Monday, 27 August 2012

Random Loveliness

Beautiful book recommended by a beautiful mama.  Once I became fully immersed in it I was deeply touched and connected; a sort of modern day adult fairy tale with some very poignant moments.

Cheery, sunny, flowers (weeds some may say), with jerusalem artichokes shooting up the back.  Must remember to split the tubers come autumn and pass some on to friends who have recently got allotments - we can all be windy together!

Welly toss - can you spot it?

Laundry sack/pillow case/anything you can hop along in, race.

I figured out how to make crochet leaves and now have little bouquets here and there.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Introducing Wendy

 I've been so busy planning, crafting and painting for Wendy, that it's taken me till now to get around to introducing her!  Meet Wendy, my wendy house on wheels!

Acknowledging that our days of camp fire type holidays are far from over, but accepting that nights under canvas have very limited appeal once you reach a certain age, we have invested in an ever so old and rather monstrous camper van.  It's of the huge, boxy, American style - it's probably fair to say Wendy is an RV as opposed to a camper.

Anyway, without any further ado, here's the delightful bathroom vanity station, which arrived complete with bar of Fairy Soap and the remains of lots of arachnids.

This is the view from the driving area.  Hermione is standing in front of the bathroom door, the wardrobe door is to her right and the entrance is back there to the side too.

This is the view from the back.  The big captain chairs in the driving area swivel round to form part of the lounge when not driving.

View of the kitchen and lounge area.  The bed above the drivers area fits a full size double mattress with room to spare.  The side facing seat on the left folds down into a double, as does the rear dining area.

Here's an (upside down) close up of the beastly blinds.  They couldn't stay - I'm sure some were bio diverse!

Little dinky bath and shower.

We bought the van knowing that it was in need of some TLC - we just could never have imagined exactly how much!  Watch this space.  xx

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Granny Square Wrist Warmers

I'm not quite sure if it was the blazing sun and warm breeze that inspired the children to play peacefully in the garden most of last weekend, or if it was just that I didn't really notice them since I was beavering away, experimenting with crochet granny squares!

I sat in the sunshine and crochet eight granny squares.  I used four for each wrist warmer and essentially sewed them into a flat tube, leaving a small slit on one side for the thumb.

Miles presented me with feathers he collected from the garden, as I worked.

Voila, Hermione has some wrist warmers (as requested)!  She wanted little flowers on the front and I think they could have been sooooo cute, but she's not at the age of 'cute', so, black flowers it was, with metallic beads.

I think I may well make myself a pair complete with pink and lemon flowers!  I may even make them this weekend, in a further effort to avoid the 'back to proper work schedule' planning.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Lavender Cookies

Thanks to the comment from Amanda below I was inspired to rustle up some Lavender Cookies on Sunday morning.  I tinkered with the recipe ever so slightly; one ounce less of fat but 2 tbsp of lavender syrup, also, 2 oz coconut flour in place of 2oz regular flour.

I didn't add any flowers to the mixture as I thought it make make it slightly woody.  Also, I pressed the flowers onto the top half way through cooking rather than at the beginning.  I think that was the right thing to do as the petals were beginning to brown by the time the cookies were ready.

So, what was the verdict this time?

A huge hit!  I'm really looking forward to making more!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Making Lavender Syrup

We took a cup of water, a cup of sugar and a quarter of a cup of lavender flowers and placed them in a saucepan.  We brought it to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  We removed from the heat, covered the pan and left to infuse for two hours.  Strain into a glass jar and refrigerate.

Once complete I was very optimistic; it smelled fabulous - very much like lavender - as you may well expect!    I diluted it and everyone at home sampled it.  Undeterred by the very cool reception it had round here, I decided to serve up a jugful to friends who called by that evening.  Perhaps it would appeal to a more mature tester?

So, was it a hit or a miss?  Well, one lady, renowned for her kindness and diplomacy, politely suggested it may be better with a slice of lemon.  Another poor lady was driven to wipe her tongue on her sleeve to try to rid herself of the taste.  Oh dear, I think I can certainly say it was a miss.

Perhaps the way to go is to use it in baking?  Could be an option but then I could waste lots of good ingredients if it ends up tasting as the cordial did.  Ho hum, I'll stick with stuffing it in smelly bags and china bowls from now on I think!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Autumn already?

Part of my Sunday evening routine is to sort the eggs that Craig takes to work to sell to colleagues.  I noted this week that there were fewer eggs but many of them were much larger.  It struck me as odd, but not entirely strange as the ducks in particular often lay HUGE eggs.

Having sorted the weekend eggs I decided to cut some lavender for drying and a rose to go in a jug on the hall table.  That's another part of my Sunday evening routine - attending mess hotspots (yes, I once was  FlyLady follower!).  I like to start the week with a wee bit of order and a pretty flower.  If it all goes pear shaped after that then so be it, but at least the lack of mess and pretty flower helps boost me through the Monday morning blues!

Looking at the lavender and rose I set thinking about how nice it would be to have flowery flavours in our food right now.  I didn't want to use our flowers as they are all either too close to traffic or ducks bottoms for my liking!  Thankfully I've managed to source some food grade flowers and now have a little tub of both lavender and rose buds.  I plan on making a lavender syrup to add to baking and lemonade some time this week.  I'll report back...

Last summer the children went boating and I was delighted to find the same organisation are offering the same service this summer too.  What fun they had!

It was  a beautiful day and there were lots fluffy grey cygnets on the lake.

Once they were out in the  middle of the lake they all stood up and sang Heads Shoulder Knees and Toes, with actions, to help to learn to balance on a boat.  That was  bit hair raising for an onlooking mother but thankfully there were no men overboard!

 Ah, perhaps this could be the cause of slightly fewer (but larger) eggs - a garden littered with feathers?  Could it be that the hens and ducks think autumn has arrived and it's time to molt?

Look closely and it's not just feathers - there are lots of fallen golden leaves too.

This lovely lady looks entirely crest fallen with her bald patches, bless.

So, perhaps I've not imagined a nip in the air some recent evenings?  Could it be that it's time to finish burning candles scented with rose, and get out some slightly spiced forest floor type smellies?  Yes, the days may still (sometimes) be warm, but the leaves, feathers and night time nips foretell the changing season.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Marshmallow Fun Pops

Call me sad, but there are times when I feel that Pinterest truly has revolutionised my life!

I am delighted that there are kiddie birthday celebrations in sight so I have an excuse to make these.   I can't burn them!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Lazy Days, Face Cloths and Ping

Ah, the joys of lazy summer days. I love it when the sun shines, and although there's still lots to be done, the pace seems to slow down, even if only a little.

I've always had quite an aversion to games but we're really enjoying Monopoly Deal and Pass the Pigs round here at the moment.

Do you remember our early June arrivals?  Those tiny bundles of fluff that fit in the palm of my hand.  Well, the fluff's all gone, in the space of two months, to be replaced with some beautiful feathers.  Just look at the gorgeous beetle blues and greens!

The beautiful wing above belongs to Ping, the ugly duckling.  Oh, I really shoudn't call him that, he's not ugly, he's just different.  Quite a size now; most likely nigh on fully grown in just two months.

Enjoying a snuggle with Hermione.  He likes to bury his beak in your coat.  All of his fluff has gone; he's fully feathered save for the tuft you can see on the top of his head.  I can only think he's crossed with a Bali  somewhere along the line.

It's almost impossible to tell the ducklings from the ducks now when they all descend at treat time.  They certainly don't hold back!

Last year a friend made me some facecloths from recycled cotton for Christmas.  I love them, but have rarely used them because I'ma  bit like that with gifts.  Gifts are special and I never want to wear them out.

Well,  I happened to stumble across some recycled cotton and have started to crochet some for every day use.  I like them; they fulfill my need to leave my face pink and ever so tingly.  I figure that's just how it is when you grew up in an age where products containing not so finely ground peach stones was cutting edge beauty.  There's probably a whole generation out there who have faces 'polished' to within an inch of their lives.

I've also learned how to crochet flowers and have wiled away a fair time happily hooking away, creating flowers to decorate cushions.  I'm now trying to master crochet leaves so I can make little posies.

Oh the joys!  I love spending time with like minded mamas learning how to do these things, and being able to be with the children in a semi available state, on hand but happily hooking.  When we're home and the children are pottering and I'm doing household chores or paperwork, I often hate being interrupted.  I loose my whole thought train or rhythm.  On the other hand, if I' m doing nothing but watching them, the temptation is to become drawn into their play in a way which doesn't always foster their own creativity.  Being close at hand, but busy with my own project, which I can pick up and pop down at will, is ideal.  I just need to master the art of making sure there's always a coffee on hand at those times too, and I might just have cracked it!

The weather is much less predictable than it was a week or so ago.  There have been lots of torrential downpours, thunder storms and hot and humid weather.  Still managed to find our way to the coast once or twice though.

I love how when you visit a new beach you discover the shells there.  We visited a local beach we had not been to before the other day.  The water quality was poor (warnings from the Environment Agency, yikes!) but the sands were littered with an abundance of beautiful shells.  They were predominantly mussels but not exclusively so.

These fan shaped shells remind me of a holiday in Spain as a very young child.  It was my first time abroad and I still recall how delicate and pretty I thought the tiny pink fan shaped shells were on the resort beach.

Lazy days and relaxed evening.  I've been out to dinner with friends a couple of evenings this past week and it's wonderful to chill, chat and enjoy fine food.  Back at home there are sweet peas by the bed and a good read on my Kindle.

Life may not be a bowl of cherries right now; doors open, doors close and sometimes it feels like stepping into an abyss.  But life is good.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Hello Dear, What Did You Do Today?

Just had to share this amazing quilt.  It's so much more than a quilt.

I would love to be able to see it in real life and actually read the writing on the lady's body.

Many thanks to Fay who brought it to my attention xx

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Summer Chores and Landscape Inspiration

The recent spell of warm and humid weather has prompted me to start dosing the hens with apple cider vinegar and garlic.  I add it to their drinking water and they seem to really like it.  In damp weather any issues with intestinal worms tend to be aggravated, and the heat increases the likelihood of poultry lice.

Thankfully all seem well;  no signs of lice or intestinal parasites.  It's still one of those things where prevention is better than cure I think!  I think the combination of the vinegar and garlic granules is as effective as any shop bought natural poultry product for intestinal parasites.

Also delighted to report that there have been no further red mite sightings.  I'm surprised as I've read so much about them being very difficult to get rid of.  My zealous blow torching obviously did the trick!

Ah, the joys!  Daddy cutting the lawn in a mask (a welding mask I think) to try to cut down on the resultant fits of sneezing.  He does suffer, I jut wish he would suffer in silence.

Growing salad leaves on the kitchen worktop.

Garden flowers in a beautiful charity shop find.  I do like pretty jugs; there's just something about them!

I was really surprised to learn this week, that there is a colony of seals living in reasonable driving distance from us.  We headed on off in search of them and were not disappointed.  I feared we wouldn't  find them but there were so many that we actually spotted them whilst driving along in the car.

The pictures which I took of them didn't turn out well, but you can see them here.

On the walk from the car to the nature hide we passed by fields of beautiful grasses and thistles.  I decided there and then that I would like to incorporate what I saw into my next textile landscape picture.  So, I took lots of photographs and I've posted them below as a record for me to reflect upon.

I think the grasses could pose quite a challenge.  I'm going to have to ponder on those for a while and possibly investigate different techniques, fabrics and embroidery stitches.  There's plenty of time as I suspect that will be an autumn project.  I also want to incorporate a dry stone wall into my next one too and must pay more attention when I next see one.

Ah, off to convince the children that the shape of someone's eyebrows is not at all indicative of whether or not they are a good dentist.  I've heard some excuses in my time but, 'I don't want to go for a check up because the dentist has eyebrows like the Lorax!' is a new one.