Monday, 29 March 2010

baby bunting

A very exciting week ended with a brand new person to meet. I'd already planned a visit (and the requisite accompanying cake) but a speedy delivery meant the demerara lemon cake had a whole new celebratory purpose! So I rigged up some baby-sized bunting for the very special occasion. 

Long instructions but easy-peasy really:
I used coloured writing paper: made a 5cm wide strip, and marked 2.5cm sections. Sniped them off and folded in two then trimmed from the edge of the fold to the centre of the open edge.    Scribbled on "boy oh boy" in coloured pencil (both sides), folded them over a piece of embroidery thread and prit-stick-ed. The poles are two bamboo skewers trimmed down (I lightly sanded the ends but this is ridiculous) and given a little notch in the top with a stanley knife (mind you fingers please) tied a little knot on the thread et voila!

I didn't know of the American folk song 'Bye, Baby Bunting' other than its brief mention in Janet and Allan Ahlberg's Each Peach Pear Plum. But I came across it again in Little House on the Prairiewhich I read for the first time last week. I was totally taken by the pioneer spirit and real DIY ethos of Pa and Ma as well as the lovely descriptions of the changing seasons. I heard the geese flying north yesterday and thought of Laura and Mary and the wide-open skies. 


Friday, 19 March 2010

elevenses: marmalade sandwiches and bears from darkest peru

There's nothing quite like marmalade sandwiches in the morning. For me it has to be a mid-morning, between-tasks kind of a snack. It's not a rushing-out-the-door option but something to be savoured. Which I think the most famous advocate of the marmalade sandwich would agree with me on. Not that he was the inspiration for this childhood delicacy, but rather it is a fondness we share in common like duffel coats, wellingtons and I am delighted to discover: wicker shopping trolleys.

Other marmalade related themes:

I've been meaning to try out Dan Lepard's Marmalade Chelsea Buns and get over my fear of yeast baking (there I've said it). I'm currently waiting for an excuse to try them out. 

I'm also looking for an excuse to buy some fabric (on bottom left) which I've been picking up and putting down in John Lewis for the past few months. What's putting me off is that I have no clue what to use it for (kids apron pocket?) and it's also one of those darned expensive crafting cottons. But its got me and given I found it so hard to find on the interweb - I may just have necessitated that buying decision.

All of which reminds me that I photographed this shop  the other day (I'm thinking of starting a series on my favourite Edinburgh shop fronts) and who should I spy in the window but Paddington's Aunt Lucy who also happens to be my calendar-girl for March.

Monday, 15 March 2010

in the lunch bag...

Waitrose British honey roast ham, Bavarian smoked cheese and homemade onion marmalade from here on soft white bread. Oh, and a Jazz apple: the only British grown apples I can find just now that actually smell like apples.  

Is it lunchtime yet?

Friday, 12 March 2010

That spring-timey feeling

I thought I'd share some photos I took on a late afternoon walk last weekend. I wanted to see some snowdrops and wasn't disappointed. We found this tree stump covered in beautiful, frilly fungus - I wonder what it was?

After some online nature-swotting, I think I've identified the lovely yellow catkins which were decorating many trees as hazel catkins. Apparently the yellow ones are the males and sure enough you can just see the little pink bud of the female in the middle of the image above. Yes, you may need a magnifying glass but it's there! 

We are fortunate to live so close to The Braids of Hermitage which never fails to revive you. I was also very excited to find my work included in this Etsy feature which is inspiring me to continue with my spring cleaning efforts. I hope spring is blooming in your neck of the woods!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Busy like a bee...

I've had some egg cups patiently waiting in the studio to get painted for several weeks now. I finally got my bee-hind in gear this week to get some ready for the Morningside Makers Market this weekend. I think I was putting the job off - I knew I wanted really neat dots and I knew I'd tried and failed before. Well practice, as they say, makes perfect (so does sand paper and starting again) and I've been having great fun mixing and matching colours and patterns. 

The honey-coloured cup on the far right is finished with the 'spoon oil' I concocted last night. I got the recipe from bricolagelife's post on 3191's post. Spoon oil is a food safe treatment for kitchen utensils. Just  mineral oil and beeswax, it's a doddle to make and leaves your wooden wares beautifully finished. The hardest thing about making it was translating 'mineral oil' which is commonly available over the counter in the UK as liquid paraffin - just don't ask for mineral oil or else you'll leave empty handed. 

I used three 25g blocks of beeswax to 325ml liquid paraffin which made loads. I reckon you could use one block to a 100ml liquid paraffin which you should easily be able to pick-up in most independent pharmacies (Boot's apparently, don't stock it). I'm now going to spoon oil every wooden utensil in the house. Nothing is safe - I'm even eyeing up the clothes horse ... 

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Blue sky thinking

Sometimes it's great not to have to be in a hurry. I took the time on my walk to the studio yesterday look up and enjoy the brilliant and beautiful blue sky. Spring was definitely in the air and I got the first glimpse of the giant old horse chestnuts which line our street beginning to stir. The branch tips and shoots sprouting from the trunk were bursting with glistening, sticky buds which sparkled in the sun. 

Further down the street, yellow blossom was just breaking on a bush I couldn't quite identify (any ideas?). Anyway, it was the sherbet lemon shade my eyes have been 
patiently craving.