Thursday, 26 June 2014

Bitesize Batik

Greetings! It's been a while since I last posted with GCSEs and one thing and another but they are all over now, HURRAH! Just the dreaded results day in August to come but we're not worrying about that yet.

I've also been on a bit of a go slow with my fifty list. I've tried to do one a week so far but missed last week's. The last one I did was a couple of weekends ago - a bitesize Batik painting workshop at our local college. The tutor was friendly, talented and encouraging but my results, although fun to make,  look a bit like Show and Tell exhibits and I'm almost too embarrassed to post them!

Here are a couple of the tutor's works:

See what can be done when you have talent. I loved this fishy one, so colourful.

.... and now my efforts:

See, embarrassingly bad. In my defence, the timing of the workshop meant that we didn't have sufficient time to layer on different colours and my wax applicator was either horrendously drippy or clogged to the point of uselessness (bad workmen and all that!) but I did have fun. Next time, if there is a next time, I think I would just apply the wax with an old paintbrush. I think you'd get far more control, which I obviously need. Not too sure what to do with them now. I did have visions of cushion covers or framing them but they are just too dreadful, so they are currently banished to the cupboard of shame.

Other things this week include:

Enjoying the glorious sunshine and the flowers:

Going for a post exam walk around the local nature reserve with E. She took lots of photos of the birds but here are just a couple to remind me:

When her exams finished we took E to Oxford for a post exam celebration meal with L. I can highly recommend 'The Opium Den' in George St. Really yummy Chinese food. :

The photos don't do it justice - the lighting wasn't brilliant, I didn't want to use flash and everyone had tucked in before I thought to take them!

Cucumbers shooting away in the greenhouse:

This week's hand pieced quilt pieces - The Dresden Plate pattern:

and Martha Washington's Star:

Finally, quinoa salad for lunch - yum.

Have a lovely week and long may this sunny weather last. Toodle Pip for now. x

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Elderflower Cordial

I our house, we all love Elderflower cordial in the summer months but, until now, I had never tried making any. When I put it down on my Fifty List, I envisioned having to trawl the local countryside for Elder trees. We pass lots on our school run but I didn't fancy picking blossoms that had grown so close to a main road - too many pollutants. Then, over breakfast, I spotted some white flowers just visible above the chicken run. Now, I thought all the Elder trees along our border had died off. Our neighbour thinks that they have a funny smell and one by one they seemed to disappear - just so you know, I'm not making any connection here, merely an observation! So, I was surprised and thrilled to spot a lone survivor. We got out the tree book, just to check, and yes, it did appear to be an Elder. Easy to reach (well, with some extended loppers), no permission necessary and no nasty traffic pollution - perfect. R did the collecting whilst I dug out a recipe (River Cottage Elderflower Cordial) and over the next 2 days (you have to let it steep overnight), cordial was made.

I have to confess that I did have my doubts at times - the smell whilst steeping was rather unpleasant and the resultant cordial looked like a concentrated urine sample! We double checked the tree book, just to be extra sure before actually tasting the stuff but, when we did, it was actually Elderflower cordial! I now have 1 bottle on the go in the fridge and 5 more in the freezer. The recipe was easy to follow, although I only used 700g of sugar, rather than the recommended 1kg and omitted the orange, just because I didn't have one. Now I'm looking forward to Elderberry jam in the Autumn.

Other things this week include:

Roses from the garden - I'm hopeless with names but this one smells beautiful.

Some happy hooking in the sunshine:

Ditto with coffee and a magazine:

Some not so happy hooking in the car, waiting for E to come out of an exam!

Seeing our pictures framed and on display at the 'Pictures in Stitch' exhibition:

... and, finally, making 'Lemonade Scones':

These were made using a recipe from the internet. The ingredients are just SR flour, lemonade and double cream. It makes a really wet dough and the scones have to prop each other up during baking. They were OK but you certainly knew that you'd had scone! Not sure I'd be doing this one again if I'm being honest, although the squirrel, chickens and local birds loved them!

Toodle Pip for now. x