Thursday, January 29, 2015

This sucks

So, we had a long weekend for Australia Day, which we spent at the beach, but I got a terrible cold on Saturday, and it won't go away, and I've spent two days on the sofa, feeling grumpy. It's knocked me over much more than usual, I blame work. Didn't get a single sniffle when I was on holiday for four weeks, hell no.

Monday, January 26, 2015

January would be baking month

Just like last year - number two son had a burst of holiday enthusiasm and has been baking up a storm. We have an Alison Holst best cakes and biscuits book which he is working his way through. There are lots of traditional simple recipes, which suit him (and us). He still has his enthusiasm for random flavourings and decoration though. I haven't got a picture but last week he made chocolate mint biscuits with mint icing - they were tasty and looked lovely but quite the mint explosion.

These are coconut haystacks - no-one had ever made these before and we think they're a winner. Easy and taste a bit like coconut ice. Yum.

This is just a chocolate cake - with a chopped up mars bar on the top. There was one mini mars left in the packet, so the boys thought the fairest thing was to chop it up and stick it on the cake. Good call.

These are cinnamon oysters I think, or maybe ginger biscuits. I forgot to take a photo of the brandy snaps which were surprisingly successful - I have never had any luck with brandy snaps. They never end up a proper shape. My son's weren't a wildly professional shape either, but they tasted absolutely delicious, especially filled with cream. He wants to give them another go and try different shapes.

This is a rosewater flavoured sponge cake - it's luridly pink inside. Those are crystallised rose petals that he made with egg white and icing sugar and a rose from the garden. I have never crystallised a flower in my life but he just did it! Followed the recipe and it all worked perfectly. The family was divided on the artistic merits of the silver balls but I like them. And there's another sponge in the kitchen ... but the boys have friends over at the moment so it's only half a sponge. Or less. I won't take a photo.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Scrap quilt finished

This is the finished scrap quilt I was working on before christmas. I finished it up, but it's not a favourite. The colours are a bit bleh for me. In keeping with the vague christmassy theme I called it "Always winter but never Christmas" from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I always thought that line was hilarious when I was a kid, because Christmas is in summer. What kind of strange winter would have a Christmas in it?

Terrible photo, because it's sunny today, after whopper thunderstorms yesterday. I was going to hit up one of the neighbours to use their washing machine, but didn't in the end. The thought of doing a load of washing in someone else's house and then hanging it on my line to have it soaked again - and then going back to the neighbours to spin it out ... I decided just to keep on being dirty for a while. And in the end we had some quite torrential downpours so it was a good call.

Here is the dog waiting for me to finish photographing the quilt and throw the ball for her to fetch. She loves fetching, until she gets bored (or forgets what she was doing) and wanders off. When she fetches she makes this hilarious sort of whirring sound half way between a purr and a high pitched growl. Cracks us all up.

And she's wandered off - something in the garden looks interesting - and off she goes. Her tummy seems fine now, which is good, so we will ban chicken hearts for the future. Not that I ever considered them in the first place ...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A depressing and expensive week

It's been one thing after another at chez Lynley this week. Here is a photo of where our fridge should be, except it up and died. As usual, it took us a good couple of days to notice it wasn't working ("why is the butter soft? where is all this water coming from?") and there was a hell of a mess.

This is a photo of where the dog bed should be. My husband fed her chicken hearts as a bit of a change, and she had a night of diarrhoea, shut up in her dog crate. Not pretty, not pretty at all. She was  upset, but not unwell, and seems fine now after a day back on her usual diet.

This is a photo of our washing machine, that decided to stop working JUST WHEN WE NEEDED IT MOST. Heartless machine. How do they know when to break down for maximum carnage?

Both the washing machine and the fridge were at the end of their lives (hard, long, dirty lives) so we have ordered new ones to arrive next week. Luckily we have plenty of clothes, and a spare fridge, but spending the money still pains me. I am trying not to look at the piles of wet towels...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Finding the solid love again

I haven't made anything much with my solid fabrics for about a year - don't know why, just didn't feel the vibe. So the shelves are full and I haven't done any dyeing this summer either. But when I got back into the sewing room on Friday I thought again how pretty they looked, and so I'm doing a scrappy trip around the world, in a random collection of solids. I thought about co-ordinating a colour scheme but decided against it.

I'm trying to use every colour just once (but some of the colours are so similar it defeats the purpose). This is my pile of fabrics I've used - some of them are really nice. It's a great exercise in getting to know the different colours again. And the different cottons - I have clearly dyed any old thing over the years and the texture and quality of each one is really variable. But all still usable.

Other than that I am not at all looking forward to going back to work tomorrow after four weeks off! How on earth will I maintain focus all day? When I will have my nap?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Been at the beach

Sorry for such a long blogging break - we were down the beach without any internet for three full weeks! I don't think I've ever spent such a long time at the coast, with nothing to do but catch waves and read books and watch the entire first four series of Warehouse 13 (which the boys and I are thoroughly enjoying). Even cooking and cleaning and washing is more tolerable when you can do it at your own pace.

I thought I might get bored or restless but HELL NO ... in fact I could have gone another three weeks quite easily. The boys were missing internet but not in a fractious way. And of course we had the dog for endless hours of entertainment. She is fitting in very well but is quite clingy - follows me from room to room to see what I'm doing. Her favourite thing is when we all sit around watching TV and she can flop on the floor with us and go to sleep. Her second-favourite thing is a goddam squeaky toy that we can only tolerate for about twenty minutes before it goes into the high cupboard.

Number one son figured out his underwater camera that was a birthday present from Grandad and took a lot of artistic shots of water. It's really hard to use because the bright sunlight (and the fact you're in water) makes it almost impossible to see the image on the screen, so you can never really tell what you're taking a photo of. So there are a lot of pictures of random water.

And one of the Great Pink Mummy Whale. Thanks son. We had a few sets of friends came and stay for a night or two which was lovely - break up our own company a bit. The little house copes very well with guests, although I'm already eyeing off the bigger places. For retirement! I can't afford it for decades yet but it sounds very very appealing.