Friday, May 30, 2008

Meg. Being. Helpful.

This is what I was referring to earlier. She starts off by sidling up and casually laying her tail across my laptop.
Then she nudges her head beside, and a little bit on it.
And when I move my attention to a book, this is the result!!!

What a cat.

A Bee and A Friend

The last week has seen the bees return to our bush just outside the kitchen window. Every time I step out the door I hear the whole bush buzzing. I LOVE the bees.
And this is Meg keeping me company in my shed. Usually I put a blanket on my desk for her to sit on because she likes to be as NEAR to me as possible (preferably sitting on me or sitting on my laptop), but I wasn't quite expecting her today so she's making do with my rug on the floor. It's lovely to have her company, but it limits my movement as she's very disapproving if I move around at all, or make any noise. But she's so cute.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Things Grow

I'm so impressed. Our potatoes and chillies are actually growing. It's amazing!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Factory

After dropping Hagos off at the bus station this morning for his gig in London, I came home with a list of stuff to do. Stuff that I would normally consider fun, but because it was in a list it felt oppressive and like it wouldn't be fun at all.

So I decided to begin by setting the scene. I lit a fire, washed the dishes and set to work making my chocolate meringues. I've been promising my work colleagues I'd make them meringues for months now. Everyone is on a diet and we decided meringues dipped in chocolate wouldn't be too calorific because meringues are mostly air.

Once I'd started mixing the egg whites and the sugar with my super new electric whisk that my mum and dad got me for Christmas I started enjoying myself.

Above is the finished result and I think everyone will be pleased with them tomorrow.I then went into overdrive and finished making three skirts. I love this.
And this.

And I especially love this: the hydrangea material my sister got me for my birthday. I think it's my favourite. It's so bold and colourful and it has a connection to my granny and my sister.

Now I just have the Kaffe Fassett Daisy Green skirt to finish, and then I will be finished all my skirts! I almost have one for every day of the week.

I'm currently reading Paradise by A L Kennedy, and so far I'm absolutely loving it. Finally, an A L Kennedy that I like! Now I'm going to watch Pushing Daisies (again), our new favourite programme, and relax on the couch with something nice to drink.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pasta e fagioli

It was my turn to cook again last night so I thought I'd try this dish from one of Nigella's cook books, pasta e fagioli. Or borlotti beans and pasta stewy-soup. I even soaked the borlotti beans all day (no tinned beans here). The only difference was I didn't have any fresh rosemary, so opted instead to flavour it with half a jar of pesto! It was quite simple and wholesome and good. Here is my version:
It looks fairly similar. I had to sieve out some of the cooking juice before I added the blended beans because it was too watery. Anyway, Hagos liked it (went back for seconds) so that's all that matters.

Next week Hagos is away on Saturday night so I said I'd cook on Friday night instead. I already have the pudding planned (because after we'd eaten dinner last night he asked what was for dessert - nothing). So I think I might tend towards a lighter dinner.

I'm really enjoying cooking once a week. It takes me the whole week to plan and prepare for the one meal. And because I can't actually cook myself it means I have to follow recipes out of cook books, which means I try stuff we don't usually have.

Note to Hagos and Pete - Friday's dessert is going to be amazing!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rowan past and present

I was looking through my old Rowan magazines yesterday because my friend wanted me to teach her how to crochet granny squares and I remembered there was a pattern in one of the magazines.
As well as discovering the granny square pattern I came across all these sweet patterns for making frogs, fish and love hearts, and a top, a bag, a hot water bottle cover, cushion covers and toiletries bags.
And the occasional tail.
That's what I really loved about the old magazines - they had a great mix of things to make. Not just knitting but small sewing projects as well. I particularly like the little cloth for the tray.
This is the last Rowan magazine I like. After that they seemed to lose the plot. Multi-layers and confusing photographs so that I couldn't tell what I was supposed to be looking at. All knitted garments that cost a FORTUNE to make. And no small projects to whip up in an afternoon over a pot of tea, and no sewing patterns either. A real shame.
While I was releasing a slug back into the wild that I'd found attached to Meg's underbelly (yuck) I saw this amazing creature on my bush outside our living room window. I particularly liked its furry ears. No idea what it is.
And talking of amazing creatures - look who was on hand to help me finish slip stitching the lining of my skirt to the zip. One of the most intricate jobs and Meg was there walking all over the skirt and nudging and bumping into me.

That's two skirts completely finished, and still four more to go!

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm growing chillies and potatoes* (see caveat)

This is my chilli plant. And below are my potatoes.
The caveat is that I'm growing them now, but up until yesterday they were being grown and nurtured by our friends Janie and Ba (below, with Hagos) who are growing-things-people extraordinaire.

The chilli seeds were given to us by Hagos's brother and his family for Christmas, but we adopted them out to Janie to give them any kind of a chance at life. And yesterday she gave us a chilli plant back. We've put it in the bathroom on top of the beams where we get the most sunlight in the house, and apparently there are only two golden rules: don't let them dry out, and don't over-water them.

I was very excited when they gave us some of their potatoes as well. I can't wait till August when we can eat them! I just hope Meg leaves them alone. She was out there this morning digging in the pot.

I really love the idea of growing things, I've just never had much luck keeping house plants alive. Given the success of managing to keep the chillies and potatoes alive overnight, I'm even thinking of going to the garden centre and buying some tomato plants.
I don't know why I took a photo of everyone in a bus shelter. There were many more beautiful places to take photographs in the day, including their lovely back garden and house, and the country walk we took to the garden centre where we had coffee.
And continuing the theme of success - here are my pizzas I made for dinner on Saturday night. I also did a salad. Even Hagos said the pizzas were delicious, though he kept going on about how much raw garlic I'd put on top!

Now I just have to think of what to cook this Saturday night.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

What do you do on a warm summer's day?

Sleep on the picnic table, of course.

Monday, May 05, 2008


Thanks to Anna Maria Horner I discovered tonight that my Kaffe Fassett Verbena Cobalt material reminds me of Hydrangea bushes. Phew!!! It's been driving me mad. My Granny had blue and pink hydrangeas in her garden, I think. And red berries we were told a thousand times that the birds could eat but we couldn't or we would die. That was enough to ensure our compliance.

Whenever I'm nearby I always walk past my Granny's old house. She had an upstairs neighbour called Maud, who didn't have a telly. We wondered what she did all day. Listened to the radio, she said. That sounded a bit boring to us. Next door lived Elsie who made rag dolls. She made me a couple and I wish I still had them. The clothes on the dolls were lovely. And the other side was Mona who had the sweet shop, where we headed every Saturday as soon as we had our pocket money. My Granny always made the most delicious tattie soup that none of us can replicate, and had a shop bought madeira cake with icing on top. Every Saturday. I'd love to be able to go and visit her for a Saturday tomorrow.

Well, I'm a bit teary today. I'm premenstrual, which is why. I have to keep reminding myself so I don't take it seriously. But being premenstrual means I'm also vague, so I keep forgetting. D'Oh!

Buttons and Toblerone

I finally finished the bags by sewing the button closures on. I did it when I was very tired and got very grumpy with the fiddliness of it. Sewing the ribbon on was particularly unsatisfactory. In fact, I don't much like this method of closing the bags at all and think in future I might sew a flap of material over and fasten it with velcro? stud closure? Something better anyway.
Today I REALLY wanted to buy a big bar of Toblerone (a new, favourite programme of ours is Pushing Daisies, which is sponsored by Toblerone), sit in a cafe, order a pot of loose leaf Earl Grey tea and read a good book. What I actually did was: drive to the gym, spotted that the pool was empty, practically ran down the stairs to get changed, and then swam for half a hour in an empty pool, finished off by a ten minute sauna. It was so nice. And by the time I got home I'd got over my craving for Toblerone.

Friday, May 02, 2008

End of the Week

I'm SO tired tonight. I can hardly stay awake and have been yawning since midday. I've had a couple of intense weeks at work. I work on crown court trials. At the beginning of the intensity I was terrified I wasn't going to get everything done on time (crown court deadlines are ABSOLUTE) but by the end of the first week I was completely in control of everything and this week I've been enjoying working on problem solving and liaising with people and being an organisational WHIZZ. But I expend a lot of energy in the process. Which is why I'm glad it's Friday night and I've had a bath and have my pyjamas on and am now wrapped up in a blanket on the couch. For some reason it feels particularly luxurious to have my bare feet wrapped in the blanket.???

Above is the transfer I'm thinking of embroidering onto green cotton to sew onto the front of Keigan's jumper. I discovered the size I'm knitting is for a 1 - 2 year old, which gives me a bit more time to finish it. Though I do want to finish it in the next month if possible. I thought about embroidering his name underneath too.
With my lovely assistant Joyce to help me, I chose the green and semi-transparent blue buttons for my bag closures, along with the velvet ribbon below. There were a lot of very nice buttons in the shop. One cost £3.23. Joyce had just screeched, "For one button?" when the sales assistant appeared round the corner and informed us it had been imported from Italy. It was lovely. The other little bluey-green buttons were only 10p each and I just got them because I like them.

Thursday, May 01, 2008