Tuesday, 26 November 2013
It feels like time to be getting a few festive things underway. Out came the old sheet music, those cookie cutters (again), and from my favourite source of thrifty Christmas items 2013, some goodies from Wilko's. The burlap ribbon is great, I'm going to attach the stars to the ribbon and adorn various edges and ledges with it when the time comes....
I also found these bark stars at Wilko's:
And as for the white berries on my new header, I spotted them on a tree in the front of the most beautiful semi-derelict house that I passed today.
It really was the most magical house. Sadly, it is 'under offer...'
So I just had to settle for the berries.
Sunday, 24 November 2013
I think if I could choose a favourite meal it would have to be afternoon tea. Every year in the local magazine we run a feature on the best afternoon teas in our area, and the job of testing them has to be the best gig ever. They vary hugely of course: this year my favourite was a savoury afternoon tea with cheese scones, warm slivers of quiche and tiny sandwiches. Anyway, I've also been trying out some afternoon tea baking at home recently. The first item was the lemon and oat cookies, above, taken from Nigel Slater's new cook book which is called Eat. The cookies are absolutely delicious, and they are sandwiched together with marscapone and lemon curd....a lethally good combination.
Next on the list are these cheese biscuits (from a Good Housekeeping recipe).
I used my old cookie cutters for these, love this rectangular shaped one.
This banana and chocolate cake is the thriftiest cake recipe ever, it is simple, and uses up the black bananas in the fruit bowl. My neighbour gave me this and I've made it so many times. It improves with keeping (if you can keep your family away from it), becoming softer and stickier over time....
I have a new poster for the kitchen. It's a vintage one that I bought in Totnes this summer and which I've finally framed and put on the wall. The frame is from Dunelm. They have a brilliant selection, especially larger ones.
Teas for one shilling and a six course dinner for 3/6. I'm checking in!
* P.S A couple of people have asked for the cake recipe, so I'll put it here. I only have it in imperial measurements, it's one of those recipes that is passed around on scraps of paper....
Banana and chocolate cake
8oz granulated sugar
2 -3 over ripe bananas
10 oz self raising flour
half level teaspoon salt
half level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2oz plain chocolate, chopped into small pieces
Demerara sugar to sprinkle on top
Heat oven to 325F, 160C or gas 3. Grease a round 8in cake tin and line with greaseproof paper.
Melt the margarine and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat until the margarine has just melted. Remove from heat. Peel and mash the bananas on a plate with the vanilla. Sift flour, salt and bicarb of soda into the saucepan and mix with the marg and sugar. Beat the eggs and add to the pan with the banana. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate pieces. Pour into the tin.
Sprinkle over some demerara sugar and bake for about one hour 15 - one hour 30 mins.
When cool, wrap in foil.
Apparently it keeps for up to 3 weeks, but it barely lasts for three days in our house
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Well, I really didn't intend to be away from the blog for so long, but I was embroiled in a mega week of work. As a freelancer, I'm not going to complain (well, only a bit anyway) but it was full steam ahead all of last week. All done now, and the good news is that I've got the cards ready to go on sale, with prices etc, so I'll do that first.
There are four designs to choose from: stall, dresser, caravan and cupboard. They cost £1.50 each or four for £5 with £1 postage on top. If you'd like to order, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll give you my address if you would like to pay by cheque, and then a pretty little package will be winging its way to you.
The cards are blank for your own greeting, and printed on thick card, and of course they come with envelopes.
I only have a small print run of the cards, so I won't keep banging on about selling them on the blog.
In other news...I picked up a beautiful old children's cook book a few weeks ago. It is battered and torn but very pretty inside.
It's from the 1940s, just after the war.
I love how it says at the end of the page: "Does your mother like India or China tea in the afternoon?"
Then there follows instructions for making mother a tray with a pot of loose leaf tea, and some hot buttered toast and jam. Maybe I'll leave it open at this page for my son to find.... I might wait quite a long time for my tea tray.
I've accessorised the book here with a set of old cookie cutters which I found at an antiques fair in October. I ummed and aahed about buying them (there are quite a few more than I've shown here). It wasn't the price, I was concerned about what I would actually do with them. But after a good clean, I know I'll use them.
I intend to catch up on some blog reading now.
Sunday, 10 November 2013
Cambridge with my best mate was great this weekend. Walking, talking, shopping and cafe hopping. Today we visited the Botanic Gardens in clear sunshine. It's a beautiful place... would highly recommend it.
Big glass houses, full of flowers and lush plants
Tropical colours and wonderful leaf shapes, it would be a brilliant place to bring a sketch book.
Splashes of neon colour everywhere....
as well as the autumn golds
Cambridge is a fine city, a blend of town and country.
So many paths to walk and houses to drool over.
All bathed in light today.
We bought books in Blackwells and something to wear in Noa Noa.
Happy days :)
Friday, 8 November 2013
A fun time was had by all tonight in Tracey's beautiful barn at the Foxtail Lilly Christmas preview. I set out my stall along with some other lovely sellers. These are just a few phone snaps of what was on offer.
It's too early to feel properly Christmassy, but there was a seasonal glow in the air, and some super-talented makers and artists in evidence.
The shop always looks fabulous at this time of year - smells pretty good too, cinnamon and orange.
Despite the rain there was a good turn out of shoppers. Some familiar faces and some new ones too. I was absolutely delighted to meet fellow blogger Fenland Lottie! I love her blog and was thrilled that she made the trip to the sale with her daughter. Thank you for coming....and for buying a set of my cards.
I'm off on a weekend away to Cambridge with a friend tomorrow, but I'll be back with my big camera and some bright photos next week. I'll also give details of my cards which are now available to buy.
Stallholder Sharon Garner had some beautiful vintage decorations...and the barn had been beautifully be-decked.
See you soon.
Sunday, 3 November 2013
A sunny Sunday morning. The best ones start with pancakes, maple syrup and Sunday Morning by Velvet Underground (featuring the late, lamented Lou Reed) on the iPod. And then a walk in the woods....
So much to see. It took us a long time to complete our walk because I kept stopping to marvel over the seasonal sights...this toadstool looks as if it is wearing a tutu...
An ancient and gnarled tree with roots that reminded me of huge hands.
Old Man's Beard.
So many sloes. The branches are heavy with them. I think we'll have to make sloe gin this year. And the hedgerows are full of berries of all kinds.
It was a beautiful morning.
Friday, 1 November 2013
I've just been to the printer and seen the proofs for four of my card designs. I feel really excited! They will be printed next week, in time for my sale.
One of my proofs....
Two other designs as well.
And the caravan.
I am pleased that the brightness of the colours has not been muted.
I know that a few people kindly expressed an interest in purchasing some cards. I'll pop details up when they are printed and I've worked out the prices.
Have a lovely weekend one and all!