Saturday, 20 February 2010

Skillet mystery

I have just acquired this rather lovely skillet. It's a long oval shape, copper, with a brass handle, Italian, with "Bongusto" on the bottom. I've had a look online, but can't find any info on what it is specifically for - must be a reason it's that shape and size. Italian, described as "vintage" on a couple of places I looked.
Any ideas?

Friday, 19 February 2010

These words aren't mine

These words aren't mine;
They're yours and his, and hers and theirs;
Imbued with message, humour,
Thought and deed;
To chide, inform, amuse, provoke,
To damn and praise,
To sooth, support and heal.
Yet untold damage can be wrought
By thoughtless use of precious words
And unkind intent.
And wound unknowingly, or with kent,
The reader and the hearer;
Break the very soul of those who
Attend your borrowed lines,
So use with care those words that are not mine.

Howard's End is on the Landing

"Howard's End is on the Landing" is the new book by Susan Hill; I've been a fan of hers for quite a few years, mainly for the Magic Apple Tree, Kitchen Window and Garden Gate books. This one is from October 2009 - if you love books, you'll love this one.
It's subtitled "A year of reading from home", and the first chapter begins thus:
"It began like this. I went to the shelves on the landing to look for a book I knew was there. It was not. But plenty of others were and among them I noticed at least a dozen I realised I had never read."
Sound familiar? It does to me..... lol
A beautifully written book, covering all sorts of aspects of writing, reading, publishing, fascinating people of the book world she has met (and many of them ), interspersed with details about her life so far - writing, studying, etc.It's not often that I come across a book that fulfills the promise of "it's like a converstion with the author", but this one is like that for me.
Very enjoyable, can't recommend it highly enough if you love reading and books.

Pub. October 2009 by Profile Books, ISBN 978-1846682650

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Little crochet hair wraps

Having my hair quite long at the moment, I usually keep it tied back. I buy the covered elastic bands, but to be honest, they're not too exciting, are they? I saw a way to cover them somewhere online (I can't remember the name of the site it was on, shout if anyone knows!), and this is my version of it.

Take a covered elastic band, and crochet into it as when you're making a granny square; I use half trebles for this.

Keep going until the circle is complete, and join to the first half treble/stitch with a slip stitch.

For the next round, do two half trebles/chosen stitch into each space between previous stitches; continue around, and join as before. Fasten off and darn in ends.
The finished wrap, the double stitches giving a nice gently wavy edging.

This is a good idea for using up little ends/scraps of gorgeous wool and yarn, not big enough for much else. You could make them to match a jumper just knitted too, with the leftovers. I want to try with other materials too - ribbon, narrow fabric strips, recycled sari yearn, cotton, etc.
Would make a lovely small present too, I think. The elastic bands can be picked up quite cheaply with cards of 10 or 20 available, in differing thicknesses and colours.
Much more interesting, to my mind:)

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

This is why it's called *FAB*ric.........

Isn't that just wonderful? My lovely friend H sent me a good sized piece of this as a present - of the "Saw this and thought of you" persuasion! I might invest in some more and make a dress - how great would that be?! LOL
I haven't decided which one is me yet...............;)

Pancake canneloni

It being Shrove Tuesday yesterday, we had pancakes for supper. I made savoury ones for a change too, using them as canneloni. It's very easy, and a good way, again, of using up wee bits and pieces lurking in the fridge.
Fry some chopped onions in a little sunflower oil, add some chopped mushrooms, other veg, etc and cook until softened. I added a splash of red wine and some herbs; what you want is a good tasty mixture for the fillings. I diced some bacon as well, and added that, but fried separately.
While all that is cooking away, make the pancakes; I just use some flour in a bowl, break in an egg and add milk until it's the desired consistency. This batter was quite thick - the pancakes have to be rolled, so you don't want them too brittle and cracking. Lay the cooked pancake in the baking dish, heap in the filling and roll up - bit like Mexican. You can roll them on a baking tray , then carefully move them into the baking dish too. When they're all in, pour over a tin of chopped tomatoes and top with grated cheese; into a hot oven for about half an hour until golden and bubbly. I served ours with carrot, apple and pine nut salad.
Rather good it was too :)

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

More utility china.................

I was lucky enough to find some more of the plain green Berylware (Woods) utility china at the tip on Friday; 7 cups, 8 saucers and a matching milk jug. It's not often you get a good jug - they can be cracked or chipped, seeming to have often got a good deal of use over the years, the pouring lip being the worse for wear in many
They are going to be for every day use here, with a spare saucer for a geranium too:)
These are the archtypal teacup beloved of village halls up and down the country; sadly some of them are going over to mugs I have found. What delights of the tea drinking world they're missing by not having a real cup and saucer and a place to rest your biscuit!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Then and now..............

Out for a walk this morning, I took this photo looking to the east of the village, down the main street:

This is a photo of a print I bought last year of much the same view; things haven't really changed that much here at all, apart from the tarmac on the road and the traffic

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Could be the year of the potato...............

I usually don't grow a huge amount of potatoes, as when the different types are in season, they are reasonably priced to buy, and they do take up a lot of room in the veg garden. I always grow some First Earlies, though, as there is little in the line of self reliance that comes close to that first taste of summer :)
This year, I have some Pink Fir Apple for a late crop, ready to start chitting now. I've ordered my usual Heritage seed potatoes too - Shetland Black, Edzell Blue and Highland Burgundy. I came home to a message on the answering machine on Friday to say I was the winner of a competition in a local gardening magazine - the prize is a seed potato colelction from Edwin Tucker - funnily enough, the company I ordered my Heritage ones from! LOL No matter, I can find room for them all. I bought a small pack yesterday of a new one to try - another First Early, called Vale's Emerald, which is a cross of Charlotte and Maris Peer.
In addition to these, I'm doing a couple of tattie-themed experiments too. One is a single potato in a bucket - how many lbs of potatoes can I get from just one? The other is to grow some from shop bought potatoes; I've done this before with reasonable results. I acquired a very cheap bag of potatoes the other night when shopping - reduced from 1.38 for a bag to only 19p; the challenge here is to see how many lbs of potatoes I get from that lot for only 19p, some goat manure and a little effort. :)

Watch this potato-shaped space...............

Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day; I received a lovely card and chocolates from OH, and we are going out for a meal tonight, just the two of us, something we haven't done for years; really looking forward to it.
We give cards and presents every year - nothing ostentatious, usually funny or/and pertinent, little private jokes, that sort of thing, but always something meaningful. We don't go in for the glitzy, sparkly teddy-strewn sort of celebration,or the flowers, or the soppy cards etc - but that's our choice. Those who do - good luck to you if that's how you want to celebrate; don't let anyone berate you for choosing your own way on this day - one day a year when you can decide what you and yours would like to do and how to do it. Folks are far too quick off the mark to judge and criticise others who do things differently to how they would or think things "should" be done. Leave folks alone. :)
This is for you:

Whatever you are doing, and however you are doing it, enjoy your day.

I'd like to also send this for those who no longer have their loved ones with them, especially on this particular Valentine's Day, as a friend of mine has lost her husband. You are in my thoughts.


Bear pic from