Adventures, English Afternoon Tea, enjoying the moment., flowers, food, glitter, good food, gratitude jar, hand sewing, happiness, hat, health, healthy eating, heart and home, home craft, home sewing, interior, making the most of life., organic, painting, photography, positive thinking, project, projects, quilting, self acceptance, self love, sewing, simple pleasures, simplicity, Staffie, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, stitching, summer, Sunday Sevens, tea, tea and cake, tea cup, time, vintage finds, yellow

Sunday Sevens – post op and enchanted convalescence

Post op

I went in to have foot reconstruction surgery two weeks ago; I suffered osteonecrosis when I was a teenager and had radical surgery, over twenty years of dancing and walking around left my foot in a very sorry state – and I am so grateful to the surgeon and hospital staff for their wonderful care. It is marvellous to live in a country where you get the health care you need without having to worry about the costs involved. So I find myself having to sit down and recover – which is harder than I imagined!

yellow gerberas in blue vase

E picked me up from hospital with the most beautiful bouquet of sunny yellow blooms, Gerberas and Yellow Roses to brighten the bedroom and here they are two weeks later still looking bright and beautiful. I love the contrast of the blue vase – and our home has the most delightful French doors that give such a great soft light for photography.

My lovely place

Recovery is so delightful – I finally had time to do a little painting – and what a beautiful spot to paint! I managed two canvasses: one was a still life of tulips I had photographed, once again the combination of cobalt and yellow the other was a fun butterfly using various shades of glitter. I managed to get most of the glitter on the canvass but was a little bit sparkly for a few days!

Sweet peas and summer hat

These delightful sweet peas were a get well soon gift and I am so humbled to receive so much kindness from friends and neighbours. Get well soon cards have overflowed from the mantle shelf to the dresser and visitors have been very frequent and welcome. It has surprised me just how hard it is to be on the receiving end of so much kindness, but it has certainly aided my recovery and made me feel appreciated.

food journal

This lovely bowl of fruit was a welcome thoughtful gift – the apricots were delicious. I am struggling with my diet at the moment – since discovering lactose is triggering my migraines I have been migraine free for a while. However, I forgot to mention it to a dear friend who invited us round for tea and cake – only to discover she had made a full afternoon tea with sandwiches, scones cream and jam! I was too embarrassed to ‘make a fuss’ I thought it would be ok, but the following day I suffered one of the worst bouts of migraine and sickness I had in years. So much so that it has made me frightened to eat a lot of things.  I now keep a food journal which has helped me track some of the foods – but I am still having digestive problems. I know that I was given strong antibiotics during my surgery so have been using probiotics.

chocolate parcel

Of course I could not live without chocolate – and the current trend for Veganism has made this a little easier as well as the food labelling laws. So my weeks of indulgence included a package from Montezuma’s – organic, dairy free chocolate. This is sublime and I find I don’t need to eat that much to satisfy the craving now and then. I’ve since discovered that there is a vegan chocolate factory not far from where I live! So it is on my ‘to visit list’ once I am mobile again.

Little embroidery

I am enjoying enchanting afternoons spent listening to radio plays while stitching – my winter embroidery is coming along – I have also found time to do some much needed hand sewing repairs to my clothes. It is such a calm, meditative practise that is fast becoming my preferred method. The sewing machine is not as accurate nor is it quite so relaxing.

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Mr Barnykins has been really enjoying his time with a wonderful local dog walker – I think she gets far more fuss when she arrives than I do, but then I am here all the time at the moment. I think he is trying to pretend it was someone else who is responsible for the inside snowstorm!

Happy Sunday.

 

acrylic, art, blue, canvass, craft, creations, creative, creativity, decoration

Be the change you wish to see in the world

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Given the shocking events of last Friday, it is so difficult to find the right words – but I remembered this collage canvass I made some years ago and it sums up my feelings about this whole situation.

It was created at a time when I had lots of my girlfriends coming for tea and cake to my studio but they were terrified of doing anything arty, so we began to paint with glitter; it was such an easier fun way to be creative.

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While the top quotation says

You must be the change you wish to see in the world

I wanted to express the transformation that love can bring – so I used words that would also link together to create love.

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Butterflies symbolise transformation I wanted them to look as if they had just rested a moment on the canvass.

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While the swirls of blue and white create movement

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Some might call it childish, I found great pleasure in using the blue tones mixed in with a little purple.

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The butterflies were cut from a lovely birthday card I had received earlier in that year.

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Around the canvass you can also see tiny seed purls – another suggestion of transformation – an oyster changes an irritating grain of sand into a thing of beauty.

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I won’t focus on how much this world is full of hatred and misery

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but instead,  in my own small way, spread love with a smile, a word of thanks or a listening ear. Not world changing but within my power.

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baking, heart and home, Sunday Sevens

The blackberry jelly mystery, #Sunday Sevens #3

After the straining I had just over a pint and a half of fruit juice

Strained juice to make jelly

After consulting my preserving book, blackberries were not high in pectin, – so I opted to use 1lb of jam sugar (pectin added) for every pint of juice, plus lemon juice.

Making fruit jelly

the jelly did look a beautiful ruby colour.

Blackberry and Elderberry Jelly

In no time at all it was all in jars ready too cool. However, the jelly did not set! oh!

so what do you think might be the cause? do let me have your thoughts!

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So I moved on to my next project – I cut down a single  duvet to a small square and doubled it up.

Single duvets cost approximately £9 which is a very reasonable way to purchase soft filling.

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I had this lovely dotty fleece and in no time my little project was ready for a test run.

dog bed

Barney was delighted with his new bed!

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Mr D spotted a recipe in the newspaper – so I decided to make it for him

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The mixture came together nicely

dough

After a little kneading, it looked pretty smooth. It was a great workout, much more sensual than a gym, the dough has such a lovely feel around my fingers, the transformation was tactile – I felt the difference in the dough.

Kneading is quite a meditation in itself, and while I was doing it, I felt a connection to all housewives down the centuries who would have done this as part of their daily practice.


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The warming plate is absolutely perfect to let the dough rest

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and grow!

It took a couple of hours – waiting is the hardest thing about yeast baking.

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then I mixed nuts, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon into a bowl

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Turned out the dough

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Rolled it into a flat rectangle

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speed the nutty cinnamon mixture over the top

Cinnabuns

rolled into a sausage

cinnabuns ready for second rise

and left to grow again

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And so, after a little effort and a lot of patience

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our Cinnabuns were ready to eat.

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yum!

  Susanna Signature

Rescue dog, Staffie, Staffordshire Bull Terrier

New beginnings

Barney

As you know we said goodbye to a dear dog, Gus a few weeks ago – we got in touch with the South Coast Staffie Rescue where we had adopted Gus because I knew they were desperately trying to re-home unwanted dogs. Although they had a few dogs on the site I did not specify a particular dog, and you can imagine our delight to meet this little chappie, called Barney – a smaller version of Gus with the same colouring!

Barney staffordshire bull terrier

We took him for a walk and he seemed a gentle curious little boy, so in no time at all we were heading home with a new little boy. He was very good in the car – and pretty soon he was running about in the garden enjoying the long grass.

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There is plenty of room to run about in the new house – which is enclosed so he was able to enjoy his surroundings happily.

Staffordshire bull terrier

He loves having his tummy rubbed

enjoys tug of war games

He loves playing tug of war

fly past of spitfires

He was rather bemused by the spitfire and hurricane flypast, it was wonderful to see them flying in formation

curious

He is a very curious energetic little pup about 2 years old. After having a rather elderly dog it has been quite an adventure to walk a little boy who imagines everyone is his friend! He is settling in well. Gus was a beautiful dog, and is still sadly missed, and Barney is making big inroads to our hearts, which is a comfort.

autumn, heart and home

Weekend doodles, felting and domestic Superwoman!

Getting ready for workshops
Getting ready for workshops

I am doing some needle felting workshops this coming weekend, so I spent some time making sure that the templates and patterns were ready. I am doing a Movember moustache pin workshop at Eternal Maker and it has been great fun making lots of different types of moustaches!

Full moon needle felted picture
Full moon needle felted picture

Needle felting is one of the most relaxing ways to create textile art, there is no sewing you simply push one fibre onto another with a barbed needle. I decided that I wanted to show just how flexible this medium is, so simply played with the fibres until I made this picture. Its like painting with fibre, and so joyous!

I have been doing a little ‘life laundry’ this weekend, it must be in preparation for winter. I spent a happy day clearing out the larder, fridge and freezer. Making lists of what I have and making it easier to find things! It is surprisingly satisfying – giving rise to a domestic superwoman!

Use a plant spray bottle they are far more effective
Use a plant spray bottle they are far more effective

I felt in need of some pretty flowers to compensate for the darkening nights, I bought some lovely cyclamen and house plants, a very pretty african violet and some poor little things being given away because they needed some loving!

While I was there I bought myself a couple of plant sprayers. (you know my love of vinegar) a plant spray bottle is far more effective way to use vinegar effectively. However they were a little boring so I spent a rather blissful half hour creating my own little label using sharpies! I do love the idea that it is a little bottle of magic! Once started though I had to stop myself from brightening up everything I can get my hands on!

1940's, Adventures, domestic, domesticity, environmentally friendly, happiness, healthy, heart and home, home craft, home made, home making., Idealism, interior, kitchen, life lessons, make your own, museums, natural cleaning, pantry, re-framing, re-use, Uncategorized

Falling in love with shiny!

 

I am not a Bree Van-de-Kamp, the Desperate Housewife with the perfect home, but there are times when I realise that I need to do something about the layers of dust and the kitchen floor appears to be changing colour!
 Housework is something that I seem to avoid – yet oddly enough when I spend time cleaning I actually find I enjoy it. (yes you did read that correctly, the word enjoy and housework in the same sentence!)
I have fallen in love with sparkly, and it is very easy to achieve, takes no elbow grease and is not hazardous to health. It is a simple mix of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.

 

This is not my kitchen but one that is set up in the grounds of the Weald and Down Museum in nearby West Dean, I thought it illustrates to me just how much simpler and easier housework has become. Hot water at the turn of a tap – washing machines and electric kettles, it has never been an easier time to be a housewife. I believe that simple household products that have seen years of use. This little kitchen set up goes back to early in the 1900s.

 

Looking at the simple ingredients that were at the disposal of the housewife in her struggle to keep the house free from infection – it  made me ponder just how far we have come to rely on the ‘selling power of science’ We trust the cleaning products that abound on the supermarket shelf are safe and effective to use.These companies are in business to make money, they use enough science to convince us that their product will be the best, and easiest to use.
There are no restrictions on cleaning products for the home it may surprise you they are able to sell these above what would be considered a health risk if it were sold commercially. There have been links with air fresheners and cancer risks, and I believe that if our bodies cough to expel something that has been sprayed into an aerosol into our smallest room then it is pretty likely the substance we are ingesting might not be in good health.
Its easy to get everything sparkly, just spray with vinegar and sprinkle over bicarbonate! You can scrub a little, then wash down with water. Buff and sit back and admire a lovely shine! It lasts for a few days too. No coughing, no nasty chemicals, gentle on the purse too!

ttfn x