Saturday, 30 July 2016

Where I sit and knit.

Here, in my favourite chair in my favourite corner I sit and knit. My paintings are the only distraction in the quietest room in the house. I have no TV or radio, just the patio door open and the sounds from the garden, which are usually peaceful.
Manchee loves to sit with me and look out from the cool doorway. More often than not, he sleeps here with one of the cats, unless of course they claim the bed first and then he just sulks!
This corner of the garden is the shadiest and has long been neglected as it was fenced off from the patio to keep Manchee in. Now that I've blocked all of his escape routes, it's safe to open it up and be creative. I'd like to plant some ferns and shady plants here. At the bottom of the picture you can see some strawberry plants that have self sown in the paving! Just about anything is welcome in my garden if it has a will to survive :D
I've also discovered a new way of preserving my fruit. Bottling in vodka is so much easier than jam making, but I expect I'll still make some jam this year as vodka fruit isn't so good for breakfast!!!

Edited to add: Ooops! I'm barely  begun on my latest shawl and I've just ordered two more shawl patterns!!! I'm possibly obsessed ;)

Friday, 29 July 2016

What to do on hot summer days.

After the hectic clearing up at the end of term, I took a couple of days to rest. This of course means to get out and walk :D

It's cool in the shade of the trees
while out in the fields the crops ripen and a silly dog runs up and down hunting for mice, or just running for the fun of it :D
Cow parsley, so beautiful that I may have to include some in a painting.
Deep inside the trees, the light was just so magical, I had to stay a while and let Manchee do his own thing while I dreamed.
This sentinal tree is on the return route, it's one of my favourites and I often take a picture of it as I leave the woods. It would be good to arrange all my photos in order of the seasons and how this tree has changed over the years.
Fairy stepping stones or balconies for them to take the sun? :D
Sadly, a big piece of the trunk has fallen down and lies rotting, a home for many little insects now.

Back home, I tackled french bread.  The little rolls were to eat straight away but the loaves were for dinner.
I made a mediterranean fish stew/bake with sliced fennel, potatoes, garlic and fish.
Layered with mixed herbs, olive oil, butter, tomatoes and a healthy glug of wine,
topped with more potatoes and butter then baked for a couple of hours on a low heat.
While the fish sat in a warm oven I cranked the heat up in the main oven, put in a dish of boiling water to create steam and popped the bread on the top shelf to bake. The steam creates a crunch crust.
Someone had already started on the bread and stew before I could get pictures. This is what was left :D
I've been using various recipes for my bread, but at the moment, I'm loving this website  although there are a lot of great blogs about bread and French and Mediterranean cooking.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Ah well!

Well, that didn't go as planned!!!  Can you tell that I got fed up halfway through? The little loom was ok but the tension was hard to keep consistent and the wooden ends left big gaps in the weaving that had to be constantly sorted. I then ran out of the original wool and was loath to use too much of my lovely Romney. Time to call it a day and chalk it up to experience! I don't think I'm very patient for weaving!
However, I may be a slow knitter, but I'm very happy with how the shawl is coming along. Just a few rows every day and it might be finished in time for my holiday!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

I should be in the garden!

It's just too hot to be outside for very long! Now don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the heat at all, even if it is a little on the uncomfortable side! This is the kind of weather that suits Fibromyalgia, I'm definitely worse when it's damp and cold! In fact, I'm feeling the healthiest I have in quite a while. The walking is definitely helping and on days like today, I just want to get my knitting or weaving out.

This book is a constant source of inspiration and only cost a couple of £'s in a charity sale!

 The colours are amazing and I just love to browse and dream.
 This is my favourite picture, so restful.
 A very long time ago I started weaving this little scarf with my homespun wool. I got a little fed up with it because, as you can see, it's a child's loom that I was practising with. However, after thinking on the problem for some months, I think I have an idea of how to make it work better. It's worth a go at least :D
I may also have a go at making my own larger loom. I have so much wool spun, but I'm such a slow knitter that it takes away half the fun of making things!  I'm also going to dig out the peg loom and play with that :D

Monday, 18 July 2016

Is Summer here?

What better way is there to spend a scorching hot day? We went on our favourite coastal walk and the dogs had fun in the water as usual. This bridge reminds me so much of the style of Hayao Miyazaki, the artist best known for his work with Studio Ghibli. I could well imagine this bridge featuring in Totorro or Sprirted Away.
The dogs love trotting across it.
The water isn't exactly clean along the edges and when the tide goes out, the mud is really stinky. Of course, Walley loves to leap into mud or water!!!
At least they could clean off here, far nicer than sitting in the car with tummy turning, sulphur smelling dogs!
The heat has been great for my Elderflower champagne, which is still bubbling away after more than 5 weeks! I hope that means it'll be strong! Last years was but a little too sweet.
I have a lovely tangle of slow worms living under my front step. There are only three in this picture but there were more to start with. I assume they've moved on or are more shy! Their nest can't be that big now that they're growing so rapidly. They sleep under the doormat, so I've had to put a sign on it in case anyone should step on them!
 I've been baking bread lately, a lot of bread! A wholemeal loaf.
 a fruit bread,
a cob and a rustic wholemeal cob.  On the list to be made next is french bread. It can't be that difficult, can it?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Walking with the Moomin (aka my daughter)

I've used Moomin as a nickname for my daughter since she was tiny. Fae but gentle and kind, she seemed very 'Moomin-like' and the name stuck. However, now she's a young woman and the name is less fitting, but she tolerates it all the same.

We walked around an Ancient churchyard in search of inspiration for her Art exams.
The headstones are so varied and unnusual here. It's a place of rest for the Bonham-Carters, although we could only find a couple of headstones for them.  The metal ones below were extremely old and holding up better than some of the stones.
Moomin with her satchel and sketchbook.
I loved the skull and hourglass on this stone. The inscription was just too weathered to read, which was a great shame.
I lingered too long over family tombs that told tragic stories of families taken too young, sons killed in wars and mothers who died shortly after, from broken hearts maybe and I shed tears for people long dead and removed from the cares of this troubled world.

Often I find churchyards to be places of contemplation. A chance to remember how briefly we walk this earth and how little our daily woes really matter in the great tapestry of life. I just want to live well and be happy. It's a good place to start.