Sunday, 28 February 2021

February Favourites...

 ...are thin on the ground. An anniversary card for a Dutch couple unable to have a big family celebration, and three others. The Paris one will, I think, be the card I use for our own anniversary in June.

I keep meaning to look for the litte verse that came with the china cat. I believe I still have it. I bought him in a gift shop in Kenmare, Co. Kerry, when we were camping there one summer, even before my parents moved down there. No wonder his glaze is a little crazed by now. 

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Spring is on the way...

 C is getting over oral surgery and I've had a sore back for the last few todays but this morning was mild and sunny, so after breakfast we took a quick trip to Farmleigh. At least lockdown #3 allows a 5km radius for exercise;  last year the first time C was able to get to Farmleigh was on our anniversary in June, because initially, if I recall, it was only 2 km. The walled and sunken gardens are still closed off, but even just walking along the drive and round the lake was very pleasant with some warmth, plenty of bird song and spring bulbs. The magnolias are all budding - we missed them last year. 

Friday, 5 February 2021

With sympathy

 I was very late sending a sympathy card to my sister-in-law. She's family, so I thought you don't normally send to family, but she's an in-law, so she's not blood family, and I really wanted to, so I thought better late then never. And then I had mislaid the card that I had pulled out to send, it got buried under a pile. So I found a card that wasn't a sympathy card but which I thought was suitable...I expect I shared it last year because I'm sure I liked it then...

By return, she requested a dozen sympathy cards for her own use - so I made six each of three designs and added six to my own stash. I hope these last her a good while - I sent her nine cards last January.

I think it goes without saying that the simplest set took longest, and went through more rejects and false starts. Even fussy-cutting all the flowers plus an extra blossom for each card went faster. 

Sunday, 31 January 2021

January Favourites

 I had a very busy first week in January - things calmed down a little after that and, despite the cold and grey, I have enjoyed some creative time. I'm also slowly chipping away at a traditional Aran sweater for C. Just as well he's in no hurry for it. 

Another of my Tyvek creations

Revistiting the Faux Cloisonne technique.  That seahorse is a green iceberg! Apparently about 10% of icebergs are green. It used to be thought that it was high levels of dissolved organic matter, but more recent research suggest that they might have a high iron content.

I also had fun making a never-ending card. It's been years and years since I made one  - although until recently I had a partially completed one on my desk. I think the recipients enjoyed it too, because their aunt forwarded me a video of them turning it from one page to the next. It was fun rummaging through my sentiments to find ones which would work with each of the Snoopy images.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Canal Walk

 Our temperatures fell below freezing last night, and we took a walk along the canal this morning secure in the knowledge that the current mud would be frozen solid and easy to walk along. The canal was glazing over, but it's not cold enough for that to last. 

The last two photos are some of the houseboats at the lock, seen from the bridge, and some large baubles hanging from the windows of one. A lot of them had strings of lights - they must have been very pretty to see at night. 

It was lovely to see, but I'm glad temperatures are due to rise again because frosty roads are not the best for cycling to work!

The cold weather also brought some birds I haven't seen in the garden ever since I switched to the squirrel-proof feeders. There was a little siskin all fluffed out against the cold who has been visiting the niger seed feeder on and off all day. And a female blackcap was either making love to the apples I pegged out on the lawn or viewing them from the feeders to make sure it was safe to hop down and enjoy a feast. Unfortunately our back window isn't very clean at the moment, making photography a little less sharp than it should be.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

December Favourites

 I hope to be along  with some Christmas cards from throughout the year before I go back to work and get busy again, but here are my favourite creations from throughout December. 

The theme for this one was based on the Greek legend of Pandora's box, expressing hope for next year. So folded up, it is more box-like...

This one is a mixed media canvas, so it's about 8" x 10".

This is the one I made for C to give me, rather than go over to the stores to try to find something. I made it in a bit of a hurry, but I was still happy with it. I love the little dog. 

A recycling theme: an old National Geographic, an even older page from a calendar, and a beer can

My individual Baked Alaska for our Christmas dessert turned out very well - I used plain vanilla icecream and added some black cherries. The only problem is that the next time C asks for it, I will no longer be able to use the excuse that I can only make it when we have guests for dinner.  

I made my second batch of mince pies today. This year's mincemeat seems particularly nice and I'm not sure why. The recipe calls for apple jelly and peach jam (I use an old recipe from The Heritage Collection of Home Tested Recipes, compiled by the Chatelaine Institute. No date inside it, but the other Chatelaine collection I received from Canada the same year was printed in 1978), but I tend to use whatever jars of jam have been sitting in the fridge that need using up. This year a jar of rather runny marmalade went in. I also wasn't sure if I'd added the brown sugar, as there was a bag sitting on the counter the next day. It tasted sweet enough, so I made the assumption that I had actually added it from my sugar jar, which would be possible. 

2 cups suet
3 cups coarsely grated cooking apples
1 cup apple jelly
2 pts grape juice or cider
1 pt peach jam
3 cups brown sugar
2 lb raisins
1 lb currants
1 tsp salt
1 tblsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg & 1/2 tsp cloves
Grated rind and juice of 2 oranges & 2 lemons

This month's header is a January evening sky from last year.