Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Around Town

I walked into town after work last Friday to leave my flute in a for a service - and since the shop is closed for lunch, it was a slow walk. Luckily it was a lovely day, and I got to see the more cultural end of Temple Bar, which isn't normally somewhere I pass through...

The first one isn't actually part of that walk at all, it's the Christmas window display in the local bakery near work.

Then we have some utility box art celebrating Handel's Messiah, just outside Christchurch. Love the hat the fiddle player is wearing!

The back entrance to Dollard & Co , this is the staircase...

Window boxes in the Clarence Hotel

I've often walked past Christchurch and have never gone into the grounds to see what this is - it's a memorial to the Armenian Genocide.

And this last one, I couldn't find any information about. It's beside the back entrance to the Smock Alley Theatre, and is obviously an interpretation of the stars and constellations, but I'm not sure what the boat represents.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

December Favourites...

Happy New Year!

This month's header is from the knitted wreath which I finished just in time to hang for the holidays in 2018. I can see that, thanks to my sore shoulder, I'm going to be short of real photos for headers this year.

I can't believe that I, a knitter, stamped the needles the wrong way in this sheep's hands - I ascribe it to tiredness. But I liked the meadow background.

This next one is a canvas, about 9 inches by 6. I added a hanging loop before gifting it, but I like it and will probably make it again for myself.

The butterfly is vellum. I love adding Stickles - it cockles the vellum and adds both shape and strength.

A new illustrator for Purple Onion Stamps, I couldn't resist a couple of these little animals from Julian Charlton. They reminded me a lot of the black and white illustrations in the Moomin books - a childhood favourite which I am slowly collecting again in the special editions.

We were expecting a friend of C's for the day on Boxing Day - but like so many, he was sick and unable to travel. I scaled down the dinner menu - ditching the starter which was going to be a green bean salad from The French Laundry, and substituting Thai rice for the dauphine potatoes (which I had really been looking forward to), but having already taken the duck out of the freezer I was committed to it. And having spare real, homemade, custard in the fridge from an ice-cream making session, I was also semi-committed to the Chocolate Fondant desserts - I can't remember the last time I made those. I halved the recipe, to make four, and we had them oven-fresh two days in a row - as you can keep them in the fridge quite well for a day before cooking. 
The duck  with Asian-style plums recipe was a new one from Diana Henry's From the Oven to the Table. So far everything I've tried from it has been a success, though C says he thinks the sausages baked with apples, blackberry (and maple syrup if I remember correctly) would be nicer with couscous than the suggested potato. 

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Christmas Wishes

Peaceful wishes for Christmas to all my cyber friends.

Christmas baking - the Bûche de Noël for dessert on Christmas Eve, and a brioche for breakfast on Christmas morning. At the time of writing this, we haven't yet had the brioche, but I took the advice of a workmate to try using some Italian 00 flour (he'd just been using some for traditional soft bread-rolls from the part of the country he comes from), and it certainly rose beautifully and feels lovely and light.

I tried to make the Bûche a little less rich than last year when I used ganache and a cooked buttercream - and judging by C's verdict after eating the trimmings off the ends, I succeeded. I'm still using my mother's original recipe, which actually I think is  American and not French at all, as it comes from The Gold Cook Book by Louis P. De Gouy, who was the chef at the Waldorf Astoria for 30 years. It's my brother who has the book, but I have the recipe on an index card, and so far I've managed not to lose it. I guess, actually, since De Gouy's father was the "Esquire of Cuisine" in the royal courts in Belgium and Austria, it could have European roots.

I added four peacocks to the flock of birds adorning my tree this year - when I saw them in TK Maxx back in November I couldn't resist them; one has taken up a perch for the evening on the log. I appear to have lost the little sprig of holly I made for it a couple of years ago using an Impression Obsession die, so this time I cut a couple of sprays of ivy from Yupo, reckoning that it wouldn't get soggy even in contact with the cake.

The brioche recipe is from Stephen Harris in The Telegraph. We won't be having raspberry compote with ours, I bought some nice jam in a fine-food store.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

November Favourites

November was a pretty busy month, but I have a few cards I really liked to show at the end of it.
And one photo I took in the middle of the month, meant to upload and never got round to it - a lovely burst of autumn colour. We had a lot of dull grey days and a lot of rain, but when the sun did shine, the colours were beautiful.

This one was inspired by a shop window display in a florist's near work which I saw last year.

 And this one came about because I had been using bubblewrap with Brusho powders the week before, and a bit of the leftover piece made me think that in black, it would work well to echo the keys on this old typewriter. Sometimes I regret not keeping one of the ones I used to have, but then I remember how much effort it took to strike each key - especially the ones calling for the little fingers - and I am glad that modern keyboards are so much easier.

The header photo was taken in the park on a December day in 2017, I couldn't find any suitable photos in my files from last year. 

Friday, 1 November 2019

October Favourites

October seems to have vanished in the twinkling of an eye. I do have a few photos that I have meant to upload and not found the time...
This month's header is a photo taken in Phoenix Park two years ago - last November was very thin on the ground in terms of photos. From the number of cranes, it's obvious that the recession is over. I like the city views from the park. Even though it was a very overcast morning, I was able to enjoy them when I took an early lift into work with C this morning.

I also haven't had a lot of card making time this last month, but on the either hand I do really like a lot of what I managed to make.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

September Favourites

A good few favourite cards from last month - and a header photo from our visit to Giverny last October.

Monday, 23 September 2019


I liked the contrast of the white Cosmos against the green leaf - which is one of those tall decorative lily-type things, I can't think of the name. The ones in the Botanic Gardens were all orange, the ones we've seen in France tend to be a deep crimson.

(testing a new gadget on the blog)

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Floral Utility

A couple of weeks back I walked home through the park to take a couple of photos for a Flat Stanley project for someone. By the time I got to the park gates (well past the point of no return in terms of getting the bus), it started to rain. So I stopped for a few minutes to shelter till the worst of the shower was over. This utility box is just between the courthouse and the park gates. There were several more showers, but luckily not when I got to the point where I had planned to take photos.

I got my Tyvek out again and made this - I have another piece painted and sitting on the desk waiting to heat and then see what it will become. 

Sunday, 15 September 2019

More autumn colour

A quick look at the forecast and Saturday promised to be a lovely sunny morning - at least as far as current weather conditions go. So we set an alarm, got up in good time and took a visit to the Botanic Gardens.  Disappointed in the sculptures compared to previous years, but that wasn't why we had gone - we certainly enjoyed the rich colours and the warm sunshine. Today, in stark contrast, has been grey and drizzle or downright rain all day. We're glad of our dose of sunshine yesterday.

The bracket fungus looks like the porch for a little fairy house, I thought. And C thought the colchicums were so pristine that they were one of the sculptures.