Light my way x

 

I’m not here. I’m in a car, driving to Bristol, genuinely quite excited about experiencing a motorway again and moving wider than a 2 mile circle from the house.  We’re emptying The Husband’s work flat as he’s going to be in London till at least Christmas; Every cloud. The plan is to make a round trip in a day – normally a ticket to hell, but all of that has been subtly reframed by the thought of travelling at speed, the prospect of a horizon and the promise of new vistas.  Aren’t I the lucky one? These pictures were taken today – Sunday afternoon has become a potter time for me – projects to plan, things to do.  And this represents the first time I’ve tried to re-make candles.

 

 

The first thing was to get rid of the bits of wax left at the end of all the finished candles.  I found the best way was to pour in boiling water, which melted the wax, making it rise to the surface to create a wax plug that was then easy to remove.

 

 

My eclectic collection of containers, from tins to pots to old candle jars.

 

 

The wicks I ordered very cheaply from Ebay.

 

 

And stuck down with a dab of glue from a handy glue gun.

 

 

This was the super candle that inspired the re-make – a winter candle from the White Company with it’s gorgeous smell that died leaving lots of wax.  I melted down in a pyrex bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.  Once the lump of it became soft, I cut it up into smaller bits to speed up the melt.  I also added all the remnants of the other candles, because why not? Once everythings melted it’s possible to add various essential oils.  As the kitchen already smelt like a tart’s boudoir, I refrained.

 

 

Pouring in the liquid wax is not the easiest thing. I recommend a funnel.  Then I improvised with tin foil to keep the wicks upright and central.

 

 

Highly satisfying and highly recommended.

Laters, Kate x

Breakfast x

 

The title is breakfast, but the truth is I am not a breakfast person – a cup of tea to wet the whistle and I’m good to go.  Breakfast for me comes at 11 o’clock, but whilst I know the time I want it, it’s taken me a long time to discover what I want…

 

 

These things have made all the difference: Chia seeds. I remember having my first helping in a hyped up cafe where the portions were small, the prices were high and the vintage was new – in this country we like to charge extra for concepts, ideas and ambience, even when the ideas are copied.

 

 

It didn’t take long to find the recipe.  Welcome to my fridge coconut milk.

 

 

To make one kilner jar – or any other storage vessel –  fill a quarter with chia seeds, top to the top with coconut milk and give a good shake. Some recipes then add honey or other sweetness – personally, I don’t need this.

 

 

Which ends up something like this: Mum’s frogspawn. The benefit of which is nobody else touches it.

 

 

Twenty four hours in the fridge and it’s thick, gooey and swollen.

 

 

Perfect with muesli, a dash of coconut milk and fresh raspberries.

I would like to say this is on my desk now.  But it’s not 11 o’clock.

Think of me then.

 

Laters, Kate x

The dress x

 

According to one blog post, the voluminous dress is the new quarantine.  And who am I to disagree? So far, my basic wardrobe has consisted of cropped trousers and long buttoned shirts, double layered when the temperature dipped, as loose coats over t-shirts when the sun shined.  But temperatures due to hit 27 degrees this week, I think it’s time to transition to dresses.  My favourite summer dress is a dark green, cotton vintage dress made with a deep v in a batik print.  I love it.  I love the colour, the ease and the print.  In fact, I would like more of the same, but I can’t find and….so I’ve been trawling patterns on the web to come up with something similar.

 

 

And I’ve found three, and two of them, including the one above, need no pattern at all…and this one even comes with pockets!

 

 

This pattern comes This Little Miggy, a fab website with great ideas and a wonderful vibe, I would recommend a virtual tour.  The instructions are brilliant; clear, precise and everything you could need.

 

 

 

If you feel comfortable sewing, you may want to move onto this pattern from So Sew Easy – or rather, instructions, because again, this is simple, only measurements,  no-pattern sewing.

 

(All pics Pinterest, This Little Miggy, so sew easy, oliverands)

 

A finally, if you want to tackle a simple pattern to add sleeves, there’s this beauty from OliverandS

High summer dressing sorted.

 

Laters, Kate x

Feathered Friends x

 

I’m not sure if we’re in lockdown in London any more, maybe it’s a strange transition period, like wondering what to wear between seasons?  Because, despite the rhetoric, nothing has really changed for us; we’re still spending the majority of time in the house or garden.

 

 

But it gives me the time to salute some of my heroes of the past couple of months: The birds…their activity – the magpies that make me laugh, their song – we have a particularly vocal blackbird, their curiosity – yes, I’m speaking to you, unafraid Robin who watches me just a foot away when I’m gardening, the stories they tell – I’m gazing at nearly arrived swallows from my desk heralding the start of summer, and just their continual zest for life: nothing fazes them.

 

 

This post celebrates the inventive, simple but attractive ways we can introduce more of their joy into our lives.


(All pics Pinterest)

 

Which will hopefully lay down strong foundations to repay their gift and help them through the colder winter months.

 

A circle of life I value.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

Roses are pink..

 

I think today is meant to be a day of celebration – we are officially out of strict lockdown in London, except nobody knows quite what that means.  I read today that you can have a conversation with one person you know outside, but not meet my mother. Five year olds in a class will have to maintain a 2 metre distance when they go back in June – if they go back, and the one I love – I can drive a car with another stranger, if the windows are down!  My delight is the garden centres re-opening; I have plans for window boxes and filler plants I need.  This week my roses started to bloom! And with the air so clear at the moment, if the back door is open, even when walking down the staircase to the kitchen, I can smell them.

 

 

 

 

Blasting the roses with water has worked a treat re the aphids – thank you! A very eco friendly solution.  And it has the added bonus of rainbows when the sun is out.

 

 

One of my favourite combinations – this pink rose against the dark leaves of the smoke bush.

 

 

There were some casualties from the gale like winds of the past few days; the trachelospermem jasminoides (hark me!), the full grown version of the comb-over tree, has been pulled off it’s wall, and the wind did it’s best to destroy my seedlings, sending the ones in the egg box flying. I thought they were goners.


 

But I found the survivors, replanted, and they’re now in my study, by the window, being regularly watered from an re-used wine bottle, and are quite frankly  thriving.  The only problem is I had two varieties of plant, one in the lid, one in the main section..and now they’re all muddled.  But I’m sure time will tell…as it always does.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

 

Laundry Life x

 

The weather has changed. A strong wind is blowing in from the north, dropping the temperature by ten degrees plus.  As I look out of my study window there’s still enough blue to patch a Dutchman’s trousers, but the heavy grey clouds look like they could gather and coalesce at any moment.  Now half is dark, fast moving cloud, the rest blue.  The clouds are being chased away.  But there’s more behind.  Would you put your washing out today?

 

 

There’s something inescapably romantic about clothes on a washing line

like the playing cards of a family laid out for all to see.

 

 

Fresh air whipping the wet into submission.

 

 

The downside can be rust marks from wooden pegs, lack of flexibility from solid wooden pegs, and brittle plastic pegs that age and snap.  Hence the joy of these babies by Pincinox: Stainless steel, designed for life, packaged with care and vintage love.

 

(All pics Pinterest and Pincinox)

 

Made in France, but buy now and the shipping to the UK is free.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

A Handle on it..

 

Anyone else noticed the wonder of changeable bag straps that are sprouting like spring flowers everywhere? A simple trick to re-invent, re-love and kick off the summer that has me both smiling and reaching for my locked up, locked down purse.

 

 

All these examples come from independent suppliers, the places that need our support desperately, and at a fraction of the cost of a new bag they’re a proper brain pleasing, eco friendly, support the little people way to go.

 

These delectable delights come from  Apachy.

 

 

This one, nailing the season, comes from South of the River

 

 

(All pics Apatchy, South of the River and Pinterest)

 

 

At between £19 and £20, they also make perfect presents.

 

Sorted.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

Le weekend x

 

With the lockdown starting to fray, we wanted the kids to experience the stillness of London before it’s officially bubbling again, so we biked through the virtually empty roads all the way to Trafalgar Square, a 20 km round route (I have saddle arse to prove it).  The only thing to interrupt our peace were the all the gear, no fear mamil brigade, the blinkers of self-interest firmly down.  I saw three almost accidents, their speed seemingly taking precedent over a slower decision maker ahead.  Given the freedom of the roads, the nature of the situation, it felt greedy and uncalled for.

 

 

Trafalgar Square felt like a movie set from a post apocalyptical film.  It wasn’t just that there were no people there, the pigeons had left as well.

 


 

The weather wasn’t great, so I painted inside.  Since completing Carla Sonheim’s online class on flower portraits, I’ve become obsessed with painting all things plant.

 

 

 

I think I want to do a proper painting, a large one:  The dark filtered light down below, the open sky above.

 

Can’t for the life of me think what it represents…

 

Laters, Kate x

This works x

 

I’m assuming it’s a reaction to the lockdown and the run on food at the start, over laid with a frisson of guilt that this whole thing is Mother Nature’s way of saying the greed has to stop, but my cooking habits are getting more frugal, but in the same way more inventive? A lunchtime staple is chicken marinated in garlic and lemon, cooked on a skillet.  Except now I keep the lemon rinds and follow the advice above here, except I put them in the oven straight away on a moderate heat, wait 20 mins keeping an eye on them – you don’t want them to burn and turn bitter, then satisfyingly crush them to dust in my mortar and pestle.  The resulting lemon dust is a citrus dream and I’ve used it in rice, on cakes, even on the chicken, anywhere for a burst of summer freshness.

 

 

(All pics Pinterest)

 

To wrap the grilled chicken,  I make Chapatti’s, so simple: one cup of wholewheat flour, one cup of self raising, one teaspoon of salt, two tablespoons of oil, enough warm water to turn into a dough. Mix. Knead for 10 minutes – get the days frustrations out – divide into 8. Leave for minimum of 10 minutes.  (I make at 11 when I do the family coffee/hot chocolate round, use at 12.30) Roll out as thin as you can. Place in bottom of skillet, no oil needed. Wait till it bubbles, turn, then on with the next one.

Fill with grilled chicken or halloumi or falafels or all three. Top with fresh salad and roasted vegetables. Drizzle with humus, tzatziki and red pepper tapenade.

 

Eat with joy.

 

Laters, Kate x

Layabout 2!

 

So Monday’s post was about soft, squishy, adaptable garden chairs and this photo made the prime slot.  But there’s no pattern.  But I don’t think it would be too hard to deconstruct: Two box cushions for the seat, make first.  Two side cushions, once done will give measurements for back cushion. Finish with leather buckles at side and back. I’m sure those with more skill than me can even pipe the edges…I may give that a go!

 

 

This looks like a piece of foam cut to size, versus bean bag beads for stuffing or foam bits. In many ways it’s is a simpler design, but possibly harder on the sewing? Again, I would replace the velcro with the leather straps.

 

 

 

And then there are variations on a theme!


 

As and When I make, I will post again!

 

Laters, Kate x