Saturday, 25 December 2010

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Eve

How come it's Christmas Eve again, I suppose I should know by now it seems to occur regularly every 364 days but it just sneaks up on you and especially when you are not prepared. I have just finished some logo work, haven't had any time for baking other than these veggie spring rolls which I knocked up yesterday to freeze for boxing day. They are gingery and garlicky and I will make up a fresh dipping sauce of coconut cream, green chilli, lemon grass, lime juice, ginger & garlic and this makes one of my favourite festive nibbles.
Haven't made any sweet things because I usually do baking and then do a bit extra for friends pressies but I haven't been able to see any friends pre-Christmas due to the weather and car not working, so hence no baking, yet. 

I haven't bothered to get my little tree out this year, I think I'm generally too cold and un-festive feeling to consider the effort of rumaging in a cold room full of boxes to find a few trimmings when there are more important things like just trying to keep warm and fed. I have made a little window display with some decorations a friend gave me the other year and this is about as festive as it gets here.

That said the little robin has been visiting regularly for snacks, he or she is featured on my Christmas card textile artwork this year. And even more exciting and looking festive in the snow, a fox has visited this morning and I captured him trotting past.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Happy Winter Solstice

It was a special solstice this year with the lunar eclipse coinciding for the 1st time in nearly 400 years. I was up for sunrise but only saw the slightest glimpse of the moon amongst the trees. Because this place is surrounded by trees the moon didn't rise high enough for me to see it in all its glory which was a shame.
Last night though was very bright outside especially with the moonshine reflected back from the snow.

Here's to the start of a brilliant new year filled with change and hope. Best wishes to all my friends and I hope you achieve your dreams.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Snow fall in Bridlington

Yesterday I had to make a flying visit to Brid to collect unsold artwork from Gallery 49. In Driffield we hadn't had much overnight snow and the main roads were clear, it was just a bitterly cold -4 degrees.
However it was a very different story when I got beyond Burton Agnes, there had been quite a snowfall through the day and arriving in Brid Old Town it was well over walking boot tops when I got out of the car.
All was looking nice, festive and picturesque until I had another car incident when I found the door I had been using to crawl in had frozen and I nearly couldn't get back home!

Weekend craft fair

It was all very last minute but the craft fair went ahead on Saturday and I made it with a car full of stuff. I had too much as it turned out but of course I had been gearing up for the bigger craft fair which was cancelled. It was only a small affair with about a handful of stalls but it was busy and well attended.

Anyway I displayed the most appropriate things and it's always interesting to see what sells. Usually I do well with my lavender bag hearts as they are one of my cheapest things but I didn't sell any this time. Nor did I sell any of my Christmas decoration pixies or owls. I did do well with my new heart shaped brooches and with my corsage & flower brooches. It was definitely worth going and felt quite festive.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

North Dalton craft fair, 18th - weather permitting!

At the moment I have to assume the festive craft fair at North Dalton this Saturday afternoon will still go ahead so I'm making one or two last minute things like these knitted pencil pots. Of course the predicted return with avengence of bad weather from Friday might put a stop to it but lets keep our fingers crossed and think positive.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Seeking solace in a jammy dodger!

I've just had a nasty little car related incident whilst going for supplies in Driffield. I was half way through my errands when I decided to go and get the car so that I could buy a snow shovel or garden shovel and pop it straight in. Pulled up near Wilkinsons and couldn't get out of the car, the alarm had decided to play up, the doors were stuck in the locked position and I couldn't release the button to get out. Suddenly I was trapped and panic set in, I started pulling and grabbing at the door handles and lock buttons but I couldn't shift anything. Tried starting her up again to see if it would release the settings but no, I was well and truly a prisoner in my own car!

All I could do was drive home and contemplate how I was going to crawl out of an open car window which seemed unlikely as I'm hardly the most flexible person.
When I got back there was good and bad news, I managed to release the lock button on the passenger door so I only had to slide across the seats. The bad news is the driver side is stuck.
So, I am consoling myself with tea and jammy dodgers, ok not proper jammies, copycat Sainsburys ones but they'll do! Do you like my groovy, 70's saucers I got from a charity shop recently.

Other good news today, the oil has been delivered although the tanker got stuck in the ice when he was leaving and the coffee grinder is here, yippee!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

First latte art at home

The new espresso machine saw its first use last night. There was a fair bit of experimenting but that is mainly to do with the coarseness of the grind which effects the extraction time and taste. As the new grinder has not appeared yet, the rather unsophisticated Krupps grinder I have is making it difficult to get a good tasting result. The notch settings on the grinder between fine and coarse are very basic and make it tricky if you want a setting between 2 notches. I think until the new Mazzer grinder appears it will be a bit hit and miss.

However the machine was working beautiful and steaming milk nicely and after about half a dozen tests I made a successful cappuccino with a little heart on top (not central), it tasted very well balanced too considering!
Not sure which shows my heart best so have posted flashed & unflashed picture.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

It's officially 'freezing' inside the house!

Today saw the inside porch reach the lowest I've seen with the thermometer showing -1 degree.  The lounge is only making about 8 degrees and possibly up to 11 when the radiators are on. What was the warmest area in the house, kitchen / dining and having the clapped out old aga is usually about 18 degrees on a good day but now it's a shivvering 14. I have no idea what temperature the main bathroom is as the radiator is virtually non existent and the top 3 photos are the ice patterns formed inside the bathroom windows this morning. Nice patterns but you wouldn't think I'd have to live in these conditions in 2010, it's worse than when I was a student! I have 2 vests on today and 2 jumpers, thermal long johns and fleecy lined, almost ski trousers, and for the first time I've put 2 pairs of socks on. I feel so bulked out with layers that I can hardly move through doorways!

I could do with ordering some heating oil so that the radiators could be on a bit during the day but I'm trying to make it last as the lanes and driveway to the house are still so bad with snow that an oil tanker is going to struggle to even get down here. Fingers crossed it doesn't run out and if you realise I haven't written a blog post for a couple of weeks it might be worth calling emergency services incase I've frozen to death!

The bottom 2 pics are reflections on the car windows with ice particles.

Training with Limini Coffee

It finally happened yesterday, braved the sub-zero temperatures & went for barista training at Limini Coffee and also collected a bright red La Spaziale espresso machine. Youri & Howard did the training on the actual machine which was great to get to grips with your own piece of kit.

It's a wonderful machine and we were more or less pulling good shots from the start. Youri showed the different taste results you get by going through the range of temperatures.
It was then the milk steaming and the latte art. This is going to take some practise but I'm sure it will come and after all that is the icing on the cake. I now have the ability to make great tasting coffee at home, or at least I should have when the new grinder finally gets delivered. 

It was a fab day being trained by such passionate coffee heads!

Monday, 6 December 2010

More coffee training

Fingers crossed and weather permitting it could be an exciting afternoon. The barista training which I had to cancel due to snow the other day is supposed to be happening later. And, even more exciting, a new espresso machine ordered from Italy is waiting to be collected at the training centre.

I have gradually been gathering bits of equipment to go with the new kit when it arrives. Below is a milk texturing jug with thermometer, 2 espresso shot glasses and an automatic tamper.
The only thing currently held up in the snow is a new grinder, it was dispatched over a week ago but the road down here is too treacherous for the post and vans at the moment so goodness knows where the grinder is right now.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

First time out in a week

Finally got the car dug out yesterday and with the help of some cardboard to stop the wheels spinning it was released from its snowy resting place it's been stuck in all week!
The main roads didn't look too bad so the destination was Scarborough for emergency food supplies, plenty of coffee beans from Roasters and a few bits of fabric, as I was near the fabric shop!

Lots of luscious new fabrics to choose from and some delightful Christmas prints.
I also noticed driving out of Scarborough that I think the wool shop Multi-Ply may have shut down, either that or it's having renovations as I'm sure it looked empty. Shame if its gone as they had a good supply of unusual wools.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


I'm getting fed up of the snow now, I am just getting over a cold and was looking forward to advancing my coffee skills tomorrow as I was due on another course in preparation for taking delivery of a new espresso machine but it looks like the weather is going to spoil any chance of getting out and to the course in Doncaster.

The problem with the snow here is it takes ages to disappear even if the temperature rises. Most of the driveway, which is on a slippery slope, is surrounded by trees so the sun never gets on certain areas and after a little bit of digging yesterday it seems like ice is under the snow which is going to delay the thaw further. Its a complete re-run of last years bad weather, the postman hasn't been near nor by for a week and I have important stuff due, the bin men probably won't come if the post van won't drive down but thats ok as I reckon I could go 3 weeks on the bin front. 

I'm well stocked up with soya milk as I'd been gathering it already to get through the festive period and if supplies start to dwindle I have a few foodie things I'd started putting in a hamper for xmas pressies which I suppose could be consumed and replaced at a later date.

I haven't even mentioned how cold it is in here. Luckily the last time I was out shopping 2 weeks ago, Mountain Warehouse had an offer on buy 1 get 1 free on thermal vests and long johns so I purchased a lovely warm set in purple.

Hope everyone else is keeping warm and dry.