April in the UK

24th April 

Today is the last Friday in April, frightening thought don't you think.  It is definitely true the older you become the quicker the days, weeks and months fly past.  So with this in mind, I decided to reminisce, please excuse but indulge me.  Grab a coffee or better still join me in a glass of red and view through some of  my month highlights. WARNING, an obscene amount of photographs...

My garden...

April and May are the best months in my garden, after 15 years here, I still have not cracked the rest of the year, ho hum.  Must try harder.

Front garden

Grape hyacinth come back
year after year in this pot

Autumn pansies still going string

Side house view

Love it when the bluebells
come out to play

Blue and white bluebells!!!

I love tulips

Against the striking blue sky

Tall, elegant and variegated

These are stunning

So colourful in April

Yay!  Growing potatoes in a bag for the first time to get
some really early ones, the ones in the ground are far far behind.

My village...
Local architecture, this was until
recently the post office

The size of the twigs and mini branches that
are used to make these nests is truly amazing.

My surrounding area...

So many houses here have beautiful wisteria,
we do have, but ours is white and comes out a little later

The river Thames on a Spring morning

A short walk from the house,
luckily we don't suffer from hayfever

My London...

Living not too far from London, I do try to get into the capital at least once a month, I love being a tourist in our own city, after so many years, I still find new discoveries and of course often visit old haunts.

A firm favourite, this month I
saw the Magna Carter exhibition.

Statue of Isaac Newton outside the library

Beautiful crescents, London is good at that

Always time for a coffee stop

Wonderful sculptures everywhere in London

Looking up at the Shard

Typical London town house

Loved the window box and
the reflection in the window

My makes... 

Couldn't have a month round up without showing some of my months makes...

A new brunch recipe tried and eaten with a little
sock knitting thrown in for good measure

Crocheted Scottie dog brooches

A commissioned piece,
 a funny little story about that  here

Loo roll covers ~ see here
PS he still hasn't noticed?!?!

Enjoying the garden whilst beginning a new crochet project...

It has been a good month despite all the illness in the house.  Hope you have had a great month too.  Joining in with   Amy from lovemademyhome  sharing five things from my world, do pop over and see what others are sharing...

   Hope the sun is shining wherever you are, it's not looking great for us here in Oxfordhire 

Crocheted Eric

20th April 

You may have seen my post about my husband and his teasing me of my crafting, many many of you commented and either could relate or found the whole thing hilarious.  Click for the post here    Well it didn't stop there, let me enlighten you, grab a coffee, this could take a while...

About two years ago my husband began an email correspondence with me, under the name of Lotta Wool, he even created an email account in her name and began teasing me through these email exchanges.  Each email became more outrageous and I laughed so much.  If I can bring myself to share them with you, I will in the near future...

So it was this in mind when I received an email a couple of months ago, I was very vary, this is what I received...

Hi John
Selma is undoubtedly a very talented woman.  Not only does she have fantastic taste in men but she is a pioneer in the world of crocheting and sail sewing!
So can I introduce you both to ERIC
ERIC is our new internal ‘Green Champion’
ERIC has a big job to do.
ERIC is going to galvanise our people during our Green Week in May to turn off lights, recycle waste and get involved in our local community.
He is going to travel round our business helping our people do fantastic things.
ERIC is sad because he is only a 2D version of himself.
In fact some would say ERIC is paper thin.
ERIC dreams of being 3D.
I think we all deserve to be 3D don’t you?
ERIC needs a hero.
ERIC doesn’t need a bear catching, world saving kind of hero.
ERIC needs a crocheting, sail sewing kind of hero.
ERIC needs a hero to help him come to life.
Do you know a hero that could make ERIC’s dreams come true?
Would it be too cheeky to ask if Selma could do me a really big favour and crochet an ERIC for me?
Say no if you want as I know you are both very busy so no pressure.
Thank you for reading ERIC’s story.
Can you see why I was dubious to its authenticity?  It smacked of my husband and I almost, note the word almost, wrote a rude reply back.  In actual fact something stopped me and I sent a one liner asking if this person was serious and indeed they were!
So my first commission and I nearly ruined it before it began!
What did I have to make, what did Eric look like...
I set to excited and nervous and trawled the internet on all the usual pattern websites for help and clues as to how to make Eric.  Nothing out there closely resembled him and so it was to the drawing board for me.  I am not a natural designer and I found this whole process incredibly difficult.  I tested, not as much as I should have done, I made several versions of each part of him until I was fed up and just settled on the latest make and kept putting him away and making anything else other than Eric. 
Eric is now completed and I feel drained of his colours, they are not my usual choice of working colour and am drained of designing and having the responsibility of him being used in a work place.  He is not perfect, in fact there are many things I would change if I had the inclination, but this morning he left the house, office bound and I am glad to see him go...

The body begins to take shape

Just seeing how he will look

The first leg looked rather phallic, so it had to go

Rip it, rip it, rip it.  I often felt like a
 frog on this project

Trying very hard to make him as close to the spec as possible

Coming together but something is not quite right

Eric had to be beheaded as he was too floppy

With a wider neck, the floppiness was sorted

I love his cape the best

Notice the raised eyebrow, just as in the spec

All ready to head off to work...

All said and done however, this has been a huge challenge and learning curve and I'm glad that I was made to do this and do you know what, for all my moaning about Eric, I'd do it again in a flash.
  From Eric and I, have a good week


Apple roses for dessert

19th April

A quick post just in time for your Sunday dinner prep. Last night I made the quickest and easiest dessert ever that looked like it should have taken hours. 

I urge you to try and give it a go. 
All you need for 6 people are 2 red apples, puff pastry, I used shop bought, apricot jam, half a lemon and icing sugar to sprinkle in at the end. Oh and ground cinnamon is optional. All of us enjoyed this immensely.

Thinly slice the apples, place in a bowl with just enough water to cover them. Squeeze half a lemon into the water and microwave for 3 minutes. 

Place 3 tablespoons of apricot jam and 1 tablespoon of water in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute. 

Meanwhile, roll out puff pastry till it is a thinner oblong and cut into 6 equal rectangles. Spread the apricot mixture over each pastry section.

Place sliced apples along one edge as in the photograph. Making sure to leave a 1cm space at either end, this allows for easier rolling. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. 

Carefully roll each pastry apple combination and place into a well greased muffin tin. It should already look like a rose. 

Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes. 

Allow to cool in the muffin tins for a couple of minutes and then sprinkle with icing sugar before serving. 

We ate ours last night with cream. Custard or ice cream would be just as good or in fact they were so delicious they do not really need any partner. We will be making these again very soon I'm sure. 

❤️ Have a wonderful Sunday ❤️