Thursday, 16 April 2015

CREATIVE: A Garden Party Stitch Along #3

I confess, I totally slacked when it came to cross stitching last month and even more so with writing up with this post. For once I was trying to be all good with my work. It also gets harder each month to say something new about this stitch along, so I'll let the photographs do the talking. 

SAL

So my plan from February was to work on finishing off the faces and the sky, stitching off the dresses and doing some backstitching. Not really completed any of those. Back stitching to a point yes, and I love how that's all pulling it all together. Back stitching (it's basically outlining and detailing in with thread) is a bit of a love hate thing with many stitchers, I personally love it for how it brings a picture together. 

SAL
February's check in (left) and March. 

Hopefully during the rest of April I'll get back into the swing of things. I had a bit of a communication hiccup with the magazine over getting the next part of the chart, which I luckily have now, so even more stitching can commence.

SAL

Slowly but surely!


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Monday, 13 April 2015

GREEN FINGERS: Things Down The Garden

Crocuses

I've become one of those people that enjoys a daily wander around her garden. I love trying to spot any differences, perhaps a new bulbs sprouting through the soil, trying to poke it's way through some of the remainders of fall crispy leaves. With April showers firmly heralding springs arrival, things are starting to happen in my little patch of land, and most of this weekend was spent enjoying the sunshine while trying to create a bit of order. 

Garden
What will be the veg patch. 

One of the happy occurrences of inheriting a garden is not knowing what may, or may not be hidden under your soil. I have to be honest, I wasn't expecting any spring bulbs to pop up, but hiding away a couple of crocuses have appeared, a few green shoots of daffodils in the front, and some bulbs of unknown plant origin are circling the magnolia tree. Granted in the time since planting my old additions into the soil, I'd actually forgotten just what bulbs I did buy, but I know these ones weren't mine.
Garden
Little little sunflowers

Slowly warmer days, sunnier skies and the decreasing chance of frost has allowed me to get back into the garden and get my hands dirty. From cutting down some plants to get my vegetable patch cleared out, raking up leaves from autumn (yes really, my excuse is that they kept the soil a little warmer for the bulbs over the super cold winter months) and working out what needs doing. 

Garden

My orders for vegetables have all been made and I'm far to excited to get them planted out in May (the chance of frost lingers around until then sadly). For the next couple of months i'm going to pretend to know what i'm doing when it comes to planting carrots, radishes, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes and onions to name but a few. Adding a couple of rhubarb plants and starting off a small herb patch. 

Not to mention all the wildflower seeds, sunflowers (that are taking over my kitchen) and some new plant additions to try and brighten up the shade. On Saturday I pretended to know what I was doing in pruning some roses and moving a load of raspberries. I even added in some stepping stones from a mix match assortment of falling apart pavers that once hid under the pine tree. They are wonky, they are chipped, but I laid them and that pleases me. Hopefully they'll survive. It's all exciting times around here I tell thee.


Thursday, 9 April 2015

FOOD: The CSA Cookbook

CSA

If there's one thing i'm looking forward to this year it's getting my fingers dirty and starting off my veg patch. But what's daunting is what to do with all the veggie goodness that the earth gives up. Let me be honest here, i'm not the biggest vegetable fan, I should be, I want to be, but I need help. I need inspiration. I need recipes that get me thinking outside the box, that liven them up a little. Luckily there's a new cookbook that, if you're anything like me, will get you rethinking, gets you creating and gets you working in your garden and kitchen. 

The CSA Cookbook by Linda Ly offers over 100 seasonal and globally inspired recipes for vegetables whether you receive a community supported agricultural project, you pop to your farmers market or you're growing them yourself. And if you're not doing any of these, then this cookbook might get you curious enough to start. 

CSA

Recipes are no waste, so they'll challenge you to using all parts of the plant parts you might otherwise throw away - from the leaves, to the flowers and seeds. As Ly states, the CSA Cookbook is all about celebrating "the art of using the whole vegetable in your day-to-day cooking" (page 15). And that is something I can get behind!

Drawing on her own experience homesteading on the California Coast and celebrating the good life, Linda Ly is also the author behind the award winning blog Garden Betty (which is awesome btw!). Recognized by HGTV and Country Living, Ly provides a down to earth, hands on approach to thinking creatively. The CSA Cookbook shines with her personality, her creative approach in a way that's approachable and inspirational. 

Recipes are presented clearly with vegetables you're more than likely to find in produce boxes or ones you might have growing in your vegetable patch. Additional ingredients are ones you'll most likely already have, or they are easiest enough to come by which is always a winner when i'm hunting for recipe inspiration. With gorgeous photography throughout, you'll be drooling as you flick though, bookmarking the recipes as you go. I certainly have my eye on the herb infused vinegar's.

CSA

This cookbook will certainly be a big inspiration and help in getting my vegetable fix that's for sure!



I was provided the CSA Cookbook for review purposes, all thoughts as ever, are my own. 

Monday, 6 April 2015

LIFE: Ongoing

ongoing

Sometimes you have to take a step back and refresh a little. Which was exactly what I ended up doing with this blog last week. I tend to over think, over work, and over spend time on the internet, so a break was somewhat required. To top it all off, I came down with the comparing my blog to others sickness which was a major mojo killer. I'm more than happy to admit, I struggle with this blog, I struggle with wondering why after five years, I still can't get followers, makes you question what you share, if my life is worth sharing. Blah blah, most of the rest of the time I don't really mind that i'm old before my time, that i'm not really down with the kids, that I'm not into having the most hip thing, but sometimes ...

But anyhow. A couple of adult milkshakes (Irish Beer from Red Robin - delicious btw), a tasty burger and lots of kitty purrs and an awesome thrifty shop in the Salvos, cheered me up over the weekend. So I thought i'd return with a random things update, some thoughts, some happenings.

Like how anime knows how to make opening and closing songs that stick in your head for days ...

That in playing City Skylines, I just have no hope for people claiming they are sick when they live RIGHT NEXT to a hospital/medical clinic, I just ...

How I've become one of those people that walk around their garden every day to try and spot a new flower poking through

That I play Maximo Park on repeat just to hear people sing in familiar northern accents, well not just to hear that, because they are one of my favorite bands. Then I realised I've been listening to them for 11 years and that sometimes makes me feel old.

Speaking of music, that white marble effect vinyl looks like dirty finger prints, but that it's pretty darm awesome (i'm speaking about the Massive Attack Remix vinyl in case your wondering)

About how I filled up another four bags of garden waste and how sprouting sunflowers are taking over my garden window in the kitchen

That ordering Yorkshire tea has to be a major highlight of last week, that and some No7 and Rimmel stuff, yey for British brands

Of how Dave's Sweet Tooth Toffee (a Michigan made brand) is just mighty mighty fine

Making the most of the free Easter weekend on the Ancestry and, other than the family mystery, finding out you come from a long line of Yorkshire farmers and domestic servants.

Seeing images of the Yorkshire Wolds (my former part of the homeland) on a history show and just seeing fields after fields, that feels a LONG way from the burbs of Detroit 

That Michigan weather being all over the place - thunderstorms, rain showers, snow showers, sunny days doesn't help my mind in settling

So that's been my week.