Wednesday, 17 December 2014

J & J Cash Lapin

My little Grand daughter loves rabbits, and yes she soon learnt the French name at her French Play Group.  I was delighted to find this picture which I hope in years to come will remind her of her early days...

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Muesli Stangen

When I had borrowed The Book of Buns by Jane Mason three times from the Library, and needed to take it back in order to renew it again, I realised I had to buy it.  Usually I play the safe game and try out the recipes which only really totally appeal to me.  However I have caught the bug of a 'Lets bake the recipes from the book of buns' bakealong, which I found on Facebook, when I was googling one of the recipes.  This has made me bake recipes that I would probably have left alone.

I've learnt techniques from trying bun recipes I would not necessarily have tried, which  I have added to my repertoire, and can also now apply to my most favourite recipes.   My latest 'bun' has been these Muesli Stangen.  I had one for my breakfast this morning, but it was eschewed by my dearly beloved which did not surprise me as he is not a muesli fan.  I found them really satisfying, and will be able to take the odd one out of the freezer as a post gym snack.  It was during one of the rising times when I phoned Vickie, and I said I would post a picture of them for her.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

New tin and new cake recipe

I was very happy to receive an early Christmas present from Penny.  Not only did I get my bundt tin which I had hinted that I would like, but also a long narrow loaf tin which came in the same pack from Lidl.  Thanks so much Penny.

On Friday when David went out for his curry evening with friends, I was going to make my first cake in the bundt tin, but instead opted to try the long tin.  I chose Mrs Post's Lemon Drizzle recipe from How to Bake by Paul Hollywood.

I had not made any lemon curd so used extra lemon peel, and also used a couple of tablespoons of cream cheese which needing using up.  Penny would approve of this.  We were only talking recently of our little foible of using everything up, and not wasting food!

At the same time, well in between, I was washing and drying two of the lovely Maluka scarves knitted in hand dyed cashmere from Posh Yarns, in a lovely shade of Robin's eggs.  We normally see the Robin's red breast at Christmas, and I thought this was a lovely link for the Christmas theme.  After I knitted my first Maluka scarf  in a beautiful pale green, which I sent to a dear cousin in the Netherlands during the summer, I knitted these two during a knit along with my Kenilworth knitting friends.  I think we have knitted quite a few between us.  I have had this yarn stashed away for some time, and its been lovely to knit with.  I have enough to knit a third just for myself!  I had a long evening to myself, and boy did I spread over the whole of the living room floor.  By the morning the scarves were dry, and I got the space cleared before he upstairs came down!

Dorset Buttons

I've been enchanted by Dorset Buttons for some time.  A few years ago I bought a little booklet from the Goldhill Museum in Shaftesbury by Marion Howitt.  I've looked up the topic via google, and they are all more or less based on this booklet.  Its explanations are quite difficult to follow, but it a question of having a go, reading and rereading the instructions, and building up one's own techniques and skills.  I even bought a little kit at the time.  I've made buttons for a cushion.

At about this time of year I start to think of a little individual Christmas decoration to make, usually it is a small heart.  David put up the Christmas Tree yesterday, and in our box of bits and pieces out came examples from previous years that I had forgotten about.  It all started about 20 years ago when I bought some lovely decorated hearts from a colleague, when I hardly knew now to use a needle.

Reading one of Tracy Chevalier's wonderful novels called Burning Bright reminded me of the delightful little buttons.  In Georgian times people earned their living making these buttons, which were very popular.  This was an inspiration for the little decorative buttons on my hearts this year.

This year out came a piece of fabric which was part of a bunting pack of fabrics, just the right shade a pale blue, and with my silks, a few beads, and some brass rings, I have been fiddling of an evening.  It takes me an evening to make one button!  I suppose I could make a couple, but this is all around making the dinner, watching TV and chatting with hubby.

You should see the mess around me...pieces of fabric, rings, beads, beading needle, sharp short needle with large eye, and large blunt needle for the weaving part, scissors, and threads.  I started with a simple one a couple of weeks ago, which I sewed onto a heart, and into the stuffing, I put in a small piece of cloth impregnated with essential oils, to act as a room scenter, then later perhaps to scent a drawer or act as a moth repellent hanging from a coat hanger.   The first one was sent off to London with a pot of my cranberry relish as a little Christmas present.

I have since changed the essential oil to that of rose geranium.  I have a small bottle which was bought years and years ago when we visited the Domaine de L'Ylang Ylang in Mauritius.  Opening the little bottle reminded me of the wonderful day we had there walking around the plantation and watching the distillation process.  The views out to the sea in this quiet and green south east corner of the island are magical.

The first step is to cover the ring which I did with embroidery thread.

then for my second  button I decided to try using small beads.  The very long thin button is called a beading needle which is thin enough to go through the smallest of my beads.

on a third button I used white thread for the outside and also beads, and used different stitches.

With a variety of buttons, I now have some hearts to finish off.

The most difficult one so far, and I shall try to work on my technique to get the centre 'centred', and the spokes a little more even, if that of the Lace Shirtwaister.  I could only make this after I had covered the ring with blanket stitch, as without this,  windings just slipped off the brass ring.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

A Coruna last stop

I did a lot more looking than snapping on this stop.  We were lucky enough to 'park up' almost alongside the old part of the City.

With most of the shops shut as well as the Castillo de San Anton, we were very pleased to find the home of Emilia Pardo Bazan open.  Its just a small entrance off the street, and the living quarters are found up a flight of steps.  The interior is well furnished and gives an interesting insight into the domestic layout of a City 'salon' of the late 19th early 20th century.

This 14th century Santa Maria Church is offset from the main hubbub of the town, and well worth a little detour.  The streets in the old part were really quiet, but I guess with places shut its not surprising.

The Plaza de Maria Pita was large and surrounded by delightful departments

I often am not disappointed by looking at the roofline and find quirky details

If the city can be as cool as it was that day, I am not surprised that an architectural detail typical of the older buildings  are the windowed balconies. 

We stopped in a cafe and after a while a lovely English lady came up to us to 'apologise' for the weather.  She was now living in the City and said that it had been really lovely just a few days ago.

After this we had another full day on board ship.  By this time we well into the swing of things, timing our transit from one activity to another, with a recital in between, and getting ready for our formal dinning evenings, with concerts and dancing afterwards.  

We always found time to walk round the deck, look at the sea and sky, and even find rainbows in the spray off the crests of the waves.

We met and chatted with many people.  One gentleman had been on over 50 cruises, and another couple seem not be able to last more than a few months back home, before looking out for a bargain trip.  You certainly are well looked after and cossetted, but I feel that to explore the Cities we stopped at, you really need to have several days to get to fully enjoy the places.