Friday, 28 February 2014

February nearly gone

After a few days of tolerable weather, today it is cold, windy and with wintery precipitation...sometimes rain, sometimes sleet.  I am not feeling on top of the world!

I have lost my lovely brown gloves...we have turned the house upside down, mentally traced steps since last used, looking, and phoning up, etc.  I must now wait patiently and if they are to be found, they will be found! They will appear...

Meanwhile I have been trying to cheer myself up, looking at the photos I have taken so far this month.

A few remind me of the glad times...a nice chocolate cake for someone special:

A few days away at one of our favourite seaside places meant stopping en route at Anglesey Abbey.  This small area of Silver Birches is doing very well, the last time I saw these was over six years ago.
Their bark shimmered in the bright low winter sun.

A few bird pictures... the first was of the closed ferry crossing to Walberswick.

There were many gulls waiting on we walked down the working side to the old railway crossing and were rewarded this view of the Little Egret just a few meters from the path.

And at Blythburgh Church one of the Angles with bird like wings from the roof taken down and now above the entrance, all painted up.

I was doing my shopping for the cake etc on Valentine's eve, and looked at the beautiful roses, then wandered down the fruit mind wandering: roses.."Roses Lime Marmalade" came up just I was passing the limes, so a few nets went into my Voila Valentine Marmalade made on Valentine's Day...

I took knitting, reading, and calligraphy to The Swan Hotel where we had an enormous room..Room 5, with a really wide super king size bed, no zips! and so much room otherwise too, a walk in cupboard, and two large armchairs, and a desk!  I finished my  Lime coloured potholders there.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Crassula Falcata Buddha's Temple

What a name, what a succulent...

I love and admire the beautiful patterns of nature, and I enjoy having a variety of succulents.  I prefer succulents as without their spines, they are much kinder on the hands.  They bring a little of the exotic to my indoor garden, and in the summer they stand nicely on my pebble garden.

When my friend Kevin mentioned this crassula to me, I knew I would love it, and also it reminds me of my sister...on account of its name.

It first came to me via Kevin as a small plant, well labelled, about as long and thick as my thumb.  It must be about three years ago.  When I first got it, I wondered how it was propagated etc.  Now it has grown long and is curling around an old paper knife which I had had since a girl.  Its end broke but it makes a lovely exotic stake!

It now looks as if it is going to flower, so I shall wait to see if it does.  Since last summer it has started to grow size shoots arising from the axil of a few leaves, so it is these which I shall slice off and try to get rooted.  The lower part of the main stem is growing bare as the very oldest leaves are shriveling and I cannot resist pulling them off to see whether there are any insects lurking.  I have very little knowledge in growing these plants, so maybe I have not been doing quite the right thing.

Needless to say, I was inspired to write this today, as I received an email from Kevin today mentioning another Crassula falcata with a completely different leaf form but with a good flower, known as airplane this another one to add to my collection?

Monday, 10 February 2014

Easy Shortbread Squares by the Hairy Bikers

I had six tokens for biscuits, cakes or pudding and a couple of weeks ago I cashed in my first one.

When I got in from a Saturday out knitting, this is what greeted me...and the smell was divine.  Its such a trick of nature that if you are baking you just do not get the rush of the scent, but if someone else bakes and you come to is just wonderful.

This is from a chap who does not bake.  He goes to the book shelf, gets out a book, ( He likes the Hairy Bikers: well they are chaps who like motorbikes and have beards)....chooses a recipe, checks he has all the ingredients, and then just makes them.  He used homemade blackcurrant jam instead of raspberry as there was none in the cupboard.  These were made for blackcurrant jam! I realize now that I have found the recipe why he chose it.  It is called Easy Shortbread Squares...but it involves freezing the pastry then grating it etc...I don't think I would have chosen this recipe just from reading it, so it goes to show that there is more than one baker in this home!  I can't wait to see what the other five vouchers bring.  Thanks a lot darling!

Half of these went into the freezer, four pieces went to Roz who kindly invited me to help her harvest her blackcurrant bushes back in the summer, and allowed me to return home with a couple of pounds for jam making.

And for the return bake this weekend, a batch of Lazybones Buns again from The Big Book of Baking by the Hairy Bikers, but substituted mace for the cinnamon of which Mr S is not fond.

Early Spring

I took these pictures a few days ago.  The snowdrops were definitely up in January, which is the earliest I have known them in my garden.

This year I very nearly coined them raindrops.  In between the many heavy cloudbursts, I took these:

This clump of double ones and some more of single ones, and a ray of sunshine bringing out the bright red on this Euphorbia.  I'm not sure of the name, but it has wonderful  green flowers later in the year.


This term I am trying very hard to learn copperplate...getting used to my nib, spoiling it, then starting again with a new one....just as I think it is the nib, I get my teacher to write something, and it is perfect.  So it is me, I need to practise, and what do they say: practice makes perfect...I am happy with the not so perfect, not looking like it was downloaded as a perfect script and printed, and just looking like I have made some effort.

Calligraphy and working on various little projects is me dipping my toe into 'artistic pursuits'.

In the meantime, I have taken to looking for appropriate lines from poems or noting down a few phrases, and as they bring friends to mind, I made them a book mark.  Quite appropriate really:

A bookmark: an artifact such as a piece of paper that you put in a book, to mark a place.  Something which may soon be completely useless as the march of 'virtual books' progresses.  I use all types of items such as postcards or photographs to mark pages..and even if it is years later that I come upon them again, they are carry me right back to the moment and reason I first chose them.  So I thought I would start to make some...

Hand Written:  Again an action which is quickly becoming something which is consigned to marginal tasks...Calligraphy is still a pleasurable art.  I even practise my scripts on my shopping list and my to do lists!

So I call my little bookmarks 'Folk Art', for when books with paper are no longer used this is all these bookmarks will be.

 I have a friend with a new loom, who is busy exploring pretty patterns with her own spun yarn.  Another who loves Oscar Wilde, and another who loves trees...

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sad goodbye to J and J Cash Ltd

Just heard the news that J & J Cash have gone into receivership

I am so sorry to hear this. 

Since writing up about the silk pictures in December 2008 which I have bought and enjoyed I have had many people visit my blog: over 13000 on this topic alone.