Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...

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23/02/2018

February Scavenger Photo-hunt Link up Party!

Welcome to the 2nd Scavenger Photo-hunt of 2018 -
I am looking forward to seeing 
all your photos and reading your stories1
Let the fun begin xx

If you have joined in with my

Scavenger hunt, please link

with me on your blog :)



Please add your name to the

link up tool below,

just follow the easy instructions,


don't worry - if I can do it so can you!



Please just add your Name or Blog Name in the 'Link Title',

Now, let the Link-up Party begin!

Don't forget to leave a comment when you visit :)




** **

February's Scavenger photo hunt 2018

Thought that, with it being winterish-sort-of-weather I would try and complete all my words in a winterish-sort-of-way! Little did I realise how difficult that was going to be - it got my photo-mojo all in a twitter.


White
Our pathway into the garden. This image I took a couple of weeks ago, it has since snowed a lot heavier but I preferred this almost monochrome look of the gate and pathway. This is the photo that kick started my winter-wonder-look-theme.....


Metal/metallic

These ornate metal gate belongs to the rec grounds we take Moss to play and run madly around. However, this particular photo was taken in January 2013. As you can see - it was a snowy January. These gates must have seen some action in their life time as they are rather battered and rusty and missing spikes in places. They probably were quite grand in their day but now, I suspect not many folk actually notice them.


Camouflage
This one only took a single fleeting moment to think about but a little longer to create!  It required not only compliance by the cat (not a given) but also the use of an amenable teenager (fortunately fed and watered and up for a game) and a fully charged battery in the camera (it conked out after this image). With the dog safely kept inside as she and this cat don't always see eye to eye - we set out. This is the only image I could use... the rest are mostly of a fat-furry-backside or a furry-blurry cat half out of shot.... you get the gist. Any hoo - this one was the best and she has 'cleverly' camouflaged her tail with the hedge and her fur with the snow - what a super model!

Begins with a ....J - J is for Jacket
When I wrote this, Youngest was home on half term. Not sure what happened but wasn't in a particularly good mood, so, using his love for his dog, I insisted that we get out and go for a walk. Which we did. Moss and I felt a whole lot better for it  however, Youngest was still feeling a little grumped ....so once home, he went off for a nap. Then he felt better.

Bud
In the garden there is an indigenous honeysuckle growing on the fence between us and our neighbours. Years ago when we moved in we had to do a lot in the garden including removing a smashed up glasshouse thrown into the compost heap. At least, I think it was a compost heap, it was a huge pile of tree limbs, slimy mown grass clippings, soil and discarded plants. Once we'd started to move it we discovered the almost never ending shards of glass and broken frame. Carefully over a number of weekends we managed to clear the rubbish. Where is this leading to? Well, beneath the glass I found a single straggly twig with an equally sorry root. The honeysuckle. I planted it and it never looked back!  These buds are cheerfully battling the snow falls we have recently had.


My own choice
'Counter-camouflage' - you can't have one cat without the other...... Pepper in the bath.  (I love the row of little cat toes peeking out from beneath her tail - enough to make a mad cat lady go ... squeeeeeeeee)
So, there - my selection for February - hope you enjoyed them as much as I did hunting for them :) right, I am off now to check out you lovely lot's photos and stories!

22/02/2018

a day in the life of the studio cat

Erhemm

Dear hoomans

I sees that she's not been on her blog-thing for a while
tsk tsk
 so typicals of her
....head full of butterflies
 ... gets distracted
 ... wanders off 
... chases flies on window ledges 
oh - hang on... is thats me?? 
not sure - prrrrr prrrrr prrrrr
But, backs to the matter in-paw 
I thoughts I would shares with you my working day prrrr prrr
It is very hards being the studio cat
I has to follow the sunshine around - lies on it to prevents it escaping 
I has seen so little of that warm yellow sky stuff that when I do 
I don't wants to lets it go
Problem is when that Miss-huffy-wuffy-waggy-Mossums joins in
Pah dogs ... cramps my styles
 they has no concept of purrrsonal spaces 
when it comes to designated cat-lying-down-in-the-sun-spots
Grrrr - I gives you the deadly cat-death-stares 
... is not working.... 
no good looking to our my hooman for help
May be a chomps on the paw will work ---- 
pppsssst spit spit gah 
dog foot does not leave a good taste in the mouth of a gentile puss-cat >^.^< 
such as myself...
Might trys and encroach and sees if that works......
Nope, may be all-in-cat'n'dog-wrestling will gets yous to move...
Stupid dog, will turn my backs on yous and yous will gets the message... or may be not.
Awwww - I is sorry - I do loves you in a 'feels-sorry-for-the-silly-creature-sort-of-way' .... 
but could yous purrrlease move 
I wants 'MY' sun-warmed-spots back.
Ahh better
 This is sun-warmed-spots is mine ... 
all mine ... 
.... as is this sun-warmed-spot...
I is a little warm, might stop in this little shady spots for a whiles....
bwahahahahaha 
(in a monstrous catsy sort of way!)

Best job ever.


edited to add:  My apologies for the cat-astrophic take over by Pepper and I promise no Miss Mosses were harmed in the making of this epic battle of wills for the sunny warm spot. As you can see there was plenty of it and the dog didn't seem to concerned that Pepper was being ... well ... being Pepper!  They are very fond of each other. I love the 'help-me' eyes that Moss kept shooting to me but she hung on to her spot as long as she could!

14/02/2018

Valentine's day our way x




We don't do soppy
but he does do
roses x

This is how I know that I've a good man -
since 1985 he has not missed one year.
I, on the other hand, have been ...
 sporadic 
(oops)

Happy WEDNESDAto you all


11/02/2018

A Hygge-licious sort of day

Sitting on the settee, the fire quietly crackling away, half completed mug of tea next to me.

Actually, we are all sitting here, contentedly allowing Sunday to slide by. Eldest is frowning with concentration as he types out a report on the causes of animal extinction in the UK, Youngest is surfing the web looking at cars and motor bikes, Himself is doing something similar - occasionally they share their latest find and compare vehicle laden anecdotes with each other.
We are still on our new style of eating and Himself and I agree that we feel so much better for being on it. Not that we were particularly unhealthy before (at least I don't think we were) but omitting purchased breads, reducing salt and animal fats and trying to have as near as every meal cooked from scratch is paying off. I still bake for the boys - they would 'wither away' and wonder what the world had become without biscuits and cake. So - no - we are not 100% virtuous and I don't pretend to be.
Today's lunch was a thick and warming soup we affectionately call 'Skye Soup' with hunks of soda bread. It is good watching three hungry menfolk wolfing down bowls of steaming soup. 
The soup is so named for a couple of reasons. We've been up to Skye on holiday and discovered and visited the Isle of Skye Bakery in Portree. The food there is to die for, home made, rustic, filling and very very tasty. The following year, when a dear friend went up to Skye, she was clutching a list of places to visit which we'd pressed into her hands, of which this bakery was fairly near the top!
So she did, and like us found the food to be filling and wholesome and ordered a take-away of a thick and warming butternut and lentil soup. We both did a little internet delving and found a version which we think is as near as the original Skye Bakery recipe - hence the name 'Skye Soup'.

The recipe I use is HERE - the only difference is I usually add a red pepper but today it was a glossy yellow one :)

The soda bread - now a staple which I bake every second or third day - comes from HERE and is as simple as simple can be. My only addition is a generous tablespoon of chia seeds for good measure.

As for the baking for the boys? Well seeing the oven was hot for the bread, seemed a waste not to utilise that heat and baked a batch of the all essential bird buns and a pile of peanut butter cookies - which I am still experimenting with. The original recipe is far too sweet for us so I have reduced the sugar by more than half and added loads of oaty goodness! I will bake them again (all in the name of science of course) and shall share the recipe once I get the proportions correct :) In the mean time the boys are happily eating the results of the test kitchen baking :D

 Any hoo, Sunday has turned from a snowy cold day to a crisply cold evening. I'll have to return to the kitchen shortly to start the evening meal. Eldest has requested a frittata and roast veg before he sets off back to uni. Just need to finish my mug of tea and chatting with you first - what a good way to end the weekend :)


07/02/2018

05/02/2018

Monday's a good day for gratitude

I was reading a new-to-me blog early this morning (it was is still gloomy and grey outside) and one of the posts really reached out to me - 'Abundance'. (Thanks to Aril from EAaRfGBT)

I have been quietly working away at practising gratitude which has certainly helped me when ever I feel a dip in my mood. 'The more you are grateful for, brings more to be grateful about'.

It is one of the reasons I write my present blog. To remind myself of all the small and precious things that happen on a daily basis - the sort of things that easily get forgotten over time.

My original blog started as year long photographic exercise to mark the first year of senior school of my eldest son.  I looked back to see when the first post was and it is dated 09.09.09  ...   nearly 10 years ago ....   it has evolved somewhat and transformed to my present format. 

Where is this leading? Well, I have a lot to be grateful for.
Like my husband who, with my boys, built me a beautiful summerhouse and converted it into a the most wonderful personal space where I can paint, draw, listen to music, watch birds, drink tea.  And for all of summer and autumn that is exactly what I did. 
Then winter came and the summerhouse struggled with persistent winter rain seeping in constantly and despite checking all the obvious routes - we were left scratching our heads. I had to move back into the house. I was left surprisingly bereft and combined with the downturn of the weather to the most dreary wet and dull winter I felt like I'd fallen down a hole.
Himself every weekend (weather permitting) would work on another theory where the rain was getting in, then we would have to wait for it to rain to check ..... no joy. As the water rose and receded, I drew a line around the mark, logging the waxing and waning of the leaks. 
We continued like this for weeks.
But, (carefully dancing with joy) this last ten days or so - the tide seems to have turned, both figuratively and literally, despite the rain, the wood is drying out and there are no new water marks. (Woop woop). 
His dedication and persistence to mend something for me was above and beyond the call of duty.  SO today, I go back out and tidy my summerhouse studio, move back in - in a temporary sort of way, we still need to replace all the inner wooden panels now they and the floor are drying beautifully and relay the carpet - BUT I can get out and and be in my  wonderful personal space where I can paint, draw, listen to music, watch birds, drink tea.
Like I say, I have a lot to be grateful for. xxxxxxxx

Thank you too for all the lovely comments you take the time to leave and hello to more new followers - welcome to my small part of the world - thank you for joining in :D


03/02/2018

So..... who's having what?

***WARNING** food and photo heavy post

Not sure if it is this rather dank and dreary and decidedly damp weather (ooh I love alliteration) or the fact my kitchen mojo is no longer languishing in idle but revving at 'ready-steady-cook speed' but this last week some half decent menus have been carried triumphantly out and served with a bit of a flourish.

I mean - Monday we had the surprisingly delish lentil loaf with fat free Spanish roasties,
Tuesday was quiche and roast vegetables,
Wednesday was spicy Spanish chickpeas and spinach stew,
Thursday was err err - forgotten but apparently it was good coz the boys said it was good (grief how could I forget??) still they liked what ever it was!
Friday we had vegetarian chilli and couscous,
Saturday lunch - creamy vegan tomato and spinach soup and Irish soda bread.

Now, one or two comments and via a couple of direct emails, I was asked to jot down some of the meals/recipes that we were trying out, so, as I sit here waiting for jacket potatoes to cook (ooh the kitchen smells gloriously of hot cooking potatoes) I thought I would make a start :)

Roast Vegetables


Right here goes - be prepared for a rather random rendition of this recipe (alliteration appears again!)

Start with a variety of your favourite vegetables all chopped into friendly fork sized pieces (not too small as they shrink in the heat and you wouldn't want to feel short changed!)

I've used combination of this list;
Mushrooms - halved
Celariac - cubed
Carrots - chopped
Pepper (green/red/yellow) chunked
Onion  - quartered
Cauliflower - broken into florets
Courgette - thick slices
Parsnips - peeled and cut into long quarters
Broccoli - same as the cauliflower - florets and leave as much stalk on - they cook sooooo tenderly too
Sweet potato - cut into 'chip' lengths
French beans - topped and tailed
Basically any vegetable you have - get chopping!
Quantity wise, I chose a large flat metal baking tray and kept adding my chopped veg until the tray was nicely covered. I reasoned that if I made too much it could go in the 'fridge til the next time.  I needn't have worried!
Now.... get some oil - sunflower or olive - about a tablespoon and drizzle the oil over the vegetables.  Using your hands ruffle everything together until the vegetables are coated.

Season well, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Again lightly ruffle the vegetable pieces around ensuring all beautifully seasoned.
Place your baking tray in the centre of your pre-heated oven (200 deg c) and roast for about 20 - 25 mins until all yummy and soft and golden brown and succulent and tasty and steaming hot!
Now, if you can hold yourself back from scoffing the lot, serve it with your main for a scrumptious meal..... and if per small chance you have any left, the soft and tender vegetables are wonderful warmed up and served on freshly toasted soda bread for lunch the next day.

Now, should you like a slightly more sensible version of this recipe rather than my overly excitable rendition - have a look HERE.

And if you need any more encouragement to try - when I ask the boys what they fancy eating - so far their first request is 'whatever as long as it has roast vegetables...'  



31/01/2018

I followed my heart and it lead me to the 'fridge....

Since leaving full time work it has taken me a while to 'find myself' again and re-discover my love for a number of things. 
I'd denied myself anything too creative beyond knitting and crochet. Gardening became a chore of the-weekend-weed-dash, reading was for people who had the energy and  I'd forgotten that I like to cook.  Not LOVE to cook - no, not that dedicated! But I used to like cooking nevertheless. 

Himself enjoys his food (but remains as lean as a bean pole - sigh) and the boys have the same outlook and leanness (not trying to sound bitter .... I look at food and feel the calories layering themselves on me!).
Not really sure what the tipping point was from the 'liking' to the 'perfunctory' when it came to my cooking style but I suspect a heady combo of having small children, one who was bordering on being an 'airplant' (goodness knows what he ate yet he still grew) and another who was a 'mangetout' (but only with his favorite foods) and the all consuming work. 

I would come back drained, have no inspiration and would reach for anything Child A might eat some small token of, Child B who might eat all but only if he liked it, Husband with hollow legs and me who would look comfortably round yet be starving on the inside. Sigh.
Any hoo, fast forward several years - Child A and Child B are now both young men and both taller than me, Himself is still lean while I am still comfortably round.... (and learning to love myself as I am).
Where is this, you might ask, all leading too? Well, I have quietly re-discovered the kitchen is not longer a combatant zone where I go reluctantly and aggressively defend myself against the pots and pans.  With a different mind set and a bit of a plan - the meals now come out are far healthier and fulfilling (in more ways than one) and I remain reasonably calm.

For the more technically minded (or persnickety) of you I am trying to maintain a vegetarian based gluten free diet with the occasional token fish for the carnivores in the family. So far so good. We all seem to feel 'good' on it. It is early days - still time to fall off the chuck wagon and return to my old ways (will endeavor to avoid this particular pitfall) - just might even share a recipe or two here as well :)

As for the pictures which all seem to be predominately baked goods? Most of them are from Eldest's new cell phone as he tries out his camera. I promise there have been well behaved and healthy options too - except the evidence has been eaten!

Nuff now - best get to it - things to do, paintings to.... errr..... paint and tea to drink - speak soon x