Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Monday, November 05, 2012
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Living off the land...
There aren't many things as satisfying as going out into your own garden and getting the fruit and veg that you are going to cook for dinner. With all the rain that we've been having the veg have been pretty slow in coming (the tomatoes, now that there are any, are still all green, even in the greenhouse) but the fruit - oh, the fruit! - is amazing this year. We are having an absolute glutt of plums, and green gages, and apples and pears.
The green gages are all gone now, but the victoria plums are just coming online so tonight I went out there and I picked a little bowl full of them and made a dish that brings back a lot of childhood memories for me: Zwetschgenknoedel (plum dumplings), which is a dish from Germany / Bohemia. The plums are wrapped in a thin layer of quark dough (just quark, flour and a pinch of salt), are cooked in simmering water until they float. They are then cut open, sprinkled liberally with sugar and drizzled with melted butter. DELICIOUS!
Poor D was all shook up though, because he was having pudding for dinner. I think the idea of eating a sweet dish as a main meal is more German than British...
Of course the lads were sceptical, so I also dug up the first lot of little new potatoes (which were beautiful - aren't the first new potatoes always the best?) and grilled the obligatory fish fingers. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if there is any government recommendation on how many fishfingers one family should eat. I'm sure we are well over the limit!
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Recap - May/June
|Listened to| My boys laughing and playing
|Read| Far too many exams and essays
|Watched| Mad Men
|Did| Marked and marked and marked. And when that was finished started on research for my next conference paper. Managed to secure a book contract. Also managed some knitting (pictures to come)
|Learned| Not to leave things too late
|Ate| Rice and Kimchi (my Korean heritage is making itself known)
|Drank| Peppermint tea
|Thought| A great many things, many of them to do with our expanding family
|Was happy| To see the newest addition to the household bounce around on the u/s screen
|Wished| for more time to spend with my family / to work / to sleep
|Planned| the coming year
|Bought| not much - trying to budget for a year of maternity leave. But I did get the newest Sookie Stackhouse novel (Charlaine Harris).
Friday, April 01, 2011
The trouble with wool blankets...
... is that they take so long to make!
Over the past year I've been working on a grannysquare blanket. Not all the time, mind, just on and off. Sometimes I'd work on it for a few days, then I'd put it aside for a couple of weeks, and so on. Still, you'd think that I'd have enough squares for a decent-sized blanket my now, right? RIGHT?
Yes, so did I. And in the bag it looked like I had LOTS AND LOTS of squares, well enough for a blankie.
So I laid it all out on the floor - or rather, I tried to, while the Tickster was determined to thwart my efforts by taking it all apart again.
The thing looks tiny!
I'm so disheartened! Honestly, I think I'll need about the same amount again to get a decent size. It's not that it isn't fun to crochet the squares, and it's a good portable project too, but we are talking another 60 squares or so. Ugh!
Maybe it wants to be a little lap blanket instead...
Saturday, March 19, 2011
I finally hung some of my pictures:
These are my Nikki McClure prints which I've had for ages and I've been meaning to hang, just like that, for equally as long. It creates some continuity with 'Congregate', which is presiding over the place where we hang the coats.
Anyway, we'd been meaning to hang these prints for ages. The holdup was that our walls are so bad, so every time we tried to hammer a nail into the wall bits of plaster would come off, creating a big hole in the wall and making the whole process of hanging pictures a nightmare of frayed nerves, swearing and bickering. Then a friend of mine introduced me to these:
They revolutionised our life! No more lumps of plaster falling off, no more wobbly, bent nails in the wall. You hammer them in and they are solid. There is the small draw-back of them being impossible to remove once they are in the wall - they will be there for eternity I fear. As I found out when I managed to whack one of the hooks off with a too-enthusiastic swing of the hammer. I had to put another hook in next to it because the damaged one coming out? No chance.
Anyway, I digress... The six pictures being up I felt inspired to do other things. I hung another picture that I bought recently. It's themed around a Morissey quote: "There's more to life than books you know, but not much more". I love it.
Together with Say's artwork (thank you so much Say, it makes me happy everytime I look at it!) this makes the living room complete as far as pictures are concerned. :-)
I was on a roll. We've recently ut some of the stuff in the sheds on ebay and today someone came to pick up a bathtub, so I had a good look around and dug out a tattered but quite cute little chest of drawers:
Battered but cute, no? I think I will whitewash it, because it's been painted before and it just doesn't get any cleaner than that. (Lorry made out of cardbord boxes and plastic trays sitting on the chest of drawers curtesy of the Bean)
I also dragged out another cupboard. It used to be full of tools at my MIL's. No idea where it was from originally, but D reckons it was someone in his family. Still have to take a picture of it but it has found a new home in our bathroom.
Sometimes, Grandma days are great! And tomorrow we'll take the lads to the carboot and then spend the day playing in the garden. :-)
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Ten on Tuesday - Favourite Smells
Vanilla pods – I’ve always loved the smell. Delicious.
Christmas baking – of course all baking is lovely, but there is something about Christmas cookies in the oven and that smell of cinnamon and cloves, and Christmas spices that just encapsulates everything that is magical about Christmas.
The sea – that salty smell. Difficult to describe what it is about that, but I love it.
Spring – earthy, moist, fertile. There is a distinctive smell to spring, when the earth wakes up and the first fresh shoots are starting to appear. It brings it with it all the joy of the changing season and longer days and warmer weather and the promise of another summer spent in the garden.
Roses – delicate, fragile, decadent, delicious. Beautiful flowers, beautiful scent.
Mint – fresh and zingy. I love mint anyway – peppermint tea is one of my favourites, and just the whole idea of picking a few leaves and crushing them in my hand and getting this lovely scent from them is beautiful I think. Such a powerful scent from such an unimpressive looking plant.
Lavender – old-fashioned and nostalgic.
Babies – everything about babies is delicious. Especially newborns. Difficult to describe what they actually smell of, but there is something about their delicate and precious little selves and that warm baby smell, all milky and snugly, that is irresistible I think.
Fresh bread – what’s not to love?
Old books – yes, that weird, fusty, slightly mouldy smell of old books is one of my favourites. Don’t ask... I guess it has something to do with my love of books, not just to read but also as objects . Somehow that mildew-y smell is comforting and calming to me, reminding me of happy days spent hidden away at antiquarian bookshops and car boot sales digging through dusty old tomes. And yes, I do realise that this is a bit odd.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Ten on Tuesday
1. Crocus and snowdrops
2) Warmer days - there are still a lot of cold days, that's for sure, but you get the occasional warm day that makes you think you can smell spring and damp soil and fresh growth, and all those other things that make you realise that the earth is waking up again.
3) The days post D's exams which are soon. So March is always tied up with that lovely feeling of having the exams over and of having the summer ahead of us.
4) longer days - every day just a little bit more daylight
5) Gardening season is approaching - towards the end of February and the beginning of March I start getting impatient and I start looking through seed catalogues and clearing the shed to get to the puts for my veg this year. So exciting to know that in a few weeks time it's all going to start!
6) getting out with the kids more - playing in the garden, going to the playground...
7) the first leaves of the daffodils peeking out.
8) Things generally start happening - everything seems to speed up around this time
9) We start thinking about Easter - making things, talking about it all - with the kids these things seem to take on a whole new meaning.
10) And last but not least, Spring officially arrives in March
Friday, February 18, 2011
... can sometimes be fun. Not always, and I'm not really a winter person, but at this time of year sometimes there are days when the sun comes out and you get a hint of spring in the air. It never stays, because it's really far too early, but nonetheless, it's a bit of warmth and light in this grey season.
The last time this happened, a few days ago, we spent a happy couple of hours in the garden, and there are signs of life! Bean spotted a ladybird, and we all went round to spot all the fresh green shoots of daffodils and bluebells and the little white flowers of the snowdrops.
Then I tried to take a few pictures of the lads so I could get a canvas print done for my dad's birthday. It didn't go so well...
The little monkeys have decided to become photo-shy...
I'm doing a knitting update soon, but it's been so dreary that it seems just impossible to get a decent photograph of anything.
Ten on Tuesday...
... well, Ten on Friday, really.
Since I missed last Friday (it's been a crazy couple of weeks) I thoguht I'd use the 'Ten on Tuesday' prompt to list a few more of my current favourites.
I'm really into family, vintage, and design blogs at the moment. Probably because I'm STILL shuffling things round in our house. Hey! It's only been 4 years or so since we moved here and considering we still haven't finished doing the house up I think I'm doing OK. Brought a whole stack of picure frames downstairs today, washed the fine black dust off that's covering everything upstairs in the attic ever since we had the lath and plaster ripped down in one of the rooms up there, and have started putting new pictures in. I'm envisioning a kind of collage of lots of small pictures with artwork in them in the lounge above the sofa. We'll see if I can convince D, since it will be him who will attempt to put the necessary nails in our brittle walls. Our walls are terrible, which is why I'm not permitted to play around with hammer and nails - every time you knock those walls too hard a chunk of plaster seems to fall off. I guess that's what you get when you cut corners (and save money) and just put a skim coat of plaster on some really rubbish walls...
Anyway, as I said, design blogs are IT right now. I'm still reading my regular blogs, but I thought I'd share some of my new (and old) favourites. Here we go:
Soulemama - this is an old favourite. I just love everything about this blog. The writing, the photographs, how inspiring Amanda's take on life and family is.
The SleepyTime Gal - beautiful photographs, inspiring stories and ideas.
Made - it celebrates BOYS this year. I happen to have to of those at home. Need I say more? ;-)
Procrastination Mama - lovely blog, interesting links to other places on the web (MORE design blogs, heh!)
No Monsters in My Bed - again, lovely blog, pretty photography, interesting links
A Beautiful Mess - Vintage, yay!!
Design*Sponge - I've liked this blog for quite some time. It's a good mix of new design, vintage, revamping of old things to give them a new look, and it always has good links to all sorts of design websites and shops online.
Bluebirdbaby - inspiring posts with beautiful photography
The Coffee Lady - quirky, funny and thoughtful.
Prairie Mouse - crafts AND food. Need I say more?
Drago[knit]fly - crafts, sowing, quilting.
(Picture is of Kipper, lounging on a fence top, surveilling his territory)