I love this stage in the year when so much is green and vibrant and when little seeds I have planted are now springing forth:
Don't you just love the smell of Basil? And for the first time I have had success with some lettuce (mazuma I think?) in a pot
Then there is the little strawberry plant in a pot which I have had for several years now and which keeps on producing fruit - just outside the kitchen door where I can see the red ripe berries
And then there's the potatoes which I planted at the end of March which are doing very well indeed. In fact even better than this photo which was taken a couple of weeks ago now - where does the time go?
I wouldn't call myself a gardener but I am learning and I love the fact that it is very much a question of 'have a go and see what happens' rather than about being too precise. The lawn needs another mowing but here it is freshly cut with the evening sun casting lattice shadows across it
I'm off to the garden museum in London today with a very dear friend who is off to South Africa on Saturday for a month to work with vulnerable adults and children with aids. I shall take my camera and share some pics of the museum and it's apparently wonderful cafe, (www.gardenmuseum.org.uk)another time.
Unfortunately his sister Molly has been missing for 3 weeks and we fear has been taken by the local foxes!! Despite flyers to neighbouring houses (she is microchipped and has a collar with our address on) she has not been seen since she disappeared on 28th May.
Max is coping and in fact he is a different cat! He seems to prefer being the only animal to be loved round here! He has been with me all morning here in my office, asleep on the patchwork quilt covered couch!
Do you remember last year (about August I think) when I had a few friends round for a crafty evening? Let's see if I can link to that page on the blog. Well, ever since then we have been trying to get together again. Firstly we thought it would be Christmas but everyone was too too busy. Then January (in readiness for Valentine's day) but no, then we thought maybe Easter but people were away so eventually we managed to find a date when we could all get together and it was yesterday.
So there was bread baking (actually my favourite recipe - Courtland's Potato rolls which I always make on Christmas eve) the traditional way. Recipe will follow at some point.
After the initial rising, I kneaded the dough again and then moulded it into rolls and covered them with wet teacloths and put them in the fridge over night. I remember I used to do this regularly on a Friday when I was at home with the little people so that we always had fresh rolls and homemade soup on Saturday for lunch, and of course they often helped me prepare the dough! I just loved that time.
Then for my crafty friends there were goody bags to make. This time I thought I would do fabric bags and make it pretty simple by adding a pot of homemade apricot jam, a crocheted flower with a pin on the back so it could be used as a brooch or added to a bag, a recipe for the chocolate chip cookies I made for them and a scenic postcard from my great photographer friend Dave Newbould.
Here are all the things spread out on my lovely Cath Kidston tablecloth.
the scenic postcards from Dave and recipe cards
homemade apricot jam
crocheted flowers in colours to match the fabric bags below
here they are all lined up on the piano awaiting collection. So what else did we do? In the end only three could come (there were five scheduled) so after arriving around 6.30pm straight from work, we tucked into the meal I had prepared: baked camembert with crudites and Asian salad (a Jamie Oliver recipe from Christmas time which happens to be the favourite of the moment for hubby!) followed by a victoria sandwich filled with creme fraiche and homemade strawberry freezer jam and fresh strawberries and chocolate chip cookies!! it was all very yummy I have to say. Sorry there are no pictures of the goodies to eat but I don't know about you but it gets soooo busy in the kitchen that the last thing I think of most of the time is getting the camera out!!!
Then we set about making necklaces. One of my friends (the one who is into jewellery making) brought some gorgeous wooden beads and leather string and we had such fun choosing our colours and making up a pattern. We had agreed that we would each make one necklace for one of our friends (who hadn't been able to come) who was going out on a scholarship to the US to Bible School. We thought she might be able to sell the necklaces either before she went or over there to raise some funds. Would you like to see how they turned out?
Then my other contribution apart from the food was to show everyone some rubber stamping techniques so we could make cards to go with the necklaces. Check out the designs above. We were really pleased with our evenings work. Let's hope our friend can sell them too. I must admit I really loved working with these wooden beads - just feeling them was so therapeutic. I think I might have to make a visit to the bead shop when I am next in London!!!
I just had to pop in quickly to tell you what fun I had this week on a course run by Gillian Harris at www. gilliangladrag.co.uk . I booked at the beginning of the year and this was the first course I could get on to as she gets very busy. But I have to say it was SO worth it. Gillian has a beautiful studio at the back of her house in the garden, full of fun felted things and querky art pieces all highly colourful and bright. We watched Gill show us the first steps to felting a felted bag from scratch and before you know it there we were with our templates busy designing the outside and the inside of our bags (or tea cosies, you have a choice!) and choosing from her huge yarn stack. The whole process is labour intensive but I found it quite therapeutic. There was much rubbing the wool/felt with soapy hands with a layer of net curtain in between. We had lunch in the garden - delicious baked camembert cheese and crudites, quiche and salad, followed by carrot and orange cake and then it was back to rinsing, rinsing, rolling with a bamboo blind and more rinsing and then finally we got to see how it all turned out and to get on a make some handles. It was a busy day - on the go the whole time -but so productive and I was SO pleased with the result. I highly recommend it if you are in the area and even if you are not there is, apparently, a delightful b & b nearby which two people who were on the course with me (who came from Scotland!) were staying at and they said it was just great. And, yes, I did buy the kit and the book so I can make more like the one below - well I just couldn't say no to that could I??????
Even the inside has a design, although the photo is very fuzzy (sorry about this!).
I am hoping to post more regularly again very soon. Lots of things to show and tell!