Wednesday, 23 January 2019

It's nearly finished

I had a smashing time at carving club last night and my current project is nearly finished.  I have removed one of the trees as I just couldn't get it to look right. When I am nearly finished carving a project I like to rub a bit of wax furniture polish on before I complete a piece. It highlights any areas that need a bit of attention.  A fellow carver pointed out that the chimney smoke looks like a giant polar bear is eating the house... We did have a chuckle about it.  Made me look again when I got home and I can see that it needs a bit of work to look more wispy and smoke like.  I really need to master 'perspective' though as the fence posts look a little skew wiff.  I can only do a bit to alter them so the fence may just have to be a wonky fence... I can live with it.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

I rescued my failed yoghurt

The other day I made yoghurt and for the first time ever it just refused to set.  I figured that I had nothing to lose if I tried a little experiment so I put a bit more milk on to heat and let it simmer for a while.  Then I turned off the heat and poured the failed yoghurt into the pan. In a matter of minutes the whey separated out leaving behind beautiful creamy white curds.  I strained it and pressed it into a bowl to cool.  I needed to pour off the whey that rose to the top each time I pressed on it but I have just tasted it and I have made the tastiest cottage cheese ever.  I think I could press it and make paneer but I would love to know if any of you have done this before.  I will certainly make it again.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Pretty Pasta

Tony has taken a liking to having pasta salads for lunch rather than sandwiches. I have just thrown a quick one together while I was cooking tea.  The pasta bows look absolutely gorgeous mixed with his salad ingredients. I had planned on not buying tomatoes and cucumber till the summer. Unfortunately they are a main staple in any salad that we make and we would miss not having them. Perhaps this year I will be able to grow enough to last well into the winter.

House sitting

My friend Jayne has just put her  house on the market and asked me if I would sit in and wait for the 'energy certificate man'. He has to make an assessment of the something or other whatchamacallit.  I was more than happy to and got ready to walk around to her house.  Blimey, it's cold today. I thought I had stepped out into arctic freezing frost... I exaggerate... slightly.   Sitting in Jaynes beautiful depersonalised house made me realise that I can't stand minimalism... There wasn't a picture on the wall or an ornament to be seen. It's been beautifully decorated ready to sell and I understand that it is a 'blank canvas' for a potential buyer.  D'ya know what?  I would be more inclined to buy a house that looked like someone lives there. We like art and books... lots and lots of books and ornaments and houseplants. In fact, every time I turn around and look at my 'plant corner' I feel relaxed and calm. Bare walls give me the screaming eebie jeebies. I immediately want to fill them with art and photographs.

You've seen this before but a new plant was added on Saturday. I will miss them when they all go outside for their summer holidays

Sunday, 20 January 2019

More socks

Yesterday I finished knitting the second sock and was just sewing it up when Alexander rang.  His girlfriend had decided that as a project her class will each knit a 20cm square. They would then be stitched together to make a blanket for a homeless person.  They would 'wrap that person up in their love'...… Great idea until she discovered that no matter how hard she tried the kids just couldn't master knitting... Where is this heading I hear you asking yourself...  yes I do... :-)  Would I knit some squares for the project?  I have made five so far and am a bit reluctant to make more which will be rolled around the floor in some shop doorway and probably never washed.  It seems such a waste of the hours that I could spend knitting something else and also a waste of yarn..  I pointed out that it would be cheaper for me to to just buy a few fleece blankets and donate them to the class.

And then there is the back garden

It won't be long before it is a blaze of colour but right now here is what is flowering in the back garden

The first wallflowers



Another primula

Pink flowered strawberry.. on The 20th of January?????

Fabulously fragrant Mahonia

The brave (or foolish) rhubarb is starting to push out shoots

My garden is springing back to life

Tony went out to do a bit of weeding and dead heading in the garden yesterday. He called me to say that we have the first miniature daffodil just showing a hint of yellow.  I thought I would have a quick wander about to see just what is in flower and was surprised at just how many things are either still flowering from last year or just starting to flower now. Here are the things that are flowering in my front garden right now

The first tiny daffodils

Beautifully fragrant Dianthus


Winter flowering heather


Not a flower but just as beautiful Euonymus

Fabulously fragrant vanilla scented nemesia

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Far too much stuff

I have spent the past three hours destashing and condensing in the craft room... and the room looks worse than when I started. But in fairness it will start to look better as I rehome a lot of craft stuff. If I live to be a hundred I will never use up all the stash I possess. It is so hard to just chuck it out though as I can see a dozen uses for each and every thing in there. I have enough beads, fabric, paper and yarn to stock a small shop. I have more stuff then I will ever get around to using and it is just a pity than you lovely peeps didn't live a bit closer because I could happily unload it onto you. A few years ago I gave away a huge box of craft punches and lovely quality paper pads.. It was a wrench to let them go but I haven't missed them at all. The paper wasn't colours I would have picked and it was good to think it would put to good use by the charity that I donated them to. I've stopped for the day now as I am getting a bit bored.  I think I might just sit and finish the socks that I started the other week. I am really enjoying knitting something that I actually like wearing. If you have never worn a pair of hand made socks then you are really missing a treat.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Chicken curry for tea.

The slow cooker is back on and it's filled with chicken curry. It tastes gorgeous now and by the time Tony and I get home from work tonight it will have thickened and condensed and will be delicious with some cardamom flavoured basmati rice.... we love cardamoms.
I shall wait until I am on the train today rather than buy the ticket in advance. We still have a conductor/ticket person, for a while longer... or should I perhaps say that the ticket machine hadn't been installed yesterday but things may have changed.
Before I set off I really must go and load the washing machine so I can switch it on when I walk in the door this evening.  Since we had the kitchen flood I am wary of leaving it running while I am out.  Stay safe and warm everyone.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Stomping mad

I take back what I said about the app for booking my train ticket this morning. The online departure board showed my train would be on time. I got to the station which is only an eight minute walk away and discovered that it had been cancelled. Then I had to go to the closest bus stop and pay a further £2.60 to catch the darn bus. I was frozen to the marrow and my hip was killing me..... Not a great start to the morning methinks. Hope you had a better start than I did.