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.


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.


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!


Pleasing potato patterns.

Friday, 18 July 2014

a cardigan for summer


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...


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!


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)


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


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


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

Monday, 7 July 2014

plenty of 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!