Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The story of Herman

About two weeks ago, my son returned from his girlfriend's with a bowl of a strange cream coloured mixture.
"I've brought you Herman" he said.  And with a brief "Oh, you'll need these instructions too" he was off.
Turns out that Herman is a German Friendship Cake mixture.  A basic sourdough base to which you add flour, sugar and milk a couple of times over the course of 10 days and keep loosely covered at all times on your work surface.  Herman grows to quite a size and bubbles away to prove he is still alive.  The initial Herman mix must have yeast included in it!  Then you divide Herman into four.  Pass three portions onto friends and add more ingredients to the remaining one and bake it.
Here's Herman's progress:
The final ingredients I added included cooking apples, cinnamon and sultanas and before it went into the oven, a generous sprinkling of brown sugar and melted butter to give it a crisp crunchy topping.
And the verdict?  Let's just say that I baked Herman on Monday night, it is now Wednesday morning and there is just one slim portion left.  Husband is now very upset that he can never have Herman again, unless someone passes a portion of him back to me in 10 days time!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Week 8 at 365+1

Eek - how has another week passed in the 365+1 challenge?  For this week I can offer you
A lovely sand dollar that we brought back from Florida about 14 years ago
A fashion article from a Sunday supplement that tells us that balaclavas will be in fashion sometime soon (not in this house they won't)
Two packs of antiobiotics to help make me feel 'ordinary' again
An early morning flight taking off in the clouds (hard to see in this reduced version!)
A spookily chosen leftover sticker from an old scrapbook crop day
A patch of boring cloud above the conservatory
and last but not least the mirror at Cafe Rouge.  We had gone there for a family brunch to celebrate my nephew's 40th birthday.

The weather this weekend has been glorious and wherever you look, spring bulbs are poking through the earth and it just makes you feel like you want to get out and about and into the fresh air.  It was lovely to go out yesterday and celebrate my nephew's birthday (my sister now feeling very old at having a 40 year old son - tee hee hee) and my niece was there, absolutely fit to burst.  Second baby due tomorrow and she's at the really uncomfortable, really fed up, just want it to be born stage. So I'm sure there will be some news on that front in the near future.
I haven't done anything creative at all this week, I just haven't felt like it but I think today I feel a bit better so hopefully the antibiotics have started to make an impact.  I need to be better for next Saturday as it's the Eclectic Keepsakes crop and I need to keep my cupcake consumption up.
Hope everyone has had a good weekend, can you believe that February is almost over?!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Do you believe in coincidence?

Yesterday was my day off and I ended up puppy sitting again {it's not a chore, I love her being here!}.  My daughter had made an appointment for a mobile dog groomer to come and give her a good wash and brush up, then ended up not being able to get time off work to be there so good old mum was asked to step in.  So I picked Coco up from her house and brought her here so I could take her for a lovely long muddy walk and someone else could make her look lovely again!  Before we ventured out, I came into the study to check my emails and we played Coco's favourite game.  See how much 'stuff' she can grab out of my scrapbook supplies while I am typing and run downstairs before I realise what she's up to.  She was having a good old tug on something in an old bag that I used to take to crops and suddenly ran off with me in hot pursuit.  I retrieved it from her mouth, took it upstairs and put it on the desk while she hunted around for something else.  Today I logged on to see what the prompt was for 365+1 photos and it was 'in the detail'.  Hmmm, what could I use for that?  And then my eye fell on the random bit of card Coco had chewed
Spooky eh?  The last time I used this sheet of stickers must have been almost 2 years ago I think and out of all the rubbish  special left over things I have kept in that old bag, she picked this one out.
I will save the before and after pics of the pup for another day, all I'm saying is she was in the groomer's van nearly 2 hours and she's not a big dog ...
I gave in and went to the doctor's yesterday and we both agreed that enough was enough, this stupid sinusitis was not going to go quietly so I'm on the dreaded antibiotics for the next week.  

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Half term - over

So why does a week off work fly by so fast?  And more to the point, how does my immune system know I don't have to work and take a break itself, leaving me open to sore throats and a stupid cough that only starts about 3am?
Another week of 365+1 has passed and I'm still up to speed on it
As you can see, I had to orchestrate a photo for 'friendship' as my plans for that day didn't include meeting up with friends.
In an attempt to add a bit more to the recipe section of the blog, I have added in a favourite fish pie recipe that is so simple and yet so tasty.  We're having a night off of cooking tonight, it's our turn to host a Curry Night so the local take away will be doing the honours.  Hope you have a good weekend wherever you are and whatever you are doing!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Just one sketch - the circular one

So for this prompt we had to soften all our edges and 'go round in circles'.  
I think I ticked most of the boxes with this one!  I can't believe that this is prompt nine and that I've got so many layouts from 'Just One Sketch'.  
It's quite handy that this is half term and so I don't have to go to work this week as prompt ten went live this morning and I have plenty of time to work on it.  On Monday I decided to 'tidy' up my papers; putting whole sheets of cardstock and patterned paper together and sorting the off cuts and not quite whole sheets into some semblance of order.  All my alphabets in a box and stickers and rub ons in another.  An hour in and my enthusiasm was on the wane and the husband was looking on with a look of horror on his face.  However, whilst it is by no means perfect, I do see some order amongst the chaos now.  
So what else have I been up to?  Well, yesterday I popped round to a friend's house for coffee and she had been busy baking cupcakes ...

Aren't the beauties?  Needless to say I was unable to resist!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Just one sketch 8

Time to minimise our sketch this time and about time I included the Grand-puppy in my layouts!  I had a photo of her which was not centralised well in the 6x4 print so it was a great opportunity to square off the photo and work around a smaller image.  
I even did some stamping on this one ... straight onto the cardstock ... and on the luggage label, now there's something you don't see every day!

Saturday, 11 February 2012


Look what the weather app on my phone said this morning
MINUS fifteen degrees Centigrade!  I've never known it this cold before.  It was very hard to bring myself to leave the warmth of the bed this morning.  I'm not sure this snow is ever going to melt.
So, I've done the shopping, popped over and taken Coco for a walk, {took longer than expected as that puppy certainly does love running in the snow!}  had lunch and settled down to finish making my butterfly for Deb over at Paper Turtle.  Have you seen her post on the Butterfly Project?  I loved the ideas of all those butterflies, each and every one completely individual and set to work with felt and embroidery thread.  Here's the finished butterfly which will be winging it's way out of frozen Britain and across to sunny Arizona very soon.
Kind of wish I could hand deliver it!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Just one sketch #6 including penguins

I feel so lucky to have 'met' so many lovely people via the Blogosphere and today's post is brought to you via the kind of actions of two lovely ladies who I have never met in real life but know that if I did, we would become firm friends.  
Firstly to Alison over at Life in the Slow Lane.  I have just realised that she lives in a village about 20 mins drive from where one of my husband's relatives has a holiday home so you never know, we could maybe meet in real life sometime!  She read my post about worrying about the forthcoming trip to Africa that my son is planning and sent me a lovely note and fridge magnet with a beautiful sentiment.  
Then onto Deb at Paper Turtle who saw a beautiful jewelled penguin embellishment and remembered that I have a soft spot for penguins.  I've been holding onto it, just waiting for the right layout and yesterday that layout appeared as part of Just One Sketch.  This prompt was to fill your page, and I printed out two pictures from the snowy conditions on Sunday and what do you associate with snow and freezing temperatures?  Penguins!  And so the next layout was born ...

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Storytelling Sunday - Toasted cheese

It's Storytelling Sunday again, as hosted by Sian over at High in the Sky.  It's the perfect kind of day to snuggle up next to the computer screen with a mug of hot chocolate and enjoy the stories that people are sharing.  Well, that's if you live in the UK; for those of you in warmer climes, maybe a glass of iced tea in the shade!
I had two stories relating to my primary school days but as we have woken up to 6" of snow this morning, I shall choose one that is set in winter time.  This is the school I went to between 1963 and 1969.  It was part of the church buildings and after it closed to relocate in a new building in 1970, it was converted into housing.  It was a really old building and every class room had two huge water pipes that ran around about 3' from the floor.  One was hot water and one was cold.  So to set the scene, it is a cold day in the 1960s.  The only heating in the classroom is from the hot water pipe and that pipe was scalding hot.  (Today's Health & Safety would have had a fit!)

Mrs Bishop:   Michael Cheeseman!  Stop balancing on the back legs of your chair, you will overbalance and fall.
{Sound of crashing}
Boy sitting next to Michael Cheeseman:  Miss.  Michael's fallen off his chair and his face is awfully red.

The rest of the class immediately turn to look at Michael, whose chair has slid from under him and in his fall, his elbow has wedged between the very hot water pipe and the very cold one.  Michael is well and truly stuck.  The fire brigade is called.  Mrs Bishop has the not so good idea to grease Michael's arm with butter from the school kitchen to try and make it slippery enough to be pulled out.  This was not one of Mrs Bishop's better ideas.  Michael is now cooking between the pipes.
Fire brigade arrives, class is sent out to play in the playground and Michael is finally removed from the pipes and taken to hospital to have his burns dressed.
It happened over 40 years ago, but I can still remember it as clear today as it was then. And I still shudder when I see kids balancing on the back legs of their chairs!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

365+1 Week 5

Another week of pictures for 365+1 complete.
Today the temperature has not risen above freezing and the forecast is for up to 4" of snow to fall in this area overnight.  Wasn't hard to think of something to use for the 'liquid' prompt today, that bottle of de-icer has been well used by the whole family!  
We are going to a 40th birthday party this evening and I must admit that at the moment, I don't feel too enthusiastic to get out of my warm sweater and jeans and into a dress, and the thought of braving the elements isn't too appealing either.  Not to mention the fact that I have been wearing a woollen headband/hat for a fair part of the day and that hasn't enhanced my hair style I can tell you!  I'm sure I'll be fine once I get there but at this moment in time, staying in front of the fire, having a nice bottle of wine with dinner and watching the tv is higher on my wish list.  This is the price you pay for having friends much younger than yourself!
Hopefully I will be home again safely and not stuck in a snow drift in time to join in Storytelling Sunday with Sian tomorrow.  See you there ...

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Just one sketch # 6

Keeping it plain and simple this time around, but I'm a bit of a plain and simple scrapbooker anyway when left to my own devices so it wasn't easy to cut much out.  

But I also got to use up a bit more paper I wouldn't normally use as I realised that I needed to pick up on the yellow of the flowers in the foreground.  
So we've done plain and simple, I think I know where this is going and I think I'm going to be well and truly out of my comfort zone sometime very soon!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Passing inspection

Today is my day off from work and I had arranged to join some friends to become 'Ladies who lunch'.  It was also the day that the 365+1 word prompt was Accessory and I chose to photograph the scarf that I was wearing as at this time of year, my first choice of accessory is a woven scarf.  I eventually chose the close up picture for the project but also experimented with a self portrait.  This will illustrate my story.

Turns out I was early for lunch (that was a first for me, I'm normally running late) and so I sat at a window table and ordered a nice glass of Montepulciano to drink while I waited for my friends and browsed the menu.  I looked out of the window and saw my daughter walking down the street.  As I was feeling a bit like 'Billy no mates' or someone whose date has stood them up, I waved to her and she came over to step into the restaurant to say hello.  I stood up and she immediately took a step back to evaluate how I looked.  Mothers of older daughters will know what I mean by that statement! Approval of how you look is not necessarily guaranteed. 'Oh, I see you've taken trouble to blow dry your hair properly' was her first comment as she fluffed up one side and turned me to check on the back.  Followed by 'Oh, that dress looks really nice on you'.  The dress was her Christmas present to me so I knew it would be approved.  'I like the way you've added that scarf' she said.  'And it looks great with opaque tights.  Well done Mum'.  By now, the other people in the restaurant had noticed my appraisal and as we both looked round, everyone immediately put their heads down to concentrate on their meals!  Satisfied that I was dressed appropriately she went on her way.  Anybody else out there whose kids feel it is their job to check that they are not getting 'frumpy'?  Or is it just me?!