Friday, 24 March 2017

How Did I Celebrate My Birthday?

Today is my Birthday.  After a dull start the sun began to shine through the clouds.  I didn't feel like going anywhere so I got out the lawn mower and gave the grass the first cut of the year.  It felt good to be in the garden again.  Blackbirds are nesting in an old laurel tree, buds are breaking on the apple and plum trees and the air was sweet and new.  Outside in the peace and tranquility of my garden was the best way to spend a birthday afternoon.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

When the Wait is Over

I have been waiting for a few things.  Some things for years, some for months, some for weeks.  In September 2016 I planted some snakes head fritillary bulbs or chequered daffodils as they are also known.  You can read about them on the RHS website here. I have been patiently waiting for months for the bulbs to break the surface of the Earth's crust and have eventually been rewarded for my efforts.


I was thrilled to see them in flower today as I was unsure if they would even thrive.  I shall now be eagerly waiting spring each year to watch them come into flower and hopefully spread.

In my year of 'consolidation' (which I blogged about as my word for 2017) many loose ends are being tied up.   'Seeds' planted over the past 18 years have begun to come to fruition and after 18 years as a stay at home Mum, I finally have paid employment again.  The good news is as it is part-time I will still have time to blog and pursue my other interests too.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Shabby Chic Card

I am going through a 'shabby chic' phase.  I have so many beautiful paper embellishments and lace it seems a shame not to use them!  I am making this card for a very special person so I can't show the card in its entirety in case they are reading this!  I still need to add gesso and glitter highlights.  It has been fun to make but taken me best part of a day so far!

This month is my 9th anniversary of blogging.  Time certainly flies when you are having fun - it's true!  Hopefully this year I will reach the mile stone of 1000 posts!   Thank you for those that continue to read and leave comments, especially my long time commenter's - you all know who you are!

Have a lovely weekend!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Taking Old and Making New

I made three more frog bookmarks with my inked watercolour paper.  This paper is very special as it is 100% cotton rag paper mould-made more than 50 years ago in Somerset, England!

As I had inked up 2 sheets of paper,  I didn't want to waste my lovely vintage paper by making gift tags that would end up in the bin so I made a few simple bookmarks with a lovely stamped message:

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

Edited to add:

Some of you may be interested to read the information that came with the paper pack.

'This fine-art paper is a step or two beyond the usual quality of papers found in pads and sketchbooks.  Just touching it you can feel the quality and craftsmanship which is almost impossible to find in modern product today.

This paper was made in the 1950s or 1960s by a company called W.S. Hodgkinson & Co in a place called Wookey Hole in Somerset, England.  Paper had been made at this mill from at least 1610 until 1972 when production came to an end.

In 1965 the mill's in-house artist saved a few large piles of paper, just minutes before they were due to be re-pulped and converted into South American currency.  He owned them until 2016 when we acquired them on his retirement.'


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Block Printing

I block printed a new white bag that will primarily be used for storing my sketchbook and pencils.  I am not happy with the colour choices or the fact that I didn't plan out the colours or design ahead of printing.  I procrastinated for months for fear of 'ruining' my white bag and ruin it I did!  Printing on to a white background is as bad as breaking a new page in the sketchbook or applying paint to a brand new unblemished canvas!

Anyway, I have got the 'deed' out of the way and can now concentrate on the contents that are going to be in the bag rather than the bag's outward appearance.   After all, aren't we constantly being told it is what is on the inside that counts?  :)

In other news, I helped a community interest company make up herbal blend teabags that were grown from their own herbs.  It made for an interesting couple of hours.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Friday Cake Bake #21

I did a bit of experimenting yesterday and came up with my version of a fruit and veg cake.  I should think that the cake is highly nutritious and highly fattening too!  The end result is a sweet, moist cake with a crunchy top.  It makes two 2lb loaves and would be great for batch baking.

Fruit and Veg Cake

3 eggs
12oz caster sugar
half pint sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
8oz plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
6oz grated carrots
1 grated apple
4oz tinned pineapple drained and chopped
4oz desiccated coconut
4oz chopped mixed nuts

Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees C/325F/gas mark 3

Grease and base line two 2lb baking tins

1. Beat together the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.

2. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt.

3. Combine the two mixtures together and beat well.

4. Fold in the prepared fruit, veg,  nuts and coconut and spoon into the tins.

5. Bake for about 1 hour and check if cooked until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

6. If necessary cook for a further 10 minutes covering the top of the cakes with grease proof paper to prevent further browning.

7. Leave to cool in the tins for about 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

There are quite a lot of stages of preparation in making this cake but it is not difficult.  Take your time as the end result is well worth it.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Frog Fun in February

 Sometimes we have to make our own fun.

 Sloshing ink around on shaving foam and printing paper is fun.

 The outcome is unpredictable and if you don't like the results you can do it again!

The printed papers said 'frog' to me.  They are very clever! So I made a frog and turned him into an interesting bookmark.

I think he is rather cute and like the way he hangs down on the back of the page.