Saturday, 13 March 2010

Valentine's Day present from a Little Mester

It's alright, I haven't lost it, I know it's March the 13th LOL. However, my Valentine's Day rpesent has arrived, and it was well worth the wait.

It's a pruning knife, steel, brass and rosewood, made by this chap here:

Isn't that lovely? Definitely a thing of beauty that will see me out on this earth; MrL got a knife too, but a pocket knife rather than a pruning knife - I do the pruning around here!
Thrilled to bits.

Friday, 12 March 2010

The synchronicity of creative living.............

aka "Isn't that strange!" or "I was just thinking about that........" lol

Yesterday morning, when out and about in the garden, two things grabbed my attention on the way back to the house from feeding the beasties up the top. The first was roses. I told a while back about the roses I'd bought, the old fashioned ones which arrived in November; I got ill, and only managed to get them heeled in for the time being. I have since got one of them planted out in its permanent position; the others, I saw yesterday are starting to form leaf buds, so I started thinking of the best places to put them. My musings continued while I emptied the water butt from the washing machine; daydreams of a rose clad cottage, and some twining around the studio/cabin; beds full of them - plenty for the bees, for cutting, for making into rosewater and pot pourri, for rose petal jam and wines......... The result was a resolve to do some more research and find beautiful ones I really want to grow.

The next thing to catch my eye was a bowl full of razor clam shells, left on the alpine sink by the back door; I've been at a loss as to what to do with them - just leave them on the sink? Put them in a path? Turn into shell for the chickens? Too beautiful not to do something with..........

Later that day the post arrived; a friend from the forum sent me over a French Maison et Jardin (House and Garden) magazine - with a huge feature on roses in it. I have now earmarked several to try and get hold of, especially the lovely one on the front cover, with wavy edged petals, in a delicate shell pink/apricot colour.
My friend arrived too, for a cup of tea (well, more like five! lol) and showed me her latest find in the charity shop - a lovely candle box featuring a little working of Somerset patchwork. I found my sample if this upstairs at the weekend and left it out to do a How To on the forum, on this lovely method of patchwork.
Later that evening, I got the new April issue of Country Living magazine; lots of infor in there about handmade bread (very topical, here and lots of other places); and, lo and behold, in a lovely article about a gorgeous plant nursery up on MUll, the perfect idea for the razor clam shells - use them as plant labels.

As I said - isn't that strange? :) Or not................

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Wild geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things

Mary Oliver

I found this at and thought I'd share it with you all. :)

The rise of home made bread?

Sorry about the pun in the title, but I saw it in the new Country Living magazine and it appealed to me :)
There's a lot going on at the moment about baking your own bread, and there's a nice article in the magazine about communal baking, courses, etc, and soem really useful mail order contacts for flour, mills, etc.
I've been baking my own bread for over twenty years now, since I got my own house first. I remember my father making it too, but with four hungry children, it never lasted long; I find that too, with the freshly baked loaves - hardly has time to cool before being devoured here!
Baking bread by hand is something everyone should have a go at if they can - the sense of satisfaction achieved, coupled with the result of *real* bread is nothing short of remarkable.
I have a standard recipe I use most of the time which works very well for me; sometimes I try something different, and I really want to expand my repertoire this year, so I'm busy researching recipes to try out. I'll pop my recipe and method in teh Kitchen later on.
It's hard work trying to keep up with baking all the time, so I do buy bread sometimes. I have a grain mill too, and occasionally mill my own wheat. I have grown a block of wheat in the garden too, but pigeons ransacked it; I'll be trying again this year, though.
Imagine being able to bake your own bread from your own home grown wheat, the satisfaction in that?
Anyone else make bread? Standard loaf or something else? Fruit and nuts? Cheese and olives? What's your favourite?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


I like the word dovetailing - it's a much nicer word to roll off the tongue than multi-tasking. That one puts me in mind of harrassed office workers, trying to do 17 things at once, or a character out of "The Office". I always feel to it should have "s before and after it, and envisage people doing the " with their fingers in thin air..........
I do have a lot of the things on the go at once, but I prefer the term dovetailing - making one job or task flow into the next, or from the previous one; the art is to have several things being done, but being able to give all your attention to the one immediately in hand.
Take a Monday for instance - washing day and baking/cooking here, also the general housework. I take time to think through everything that needs to be done (as opposed to everything I would like to be done).Five or ten minutes planning an order of work really, really does make the difference between being a worn out frazzled wreck with only half your jobs done at 4 o'clock, and being able to sit down for half an hour with a cup of tea before supper. It does for me, anyway.
So, on a Monday, first thing is to open up the stove - it can take a while for it to get to baking heat, so I do that first, so it can be chugging away, while I get the washing in - the machine can also be chugging away whilst I feed and water the beasties and empty the water butt for the machine. While the butt is emptying into the bucket, I can nip into the freezer room and get out anything needed for that day/next day. Back inside, I get on with dusting, sweeping, tidying; with a break to hang out the washing when the machine finishes; the stove is coming up now, so the kettle goes on for a cup of tea. While it's boiling, upstairs to get the next load of washing and get it in. Make a pot of tea. Get ingredients out of larder for baking/cooking while it brews. Sit down for cup of tea and a bit of knitting. Start cooking etc - get everything I need to cook ready for the oven, put the first things in, and finish the housework while it's baking. I can tidy around in the kitchen, sort seeds, fold washing, etc while in the kitchen, but I don't stray too far when there's eomthing in a hot oven, just in case I forget When the baking's done, the supper gets organised, the next load of washing comes out of the machine and hung out or up, then everything is washed up, while the kettle is put on for another cup of tea.
In between, other things occur, ofcourse, and I either deal with them there and then or wait until later - family stuff,phone calls, post, ec.
By mid afternoon, most if not all is done, and I can turn my attention to something else - a bit of decluttering, working outside, knitting, whatever, until it's time for supper.
It works for me, most of the time, and the planning out of tasks, with the longest ones started first that can be going on while you tackle the rest makes a big difference to the amount I can get done in a day.
Ofcourse, sometimes, it all goes to pot, especially if it's sunny and I just go outside for the day, or a new knitting project requires attention.............

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Mashed potato by post..............

Well, not quite................
My prize of seed potatoes arrived this afternoon - a huge bag of three organic varieties - Sentana, Lady Balfour and Isle of Jura. I've eaten Lady Balfour potatoes, but have never grown them, or either of the other two varieties. I reckon over twenty pounds worth - not bad for the price of a 2nd class stamp to enter the comp :)The label says they are varieties recommended for mashing.
Now - where on earth will I plant them all????????

Monday, 8 March 2010


Finished these this morning. Guess which ones are mine? LOL

MrL frightened me at the weekend by saying he thinks he has enough socks. I told him he hasn't.................
My first issue of Piecework magazine has arrived, the first one of a new subscription. I've only managed a quick leaf through it, but there were lots of ooohs and aaahs lol.Lots in there I have my eye on to make already.
Also, my long awaited (10 years or so...............) gate has arrived; very pleased with it, and I hope it will be hung this coming weekend, so I can shut the world and his wife out, should I so wish. :)

Sunday, 7 March 2010

I've only got two ears.............. why do I need 53 pairs of earrings? I kid you not, LOL.I got around to sorting through them this morning, and only keeping the ones I really, really like. Not sure how many/few I have left, but it's certainly a lot less. I've sorted through my other jewellery too, and now I need to get a new box to keep it all in. Should be a lot less hassle to find the ones I want too. :) The two boxes of bits I don;t want will got to Bean for a rummage, then on to a charity shop.
Feeling virtuous!