Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Low carbs yummy

I'm determined to stick to a low carb diet. I need to lose a few pounds before my jolly days. I've been interested in new recipes showing up lately for cauliflower crusts. So today I chose a recipe from Pinterest and had a go!



It was very easy and although I had to substitute a bit of the ingredients (I never have exactly what it says in the recipe) it worked out well.
The recipe called for riced cauliflower and herbs. (Morrisons call it cauliflower and parsley couscous).
Almond and coconut flours. Im intolerant to coconut flour so used rice flower instead.
Baking powder,
Two large eggs
Grated Parmesan (I used grated goats cheese).
The whole lot gets mixed together but in hindsight I would add seasoning at this point. I then got scoopfulls to form into patties and placed them on a greased baking sheet.


Bake for about 25 minutes in the oven at 200C.


They were really nice served with lamb casserole and an alternative to pastry topping. My OH helped himself to more.


I'm sure they are very enjoyable in other ways. I'm thinking pizza bases and bhajis. I even tried one cold with some butter spread on top which makes it a low carb cheese scone and very nice too!

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Twiggy Wreaths

More wreaths. My OH brought me a whole bunch of twigs... a bundle of them from Poundland. You will never guess how much they cost!

    With help from grandaughter Amber and a glue gun, twigs, raffia and silk flowers plus decorated wooden hearts we had a Blue Peter Session.

They were quite fiddly until I got the
hang of it but I'm inspired and hope to make some more.


You can click on the pictures to enlarge.







The first reader to guess correctly how much the twigs cost from Poundland will get a twiggy wreath of their choice... only joking! he he

Friday, 28 April 2017

LIttle pilgrims walk with St Bede

St Paul's church, Jarrow

I had long looked forward to this day. Visiting St Paul's church at Jarrow was the first little pilgrims walk for our church group 'Blessed is She'.


The sky was overcast and a little cool with occasional brighter moments to remind us that summer was near. Though spring daffodils were dying, Bluebells and blue Borage were plentiful. There was plenty of bird song and we saw evidence of woodpeckers in the trunks of trees.

        




St Pauls church and monastery in Jarrow was originally a Saxon church and dates from  685 AD built on land given by King Ecgfrith of Northumbria. Later, around the 8th century it fell to the turmoil and brutality of Viking raids. In AD 1074 the Monastery was re-founded by Aldwin, Prior of Winchcombe Abbey in Gloucestershire and subsequently became a daughter house of the Benedictine Community of Durham.
Five hundred years later it became a victim of the dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII, since when it has remained in use as the Anglican parish church of Jarrow. Ruins of the Monastery still stand, steadfast but graceful, in the church grounds.

















TheVenerable St Bede is credited with writing the Ecclesiastical History of the English People an author and scholar and lived at St Paul's monastery for most of his life and it was to be in his footsteps, members of BIS were to explore and follow on their visit to St. Paul's church at Jarrow.

Syd Harrison and Ray Beck, volunteers at
St. Paul's looked after us during our visit and
shared  with us a wealth of knowledge.







We were able to see the original Saxon foundations and many artefacts including stone and wood carvings reflecting the history of the church and monastic site and St Bede. We also lit a candle in prayer for members of our group and also for Fr David.



                                                                                       




We were reflective of the ground and ruins being the home of St Bede and walking in the very same spot as he did over a thousand years ago.






















We followed the river Don which skirted around and behind the church and monastic site, much smaller now than what it was in the time of St Bede. Probably due to the silting of the river Tyne. 








Swans came to say hello but
unfortunately we had nothing to feed them with but it was nice to see them anyway.



We continued our walk through Charlie's park under a mantle of cherry blossom and saw children playing on the Viking ship in the adventure playground, enjoying each others company and we marvelled at nature and the joy that is God given.

    

Finally we called into the café at Jarrow Hall for welcome refreshments and rest.


We all agreed we had a very good pilgrim's walk and are looking forward to our next one.  
Gail, member of BIS



Friday, 14 April 2017

Palm Sunday

Spring from my bedroom window
Palm Sunday had the promise of a beautiful Spring morning bathed in
sun freckles, cherry blossom and
newly born leaves under a canopy
of clear blue sky...

Just what I needed!

I went to early morning mass and
collected my palm crosses. One for
me and one for each of my children.
I remember reading or hearing
somewhere that displaying the
palm cross at home throughout
the year will bring peace.


Well I can't say that's definite from my own experience but then I don't
know how life would be without a palm cross on display. 
I'm not going to shelve my blessings by not showing one, that's for sure.


As the sun climbed higher in the sky it got warmer, too warm for April really but welcome all the same. The diced lamb was cooked so I switched off the slow cooker and decided it was too nice a day to be stuck in doors cooking Sunday lunch so John and I went out for the afternoon to Seaham and joined throngs of people of all nationalities and accents, all doing the same. I would imagine very much like the first Palm Sunday. 
The giant car boot sale spread out across fields and why we should spend an afternoon looking at mostly other people's junk I will never know but we weren't the only ones. I did manage to get some very nice silk flowers and John got two new pairs of casual trousers, the kind he likes and for whatever reason, can only find for sale at markets!

By mid afternoon it was hot and the sun was still blazing down. The one and only ice cream van had a vast queue and I wasn't prepared to take my turn in it so we got hotdogs instead. Mine without a bread role but with onions. I thought it tasted awful but John scoffed his with lashings of mustard.

A ramble in the fresh air and sunshine
Palm Sunday wreath
did us the world of good and when I
got home and after lunch I was
motivated to make some spring/
summer wreaths using my newly
acquired silk flowers and
butterflies that belonged to a recently deceased Philippine lady
who was well loved in our parish. I gave one of the wreaths to her carer and she was so grateful, bless her.
It will be a lovely memory of Joanna.

My mother was on my mind for much
of the day too. It would have been her birthday and I like to think that in her corner of heaven she shared making wreaths with me.


By the way. The lamb was beautiful, it was so tender and juicy, mmmmm, must make it like that again sometime.













Friday, 24 March 2017

Mothers Day

                                                                                        
Mothers Day flowers

                                                                                  
What a wonderful sun drenched morning that came with a delivery of fresh flowers...tulips in shades of pink! They arrived in plenty of time for Mothering Sunday, so kindly remembered by my lovely son Drew and daughter in law Kelly. I cant thank them enough. They brought me such pleasure.

But other delights were in store! Squirrelled away in the depths of the giant box the flowers came in were two more gifts.

Wow!

What next!

A bag of heart shaped chocolate truffles, mmmmmmmm. I will allow myself one per day and decadently eat them all by myself.

The third surprise was a mini scented candle, boxed and wrapped so prettily. I was delighted to discover the fragrance was bluebells and wood anemones...my favourite wild flowers.

scented candle with bumble bee


Look at the photo of the candle and yes, that's a bumble bee. How sweet!

The wrap has absorbed the fragrance beautifully and so will be put in my undies drawer to spread out its scent but not until I finish colouring it in. What fun! 

scented wrap to be coloured in with pencils
 Thank you Drew and Kelly.


 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 - 17 and counting

Craft stall at Tanfield


Gosh its almost a year since my last blog...so what have I been up to? Its hard to say so I really should recap on achievements me thinks. I will ignore any unsurmountable challenges. They just make me huffy anyway 😉
 

I've really got into colouring for grown ups, as have half the population. My first attempts were postcards by Johanna Basford. They just about wrecked my eyesight but overall they were very enjoyable and they have been distributed amongst family and friends.
                          

Inspired and supported by my local U3A group I did some line drawings and coloured them with mixed media. I so enjoy using a water brush with water colour pencils and pastels and I mixed these with coloured pencils too. Painting birds was rewarding and a subject I would like to come back to.




      





 Lots of candles were decorated with pressed flowers and boxes were deco-patched, cards of all types made and Christmas cards were recycled and in the middle of all this I was able to start a church group for creative women. There's lots I have to be thankful for in 2016. I really didn't think I had done so much. I'm hoping there will be much more in 2017.



Friday, 5 February 2016

All my own work

Artwork in recycled frame


I finally got to like pastels, yeah....! My latest piece of a goldfinch was my interpretation of a picture I saw in a magazine. The step by step instructions began with a yellow base layer for the bird but it looked just like a canary to me. My first pet was a Norwich canary and so I fell in love with him straight away. The magazine article was a 'how to' in watercolours but as I'm still not comfortable with watercolours decided to use pastels instead and I'm really pleased with the outcome. 

Goldfinch in pastel


The finished piece  would be best fit into a square frame and I just hadn't thought before hand how awkward it might be to buy a ready made square frame off the shelf, plus a mount. I checked on the internet and found some frames which I think must have been moulded plastic and cheap quality but I didn't want the cheapness. I thought my bird deserved better (smile). Then I remembered I might have an old square 8 x 8" frame I could adapt and searched my frame stash and found it. It needed some tender loving care and so I set to with recycling it. 

old frame in need of recycling

The wood frame was scratched in one corner so I scratched it some more all over. Did I say scratch? I should have said gouged to give a slightly distressed look. I needn't have bothered really because three layers of paint over the original washed-out pink sort of smoothed the distressed look away. I used a garden fence paint in willow colour. I liked the subtle green colour.

painting the frame

Next I brought elements together to see if they matched and ideas were forming. I fixed my artwork centrally onto a piece of mountboard I had cut to size to fit the frame and as the artwork was smaller than the back mountboard I had to work out how to tailor another mount with aperture to fill in the gaps. I have plenty of mountboard but I'm not confident enough to cut it to intricate shapes. My idea was to use a patterned card or paper to surround the artwork instead and chose a William Morris design from a Joanna Sheen paper pad I already had in my stash. 

ideas coming together

I cut equal sized strips of paper using a decorative edge cutter and placed them overlapping to make a square, gently gluing with low tack adhesive at the corners. I then chamfered the corners to a neat fit. Next I fixed the square paper frame around and just overlapping the artwork with strategic hidden traces of glue just to keep it steady. My artwork was now ready to place into its frame under a freshly cleaned glass window. 

I'm really pleased with my efforts. See above.

Followers