Well I've comendeered this evening to come say hello to my much neglected blog , I've told both boys and hubby I am not to be disturbed this evening as I am blogging . But OH MY GOODNESS ME I haven't been by in 7 weeks , can I tell you it feels wonderful to be here .
I am in the full swing of the school summer break and I have decamped my work at home for this time ( I am priodically making short trips to The Studio to collect the odd piece of equipement I need when making my little creations ). It's great that my creative making time is building up to a nice managable pace once again , I am happy to inform you that my mum no longer really needs my help ( she only needs help in small ways ). We are still waiting for her neck fracture to heal but she is taking life at a happy gentle pace and is enjoying her indipendance once again . This is so great to see and I feel blessed she is healing and here to be a part of our lifes.
So what has been keeping me busy these last 7 weeks ??
Creatively I have been getting back into the flow of making in the studio by doing some of my signature pieces. This has at times meant keeping my head down and ignoring some of the world around me .
I just love hunting for and sewing with antique or vintage textiles , breathing a new life into tired or unloved pieces that where once work by someones creative hands.
This piece of antique Malteese Lace was either a Victorian or Edwardian lace collar and it has now been made into my next Mrs Mill Mouse bridal skirt , Mr & Mrs Mill Mouse will be unveiled very soon . I have been sat today knitting her shawl from a lovely Rowan fine tweed yarn.
I have really enjoyed producing my Linen Hares which are the first batch of the year , I have got my next batch under way and I am looking forward to getting on my sewing machine this week in between spending time with my boys and doing housewife duties .
I adore working with Liberty lawns and good quality Linen as well as the pleasure of using quality pure fibre yarns to crochet and knit with . I also get very excited when playing with colour combinations .
My next batch of Yorkshire mill Mice are under way as well , I have started producing some of the little knitted shawl and scarfs , I am doing a couple of Mr mill mice too for those folks who feel their Lady Mice in need of a companion .
My pie tin pin cushions were the last batch for a while as I have used the last of my tins , so I need to keep my eyes peeled for some more .Creatively I am keeping things ticking along and in the back of my mind is a calender and I'm mentally counting down the weeks to Yarndale . This is because I will having an Open Studio event on the Friday (the day before Yarndale ) and Saturday 27 th September the 1st day of Yarndale . Detail are to follow shortly to do with times but you will be able to visit the working space of myself and Lucy on these two days . It will also be an opportunity to come and look at and buy some of my work . Even get your hook/needles out and have some yarn therapy in our creative space ( please note seating will be limited as our studio is quite bijou ).
I have also been busy in my kitchen , we still strive to have a much simpler life and try to produce more for ours selves and spend less . I am really enjoying the challenge of learning to make things from scratch that the whole family enjoys . I am still making my own butter every week and it has been two months now since I last bought butter . I have also had a go at making my own peanut butter with great results . I like the fact that the time and energy spent making these things has its own rewards other than working out cheaper that shop bought and you know what ingredients are going into the product , it often works out that you end up with a good surplus supply to store away for later use in the months to come . I am also sticking to the rule that we only make things in bulk that we would normally buy as I can't afford to make costly experimental mistake by making something we won't necessary like or use . As many of you will know where children are concerned they don't like too much change , so making home made versions of shop bought favourites is a good way to start I think .
I am also trying to look around me and be inspired by making food with things that are in season and not just the fruit and veg !
Everyone in our house loves shortbread and I feel quite pleased to feed the family it as a treat especially as it is also made with my own butter . A couple of weeks ago I was pootling about in my back yard and noticed the little tiny flower on the Lavender plant were out and I suddenly remembered Mr P had made some beautiful Lavender short bread some years ago . Yes I did say Mr P , it was in his house husband days when our roles were reversed for a couple of years .
So I hunted down the recipe and gave it a whirl , it is a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal recipie from his 'THE RIVER COTTAGE YEAR ' book on page 151.
So to make 8 very generous portions as above or 12-20 fingers if using a 18 x 28 cm tin . Beat together 160g of softened butter with 80g caster sugar and add 2 teaspoons of fresh lavender flowers ( they are a little tricky to harvest but well worth it !) beat until pale and creamy . Sift in 240g plain flour or 160g plain flour and 80g corn flour and work to a smooth dough. then turn your mixture out into a lined tin either 18 x 28cm or I used a regular sandwich cake tin .Press it out firmly and evenly in the tin then prick with a fork pushing it fully through the mixture. Bake @ 170 degrees C/ gas mark 3 for 20-25 mins and until very light in colour and firm to touch . Then remove from the oven and sprinkle with caster sugar and mark into either 8ths as above or into fingers , press only a couple of millimetres into cooked shortbread . leave to cool and harden then carefully remove from tin .
At this point there is nothing else to do other than put the kettle on for a cup of tea/ coffee and a slice of shortbread .
I really am enjoying what my little yard has to offer me at the moment in the way of produce , mainly courgettes as I have 3 different varieties growing .
These are the veg once rinsed and drained and ready for cooking .
I got all my ingredients ready as listed above under the mild sweet sauce recipe with the addition of 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard seeds .
next you put the turmeric , dry mustard & mustard seed , ginger, sugar and all but 3 x 15 ml spoons( 3 tablespoons )of vinegar in a large heavy bottomed saucepan . Mix well then add all the veg and bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes , testing occasionally the degree of crispness or tenderness . This is all down to individual taste but do not overcook the veg .
So this is only a snippet of my life recently and as any woman ,mum/carer ,wife/partner and employer/employee will know life is one major juggling act and unfortunately in my life it is my poor little blog that takes the hit . But I do try and make up for it when I call by .So thank you so much if you keep popping by but it is ta ta for now . Tracy xx