Monday, 18 June 2012

I had a little rose tree

My son bought me this little tree, it was an Easter decoration in John Lewis I do adore it. It looks lovely with all the little eggs hanging since it was June I thought it would be a little rose tree to celebrate its life after a rather sad accident. It used to have a stand and unluckily it got caught up and ended up broken on the floor. I decided that it needed a new stand and found the pretty little bowl in the local charity shop. I sunk it in some plaster of paris and then put some pretty glass beads on the surface. Now it is back to its lovely self. The roses in the bowl are not fixed, just temporary. 

I think the roses look nice I did not realise just how many rose themed possessions I have the little china cup has a beautiful rose design and is Edwardian around 1911. They are delightful to drink tea from as they cool very quickly. The basket is also a charity shop find, one of many I cannot resist baskets! I am not entirely sure what to do with it yet. The same goes for the little ginger jar, another charity shop buy which has a lovely chrysanthemum design on it, not quite roses but lovely all the same. 

I think I might try and find a bigger version of this tree so I can use it for Christmas, so much better for the environment. 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Small Pleasures

This is the view of my kitchen window sill, I thought I would post it here, because it was while I was doing the washing up last night that the title of this post occurred to me. 

I have been on quite a journey two years ago I was living in a large detached house with a garden and a large art studio, but when I left I spent a year living with other people. It isn't until you have to cook in someone else's kitchen that you begin to really appreciate your own. 

I know the view from my window isn't rolling hills, and my kitchen is a quarter of the size I used to have, but, as I washed the dishes by hand I realised I had learned a good lesson, happiness is found in small pleasures.

I remember a time when I would stack dishes in the dishwasher it would be a chore, but now, I wash my dishes by hand as I don't have room for a dishwasher, and it has surprised me just what a simple pleasure it is. I am connected to my beautiful things, it is only as I am putting loving care into cleaning my favourite pan, that I remember what a pleasure it is to use it. My plates are very pretty and as I wash them and wipe them clean, I am given a moment of the joy of owning such a charming pattern. I am connected with small things that make me happy. 

We are bombarded with images of large houses and big gardens, but I am happier now in my small flat than I ever was living in that large house. I don't spend my weekends worrying about the garden, weeding and watering. Yes, I do miss sitting out in the fresh air, but if I really want to do that I can sit in the communal gardens and enjoy them while the gardener cuts the grass. It takes me no more than an hour to clean my flat, but in a large house, it never seemed to get tidy. 

That isn't to say I don't miss some things, like having a fresh egg from my own chickens, or having room for a big party, but on the whole, I feel happier and more content that I have in years. 

The larger bottle is de-ionised water that I have collected from my tumble dryer, and the other little bottle is vinegar, the best cleaner by far. Washing up uses less water than a dishwasher, and now because I don't have a big house to keep clean, I often use my airing cupboard to dry most of my clothes, again, as I hang them to dry, I can appreciate them, rather than throwing them in the dryer. I love pretty bottles, it makes cleaning a pleasure, and it is magical to clean my possessions as I spent a year without them. I do enjoy having appliances that make life easier, but I think we also lose that connection with our possessions. 

More is not always better, some times it is about finding the simple pleasures.  

Monday, 11 June 2012

Vintage Needle threader

I am amazed at this little gadget, not only is it over 50 years old, but it is still boxed with the instructions and works beautifully. 

A ninety year old lady lent it to me, and we often talk about a love of sewing. She is still making things to this day on her thirty year old singer, I can only hope that in fifty years time when I am her age, I will still be enjoying sewing. 

I will have to look for one of these, as I am struggling to thread needles these days! I spend a lot of my time searching for my glasses! 

Oranges and lemons

 I love marmalade but the best bit for me is the thickly cut rind, and it seems that no matter how expensive the make of marmalade it is more jelly than fruit. 

I like to make my own marmalade, and often double up the number of oranges to make it extra fruity. Hartley's do a  very good marmade, which makes up to 6lb and great value and usually makes it very successful, but I add my own oranges. 

Cut 8 large oranges in half, and extract the juice and then put the oranges in a large maslin pan, cover them with water and bring to the boil for around an hour and a half. Switch off then allow to cool. 

Take the orange halves and scrape out the inner segments and scrape out the white pith. Chop the rind either thinly or thickly to your preference. Using the directions on the marmade, but instead of water use the juice, it really brings out the orange flavour. You can also use jam sugar which has added pectin if you wish, this will help the marmalade set. 

I have been trying out different recipes for cheesecakes, I know the cooked cheesecake is the best for flavour, but no matter how hard I try the biscuit base ends up soggy. so I decided to try a non cook cheese cake using cream and muscapone but to bring out the real flavour of lemons I made some lemon curd. Make the usual digestive biscuit base. It really does make a great mix for a lovely lemon cheese cake, just fold into thick cream and muscapone, mix and then pour on top for a lovely lemony flavour. Home made lemon curd tastes so much nicer than commercial types. zest four lemons, add to 5 and a half ounces of melted butter. Add lemon juice and 1 lb of granulated sugar, heat gently until the sugar has melted and then add four beaten eggs. Stir constantly until the curd thickens up and then put in sterilised jars. 

Will keep up to a month, but keep in the fridge once opened. Of course the lemon cheesecake won't last long at all! 

Friday, 8 June 2012

A rose by any other name

The garden is full of roses, this one is called Many Happy Returns. It is such a beautiful delicate colour, the winds and the rain has played havoc with the garden, it seems as if the hot temperatures and heat of a few weeks ago is just a memory! It feels more like March than June. 

We are having a garden party soon, and I do hope that the weather brightens up. 

Friday walking along the sea was a wonderful experience, the sun was out but the winds were so strong it was an effort to walk home! I love to see the wind pick up the waves, it seems so much more exciting than the calm waters. 

The weather is not something we can change, today has been terrible, with many of the roads shut due to floods, but the real secret of contentment is finding something to enjoy no matter what life throws at you. 

While the weather has been pouring with rain, I feel so cosy and warm at home, glad that I don't have to battle it out on the roads. This is definitely a lovely day to be working from home. 

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