The Adventures of Montgomery Mcvitty…..

My Mr Sharp works very hard, very hard indeed! I wanted to give him a little something to make him smile; something he could have on his desk at work to cheer him up when it’s all getting a bit stressful. I pondered a while. “What does Mr Sharp like when he is feeling a bit overworked?” I wondered…..”Tea!” thought I. “And what is better than a mug of tea?” I asked myself….”Tea with biscuits!” I replied! I thought and thought of how I could combine the two to be a permanent fixture on his desk at work. And from my pondering, Montgomery McVitty was born.

Biscuit mug!

Montgomery McVitty is no ordinary mug… oh no. Not only does he sport a well-groomed moustache and a distinguished gentleman’s monocle, Montgomery the mug has a mouth. “A mouth?” I hear you cry. “Yes, a mouth” says I. “But what use does a mug have for a mouth?” you ask. I agree, it’s quite obserd. But then again, it is actually a very useful thing for a mug to have. Our chap Monty simply looooves biscuits. He can’t get enough of them! When you fill his head with tea, biscuits are what he craves. So pop some tasty biscuits in his mouth and he will willingly share them with you whilst you sup tea from his brow.

"Nom!" says Monty as he stuffs biscuits in his mouth.

I do hope he will enjoy his new home at Mr Sharps office. I will be sending him a fresh supply of biscuits every Monday to see him through the working week. This week, Monty had Double Chocolate Chip Shortbread, and he decreed that he liked these very much. They really are truly delicious. So delicious in fact that the batch I made on Sunday to last all week had been devoured by Monday evening – oops! I’m now hurriedly baking another, much bigger batch to hopefully last Monty and Mr Sharp until Friday.

The recipe is very easy to make with just a handful of store cupboard ingredients. Here’s the recipe incase you fancy baking some too:

Ingredients

  • 175g butter, softened
  • 85g golden caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100g chocolate chips (milk, white or dark)

Method

  • Mix the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon. Stir in the flour and cocoa, followed by the chocolate chips – you’ll probably need to mix it together with your hands at this stage. Halve the dough and roll each piece into a log about 5cm thick. Wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hr or for several days. Can be frozen for up to 1 month.
  • Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Slice logs into 1cm-thick rounds, transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake for 10-12 mins. Cool on the tray.

Shortbread is definitely one of my favourite types of biscuits to bake at home, but I always feel guilty eating them when I have seen just how much butter goes in to them. I wonder if there is such a thing as a healthy, low-fat biscuit that actually tastes good? If you have such a recipe, I’d love to hear from you!

Biscuit mug

While Monty’s face would cheer the most solemn of folk, he does look rather sad whilst bobbing around in the washing up liquid…. His happy little face suddenly looks a bit panicked. Fear not Monty my friend, we won’t let you drown, it’s merely bath time dear chap! You need to look smart for your first day at the office.

Hope you are all having a wonderful week so far folks 🙂 TTFN! xx

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His and hers Christmas stockings

When I was a littl’un, one of the best things about Christmas morning was waking up to find a stocking filled by Santa at the end of the bed. I would get caught up in the magical belief that Santa had been in my bedroom that night, that he’d managed to sneak in again without getting caught. Every Christmas eve I would go to bed hoping that I would wake when Santa snuck into my room, but I never did. I’d wave my little fist in the air and promise that “next year I will stay awake to meet you Santa!”, but I never could.

I’d heave my bulging stocking up on to my lap and pull out each little gift, one by one, with great excitement and a huge grin planted firmly on my face. Once they were all pulled out, inspected and played with, I would hurriedly shove them all back inside the stocking and run to my parents room, bounce on the bed shouting excitedly to wake them up, then sit there pulling each gift out again, one by one, to show my mum and dad while they made the appropriate “ooo’s” and “ahhhh’s” in half asleep state.

My wonderful mum has always hung a stocking at the end of my bed on Christmas eve, every year for the past 28 years , because I have spent every Christmas at the family homestead (although the bouncing and shouting and bundling in to bed with them the next morning had to come to a stop for I was getting too big, sob!). But this year, now that I’m a growed up and living with the amazing Mr Sharp, the responsibility of hanging the stockings on Christmas eve has fallen to me. I was excited by the prospect, until I realised that there were no stockings to hang! I summoned the help of my knitting needles and balls of wool and set about rectifying the worrying stockingless scenario.

Clickety clickety went the knitting needles with great urgency, and ta dah! As if by magic, two little stockings, one his, one hers, were birthed:

These little lovelies are knitted flat (my favourite way to knit) so they were a pleasure to make. The pattern is a doddle to follow too. I used this pattern to guide me, but used my own colour schemes and pattern sequences to give them more of a personal touch. If you would like to know how I made mine drop me a line and I will send you some instructions. They only took me a couple of evenings each to make, so if you fancy making some you still have time! They would make a lovely gift for someone.

I couldn’t wait until Christmas eve to hang our lovely new stockings up, so they are already taking pride of place in our lounge, hanging high enough that they don’t suffer a CATTACK(!) from our little kitten. I’m sure she would have hours of fun destroying them if she could only get her claws into the wool. Well not this year little kitty! Although, I cannot wait to see what havoc she unleashes on the Christmas tree when we hang it this weekend…..

Only 9 more days till Chrimbo people, eeeeep! So excited! xx

A Handmade Christmas….

This Christmas I shall be placing one hand on my heart, the other on my pile of craft books, and will be making a pledge; The Handmade Christmas Pledge….

What with becoming a student again, I am all shades of skint. But, I don’t want that to put a stop to the joy that I get from handing my friends and family members a gift at Christmas. It is also Mr Sharp and I’s first Christmas living together, and I am determined to make it really magical and memorable in every way possible. I will be making all manner of Christmassy type goodies to eat, and making a multitude of decorations to transform the house into a yuletide wonderland. I know it’s only November, but if I don’t start now I will never get all the gifts that I want to make finished in time to give to Santa for delivering, and the tree will look pretty bare if I don’t get the decorations finished!

This week, I will mostly be making Christmas tree decorations. Browsing through the wonderous handmade world that is Etsy, I spied these beautiful decorations by some very clever crafters, and they inspired me to have a go at making my own:

‘A very felty christmas’ by gizmoandstitch


Felted Christmas Orname…

$60.00

Dove, Felt Christmas Or…

$12.00

Figgy Pudding Felt Chri…

$8.50

Christmas tree decorati…

$35.00

Felt Candy Cane Christm…

$3.10

LET it SNOW Sign / Bann…

$18.00

Christmas Decoration st…

$4.00

Christmas home decorati…

$20.00

Christmas home decorati…

$10.00

Silver and Blue Snowfla…

$12.00

Mini Felt Mitten Decora…

$8.50

Felt Gingerbread Man Ch…

$5.00

Hand Embroidered Swirl …

$15.00

Christmas Holiday Stock…

$10.00

Felt Christmas ornament…

$13.00

Christmas Decoration 3x…

$10.80

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

As well as making decorations for our tree, I will be making a few sets to give as gifts. I can’t wait to get started! The felt has been purchased, the tea pot has been filled. With a blanket on my knees (it’s a bit nippy today!), and tacky midday television on in the background my Handmade Christmas shall begin! Wish me luck! xxx

A week off, ah bliss!

I have got an entire 9 days off work, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I intend to spend it drinking copious amounts of tea, taking the occasional nap, knitting blanket squares and little bunnies for easter, making a patchwork cot quilt for a baby boy, watching back to back River Cottage episodes, and cooking lots of yummy treats for my hardworking man to enjoy when he gets home from work.

 I have been working on a few commissioned items for the past couple of weeks which has been really good fun, and I thought you might like to meet them:

Ladles and jellyspoons, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Wolfgang Woolfingson the knitted wolf.

Rather excitingly, this little knitted wolf is going to live in Canada!! That is the furthest that my work has ever been sent! Giggle! I hear it gets quite nippy in Canada at this time of year, so I made little Wolfgang Woolfingson a very warm knitted coat to keep him nice and cozy on his very long trip.

Have a safe trip little knitted wolfgang, have a lovely time in Canada, and take very good care of your new owner.

 And now to meet little Pip the knitted rabbit, cousin to Tatty Babbit.

My fantastically lovely and fabulous friend Hannah has just become an Aunty for the very first time, and a very proud Aunty is she. Little Pip is a gift for her very new and teensy nephew Henry George who was born on Wednesday. Pip is currently winging his way first class to Staffordshire to meet his new owner. He was in such an excited rush however that he forgot his clothes! Ooops!

I will pop some warm clothes in the post to follow after him, but I’m sure little Henry will keep him warm in the meantime.

I love the feeling I get when I finish creating a toy and post it off to its new owner, it’s very exciting!

Ooo, I’ve just seen that the sun is shining outside, yay! I’m going to get out there and make the most of it before it goes into hiding again. Enjoy your day folks, have oodles of fun! Mwah! xxxx

Another happy and very cute customer :-)

The very beautiful, spectacularly cute little baby Blaike with knitted kitty Callie!

My utterly wonderful friend Isi (who is currently all poorly sick with tonsill-nasty-itis, yuck! Poor Isi, get well soon my lovely! Mwah!) commissioned me to knit a little grey and white stripped kitty in a pink dress for little baby Blaike, and the other day she kindly sent me this piccie to show me the two of them together. I always really enjoy seeing my creations with their new owners, it gives me a genuine feeling of contentment. Apparently little Blaike holds the knitted kitty all the time and likes to suck it’s nose! How sweet is that? Oooop, I’m going all gooey now…. I can’t help it…. I’m going to have to say it…. awwwwwwwwww!!! And now for a random outburst of baby doting speak…. “iddybiddyboobooboowajawajawoodododoboo”! Ahem… Sorry about that… Now I just need to find me some squadgy cheeks to pinch… Any volunteers? Anyone? No? Oh well.

Knitted kitty portrait

This adorable, fluffy little kitty belongs to my good pal Lucy, the Urban Goblin.…..

…..and Dennis is his name. Oooooo I just wanna snuggle up to him!! He looks so very cuddly! I miss having kitty’s very much, they are so very ace.

Lucy and I met a few months ago when we both enrolled at the local adult education college to do an Etching course. On my first day I sat anxiously and wide-eyed in the unfamiliar room, surrounded by medieval looking printing presses, my nose being tickled by the smell of acid and ink. I surveyed the room, checking out my new classmates, all of whom were on the side of elderly, working in a respectful calm and quietness. I have to confess my heart sank a little. I love getting the chance to meet new people and have a bit of banter and a good old natter while  learning a new craft, and it was quite evident that the people in this class were there to etch in peace and not be disturbed by a young whipper snapper such as myself. And just then, when I had resigned myself to the fact that no new comrades would be found in my fellow etchers, Lucy walked in and I could tell straight away that we would become partners in crime. The nattering between us two quickly commenced and we soon discovered that my Mum had been the librarian at Lucy’s secondary school and that she knew my brother from the pub. We had both quit our tiresome, life draining jobs to find inner happiness, and we both had a love of retro cartoons, zombies, warcraft, children’s books, growing veg, creating things, randomness, weirdness and general giggling.

So, anyway, back to Dennis the cat…. Lucy had commissioned me to make her a knitted version of her gorgeous kitty for her dad’s birthday. I happily obliged, I love any excuse to get knitting!

And here he is! Ta da!! Little knitted Dennis. Tee hee! His little daft face makes me chuckle!

I tucked him up all comfy cosy in a box and posted him off to Lucy to give to her dad. I hope they (and the real Dennis the cat) all like little knitted Dennis! Enjoy your new home dude, I know you will be very happy there. xx

Whose a lucky lady?

My wonderfully fabulous, gorgeously lovely friend Isi popped over the other day for tea and to pick up some creations she had ordered. And, bless her little cotton socks, she came baring gifts! “Happy Birthday!” she said as I excitedly tore open the surprisingly  unexpected  present, “Sorry this is late, like the latest late present ever!” read the card. I had been living in South Africa when it was my birthday in January, so I was totally surprised and very touched to be receiving a present in August! And what a gorgeous and incredibly thoughtful gift it was too!

A fantastically gorgeous Cath Kidston knitting bag!! With beautiful balls of wool inside!! It was love at first sight for me and the knitting bag, I absolutely adore it!

Hum-a-na hum-a-na!

 

Just look at those beautiful colours!! I love them!

 

Isi is so very brilliant at picking gifts for people, they are always so thoughtful and perfect for the person she is giving them to, although she will always apologise for it being wrapped craply (even though it will be beautifully wrapped), or she will think its rubbish (even though its amazing!), bless her bones! 

I am a very, very lucky lady indeed! Thank you Isi for being so very wonderful, for being such a fabulous friend, and for my delightfully divine birthday present, you are a legend! Mwah! xxxxx