Sunday, 27 July 2014

It's good to be the kitchen

My goodness! Did I really just type those words "It's good to be back... in the kitchen"?

I do enjoy cooking, when I have the time, but I'm hoping that many of you can empathize with me when I say most weeks I churn out the same old, dinners - those tried, tested and quick ones that are particularly good when you need to feed members of the family at different times of the evening, dictated by the timing of activities. 

So, we have been away for 10 days, a great holiday, and arrived back around midnight last night. I had already decided, and promised the family yesterday, that I would make pancakes for lunch - they are always highly appreciated. So here is the batter, all ready to go....

 I'm using a bowl which was once my mum's, I think from about the 1950's. 
I used a similar smaller one for my baking (see later in the post) and I think there was originally an even smaller one but sadly that was smashed.

Umm, I always struggle to get thin but perfectly circular pancakes....

Most often in our house we have syrup with our pancakes
 (no apology for the advertising of Lyle's golden syrup)

With the pancakes soon devoured then it's time to bake some currant buns. 
These are a regular bake in our house partly because I can knock a batch together in about 15  minutes, and we often eat them as dessert.

My kitchen scales were my mum's too  and I think they were her mum's before that so they are quite old and I LOVE them, even the chips on the weighing pan. Yes, they are a bit dusted with flour but this is how they always are so I thought I would show you my lovely scales, warts and all!

Gosh, that mixture - colour and texture - looks good!

Hang on! Skateboard? 
My daughter was in the kitchen while I was taking these photos and she asked me to take a photo of her new skateboard - she has only had it for 3 weeks, a very belated Christmas present. 

She had no idea what she wanted for Christmas so besides a few small gifts to open we gave her an I.O.U which she exchanged recently for a new skateboard. She has really missed it while we were away and was slightly envious of all those young people we saw on trains with skateboards strapped to their backpacks! Needless to say she has been back out on it today.

So back to the cooking. 

More lovely colours and textures...


 oo, notice a sneaky finger heading for my mixture!!

Here is the smaller bowl that was once my mum's.
Time to add the currants....

And, within two shakes of a lamb's tail, the buns are ready for the oven

 While the buns bake in the oven, I enjoy yet another one of these...... ahhh, nothing quite like a good cup of tea after having been away from home for 10 days

 And then here are the finished results.
Of course, daughter has already pinched one, 
she likes them straight from the oven while they are still warm.

  Oh yes, there are definitely some very good reasons for being home again.

 Wishing you a good start to the week

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Sock wool and travel kettles!

Last week in Ginny's yarn along I said I was about to start reading The Amateur Gentleman, but actually this never happened. I have come away on holiday with three fifths of my family (eldest son is away doing his own thing in Romania), and strangely for the first few days I couldn't settle to reading any book. In fact I struggled to settle to anything while sat on a train, flitting from reading a book on George Washington (which remains uncompleted), a puzzle book and my knitting. I think my brain just needed a complete rest.

Anyway I am now back reading and my current read is Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith which I am enjoying, a story so far set mainly in Russia in 1953. Before starting this I quickly read Of Mice and Men, always a good read.

As to my knitting, well I'm back to the old portable project of sock knitting. I am now just knitting the heel of the second sock so making some progress.

In typically British fashion, I do enjoy a cup of tea, so even though I have had to pack lightly for this holiday I still managed to find room in my suitcase for my travel kettle which I have now had many years. Of course the kettle doesn't really take up much room because I stuff things in it when travelling, and this time I found my kettle was the perfect receptacle for ....... spare sock wool!

So, what are you reading and yarning this week?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

This week's yarn along


Joining in with Ginny's yarn along. I am just about to start reading that tatty old book in my photo.

It has been languishing on my shelf for years. I can't even remember where it came from but it is a book printed in a small old fashioned font, my favourite, so I am looking forward to getting stuck into it. 

As to my yarn work, this week I have crocheted a few more rows on my blanket (after having to pull 6 rows out when I realised I'd used my yarn in the wrong order - argh! So frustrating! It's good to see that the blanket is still growing.

I wonder what you are reading, and what yarn project you are creating this week. 

Enjoy the rest of your week

Monday, 14 July 2014

We must be artists!


I had a fantastic week away recently with my son and while away we visited a couple of art museums. There was an 'interesting' selection of art on display, and with neither me or my son being art experts I'm afraid we were heard to utter several times "how can that be considered art?" Such Philistines!

But there were a couple of pieces of art which caught my attention for different reasons. Firstly, I saw this painting by Thomas Eakins, entitled Mrs Mary Arthur an dated 1900.

Mrs. Mary Arthur

And here is the accompanying description of the painting.

It amused me that Mrs Arthur was described as being "absorbed in an old-fashioned manual task". I can't quite decide what that "old-fashioned task" might be. At first I thought she was crocheting but she looks to have a long hook/needle in her hand. Is she maybe tatting? I really don't know, but I was slightly put out that whatever she was doing was considered 'old-fashioned'. I can only hope that the description of the painting was written some years ago and pre-dated the current revival of knitting and crocheting. 

The next piece of art that caught my eye was this. It was hung in the Museum of Modern Art, although I'm afraid I failed to make a note of the artist or the title of the piece. Personally I don't particularly like the piece; I think the colours are drab. 

I'm sorry too that the photo isn't of better quality - by this time I was hurrying after my son who was only really interested now in the most popular pieces of art on display. 
But, the above piece is approximately 5 feet square and comprises strips of material sewn together. My first thought was "it's a quilt!". And sure enough when I read the description it said that the artist was inspired to make this piece after watching his mother sew quilts when he was child.

So, my first thought was "when does a piece of 'craft' become 'art'?

But then I realised that I found the description of this piece very heartening. 
Clearly this suggests that for all of us who knit, crochet, sew etc - each article we make is a piece of art! 

I never considered myself an artist before!

So what will your next piece of art be?

Friday, 11 July 2014

This little boy...

How did that happen?

That this little boy
...... left school yesterday!

This little boy who loved castles, knights, cowboys....

This little boy who loved dressing up and playing with sticks....

This little boy who loved playmobil and lego....

This little boy who would stop anything he was doing, even playing with playmobil, if I asked him "shall we have a story?"

This little boy who I used to take to the park to play on the swings...

This little boy who I kept back from primary school for one term because I thought he wasn't quite old enough to start...

This little boy who loved playing football.... (and still does!)

This little boy who had worked out which seat to sit in at last school assembly yesterday so that when the Upper 6th were clapped out, he was the last to leave!

This little boy who has grown up into a young man and whose company I shared and thoroughly enjoyed for a week in New York two weeks ago...

This little boy who grew up and left school yesterday - wishing you all the luck in the world!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Ready for winter!


Well, my blog has been rather neglected lately and "yarn along" posts only, were becoming rather repetitive, both for me to write and I'm sure for you to read. So I am a little anxious about posting on a similar theme but I have a reason for another yarn-related post.

I have finished my Norwegian Fairisle Snowflake Hat!
And here it is, modelled by my daughter.  

I used Rico Essentials Merino DK which is a lovely soft wool.
(oops - sorry this photo is a bit out of focus)

 And here is a view of the top. 

And I am actually quite pleased with this, despite the slight rucks in places where I have pulled the wool a little too tight at the back.
For those who are interested, the pattern is on Ravelry as a free download and can be found here.
This hat fits nice and snuggly on my head. All the other woollen shop-bought hats I own are a bit on the large side and so ride up with wear and end up sitting proud on my head - I don't like that look at all, and neither do the younger members of the family. So no more "sitting high" hats for me!
And now I'm ready for those cold winter days spent watching football matches or cross country races.
It feels so good to finish a project at last - it might be some time before I finish the next one!
Best wishes