Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...

05/12/2021

Sunday reflecting

The house has been full of voices the last couple of days with the boys and their girls joining us for our annual wreath making day - it was non existent in 2020 and this year it had been downsized to just a bare minimum of family and special friends; to be able to have a small part of our yearly tradition felt rather special.

With quite a few folk not joining us, I was busy making a number of wreaths - which I have to admit was rather hard to rustle up the enthusiasm I usually have - it seems I have made so many this year that the novelty has well and truly run its course... I also wanted this to be a lovely day because last year was .... well - last year didn't really happen, did it?
However after several mugs of tea, mince pies, gingerbread cake, gingerbread, lots of catching up and a constant background serenading of festive songs - I got there in the end!
Another very special part of this day is the arrival of a gingerbread chrimbly tree - where squeaks of delight and oohs and aahs of appreciation could be heard as it landed in the centre of the table with a flourish!
It is this plate of tasty sculpture that really makes me feel like the festive season has begun. And what makes it even more special is, it is part of my boys festive build up and and once they'd grown up and brought home their girlfriends - they delighted in sharing this tradition with them too. It also amazes me how quickly this plate of biscuits are scoffed - with the larger pieces being torn into large chunks and carried off triumphantly!
Nearly all of us had more that one wreath to make and if I have my calculations correct - I think, by the end of the day there were  15 or 16 made - so we were rather busy!
The pile of greenery both on the table and beneath it certainly looked impressive however I had to ask Himself to brave the dreadful weather outside and gather more as we soon depleted it.

The house smelt gorgeous - citrusy conifer, spicy ginger, mulled punch, mince pies, pizza, baked potatoes,  cinnamon sticks, crusty bread, quiche and nut roast.

In the evening, after all had gone, we sat quietly recovering around the fire, Youngest and his Girl quietly finishing off their wreaths, Eldest and his Girl reading on the settee and the weather howling around the house in a foul temper - I decided that despite this year's wreath day's build up being quite hard work - it was worth it - really worth it x 

30/11/2021

Weaving stories

 I've been playing .....

A little while ago, I'd accidently (oops - suspect my finger slipped on my keyboard ) purchased myself a small loom weaving kit and finally today was the first time I was able to get my hands on it and actually play!
The instructions it came with were a rather lost in translation, so I did a bit of online research and after realising where I'd gone wrong with setting up, I stuck the kettle on and got stuck in!

And I like!!

I like A LOT!

I loved the movement of each row as it builds up and the gentle growth of fabric from woollen thread. It is definitely a slow craft - a mindful, methodical and rhythmic craft and while the weather outside was foul tempered and miserable, I was engrossed and wanting to learn more.

I have since knotted the fringe and trimmed it a little shorter, soaked and blocked the mats and I am on with making the next two...... ! 

My chosen colours, all in pre-shrunk 100% wool, are a lovely tweedy grey, chocolate brown and a soft sandy shade. However each mug mat has a different pattern. The edges might be bumpy and my tension still needing practice however seeing the completed mug mats made my heart sing. I may have mentioned that I am enjoying this ... A LOT!

Right - this is the final  #moreblogvember post for November 2021. There is this myth that it take 21 days to form a habit (where in reality it is nearer 66 days - so two months of blogging just might be enough) we shall see.

#moreblogvember

29/11/2021

Orl-right treacle? *

What a bit of a day it has been! The village has been hammered somewhat - with large parts of it without electricity, most of it without wi fi and all of it without water all day! Fortunately the water is back - turned out several of the old Victorian pipes split with the cold, most but not all of the residents have power or internet back yet.

It has been, however,  a very good day for sewing though - and I have done eeeeeeven smaller stitches! Think I've gone a little cross eyed in the process 😁

I promised to share the gingerbread recipe after I'd tasted it - no point getting excited about a recipe then on sampling finding it disappointing - however this particular delight was exactly that - a delight! It makes a HUGE cake so next time I make it I will halve the ingredients.

It is from an American site with US weights and measures, so I have converted it - I have added the link for my Stateside readers.


Fresh Ginger and Treacle Cake

  • 114gm fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • 300gm treacle
  • 200gm sugar
  • 225gms (mls) vegetable oil
  • 313gm self raising flower
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 236grams (mls) hot water
  • 2 tsp bicarb (baking soda)
  • 2 eggs
  1. Heat oven to 175 deg c, line a 25 cm cake tin with greaseproof paper - I used a large square pan and cut the cake into 'brownie' sized squares.
  2. Peel and grate the fresh ginger.
  3. Mix treacle, sugar and oil in one bowl
  4. Mix flour, spices in a separate bowl
  5. Stir the bicarb into the boiling water and add to the treacle mix
  6. Add the grated ginger.
  7. Gradually add and whisk the dry ingredients to the treacle mix
  8. When well blended, add the eggs until thoroughly combined.
  9. Pour into the cake tin and bake for about an hour.
The cake is very dark so not easy to check if browning too quickly, so after about cooking for about half an hour, I added a greaseproof cover to protect it.

Leave to cool in the tin for about half an hour - it will still be warm for a long time after. Use a knife or spatula to loosen the edges and take out of the tin to cool further - or in my case feed straight to a waiting husband..........

This is the LINK to the US site with gorgeous photos of the cake - mine are rather less so!

Now, a good 24 hours after it's baking, the cake is still soft and squidgy and just gooey enough to make your fingers worth giving a good lick but not too sticky that you need to rush off and wash your hands. Himself has decided that he'd like to try a goodly portion of the cake swimming in a bucket load of hot custard - hmmmm, might have to humour him😁


*and the 'Orl-right Treacle? of my title? - well it was a catchphrase from a character from the 1980s - a cockney stall holder in a long running soap opera. One, I hasten to add, I do not watch! However I did, under sufferance, see the first few episodes when I stayed with my Gran who was - in equal measure - was both entranced and annoyed by the plot lines and characters!

This is my penultimate #moreblogvember post - tomorrow is November 30th and I know December can be beyond busy for most folk - so, I may be less prolific with my posting. Thank you for coming along for the ride!

#moreblogvember

#52newrecipes



28/11/2021

Slow, snow Sunday


This morning felt really chilly with an icy grey cloud hanging low over the village. It was not long before it started to snow, so it seemed a really good time to reach for the thread and needle and continue my sewing.

I can't tell you what it is as the person it is destined for does read my blog however what I am sharing is a little tip I picked up a while ago and used very successfully today. See the two marks on my nail? They line up with the blanket stitches. I'd read that if you are doing tiny sewing, by marking on your nail the distance you want to your stitches to be, it helps give a regular spaced out rhythm to your sewing and once you've completed the stitching - you just wash off the ink on your nail. Simples!

By lunch the snow suddenly stopped and although the sun didn't break through the clouds, the sky lightened and in places the snow glowed gold in the afternoon gloom.

We didn't go too far, just our local 'dog loop' around the village and Moss was delighted - she loves snow, racing around, skidding and chasing snowballs. She grabs mouthfuls of snow and seems to enjoy chewing it - strange. The next picture is my favourite for today - I love how she is 'standing proud' with her stick she 'troffled' out of the snow to carry.
As we reached the highest point of our walk, a snow-laden fog drifted over the hill and down into the valley, slipping in and around of buildings. It gave the village wind turbine the appearance of floating about the ridge.
We dropped off the ridge we were on, back down into the village, as we - although wrapped warmly and walking briskly - were both just barely warm enough and I was certain I could hear the 'kettle calling' to us. And of course - you just can not have a mug of tea whilst warming your toes in front of the fire - without a fiery dark ginger cake ..... so that is what we did! 

I will share the recipe with you tomorrow - unless something more interesting happens - but at the moment the cake will top most things due to it's deep dark gingery and gooey goodness with it's soft and squidgy texture.... just might have to go in for a third oops I mean 'another' piece, before my mug of tea is finished.
Well. 
That is the weekend. 
It has slipped away somewhat. Never mind😊

Hope your weekend was gently kind to you and there were precious moment to treasure xxxπŸ’—πŸ’—

27/11/2021

Sew sew Saturday

 It's been a busy ol' week. As a gentle remedy I'm quietly stitching.



It feels quite cathartic.

#moreblogvember

26/11/2021

Narrow squeak


Ten days ago or so,  I received an email saying .... congrats your car is insured for another 12 months blah blah blah... don't worry we have only put it up a little blah blah blah ..... etc.

Yes, it had gone up but not a huge amount however, not enough to make me bother to do a bit of 'checking the market dot com' so I filed the email away and got on with my life.

Tonight, whilst checking my emails I saw this ....  bad luck your insurance has been cancelled ...blah blah blah and was cancelled eight days ago blah blah blah (yes - eight days, so two days AFTER the email saying all ok?!?!?)

Cue panic mode! 

After some swift checking the market (Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert is brilliant for this) I found a company that would insure me for less than my initial insurance company AND with extra benefits, Yes please!

Which made Himself and I chat about the 'Road Traffic Cop' programmes you see on TV - when the officers stop a car and pronounce to the driver that they have no insurance, to which the driver will protest vehemently that they do and Himself and I would go 'tut tut, course you don't!'

If I'd been stopped - that would have been me..... 'onest guv - I do 'ave insurance, promise!' and in reality I didn't - eek.

It turns out that since last year's payment, both our bank cards had expired and replaced so we now had new numbers and details and rather than an email saying .... excuse me but we have not been paid coz your details have changed blah blah blah' which would have triggered a quick updating of details - they just cut us off - nice one (not). 

And breathe!


Thank you everyone for your lovely comments - I do appreciate them greatly and I promise tomorrow I will write something a little more recherche rather than a 'panic-induced-due-to-uninsured-car-issue' post!! I am working tomorrow, another wreath making workshop, I will share some photos of the gorgeous wreaths in a day of two. However until then - here is one I'd made as a demonstration to keep you going 😊



Have a lovely weekend xxxxx


#moreblogvember

25/11/2021

Down to the sea and the sky

The question is - how to top yesterday's walk?

Well, that was easy - do another one, only this time add in the sea and the sky, include woodlands and monuments, count on the sunshine and top up with the freshest of fresh air and the best of company (oh yes and take a dilly dog!)


We started at Eaves Woods again except we turned left into the woodland - opposite to yesterday's path and meandered our way gently upwards to the summit where there is a monument for Queen Victoria's golden jubilee, dated 1887. 

Despite several folk milling about, there was a gentle silence as we all appreciated the view over Silverdale and the sea. The crisp blue light filled the sky with silvery clouds drifting across the horizon.
 
We dropped off the crest and back into the trees, following the path down to the coast. Meandering through pretty lanes and wistful cottages we stumbled on a long coastal stretch of open access - which to non uk folk means land you can walk on without restriction or pathways at your own risk but equally for your own pleasure. And what a pleasure it was. We found ourselves a limestone outcrop and sat down, poured a large mug of tea and nibbled - yes you guessed it - fruit cake. We gazed over the sea and watched Eider duck and cormorants bobbing on the gentle swell while the sun left the most glorious glittering light on the water. 


We lingered in the sunshine - on a surprisingly warm afternoon for November - for quite a while. Moss, muddy and happy was asleep leaning up against my back, it seemed a shame to move on, but we knew we must and besides there was so much more to explore and discover!

Around the corner the track dropped right down to the sea, past Jenny Brown's Point where Moss just had to have a dip which had the wonderful 'side affect' of removing most of the mud! 
We returned to the track which lead to a set of pretty cottages known as Brown's Cottages. Just past them was a huge limestone chimney - which apparently was built (mistakenly) as part of a copper smelting mill in 1780. 


The path followed inland along the estuary towards the nature reserve we'd watched the murmurations the night before then it dipped back in and out of woodland and past more lovely houses and gardens.
As we walked Moss dragged me over to a lady to say hello (not something Moss does normally) and we ended up chatting to a sweet old dear, for about 20 minutes, who reminisced about her dogs who'd both reached the ripe old ages of 14 and 15.

After five hours of glorious walking we finally returned to the van and guess who was there?!?!

It was only the robin - professing it's extreme state of starvation and that it had not EATEN for A WEEK! So I crumbled some cheese and fruit cake .. 


Regretfully but replete we set off back for home - we'd had an amazing micro adventure over the last couple of days, glorious walks, beautiful scenery and we left behind a rather well fed con artist!!



#moreblogvember


24/11/2021

wow - I loved Sunday!

Sunday started as an at-home-day, we had jobs to do, bulbs to plant, washing to work through, general tidying and house care, when we said, almost as one .... 'Why don't we go out in the van - TONIGHT?' There was a moment's silence as we stared at each other, then we sprang into action. 

Clothes were collected, food sorted, boots, coats, hats and gloves found, camera and phone chargers switched on and the van packed. Within a couple of hours of sorting out the house and garden, we were driving off to the lakes. Darkness fell fairly quickly and although it was early evening when we arrived - it felt very late!

Our chosen spot for the night was a coastal road with permissible parking for vans and after we'd eaten, we soon fell asleep. In the morning our view was of the frosty estuary and the bluest of clear blue skies.

Himself brewed up mugs of steaming hot tea and coffee, we curled our fingers around them as we felt the early morning chill on our cheeks. I could smell the metallic tang of wintery air. After breakfast and a quick dog walk, we headed into Carnforth and spent a very happy hour or so in the bookshop. Himself could have spent a fortune but I was more intrigued by the architecture of the building with stairs that seemed to vanish or only go down a step or two then after one stride immediately come back up. There was room after room of books on shelves up to the ceilings with some of the rooms with the perfect chair for curling up and reading. Floors were on many levels and rooms looked like they had been added on as an afterthought!

After a while we felt the pull to be back out and on with our walk and Moss agreed, so we drove to our chosen parking spot and as I made sandwiches and Himself sorted out maps and boots - a robin appeared and insisted that he'd NOT eaten A THING all week. We humoured him and I crumbled some cheese, raisins and bread on a tree stump.

Robin fed, boots on, lunch packed and map at the ready we set off. As we left the car park we noticed the same robin had cornered another unsuspecting walker who had also fallen for the 'I've not EATEN for a WEEK' and was feeding his sandwich to it!
Our walk started in Eaves Wood - one of my favourite places but today's route only skirted through a small edge of it and soon we were heading towards Gaits Barrow.
We have stopped at the little summerhouse before - about three years ago and it was barely visible from the track and having spotted it, we noticed it's rather dilapidated state. This time we could see there had been a lot of love and restoration lavished on it. The doors, soffits, roof, guttering and pointing had all been replaced with new and it was sporting several bat boxes and swallow and swift nesting points.
Our route took us through ancient tracks, alongside woodland, in and out of farmland, by streams and in the company of curious heifers who cautiously escorted us from one end of their huge field to the other.

Suddenly we arrived at the nature reserve - far too early - I must be very much fitter than the last time we walked this way! So we made the most of the late afternoon light and took photographs of the amazing reflections. Looking at the water was like looking into another realm!


We then walked back to the van in the last of the afternoon sun, dropped off our bags and fed Moss, tucked her up in her bed and after a quick cuppa, set back to the nature reserve to watch the evening's entertainment - the whole reason why we were there!

We stood on the nature reserve's causeway track which goes through the moss and reed beds, people were spread out all along, waiting and watching as were we. 
Then the starlings started to appear - first small groups of 50 to 100 birds. As they flew overhead we could hear a whispering woosh of their wings, then a millisecond later the split splat splot as their droppings hit the floor - a hazard of watching them!! I tried videoing them but my efforts do not do their aerial display any justice. 

(I am afraid that blogger wont let me down load the videos - grrrr. So I have removed the link and added another image instead)

As a display it was not as monstrously magnificent as it had been last time we were there, however this year it was directly above us and although lots of smaller displays (hundreds rather than thousands) it was amazing to watch. We were so so much closer,  close enough to see that magical invisible chord the birds have as they twist and turn without so much as a peep of control. They twirled and swooped (and pooped!) over and over and around us then with a silent accord they dropped into the reeds. It was at this point there was a rallying cry and the birds twittered and chattered at an ear deafening chorus - it gave me goose bumps galore!

By this time it was almost too dark to see so we stumbled our way back to the van as did most of the other spectators. We were almost back when we were startled and in turned spooked a Roe deer and for a brief moment we stood staring at each other, then it silently vanished in the dark woods. Oh so spellbinding!

When we opened the van - our dear dilly dog was still fast asleep - full tum and warmly wrapped in her duvet - what a life! 

We drove off into the night back to the shore road; there we had a mug of tea as I cooked, filling the van with a warming scent of our meal. Our conversation was of our day brimming with precious moments of magic. And tomorrow was still to comeπŸΎπŸ’—


#moreblogvember