08/01/2018 § 2 Comments
I did manage to stay up to see in the New Year – mainly to keep the collies company when the neighbours’ fireworks lit up the night sky. It was quite a display! Misty, these days is an old lady of 13 and was blissfully unaware of any of the bangers as she’s quite deaf. She used to have a bit of a bark at fireworks but in her quiet world it’s always peaceful, and she actually seems much happier and less anxious as a result.
Belle is now the main lookout and thinks she’s taken over as Chief of Defence, but she’s not as defensive as Misty used to be and instead of barking at the doorbell, comes running to tell me that I need to do something. It’s very amusing – she’s an intelligent and sensitive companion who reads me like a book though I have caught her napping on duty a couple of times recently …
Belle’s favourite ‘perch’ is on the back of the old sofa by the front window – it’s covered in throws and cushions and she just loves it up there.
Misty, meanwhile, gazes at me asking “What’s going on?”
The rug is new – a sale buy in Laura Ashley as was this …
an ex-display bargain and Belle WILL NOT be allowed on it. I have to collect it next month when they rearrange their showroom and I can’t wait. Maybe I should do some dog-training in the meantime!
My motto this year was an easy one to decide upon. Last Autumn I stopped off at the Tavistock Pannier Market on my way to Cornwall. As always, the talented Emma West’s stall drew me and I bought a porcelain tile – it really did sum up how I feel about life these days and I’ve decided to adopt it as my motto for this year …
I love the combination of textured linen, the stitched sentiment and the cool crisp porcelain – I keep it on my kitchen dresser.
In an attempt to be kinder to my insides as well, I often start the day with a smoothie. This morning’s consisted of a banana, a pear, persimmon, a good inch of ginger root, beetroot and orange juice and a generous handful of oatmeal for extra fibre …
One of these fills me up as a breakfast for much longer than toast or boxed cereals. If I’m going out then I usually have porridge with fruit on top which keeps me fuelled for even longer,
I saw in the New Year having (with minutes to go) finished a 2nd corner to corner blanket – it’s Strawberry Moon II made with the same Sirdar Aura that my original Strawberry Moon was made with in Cornwall last year. I’ve since added a simple border to each blanket. The 2nd one is a present but I won’t say for whom just yet, though I suspect she can guess!
For SMII I used just the pink and dark red colourway whereas in mine I added a blue colourway too – to remind me of the Cornish sea. I’ve had a daily fix of my beloved Porthleven thanks to a webcam that’s been installed at a local holiday cottage company. It’s here if you fancy seeing what the tide’s doing. I was pleased to see that the snowman with paddle arms survived our recent Storm Eleanor.
I’m off out for a jaunt now. Next week I hope to bring you photos of the garden and some snowdrops and catkins – I can’t believe how nature springs back into action after a winter’s snooze – maybe we should all follow her lead, whilst being kind to ourselves!
13/01/2017 § 3 Comments
Gypsy Wife is proving to be a challenge …
I’ve been quite enjoying this type of patchwork that is so different from my usual style. I am loving the fun of putting different colours together and how they make these blocks work (or not). Some didn’t work out quite as planned so will be redone – I HATE redoing anything!
My favourites so far …
I’m hoping to have it pieced in a month – too much of a challenge? Well, maybe!
Breakfast each day for the last week has been colourful – starting with green, then various shades of orangey gold and yesterday pink. The blender-thing is doing its stuff and I have to admit to enjoying the orangey/pinky drinks more than the green – maybe it’s the sweeter flavour from mango, raspberries & blueberries as opposed to cucumber & kale!
In addition to colourful breakfasts, yesterday just as it was getting dark, the rain gave way to a brief spell of snow and for a very short time the brown winter garden took on that magical cloak of white. It was all too fleeting-a shower and then it froze so this morning was crisp, to say the least. The girls enjoyed a long walk in the woods yesterday, just before it started to rain …
and Flora was very cuddly in this morning’s chill – she’s such a sweet character.
I think that’s my first published ‘selfie’ – a bit of a challenge when cuddling a duck with one arm and trying to hold the camera and press the dot with the other!
I treated myself to a large jug to brighten up a corner of the lounge. I love handmade Mary Rose Young pottery and have quite a few pieces but it’s out of my budget these days, so I was pleased to find this ‘designed by MRY’ jug that is perfect – gorgeous colours …
Oh – I almost forgot – more orange – I made marmalade –
12 jars of Christmas Spiced Marmalade (which may not last than long)
and 12 jars of Dark Ginger Marmalade – my favourite!
Have a lovely weekend and stay warm.
06/01/2017 § 6 Comments
When I said that colours keep me happy, I didn’t think it would extend to breakfast!
Yesterday I treated myself to a ‘nutrition blender’ and this morning, my breakfast was green – and surprisingly quite delicious. As you may know if you’re a regular visitor here, I can’t do recipes, so I gathered together a heap of fruit and some curly kale, added some water and whizzed. The result was refreshing and as I’d added a spoonful of oatbran, satisfyingly filling too. Is it a fad? Well, maybe but I do use all of my kitchen appliances regularly and hope that this one will be a useful addition to the range.
Quilt finishes this week …
A vivacious half-square triangle quilt for my daughter. It’s certainly colourful and will keep her very warm when she returns from her travels in SE Asia. She loves bright colours too and she sent me this wonderful photo yesterday …
The 2nd finish of the week goes to a small quilt with hand-pieced hexi’s – Grandmother’s Flower Garden …
I loved spending the quiet evenings throughout the festive season, watching favourite films and hand-piecing all those hexagons together, using lots of offcuts from C’s quilt. I haven’t done patchwork like that for a very long time indeed! The result is very pretty and will be a sample piece for one of my workshops.
On Christmas day, I opened two lovely patchwork book presents that are wonderful and inspiring so, whilst in the creative groove I promptly went online and treated myself to a quilt pattern …
Not sure when I’ll fit this in though it may be a whole year-long project. It’ll definitely be a keeper!!!
How’s the first week of the New Year been for you? I’ve loved putting up my new calendars and generally having a bit of a tidy up around the place. A vase of tulips in the kitchen has paved the pathway to Spring, which I’m sure will be upon us in no time.
04/10/2016 § 2 Comments
I started this shawl way back – can’t even remember when, but maybe February time. It’s been keeping me company throughout the year for a few rows at a time, here and there, in the evenings and I decided that as finish was overdue I took it on holiday with me to Cornwall.
My usual style of an elongated, knitted triangle in a variety of stitches that take my fancy, then my favourite pineapple-ish crochet edging.
I did finish it whilst on holiday and brought it home for blocking and end-stitching-in. Almost as soon as October arrived, it was time to wear it during the evenings. It’s a comforting extra layer around my shoulders and very soft. The yarn – a linen mix – was a charity shop buy for just a couple of pounds. It’s gone a long way, as I made this shawl for my daughter earlier in the year.
The apples are ripening and I’ve Sloe & Apple Jelly underway in the kitchen as well as piles of dried fruit, onions, sugar and bottles of vinegar all ready for chutney-making. Just awaiting my delivery of jam jars and then we’re off …
Patchwork and pickling are on the agenda for this week. What are you up to?
28/03/2016 § 4 Comments
Two of the children have been home for the Easter holiday – C our eldest and only daughter and J2 our youngest and 2nd son. J1 is here and there in South-East Asia and we all missed him though we’re in touch almost every day thanks to the wonders of modern technology.
It’s been wonderful to spend a quiet few days, enjoying each others’ company, walking the collies, some retail therapy with C and for me, the joy of cooking up some simple suppers in my new kitchen. We, as a family, have a very easy-going attitude to most events and at last I delivered on the promise of a special birthday cake for C – very belatedly!
The cake didn’t last long. We’ve rechristened J2 ‘The Cake Monster’ – this wasn’t the only cake I baked over the weekend and the chocolate sponge that followed the birthday cake didn’t last more than a few hours!
The kitchen has been brilliant to use and the cupboards, all stacked up with pretty dishes and glasses make me smile every time I open them (I’ve NEVER had tidy cupboards in the kitchen before, but it’s wonderful) …
This evening we enjoyed left-overs made into pasties, with salad – such comfort food!
The collies are wandering around, hoping to find somebody to make a fuss of them in every room, but they’ll have to make do with me as C and J2 have both left for the station to travel up the line back to their city pads. It’s been a wonderful weekend – simple pleasures!
I hope your Easter time has been everything you hoped for.
Back to business in the morning!
28/06/2015 § 8 Comments
Many, many years ago growing up in rural west Wales, my first boyfriend was the farmer’s youngest son from over the field. His mother was a real matriarch – 4 strong boys she raised – she was ambitious and scary and loved me like a daughter.
She ran the farmhouse like clockwork – and knew all that was happening on every inch of the farm. Pet lambs followed her into the huge cool kitchen, with its dark flagstone floor and black coal-fired range that blasted out heat even on the hottest summer day. Dogs were chased out of the kitchen with the broom – as were the hens. The boys devoured everything she cooked – and she was an awesome cook. Mostly it was good, straightforward food – nothing fancy, but lots of it. Beef, eggs, potatoes, veg from the garden and fruit from the hedgerows and kitchen garden. But when there were visitors or a fete at the village hall, she always produced the most amazing sponge cakes. I remember her telling me her secret – WEIGH THE EGGS!
Well, she left her kitchen and her sons some years ago when she was well into her 80’s. I think there was a little part of her that still loved me, at least that what she said when I last spoke to her, but I never got over the feeling that she never forgave me for marrying someone else and producing his amazing children instead of her own grandchildren. She was in tears one night, when we were visiting the village on holiday and my little brood had won some prizes in the local village fete – she sniffed into her hankie whilst sitting next to my mother and said “your grand-children should have been ours to share”! Oh dear. That’s life, I suppose and some things aren’t meant to be.
I remembered her today when I saw the little collection of eggs that Flora’s been laying over the past few days. I’ve had a dreadful lurgy/flu-like bug and haven’t been up to doing or cooking anything much. Truth to say – I’ve spent a few days in bed with a temperature and feeling very wobbly. Feeling a bit chirpier this morning, I decided to make a sponge and I followed Mrs P’s advice from all those years ago – I weighed the eggs!
Three eggs came in at 5 oz (I have imperial weights on my old scales still, which is fine because everything had to weigh the same) – butter, flour and sugar. A spoonful of freshly boiled water after mixing, to relax the mixture and WOW – a perfect sponge …
Oh, it was lovely – still is (I haven’t eaten all of it)! I know it won’t last long once my sons J1 and J2 descend tomorrow. Thank you Mrs P – I’ll always love you a little bit too, and that youngest son of yours, and your secret for the perfect sponge. Thanks too, to Flora for producing the most amazing eggs!
19/02/2015 § 12 Comments
Mother Duck has been snatching sunny moments in the garden. She’s been having a lovely time finding worms for me – such a tasty treat – and I’ve been helping by getting under her feet and pushing my beak in where her trowel is digging and planting. I can’t wait till she gets going in the main garden instead of faffing around with pots of bulbs and those big white sinks.
I thought you might like to see some rare winter colours and pretty corners of my garden …
Then, I had a waddle down to see what was happening under the rose arch, then back to my daytime perch on the verandah – it’s a bit chilly and damp today. Good weather for ducks!!!
Mother Duck’s been doing a lot of quilting so I’m sure she’ll have lots to show you next time!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ please leave a comment ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
04/02/2015 § 8 Comments
Here’s the ‘back story’ – as Kristin Nicholas of Getting-Stitched-on-the-Farm blogspot calls them …
Do you recognise this old fellow?
It’s Johnny Morris who presented Animal Magic for many years, on children’s’ television. I absolutely loved this programme when I was 8 or 9 – maybe younger. Johnny would imitate the animals and have conversations with them – doing his voice and the animals. It was magical and something I still do quite unconsciously – imagine what the animal are saying.
I’ll always remember one programme where he made ‘Dabble Grish’ – a silly name for a mixture of just about anything that’s good for garden birds in winter. I made some a few weeks ago and today decided to top up the flowerpots. Curious? Here’s how to make a hanging bird feeder from store cupboard ingredients and create your own Dabble Grish …
I used some just out-of-date nuts and dried fruits to add to the wild bird seed, dripping (have no idea what that was doing in the fridge), a handful of oats, a few flowerpots, some twigs and string. I roughly chopped the whole nuts before adding them.
snip some twigs to fit across the bottom of the flowerpots and tie a loop of string …
thread through the hole in the flowerpot and place a bit of fat over the hole to stop the filling coming out. I put my flowerpots into cake cases to catch any melted fat.
Then put the ‘ingredients’ into a bowl and add the melted fat. I add as many porridge oats as it takes to soak up the wet mixture.
Mix it all up so all the mixture is coated in fat and will stick together as it solidifies, then spoon into the flowerpots, pressing down firmly.
Push a twig into each pot and firm around it. This will help the blue tits to perch close to the food while they’re pecking at it. Then hang them up around the garden, where you can see them from a window – and wait for your garden visitors.
Dabble Grish for garden birds!
There’s a useful list here of what you can feed garden birds.
I love to see the birds and always have a huge container of wild bird seed in the corner of the kitchen, from which I top up the bird feeders every morning. My favourite bird feeders (apart from my flowerpots) are these …
Such a brilliant design with suction pads that stick to the window and a little roof to keep the seed dry. You can see the birds clearly through the cut-out window in the back and the feeding tray unclips easily for cleaning. There’s a little section for water too. I bought two last year and the birds have loved visiting them – and I’ve enjoyed watching them feeding.
After all that ‘cooking’ I needed my own winter fuel this morning …
It’s still really cold here, although yesterday’s dusting of snow quickly melted. I’m just off for a good walk around the farm, with the collies. Flora’s in the pond enjoying a splash, so I’ve reclaimed my blog for today!
My next post will be my 400th and I think I may revisit some of the most popular topics from the past 4 years. Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment on my last post – it’s so lovely to hear from you. Sometimes it feels a bit lonely, so do join in and have a chat.
Do you feed the garden birds? What’s your favourite winter fuel breakfast/lunch/dinner?
Keep warm and snug …
03/02/2015 § 14 Comments
it’s a SNOW day!
Have you had any snow? Please leave me a comment and let me know –
Mother Duck likes reading comments too!
29/01/2015 § 3 Comments
Pretty things have been happening in the kitchen …
Sometimes patchwork has to be ordered, co-ordinated and requires lots of thought. Sometimes it just gets thrown together and ends up looking really pretty – like the little cushion pad for the pink chair that was a project from a while ago. There’s Misty gazing out towards the back door where Flora has been tapping at the window …
Pink accessories have been appearing in the kitchen – life has to be pink!
and in the garden …
and Flora, relieved of blogging duties for the day, is taking shelter from the biting wind and frequent showers on the verandah of the toolshed …
Keep warm and toasty in the winter’s chill.