Life and Thyme!

Archive for February, 2014

Yarn Along!

So after the mad dash to complete a birthday jumper for T (see yesterday’s post) it was straight onto a sleeveless jumper for Master H who has a birthday in March.

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The yarn is by Sirdar and is called Crofter.

I have finished reading the book about the Dust bowl which was totally fascinating. I have since read two books in rapid succession – easy reads- one by Dick Francis loaned to me by my Dad. Called the Field of Thirteen, and containing thirteen short stories. I will be honest and admit that I have been putting off reading this, imagining boring tales of horsy people. Well all the stories were set around race tracks and the people who inhabit them, but the stories were quite well written and each had a nice twist at the end.In fact perfect reading when whiling away the hours in a hotel room which we did at the weekend on our location hunting trip.

After that I read a book I found up in the attic whilst de cluttering. It belonged to Mr J who read it at school and who had told me was a good book I would enjoy. By Anne Holm and called I am David,it tells  the story of a boy who escapes from a camp to travel to Denmark in the 1950’s. I especially liked that he choose his own God having heard conflicting accounts of God in the camp. He choose the God of green pastures and still waters.What a lovely image of God. I wonder did anyone read this as a child and what did you think? Also has any child recommended a book which you have enjoyed.

I finished that book last night so am now going to read this Joanna Trollope and then it will be a more serious book again.

For more good Yarn Alongs go to Small Things

Worth the effort!

I was totally convinced that if I really tried and used all my spare time I could finish the hooded jumper in time for Master T’s birthday and our visit to see him at the weekend. I was right !

Here is the completed garment.

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And here is T wearing it whilst waiting for his Sunday lunch to appear. The first time I made a hood and I was delighted that it fitted him.

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And here is the beautiful Miss F wearing her latest offering from her devoted Nana.

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We had a lovely family day amidst a whirlwind of a weekend away.

You see we- that is Mr E and me- may be on the move. We are tired of the A1, M1, M6,M42, M25,A14,M11, M3,M4 etc, etc , etc that lies between us and our family. We moved to my home town 12 years ago fully intending to be here forever. We didn’t realize then that all our sons would have to move down South just as I did aged 18, in order to earn a crust. And so reluctantly we are thinking of moving again..hence all the de-cluttering as we get our home market ready. But are we 100% sure of where exactly to move too? Well NO! .Because we too have a crust to earn as well. So we spent most of the weekend location hunting .

Meantime the only thing to do is to put one foot in front of another and keep calm and keep crafting on… Oh the solace of knitting needles!

Linking with Frontier Dreams

10 Random things!

Last night I read this post by Rachel. Who in turn had been inspired by another blog- do go on a blog hop now, but don’t forget to come back. The subject that caused the posts was Why do we blog, are we just self indulgent. Well I blog because I enjoy it, I love sharing the things that catch my attention or that interest me, but above all I love to read my favourite  blogs, and yes hop about a bit. I don’t do anyone any harm and no-one has to read my posts. But if you’d like to I will consider myself privileged.

Then Rachel was inspired to share 10 random things, and I thought what fun. And so here are ten random things from me.

First because it is Yarn Along day, I will share my knitting which is going very slow, and I am forced to admit that it won’t be ready for Master T’s birthday next week. I had forgotten how much bigger a 3-4 year old’s jumper is compared to a baby knit.

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I have only completed the back and half the front. At least today you can see it is navy. But the stripe is yellowy gold.

Recently Mr E and I have been attempting to de-clutter. It is very hard going. We have been up in the loft and I really really am trying to whittle down the treasures and memories that are up there, but it is very hard. I came across a pile of old letters, let’s just say they are pre Mr E, if you get my drift.  I read a few… I decided the time had come to burn them. The person who wrote them wouldn’t want them read by anyone but me. It was like saying good bye to a previous life. But strangely freeing- you wouldn’t think it could make a difference after so many years but it did. And why did I keep them for over 40years? Plenty of food for thought. Some nights I have trouble going to sleep, Mr E is away for work at the moment, so I listen to the radio. That night I caught a programme about fire and yes it’s therapeutic value for letting going of the past.

I have managed to contain my treasures to one old suitcase, but only because I took out this book.

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The pictures are gorgeous.

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I shall enjoy reading the stories again, and a change from the Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. Now on chapter 23. Fascinating but tragic, I have read of the dust storms and the death -of crops, of animals whose stomachs were rock solid with the dust and of people, babies and old folk, and  of dreams. Now I am reading of the attempts to reverse the dust bowl, tree planting on an industrial scale and new grasslands.

Moving on there was a sprinkling of snow in the garden this morning, I was just be moaning the lack of snow this winter, but this barely counted. I tried to take a picture of the fairy dusting of snow, but it was not good, better are my snowdrops.

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So early compared to other years. We are so lucky in North Yorkshire, we haven’t had the rain that the South of England has endured. Mr B lives near the canal in Reading- thankfully a flat on the second floor, but his water supply could be effected. My heart goes out to everyone. We used to live in Oxfordshire and every day on Facebook my friends are monitoring the river, fortunately Combe is up on a hill. But the river floods the road to anywhere else.

As usual in January I prepared myself to take part in Big Garden Bird watch. I couldn’t do it on the Saturday as we were car shopping. That left Sunday, we went out at 12 and the ironing had to be done first. That left one precise hour for the Bird count. It rained the entire time. I had two feral pigeons and a blackbird! Quite frankly I didn’t see the point of recording them, but the RSPB reminded me that I should, I felt sure there would be questions about weather, but there wasn’t, so if anyone checks from the previous two years to this year then something would look catastrophic, when really it was down to weather.. And actually the birds have done really well this year.We have starlings back again. I was treated to some of them having a jolly good bath the other day.

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And then a pheasant came visiting.

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The tumble down roses in the background to these two pictures are the result of last winter’s snow when the rose arch gave way under the weight of snow. I have just got round to ordering a new rose arch.

One of the reasons for the slow knitting progress is down to side tracking myself with this crochet giraffe hat.

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From the wonderful Repeat crafter me, and if this wasn’t enough she has now designed the most gorgeous tiger hat.

Found this bargain for 69p in Morrisons the other week.

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I so agree with Rachel about daffodils- they are my all time favourite. However, last week I found in the garage something I had forgotten all about. A Christmas present no less, of some crocuses to plant- I didn’t hold out much hope for them as you are supposed to plant them in September and I only got them , well on the 25 December. But I planted them and they appeared to have come through.I brought them indoors to the kitchen window cill. I was a little perturbed on Monday night to see one of them had a black spot on the end. The next morning I realised my mistake.

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Crocuses!

Of course another reason the knitting could be taking so long is the sewing project I started, from another Christmas gift.

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I am quilting it by hand and so enjoying making a …..

Which just leaves me one more random thing. I have taken two pictures for Skywatch Friday because I just love the colours and the light. On Monday night coming home from work the sky was a wonderful pink and it was reflected in the flooded fields and so so beautiful, I almost cried. No camera of course. I have to say that my journey to and from work gives me such pleasure, the light can be just amazing, the colour of the fields in the autumn was just breath taking, warm and golden. And the winter skies with the bare trees as silhouettes are fantastic. I wish I could do justice to the light.

One day I shall take better pictures but in the meantime this is the best I can do.

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Love to hear your random thoughts….

 

 

 

 

InSpired Sunday!

Only two remaining Pickering places of worship to go. Here is the Jehovah’s Witness church

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and my personal favourite

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incongruously next door to

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a carpet store!

Linking in with Beth at Inspired Sunday

Skywatch Friday

A January sunset from North Yorkshire.

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Linking in with Sky watch Friday

Art Noticeboarding!

Last year I fell in love with Dianne Faw’s Art Journals. I couldn’t think of anything better than gorgeous recycled images turned into a new work of art. But I couldn’t bring myself to buying an old book , pulling out pages and making one myself. So I parked the idea.

Fast forward to Christmas  and the tidying up of my craft table in the guest bedroom. Above my table I have a noticeboard, a gift from a son when I had the idea of pinning inspirational pictures, poems etc to it. Over the couple of years I had it, all I had done was add layer upon layer. To make it fun I added some old Christmas cards which had made me laugh and which might give my visitors a chuckle. After Christmas I took them down.

Can you feel a Kerchink moment arriving?

Why not have a themed notice board full of pictures and see what inspiration they gave me and change it each month. In my winter de-cluttering I also came across a scrapbook I had used for my C&G Creative embroidery course, which still had lots of blank pages.

An IDEA was born.

In January the theme had to be Winter. I had a super selection of pictures to choose from. old Christmas cards, photos that didn’t make an album and pictures cut from the Yorkshire Ridings magazine which my Dad passes onto me when he has read it each month.

Here was the result.

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Sorry about the awful shine on the left side. My favourite images were

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Mr E in the snow a few years ago… ssshhh we haven’t had any of the white stuff this year, which in some ways is good, but I have found myself of late thinking “But we didn’t have Winter this year”

the

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snowy scene with a power station- who knew that a power station could look good.

and

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the sign post.

In comes February and time to take down the pictures – this is where the scrapbook comes in

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a winter themed page. Now I have got a great deal to learn when it comes to constructing an art page but I will get there. First thing I learned was that you need words too and the second was that you can decide what you are going to do next but be prepared to be surprised and to change your mind. I had decided that February would be all about crocuses and snowdrops. But the images just weren’t working , then gradually this appeared.

A romantic theme, just ready for Valentines’ day.

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To the left is a picture of the first ever Valentine’s card and  there are a couple of wedding dresses(Victorian and modern). I looked at a lot of pictures of models in wedding dresses, frankly there were a lot of grumpy looking stick insects striding down cat walks, would those pictures really make anyone choose the dresses.. much prefer the happy bride picture I choose. I love the picture of the girl in the pink dress- jealousy or what, and the setting so perfect.

My favourite images are

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the church in the field, the gloved hands

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the happy older couple and

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the Church Lychgate. I think I shall be looking out for some more Lychgates this year..

Not quite certain what March will bring, or what ideas will come from my art noticeboarding. Love to know how anyone else collects inspirational pictures and what they do with them? Also any suggestions on how to improve what I am trying to do.

In Praise of Seasonality!

This year I really want to enjoy local seasonal foods and try new recipes. Local  because the less distance something travels the fresher and nicer it is, and seasonal because I think we have lost something from our culture by having ingredients always available. And new recipes for me,because I love to cook.

The first local and seasonal fruit has just appeared in the green grocers in town,  Yorkshire rhubarb.

This rhubarb has been grown in a specific region of Yorkshire in the dark and so is a lovely delicate pink colour and also sweet and gorgeous.

In honour of the first rhubarb this year I tried a new to me recipe. OH YUM. Rhubarb Cobbler.

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Recipe came from Good Housekeeping with a substitute ingredient  from me..

6oz plain flour

4oz butter

5oz caster sugar

1 1/2lb rhubarb trimmed and cut into bite size chunks

2tbsp cornflour

1/2 tsp cinnamon….I didn’t have any cinnamon (how did I run out of my favourite spice?) so I used Mixed spice.

a little milk and sugar for glazing

METHOD

Put the flour, butter and 1 oz of the sugar in a food processor and blend until you have fine breadcrumb texture. Add 3 tbsp cold water and blend until it comes together. If it is sticky at all roll in some flour and chill for 2o minutes . ( I will be honest here I have never ever bothered to chill pastry, but this was sticky so for once I did, and I could not believe the difference it made,I AM A CONVERT TO PASTRY CHILLING the pastry was divine).

Roll out the pastry leaving the edges ragged and uneven- my edges are always ragged and uneven so this was a breeze. Large enough for a 9inch round, 2 inch deep dish. I only had a cake tin with a detachable bottom, hence the cake liner. Place pastry in the tin with the edges well over the sides .

Toss the rhubarb in the sugar, cornflour and cinnamon (mixed spice). Spoon into the dish. Don’t be tempted to leave out the cornflour it really coats the rhubarb.

Then fold the edges up and over the fruit, as in the picture. Glaze with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 5o minutes at 200C, 400F, gas 6,tin on a baking tray. The pastry should be golden brown and juice bubbling around the side.Serve hot with ice cream.

Now I can’t tell a lie- I was guilty of the Bake Off Squat (ie hunkering down to peer through the glass door to check the colour)

I did have a soggy bottom( probably the cake liner to blame), but it was a super yummy soft, cooked, rhubarb infused soggy bottom( None UK readers may need to refer for an understanding of this comment to  the  BBC Great British Bake Off )

What can I say the rhubarb cobbler was DEELICIOUS. Can’t wait to see what is local and in season next for me to try something new with.

 

 

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