to make . On Monday I bought my new business Insurance which in it's self is rather mundane , but my new Insurers policy now allows me to open up sales to the U.S.A. and although I still have some restriction to do with the percentage of sale I am allowed to go to U.S.A
( this is the boring bit ). 
It does means when I now pop items in my etsy shop ( link button to my shop handmade Over yonder is at the top right hand corner of this page ) I can offer  these pieces to a wider audience . This feels great as I've hated having to say no to people .
 
 
 
On Sunday evening from 8pm onwards (U.K. time ) I will be popping 5 of my Yorkshire Mill Mice into my esty shop www.etsy.com/shop/handmadeoveryonder and I will be able to sell to U.S.A customers , whoop whoop !
.
So that's been one bit of excitement and the other has been getting a new cooker !
Yes I know by a lot of peoples standards this would be pretty low on the excitement scales , but for those who now me well they know how long I have waited for this day . I have been managing with using a  cooker that has needed scrapping for since 2013.
Mr P and I started our cooker fund in 2013 and were starting to make headway by the beginning of 2014 and then my mum had her accident . Well, after a few weeks of travelling too and fro daily on trains to hospitals miles away from where I live our savings were wiped out . It was a bit of a set back but when life throws things at us we do what we have to do at the time . As we are on a very tight budget we knew it would be a while before we could get a new cooker .
 So the saving started again , a couple of weeks ago I decided to start checking prices out on ranges again , just to see what sort of figure we were talking about .
Well I couldn't believe my luck as a website I popped onto was having a sale and there was £150 off a cooker we had previously looked at , this meant we could afford to make a purchase .
Yay no more nylon cord holding the cooker door up ( the hinges had gone) , no more putting a chair against the cooker door every time I used the oven( the seals had gone too, totally disintergrated in fact )  and no more shouting for help when the door would dropped off as I was trying to get food out ( my patience had gone too ). Oh so many times I had stood in the kitchen with a hot oven door in my hands shouting for help .
My daily oven dramas are over .
The domestic bliss of having a new functioning appliance .
I'm such a happy lady .

 
I  christened my oven within a couple of hours of it being fitted , the first bakes were Hazelnut Nutella cake ( for this recipe please visit www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes and search Hazelnut Nutella cake )  and Walnut Brownies .
I love my new oven , but I also think a greater appreciation of things is felt when it has taken a serious amount of hard work to get them .

So as you can imagine I'm like a child with a new toy , I love spending hours in the kitchen  anyway cooking and baking for the family and friends too and this is making my experience all the more enjoyable .
Whilst I was ill I made a few different soups by far my favourite was Cauliflower and Stilton soup .  Now , this soup is not to every ones taste  particularly the rest of my family . But this hot creamy fragrant soup really hits the spot for me .

 So here is the recipe for anyone who wants to give it a try .
 
Ingredients :
1 Good sized Cauliflower , cut into florets
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lrg brown onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic , crushed
veg or chicken stock ( up to 1.2 litres)
125g Blue Stilton ( use 100g for soup , keep 25g back to garnish )
half a pint of milk
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
black pepper & sea salt
 
Heat the olive oil over a low heat in a large  heavy bottomed pan , add the chopped onion with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft but not coloured . Then add the crushed garlic and freshly chopped thyme . Cook gently for another couple of minutes the add the cauliflower florets and pour over enough stock to cover the cauliflower ( either chicken or veg stock , I use chicken ) . Simmer for a further 20mins or until the cauliflower is cooked , the cauliflower should be soft when pierced with a knife . Then add the milk and crumble the Blue Stilton in and at this stage add the freshly grated nutmeg ,continue to cook for another 5 minutes . Remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit before blending into a smooth creamy soup . Whether using a hand held blender or a food processor please be careful at this stage as hot splashes could burn your skin .Once your soup is blended start to heat up ready to serve hot , at this stage taste and see if a little more seasoning of salt n pepper needs adding . When your soup is in your bowl and ready to serve why not add a final flourish of some crumbled Stilton onto the surface of the soup and maybe serve with a crusty date & walnut bread .
Enjoy
 
 
My cooker love has continued with much baking , this is a family favourite Lemon Drizzle tray bake , the recipe can be found on www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes  the recipes actual name is Lemon and Violet drizzle cake ( I just leave the Violets out ) .
 
  As a member of my youngest sons school  P.T.A. I am always very willing to do baking for our money raising events , on our last coffee morning 2 weeks ago these giant Smarties cookies were all snapped up . Once again this is a BBC good food recipe and no I'm not getting paid by the bbc !! lol
It's just I have one of their recipe books and I often go to their web page to source recipes and I bake a lot of their recipes and they always work .

These giant Smarties cookies are a great bake for fund raising they are quick to make and you get 20 cookies out of the mixture .
My final sharing of my love of baking and the joy of using my new cooker is this Citrus Bars , This is a shortbread base with a citrus curd baked on top , and it is divine .
Where do you think I got the recipe from ? yep you guessed it , www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes
For anyone who has been attending our Creative Coopers knit/ Crochet n stitch groups on a Tuesday ( 1pm to 3pm ) & Friday (9am to 11am ish ) this cake is very very similar to their lemon squidgy cake . It's well worth making , in fact Mr P tonight had a slice and he said it had the same taste as lemon meringue pie . I think I will bake this for our next fund raising event .

 
Well it's been great popping by and I hope I've not made you too hungry and I do apologise to anyone who has given up cake for |Lent , I hope I've not put temptation in your way !
Have a lovely weekend everyone and ta ta for now
and thanks for popping by
Tracy .XX

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Hello



Well I'm in bed with the lurgie and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to touch base with my blog ! It's ideal as I am actually still and in one place with some time on my hands , so today is a day for resting , knitting , blogging as well as blowing my nose endlessly and taking cold remedies and feeling slightly sorry for myself !!
 
January has passed me by in a busy blur and my hands haven't stopped creating .
My Yorkshire mill mice have been the order of the day and the odd Mr Fox .


 
 
I was so excited some weeks ago when I found Mr Fox a little brass watch to adorn Mr Fox's plus fours .
 
 
I've being doing lots of tiny knitting too , Mrs mill mouse shawls .

 
In fact I've been keeping an eye out for little pieces that are interesting and help create the narrative of the little characters I make ,the aim of these little extras is to add interest or evoke a memory or feeling to my little textile sculptures.
 I really fell for these miniature replica brass scissors as soon as I saw them.

 
But when I took a trip to a local antique and collectors shop about a week ago I couldn't believe my luck !!
There I was pootling about the place I stumbled across a small chest on the floor tucked under a table , I nearly walked past it . A chest half full of old wooden textile bobbins and shuttles , I enquired to the price , hoping all the while that they would be a reasonable price .
When the lovely lady confirmed the price I was as giddy as kipper as |I could afford some , however I kept a cool calm exterior I didn't want her thinking she had a mad women in her shop . I had enough money on me to  purchased 10 , then I  left . However I did venture back with more cash in hand and went  back  to buy the lot . I just knew they would be perfect to accompany my Mill Mice . I was absolutely buzzing with excitement when I got them home but my find just got better ! I took the bobbins out of the bag to give them a good once over and I couldn't believe it . They had Salts. Saltaire engraved around the base of the bobbins. Well this could only mean one thing , that they were originally in use at Salt's Mill ( an old Victorian Textile Mill) in Saltaire just down the Valley , a place I love to visit often . I was so happy to have found some local history in these bobbins . I'm sure Sir Titus Salt would have approved of his bobbins accompanying my Yorkshire Mill Mice

 
I love these bobbins ......the way they look, the way they feel and the way they smell of old Industry .
I do think it's my own families ties with this industry that makes me so excited about such items ,
 
This week has been my mums birthday and it is her and her side of the family that have a long history with the wool Industry and I thought it would be apt to make her a Mr & Mrs Mill Mouse dedicate to her long departed mum and dad.
Come meet the family .......may I introduced my maternal Grandma Muriel ( she was my nana ) she is in her early twenties in this photo . My Maternal Grandad was Herbert , we think he is in his desert uniform in the photo , it was a picture sent home from when he was doing his army service in the second world war  . Muriel worked in the wool mills of Bradford as a spinner and weaver as did her daughter my mum and my Grandad was an engineers pattern maker so worked in a different sort of mill. My mum helped pick the mice and I'm going to pop some family history into the pieces for her , my mum also chose the sage green as she always remembers her mother wearing a sage green fitted suit , my Grandma made a lot of her own clothes as did many of her generation , she was always well turned out .  My Grandad always wore smart trousers a shirt and a cravat and he never left the house without his flat cap . This special couple will take a bit of time to finish and thank fully my mum is a patient person . But I will come by and share them with you when they are finished.

I am at the moment I am working on  my biggest batch of mill mice to date  , 22 in total ......so production is taking a while .


 
 
As you can also see my work area is very full , in fact I seem to be taking over more of the house as the weeks go by .
So Mr P and I have agreed I need a room dedicated to being used as a workshop/ Studio and as we have a dry very good sized cellar we have made the decision to covert it into my studio . This will be a lot of hard graft and we have to do most of it ourselves as we are doing it on a shoe string  . Hard work doesn't bother me though and I truly enjoy doing rooms up . As you can see there is a lot of clearing to do before we can start knocking it about and making it a nice space to be in .
 
My inquisitive nature got the better of me yesterday , so with a chisel and hammer in hand I started investigating the arched chimney breast and unearthed the Victorian brick work .
I love living in an old house . I can't wait for us to start putting our mark on this room .
 
It's been lovely to have the time to pop by today but now I'm wacked , it's lemsip & sleep for me now .
If your on half term hols have a fab time with the kids .
Thank you so much for calling by and ta ta for now .
Tracy xx