Friday, 12 September 2014

a cottage in cornwall

rockpools

Unfortunately I've been feeling pretty under the weather this week. To distract myself from the lurgy and to cheer myself up I've been looking back at photos from our summer holiday in Cornwall.

We had a great time last year, and this time was no different. In fact, I think it probably surpassed last year (not least because we went for an extra day this time). We booked a great place to stay through Airbnb in a little village called Charlestown.

Daisy Cottage was like a dream home - such a sweet little cottage with a sea view from the bedroom and beautiful interior decoration. Oh, and Rudy the cat - who made our stay even better. What a nice one!

a nice home for a few days daisy cottage inside daisy cottage

I haven't spent much time on the south coast of Cornwall so it was nice to explore the area around Charlestown. Luckily we were staying near the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project so we paid visits to both - I have so many photos of interesting flowers and plants that I could be here all day uploading photos (maybe another time?) They're a really good drawing reference so maybe I will share some botanical sketches too.

lost gardens of heligan logs in Heligan vegetable garden the eden project flowers making music

We also visited the Seal sanctuary in Gweek which was a real treat. My favourites were the big sea lions, whilst Ben liked the Humbolt penguins and the otters. The sanctuary is nested in a really peaceful location along a river estuary which made it a really nice day trip.

We also popped into Falmouth, Mevagissey and Fowey during our stay. I do love Cornish harbour villages and towns.

Gweek sealion Fowey a happy time

Happy faces all round.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

let's make: party decorations


colourful dots party garland

My good pal and housemate Mark recently hosted a little daytime folk gig at our house - it was great!

For the occasion Ben and I offered to make some decorations, so we spent a couple of hours one afternoon knocking up a few metres of colourful paper streamers. I've made something like this once before, but not in such large quantities - it's really quick and easy to make though (especially when you have a mini production line system).

I've written out the instructions below if you want to make some yourself...

hole punching

You will need:

A selection of coloured paper in any colour combination of your choice (this time we went for ALL the colours!)
A giant hole punch (pictured above) - my one cuts out circles to a diameter of about 4cm but I think they come in different sizes.
A sewing machine & whatever coloured thread you fancy.


Instructions

Hole punch out as many circles as you need, in a combination of colours. We went a bit crazy and kept on punching until we ran out of most of our paper.

We kept the circles in individual piles so we could work out the colour pattern as we went, but you might just want to mix them all in together and see what sequence comes to hand as you sew.

sewing

When you have all the circles you need (or enough to start sewing if you have an assistant who can keep punching) set up your sewing machine to work in straight stitch and then simply sew away. We tried to keep an even mix of each colour in a random sequence so it wouldn't look too regular.

And then we just kept going, taking turns on each task, until we had metres of the stuff!

streamers

The only tricky bit is trying to stop the garland from getting tangled in itself. We ended up draping them in strips over furniture as we went.

Once you have used up all your circles, then all that's left to do is: DECORATE!

decorations

Oh, and have a fun party!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

plants for the house



monstera delicosa

I acquired a few new plants for the house this weekend. All of them were sort of by chance, but I'm very pleased with my new collection.

A neighbour on my road was giving away some plants so I helped myself to a couple. There is a pretty strong and healthy cheese plant (monstera delicosa) and a little spider plant which looks like it needs a little more looking after. To make it look more cheerful I have put it in this nice blue pot I picked up in a charity shop in Worthing on Friday.

house plants

Ben and I are also trying to grow some new plants from these avocado seeds. I've seen it done already by a couple of fellow bloggers so fingers crossed! Here's a helpful guide I found if any of you want to give it a go too.

I also want to try and grow a pineapple - but we'll see about that one...

Sunday, 27 July 2014

caught on film

weir I-spy dogs windmill ben and the goats stanmer birdworld spring strolls

I finished another camera film a couple of weeks ago. A nice collection of outings and trips away from the late spring and early summer.

A weir along the river from bath // I-spy dogs // Oldland windmill // Goats on Highdown hill // Ben enjoying the boat trip // Community gardens in Stanmer Park // Birdworld // Spring blossom // Ducks in Arundel

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

south west coast

july 2013

Today we booked a cottage for a few days in Cornwall next month. If it's anything like the mini holiday we took last summer then I'll be very happy.

Oh, and we will have a pet cat for our short stay - what a treat!

Monday, 21 July 2014

on the needles

on the needles

I thought I'd share a glimpse of my current knitting project.

It's a work in progress and I'm not following a pattern, so we'll have to see how it goes, but maybe I will write up my own knitting pattern if it turns out to be a success!

Simple stripes.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

weekend printmaking

printed pillows

Yesterday I spent the afternoon doing some potato printing.

It has been ages since I've done any printmaking so it was really nice to do some printing with such simple and immediate results.

potatoes

I used some gold and navy fabric paints, chopped up a couple of potatoes and tried them out on some paper, tote bags and pillowcases.

printmaking

The navy worked really well on the pillowcases. The gold paint doesn't look that bold from a distance but looks nice up close as it's really sparkly. I think I'll invest in a wider range of colours next time though - it would be good to create something really bright!

patterns

Pleasing potato patterns.

Friday, 18 July 2014

a cardigan for summer

cardigan

Here's the knitting project that I mentioned the other day. I finished it! A nice summer's cardigan.

I used a pattern from this book, as recommended by Emily who has made a few gems from the pattern, including this amazing sparkly number. The pattern recommended some super soft angora wool, which would have been a real treat, but I was aiming for a more summery garment so I substituted it for some recycled cotton yarn.

I'm really pleased with the outcome - its very comfortable and the right level of cosy. And it was really pleasant to make as it was mostly knitted together as one piece, so I managed to avoid too much of the dreaded sewing together.

Perfect for a summer's evening in the garden or by the sea.

And I might well make a winter version at some point too, using some cosy lambswool. Super soft, like this little friend...

garden

Monday, 14 July 2014

let's cook: cheesecakes

let's cook cheesecake

This instalment of our cooking challenge is dedicated to cheesecakes.

You can see our results above. My mum made the strawberry cheesecake on the left, and I made the blueberry one on the right. What a feast for the eyes they both turned out to be!

I enjoyed this challenge a lot. Browsing for recipes was a real pleasure, and when I stumbled across this purple delight shared by Kelly of sass & veracity I was sold.

I found the recipe a tad fiddly, as it was from a Scandinavian book and a lot of the ingredients were measured in volume rather than weight - it's tricky to know how much a litre of blueberries is!  I was also feeding a couple of vegetarians so had to substitute the gelatine for a vegetarian alternative.

That meant I ended up changing some of the measurements so it was all a bit of a gamble, but it paid off I think! The cheesecake had a very light mousse-like consistency (possibly down to the gelatine), and I think it would make a great dessert for any summer dinnertime.

The reviews were pretty positive too, with the only downside being that the biscuit base was a bit on the soft side (I think this could be rectified by chilling the mixture a bit more before constructing the cake).

My mum wasn't entirely satisfied with her one. The base was a bit on the solid side, and ended up extremely hard to slice through. She reckons it looked better than it tasted, and unfortunately my dad (head judge) agreed.

So the scores are in:

I got awarded 9/10 with one point deducted for a soggy base.
My mum got a 6/10 from my dad - not a bad score!

I'd say that was a pretty successful one all round!

blueberries












If you fancy making a purple cheesecake of your own, here's my adaptation of the recipe:

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Blueberry cheesecake
(using a 23cm cake tin)

Ingredients

For the base:
200g digestive biscuits
80g melted butter (unsalted)

For the filling:
470g blueberries
100ml water
1 sachet vegetarian gelatine
500g cream cheese
300ml whipping cream
160g fine golden caster sugar
1½ tablespoons vanilla sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

To decorate:
Icing sugar
Fresh mint

Instructions

Crush the biscuits into crumbs and mix with the melted butter. Press into the bottom of a parchment-lined cake tin. The layer should be about 5mm thick.

Pour the water and most of the blueberries (save some to decorate the top!) into a saucepan. Squish the blueberries with a pestle or rolling pin and boil for a few minutes. The colour should now be a lovely deep purple.

Strain through a sieve to give a clear juice, and then pour the juice back into the pan.

Soak the vegetarian gelatine flakes in a little cold water to dissolve them a bit, then add to the blueberry juice and heat at a low temperature. Once it's all mixed in with the juice allow it to cool. Add the caster sugar to this mixture while it's still a little warm so that the sugar also dissolves.

Whip the cream, then mix with the cream cheese, vanilla sugar, lemon juice and finally the blueberry mixture.

Stir until the mixture becomes a nice even purple colour.  I would then pop it in the fridge for a little bit (approx. half an hour) to cool the mixture down before adding to the biscuit base - hopefully this will avoid a soggy bottom.

Cover the base with the mixture and smooth over the surface with a spatula.

Keep refrigerated overnight (or for a minimum of 4 hours).

When you are ready, remove from the tin, decorate with the remaining blueberries, fresh mint and icing sugar. Then serve.

blueberry cheesecake

Yummy!

Next time the challenge is to make two different dips and some dipping sticks. Summer snacks.

Monday, 7 July 2014

plenty of purple

purple

I've noticed a bit of a purple theme around me in the last week or so.

Clockwise from top left: Brodiaea, a treat to myself // Blueberries on a homemade cheesecake // Flowers that remind me of rainbow drops // A near-finished knitting project.

I wouldn't usually put purple near the top of my favourite colours list, but these things are doing it for me!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

pretty post

a treat in the post

Last week I arrived home from work to a nice bit of post from Laura. She sent me this Gocco print in return for one of my watercolour dots postcards.

I love it - the patterns and colours are such a grand combo.

Thank you Laura!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

petting zoo

jerry
snoozing

Time spent with pets is always a pleasure.
Even if some of them do make my eyes incredibly itchy.

As well as seeing these guys at the weekend I also went to Birdworld where I got to stroke baby goats and rabbits, and hold a tiny mouse. So soft!

Monday, 23 June 2014

A bear for a baby

rattle

Here's a crochet rattle I finished off last week for a little fella named Rory.

I went on a shopping trip and bought lots of different noisemakers for putting inside toys. I couldn't decided between a squeak, a rattle, a bell or a sort of shaky bouncy noise, but I settled on the rattle as I thought it would be least annoying on repeat. I'm well equipped for future toy making now though!

Here's the pattern from Ravelry if you want to make one too. There are also more animals to choose from (although I think the bear is best).

Look at him go!



Monday, 16 June 2014

blog hop

bloghop

My good pal Lucy tagged me in a little blog hop scheme last Monday. The aim is to share some of your favourite blogs and create a little hopping journey from site to site.

Do hop back to Lucy's blog and check out her stuff! She has an ace mix of photography, illustration and craft projects and tutorials and her blog is a treat for the eyes.

Now, to the questions....

card

What have been the doings/makings/scribblings at your desk/making table in the last week?

I've got a few different projects on the go at the moment - although most of them are 'in progress' and yet to be completed.

I've been playing around with watercolour a lot lately and have made a couple of cards for friends and family in the past week. And I've also got a couple of knitting projects on the go - one is a present, so I can't share it yet, and the other is a cardigan for me. I'm knitting it as one piece on circular needles which is a first. I hope it turns out ok...

brighton

Where are you currently finding you inspiration? 

I get a lot of inspiration when I'm out and about - I always try to take my camera, and sometimes a sketchbook, on day trips and outings to capture the things I see.

There's also a lot of inspiration right on my doorstep. The photos above were taken yesterday on a lazy Sunday stroll around Brighton.

And like a lot of people, I tend to have a have a look at Pinterest most days. It's a great place to collate inspiring images and ideas.

day 13-18

How important is being creative to you and how do you blend this with your work/life/family balance?

My 'day job' is in digital design so creative projects are a big part of my life. Having said that, the type of projects I work on in my spare time and showcase on my blog allow for a different kind of creativity to my professional work. The projects I work on in my free time are more hand-crafted and tactile, such as knitting projects, drawing, painting, or collage.

Finding time to make and create is something I sometimes struggle to fit in these days, but setting myself mini-projects to fit around the rest of my life like this drawing challenge are a good way to encourage myself.

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That's enough about me. Here are some blogs I would recommend you hop over to next, all from lovely people I have the pleasure of knowing in person:

What you sow - This is a delightful blog is run by Lyndsey and is full of gardening and craft-related inspiration and tips. Lyndsey takes beautiful photos and shares a whole host of ideas and projects that will make you want to get creative both indoors and out.

Peggy Jobbins Thrift Mistress - This is a fairly new blog from Hannah, and I've been really enjoying having a read. It's a lovely mixture of thrifted finds, craft projects and stories from nice outings around Sussex, and beyond.

Stitch & Crumb - Alison's blog is a feast for the eyes, and is full of great photography, stories from her travels and time living abroad, cookery and craft projects. I've been really enjoying delving into it recently.

Emiliabird - Another treat of a blog from a pal of mine. Emily is an extremely talented knitter and dressmaker and shares lots of her lovely projects on her blog. She even set herself the challenge one year of not buying, but making all her clothes. Lovely stuff.

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Happy hopping!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

walking and windmills

windmill

On Friday we walked in the sunshine along the coast path to Rottingdean, and then back over the hilltops, via the windmill.

It was a lovely time.

mill

Oh, apart from the hayfever attack on the way home.