Potter’s Blanket

This week I have mostly been eating failures of chocolate biscuit cake attempts. Luckily when this sort of thing is a disaster it’s still edible. After three pretty much complete failures I have now given up on that particular item!

On the crafting front I’ve finished my cat’s blanket, the first of my blankets in the square a day leap year blanket group I’m a member of. Some people are making one large blanket with 366 “squares”, I’m making a few smaller ones, which means I can experiment a bit with styles, types of yarn, and colours. Plus it means my blankets will be a reasonable size! This one was made with some aran weight acrylic I had lying around. I had 6 colours, so there are 6 colours in the blanket. They weren’t purchased to go together all in one item, but it actually worked out well (although at first I was a bit nervous about pink and orange next to each other!). The whole thing worked out about 1.3m wide and 85cm deep – partly because I wanted to put his name on the blanket and the squares I made for that were a little larger than I had expected originally. Good thing he isn’t called “Marmaduke” or “Voldemort”, although I would have worked out a method of fitting them in. The granny squares are Attic24’s Summer Garden Granny Squares, the letters are from a baby blanket pattern and the other big orange square is dreamweaver. I filled the spaces with some granny stripes in the same colour sequence that I made the letters.

Here’s a picture of the blanket sitting on the floor:


A gratuitious garden shot (the colours are more accurate in this photograph):


And finally, the “man” himself (as taken with my smartphone and filtered with pixlr-o-matic):




Brass Bands and Biscuit Cake

We went down to the Irish Brass and Concert Band Championships in Cork last weekend. The boy was dropped off with his Grandparents, and by all accounts had a whale of a time. (They seemed fairly glad to hand him back, though!). Since I was hyperemetic when I was pregnant I had to stop playing, and I’ve not started again yet (getting a babysitter for every rehearsal would currently be too difficult), so my role was purely supporting the band (Drogheda Brass Band) that Mr. Skirty plays in (and I used to). They were excellent. I can only say that they’ve improved massively even in the last 2 years since I left (hopefully this is purely coincidence!) the band. I haven’t really managed to hear them since then as the wee guy isn’t too keen on brass bands (yet). He does love music in general, he just likes it on his own terms, without too many people around. As I said, they were excellent, and they won a clean sweep – they won Section 1 brass, best brass band, best overall band (including concert bands) and there was a 4th trophy that I’m not sure about. Needless to say, everyone was pretty happy! There are many photos floating around from the bus home of people posing with trophies and lots and lots of smiles. This sorry excuse for a photograph was taking using my phone when they were getting ready to play.


I did a spot of “baking” again yesterday. Mr. Skirty isn’t really a cake person, so as he mentioned before that he really likes a thing called “biscuit cake”, when I came across a recipe for same earlier in the week, I added it onto my “to do list”. This recipe, to be precise. I did alter a couple of things, like adding some rice krispies instead of maltesers, and totally missing out the dried fruit and nuts, however the texture is not what I expected, and it’s so sickly that I could only eat one piece last night when it was deemed “set”. I think I’ll turn to a different recipe next time. I can’t see any reason that it turned out this way.


Oh well, I shall have to find some more recipes and give it another go. In the meantime, I expect it will be nicer if it’s cut into little bits and eaten with ice cream. Shame!


Krispie Cakes

Yesterday I made a “dry run” of some rice krispie cakes. They were quite nice, I used this recipe.

And this is what they looked like:


There are hardly any left and I wanted to take some to the boy’s Gran, who we’ll be seeing tonight, so we’ll have to make some more (shame!), although this time he’ll be able to help me stir them in and put them into the cases. I think I’m going to use slightly less butter and syrup and slightly more chocolate this time.

We’ve had lots of walking fun this week, and watering plants in the garden fun. I forgot to sow some cucumber, and as it’s a vegetable we go through loads of I’m going to get hold of some small plants from the local garden centre and get them growing in a grow bag or something. I’ve made a List of one-off things that need to be done in the garden, so I plan to try to get some of those things done every week. (This week I can get away with making the List…).

Knitting-wise, over the weekend I knitted and fulled (felted – it’s called “fulling” when the item is knitted first) a bag for the little guy. The strap is still in the works so he isn’t using it yet, hope he likes it!

And let’s not forget the shop – I finished a shawl also over the weekend. It’s quite a bargain considering the number of hours it took me to knit!



This week we’ve been eating lots of yummy food. One of my favourites that we ate last weekend is “vodka penne”, it’s very simple, in case anyone would like to try it out, here’s the “recipe” I use – most quantities are approximate as this isn’t a formal recipe:

Skirty’s Vodka Penne (serves 2 adults and a toddler)


1 onion, sliced
3 slices of bacon chopped into small pieces
a large splash of vodka
cooking oil of your choice
a knob of butter
some cream (I use double cream – only a little goes in so 2 to 3 tablespoonsish – this depends on your taste)
enough of your favourite pasta for 2 grownups and a small person
some parmesan (flaked or grated)

Base Sauce

2 tins of tomatoes (chopped or whole, doesn’t really matter)
some fresh basil (I have made this with rosemary before, yummy also!)
cooking oil of your choice (I use locally produced virgin rapeseed oil)
a glug of balsamic vinegar (tablespoonish quantity)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped or sliced roughly
1 onion, chopped roughly


First, make the base sauce. This can be done in advance or on the same day. To make it I chop up the onions and garlic roughly, and soften them up gently in a saucepan with some oil over a gentle heat. When they’re soft, I chuck in 2 tins of tomatoes, a glug of balsamic vinegar, a little salt and black pepper, and some of the basil, and simmer for a few hours (the longer the better). Some tomato puree can also be added to increase the tomato flavour. When this is cooked down the sauce changes colour to a rich, dark red. When this is cooked enough, add some more basil and “whizz” using a food processor or hand blender. Put aside until required for the vodka penne. If this is not to be used on the same day it can be refrigerated for a few days, or frozen for a week or so (beware that the longer it’s in the freezer, the less flavour it will have when used).

You can either time the pasta so that it’s cooked when you’re finished with the sauce, or cook it in advance and cool it down with some cold water.

When you’re ready to cook your bacon take a large saute pan or another saucepan with a large wide base, heat a little cooking oil and add the bacon pieces. I like to add a knob of butter at this point also. Cook the bacon gently until it’s cooked through and going brown, then add the sliced onion and cook until that’s going soft. Now splash the vodka in and let it bubble up and cook down for a minute or so (if it evaporates really quickly, you can add a little water to stop everything burning) before adding the base sauce. Heat this through thoroughly, if the pasta is cold, add it now to heat through also. Add cream to taste, a small amount at a time, and if the pasta wasn’t cold, add it and serve with grated or flaked parmesan sprinkled on top.

It’s delicious, the vodka gives it a peppery flavour and I love this dish. It’s not exactly the same as that from a proper Italian restaurant, but it’s a good enough substitute, and the toddler adores it too.

Om nom nom, as they say!

Last weekend I dyed some yarn using kool aid and food colouring.

The first was created by pouring dye into yarn in the slow cooker (crockpot):

Skirtydyed Orangey Red

The second was re-skeined into a very long skein, and then “dip dyed” with increasing concentration of dye:

Skirtydyed Kool Aid Dipped Blues

The second one has already been teamed up with some undyed yarn to create my son a tank top (vest):

Dipped Blues Vest

I’ve yet to decide what to make with the orangey-red, although I’m leaning towards some sort of accessory type item.

The weather is a little colder this week, although it’s been mostly dry. No snow here, unlike the UK. My Mum’s garden in Scotland was covered in snow earlier in the week. Our seedlings are poking up through the soil and a small boy has been ensuring that they get plenty of water. Maybe these will survive our ever-changing weather and provide us with some yummy food later in the year.