Monday 31 May 2021

Just a few other things

 Trying to make something...

I think they are called 'scrappy snippets' but am not sure being so new to this. Basically they are just a decoration for tags, journal cards, belly bands (what an exciting name).

Saturday 29 May 2021

So much better

For a touch of distress ink. The tag on the left (still minus its punched hole and further decoration), looks ok but once the edges are distressed, it looks so much better:

 I took plain card, added lots of vintage paper to it (look away Sue!), trimmed into tag shapes then distressed with the ink.

Once my mod podge arrives, further decoration will be added - watch this space. It has taken me a week to organise this, mind you, I am not doing it for much of the day as gardening has started!

Thursday 27 May 2021

Genes eh!

Can't live without them, sometimes very difficult to live with, at times disappointing. My hair falls into the latter category.

When I was little, hairdressers always used to comment on how thick my hair was, like a lions mane they used to say. Normal thickness at the back and sides, very thick on top. "You won't have any problems with baldness" they said, I had no idea what they were talking about at the time. Now I do.

Hair genes are not great in our family as we age. The problem probably stems from our dads side as he started to go thin at the front, quite early on. His mum, had wisps of hair as she aged. 

I have always had a bit of a recession either side of my fridge but that has gotten really bad of late. It looks like both sides will meet up behind my fringe leaving me with a front tuft, male pattern rather then female pattern baldness I think?

I often remark to people I shall shave it all off when it gets too bad, wear a hat or a wig when out and about - but would I, really?

The rest is absolutely thick and all there, it is just the front bit. I notice in some cultures around the world, that some have what I would refer to as a very high fringe, with a tall forehead, empty of hair, maybe that would be the way to go. Shave off my tuft when it finally gets stranded:)

Wednesday 26 May 2021


We recently had to dig up our very loved Comice pear tree. It had become infested with some sort of internal leaf bug and after a couple of years of spreading through it, was totally infested with no reasonable treatment available. A great pity as it had dozens of pears on it which were also in a mess:( 

Anyhow, it was only small and DB took a couple of days to get it up. When I next went outside, he had put this in its place:

How lovely.

It is our Ruby wedding anniversary this week. Who would have thought, so a very apt piece of art from him.

Monday 24 May 2021

Recycling and repurposing

I realised that all my Uni journals were up in the attic so got DB to bring them down. There would be work in there that I could reuse in my junk journal, spare pages of paper for dyeing and grey board at the back for reusing. There were quite a few as you can see:

Once all spare pages were torn out, and counting A3 sheets as 2 x A4, there were about 70:
DB worked on them once I had removed what I wanted, removing the grey back and shredding anything with my identity on it.

I tried to do this a few years ago but couldn't bring myself to do it. However, they have now been up there for 11 years without a glance so the time was now!

The contents have given me lots of things to play with...

Saturday 22 May 2021

May as well be Autumn or Winter

 I was going to change the duvet over from the heavier winter one to a lighter summer one but it is still too chilly. Haven't yet reached the stage where we are waking up hot so there is no point changing it at present.

The heating is on and off like a yoyo. The temperature at the moment is still 8C, the poor tomatoes and French beans are still in the greenhouse as it is just too cold, wet and windy for them:(

Forgot to show you yesterday some parchment paper that I laid sheets of dyed paper on which were waiting to be baked:

Such gorgeous marks. They will come in handy for paper/sewing items. I am starting to save my onion skins, plus avocado skin and pips ready for more dyeing. Watching online, people also dye outside, for health and safety reasons, using vinegar, alum, iron, tannin etc in their water. They also use food colouring, paint and lay plants between sheets of paper before soaking. All look interesting and I am very excited to try some of the techniques. 

It's like being back at University on my art course! Which reminds me, I have kept all those journals so might check through them to see if anything useful is in them or where I noted down techniques I used for work.


Friday 21 May 2021

Some more dyeing...

 This time using steeped blackberry juice rather than tea:

There were quite a few different shades in bright pinks, deep purples and a couple of blues. Must have been the constitution of the papers I used. The jug on the right was what I used whilst hot. On the left, half the cold original, unused, quite a difference in colour. I used the jug on the left to do the lace and a couple of small pieces of cheesecloth:
Dried but before ironing:
After ironing, quite a difference:
Herewith 2 small pieces of cheesecloth and some originally white lace:
I was pooped afterwards, as the drying process takes up so much time but am enjoying myself immensely.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Some other ephemera

Finance Act 1910
Intoxicating Liquors 1874
Above and below - Music Sheet Book from 1914

Also yesterday, I spent an hour or so, tea dyeing plain paper etc:

Once dried in the oven and ironed, they looked like this:

I shall find the other items collected over the years from WWII and into the 50's and 60's in case there is anything of interest or use.

Tuesday 18 May 2021

One of the books I chose

Was quite modern:

It has information and beautiful illustrations:
When dyed to age them, the pages look like this:

The bottom one was baked dry on a sheet pan with a different pattern on it which transferred. I quite like it. The book also had a couple of nice fly sheets in it:


Monday 17 May 2021

Something just for me...

It is 11 years since I completed my Fine Art degree. For a while now, I have felt the need to do something just for me. The problem was, giving myself permission. I have always crafted for friends and family, for my degree course, for selling or occasionally for our home.

It started with card making. That is fine in itself, but I tend to only do Christmas cards and a few birthday cards. What on earth could I do for the rest of the year?

I have become fascinated with art and junk journals, creating, decorating and using them but have never done anything about it. My degree journals were the one thing I was always complimented on, on my courses. 

I am an 'all in' kind of girl, so could get carried away with each new thing that interests me. My financial moral compass usually guides me though and stops me going too overboard. It enabled me to do my 1 year access course to higher education, followed by my 3 year degree course and 1 year Masters course, without spending a fortune.

It is that long standing financial moral compass though, that has also gotten in the way of doing something just to entertain and fulfil me. It tells me it is a waste of time and effort, will cost too much, take up too much time, will fill the house with dross etc. I can still feel it wiggling its pompous finger at me, it is very loud and extremely hard to ignore:(

However, if I don't want to stifle my creative needs, ignore it I must. With that in mind, we took ourselves off to the Big C craft and furniture store at Wymondham, see here. It is a treasure trove for fabric, needlework, felt, books and tons of other stuff. I spent £7.50 so not bad. BIG TIP: wear a coat, it is always very cold in there!

Tomorrow I will show you what and why I bought what I did. Watch this space!

Saturday 15 May 2021

Final lockdown puzzle completed

Our large order of puzzles from The Works is now complete.

This one was entitled Naughty Puppies. It took us about 3 days, but we both worked quite long stints on it:

The whole thing is just so cute!

We still have a large winter one from two years ago, which we hope to begin this Christmas if we have our visitors as planned.

Friday 14 May 2021

A no flour chocolate cake

Now, we should have really enjoyed this. It was quite easy to make but unfortunately, I used cacoa drops and not chocolate drops. They were way too bitter and ruined the taste - lesson learned!

You can find the recipe here.

 It is quite calorific and due to its taste, we chose to freeze half of it. No idea what it will be like once thawed but we shall see. I shall make it again though with proper chocolate!

Thursday 13 May 2021

Foxley Wood

We drove over to Foxley Wood for our weekly walk with E. I think we caught the bluebells just in time. Another week and they will be past their best:

It was quite boggy and muddy in places due to the recent thunderstorms. We had to hang onto the posts of electric fences for balance, a bit precarious!

We got back to the car park and sat to eat our lunch. Very pleasant all round. Come next week, we shall be able to share a car which will reduce petrol expences. We have decided we shall continue to wear masks whilst sharing cars, just to be on the safe side.

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Radish microgreens

After about 8 days, they were ready to harvest:

I could have (and might do so another time), left them growing and harvest when required. These though were cut all at once and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. We ate a few over 3 days:
They were certainly pleasantly spicy.

Tuesday 11 May 2021

Baked eating apples

 Again, another recipe from Downshiftology, see here.

Tops sliced off and cored with a melon baller, so much easier than using an apple corer. Then about 1 cm of skin was removed to stop them exploding during cooking. The were also rinsed out with lemon juice:

Filled with the nut and fruit, oat and spice mixture. Some apple juice for liquid:
A tad overdone but we were doing a jigsaw puzzle! Anyway, this was about 1 hour with foil placed over after 40 minutes to stop the filling catching:
I think I might reduce the coconut sugar next time. Yum!

Monday 10 May 2021

New back border

Thought I would show you how the back border we created last year is doing. The new crab apple tree is in bloom:

Herewith the border:
The frittilaria and dog toothed violets have finished but lots more blooms are around. This will be followed by a few summer plants and ferns. Other than having to weed, it should look lovely once everything gets established and closes up the gaps. 

My homegrown foxgloves are huge (too early to flower yet), will be interesting to see what colour they are.

Thursday 6 May 2021

Weird weather

About 9.45pm yesterday, we heard distant rumbling and thought it was people putting out their dustbins for today. Then we saw loads of flashes and realised it was a storm.

It got closer and louder then the rain came. Unfortunately this coincided with Ruby's bedtime routine and she hates going out in this type of weather for her night time ablutions but she eventually went out.

Unfortunately for her and DB who was watching from the doorway, on top of the rain, it began to hail and eventually 'snowballs' fell heavily, with the strong wind blowing them onto DB. It probably lasted about 30 minutes but was very loud. We had had heavy showers and hail on and off all day, NONE of which was forecast:(

Although the ground was clear this morning, flat surfaces had accumulated them:

Poor plants, I am surprised they are still standing!

Wednesday 5 May 2021

Brrr and Coconut Chicken Curry

The weather this winter and spring has been so cold. Not the snow kind, just wet and with a very cold wind. The heating (which we have at only 20C), has barely had a day off and we have spent more on oil this year than usual.

Yesterday, we had just started to take Ruby for a walk when the heavens opened and we got pounded with a massive hail shower. We were soaked and chilled to the bone within minutes and returned home quickly. Ruby was shaking herself constantly to try and get them off her coat.

Although I am in need of a change of diet, wanting to go onto lighter food, sometimes, a hot and spicy meal is required.

Using this recipe, we made the full amount. However, we used low fat coconut milk as that was all we had. As such, it needed thickening a little plus we added a chicken stock cube. Next time, we will use just half the lime as it was also too much for us:

It made enough for us both plus another meal each for the freezer. We enjoyed this one and will stick with the low fat coconut milk as it is less calorific!

Monday 3 May 2021


I thought the ending to Line of Duty was very poor, it didn't make any sense at all. Ah well, life goes on nonetheless!

Not looking forward to the weather this afternoon. The covers of beds 1 and 3 have been removed so they can get a good drink. The garden will feel better for it but no doubt, the weeds will go mad. 

After our walk last week, we sat outside. The sun was shining and we thought we would be okay. No sooner had we sat down, the clouds and wind came and we were soon frozen. DB kindly went back to the car to get me a bigger coat but I chilled by then. The place wasn't serving hot food either which didn't help. Although to be honest, it would soon have gotten cold.

Track and chase apparently changed 4 weeks ago. Before, just one of us would scan the code to register, now everyone has to do so, even if you are in the same house. I don't have a smart phone so had to fill out a form. Whilst understandable and which I agree on, is going to be a pain, as I don't like giving my email out at the best of times, let alone the home phone:(

Time for some lunch which will be leftovers, as will tea tonight.

Saturday 1 May 2021

Sprouts and Microgreens

What is the difference?

Initially, they seem to be the same in their growth habit but microgreens are left to grow longer and taller and are eaten when they just begin to form their first pair of true leaves.

I am currently in the process of growing radish microgreens. After one week, they are at this stage:

The mereest hint of true leaves, another couple of days I reckon. We both tried one and you can tell they are radish. 

I used to sprout things years ago, gave up, but have now taken an interest again. I don't want to keep using compost as apparently, they grow just as well on paper towel, or better still, on a silicone mat which can be reused time and again. 

Neither of us are keen on lettuce and tend to want to cover it in dressing which rather defeats the object. However, sprouts and microgreens, being so flavourful, shouldn't require any or very little dressing so hopefully, a win win situation.

Watch this space!