Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Cake addict - part 5

I meant to post this a couple of days ago but time just got the better of me.

Following on from my mam’s sneaky ways of feeding (sorry couldn’t resist!!) her cake addiction, I finally got one over her.

Mother’s Day was approaching and finding a gift for her was hard at the best of times (she wasn’t the easiest of people to buy presents for). However this time was especially difficult as she was terminally ill so we had to think of something that she could enjoy now.

My sister decided on giving her flowers as she always had a vase of fresh flowers in her living room and from me it was going to be – you guessed it – a cake.

One of her all time favourite cakes was a Dundee cake so that’s what I was going to make.

Sadly she never got the chance to enjoy her flowers or the cake as she died three days before Mother’s Day.

Had she been aware she was getting cake for Mother’s Day she would have made sure she was still with us for the Sunday....

Take care,

Gertie xx

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Cake addict - part 4

After my mam's funeral her quilting friends came back to the house and asked if I was her daughter who baked the cakes. I said I was.

“Your lemon drizzle cake was beautiful”, replied one, “it was just a shame I never got to try the orange one”.

I queried why as I had given my mam two large cakes, so everyone should have had at the very least a slice from each.

“She only brought three small slices of each”, said her friend, “and as there were six of us, including your mam, it was only one piece each”.

She had kept the rest for herself !!!

A final installment of the 'Cake Addict' shortly.

Take care,

Gertie xx

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Cake addict - part 3

Every Wednesday my mam used to meet up with some quilting friends for a sewing day at one of their houses. Lunch was usually sandwiches and some shop bought cake so I asked if she would like me to make her a couple of cakes. No need to guess what the answer was

A couple of weeks after I'd given her two cakes I asked if her friends enjoyed them. My mam went quiet.
“Did they not like them”, I asked, “I won't be upset if they did”.
“I ate them”, she replied.

Apparently she didn't have any cake in the house, and as there were two in the freezer, she just had to have them.

I was not happy. These cakes were for her friends, not her. Had she asked me to bake her some I would have, but to eat what didn't belong to her, was not acceptable. I issued her with a stern warning. I would make another two cakes for her friends but if she ate them then I would never make or give her any more.

She couldn’t take the chance that I was bluffing (I wasn’t. I really would have stopped giving her any) and as the thought of ending up cakeless was too much to bear, she had to behave. Or so I thought...

More to follow.

Take care

Gertie xx

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Cake addict - part 2

I'd been looking through my recipe books and a chocolate cake by Nigella Lawson caught my eye. I casually mentioned to my mam that I'd like to give it a try so she suggested I baked it at hers the next time I came through to see her.

Good idea in principal but not necessarily in practice as ever since my dad died my mam stopped cooking and baking so I had to bring everything with me (ingredients, measuring scales, 2lb loaf tin etc).

I got the cake baked but as it had to be cooled completely in the tin before turning it out I had to leave it at my mams.

When I visited the following Friday I asked about the cake. She took both hands, then quickly dropped them to the floor saying 'zrum'. My mam was very much into exaggerate movements (or amateur dramatics as we used to call it,) so I deduced that she meant the cake was heavy.

“What did it taste like”, I asked.
“It wasn't really very nice”, she admitted.
“Ah well”, I said, “I'm sure the bin enjoyed it”.
“Oh, I didn't throw it out”, she replied.

I was not amused. She had eaten the entire cake. When I ask why she hadn’t frozen any so I could have tried it - after all, it was my cake - she replied “it couldn't be frozen”.....

Yeah right !!!!

More to follow soon.

Take care,

Gertie xx

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Cake addict - part 1

I mentioned recently that my mam was addicted to cake and biscuits, this is what she was like.

Every year Mr Gertie and I always make a birthday cake and we always had to give my mam a third share of whatever it was (we once gave her a quarter share - it was our birthday cake after all so we thought that might entitle us to an extra slice - she was not happy!!!). My sister had a similar tradition with her husband and daughter but it was only from us that my mam demanded a equal share.

She would be given her cake when I visited her on the Friday following whoever's birthday it was. However should our birthday fall on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday, I would have to make a 22 mile round trip on either the Monday or the Tuesday just to deliver her the cake, as she thought it won't keep until the Friday, and there was no way she was going to miss out.

One year I was emergency admitted to hospital the day after my birthday. As I hadn't been very well on my birthday the cake never got cut into. On hearing that I had been admitted to hospital my mam quickly came in to see me. Her very first words to me as soon as she walked into my side room were “what's going to happen to my cake seeing as you're going to be stuck in here tomorrow (Friday)......”

A birthday cake very much similar to the one mentioned

I had get John to bring the cake in the following evening then leave it in my locker, so I could give it to her when she next visited on the Saturday afternoon.

Instead of saving some slices for himself (I wasn't well enough to be interested in food), she got the entire cake as John's priority was elsewhere (unlike my mam.....).

More to follow soon.

Take care,

Gertie xx

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

A whole lot of wool

When I was 13 I got my first knitting machine. It was a second hand Knitmaster 321 and it was my main Christmas present that year.

I had wanted a new one but my mam refused saying she thought my wanting a knitting machine was a whim and it would just end up in a cupboard a few months after Christmas.

The following Christmas Santa brought me a ribber attachment for my machine. So much for it being a whim !!!! 

I bought my second knitting machine when I started my first job. It was a Brother electronic K950 (later upgraded to a K950i). My niece, who has just been born, ended up with a superb wardrobe of lace knitted baby clothes as a result.

Not content with two machines I also bought a Bond so I could knit with double knit and chunky wool.

I spent many happy years making lots of jumpers for myself, family and friends. I used to beg my sister and brother-in-law not to wear any of my jumpers to work as their colleagues would always want me to make them one.

I had seriously thought about setting up my own knitting business but back then (late 80's), it wasn't as easy as it is now.

I continued to knit for a few years after I got married but as I began to spend more time improving my dressmaking skills, the knitting took a back seat. My workroom isn’t very big and I needed more space for my sewing things, plus I wanted a desktop computer, so I had to make the tough decision to pack away my three knitting machines and put them into the loft.

Although I wasn’t going to use them anymore there was no way I could get rid of them. I think I was hoping that one day we’d move into a bigger house and I’d have room to put them back up again – well we can always dream !!!!

I’d used up a lot of the wool by making knitted toys and dolls for various charity raffle prizes but still had a large box of odds and ends which I wanted rid of.

My mam suggested I crochet a blanket. Who’s she kidding…? Hand knitting, no problem. The harder and complicated, the better. Crocheting, on the other hand, is a completely different matter. Although the principle of crocheting is basically making a chain, I may as well be trying to master Quantum Physics !!!!!! 

I do, however, like a challenge so armed with the ‘how to crochet’ pages from one of my needlework book, some wool and a crochet hook borrowed from my mam, I started practicing doing some granny squares.

Although the squares weren’t perfect I felt ready enough to tackle the blanket. I worked out that I would need 64 granny squares to complete it. No pressure there then.

Several months later the blanket was finished.

There was still enough wool left to make another blanket so this time instead of making 64 granny squares, I’d made one big one. Rather than have several rows of one particular colour throughout the blanket, I made my own multicoloured balls by winding random bits of wool onto them. 

I started making it in the summer so by the time the cold weather came (well, colder than our summer weather anyway…..) the blanket was big enough to keep my legs warm. 

I did hit one snag when I was making it. I dropped my mam’s crochet hook down the side of the sofa -  never to be seen again. A quick phone call to my mam to see if she could remember what number the crochet hook was (number eight apparently), then straight onto eBay to buy a replacement.

I do miss knitting, especially when I'm in need of a new jumper as I could have one completed in a couple of hours. Should I be in a position to have a large work room then they will most definitely make a reappearance.

Gertie xx

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Sewing room makeover

When Mr Gertie and I were house hunting all those years ago we had a list of ‘must haves’ like most people do. One of the requirements was the property must have at least three bedrooms as we both wanted a room that we could call our own.

I can’t remember how or why, but I ended up with the smallest of the three rooms....

During the 22 years we’ve been married ‘my room’ has been many things in its life:

A knitting room – I had three knitting machines
A knitting room-cum-office – I was now down to just the one knitting machine so I could have a computer to write my novel on
An office-cum-sewing room – the knitting machine had been replaced by a sewing machine
A sewing room-cum-office – the office part of the room was drastically reduced due to me now having three sewing machines

Things came to a head in March when I purchased yet another sewing machine the size of a small moon!! There was no way I could properly use my new toy with the room layout I currently had so Mr Gertie took some measurements and went off to do some room re-designing.

During the long weekend over Easter we spent the time renovating my workroom.

Although my room isn’t the prettiest of workrooms I now have a dedicated table for my new ‘moon’, an office desk for my computer, two large shelves, a bookcase and three new large wall units.

What's your sewing room like?

Take care.

Gertie xx