Saturday, 26 January 2013

Doodles and fun inspired by Lilla Rogers new book

I ordered Lilla Rogers new book before Christmas and it arrived this week - yipee! It's just what I needed to spur me on. It's uplifting, lighthearted, motivating, to the point and practical without being heavy going. Visually it's a delight of course and its FUN. Something I need :) I particularly love the tiny tarot at the end which I've already made my own version of and put in a pot I made at ceramics class years ago!

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I carved out some time for myself not doing my hand painted orders (you do need a break sometimes!) to play. Ages ago I'd painted a yellow background on wood and a few coloured circles. I saw it lying on the side in the studio and decided to play with it adding more to it.

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This led to designing a card for a friend with it.. and then I did another and put it in my Etsy shop inkpaintpaper.

Next I painted a couple of small background patterns, sketched a rabbit baby and designed some new baby cards.

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One set large and personalisable (available at Moobaacluck on Notonthehighstreet.com) the other two are smaller simply with "It's a girl!" and "It's a boy!" on the front. Find them in my Etsy shop too.

Hope you like them! And thank you Lilla :)

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Birthday Tales and more. . .

blog1This was the sight from my back door on my birthday eve at 7.15pm last night; I couldn't deny the children 15 minutes of mucking about before bath time!

The next day I woke to the sound of my daughter's footsteps flying lightly over down the hall before she came in and jumped into bed with us - "Happy Birthday Mummy!" she cried and snuggled up. Freya hardly ever gets up first and usually calls us into her or we have to wake her so this was a special start to the day. Her brother joined us shortly and my husband made tea and brought in my lovely collection of presents with a steaming mug of green tea. One card from a dear local friend made me laugh out loud emblazoned with the words " You is like SUPER old!" on the front. Thanks Sarah!!

After the flurry of openings, I was treated to scrambled egg with smoked salmon and croissant - a tradition we seem to have created in our 14 year marriage - and then chocolate cake. Oh yes.

Then the mad dash to get the children off to school with their lift and Tony and I drove more slowly than usual into Norwich. We had to take a detour due to a possible accident but I managed to get to my wonderful yoga lesson with Jane from Yogalightness.com which was a complete joy from 9.30-11am. Pure bliss and re balancing. Perfect for my theme word of 2013 "Balance".

After that I met up with dh; bought some gloves at Jarrolds sale; bumped into a friend; went to our favourite bookshop and climbed the narrow stairs to the top floor. Here I feel as though I am in someone's slightly ramshackle office/library, where papers and books are scattered over a corner desk,  and tall shelves are filled with art and design books. I found Reinventing Lettering by Emily Gregory and was gripped by it. The irony is I am far more interested in lettering now than I was when I did my graphics degree. I'd have made a good mature student! I'll aim to add some photos of the interior in another post.blog1b

I've been experimenting with lettering lately and am really enjoying using my hand writing in my new range. You can see what kind of card this is but I am going to do another version tomorrow with 'You'll do' on the front or maybe 'You're the one for me'. I think 'You'll do' is really funny .. probably one for us long marrieds! What do you think?

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Back to today. Straight after buying the book  we walked down the cobbled hill to our favourite candlelit lunch-brunch-bar-restaurant called 'Franks Bar' .

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I wanted to share some of their platters so we had a Morrocan one and a cheese one; DEEElicious marinated olives and some crispy fried broad beans! See that pint of cider? It looks massive doesn't it!? It's been an aeon since I had a pint of anything, but I did today.

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We whiled away an hour or so and the room grew darker as the sky filled with snow and let it fall fast. It was like being in Amsterdam in the winter when we'd gone there together years ago. At 1.15 we thought we'd better leave sharpish and stepped out onto cotton wool that before had only been slush. Covered in snow we reached the car and drove into the crawling traffic.

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About an hour and 20 minutes later,( the journey normally takes about 25 minutes), we reached home having almost run out of petrol!

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The children came home a few minutes later; a lovely friend who never forgets my birthday popped in to give me a present and Tony whisked the children off to the park for half an hour, while I  sat in front of what became a roaring fire catching up with birthday tweets and emails . A memorable day. We felt very, very lucky to get home. The snow is beautiful but we've since heard stories of people gridlocked in Norwich and stuck on the A11 trying to get back in. Will this country ever be able to cope with snow?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Spelt bread - a recipe

In the last few months I've been making this bread fairly regularly; it's delicious and doesn't ever seem to make me blow up like a balloon. Always a good thing.

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Happily I also know that eating butter with it - any bread - makes it far more digestible and enables you to absorb any goodness more easily. Just don't ask me exactly how. I do wish I had managed to focus on the butter  here... this heart was a complete fluke!

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The recipe is on the back of the organic spelt flour I use and is apparently a recipe from circa 2000 years ago ... or from any time when 'Romans' were marching about.

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It's super easy to make, which I do by hand; can't speak for the machine version of it. I tend to double everything (apart from the cooking time!) and make one large loaf that ends up in various shapes depending on which tin I decide to use.

Here's the recipe if you want to copy and paste:

500g wholegrain Spelt flour

half a teaspoon of salt

1tsp of quick yeast

1 tablespoon of honey

400ml of warm water

1 tablespoon of olive oil

  • First mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl.

  • Dissolve the honey in the 400ml of warm water and pour into the the flour and roughly mix

  • While dough is craggy add the olive oil and mix well. ( I use a knife throughout this process to bring it all together as the dough gets really sticky - don't be tempted to add more flour, the wetness of the dough gives it it's lovely texture when cooked.)

  • I put my oven on at 200 deg. ( gas mark 6/400 F/ 18o deg. C if you have a fan oven) at this point as it takes a while to heat up and the bread rises as it warms

  • Knead the or work the dough for a few minutes then divide between 2 500g  bread tins ( I don't really knead it a lot - just poke it a bit and keep moving it around and cutting and melding with the ordinary knife ( by this I mean a normal eating knife with rounded end)

  • Place in a warm spot for at least 25mins and then cook for 40/45 mins in the pre- heated oven

  • If it looks done and sounds hollow take it out and after a minute or so tip or lever out!


(personally I had trouble getting the bread out of the tins when I first made it - not sure what the answer is there - more greasing of tins perhaps); anyway I tried lining the tins with baking parchment and that of course was fine. It's a sticky dough so I like to put it in more of a tray bake shape tin and line with the parchment - then brown the bottom for a few minutes in the oven. Ideally let it cool on a wire rack so that the outside remains crispy.

Let me know if you have a go! It's delicious. As I said at the beginning.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Gems

I recently signed up to Seth Godin's blog and each day I am sent a gem, some more fathomable than others.

I like today's about decisions:

'.......Your job is to make decisions.

The thing is, the farmer who grows corn has no illusions about what his job is. He doesn't avoid planting corn or dissemble or procrastinate about harvesting corn. And he certainly doesn't try to get his neighbor to grow his corn for him.

Make more decisions. That's the only way to get better at it' - SETH GODIN

It's so easy to let yourself go around and around in circles when you have lots of options.

Another thought-provoking blog entry I encountered suggested that in order to plan your year, your life really, you should work out how you want to feel, rather than what you think you want. You can listen to Danielle La Porte's MP3 recording all about The Desire Map here.

Of course there are oodles of interesting  blogs at this time of the year, I bet you've come across some that make you think. Share some here if you like.. may be you've written one :)

I also had a think about three words to sum up my approach to the coming year : health, thoughtfulness, balance.

Happy New Year

sheringham wood