Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 in Review.

Now seems to be the ideal time to reflect back on the previous year as I am making my Resolutions for the New Year. Christmas is over and my week off work is almost over too. I have been feeling quite introspective recently, probably a combination of the time of year and being ill. This gave me more time than usual to just think about what I have learnt and achieved and which aims for the past year I didn't meet and also how to take these lessons into the future so I can progress even more in the coming year. 

I have had some successes and some failures with my Resolutions! As I expected really as I am not perfect (not by a long shot) and life sometimes gets in the way. I set my Resolutions and in a perfect and ordered world I would achieve them all. The thing is that life gets complicated and other things become priorities so it is then a case of what matters more. 

Last Year's Resolutions in Review. 

1, I aimed to spend more time reading my Bible and I have! I read much more often now and am signed up for a second session of GMG for the new year. I think this has really helped me to be stronger in my faith and I am so much more open about it now. Even around non-believers which was something quite scary to me this time last year. I still need to do more though and aim to read most days!

2, I have made various starts at a healthier lifestyle during the past year but not on a long term basis. It seems like I start off really well then something stressful happens or I get busy and I end up back where I started! I need to form life long habit. Back on the list!

3, Budgeting has been a bit of a half failure / half success. I buy a lot less for emotional reasons and to cheer myself up and am much more aware of my feelings and how to deal with them constructively. I still don't have a proper grown up budget though. I think that will have to go on the list for next year! 

4, Appearance ..... well, I haven't done all that well with this one! Not that I wander about looking like a scruff but I could do so much more. I think I need a set routine in the next year! 

5, I have loved learning about home making this year and intend to keep on next year. Both expanding on what I have learnt and delving into new topics! I find that I enjoy all the home related tasks even those, like cleaning and ironing, that I found quite dull before. It seems like the more effort I put in, the more satisfaction there is when the job is done. 

6, My Hope Chest is such a valuable resource to me! It is where my books, CDs, DVDs and magazines relating to faith, character, home making, femininity and everything else are kept. I love having it all in one place as it is so easy to refer to and if I need a little motivation I know the perfect resource is right there. I intend to keep adding to this as well as trimming out anything that needs replacing or updating. To me, it won't be a static thing - it will keep on evolving as I do. 

7, This was my blogging Resolution! I have been blogging for just over a year now and the appeal certainly hasn't worn off. I have met some lovely people through my blog and those that I read and have recommended to me. I have learnt so much! I was worried when I started writing here that after a couple of months I would just give up but I find that I am enjoying writing and posting photographs here far more than I ever imagined! Looking back at the blog stats the most popular posts of the year have been the two giveaways, my hope chest and a daughter at home

2011 has been an interesting year with plenty of ups and downs. Lots of opportunities for growth and learning too. I am looking forward to next year and want to make it even better!

Do you make Resolutions? I am aiming to have some for the full year and others that have a target start of a certain month. Nice and organised! I am sure that better organisation will be on the list! 



Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Isaiah 9 : 6

Be near me, Lord Jesus, 
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
and love me I pray. 

From Away in a Manger. 

I pray that you and your families have a blessed Christmas!



Friday, 23 December 2011

Winter Sunrise.

It is raining outside and the clouds are grey. It is still quite mild though, not much chance of a white Christmas here! 

I took these photographs this morning. The sky looked so lovely that I just had to run and get my camera. I was so grateful for the opportunity as, due to the time I leave the house each morning and return after work, I hardly get any time to take photographs in natural light. 

Luckily, I have today off work as I still have rather a lot left to do for Christmas! The mince pies are in the oven, the Christmas cake just needs decorations adding, a couple of gifts still need to be wrapped and I have one scarf left to finish. Then I am all organised! I hope to sit down at some point and get all cosy with candles and a knitted throw to watch The Nativity. 

I am determined to be more organised next year, especially with my crafting! 



Saturday, 17 December 2011


When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounter. 

Albert Camus. 



Monday, 12 December 2011

New Books to Read.

I have two new books to read! I am excited as I love reading and it is probably my favourite thing to do. I love to learn too so reading books that introduce me to new topics and expand my knowledge are wonderful. I don't ever want to stop learning or to get stuck with a narrow view of the world. 

At the moment I am trying to learn more about God's plan for women and their role in life. I have already made a fair start on learning about home making and various skills relating to that but I have a tendency to get caught up in the fluffy stuff and to spend less time than I need working on my character. Especially as I don't really have much Titus 2 guidance available to me! As much as I love the sewing and baking, the character development is just as important. Harder though and more thought and effort is needed. Plus a good deal of honesty in facing up to personality issues and being willing to change them. 

This first book really appealed to me. I hadn't heard of it before seeing it on a book website but it sounded like a good read. 

From the back of the book - " With humility and humor, Sara set out to immerse herself in all things domestic just to see if the Proverbs 31 woman could exist in the twenty-first century." I enjoy reading about other people and their experiences in life so this book combined two of my interests - people and home making. 

The second book is probably more well known. I had heard of it and read many mixed reviews. I thought it was high time that I read it myself and formed my own opinions about it. 

From the back cover - "Somewhere over the passing years and changing culture, women have lost their way. This book is written to lead them back home." I think this should be an interesting book and I am hoping to learn from it. Flicking through it, I like how the book is set out and that so many letters from readers are included. I also want to find out just why it splits opinions so widely. 

When I finish reading these books, whenever that will be, I plan on reviewing them on here. I am looking forward to that too. Almost like a book study from my school days although on slightly different topics! 

Have you read any books that you would recommend to others? 



Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Ice Cream Inspired Cupcakes.

I am in a cupcake baking mood at the moment! They are such fun to experiment with. Colours, flavours and decoration!

I have made cupcakes inspired by the '99' ice creams. 

Ingredients for the sponge

175g (6oz) butter or soft margarine
175g (6oz) caster sugar
3 free range eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g (5 1/2oz) self-raising flour
55g (2oz) ground almonds

Ingredients for the buttercream

225g (8oz) butter or soft margarine
1 tbsp milk
350g (12oz) icing sugar

To decorate

8 mini chocolate flakes
hundreds and thousands

1, Set the oven to a medium heat (gas mark 4) so it heats while you are preparing the ingredients. Place 8 paper cases into a muffin tray. 

2, Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. I did this by hand (took quite a while!) but you can use an electric whisk if you prefer. Gradually beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. 

3, Sift (important!) in the flour and add the almonds and fold gently into the mixture using a metal spoon. 

4, Spoon the mixture into the paper cases. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until they have risen and have a lovely golden brown colour. Remove from the muffin tray and leave until cool on a wire rack. 

5, To make the buttercream, place the butter in a bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Again, I did this by hand but it took a long time and I had to keep switching which arm I was using to stir! Beat in the milk and then sift the icing sugar in a bit at a time. Continue until the butter cream is light and fluffy. 

6, Spoon the buttercream into a large piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe swirls of buttercream onto each cupcake to resemble ice cream. Press a chocolate flake into each swirl and sprinkle with hundreds and thousands to finish. 

These went down very well and they are so sweet and light! Plus they look adorable and very effective. When I try these again I will put more buttercream on each cupcake. By the last one I was just getting the hang of perfecting the swirls! 



Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Winner is ....

Thank you to everyone that entered the giveaway! It was so much fun and exciting to see all the comments. 

There were more entries on this giveaway than on the previous one so I am thrilled as I was hoping to match last time. Once again I used the random number generator to pick the winner. 

So, without further ado, the winner is .......

Comment 2 - Jacinda @ Growing Home! 

Please contact me to arrange the delivery of your prize! I will arrange for the book to be posted off and will start your magazine subscription. I hope you love them!

Thank you to everyone who entered - I love giveaways so keep an eye out for more in the future! 



Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Just a little midweek baking! Cupcakes with vanilla frosting, strawberry swirls and pink sparkles - yum! 



Monday, 21 November 2011

A Cup of Comfort.

I saw this book in a local bookshop and just had to have it! The bookshop is all higgledy piggledy and the books are really random and not in order at all. When I have time I love wandering around in there as there are some hidden delights like this book! 

I love Christmas and on the front of the book it says "Prayers and Stories that bring you closer to God during the holiday" which really appealed to me as I love the Christmas season and drawing closer to God sounds lovely. 

The book has a story or prayer for every day from 1st December to 6th January! I am so excited to read it. I am trying really hard not to open it before the first day of December as I don't want to spoil the pleasure of reading each message on the correct day. I think this may have to be a new Christmas tradition for me!

Do you  have any Christmas traditions? 



Saturday, 19 November 2011

A Walk in the Park.




Monday, 14 November 2011

KBR Giveaway!

I have decided to have another giveaway as the previous one was so much fun!

I am giving away two prizes to one reader! Part one of the prize is a book called From Mother to Daughter by Vivienne Bolton. This book is described as traditional housekeeping for the modern home. The book is divided up into seasons and contains hints, tips and recipes. There are adorable projects like crystallising violets, making hand cream and baking a Simnel  cake.

I have a copy of this book myself and it is beautiful, printed on lovely quality paper and contains many pretty photographs.

I am also giving away a subscription to The King's Blooming Rose Magazine. I adore this magazine! It is so sweet and encouraging! 

From the website 

"The King's Blooming Rose magazine is published to encourage young ladies to grow in their Christian walk, in accordance with Titus Two and Proverbs 31:10-31. KBR is geared towards young ladies ages twelve and up, but ladies of all ages are invited to join us!

Each quarterly issue is about 36 (printed) pages in length and includes articles, the majority which are authored by young ladies, as well as poems, yummy recipes, craft projects, book reviews, homemaking tips, herbal and nutrition information, beautiful photography, pen-pal requests, and annual contests. Occasionally KBR includes interviews with godly older "Titus Two" women who share their wisdom with the younger ladies. Through each issue, you will meet hundreds of other young ladies who are seeking the Lord and serving their families. Our prayer, as the editors, is that you may be inspired to live a closer daily walk with Jesus through the fellowship and encouragement of other believers, and encouraged in your role of femininity and godly womanhood."

I love this magazine so much that after reading just one issue I bought all the back issues! So whether you would  like to win the subscription for yourself, your sister or your daughter read on!

Ways to enter the Giveaway. 

1, Become a follower and leave a comment (existing followers just leave a comment!)

2, Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment

3, Join the shiny new Hearts For Home group on Yahoo (just click "join" and you will get a confirmation email) and leave a comment

This means that each person can enter three times! 

This offer is open to people worldwide and I will draw a random entry from the comments and post the winner in a blog post. 

The giveaway is open from 14th November 2011 to 5th December 2011.

Any questions please email me at


Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sugarcraft Penguin.

I made this at the sugarcraft class last week. I just had to share him!! 

He came out better than I expected for a first try. The course I am doing is a Christmas sugarcraft course. We will be decorating a Christmas cake during the class and this penguin is part of the decoration. There will be snowflakes and polar bears too. Not sure how I feel about polar bears and penguins on the same cake but they are both very sweet! 

I think I will name him Pingu - original I know!



Sunday, 6 November 2011

Cosmos Flowers in the Sunlight.



Saturday, 5 November 2011

The Fascinating Girl.

I am currently reading The Fascinating Girl by Helen Andelin. Well, it is one of the books I am reading at the moment! 

From the chapter called A Domestic Goddess. 

"The Domestic Goddess adds feminine touches to her homemaking - gingham curtains, a basket of fruit, soft pillows, a cozy rug at the door, flowers, a row of plates above a cross beam, cheerful wallpaper - to give a homey feeling to the house. She adds feminine touches to her meals - cheerful tablecloths, pretty dishes and delicious aromas."

This is something that is important to me. I don't want a show home where guests are too scared to sit down in case they mess up the cushions! I want everyone to feel welcome. Some houses just feel like a home when you walk into them, you can feel the love there. I have ornaments and knick knacks around but none of them are more precious than my family and friends. Certainly none are so important that I would make a person feel unwelcome because I worried that something would get broken. Hospitality, to me, is opening both your home and your heart to your guests and truly enjoying spending time with them. 

The book is split into sections. Part 1 covers the Angelic Qualities such as accepting men and their character, inner happiness, a worthy character and the domestic goddess. Part 2 covers the Human Qualities including a feminine appearance and manner, radiant happiness and radiant health. Part 3 then covers Strategy With Men with topics like where and how to meet men and how to be a girl worth having. 

Some of the advice is a little old fashioned, such as some of the clothing recommendations, but most seems quite practical. I do wish that hair ribbons would come back into fashion! Maybe that is just me though! 

From the chapter called Radiant Health. 

"The foundation of beauty is fresh, radiant health, not only for the health itself, but for the fresh and joyful spirit it lends to the appearance, actions and attitude. How attractive are sparkling eyes, lustrous hair, a clear voice, buoyancy of manner, and the animation that good health brings to the face and the vivacity it communicates to the thoughts."

I like this as it doesn't say that you need make up and expensive products to be beautiful and also it doesn't prioritise outer beauty over inner health. It is more about making the most of what God gave you and taking care of your body as it is a precious gift. 

I really like the book so far. Looking through the chapter titles there are a few that sound a little odd but, as with everything, there is an aspect of taking the good and leaving the bad. The childlike anger section sounds a  bit strange but I don't want to judge it before I have read it! 

On a more shallow note, the book cover is the prettiest shade of pink! I saw a really cute book on Vision Forum called A Young Ladies Guide by Harvey Newcomb which I am thinking of ordering as I have a Victorian copy but I feel so nervous reading it as it is a little fragile now. I would hate to damage a book that is over 100 years old as I feel so responsible for them! 



Thursday, 27 October 2011

Random Post - Thursday 27th October.

I seem to have spent the last week running around like a mad thing. I must have jinxed myself by putting up a post on doing nothing as I haven't stopped being busy since!

I have knitted 2 more scarves and am getting faster! I love the knitting group that I go to as everyone is so friendly. I do spend more time chatting than knitting though but it is so lovely. 

My certificate from my management course has arrived. I'm not sure what to do with it but my parents want to put it on the wall! I didn't go to the ceremony but I would have loved to have dressed up in the cap and gown to receive it. I can't believe I have a Master's degree! It seems crazy that I actually finished the course. It was so much work and time but it is all worth it now! Not sure what to do next ......

I have started a cake decorating course which is so interesting. I am taking notes and think that it will become a long term hobby as I love baking and making things pretty so it is a perfect fit for me. Here is a rose I made in my first week. Please ignore the cracked edges as the room was really hot and the sugar paste dried out so fast! 

The Christmas pudding is now made! It took 8 hours to cook in a steamer and is now all wrapped up. All it needs now is a little top up of rum for the next few weeks and then it is all ready for Christmas day. I am excited already - this was the first year that I have made a Christmas pudding and I am going to make the Christmas cake next. Well, maybe two cakes as I need one to practice on in my cake decorating class. 

I went on a one day patchwork course which was so great. I always thought that patchwork was really complicated and beyond my sewing skills but when the teacher broke it down step by step I actually managed to follow and understand it. I want to make some Christmas decorations and some sewn gifts this year. There is so much adorable festive fabric about at the moment! 



Saturday, 22 October 2011

Doing Nothing.

Every so often I just need time to do nothing. Perhaps to relax after a stressful week at work or as part of the recuperation for a spell of being ill. Now I don't mean that I sit and literally do nothing or watch a trashy television show. I just do something that I enjoy and isn't stressful at all. Simple pleasures! 

I love being around people and being busy but I still appreciate those spare half hours to myself when I can just be quiet. I generally like to be productive but these moments don't have to have anything to show for them at the end of them. Except a calm and refreshed me! 

My favourites are:

Reading a book I love - maybe a childhood favourite. Not an educational one! 

Going for a walk and just wandering. Not having a set place to go or time to get there. 

Listening to music. I tend to listen to music while doing something else - it is nice to just focus on the music once in a while. 

Doodling or just sketching. Not trying to draw something perfect. No pressure just enjoying the drawing itself.

Sitting and watching a whole film. I have an awful habit of starting a DVD then pausing it to go off and do something else. 

Having a little nap during the day. This seems a little selfish and decadent to me but when I am ill it makes me feel much better!

Somehow when I stop pressuring myself or worrying about everything it puts the world into perspective again.  Those huge tasks are less daunting and my creativity is restored. 



Sunday, 16 October 2011

Feeling Thankful.

I have so much to be thankful for and so much that I just don't appreciate enough. When I have a bad day it is so easy to dwell on that day rather than all the good days before it. I am counting my blessings! God has given me so much. My life, my faith, my family, my talents, and most importantly He gave His own Son for me and all of us. 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ. 

1 Thessalonians 5 : 16 - 18

I have a loving family, my health, a home, a job and my education so I am better off than a lot of people. I feel as though moaning about bits of my life that perhaps are hard is diminishing the suffering of others. There are people in the world with real struggles, without food or family or hope, so how dare I complain about a bad day at work! Even my struggles with my faith are minor compared to the struggles of others - those that are persecuted for their beliefs and who don't have the freedom to express their faith. 

I am thankful for:

God and His continued love and support of me. Also my Bible which comforts, encourages or cheers me dependant on what I need.

My family - they may not share my faith or ideas but they love me and support me. 

The freedom to love God and not having to hide my faith away. I have been teased for my beliefs but never truly persecuted by any stretch of the imagination and I am thankful for that too. 

My health - I am healthy and well. I don't always appreciate how amazing it is to get out of bed each day and just walk around. Or that I can take care of myself and be independent. So many people don't have this. 

My talents and skills. I am still discovering all sorts of things I enjoy and I love that I have the time and ability to practice and learn. 

I feel as though by not being grateful I am failing to acknowledge all that God has done for me. I want to praise Him and to share this thankfulness with others. 

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; 
give thanks to him and praise his name. 

Psalm 100 : 4

I challenge you to find 5 things that you are thankful for right now! 



Saturday, 15 October 2011

A Little Walk.

I love walking in the countryside! There is so much beauty in the world and also I find it peaceful to be alone sometimes and just to think and pray to God in a more informal way. It feels so natural now! I truly love being able to take my worries and thoughts to God. 

Walking in the same place so often I notice all the changes of the seasons. The conkers are on the trees, the leaves are turning and the many fruits and berries are ripening. 

I adore walking by the river and try to do so as often as possible, especially now as it will soon be too dark on week days to do so. When it is dark when I leave the house and dark when I return, I restrict myself to walking around the town. Oh but on a sunny day when the breeze makes the clouds run across the sky all I want is to be outside! 

Often I take the dogs with me to give them a nice long walk but other times I go alone. Just me and a book. The dogs get far too bored if I try to stop and read! Sitting in the sun on the river bank reading something by Jane Austen or Louisa May Alcott and listening to the birds singing - sounds pretty close to perfection to me. 

I don't think I could ever be a city girl! 



Monday, 10 October 2011

Starting to Garden.

This coming year I am planning to grow vegetables and fruit. I know that my tomatoes didn't work out well, or at all really, this year but I intend to prepare this time!

This is my little patch! Not big or impressive at all really. It is about 8 feet squared. I removed a big buddleia bush from the edge. A lot more work than I expected as it went really deep!  I have also dug over all the soil as it was well compacted down and is quite a heavy soil. The vague plan I have is to have an columnar apple tree and maybe a cherry tree too as well as some vegetables such as runner beans, potatoes, tomatoes, peas and carrots. I also would love to grow salad and maybe a little blueberry bush. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself though and I plan on treating my first year as a time of learning and practising. 

Here are two books that I found on sale. I think perhaps the storing produce one is a bit optimistic! The kitchen garden book is really interesting though as covers what is to be planted each month as well as garden tasks like building raised beds. Each month has one or two practical projects such as tackling weeds, sewing seedlings, watering and planning your kitchen garden. I need to work on preparing the soil for plants. Maybe a compost bin would be a good idea! 

There are a lot of magazines around on the topic of growing fruits and vegetables. Many come with free seeds each month as well as offers on reduced price plants to buy. I won't buy every magazine every month but I will look out for the ones with relevant topics in them such as starting out in gardening. 

My dream would be a little house in the countryside with a vegetable patch, herb garden, fruit bushes and chickens! I just love the idea of eating something that I have grown from seed. I can't keep chickens here but I intend to make the best of what I can do. There are so many options of what to grow!  

Do you grow food for your family? Any tips for a beginner would be appreciated! 



Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunlight in the Garden.

Trying to develop my photography skills! I am very much a point and shoot type and there are all sorts of features on my camera that I haven't used. I really need to read the guide book. 

I wanted to see if I could capture how sunlight makes flowers and leaves look brighter, warmer and almost enchanted. These are the results! 

 I don't know why but I find red flowers hard to photograph. There have been some gorgeous roses in a deep ruby colour in the garden this year but I just can't get the same sharpness to the photographs as I do with paler flowers. 

Watching the leaves changing colour for Autumn is providing more inspiration. I love all the fiery reds and golds and these leaves have an almost glossy texture to them. 

Playing about with a blurred background. Normally I have the lighter part of the plant in focus but I quite like this effect. All I seem to do is close ups! 

I actually really like this photograph! The sun has highlighted the glossy tips of the flower which emphasises the deeper tones within. They look like tiny flames. 



Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Winter Predictions.

There are all sorts of signs in folklore to predict whether a Winter is to be harsh or mild. So many quaint old wives' tales! These include geese and ducks migrating earlier, thicker hair on a cow's neck, extra large quantities of acorns, heavy fog in August and an abundance of berries on trees. 

There are certainly a lot of berries on the trees and bushes here. I think that may have more to do with the weather in Spring rather than the weather yet to come in Winter. I have seen many geese flying too, honking and calling in their triangles! I can't say I have been inspecting any of the nearby cows though! 

The Winter last year was rather worse than we are used to here. Of course it was mild compared to many places! There was snow up to and over my knees though - that made for interesting walks! One thing I have noticed from the letters of my Amish pen pals is that they really prepare for Winter. They can and can until they have a pantry full of food! 

They are more isolated there than I am here - living in a town I am unlikely to get snowed in for too long. It doesn't hurt to prepare a little though and I intend to have a well stocked first aid kit as well as cold medicine and some tinned food. Just in case I am ill when the weather is bad. I doubt I would feel like dragging myself through the snow with a terrible cold!

Do you prepare for Winter where you are?



Monday, 3 October 2011

New Wool!

This is similar to the wool I have already used for my scarf but it gives a different sort of ruffle. It is kind of hard to explain but it looks like lines of ruffles running horizontally across the scarf. 

I love the colours! The different tones mix so well and I am excited to knit more scarves. Once I am more used to knitting I will try with normal wool and also to learn to follow patterns. I do love the effect that these "fancy" wools give. 

Here is a close up of the wool. Again you knit the openings at the top and the wool forms the ruffles by itself. Casting off is done in the normal way but casting on is so easy! You simply slide every other stitch onto the needle until you have the correct number and then knit. When the scarf is completed you just have to sew up the end pieces in a matching thread. 

I love that I am learning a new skill! 



Sunday, 2 October 2011


I took this photograph this morning. I was just wandering around the garden looking for inspiration when I noticed the sun shining through a nasturtium flower. It looked like it was lit from within! 

Nasturtium flowers are also edible but I can't say it appeals to me! I suppose they would add colour to a salad but it seems a bit odd to eat flowers. 



Friday, 30 September 2011

Knitting Progress.

I have finished my first scarf! I did use easy wool but I am still proud of myself. I just need to practice more so I am more comfortable with the needles as I do not find knitting to be relaxing at all. I am so scared of the stitches falling off the needles or dropping stitches! 

Knitting in progress! I used nice big needles for this scarf and it seemed to grow in length really quickly which was especially good for me as I felt like I was making progress. 

The finished scarf! This one will be mine as the sewn ends are a little untidy. 

I have 3 more colours in the same sort of wool to be getting on with. I think they would make nice gifts for Christmas as they are not particularly expensive and people would know that time and effort has gone into making them. Plus there are quite a few pretty colours to choose from!

A close up of the wool. You sew in the top line of openings and there is no real casting on. As you knit, the wool forms itself into ruffles. One ball of wool gives you one scarf. I just think they are lovely and feminine! The weather at the moment is so sunny and warm though so I will have to wait a while before I get to wear my new scarf!