A very late birthday post.

This June I turned 48, a brilliant age I think.  (I think all ages are brilliant) I was snowed under with work, so although hubby barely saw anything of me, he came down and shopped, cleaned and cooked and at just gone six, the computer went off and our celebrations began.  Hubby had cooked a lovely roast dinner, the champagne was nicely chilled and London being just a little bit warmer than Warwickshire we sat in the garden enjoying the evening sun.



A birthday portrait,  ‘having a little fun’


The Jacket.

‘ll just give you a snapshot of the jacket I made this term.   I am starting half way through, the photographs before this are a little bit boring and there are huge technical swathes of photographs for my technical file on how to go about performing various tasks but these are taken from the point of having completed the pockets and welts, pad stitching the canvas and we are just about to get it all basted in and perform a myriad of tasks.

ImageImageAll basted in, lining basted into place and internal pocket made.

ImageImageSorting out the armscye.

ImageStarting to attach the pad stitched collar.

ImageImageThe various layers involved in the shoulder.

ImageOne nearly completed jacket.  I just had to stab stitch the edges to finish before removing the basting thread.  (I didn’t manage to take a photograph of it fully completed on the stand)

Image10 weeks work, Done.

In praise of Sundays. (and wishing for a dry day)


I feel relaxed, recovered, restored and set up for Sunday.  I have fresh eggs, ripe peaches and tomatoes in abundance.  These ingredients could become roast tomatoes and poached eggs for breakfast, later a slow cooked Basque stew (the squids in the fridge) with pasta followed by a fresh peach cobbler with home made custard – or a might just guzzle the fresh peaches one by one, who knows.  However I do intend to potter around and do a little light sewing and a little crocheting, perhaps if I am very lucky in the garden. 


The garden is a treat at the moment,


The view from the patio doors.  Shall we wander?


The herb bed is doing well, rosemary, two thyme’s, mint and sage, with the sporadic placings  of beetroot adding colourful leafy touches.


Dead heading really pays off, especially with the ruby red geraniums, although I am leaving the poppy’s now to allow them to develop a couple of seed heads.


This plant is going to be magnificent in a couple of days. 


And the runner beans are really coming into their own.


The bees love them, its amazing how many different types of bees visit, I wish I knew more about bees.


But shall we look a little closer?


And what do we discover, two wonderful runner beans just ready for picking.


And lots more coming up the rear.


The beetroots coming along nicely, it will soon be ready to enjoy in a salad.


And the fig tree is sprouting figs all over the place.


The courgette plants are starting to fruit. 


We treated ourselves to a climbing rose from a show last weekend, David Austin’s Pilgrim. It is going to take a while to settle, but hopefully will cover the shed next summer.


And go beautifully with the clementis which is flowering nicely and over taking the lilac tree at the moment. 


And as I wander back towards the house,


the full impact of the geraniums hits me firmly between the eyes, as does their wonderful scent.

Fingers crossed for a dry day.

Schools out for summer! and a new house guest.


Well last term was very intense.  The last few weeks have been one where I have been working pretty much all of the time, but I did get everything done which was the main thing. Lets hope the marks reflect the effort involved eh!   And at some stage I will show you a few pics of the jacket, I am still in recovery mode, I am just coming out of resting mode, I’ve been wiped out for the last four days since finishing and am slowly finding my energy levels coming back up, – although for two pins I would climb back into bed as we speak.

But I have more pressing matters to share with you.

I need to introduce you to my new house guest.

Meet Toile – said in a heavy French accent.

She came to join me last Thursday and has been the most adorable constant companion I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

ImageHer first evening, see how tiny she is at nine weeks.

ImageHowever she soon found my lap and we have barely been parted since.  Can you see her ginger tabby just waiting to spring out from her tortoiseshell coat.  It is quite amazing her colouring, I see something new in her coat nearly every day.

ImageAnd according to her Vet, Tortie’s have attitude, I can honestly say I have never before met such a confident kitten.  Her nose pokes into anything that is happening, whether it is supper or sewing. Image


And you can imagine the games we had trying to lay this tissue paper pattern out. It was a wonder it was still in one piece.


Image She loves a cuddle, which is good, because I love to cuddle cats and they make the perfect companion when resting or knitting or simply catching up on a spot of tele. Image

And more than anything else, the love shines out of her for me.  Already there is a Toile shaped lump in my heart.  She is completely adorable and we are wrapped around her tiny paws awaiting her bidding as and when she desires.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff’ othewise known as “yummy tomato pizza”

Today I fancied pizza, so I went hunting for a 50% off voucher from a leading pizza supplier and simply couldn’t find one that worked.  So in the end, I swore gently to myself and decided I’d see what flour I had and grabbed the bag out of the cupboard, it was self raising, ‘whats the worse that could happen’ I thought to myself. ‘Not much’ was my considered response. (the beauty of living on your own is that you sink into little chats to yourself, but as no one knows you do that, they can’t identify you’ve gone completely barking – its genius really!)  I made up a yeasty brew, my considered method was tip the dry yeast into a small amount of warm water, add extra for luck and a little bit of sugar, swirl around a bit with warm water until its dissolved and starts to smell yeasty and throw it in with more water and a little salt.  Some methods suggest that you measure your teaspoon of yeast and the exact ratio of flour etc etc…   If you add more yeast, you get a quicker rise, simples, all that waiting for bread to rise is simply the yeast multiplying, so if you start with more, it will be quicker and if it needs more water, add it and if it needs more flour add more of that.  I got the warm water from the coffee machine, sans coffee pod and a splash of cold water to cool it down, none of that filling the kettle for a splash of hot water.


And we could talk about kneeding, which stretches the gluten etc etc..   So does leaving it to rise.  So mix the water in, make sure there are no dry bits at the bottom of the bowl and leave it for an hour or so, then when its risen and you’ve made your toppings etc, knock it back and work it for a couple of minutes and you will have dough that is perfectly good enough without all of that kneeding, unless of course you fancy a good kneed, and then go ahead, pummel for all your worth, but if your busy and have other things to be getting on with, don’t give it a second thought.

ImagePut it in your tray, push it out and let it rest for a bit, and then it will relax and you’ll be able to get those corners sorted.  Otherwise the dough is fighting against you and you can’t push it into the corners. You can top it straight away now, it doesn’t need to rise again.

ImageIn between showering and working and waiting for the dough to rise I reduced one tin of tomatoes, maybe 30p and added a little balsamic vinegar and a dash of olive oil and grated some cheese that I had bought at a buy one get one free which worked out at 500g of mature cheddar for £2.00.  of which I used about 350 g,  I’ve no idea what the flour cost, but it wasn’t alot.  The tomatoes need to be relatively cool, at least not boiling hot.

ImageI’d preheated my oven up to the highest temperature and placed my expensive pizza of a couple of quid or so into it and set the timer for 12 minutes.

ImageAnd then I took a couple of photo’s of my lovely garden in London. The view from the patio doors.

ImageI love my red geraniums, they smell so lovely and they just look glorious.

ImageAnd they do so well here.


And when we wonder down the path, we discover,


ImageA poppy has blossomed, (although its sister, further up the bed is dying!)

ImageIt does look glorious, it made me so happy to see it.

ImageAnd the runner beans have reached the end of their poles.

ImageAnd look, they are just starting to flower.

ImageAnd we have a fig.  And then I wandered back, and  just before getting to the patio doors, I smelt the Pizza… and rushed forward, just as the timer started to beep

ImageEt Voila,  Pizza, yummy tomato Pizza.

ImageAnd because I know these things are important to you, it did Not have a soggy bottom.

ImageAnd was indeed a thing of beauty and made a very delicious lunch.