Saturday, 31 March 2012

CPSH: March

Emma at The Gift Shed thought up our topics for this month, and should have a round-up if you pop and see her next week.


The National Theatre - always inspirational.

Something I Made

Lots and lots of flowers - secret wedding plans!


Green Park in the sunshine.


My books. I liked this one better than the in-focus version!

Motif: Retro

My beautiful engagement ring  - 1950s so definitely retro.

I'm going to be guest hosting the CPSH for April, so come back on Monday to see what I've thought up and to let me know you want to take part!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Week Word: Sunshine

Very appropriately this week's word is Sunshine, chosen by Emily. Go visit her blog to see who else has been inspired by the weather today.

I'm afraid this week has rather run away with me, so my contribution is a very speedily done ten minute scribble!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

In a cottage near a wood...

As I hoped, I've found time to go back and have another go at Mama and her Gentleman Lover's cottage near a wood.

It's definitely more symmetrical this time, and I managed not to make the trees look as sinister as I know they are. Not going to set the world alight, art-wise, but I quite like it.

I wonder if Mama will stick it on the fridge, or whether your daughter being thirty means the time for that is past?

Monday, 26 March 2012

And now for something completely different...

You might think, following a weekend full of beautiful sunshine, that I'd be here on Monday with lovely spring-y pictures of flowers and picnics and living some sort of bucolic dream.

But no. This weekend we went to the banger racing at Wimbledon Dog Track. It's an... interesting place. 

Where cars that look like this are really quite top of the range...

Where 'hitting it with a sledgehammer' is an acceptable repair technique, and where this vehicle still managed another race of fifteen laps...

 Nick takes it all very seriously.

I make sure I've packed a picnic and a warm coat.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sunday Sketchblog #6

As promised, this Sunday's sketches are the quick scribbles I've been attempting of people wandering down Piccadilly. Speed is definitely of the essence; Londoners walk fast!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Week Word: Panoply

I think that all the cake, tea and engagement ring excitement might have got the better of me on Monday, as 'panoply' does seem like quite an odd word to have chosen...

I'm afraid I've just stuck with the same thing that originally inspired me... June Hymn by the Decemberists.

Here's a hymn to welcome in the day
Heralding a summer's early sway
And all the bulbs are coming in
To begin
The thrushes bleating battle with the wrens
Disrupts my reverie again


And once upon it
The yellow bonnets
Garland all the lawn
And you were waking
Day was breaking
A panoply of song
And summer comes to Springville Hill

And it does feel like summer has come to London today... actual sunshine!

Pop and visit these people to see what they've done with panoply this week.

Emily at Ready for An Adventure
Emma at The Giftshed
Sally at Sow and Sew

If anyone else has weekworded and I've missed you off, let me know! Oh, and I'm going to tag Emily for next week.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Look through any window...

I can't draw people. Not ones that look like they're be functioning members of society, anyway. But I've decided to tiptoe out of my comfort zone and see if I can get any better at it, so today I've been trying very quick sketches of people as they pass in front of the window. 

I'll save the sketches for Sunday Sketchblog, but here's one that I've added some colour to this afternoon. 

I'm not sure I've got any better at drawing people, but I think I might have improved at drawing clothes...

Monday, 19 March 2012

Weekend and Week Word

Emma's tagged me to pick the week word this week, and I'm going to choose a slightly odd one... 'panoply'. Inspired by The Decemberists June Hymn which came onto my MP3 player today and seemed very apt in the sunshine.

I've had a lovely, long weekend, full of...

leisurely breakfasts, despite having to defend the
vitamins from the cat...

visiting the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea...

and looking at all sorts of clever and interesting things...

eating lots of cake and drinking lots of tea at
Bea's of Bloomsbury...

and finally collecting my beautiful vintage
engagement ring!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Sunday Sketchblog #5

I'm getting better at planning ahead as here we are, on a Sunday, with a sketch!

Continuing the spring-y theme, some magnolia. I love magnolia. One of my requirements for any future dream-house is that there's a magnolia tree in the garden.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Week Word: Surprise

Emma chose our word for this week, and it's 'surprise'.

Spring always seems to come as a surprise, even though I'm sure it's turned up every year since the ice age or thereabouts. It just seems so unlikely, when everything's grey and miserable, that we can have lovely warm days, and growing things, and not have to wear coats. 

It's even more of a surprise when you're living in a new house; waiting to see what plants will pop up in the garden. So far we've had snowdrops and pansies, and I think there are some daffodils in waiting...

Go and visit Emma for some more surprises.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Marmalade Season

That time of year again. So the jam pan was dragged down from the top of the cupboards, the orange squeezing thing (what's it called? it's not a juicer, as that seems to be a machine...) was bent back into shape and Nick came home with as much sugar as he could carry.

Much boiling, and a rather sticky kitchen, later and we have twelve jars of marmalade. One a month... sounds about right.

The recipe's here (from last year) if anyone wants it, although I think it's a bit late for Seville oranges now. Ours have been sitting in a bowl, frowning at me, for weeks.

Monday, 12 March 2012

All-the-chocolate cookies

I don't know why I don't bake cookies more often. (Well, I do. I'd end up the size of a house because I'm not so good at resisting temptation when it's in a tin in my kitchen.) I always spend ages trying to think of new and interesting things to bake when really, chocolate cookies are always a success, considerably easier than pie and everyone likes them.

This is my default cookie recipe. It's a favourite because you can include whatever mix of chocolate you have lying about (or even dried fruit, if that's your thing). Nick was pleased as it doesn't include any strange ingredients or hidden vegetables.

All-the-chocolate cookies
(loosely based on the Australian Women's Weekly recipe for trip-choc cookies)

125g butter, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
250g brown sugar (any sort - the darker it is, the deeper the flavour of the cookies)
1 egg
185g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
35g cocoa
About 200g* of whatever chocolate you have, chopped into small bits. I used a mixture of dark chocolate, white chocolate and two Curly Wurlys snipped into bits. 

Preheat oven to 180 and line and grease two baking trays

Beat the butter, vanilla, sugar and egg together with an electric whisk, or by hand, until it's just smooth. Sift in the dry ingredients then stir in the chocolate.

Form the dough into little balls - about ping-pong ball sized - and place on your baking trays leaving lots of space of them to spread. If you're using something that will go quite liquidy when it melts (like Curly Wurlys...) be prepared that they will spread more.

Bake for ten minutes until they look like cookies and are cracked on top. Leave for five minutes before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

*You can use more chocolate/other things if you want. I wouldn't go above 300g though, as there won't be enough cookie to stick them together.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sunday Sketchblog #5

Another one actually managed on a Sunday! A quick sketch of Mama and the Gentleman Lover's cottage not quite in a wood, and some of the sinister yew trees.

It's a bit wonky - I promise the actual house is symmetrical - so I think I'll come back to this and have another go at some future point.

Oh, and have a look and see if Emma's also been sketching this week.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Oh, look! #4

Things I've spotted and liked this week...

This linoprint from thiscostsabomb. Not that gin is a solution I'd ever recommend, of course... (via Domestic Sluttery)

These thoughts about gender and children from thefword.

And this amazing papercut design from Nikki McClure. (via meetmeatmikes)

Any my favourite pins from Pinterest this week. Click the images for the original links.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Week Word: Sleep

Sally chose our Week Word this week: sleep. Which is very apt when you know she's just had a new baby!

Nothing very deep and meaningful from me this week, I'm afraid. Quite simply, this is where I sleep.

Pop and see Sally to see who else has been inspired by sleep this week.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Old Things

Firstly. I forgot to tag someone for this week's Week Word on Monday. Heartfelt apologies to all the weekworders who have been wondering where it is! Thankfully, the lovely Sally at  Sow and Sew has stepped up in the nick of time, so please go and see her, coo over her beautiful new baby, and join in!

Secondly. I went to visit my mother at the weekend, to try on wedding dresses and mooch around pretty little towns.

Mama and her Gentleman Lover live in Rutland, in a little cottage almost in a wood, surrounded by  yew trees cut into interesting shapes.

(As an aside, if you've ever read The Children of Green Knowe (and if you haven't then you should) you might understand why I'm always wary of venturing among the yew trees after dark...)

It's almost as pretty on the inside as the outside, and I hope to one day have as many interesting old things in my house as they do.

Excepting, maybe, this chap.

He's the remains of a starling who was found in one of the chimneys when they were renovating, and now lives on the windowsill in the spare room. He can be a little alarming if you forget he's there and suddenly find him staring at you...

Monday, 5 March 2012

Someday Sketchblog #4

Missed Sunday again... I suspected last week might be a one off...

After my mention of giant flowers in this weekend's Oh, look! I fished out some of the fabric flowers I'd made last year. I'm thinking of combining the two ideas into something (hopefully) marvellous.

And yes, I'm clearly still catching up with myself this year as I've dated it February and it's most definitely March now!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Oh, look! #3

Things I have liked this week include...

Ryan Andrews beautiful webcomic, Sarah and the Seed. (via lostateminor)

This tutorial at Design* Sponge on how to make massive flowers. I now want massive flowers at our wedding. 

As a complete contrast, The Walking Dead. Have I ever mentioned my penchant for the zombie genre? If not, I guess this is a confession... But we've just started watching the second series and zombie escape plans do occupy a lot of spare brain space.


And this week's favourites from Pinterest. As ever, click on the images for the original links.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Week Word: Leap

Having picked this week's word, I couldn't think of what to do with it! The phrase 'look before you leap' kept coming to mind and when I googled it, I discovered there's a second part I'm sure I've never heard before: 

'Look before you leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep'

Flowers and snakes. Much more inspiring...

Please do go and visit the other people participating this week, to see what they've come up with.

Emma at The Gift Shed
Carmen at Tales of a Biomouse
Emily at Ready for an Adventure
Creadur at Wet Bristles

If there's anyone whose link I've missed, let me know and I'll edit this post!