Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Frothy hedgerows...

Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass. All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,
Are golden kingcup-fields with silver edge where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge. 'Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass'. 
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, (1828-1882)


At the moment our hedgerows are so lovely and frothy with cow parsley...it's nice to bring a small bunch home to sketch or paint... the hand embroidered sheet I used as a back drop was made at the turn of the last century by a talented local lady called Agnes Brown, she was born in 1897 ..I am always left in awe at the beauty of such creations...all the work and details and care that went in to such lovely hand made treasures...and it's an extra bonus to know the name of the lady who created it....









cow parsley is so pretty and looks quite delicate but it manages to hold it's own in our unpredictable May weather ...feels rather more like October around here at the moment !!
This week we have finally tried a recipe with "nettles" ...I made soup with onion, garlic, potato and a handful of nettle tops and parsley ...and it tasted lovely.....it seemed strange to put something so well known for it's nasty sting in my mouth ... but once I got past the "fear" stage I really enjoyed it...

Wishing you all a lovely Wednesday evening !
Gail x 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Ten things I love ...part 3..

Old churches....
I love the architecture ...the stained glass...
the wooden interiors...the paintings and details...
and especially, I love the feeling
of peace and tranquillity and of history that 
I get when I'm within.... 
you can almost feel the souls that have 
been sat amidst the pews....

  






It's been a busy month....now the garden is romping away there is no time to waste ! The allotment is full of seedlings and blossom...it's a wonderful time of year ....
I had a "special" birthday last week and my husband bought me a juicer ... some of the recipes sound a bit dubious ...for example....cabbage, carrot and cranberry...!! what seriously ?? Well time will tell but I think I will start with "apple, cherry and fig" ...now that does sound appealing ....


We have enjoyed a lovely walk in the woods.....


And Tripod has enjoyed finding my secret cat-nip plant !


Have a lovely weekend !
Gail x



Thursday, 23 April 2015

This green and pleasant land....







I love this time of year...well I actually love the fact that here in the UK we have 4 defined seasons. England's climate can be described as a temperate, maritime climate because of the Gulf Stream. Spring is a time for sudden showers and blossoming trees and plants. It's also generally a calm, cool and dry season..full of promise of the summer to come....
Yesterday I noticed the first swallow and even though every year we have the swallows visiting it is still a pleasure to see that they have finally arrived....
Also the potatoes that we planted earlier in the Spring are suddenly in full growth and need earthing up ...this is another thing that happens year after year and yet I never tire of seeing that first flush of green and saying "the potatoes are up" ...
It's all the little markers of each individual season that are maybe reassuring ?? things are as they should be....it is late April and the potatoes are up...!!
And having the 4 very different seasons helps us to appreciate what each season brings as the cycle is always changing ....


I wonder what marks the seasons for you ?
Wishing you a lovely Thursday evening wherever you are...now I must go out and earth up those spuds...!
Gail x


Friday, 3 April 2015

Queen of Sheba...

The queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem "with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones". "Never again came such an abundance of spices" as those which she gave to Solomon. She came "to prove him with hard questions", all of which Solomon answered to her satisfaction. They exchanged gifts, after which she returned to her land.....


painting by Piero della Francesca


Queen of Sheba cake...
160g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
320g plain chocolate broken into chunks
160g caster sugar
drop of almond essence
5 eggs, separated
50g ground almonds
icing sugar, for sifting
Marmalade cream
55g Seville orange marmalade
125g mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
icing sugar to taste

1-Heat oven to 180'C and grease a 22cm spring-form cake tin.
2-melt the butter ,chocolate and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.Stir in the almond essence and set aside.
3-Beat the egg whites until they form medium peaks. Stir the egg yolks one by one into the chocolate mix.
4-Fold in one large spoonful of egg whites to loosen the mixture, then fold in the rest and add the almonds. Pour into the tin and bake for 40-45 mins till the cake comes away from the edges. Leave in tin for 15 mins.
5-Whizz the marmalade, cheese and yoghurt in a food processor. Add icing sugar to taste.
6-Run a knife around the inside of tin and turn the cake onto a wire rack...the top will be cracked and slightly sunken. Dust with icing sugar and serve with the marmalade cream....






Happy Easter !
Gail x






Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Vintage bunny...








I made a little nest out of hazel twigs ...just right for the goose eggs from my uncle's allotment...
one egg made a huge omelette that filled the frying pan !! 
And then a little bunny...made from a pair of old, satin, brocade curtains that were quite threadbare ...I salvaged what fabric I could ... and made "Dylan" so named by my husband...(a fan of the old magic roundabout !)...

As I have given up chocolate for lent I have been looking for a nice recipe for Easter....a seriously.. chocolatey... indulgent... recipe ...
that will be my next post !

warm hugs ...Gail x

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Scatter kindness......







These are photos of our local Abbey.....taken first thing in the morning ....
the ruins are wrapped in an eerie glow.....
perfect for imagining the monks that once walked here....
after the mist lifted, it was a perfect, sunny, spring day...cold and bright...

sending good wishes out to you.....
 wherever you may be !
Gail x


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Spring flowers....









Some hellebores...
 and a sprinkling of primula vulgaris...
have a nice day !
Gail x

Thursday, 12 March 2015

A hare for Easter.....


 It's time to use the lavender from last year to make lovely sleep pillows...
and as it's nearly Easter I thought 
an image of a hare might be nice....












I stitched the hare by hand on an old piece of linen after an attempt on the sewing machine went badly wrong ! sometimes hand embroidery gives it a nice naive look...
I filled it with sweet smelling lavender.... 
and added some ribbon to finish it off ....
You can see my "design" book is bursting at the seams...It is stuffed with all sorts of bits and pieces of embroidered fabric and ideas for creating.... I think it's time for a new one !

Best wishes to you all and thanks always for your visits and comments...
you make my day that bit nicer !
Gail x




Friday, 6 March 2015

Amaryllis time.....

I love amaryllis and have quite a few dotted about the house...


I actually had to move all my hyacinth bulbs to the back porch as the smell was delicious but quite overpowering !


I finally got round to making a stripy scarf...


I used garter stitch which makes it nice and flat with no curled up edges....it's nice and long....husband has taken a liking to it so I think I have lost it hehe


 an old enamel sign....




A new addition to our family...
 "Treacle" ...










I'm so glad that the days are getting lighter and that the garden is waking from her slumber....rewarding our patience with wonderful and delicate spring blooms...even the flowering cherry is on the verge of blossoming.....
Wishing you all a lovely weekend !
Gail x


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