Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Autumnal bits and bobs

It's been a bit of a misty, moisty morning hereabouts and I've been flicking back through my camera to see a few happies from this week. No new things, I'm afraid - I really must get myself organized or I won't get through my 50 before the big day!

Anyway, here are a few things which have made me smile recently:
Doing a bit more hooking in a welcome patch of sun:
I have actually finished all but one square of this picture now. Unfortunately, the kit wasn't complete - it only contained 18 colours instead of the necessary 19. Number 16, grass, was conspicuous by its absence. I emailed the company and they are putting the necessary thread in the post, so my picture is on hold until it arrives. 

 A trip to Oxford at the weekend. These pictures were taken whilst walking through Christchurch Meadow:

Lunch was taken here:
 ..... and very yummy it was too. Our real reason for going, however, was to see this at The Playhouse:
 Yet another WWI book on E's reading list. It was very good, although it did seem to stray from the text a bit, especially in the second half. Things which were only implied in the book were gone into in greater detail and given more emphasis than was possibly the case, but it was still enjoyable.

A dog walk in the woods with a friend.

I loved all the dewy spiders' webs:

 ... and took a sneaky picture of this gorgeous thatched cottage:

Showing the difference between waterproof and non-waterproof boots. My feet are decidedly damp at this point!

Back home to warm up with a bowl of lentil and tomato soup:

More treasure found at TKMaxx: 
I actually snaffled up 2 of these mugs - one to keep and one as a Christmas gift  for E's piano teacher.

Finally, my firstborn, beloved daughter is 21 today! I normally don't post people's faces on my blog, but I think this one is probably suitably anonymous by now.
I can't begin to tell you how immensely proud I am of my baby (and she'll always be my baby no matter how old she is!). There is not one single thing I would change about L - she is kind, funny, clever, the most fair-minded person I know and the best big sister in the whole wide world. So happy birthday, my darling girl; I love you to the moon and back. x

Monday, 17 November 2014

Tiddley Pom!

Just a small 'new thing' for this week. I must be one of the last people to discover these little beauties:
Just in case there is anyone out there as technologically behind as I am, these are Pompom makers - and great fun they are too. I have to confess though, that, given the scarcity of instructions on the box, it did take me an embarrassingly long time to work out how to use them! Once I'd cracked it, however, I was away - pompoming (don't you just hate it when people 'verb' nouns?!) for all I was worth. I soon had enough to make a small garland which is suspended beneath E's cabin bed. Foolishly, I forgot to photograph the pompoms before putting them up, and I'm rather reluctant to invade E's privacy by posting pictures of her room without permission (what a lot of Ps in one sentence!), so here is a close up of one of them:
Isn't it cute? I rather expected E to scoff and immediately remove them when she came home from school, but she seems to rather like them. Either that or she's being incredibly polite!
Other happies this week include:
More work on the Garden throw:

Listening to lots of violin practice. Actually, this is a bit of a mixed bag: E takes her Grade 8 exam next week, so whilst I'm loving the pieces, the scales are beginning to grate rather!

Visiting a Christmas Fayre at our local Watermill Theatre. This photo makes me laugh - I see so many beautiful photos in Blogland showing amazing blue skies and just look at ours at the moment - you couldn't even call it grey; it's just nothing!

The theatre showcases some rather nice sculptures. I particularly liked this heron by the river:

.... and the local ducks are rather spoilt with this duck house:

 R and I went for a day trip to Salisbury this weekend (E stayed at home to practise those scales!). I managed to snatch a quick photo of the cathedral as we were stuck in a traffic queue. It actually looks a bit bleak here; it's much prettier close up.

We weren't going into the centre this time though, we were off to the racecourse to visit an antique fair:
We didn't buy anything, but it was quite nice to potter round. Fortunately, there were lots of stalls indoors as the weather wasn't the best but, because of this, there was rather a lot of jewellery etc. which isn't really my thing. I actually prefer the antique fair at our local racecourse - it's all outdoors, so the items tend to be a bit more rugged. I was also a bit too shy to take any photos inside!

As we drove home along the A303, we passed Stonehenge - unfortunately, we couldn't pause while I took a decent photo as the road was too busy, so I had to be content with this rather blurred attempt as we whizzed by!

 More nondescript sky!

One final happy this week that I haven't got a photo of - rereading Laurie Lee's book 'Cider with Rosie'. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy his poetic prose - it's like honey off a spoon.

Wishing you a lovely week and may all your skies be blue ones! Toodle Pip for now. x

Sunday, 9 November 2014


Hello! This week's 'new thing' turned out to be so ridiculously easy that I'm embarrassed that I haven't tried it before - making my own yoghurt! My spell checker is currently trying to tell me that I should omit the 'h' at this point, but I think it must be in US mode as I'm sure that's how we spell it here in the UK. I'm sticking with the 'h' anyway unless someone points out the error of my ways. As it turns out, all you need is a pint of milk, a vacuum flask and a tablespoon of live yoghurt - the live bit is important as you need the living bacteria to work their magic. Heat the pint of milk to just below boiling point and then allow it to cool to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This bit was the only slightly tricky part as my sugar thermometer only started at 120 degrees. I worked on the assumption that 100 degrees is only slightly above normal body temperature, so dripped a bit on the back of my hand. When it felt neither hot nor cold, I called it done! Stir in the yoghurt, whisk until smooth and then pour into the flask and leave for 24 hours and it's finished. How easy is that? You can then use a spoonful of that yoghurt to start your next batch, although you should apparently only do that a couple of times before buying a new starter tub. You don't want unwanted nasties to culture! 

Following hot on the heels of Hallowe'en, we celebrated Bonfire Night. We normally have quite a quiet affair (personally, I'm always a bit frightened by the fireworks!). Sometimes, if we have enough garden waste, we will have a bonfire, but this year it was just a baked potato supper and some sparklers and fireworks left over from last year.

Other happies this week include:
Making pecan shorties.
The recipe was from one of this week's library books:

 They were yummy and I'll definitely be making them again.
 A Hong Kong egg tart from our local bubble tea shop. L raved about them on her visit to HK, so I was pleased to find them. R and I really enjoyed them but E found them, unsurprisingly, a little eggy!

A female pheasant in the garden. We usually have a male pheasant hanging around (Fergus!) and he is sometimes accompanied by his harem, but this is the first time we have seen a lone female. She has been around for a few days now but is still rather timid. Fergus will come to the back door to be fed but this one runs away as soon as I open it.

 Collecting my fired pots from the potter. I was quite pleased with how they turned out. I especially like my flower vase (although it is currently filled with knitting needles!) and the 2 SMALL pots (they were small when I made them and always shrink in the kiln) E and I are using to store hairbands.

I loved this full moon with its nimbus - not sure if that's the correct word - cloudy ring thing!

Starting a throw for a bedroom chair - I'm following Lucy's Summer garden throw pattern and thoroughly enjoying it. I haven't bought any new yarn, I'm just doing a bit of 'stash busting'!

Finally, continuing to enjoy my hooking:

 That's all for this week. After days of grey dismal rain, it's actually rather nice today. Maybe a walk after lunch? Have a good week whatever you get up to. Toodle pip for now. x