Comfort and Joy – Sunday Sevens 18th March

Radiant and Green Travels book review

Joining Nat’s Sunday Sevens post this week…

It has been a tough six months -moving home and starting a new job, but it seems that things are getting easier – the worst is behind me – a bit like Spring things are starting to bloom. Although right now, I have woken up to a lovely covering of snow!

I have been struggling health wise – back in January I decided to try a wheat free diet – I bought two books Radiant and Green Kitchen travels. I think this decision has added to my misery- Green Travels has a wonderful recipe for chocolate cake that looks delicious but the steps to make it are very complicated – you have to use hazelnut flour that you grind yourself! I have taken the trouble to make it twice now – but my palate has not caught up – it just tasted rubbery and bland! (I do feel a rant coming on but I will save it for another post!)

wheat free peanut butter biscuits

However these little biscuits have been a life saver! My friend, P came over yesterday and I showed her how to make these – they were hot out of the oven in 10 minutes and they are gluten free.

Put 200g of peanut butter in a bowl, add 100 – 175 grams of sugar, ( I use 100g the recipe calls for 175 but I cut down all sugar in recipes) add an egg and mix. Put small balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Press with the back of a fork (tip if you want them crisp flatten them down – if you like them crispy on the outside and soft in the middle leave them a bit thicker. Also use dark muscovado sugar) Bake at 180 degrees for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Weekend Baking - Lemon Drizzle cake
Lemon Drizzle Cake

It has been a week where I have needed comforting – I’ve had 9 days of constant migraine so I have focussed on home comforts to soothe myself. I love baking – it is such a nurturing comforting activity. So on Monday I made a lemon drizzle cake and a dark ginger cake. The ginger was wrapped in one of my wax cloths (you can read how they are made on my other blog) – it helped the flavour develop for a couple of days and kept it very moist.

Comfort food - Mac Cheese
Comfort food – mac and cheese

I have also been reaching for comfort food in other ways – this Mac cheese was delicious – why should it be that carbs are demonised recently? I think food is so much more than the elements it is made from. I think this week has seen me rebel because despite cutting down on wheat – I am still getting horrendous migraines!

Seasonal Celebrations
Ready to decorate for Spring

My new tree arrived this week – we have a large alcove above the fireplace and I decided to buy an artificial tree to decorate as a way of celebrating the seasons. So I have been gathering items together to decorate it for Ostara which falls on the 20th of March – and Easter just after. I am not a pagan, but I love the story behind Ostara and it seems to be more Germanic – either way, Spring is a welcome guest.

Preparations for Spring Ostara
Eggs, Daffodils, Spring

 

I have been collecting egg shells – as well as polystyrene eggs to decorate – E and I will sit down together to paint them today which should be great fun. I will also save a few for little ones when they visit – we have little chicks too.

I am relishing the glorious bright sunny daffodils in abundance outside as well as in. They are so unashamedly vibrant – which is just what is needed after the dark months of January and February.

moon gazing hare embroidery
Ostara celebration embroidery

I have been loving slow sewing – this little Moon Gazing Hare embroidery was a delight to do – you can catch up with it on my made for mi blog. I am really enjoying hand embroidery – it is similar to colouring – there is no counting just following the lines one stitch at a time. It can be done easily while watching  listening to the Television.

Mini Vintage linen Quilt Embroidery
Mini Vintage Quilt Embroidery

I am using up all old vintage linens, (I found these pieces in a charity shop) to create mini quilts that I will be posting on made for mi soon. I think the sentiment sums up my week!

ttfn x

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Easter Gift Giving Decoupage

I am not sure where I get it from but I cannot bear to throw things away especially bottles and jars. I have agreed to run a decoupage evening for the Felpham Belles and wanted to do a more useful alternative to the usual egg decorating. Hence this little project was born.
  • Simply make sure you wash the jars out well – clean the outside with alcohol or white spirit
  • Decide how far up your jar you want your pattern to be and then put a thin layer of white acrylic paint  up to that point. Allow to dry. 
  • Take your napkin and carefully remove the top patterned layer from the white, this will give you a very delicate patterned paper. (you can use the decoupage papers if you prefer)
  • Use Deco Art Patio Paint and a soft brush to gently apply a thin layer to a small area that you wish to cover. 
  • Then lay the thin layer of napkin gently across the small patch of wet paint using the soft brush to slowly glue it to the surface. 
  • Work round your item – small patches as you go, until the item is covered.
  • Leave to dry. 
  • Apply a layer of clear varnish to give a really good seal. 
  • Add buttons or ribbon as desired with a hot glue gun

I think they make great gifts that can be filled with a variety of things from little chocolate eggs to ready made cookie mixes, spice mixes or haberdashery items. 

Of course it all starts with the right type of napkins, and this variety gave me a lot of patterns in one napkin. I added the pen marks to indicate stitching for this little patchwork jar, adding a little button on the top. 

I enjoyed using jars of different styles too, they seem to lend themselves to different designs. 
The wish jars are made by painting the jars with PVA glue in which you have mixed glitter. The finer glitter gives a better finish. 

As you can see I have used darker clouds at the bottom of the jars, gradually using lighter glitter until the top of the jar has silver. 

Once the jars were nice and dry I applied the butterfly decoupage around it. I think it looks as if the butterflies have just landed on the jar. 

I used a nice coloured napkin for the top of the jar and placed another butterfly on the top. 
Outliners come in a variety of colours, but I felt the white worked best for the word Wishes. 
I hope the class goes well. 

A little bit of spring in the kitchen!

The weather here is stormy, rain taps on the windows while the wind seems to blast round the building, causing alarming creaks and groans; there have been a couple of days this week when the sun has shone and the absence of the wind and rain gives a stillness to the day. 
February seems a bleak month, clumps of snowdrops are a welcome sight on our early morning walks; it thrills me to see the sun rising, the pink fingers streaking across the sky as it lightens from indigo to cobalt and the days are getting longer. 
Going through my stash of fabric scraps the other day I came across this beautiful Clarke and Clarke print, – the vibrant spring colours are just what I needed to remind me that spring is just round the corner. 
It is a simple project to do, use an existing tea towel for the right dimentions and then simply overlock and then bind the edges. I used some ribbon along the bottom third, and stitched a little bow with  a button centre. They are quick and very satisfying to do and since the fabric is a heavy cotton, they are great for drying up. They make a great housewarming present for a friend and are made in no time at all.