Friday, 30 November 2012

no more november


Today is the last day of November.
Ben told me about this poem, which seems like a pretty good reflection on this time of year.

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No! by Thomas Hood (Abridged)

No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon -
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds -

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This November has seemed a bit better than the norm though. I have actually ended up being far more productive than usual, and have started drawing on a daily basis.

I will try to keep it up.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

let's cook: chutney


We started the year so well, but our monthly cook-off challenge has slipped a bit off track.

I think the fact that it was summer and both of us wanted to spend our time outdoors, rather than in the kitchen, was the main contributing factor. I'm not sure cooking will ever become a passion of mine.

However, we have decided to pick it up again for the winter months, and our chosen challenge for November is some nice festive chutney.

My mum jumped in early and laid claim over this recipe (the one I used last year) and I'm trying out a new one:

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Spiced courgette chutney


2 chopped onions
500g chopped tomatoes
500g diced courgettes
300ml white wine vinegar
2 Granny Smith apples (peeled and diced)
250g muscovado sugar
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp mustard seeds
small piece root ginger
4 crushed garlic cloves


Add all the ingredients to a large pan (I always underestimate the size of the pan and end up needing two) and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally so the mixture does not stick.

Simmer for about two hours until the mixture has thickened and looks darker in colour.

Put into sterilised jars and leave for at least 3-4 weeks until eating.

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I think my mum has a bit of an advantage at the moment as she's using a tried and tested (definitely tasty) recipe. But all will be revealed over the Christmas Day cheeseboard. At least we'll have a panel of voters to decide the results this time.

Monday, 26 November 2012



When talking to my friend Steve on a walk the other day I realised that I have a very limited knowledge about trees and how to identify them.

This is something I aim to correct over the coming months.

Maybe I'll try a foraging course too.

juniper berries

Monday, 19 November 2012

a green woodpecker


I saw a woodpecker in the woods yesterday (a greater spotted one I think).
I also put the batteries back in my clock last week.
The 12 o'clock owl is scary.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

What You Sow

Recently I was asked by the very lovely Lyndsey to help design a banner for her new venture What You Sow - an online shop which sells lovely gardening things for the creative gardener. Although if you are not 100% green-fingered (like me) then there are also a whole host of nice treats to be found (and some great stocking fillers for christmas!)

It was really sweet of Lynsdey to think of me for this piece and I had a lot of fun working on it - drawing plants and vegetables is a particular favourite of mine. The site is so full of lovely objects and ideas so I'd recommend you all have a look!

You should also check out the What You Sow blog as there lots of amazing crafty tutorials and inspirational ideas (as well as selling nice things, Lyndsey also makes a whole load of amazing items). I also did a little interview about my illustration work.

Now I need to work on my balcony garden...

Monday, 12 November 2012

all the colours


Tonight I did some drawing, whilst listening to John Grant.
And eating chocolate coins...

Sunday, 11 November 2012

warm days

summer in italy

Summer seems like such a long time ago now.
November is traditionally my least favourite month of the year.
Let's see how it goes...

Wednesday, 7 November 2012



A few weeks ago I went to a one day basketmaking workshop at the Farnham Maltings.

It was good to spend a day engrossed in making something with my hands - I found the weaving quite relaxing.

It's not perfect, but it will do. I'd use it to collect some fruit if I had an apple tree.
Or a garden.