Category Archives: Workshops

Details of ECOZEE workshops and courses

My Craft Night Lemon Drizzle Cake

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lemon drizzle cake

I made this cake for last night’s ECOZEE “Mystery” craft night – it went down very well – as you can see  – as did the mystery craft – mosaic tiling. I am so proud of my “proteges” what great works of art they produced – actually better than my sample! I promised I’d share the recipe for the cake so here goes…

It’s a Mary Berry recipe – and makes 2 half-pound loaf cakes. Mary Berry calls them “Crunchy Lemon Syrup Loaves.” I make these when called upon to donate cakes to charity coffee mornings etc and they sell well.  You could make one bigger cake but it would take longer to cook! Oh, I also won second prize in the lemon drizzle category at the village show with this cake one year – I was happy to be beaten by a legendary baker/most wonderful octogenarian – Connie.

  • 100g soft margarine (I use Stork or softened butter)
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 175g sugar (caster or granulated)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • zest or grated rind of one lemon

Topping

  • Juice of one lemon (the one you used for the zest above)
  • 100g granulated sugar
  1. Place all the cake ingredients into a bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes (electric hand mix is a great help here).
  2. Line the tins with greaseproof paper or use paper liners.
  3. Divide mixture into two small loaf tins.
  4. Bake at 180C for about 30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the cakes comes out clean.
  5. Meanwhile make the topping… mix lemon juice and sugar and stir well.
  6. When the cakes are still hot, skewer all over and drizzle lemon/sugar topping over the cakes.
  7. Leave to cool in the tin – don’t remove the paper until the cakes are cold.

ENJOY…If you make this cake…I’d love a comment.

Upcycled Cotton Hat – Drawstring Shoulder Bag

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upcycled crochet drawstring bag made from recycled and hand dyed cotton yarnrecycled cotton yarn from donor hat

Sorry, no posts for a while, my bag and I have been on our hols on the south east coast of England – weather not too bad actually, managed to miss the floods!  Anyway, here’s the story…

My lovely bag was made from the cotton yarn carefully salvaged from three knitted cotton hats. My friend gave me the hats her boys had long grown out of – they were all the same size/make but two were ecru and one was navy – they were a little faded but I reckoned I could work my magic on them; and hey presto, after a crazy amount of time and patience, but a lot of creative buzz, they were transformed.

I carefully unpicked the seams from the three hats and unravelled and wound them into hanks/skeins.how to unravel and wind recycled yarn on back of chair

I mixed the dye as per instructions (I used Procion reactive dyes).  I have the four primary colours of magenta, yellow and turquoise and black so I mixed my own green and purple and dyed the ecru yarn – I totally winged it I’m afraid – I’m not one for keeping careful records.    I chucked the navy yarn in the purple dye too to freshen it up.

hanks of hand dyed yarn drying on washing line

unravelled recycled cotton yarn skeins hanging in tree

green and blue hand dyed socks drying on washing line

I chucked in some mens pure cotton socks and kiddie t-shirts later as there seemed to be some life in the dye bath after I had dyed the yarn. As you can see, the shade faded as the dye bath was exhausted. I especially love the socks.

Procion hand dyed cotton t-shirts

procion dye cotton socks

three balls of hand dyed recycled cotton yarn wool thread

When, the yarn was dry, I wound it into three balls. The yarn was made up of about six individual threads which were not plied together, so it was quite difficult to work with. I decided it would be hard to knit with as the yarn would split easily, crochet was the way to go then – a hook is more forgiving on dodgy yarn than a needle! I decided to make myself a bag for my summer hols as my normal hand bag is a woolly ecozee classic which is fine for Scotland but since were were heading to the English coast I thought a stripy cotton deckchair-inspired bag would be just the thing.

upcycled cotton crochet drawstring bag green purple navy

I made up the bag pattern – I started crocheting a flat circle in double crochet (single crochet USA) for the base increasing as normal and then when I got the the desired size I carried on with no increases to make the sides.  About an inch and a half from the top I made a row of three trebles (doubles USA) like in a granny square so I would have holes to thread the drawstring tie through.  I chained the drawstring.  Finally, I lined the bag with some chambray cotton upcycled from a skirt, and added a pocket from some linen trousers.  The strap was crocheted straight on to the bag, I made the strap quite short knowing it would stretch a lot. I pretty much used up all the yarn from my three wee hats.

upcycled cotton bag lining in hand made crochet bag

inside of recycled bag showing salvaged linen trousers pocket

If you’re lucky enough to live in the Scottish Borders and would like to learn to crochet, my beginners class starts on August 21st and runs for four Tuesday evenings. For details see the workshops page on my website.

Girl Guide Inspired Sock Badge – Free Blog Giveaway

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It won’t surprise those who know me that I was a girl guide – a Queen’s Guide at that. I was heavily into sewing hard-earned badges on my sleeve – now, badges weren’t easy to get in those days (in the late 70s/early 80s). I still have my uniform (still fits too) – and although this makes me sound like a skinny overachiever – and the type of person you wouldn’t like – it’s not true!

vintage girl guide badges sock knitting badgeAnyway, I digress, I wanted to reward the “graduates” from my sock knitting class – I’m so proud of them and happy that I can pass on new lifelong skills to others, which they in turn can pass on – I’m soppy and sentimental like that. We have a badge machine so I thought a badge would be good. I will credit my husband with the idea to make it like a guide badge. This necessitated a trip down memory lane and me getting out my old guide uniform and my compass set, my felt tips and my coloured pencils – joy, joy, joy. I attach a photo of my hard-earned and very neatly sewed guide badges, for those of you who fancy a nostalgia trip – women of a certain age and disposition – I can remember what most of them are. How many can you remember? The first two I got were craft and artist – no surprise there then.

vintage British girl guide badges uniform 1970s 1980s oxfordSo, I made some sock badges and low and behold, there’s a wee space on my sleeve that’s clearly been waiting to be filled. I didn’t get a knitting badge at Guides as I didn’t learn to knit until I was 15 when my granny died and I inherited her needles and a desire to keep myself in cool stripy sweaters.

If you’d like one of my individually hand drawn sock badges, sock knitting class graduation badge buttonI may go into production and sell them, but meanwhile, comment on my post and if I can get at least 20 comments – so pass this post around – I’ll send a free badge to a random commentator. Even if you don’t knit socks yourself you could win the badge and give it to someone who does.

Finally, here’s to 6th Headington Guides and 48th Oxford Scouts – we shared a hut and a few snogs behind the hut – well more than a few in my case – but always with the same “scout” – well, those WERE the days – they didn’t have a Guide “snogging” badge or I would’ve got that too – see, I wasn’t all goody two-shoes – girls just wanna have fun! – and didn’t we just.

Sybil’s Carrot Cake

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slice of the best moist carrot cakeI made our family’s carrot cake for my second Cake and Make session. My Mum was given this recipe on a scrap of paper a long time ago, I’m not sure who gave it to her. We reckon it’s the best carrot cake out there and we’ve always been happy to share the recipe. In fact, it’s lucky she shared it with me because she lost her original scrap of paper and had to “borrow” her recipe back again. It was always just called carrot cake but I’m naming it now in honour of my mum – Sybil – who passed away in January. She made it for many a family celebration and many other occasions in between. It’s my son’s favourite cake and I make it for his Birthdays.

The reason it is so good is because it’s chock full of carrots which makes it very moist. There are more carrots than flour by weight. It’s written in old money, so I had the added joy of getting out my ancient scales and weights. The cake keeps well and improves with age – it makes a great cake for packed lunches. I usually make one before we go to Aviemore each February and eat it for lunch on the slopes.

  • 3 large eggs.
  • 3 fluid oz sunflower oil.
  • 2 fluid oz milk/yoghurt.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 6 oz demerara/raw cane sugar.
  • 6 oz dark or soft brown sugar.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • 1/2 tsp salt.
  • 9 oz SR wholemeal flour or regular SR flour or a mix.
  • 11 oz grated carrot.
  • 3 oz dessicated coconut or any chopped nuts.

1. Mix eggs, oil, vanilla & milk/yog.
2. Add sugars and beat well.
3. Fold in flour, cinnamon, bicarb, salt.
4. Fold in carrot and coconut/nuts.
5. Bake in large tin (mine is 7″ square by 3″ deep) at 160C for approx 1 hour 15 mins.

I use yoghurt rather than milk in mine and coconut rather than nuts as my kids don’t like nuts in their cakes. I use dark brown sugar as it’s hubby’s favourite. I don’t usually ice it as I’m not a fan of icing but you could of course.

Sock Knitting Class

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me wearing hand knitted stripy sock and ball of regia college self-striping sock yarnMy sock knitting class STARTS next TUESDAY, MAY 15th; but, I had a special “catch-up before you start” session last night for two folks who can’t make the first class. We started with some basic sock knitting principles and tips, followed by some fear busting and “you really can do it” encouragement  from me.  My eager students sat in front of the antique French wood burning stove and were waited on with tea and homemade black cherry muffins.

We practiced knitting in the round before casting on for the socks.  It went really well and my two protégées loved their beautiful stripy wool, their needles and my specially written pattern/instruction book.  At the end of the evening, they had each completed a few rounds of their sock cuffs so have already completed the hardest part – getting started.  I’m looking forward to the next few weeks watching my “students” triumph and their socks grow stripe by gorgeous stripe of hand knit loveliness.

If you’d like to join the class, there is ONLY ONE space left, (maximum 5 people) it starts next week Tuesday May 15th and runs for three consecutive Tuesdays from 7 – 9.30 pm  in Earlston, Scottish Borders.  It costs £40 for the three classes and includes the wool, needles and pattern – and tea and cake!  e-mail me at  shop@ecozee.co.uk.  For info on my other classes/events please check out the workshops page on my website www.ecozee.co.uk.

Reggae Reggae Cake & Make

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caribbean coconut lime cake levi roots reggae reggae cookbook

Last night was my first Cake and Make Evening – three lovely friends turned up to support me – thanks you guys.  I showed off my quilt, there was some knitting and cross stitch action, and a whole lot of yacking.   I enjoyed myself and hopefully I can encourage a few more folks to drop by in the following weeks.  I thought I’d share the recipe for the coconut cake I served  – it’s from Levi Roots’ Caribbean Cookbook.  It was super easy to make and  I thought it tasted lovely, it was moist and zingy but a wee but crumbly – I’ll give it 4/5.  The recipe is as follows:

  • 175g (6oz) SR flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 175g butter/marge
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 50g (2oz) desiccated coconut
  • Zest & juice of 2 limes
  • Beat everything together until light and fluffy with an electric whisk/mixer
  • Pour into a 2lb/900g loaf tin
  • Bake at 180C for 45-55 minutes