Friday, 30 April 2021

A little catch-up!

Happy Friday, Lovelies!

It's been a while since I last visited Blogland but as some of you may have noticed, I've popped into Instagram regularly. I think I'm starting to feel a little less uncomfortable there. It's still sort of scary! Somehow, though, blogging feels more hidden. It's as if you're living in a cosy stone and wood writer's cottage, overlooking a vast shimmering lake, and in the distance, tree-covered mountains with snowy peaks make for a dramatic rising- sun backdrop. Surprisingly, you're not entirely alone. Occasionally someone stumbles across your writers hideaway by accident, because they've wandered too far from their picnic in the woods. Some stay a night, others a few days. A few become permanent guests! Blogging feels more like that for me. So, after almost three months, I have a few lost picnickers sitting at my kitchen table and we are sharing a pot of coffee and a plate of freshly baked scones. I relate my news ( or no news! ) and you, I hope, will fill me in with what's been going on in your world?


News 1. Hahaha...no news. I am STILL working on the Chrysalis Throw Mystery Make-Along! HOWEVER, I am finalising  "the corners" and hopefully, the last bits PART 6, will be released next week. Here are a few stunningly gorgeous colourways. I hope they inspire you to tackle this design. It looks complicated but as always there are detailed video instructions and advice from our wonderfully helpful group Members over at our Workshop HERE. If you don't already have this pattern you can find it HERE.


                                                      CREDIT: Katherina Wolff


                                                
                                                        CREDIT: Rene van der Westhuizen



                                                        CREDIT: Maria Simonetta



                                                         CREDIT: Yunita Puspa Wiriani



                                                      CREDIT: Marjolijn Zweeren


News 2. Spontaneously, one Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I rolled up the pool cover and tossed it into the recycling. Well not exactly "tossed"...more like huffed and puffed and luged! Next, I scooped into a small bucket, our 3 x Goldfish ( Jaws, Nemo, and Dory ) who'd resided happily in a blue plastic kiddies pool for several years. I transferred the three to our 4m diameter x 1.2m deep pool ( unused for two years! ). Following this; the purchase of 20 x Goldfish in varying sizes and colours ( unnamed thus far ). Next came 3 x Water Lillies ( white ) and 1 x Dwarf Papyrus plant. All got plonked into the former "Swimming Hole", which now goes by the name of "Fishy Pond". Coffee breaks and lunch are now enjoyed at Fishy Pond. The Goldfish are thriving. All is well. I bought a special coffee mug to celebrate!


                                                                  



News 3. Winter has finally arrived! I hear that snow is on the way too. So there's been a lot of lazing about in pyjamas, reading books and generally telling everyone that I'm hibernating even though the weather is still sunny and hot most days. Laia, Roxy and the Cats definitely feel the chill in the morning air and don't surface until 10am. This makes for lovely quiet and peaceful mornings. Does anyone know a good spell to hasten Winter's speed?





New 4. We discovered a historical park, called Arderne Gardens, just 15 minutes from our front door! Mr HooksnTales has lived in Cape Town almost his entire life and did not know about this inner-city jewel. I teased him about that but it was really lovely to discover something new, together! Especially after spending MONTHS isolated in each other's company during our first and second lockdowns. We made a point then of exploring green spaces where we could walk the dogs and somehow missed this treasure. If you click on the link you can read more about the fascinating story of Arderne Gardens, its 175yr-old history, and the garden's connection to Hiroshima.












News 5: I FINALLY learned how to make Seitan! Vegetarians and Vegans will immediately know what that is but for those of you who think I've spelled ( no pun intended ) the Dark Lord...move on over! Seitan is an ancient food, a pure protein food, originally made by Buddhist Monks. It's basically the process of separating wheat gluten from wheat starch. The gluten is then flavoured and cooked as you would meat. For years I avoided making Seitan because it looked complicated ( sounds familiar seeing as I never learned how to crochet until later in life for the exact same reason! ) but let me tell you, it's easy peasy as anything. My first batch was absolutely delicious! I shared this to FB but I only have a handful of friends on my personal FB page so many of you would have missed the share. Honestly, if you are allergic or sensitive to gluten then avoid this but otherwise, even if you do eat meat, give it a try. It's sort of magic that you can turn flour into (fake) meat!


My recipe:

RECIPE FOR SEITAN: ( not for those who can't tolerate Gluten )

1kg White Flour ( all-purpose, not self-rising ).

METHOD:

Add all flour to a large bowl.
Add enough water to work into a dough ball ( about 2 to 2.5 cups ).
Knead for 2 minutes.
Cover with cold water ( from the tap ).
Allow to stand for 2 hours.

Next:

Transfer your dough ball to a colander and rinse under running water until water runs clear. Takes about 10 minutes. Use your hands to knead and pull the dough ball to help the separation. The water will be very milky to start with as the starch is separated from the gluten.
Your gluten ball should end up about 3rd of the size of the original dough ball. It will have a slightly darker colour and be "sort of rubbery ". This is pure gluten.

Pat gluten-ball into a "patty" shape. Add the "patty" to a pot of simmering stock ( onions, carrots, garlic, herbs, spices, etc + water ) making sure it's just covered by the broth. Allow to simmer for 1.5hrs. Your stock should be reduced to 1/4.

Store your cooked gluten in the broth for up to a week.
Can be diced, sliced, or remain whole ( think Roast Chicken recipes ). 
Slices can be pan-fried, diced seitan can be added to stir-fried dishes.

Super high in protein, no animal fats, so no cholesterol.
100% delicious and Vegan ( of course ).

So that's about all I have to share for now. Most days are " ground-hog " days and I'm sure many of you Lovelies can relate!

Our GIVEAWAY today is a surprise pattern! If you like surprises then don't forget to leave your Ravelry name if you do comment below! I'll be giving away 5 copies of a lovely, useful pattern!

I hope with all my heart that you are well, taking care of yourself but most of all, staying safe!
Hugs as always.
πŸ’— Jen











96 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Hope your weekend is lovely and relaxing, Mary Anne! :D xx

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  2. lynnelundartymum Love a surprise

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  3. Love your post on blog, and love your pond <3 <3 btw, my ravelry name is valemar :)

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    1. Thank you so much! Happy weekend! :D xx

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  4. Love your fish pond! mt ravelry name is julic71

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    1. Thank you, Juliana, I love it too! I can't wait until it's filled with plants. But Winter is near so I'll have to wait until Spring! :D Happy weekend. xx

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  5. Hi Jen!
    It's lovely to discover a new garden. I wish you a happy winter!
    Ravelery: mama2moody

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    1. Yes it was! Like finding a treasure. Thank you, I am wishing Winter would arrive early. :D Hope your weekend is lovely. xx

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  6. Ravelry name is Purplpearl. I'm just finishing part 4 of the Chrysalis throw, I've learned so much, thank yiu

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  7. Thank you for the recipe, never came across someone that made it, going to try again over the weekend. Enjoyed the blog today, beautiful pics. Love it when a surprise comes my way, thank you! Magdaleenza

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    1. I don't know anyone else personally who's made it either. Maybe that's why I was hesitant but it really was fun to make and a super simple process that wasn't even labour intensive. I was surprised! :D If you do make it, let me know how it went? Happy weekend! xx

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  8. Hi Jen lovely to get an update of what you’ve been up to. I’m intrigued by the recipe and will have to try out. You do t say how many calories it co tai s though 😜. Love surprises- Ravelry name DMallender x

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    1. Hi Dianne, you really should try it. It's actually so much fun to make. Honestly, it was delicious. The gluten takes on pretty much the fllvours you add. Check out other recipes on the internet...try One Green Planet. They always have loads of recipes. Happy weekend! xx

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  9. Ravelry name is Mamaj415. Cracking on with part 3 of the chrysalis throw and loving this pattern. Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration Jen.

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    1. Good for you! I know it's quite a lot of work ( labour intensive with all those ends :D ) but we're all behind you cheering you on to the finishing post! Can you believe that quite a few people are making several Chrysalis' ...at the same time! :D Happy crochet weekend! xx

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  10. Bugbop on Ravelry. Really enjoyed the blog post. Those goldfish will grow huge!! Just wait and see.

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    1. Yes, I've heard they grow into their space! I'm sure the original 3 have grown bigger already! Hope your weekend is lovely and fun! xx

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  11. Always enjoy reading your blog ❤️ Stay safe and well. Ravelry name jvienn2

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    1. Thank you so much for popping in for a visit! Happy weekend! xx

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  12. So nice to read your stories on the other side of the world!
    I'm WienW on Ravelry.

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  13. So cool to discover new places to visit. Love your fish pond������
    My ravelry name is Lianne 50. Thanks for the cheerfulness in a solemn world

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    1. Thank you, I love my fish pond too! :D Happy weekend! xx

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  14. What a gem of a park, with a very meaningful subject. No nuclear weapons and wars again, ever. The nutcase "ruling" the UK just ordered more and bigger nuclear weapons. As the UK has to defend itself. Oh my. Love to see your pool becoming a pond, it's giving so much more wildlife in your garden.The fishes will be happy, watch out for herons though. As my fluffy boys tend to forget water is wet I do have to wash them every now and then, as they are tricked by mister blackbird taking a bath. He laughes so hard if they drop in. Stinky pool dirt everywhere in their long fur. And lots of wailing when washed and dryed.Poor things.

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    1. Oh, Tineke, your furbabies keep you busy! Thankfully ( so far ) the furbabes are keeping well away from the water. However, Miss Augusta is VERY CURIOUS about the Fish. I am half expecting to see her dashing through the house sopping wet!:D Yes, we have Herons here, and Egyptian Ibis...luckily the pond is deep so I hope the fishies will lay low if the birds try and catch them. Hope you weekend is lovely, dear Tineke! xx

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  15. Those trees in the photo's!! Wow, there amazing!
    Nice to hear all is well at your end ;)

    Xx Chantalzwart (ravelryname)

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    1. I know, hey! I was walking around with my mouth open going, wow wow wow! :D Hope your weekend is FAB! xx

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  16. Hi Jen love your fur babies can put a face to them now
    Ravelry name is Glamorsox
    Thanks Annxx

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    1. Thank you so much, Ann! Hope your weekend is relaxing! xx

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  17. I love the idea of your fishy pond! We actually have a potential pond in our yard, and this makes me want to get it done.
    FrancineClouden

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    1. Hello Francine! Oh you must make the renovation. I can't tell you how much joy I have got from this little project. It has added a whole other domesion to our back garden which before the pond was a bit sad. :D I hope in the Summer that it attracts frogs! That would be a bonus. Happy weekend! xx

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  18. I love your fish pond and your beautiful dogs. The gardens you visited are a lovely place to wander around and enjoy. I do love a suprise so my Ravelry ID is dizzy21.

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    1. Thank you, Dizzy! It was an amazing experience, especially because it had been a hidden gem. So it felt like discovering treasure! :D Hope your weekend is lovely! xx

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  19. I know someone who will love your recipe. Thanks for sharing Jen! Love all of your photos.
    Ravelry name ~ sabrinastitches

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    1. Thanks so much, Sabrina and I do hope your friend tries the recipe! There are loads Seitan recipes on the Internet, as well as Youtube Videos. I would definitely recommend visiting One Green Planet for more recipes. Seitan can be made in a variety of textures too. It's actually amazing stuff ( not if you're sensitive to gluten, then it really is the devil! :D ).Happy weekend! xx

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  20. I love the look and feel of your fishy pond!! We have lots of frog spawn in ours at the moment so will be interesting to watch as usual. The blue bells are about to flower here and the apple blossom is on its way!! Lovely time of the year here! Your local park is an amazing space to have so close with some amazing trees! I will be sending lots of winter encouraging thoughts and love xxx

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    1. You know,I knew immediately I rolled that pool cover off that it was the right decision. We've been fascillating for months over this darn pool. My husband was keen to keep it, and I was keen to make it something useful. By the time he came home from work, Jaws, Nemo and Dory were already making themselves at home in " the big pond "...he couldn't say no after that. :D Your Bluebells and Apple Blossoms must be making the air SO fragrant, Rowan! I can almost smell them. Here, our Lemon Tree is in blossom. Our Cape Autumns sre so like Spring. Hope you have a happy and relaxing weekend with loads of outdoorsy fun! Hugs! xx

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  21. If you find the secret to hastening winter, please share! I am itching to carry on with my Karoo but it's too hot to work on! However...snow fell on the Drakensberg mountains and Lesotho range, which isn't too far away. Maybe old Frosty will put in appearance soon! Love the photos of your pond and the beautiful gardens you discovered!
    Ravelry SandyLubbe

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    1. Hi Sandy! About ten years ago I received a Dictionary of Spells from a friend for my B'day. It was a joke, but I kept the book. Time to cook something up? LOL! Yes, I saw that on Snow Report SA! A bit expected in Ceres, I think.There's a lovely icy breeze which has " snow somewhere " written all over it. Hahaha...I relate to you trying to finish Karoo...this is the same reason Chrysalis is taking FOREVER! Wishing you a cosy and cool weekend! xx

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  22. welcome back Jen �� it always amazes me how different our weather is from each other although we live in the same continent �� love what you have done with your former pool and welcome to the family new fishies �� stay safe ��
    ravelry: DaliaAdel

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    1. Hi Dalia, oh, I did miss blogging and reading all the comments. It really makes me feel connected to the wider world. And I love reading everyone's snippets of news. I didn't realise we were on the same continent! You must be north of the equator then? :D Hope your weekend is lovely! xx

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  23. Hi Jen! I loved your blog post and love your fishy pond. My first project ever in crochet was your high tea pattern. You made it easy with your videos that I could slow down and see exactly what you were doing. I love your patterns and would love a Surprise!! My Ravelry name is Advo122
    Thanks!

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    1. thank you! I'm so glad you managed to make The High Tea, especially as a first H&T pattern. It's not the easiest so WELL DONE! Happy weekend! xx

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  24. Oh Jen that park!!!!! I would love to visit ... as well as sit beside your pond with you and have coffee...or tea. I'm one of those no gluten people... πŸ˜₯ I can tolerate it but feel so gross after. So sadly I have to eat a more paleo based diet... as you go into winter and wish for colder nights I just opened my window for the first night for spring. Love the warm days and cool nights. AmyTheGR8

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    1. I hope your Summer arrives early and that you get a chance to catch a bit of a tan! A tea/coffee chat by Fishy Pond would be wonderful! In a way I'm glad I don't know anyone around here who crochets or knits! I'd never get anything done. :D Wishing you a relaxing and sun filled weekend! Work can wait. :D xx

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  25. Love your blog post. I’ve missed them but when every day feels like Groundhog Day it must be hard to feel like blogging. Your fishy pond looks like a lovely place for morning coffee. Lenaknits on Ravelry ❤️

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    1. Thanks so much, Lena! It's so hard to find something interesting to write about that's newsy. I'm still pretty much isolating until the vaccine is available. I order almost everything online. The days are pleasant enough, with lots to keep me occupied ( besides crochet ) but no one wants to hear how I finally got around to raking up all the leaves and felt jolly good about myself afterwards! LOL! Hope you have a fab weekend! xx

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  26. Love ur patterns
    Kamaladasi on ravelry

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    1. Thank you, Kamala! Enjoy your weekend! xx

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  27. Love your gorgeous patterns!! susiesidecar1

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    1. Thank you, Susie! Hope you have a lovely weekend! xx

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  28. Always love hearing about your life in South Africa. In South Australia we’re currently having beautiful Autumn days. I’m sewing & crocheting with winter in mind. My Ravelry name is humoor.🎈

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    1. Thank you, and I love hearing about what you are all getting up to on your patch of the planet! I think we're experiencing similar weather to you at the moment. Can't wait for cosier days though. :D Happy weekend! xx

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  29. Love your story of the fish pond. Pvergiza

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    1. Thank you! The Fish Pond is definitely going to be an ongoing story. :D xx

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  30. Lots of adventures! Free giveaways! Oh my! Celtickitten25 is me :)

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    1. Very small adventures but in these challenging times they seem very adventurey! :D I love Giveaways too! xx

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  31. I’d love anything you create yes πŸ‘πŸ» Please
    MiffyA 😊

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    1. The surprise Giveaway will be a lovely pattern from some of my favourite designers! I'm going to pick and choose something awesome for the giveaway winners. Hope your number comes up, Michele! :D xx

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  32. I love your patterns (understatement!) & blog. Your work not only inspires me, but motivates me to create & try new!
    I've never heard about 'Seitan', looks interesting!!!
    My ravelry name is 'Rachnagera'
    Thank you, lots of love & best wishes! πŸ™πŸ’πŸ˜Š

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    1. If you like experimenting in the Kitchen then this is such a worthwhile one! :D Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words! :D xx

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  33. Lovely to hear from you again. We're just heading into spring, but still having cold, frosty nights, but starting to feel the heat of the sun getting stronger. To be honest though, I much prefer the cooler weather...can't beat snuggling up on the sofa, with a roaring fire, wrapped up in a nice blanket! :-) Looking forward to seeing more of your lovely patterns. I'm just making your lovely 'Green tea' pattern, which I am planning on turning into a large bag for my handpan drum. :-) My Ravelry name is Moondaemoness xx

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    1. Ooo, that sounds like a lovely idea and useful too for the Green Tea!Can't wait for the cosy days and nights! Definitely NOT a Summer person at all. It might have something to do with the fact that Cape Town summers are very hot, very windy and very dry. I was born and raised much further north and there the Summers are delicious...dry heat days ending in huge lightening and thunderstorm! I miss those. But Cape Winters are magical...cloudy,rainy,cold ( not too cold ), no wind... everything turns green and lush. Can't wait! :D xx

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  34. Hello from Wisconsin where it’s starting to become spring!
    JMFilipiak

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    1. I'm sure you're loving all the new green and warmer days! :D xx

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  35. Hi Jen. I adore your fishy pond. What a wonderful transformation from an unused pool. Will the fish be happy there all winter? My Ravelry name is melmelbook

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    1. Yes, luckily our Winters never get close to bitter cold and definitely no freeze. Capetonians think they're dying of cold when it's 8C above 0! :D The fish will be fine. xx

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  36. Hi Jen. Have a great weekend. Love your pond❤Ravelry..julistry

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    1. Thanks so much, Juli! I'm hoping to have a lot more water plants in the Summer. :D xx

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  37. I tried Seitan last year for Thanksgining. It was actually quite good!

    Thank you so much for a chance at a giveaway. My ravelry is Needlekrafter.

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    1. It's good right? I know so many people won't give it a try but I think it's a pretty versatile and incredibly affordable source of pure protein. And easy to make and store. xx

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  38. Love the dog pictures, love the fish pond, love the nature walks, love your patterns, only thing I do not love is cooking. 4/5 is still a good match in my book. Keep sharing your sunlight Jen.
    My Ravelry name is Needlenoses.
    (Named after my greyhound)

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  39. Newbie here, but now I'm hooked:) Such fun to follow you, and the FB group! Ravelry name gnomesnow.

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  40. Thank you for your wonderful patterns!
    My Ravelry name is Myriampine

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  41. Very interesting post. I know what you mean about your blog. Mine feel like they're lost in a hole sometimes. I hadn't realized gluten was so high in protein. I'm gluten sensitive, so would have to watch it.
    I am a huge fan of your patterns! I'm behind on my Chrysalis, but will get caught up I'm sure ;)
    https://www.ravelry.com/people/RobWillson

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  42. Hi Jen love how you recycled your swim pool into a fish pond it looks great. We too are heading into winter nights are cool buts days are fabulous in the low's. Not much crotcheting being done I still have problems with my thumbs will get my docotr to check them out thi coming week . Stay well Jen. Heddy56 ravelry

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  43. I always love cooking new & challenging recipes! Thank you for sharing! Also, always love seeing the different interpretations of your designs. Enjoy your winter! Ravelry name: Amyjane1000

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  44. Maisie Made
    I am busy with the Chrysalis throw and loving every minute.

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  45. I love your patterns. It is always a challeng... a good one. I´m "thisgaspar" on ravelry. Thank you for all the good things you make me feel. Here in Portugal things are going much better... Hope it continues!!! See you always on the "job"!!! Stay safe. Clara

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  46. I miss yours posts. Love your work!
    Raverly name nancygortiz πŸ’–

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  47. Hi, Jen.😍🀩. Enjoying reading your blogpost here. Oooh, The pond looks beautiful and it surely a cosy spot to have some coffee, or morning breakfast or any meal. The Park is awesome and I realy wish I could visit. Meanwhile, the dry season is arriving here in my part of the world although we're sometime still experiencing cooler weather at night.
    Ah, I haven't made seitan. You know, I bought 1 kg of all purpose flour after I saw your facebook post because it looked so yummy.πŸ˜ƒ Now I totally want give it a try.

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  48. Your talent overwhelms me! I’m out in the lowveld and can’t wait for winter so I understand your need!
    Ravelry: rowcan

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  49. I love your posts on Instagram. So many colorful and beautiful designs. Such a pity that available time is lacking to make them all. I liked reading your blog too. In our garden the tulips are blooming- it's spring time��. My ravelry: tulippa4

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  50. Hi Jen,
    How nice to hear from you again.
    I certainly see a story teller slumbering in you
    What is going on in our life you ask.
    Well, I must confess I still didn't start with a pattern from you.
    I need to finish another pr first because I want to use the yarn that will be leftover. It's Moya Shimmer and it's gorgeous. I hope it works for your patterns, as it is a bit thinner. I want the stitches to pop up of course, so probably the size will be smaller but I'm okay with that.
    In the meantime I discovered Diamond Painting, I'm making a picture from NASA and it will be a splash of colors ��
    As I have been working on that, my crochet project feels neglected and is watching me at this moment, so I will give it some attention this weekend whilst I'm looking at all the birds that are in our garden.
    We even have a Bluetit couple that is breeding in their little house!

    As I love surprises, my Ravelry name is JustHeidi73

    Have a nice weekend ����❤️

    Heidi

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  51. Hi Jen, Enjoyed reading your post and the pictures. They are magnificent trees. Ravelry name is cksteffen. Thank you for your generosity.

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  52. A secret garden almost, how exciting! It's great to find out that you live very close to something you couldn't imagine was so close isn't it��. And your fishy pond looks lovely too. Not to mention your pets��. I'm Tezla on ravelry. Have a lovely weekend. Best wishes Therése

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  53. serious envy on looking at your pond , ours has unfortunately fallen into disrepair and is now a bog garden, still a haven for our local frogs. I have been busy looking after hubby who has just had his hip replaced , he is doing remarkably well for an 80 year old, soon he will be back to wizzing around as usual.I have been a bit slack with my crochet,its one of those times when everything seems to go so slowly, thoroughly enjoyed your news always ready to hear more . my ravelry name is chtien. look forward to hearing more from you soon [as in part 6] regards Christine

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  54. Your pictures are lovely, and I need to try making the Seitan. My ravelry name is sundancer861

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  55. I love your posts, so warm, colourful and beautiful. You are truley very talented. Ravelry name kathy verrier.

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