Wednesday, 30 September 2009

New stash!

Any free time I've got (which isn't much as the new textile course is proving quite demanding) will be spent making things for the Christmas craft fair I've booked a stall at, which is happening end of Nov at Driffield school.
I bought some new wool for my knitted flower brooches and a couple of bits of Cath Kidston fabric, look at how beautifully wrapped it came, too nice to open almost!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Knitting & sewing class cancelled

Today should have been the start of the new knitting and sewing mixed media class in Driffield, following on from the summer taster sessions.
The tutor who is also my textile tutor suspected it may be cancelled as only 3 had signed up but we were told to turn up still as more people may appear on the day.
Sadly just 3 of us did turn up and they need 10 so we can either switch to the Thursday evening class in Brid or re-apply after christmas.
Met really nice like minded craftspeople and there's a chance the tutor will put on a special knitting class for us as one of her one day courses she does out of college hours.

Maritime Museum visit

Yesterday our college group visited the Maritime Museum in Hull and also the Ferens gallery. In the Ferens we were shown some of the most interesting maritime photos before heading across to the Maritime Museum for the main tour.
Lots of interesting things to see, I don't think I've been in there since I was at school and on this visit we had the opportunity to see and handle artefacts the public don't normally get to see.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Look at what you can get for 20p!

My patience has been tested today, just about to go out for some petrol and the car broke down, or rather wouldn't start. I could certainly do without this as I've got to use the car tomorrow for a college trip to the museums in Hull.
Anyway a helpful recovery man was able to sort it out and suggested giving it a bit of a run out to burn off surplus fuel so I took the opportunity to visit Burton Agnes again and see the textile artists.

I came away very inspired by their work and the variety of effects and techniques you can apply to fabrics.
I also visited the farmers' shop which is sometimes a bit hit and miss but today they had some lovely fruit & veg from the Hall gardens and I was amazed to get this unusual cauliflower for only 20p. They had full cucumbers for 10p in some wonderful curly mis-shapes which wouldn't get near a supermarket shelf. I got all the bits shown on the photo for £2.50 which I didn't think was bad and now the oven is about back to normal I'm looking forward to cooking up decent food again.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Samphire for tea

I nearly forgot about these, lurking in the fridge, 2 packs of Samphire which I also purchased at the food and chocolate day in York.
Samphire is a type of edible, seaweedy-ish plant found growing in coastal areas. This variety being Salt Marsh Samphire.

When I was young we used to go gathering it at Stoney Creek, not far from where we lived and also on days out to Spurn Point just before summer holidays ended you could usually find plenty. After scrubbing it we would always preserve and pickle ours and it was quite delicious.
The picking of samphire came to an end one year when there was a fair bit of oil being washed up along the Humber and the plants didn't clean up well enough to consider eating.

I was delighted to find it on the stall at the weekend even though it's travelled all the way from Lancashire. This pack suggests steaming and serving with lemon so as I haven't tried it like that and there's hardly enough to pickle, it will be steamed. I think mushroom and chestnut pot pies will be a nice thing to go along side it.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Chocolate Day in York

A friend and I went to York this afternoon as it was the food festival and chocolate day, what a wonderful combination and lovely weather too.

There were some great stalls, lots of European sellers and plenty of local Yorkshire produce. Sampled some fab chocolates, cakes and cheeses. Drooled over some delicious smelling veggie curries which I would have loved to bring home for tea with the cooking situation as it is but I thought it would probably spill in the car coming back.

We went to a demonstration of chocolate making which was interesting and has given me some ideas for festive presents.

The picture shows a few treats I brought back.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Visited Ethical Catering Outdoors

It is 2 weeks on Monday that the very old and well worn Aga went out and still there is no knowing when it will be back on. This has become a nightmare which has been going on for weeks since the old oil tank was replaced with a new plastic tank and the oil ran low enough at the switch over point to put the Aga out.
The most frustrating part of all this is being a tenant and not having control over the workmen involved in trying to sort the problem out. They come and go, turn up without making arrangements to see if you are in, there's been no comment from the landlord let alone think of any rent compensation for no cooking facilities so I'm fed up with the whole situation.
The problem with not being able to get the Aga back on at the moment has moved from a plumbing problem to a blockage someone else needs to come and deal with. The absolute worse case scenario will be the kitchen floor coming up to expose the pipes, I don't want to think about that.

All I know is I've had enough of getting by with microwave food and beans on toast. A microwave is too much faff for doing proper food, so desperate for something lovely to eat today I visited my friend Katy who used to have Bean There the veggie cafe in Brid.

Katy now runs a mobile catering trailer up on the car park at the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs and she calls it ECO, Ethical Catering Outdoors. What joy to see a huge selection of lovely homemade savouries, cakes and drinks just like she produced at Bean There. My picture is a bit rubbish as I had to use the phone to take it but you can get a feel for the place and the second picture of millionaires shortbread was taken back at home. The portions are just as huge as ever as I tried to illustrate by placing an apple next to the shortbread. It was delicious and much appreciated. The trailer will be at Bempton just on weekends as autumn / winter approaches and I can't recommend it enough if you haven't already discovered Katy's food.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Red Chillis

The chillis seemed to have turned from orangey green to red in the last 24hrs, I'd been a bit too busy to notice and what with the cooker being out of action I haven't been thinking about much cooking.

Monday, 14 September 2009

First Day at Bridlington College

I went to the first Textile class this afternoon at the new college in Brid. It was a bit disorganised as moving to the new building has taken longer than they thought so today was more of an introduction rather than getting stuck in.

I managed a couple of quick snaps of the room which is nice and bright with lots of interesting things to look at. It seems I'm the only one to have purely joined for the textiles, the group is made up of fashion students who are doing textiles as an extra module and then a few from a diploma course. As I thought, I'm about the oldest there. I had hoped with it being a part time course that there would be a few of us older ones but not the case.
It feels strange doing college a second time around and this time being the mature student. I think its almost more scary than when I first went to college. Back in the early 80's with youth on my side I was more fearless and ready to take on the world. I guess now I'm more into living a quieter life and my enthusiasm for this course is to learn new skills which I can hopefully turn into more money making ideas for future plans.

It sounds like I will get to try many new techniques so I'm looking forward to next week.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Sloe Vodka & Gin

All the sloes gathered yesterday have been washed and sorted so I had a look on the internet for sloe gin recipes. I'm not a big fan of gin and I read on the cottage smallholder site that sloe vodka is far superior to sloe gin. So, vodka was my preferred liquer to use and I've done 2 batches, one with the large berries and one with mixed size berries.

I had more sloes left than I thought so rushed out for another bottle of booze to finish the sloes off and I thought I'd do a gin. As I'm going to be giving some of these for Christmas pressies I thought it would be nice to have the option of gin or vodka.

All done now and should be mature for Christmas.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Food for Free & Straw Cottage

Today was another open day at the straw cottage and it looks even better. Carol has gathered some great pieces of furniture from the charity shops and the classified ads.

The hedgerows were looking lush with berries and Carol allowed me to go brambling around their fields. I found the most amazing sloes which were more like damsons and bigger than a 10p piece, got some brambles but there were lots of wasps on them, and also gathered some hawthorn berries with the idea of making hawthorn jelly.
It's so exciting to gather food for free, the peace and quiet in the fields was just lovely with perfect weather too.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Red Bus Gallery - Burton Agnes

I managed a flying visit to the Red Bus Gallery today. I had to go to Bridlington College and sort out my enrolement for the textiles course which starts on Monday, there had been a bit of a mix up.

It was a warm sunny day at Burton Agnes and Selina was holding an exhibition of her animal portraits on the bus. It was way too hot on the bus and Selina was working outside, there was time for a quick ice-cream (thanks Selina) from the lovely old ice-cream parlour before I had to head off to one of my customers.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Skye Fudge

Today is a joyous occasion as a parcel of shear, sweet pleasure has just arrived in the post.
It is Skye Fudge.

My friend on Skye makes the most fantastic Scottish Tablet. She is a passionate foodie and I think this is reflected in the quality, texture & flavour of the fudge. I don't think I'm being biased when I say it's the best I've ever tasted but it is the best. If you don't believe me do go and look on her website and order yourself some.

PS. Incase anyone is worried about me scoffing the lot and being sick, sadly a couple of the bags are for birthday pressies!

Raku & Smoke Firing day

Yesterday I went to help Penny for a smoke firing and raku session. Lots of pieces needed to go through the kiln ready for an exhibition she has at the weekend so we had quite a production line going.
Some pieces were glazed with the copper coloured raku glaze, some partly glazed and the surplus scraped back (they didn't come out too good so no pics), and other bits smoke fired.

It was quite exhausting and we stunk like bonfire night with all that smoke and ash flying about, the weather was great for it though.

I got to smoke my goose and the other little raku vase you see here is a gift from Penny for going to help. Isn't it a lovely concoction of colours and sparkly bits, she created and distorted this from an initial extruded piece.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Hand painted egg cups

It's amazing what you find when you aren't looking.

Last night I had a big spider incident, I hate spiders but especially when I find them in the bedroom as even when I catch them it disrupts my sleep. I have one of those spider sucking, vacuum things and I can honestly say I've had my moneys worth out of it catching the horrible multi legged things in this house!

Anyway the spider has made me dust down some boxes and plastic crates and that is where I found some hand painted wooden egg cups I did back in 1987.

Fairly fresh out of college I used to try and make extra bits of money through selling crafty things. Back then there was a brilliant, cheapo kitchen shop in Hull called Crackpots and you could pick up plain pine egg cups for pennies. I painted lots of different themes and some had 3D bits and texture added (like the pencil one & the witch).
I used to sell my egg cups in a shop in York called Crafts of Britain on Walmgate, it closed many years ago as did Crackpots. The egg cups sold pretty well, of course I never got the money back to cover the effort which went into painting them but it was good fun.

The photos show the remains of the stock which I had left, not in too bad condition for their age and my favourites are the Beatles ones.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Russian Doll tins

I spotted these tins in East Coast Cookware in Bridlington the other week and just had to have them as they are so lovely and I'll get a lot of pleasure from putting lovely things in them too!

Woollen jewellery

This week I have continued making a few bits of woollen jewellery. I have tried the knitted flowers on smaller needles to try and create something a bit more delicate and that is the green one but I think somehow they work better at the larger size and the red one is my favourite.

I also chopped up an old stripey scarf which I had felted in the washer and have created these wrist cuff bracelets which have some detail done by the dry needle felting method.

Next weekend my friend with the straw bale cottage is having another open day and she puts locally made craft products out for sale when it's an open day so I'm hoping to take along some of my recycled jewellery to see if any of the visitors are interested in buying a sustainable souvenir!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Cafe Chocolat, Hornsea

Today I went to take some photos of a church for a work project I've got coming up and it wasn't too far from Hornsea so I decided on a quick visit to the Freeport. Recent news that Freeport is having financial difficulties was confirmed by my visit. I haven't seen it this quiet on a Saturday before and now the Laura Ashley fabric shop has gone there's not that much to interest me. I came away thinking the days are numbered and this could be another big loss for Hornsea.

Went into the town afterwards and to the Cafe Chocolat. I haven't been to the cafe since it moved from the old premises so I was looking forward to giving it a try.
I had a dark chocolate hot chocolate which was nice but nothing amazingly special. For me 'amazingly special' is the chocolate shop & cafe in Strathpfeffer called Maya, Maya have the best hot chocolate & chocolates I've ever tasted. The shop's owner Fabienne De Mulder is a master chocolatier from Belgium so I think she knows her stuff. If you are a bit of a chocoholic like me do go and visit if you are in that part of the Highlands but check opening times as it can be a bit seasonal.

Anyway I've digressed from Chocolat in Hornsea. The nice thing as you'll see in the picture is the fact they use alot of Hornsea pottery, I think I might have been more interested in their collection of pots than the chocs on this occasion!
You still get a complimentary chocolate when you leave and I bought a small selection too.
However, I think the cafe itself has lost some of the character and quirkiness of the old premises. I can appreciate they needed a much bigger shop but before it was more of a chocolate shop with a couple of tables for coffee, now it is more a cafe with only a small cabinet of chocolates. The emphasis seemed to have flipped and I think I preferred it before it moved.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Peanut Butter Cupcake recipe - vegan

A couple of friends have commented that they like the peanut butter cupcakes I make and I think it's one of my favourite cupcake recipes so I've made this little recipe card for anyone else who fancies making them.