Thursday, 19 January 2012

Procrastination and a Recipe


My New Year resolution of trying to blog more often has not been too successful. Trouble is I am a born procrastinator, so I have decided to take Marianna's (of Craftluver Marianna) pledge. Now it took me ages to make up my mind to pledge, and even longer to blog about it, but I am getting there . So far I have-
  • cut out material for a Dear Jane block, 
  • made templates for another one, 
  • made two cushions, 
  • have two more cut out
  • experimented with baking with quail's eggs
  • soaked postage stamps from paper and dried them for my husband's stamp collection. 

I now have to think of -
  • unpacking some more boxes from the shed,
  • finishing the cushions
  • blogging more regularly
  • paperwork
  • learning a poem!
  • sewing a cushion for a friend!
  • dyeing wool with natural dyes.
This list could go on and on, but I don't want to put myself completely off. If I could get two off the list I would be happy.

I love baking, but never usually find time to make a Christmas cake. This year I found a really quick recipe. I used some of the mix to make individual little cakes. I cut out the marzipan and the royal icing and put them on with apricot jam, but stepped them, so that you could see both. 
The individual cakes were finished off with a cherry, and they looked really cute and tasted great. I used the rest of the mix in two x 2lb loaf tins, to make two rectangular cakes, which were decorated with marzipan and royal icing and then sliced. The recipe is below. I did not use currants, but divided the fruit between raisins and sultanas and used ground almonds instead of whole ones. Next time, I would add cherries as well, but it is yummy as it is. This recipe is from the UKTV site.
Quick Christmas Cake


  • 225 g lightlight muscovado sugar
  • 225 g butter, or margarine
  • 225 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • large pinches salt
  • eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp black treacle
  • apple
  • orange, grated rind
  • 275 g raisins
  • 275 g currants
  • 275 g sultanas
  • 65 g almonds
  • 5 tbsp brandy
  • Method
  • 1. Turn the oven onto 140C/gas mark 1 and put a shelf onto the centre runner. 

    2. Grease 10 x 10cm tins using a little of the butter and line with baking parchment. 

    3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, sieve in the flour with the spices, bicarbonate of soda and salt and add the beaten eggs, treacle, apple and orange rind. 

    4. Add the fruit and almonds to the bowl, mix together. 

    5. Finally add in the brandy and mix together thoroughly. 

    6. Spoon the mixture evenly between the tins and press down gently with the back of a spoon to even it out. 

    7. Bake for around 1 hour or until cooked. Check if it's cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre - if the skewer comes out gooey then leave the cake in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean. 

    This cake can be enjoyed anytime, not just at Christmas!
    Till next time.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Hello Again!!

Now I know I have taken a very long, extended break, but I am back!! There were a lot of reasons I have not been blogging, but hopefully they are long gone, and I can get back into the habit of sharing some of my thoughts and things I make with you.

We have had lousy weather for ages. We had the first gales in October, which was very early for us and since then we have had high winds on and off, and loads of rain. On the night of December 8th we had terrible gales, with winds gusting to over 136mph and no power. One of the larger fishing boats, tied up at the harbour, was swamped by a 20ft wave, and sank! This is a picture of the boat a few days later.
 The boat had been pumped out and dragged further into the harbour.
 It looks as if there is not a lot wrong with it. The insurers, however, say it is a write off. The people who own the boat are heart-broken, as it has been in the family for three generations.
The harbour looks very calm, but when I was taking these pictures I was being buffeted by a high wind, and had to be careful I didn't end up in the harbour too! It was very difficult to take pictures without them being affected by the wind - see picture below -

Usually I just stay indoors, when the weather is bad, but I am getting quite fed up of wind and rain. We have had a few good days -
- but they have been few and far between. This is a picture of our bay at sunrise, with the tide out. The following was taken at the same time, turning the camera to the right, towards our neighbours. Although it does not look it, they are about four or five fields away,past the bridge -

When the wind is in a certain direction, and over 70mph, it lifts the water off the top of the sea, forming a mist called spindrift. I tried to get photos of it, but, what with the wind buffeting me and trying to get a steady photo, I did not succeed very well. The pictures look unclear, but that is the spindrift on our bay -

Now the waves don't look too bad in these pictures, but I was nearly blown off the path, taking these! Just after I went back in, the wind got worse!!

It sounds all doom and gloom, but we are just having an exceptional winter this year. The previous winters were fine, so we just have to think that we are now in the new year, and Spring is on its way!!

I know it is a bit late, but one of my friends sent me this, so enjoy the beautiful scenery! Double click it to get the benefit of the complete screen and turn your sound on!

Happy New Year!
Till next time,

Saturday, 31 December 2011


Wonder what 2012 will have in store? Lots of fun and creative energy, I hope! For all my readers  - I hope you have a fulfilling New Year, with lots of health, wealth and happiness!
till next time

Saturday, 24 December 2011


Happy Merry Christmas Glitter Graphics Greeting animated glitter graphic, picture, image for Myspace comments, Orkut, Friendster, Hi5.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a joyous New Year!!
Hope Santa is good to you all.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Digital Photography Class

I have got a good digital camera, but I must admit that, most of the time, I point and shoot, keeping my fingers crossed that the pictures turn out. Most of the time I am lucky, but sometimes I could wish for more. When I heard that there was to be a photography class held in the Community school, I signed up and just hoped I would not make too much of a fool of myself. 

There are five of us in the class. Two members (plus the teacher) have, what I would call, professional cameras, I am in the middle, and the two others have reasonable, but slightly older digital cameras. Our first assignment for the class was -'juxtaposition of circles and lines'. Phew!! I wandered round the school looking for lines and circles, and it was really amazing how many I found. I deleted loads, but was quite happy with these remaining photos.
 Window blind cord.

 Door handle and lock




Drawing pin

I enjoyed doing this, but still like my landscapes better. Guess I am not arty enough.
Till next time.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Tana Lawn

 I have definitely lost the impetus to blog regularly. It is not that I have little to share, but that the time just seems to get away from me too easily. Anyway, I am on today!

You will remember, perhaps, that I was given a lot of scraps of Tana Lawn a long time ago - years in fact!
I decided I was going to make a log cabin with foundation piecing, drew out a block I liked and photocopied lots of this design. I only had scraps of the lawn, albeit some of them were a reasonable size. I really enjoyed puttering away at this, and laying out lots of permutations of the log cabin on the floor.
I sewed four of the smaller blocks to make bigger blocks and eventually got this -
Next I had to decide what kind of border I wanted. If I put on ordinary cotton, it would have been too heavy and eventually have made the lawn tear or wear badly. I decided on a piano key design, using the material I had -

The photo below, with my husband's feet sticking out, shows the top completed. It still has the papers behind the border, and these will not be taken out until I get round to sandwiching it, prior to quilting.
I have still got quite a lot of scraps left, so I might make another top in a different design - later!!
Till next time.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Summer's End

I can't believe it has been a month since I last blogged, but the time has just flown. Our weather has changed radically since this time last month. Our grandchildren were here and having fun on the beach in August.

The dog was on its lead, because the previous day she had taken off over the dunes after a rabbit and disappeared for two hours!! She came home on her own, happy but exhausted!!

Since then the weather has deteriorated. Last weekend we had our first gales, which is really early in the season. We had a weather warning out from the Saturday night, with high winds and torrential rain until late Monday. We woke up on the Sunday morning to no electricity. It was off from 7.30am till 6.20pm. No ferries or planes could get out, as the weather was too rough, so the repairmen had to wait until it calmed down a bit, before they could get out to repair the break. Only ten houses were affected, but we thought it was the whole island. We had just hatched quail from the incubator and had one new one chick, so the woodburner was on high the whole day to keep them warm, whilst my husband and I went round in t-shirts, trying to cool down! The winds were between 55-60mph, so that was not bad. The wild geese are back early and eating the grain, which has still to be harvested. It is going to be a long winter!

Whilst the girls were here, we had our yearly horticultural show. They entered the visitors' section as usual, and the elder girl got three prizes for-
1. Making something from articles found on the beach (she thought the dried seaweed looked like reindeer antlers.)
2. Shellcraft

 3. Painting/drawing of a Sanday view. (The Wetlands)
Unfortunately the younger girl did not get anything. There were a large number of visitors this year, so the competition was fierce.

Hopefully we will get an Indian Summer later on in the year, but for now I am going to read, as it has been raining on and off all day!
Till next time,