Friday, 31 July 2015

Five On Friday

Welcome to Five On Friday!

Just a quick reminder in case you haven't taken part in the last few weeks, there will be no Five On Friday during August.  We will start again on September 5th after we have all taken a little summer or winter break.  Of course you can still share five things on a Friday, but there will be no link up.

Thank you for your lovely comments on my wreath, I am so glad that you liked it and thought it a good bit of fun which was what I intended!  I was very nervous about sharing it for some reason as it seemed a bit daft which is why I hadn't showed any of the making.  So thank you for being so nice - as you always are!  I am glad too to hear that so many of you are bakers and also enjoy your own baking.  Perhaps it goes hand in hand with being a blogger - blogger/baker!

Yesterday I was wishing for the return of summer, well, it did sort of come in that the sun came out and it didn't rain!!!!  Yay!!!  However, I spent the day inside cleaning the oven!  No, it didn't take all day, but I was worn out after that!

So, I hear you say, what will you be doing on Fridays in August as there is no link up?  Well I have decided that I will not post on Fridays and will instead use the time to work on some of my still outstanding WIP's.  I posted about the list here and it has only grown since then....

One - I want to get to grips with and finish my quilt.  It is three quarters "quilted" and then I need to bind it or sew the edges somehow.  It hasn't worked out as I hoped and I don't think that I am going to become a quilter, but I need to finish this.


Two - I bought this cute little needlefelting rabbit kit earlier in the year and haven't even touched it yet other than to have a feel of the contents of the box.  So I need to at least start this as well.


Three - Continue working on my tapestry.  There is no hope of getting this finished in August, but I can at least get a couple more squares done.


Four - My stash boxes - all three of them.... - need sorting out and tidying and then I need to decide what I am going to do with the contents so that I can start some more WIP's...  It is a never ending list isn't it.


Five - Decide which of the large stash I have of free kits from magazines I am actually going to make and then spend some time making them.  You know that I am going to make the pineapple brooch though right!  I need that pineapple!!!


I think that sounds like a reasonable list of crafting ambitions for the month.  I will also no doubt be working on a new mantel and wreath arrangement for September and I will - if my yarn ever turns up - be working on my crochet hexi blanket as well.

Plus I have a ladies lunch to plan for in August - I am hosting at my home and preparing the main course and a dessert (non fruit).  As well as all of that there is a long list of housekeeping tasks to be attended to - window cleaning, kitchen cupboard sorting and office organising amongst them.  Most of which need to be done before the ladies lunch so that they all realise what a good homemaker I am.  As if!!!

So you don't need to imagine me being bored or sitting around in August as I will be very busy indeed.

I hope that you have a great weekend and a great summer or winter whatever you are doing!!!

Remember, put the 5th of September in your diary to restart Five On Friday!

Amy

Oh, and what is a WIP - Work In Progress!

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Thank you - as always! - for joining in last week.  I look forward to reading your posts again this week too! 



If you want to grab a Five On Friday Button or get more information about how to join in the All About Five On Friday page will tell you all that you need to know.

The Five On Friday "opening hours" are from 6 am on Friday until 7 pm on Saturday.  Please include a link or the button to my Five On Friday post within your post, or to make reference within your post to the button if it is in your sidebar.  This is to be fair to everyone.

If you want to check out anything else about Five On Friday see the All About Five On Friday page - top right of my sidebar.

To visit other bloggers taking part, just click on the links at the end of the post.  Please do go and visit their lovely posts!

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Thursday, 30 July 2015

Wordless....

Wordless Wednesday.  On Thursday.  Oh, and not so wordless.


Wishing for sunshine.......

Please come back summer!!!!

Amy

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Seaside Wreath

I decided that it was time to change my wreath on the door again.  The sunflowers had faded - a lot which I wasn't expecting - and something else was needed.

As I was busy working on my garland for my August Mantel I realised that I had rather a lot of embellishments and that the structure that I had made for it might not be strong enough to hold everything up.  I did a test run, and sure enough, too much weight.  That was when I came up with the idea of using most of what I had made for my wreath and then doing something else for the garland.

The garland isn't finished yet, and, you will have noticed that it isn't August yet, so I will be showing you the finished mantel next week.

I can though reveal my new wreath!


I know that this is the same picture, but the sun came out in one and not the other and you can see different details more clearly in each picture!



There are a lot of things hidden underneath that you cannot see so well as I did make quite a lot of things!



I made sure though to put some of the more decorative shells on the top.  Above you can see a 3D sort of twirly shell and below is a blue one which has some white weedy stuff growing from it.

I also made quite a few clamshells which are all hidden underneath.


The brown netty thing in the above picture is a fishing net and then below are two more shells, the pink stuff is coral - of course!


For the uninitiated these two V shapes are of course seagulls.  Far away seagulls!



Mostly I love the fishes though, they look so cute darting in and out and round and about.


No pattern details or anything, these were all made up from my own imagination and just worked as I went.  If I get with it enough I will write a tutorial and pattern for the fish though as they are so cute aren't they and I can replicate those easily enough.

So I hope that all the visitors to our home over the next month or so will enjoy this little bit of the seaside hanging on our door!  Hope you enjoy it too!



Amy

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Little blighters

You might remember that earlier in the year I sowed several packets of seed into my wildflower bed in the garden.  Not a single one has come up.

I sowed a free packet of wildlife friendly seeds from Countryfile (a TV show), two packets of wildlife friendly seed mixes, some sweet peas, some free (Gardeners World Magazine) zinnias and some poppies.  Six - yes, count them, six!!! - different lots of seeds.

All sprinkled and watered in as instruction on the various packets - or just sprinkled liberally in the case of the poppies.

Not a single thing came up - I know, I said that already, can you tell that I am cross!!  Look at it.  Nothing here at all from the seeds.


I put it down to the squirrel, but other - more likely - suggestions were made of mice, birds and so on.  However, I have seen no mice activity and I watched for birds very carefully and although they take great delight in digging around in the grass, flinging the bark mulch about looking for bugs under it, and they will later on peck the grapes and the apples - neither worth eating so I don't mind! - I have never seen any birds in this border.

A great mystery.

Until today.  When I was reading my Gardeners World Magazine - August in case you are interested! - I found this.


Look what it says.  Ants steal seeds.....

This bed is riddled with ants, you can see some of them here, there are hundreds of them.


So I have, at last, found the culprits.  It is the ants, the little blighters!!  Seems as though it will have to be full grown plants only in here from now on unless I can evict the ants.....

In other garden news, roses are blooming, grapes are growing and the pots are looking great - thankfully seeming to be ant free!





Not to self, no more seeds!

Amy

Monday, 27 July 2015

My weekly bake

Baking and I have had a mixed history.  It is something that I really like to do, but haven't always done or been able to do.  I generally make a Christmas cake each year and a birthday cake for hubby, possibly with a few other birthday cakes thrown in through the year for other people as well.

Just over two years ago I inherited a Kenwood Chef mixer - like a Kitchen Aid but English - and since then I have done slightly better with my baking efforts.  It is so easy to use, I keep the mixer out on the bench and the attachments right there in the bowl so that it is to hand.  The stainless steel bowl is easy to use and to wash up by hand and the attachments go into the dishwasher - although they would be easy to wash up too.  I find that the cakes it makes are far lighter and airier than they ever were when I used my hand mixer before.

For many years I coveted a mixer, either a Kenwood or a Kitchenaid and I would stroke them in department stores!  So when I had the chance to inherit one I jumped on the opportunity - in probably a rather unseemly fashion I am sad to say.


Over the last few weeks I have decided that rather than buying cake I would make cake each week.  Now, right now the news is telling us all the time that we are eating too much sugar, shouldn't eat sweet things and so on and so on and on and on and on it goes.  Well, we don't eat dessert for the most part, if we have it once a week I would be surprised.  Although we did of course have dessert twice last week with hubby's bountiful gooseberry fool!  Then we had rhubarb crumble yesterday so perhaps I am overestimating our abstemiousness!! 

Anyway, my point is that we don't - we really don't! - usually eat dessert so the odd slice of cake isn't too bad in my books.  Plus if I am making it myself I know that it doesn't have any nasty preservatives and things in it so it is actually healthier than shop cake which, to be frank with you, we would be eating in any case.

So I have made a lemon drizzle cake - heaven! - ginger cake with real stem ginger - delicious! - coffee and walnut cup cakes - very nice, but I would make butter icing in future, not the mascarpone icing that Delia called for as we were not very keen on that - and yesterday I made some rock cakes for this week.  These were also a Delia recipe.

Here are this weeks rock cakes.  Also very tasty!!  Very easy to make too.  You can find the recipe here.  I recommend them!


I can also thoroughly recommend, if you are able, getting a stand mixer, everything turns out so much better!  I am not being paid to say this - I wish!!!!

Oh, but I have to disclaim here, I didn't use the Kenwood to make the rock cakes, but I did use my new handy dandy pastry cutter thingy, which was excellent!  I am also not being paid to say that!

Amy

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Llanhydrock Gardens

When we went to Cornwall earlier in the year - three months ago now! - we stopped off at Llanhydrock which is a very famous National Trust property.  I will tell you more about it at a later date when I show you the inside.  You can see my posts about the ceilings here and the kitchens and below stairs parts of the house here.

Today though I hope that you will join me on a walk around the beautiful gardens.

When we visited it was a wonderful warm, sunny, dry spring day.  You could not have asked for better.  The car parking area has been revamped since we last visited, with a new visitors entrance, restaurant, cafĂ© and so on.  We didn't use those facilities, but they all looked really nice and if I was a child I would have loved to have had a go on the new playground!  There was also a lovely plant centre, but we didn't think that turning up to our B&B with a load of plants was a very good idea!

You can either walk down to the house on a well laid path - it is a very pleasant and easy walk - or get a buggy.  We chose to walk as it was such a beautiful day.


The gatehouse and the gardens are the first thing that you see.  I love the topiary yew trees.  These must be very old by now I imagine.


You can also see the gardens which lay beyond the house on the hill behind.  The rhododendrons were out in flower and looked spectacular.


I played around with this shot turning it to black and white.



As you go through the gatehouse you see the amazing topiary yew trees.  It is amazing how they are all shaped to be the same as all of the others.  It must take a lot of work to keep them clipped like this.



Then you approach the front door and get to go in through the tower.



After our visit we sat outside to eat our picnic lunch in the beautiful sunshine.  We of course stopped to admire these wonderful tulips.




They were wonderful!  I know that it is a bit late in the year for them now, and I am sure that the planting scheme has changed, but I it will be just as beautiful now I am sure.  Also, it is surely never the wrong time of year to admire a tulip!!


Thank you for taking this little stroll with me!  I would definitely recommend it as a beautiful walk, I just wish that we had been able to spend more time wandering as I am sure that it is a great place to explore.

Amy

Friday, 24 July 2015

Five On Friday

Welcome to Five On Friday!

Just a quick reminder in case you haven't taken part in the last few weeks, there will be no Five On Friday during August.  There will be one more this month and then we will start again on September 5th after we have all taken a little summer break.  Of course you can still share five things on a Friday, but there will be no link up.

Thank you to all of you who have commented and offered support this week.  As always, you are so appreciated.  I am still going and am most certainly not going to let anyone get me down, especially with such lovely supporters as you all are.  Thank you especially to new commenters, and to new followers for following along.  I hope that I will hear from you again and I will, as soon as I can pop by and visit you too!  If I don't appear in the comments soon, please let me know as I might have missed you and I would hate to miss you!

I love a good "saying" or quote, sometimes they are funny, or insightful, or just comforting in some way.  As I say in the spiel about Five On Friday, you could share five quotes.  So this week, I have five quotes for you!

They are all from Laura Ingalls Wilder.

“The real things haven't changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”  

This is so very very true isn't it.  I have taken comfort from these words this week.  A difficult situation in which I hope very much that I have always been honest and truthful, I have tried very hard to do both of those things.  Yet the other parties, well, not so much.  So I have to take courage and enjoy the simple pleasures - such as my new yucca shoots that I shared yesterday!

Actually there have been two situations of dishonesty and lack of truthfulness in the last week.  It makes me very sad indeed.

“Home is the nicest word there is.”   “There is no comfort anywhere for anyone who dreads to go home.”  

Many of us will be familiar with the first of these sayings.  I of course totally agree with this as you will know from the name of this blog.  It must be so very sad for home not to be the nicest word there is for someone who dreads going home.  I hope that no one I ever meet is in that difficult situation.  It must be so very hard to deal with.

“There's no great loss without some small gain.”  

Again, this has been relevant for me this week and I refer you back to my yucca moment.  A great loss happened in some ways, but there was still that small gain.

“Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that is how I will remember you all. If you can only remember me with tears, then don't remember me at all.”  

I am not planning on going anywhere, but these words, they are so very true aren't they.  Perhaps Laura is telling me that I need to just remember some smiles and laughter and forget the rest.

“Oh no, I never do much ironing, except the outside clothes. We must not iron out the fresh air and sunshine, you know. It is much more healthful not to, the doctors say.” Seriously, there is something very refreshing about sheets and pillow slips just fresh from the line, after being washed and dried in the sun and air. Just try them that way and see if your sleep is not sweeter. ”  

I thought that this was a good quote, and not one that I had heard before I went looking for some.  I don't iron bedding at all.  I only iron things that really have to be ironed.  I don't iron tshirts, jeans, teatowels, towels, socks, bedding, any of those sorts of things!  If I can get away without ironing it I will.  In future, I will say that it is because Laura said to do it and that I am leaving the sunshine and air in the clothes and so on!  You cannot get a better excuse reason for not ironing than that can you!

If you want to read more from Laura Ingalls Wilder, you can find more sayings here which is where all of the ones I shared today were taken from.

I hope that you have a great weekend whatever you are doing!

Amy

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Thank you - as always! - for joining in last week.  I look forward to reading your posts again this week too! 



If you want to grab a Five On Friday Button or get more information about how to join in the All About Five On Friday page will tell you all that you need to know.

The Five On Friday "opening hours" are from 6 am on Friday until 7 pm on Saturday.  Please include a link or the button to my Five On Friday post within your post, or to make reference within your post to the button if it is in your sidebar.  This is to be fair to everyone.

If you want to check out anything else about Five On Friday see the All About Five On Friday page - top right of my sidebar.

To visit other bloggers taking part, just click on the links at the end of the post.  Please do go and visit their lovely posts!

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Thursday, 23 July 2015

Crappy day turned good

Yesterday was a crappy day.  Actually it was the end of Tuesday that was the crappy part and then it carried over to yesterday.  I was very upset and emotional and by the evening I didn't know quite what to do with myself.  I didn't blog most of the day, or do any housework or much of anything really.  Didn't even watch TV or read.  Anyway, but by the evening I was not in a good state. 

Hubby did his very best as he always does and to help cheer me up he made a gooseberry fool for dessert.  It was delicious, stewed gooseberries, custard and whipped cream all mixed together.  The perfect combination of sweet and sharp.  Although it was a lovely thing for him to have done and it did make me feel better, I was still rather emotional.

Then after dinner, as he does, hubby went out to do a garden patrol.  He likes to take a look and see what has grown or been eaten or flowered.  All of a sudden he came rushing in and said "you have to come and see this, you have to come and see this!!!".  He was practically bouncing up and down he was so excited!

So out we went to the garden and we stood by one of the yucca pots and he said "look".  I was thinking yes, what, I don't see anything.

Then hubby pointed out this.


And this.


And then this.


I know that you are probably wondering what the excitement was.  Well, a few weeks ago now we split our yucca plant in two.  One part has been doing well, as you can see (left).


The other though was looking pretty darn sick and rather dead (right).  I said to leave it though and see what happened.  And look, this is what has happened!!  I know it isn't exciting to most people, but it was to us, and more importantly it was just the lift that I needed.

So thank you hubby and thank you yucca gods for looking after our plants so well!  It looks as though both yuccas are going to make it!  Yay!!!!


Oh, and hubby wants you to see his hostas as well and how well they are flowering!


The crappy stuff had still happened, but I have a strong belief that there is always a silver lining in every cloud, even if it is a tiny little scrap of silver, and yesterday I found that there were three little silver scraps to make the crappy less crappy!

Amy

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

By the seaside

In my post yesterday I said that I like walking by the seaside.  Of course, I don't just need to be stwalking by the seaside.  I am equally happy driving by the seaside, sitting and watching the sea or walking around a seaside town!  All are just as good happy seaside moments as far as I am concerned.

I am finally - can you tell! - getting round to sort out my holiday pictures from our travels in April.  Of course I still have to sort out the rest of the pictures from last September's holiday as well, but we won't go there right now, either literally or in any other way!

Today we are off to St Ives, which is, in my humble view!, one of the most gorgeous and picturesque places in Cornwall.  It is a real treasure of a place.  If you have ever read any Rosamunde Pilcher novels you will recognise St Ives immediately as Porthkerris, a town mentioned in many of Pilcher's books.

On they way we drove through the nearby town of Hayle which is also very lovely.  This is actually where we stayed - not this building, I mean we stayed in Hayle!


There were some lovely houses to spot on the way.


Then, finally, we saw the sea for the first time!!  Yay!!!  Isn't it beautiful!



Then we got into St Ives proper and were able to appreciate the views from the various beaches and the harbour.  I will let the pictures do the talking from here.






















Oh, and I decided that I needed to share a photo of my feet for some reason!  Sorry if you don't like feet!



The other reason for coming to St Ives - apart from the sea! - was to go to Tate St Ives.  I am not going to tell you about our visit.  Not because I don't want to share, but because it wasn't all that we had hoped it would be, but I don't want to say bad things as it was just one exhibition.  Plus, as I shared a little while ago we went to the Hepworth Garden also in St Ives and that was fabulous, so overall it was good!


 I hope that you enjoyed your visit to the seaside!  I loved looking back at it!

Amy