Tulips with a Twist …

I LOVED creating this canvas today, it really was great fun and combined aerosol spraying, sewing, stapling and of course, tulips. I’ve seen this style used on a table runner and wanted to have a go on a much smaller scale, just to see what it would look like, this is the result:

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An Early 2014 Catch Up …

Looking back through photos taken since the start of the year, I realise how little I’ve blogged recently, hence the catch up.
Brush:
This recent picture, similar to a watercolour that I painted a few weeks ago, was done with brush pens and ink. I’m still trying to decide which one I prefer:

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Needle:
Both knitting and sewing needles feature here. First off, I spent about 6-8 weeks knitting my latest blanket, combining my favourite colour combinations of purple, dark pink and green. This is a wonderfully stretchy blanket, it was knitted on a pair of size 20 circular needles and it’s huge!!

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Sewing needles arrived earlier this week in the form of a sewing machine. Sewing has always been something that I wished I could do, neatly and well, however I’ve never really managed it. My husband very kindly bought me my lovely machine and I’ve already made something, can you tell what it is?!

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Yes, it’s a bag for my sewing machine pedal and plug!
I have a few other projects in mind for the coming weeks and I’m really enjoying learning how to use my sewing machine. I hope that once I’ve had lots of practice and no doubt loads of advice from my mum (who used to create amazing things on her sewing machine), I’ll be able to attempt to make some new curtains for our dining room.

Whisk:
Last week we celebrated Chinese New Year by having deliciously crispy duck with pancakes, hoisin sauce, plum sauce and prawn crackers. We went to our local Chinese supermarket, I’m ashamed to say for the first time in 13 years, and it was incredible. There were dragons parading outside and inside the shop was a complete riot of colour and noise. It definitely won’t be another 13 years before we go there again:

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Before I go, I’ll leave you with the additions that we’ve made to our shed/studio (or shudio, if you prefer) – our current weather has made it really difficult for me to get out there without getting covered in mud, however, these concrete slabs, cleverly designed as logs mean that I can get there and back without walking mud through the house:

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Feeling the need to make my art space a little more cosy, I’ve added some cheery lights. I must have spent over 30 minutes faffing about with these before deciding to clump them together in the corner:

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and yes, that is a set of wool & fur covered headphones hanging up there too – they are incredibly warm!!

Happy New Year …

It’s a bit late I know but I wish everyone ‘wordpress related’, be they readers, followers or bloggers, a very Happy 2014. We’ve spent yet another day being bombarded by rain and wind, we were in real need of some sunshine. For us, our sunshine came in bowls and in a bottle:

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This lemongrass cordial was made prior to Christmas and still tastes light and refreshing. Our dinner this evening was a Prawn Biryani, one of our favourite prawn curries – the key I think is in the spice blend: shallots, garlic, fresh ginger, cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom seeds, turmeric, coriander seeds and a finely chopped chilli:

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To finish, we had the most amazingly light Lemon Sponge. The recipe was from my new ‘Leon, Book 2, Baking and Puddings’ which my mother-in-law gave me at Christmas. I’ve tried a few recipes from this book (including Coconut Macaroons which I made yesterday, honey was included in the recipe and they tasted incredible, I’ll have to make them again just so I can photograph them) and each one has worked really well. This sponge pudding has an element of soufflĂ© about it, it’s really light and the lemon hit givs it a real zing:

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So, whilst we’ve had non-stop rain today, we’ve had at least a small ray of sunshine in terms of food. Hopefully tomorrow will be little less wet!

Fishy Festive Food …

My parents-in-law came over for lunch (and Christmas present swap) today. I wanted to do something so completely un-Christmassy food-wise and in the end went for a Fish Pie. It is packed full of lovely vegetables – onion, leeks, spring onions, celery and of course, potato. It is topped off with a leek and bacon crispy combo:

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The white sauce is made up of milk and cream that the fish had been poached in, lots of lovely fresh herbs (parsley, dill and tarragon) and some butter. We had it with some festive chutney and plum jam.

Pudding was an old favourite, Chocolate Fondant, served with some warm chocolate sauce (expertly made by my 11 year old) and some pouring cream, yum!!

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