Friday, 30 May 2008

Thoughtful Friday

"It is with the heart that one sees rightly, for what is essential is invisible to the eye"

From "The Little Prince" by St. Antoine St. Expury

As from this week I am going to try and post a quote each Friday with a photo and join Bella Dia. I love quotes and am always inspired by discovering and reading them. If you want to join us in this little venture let me know by leaving a comment. I know I shall enjoy all that you want to share too.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Sheer Delight

This is a replica of my favourite drink - elderflower presse - which I had at Liberty in London this past week. I was in between meetings and had walked and tubed around the centre of London for a while and just needed some quietness and a time to regroup. What better place to do this than Liberty! After mouching around the haberdashery looking at heart shaped buttons, vintage ribbon, quilting books and yarn, I popped into what used to be called the art cafe (it used to be full of old paintings, oak tables and chairs and serve crumpets and rose petal jam!! but no longer as it has had a facelift and is now all modern and red and cream!! I preferred it the other way I have to say) and found that there was hardly anyone there. At this point I need to say that it is not often that I take myself off into a cafe or coffee shop to have a drink alone. Somehow this just doesn't feel comfortable most of the time but Thursday it did and I had a quiet few moments writing in my journal and sipping this equisite tasting drink which revitalised me for the coming three hours of my Thursday evening course. Served with ice, lemon and a sprig of mint in a large wine glass, it was just asking for photo to be taken but alas I did not have the camera with me so I thought I would replicate the moment and take a photo to share. Hooray for elderflowers!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

A Sense of Charm

"Why do we love certain houses, and why do they seem to love us? It is the warmth of our individual hearts reflected in our surroundings" T.H Robsjohn-Gibbings
So begins the May 14th meditation from Simple Abundance - a daybook of comfort and joy which I have quoted from before. Sarah Ban Breathnach has an enviable way of putting words together which touch the very core of us as women and even though I read the book many times, I never fail to be encouraged or inspired by dipping in every now and again. She goes on to say "money can purchase beautiful furnishings and decorative accessories but it cannot ensure that charm abides with us. I believe this is because charm seems to be a quality of the soul that cannot be bought or sold..... it is accessed through our authencity, expressed in our personal flair. "Beauty doesn't live in the expenditure of much money, but in the artistic disposition of little" says a reassuring article entitled "The Charm of the Unexpected" published in the August 1917 issue of The Mother's Magazine during World War 1."

I love the idea of the 'artistic dispostion of little' and see it often in blogs or on websites or in the many creative friends and family I have where something simple is yet so charming, so delightful and full of meaning. Something to reflect on further I think.

So it's been a busy week of work activity and then a dinner party/book group evening last night. I love entertaining and adding a little artistic expression to the table or the different courses but of course I was far too busy to take any photos!! So here is one I took earlier!
Just a riot of colour!
And the seedlings are coming along. We even had some home grown rocket in our salad in the week.

So this week it is off to Bristol for another workshop and then hopefully that is the travelling done for a while! Hope you all have a great week.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

A preponderance of purple!

I didn't set out intentionally in the garden to create a burst of purple in the spring but that is what has happened. Lots of lovely Aliums, geraniums, clematis and of course the lilac tree.
As a bit of fun I thought I would look up purple and see what it denotes so:
" In human color psychology, purple is associated with royalty, regalness, and nobility (stemming from its use in heraldry to denote gentry)." "The color of royalty, purple connotes luxury, wealth, and sophistication. It is also feminine and romantic. However, because it is rare in nature, purple can appear artificial." So there we have it. I like the feminine and romantic, not sure about the luxury and wealth!
Anyway, not only is the garden growing but so are things in the conservatory. There are rocket seedlings, cabbage and courgette seedlings as well as mazumi (a salad leaf) and some phlox, cornflower and herbs. Must get some tomatoes in there as well soon. It's quite a job keeping up with the watering as it has been getting so very hot in there over these last few days.
I just love the way there is nothing one day and then suddenly something appears, pushing its way through the compost towards the light. Daughter no.2 came by this morning and went off with a couple of pots for her own little postage stamp garden in Brixton.
I am off to Birmingham tomorrow to run a workshop on Tuesday on recruitment and selection. Let's hope somebody remembers to water those seedlings while I am away!
Have a good week.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Don't you just love the library?

We have a very good local library and I have had some delightful books from there recently as you can see. Today daughter no.4 and I went in and found some other treasures, for me it was a recent Kaffe Fassett quilt book called Quilts in the Sun. The pictures, as in all his books, are sumptuous in colour and design like these:

Very inspirational!
Well we have some really good news in the family and that is that daughter no.4 has got in to her preferred University for Menswear Fashion Design! We are all thrilled and today we were out having a celebration lunch just the two of us. I think we will have an all family celebration later in the month when we can get all four girls together. She worked SO hard for this and really deserves to do well. So my baby will fly the nest in September!! Athough it is only in London, she still wants to live away and in fact I think that will be a good thing for her to do but I will miss her company and dry sense of humour and indeed her incredible desire for tidiness!
Meanwhile I wanted to post some photos of the altered book I made for her which she did open when she got the result! (some 2.5 weeks after I gave it to her!!)
This the front of the book, stamped and embellished and gold leafed around the edge.

Inside the front cover, more stamping and quotes etc
Inside the book is a cut out 'treasure chest' of special inspirational quotes and 'things'

And the back looks like this.
It was a fun project to do and I would love to do more. Messing around with gel medium and gesso and cutting into an actual book were all new for me but the result was pleasing and most importantly it conveyed to daugher no.4 just how much I love her and want to encourage her in her pursuit of art and design.
So what else might there have been going on this week?

Some work on the first ever sock! I am actually enjoying this very much even if there are challenges from time to time in seeing whether you are doing in the right direction or not!

Another little quilt project made with some squares I had given to me for my birthday this year. I love the fabric.
Well there are many other things of course but I shall leave these to another post - something about growing and the garden I think! Hope you are having a good weekend!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Baking Fest!

I have been enjoying baking over the last week and surprisingly (!) everyone has enjoyed eating the results! First we have Old Fashioned Raisin Bars pictured above. These are an old favourite and if you are interested, here is the recipe. It comes from a cafe called The Well which used to be opposite Victoria Coach Station a very long time ago when P and I were engaged and working in the same area, we used to meet up there for lunch and have delicious homemade soup and homemade wholemeal bread with cheese (this is still our favourite meal some 30 years later!!!)
Sadly the cafe/restaurant is no longer there but I still have their recipe book/pamphlet which is looking rather dog-eared now.

Old Fashioned Raisin Bars

Combine in a large saucepan:
1 cup raisins
1 cup water
Bring to the boil andthen remove from heat and stir in:
4oz margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 ¾ cup SR Flour
1tspn cinnamon
1 tspn nutmeg
1 tspn mixed spice
1 tspn cloves
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Stir all together and then pour in greased 13” x 9” x 2”. Bake 350 degrees for 30 mins. When cool, dust with icing sugar

Then we have Date and Cinnamon Slices - very yummy indeed and didn't actually last 24 hours in this house!
Finally I just fancied making a Victoria Sponge which I haven't done in a long time and the first one made last weekend was gone in 4 hours!! Well, we did have 6 people around at the time so it wasn't as if just three of us were stuffing ourselves!! The creme fraiche instead of butter cream was a real hit so a request that this might be made again please mum, this weekend, was granted and I managed to take a photo before it was gobbled up! Actually there is a still a slice or two left for daughter no. 1 who is coming back late this evening.

But I haven't only been baking of course. On Wednesday a good friend took me to her gym as a birthday gift and we both did a pilates class, had a delicious lunch and then took a little turn in the jacuzzi and sanarium. What a delightful way to spend an otherwise working day. It was my first pilates class(I am a yoga girl at heart and have done some Iyengar yoga in the past) but I was pleasantly surprised and could do most of the poses. Lately my back has been causing me problems and I discovered that probably this is because I have Lordosis (a spine that curves inward) so need to do some exercises to strengthen the muscles around that area.
On another note congratulations to Driftwood who wins the giveaway Batik fabric having provided the only comment! Thank you for joining in Tess. I will mail it out to you this week.

There's been quite a bit of crafting going on here this week as well as the baking but I guess I will leave that for another post. Hope you are all having great weekend.