Category: Creative

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

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

Layabout x

 

I’ve been exploring garden living, the sort that is lush, soft and forgiving, but then also thinking beyond just summer use to multi-functional, multi-family use…

 

 

What’s interesting is the prices – we’re talking generally from £500 upwards..the same price as armchairs with the wooden structure inside.

 

The set above? £1499 from Maison Du Mode.  I’ve seen the Sewing Bee…this is not hard sewing.

 


 

So I’m thinking maybe I’ll make my own.  And combine the best of what I see.

 

 

I love this design, lay it out and it’s a large, lounging cushion, close the leather straps and it’s a chair.

 

 

Imagine in ticking…

 

(All pics Pinterest)

Or a striking Peruvian weave….

And repurposed in the Children’s rooms during the winter months….

Food for thought.

 

Laters, Kate x

Yin and Yang x

 

 

The good news is my window boxes are the best they’ve ever been….It’s amazing what watering every day will do…

 

 

The bad news is I should’ve taken the picture before I watered them.

 

 

The good news is my climbing rose is chocka with an abundance of buds.

 

 

The bad news: Because of the mild winter, they’re covered in aphids…sad face emoji

 


 

Good news: Charlie and I planted a whole load of seeds.

 

 

Bad news: Three weeks later and I think we’re cultivating weeds.

 

 

Or they’ve died.

 

 

The good news: My plant delivery finally arrived!

 

 

Bad news: Why are they always so much smaller in reality?

 

 

Good news: Finally got the wall painted black.

 

 

Which is a good thing….as it distracts from the newly christened ‘Comb-over’ Tree.

 

 

Bad news:  The husband ‘pruned’ it..it once was the luscious twin to this one climbing the wall..

 

 

The good news: It has a bud!

 

 

Bad news: It’s sorely needed…

 

 

The good news: The garden is becoming a haven.

 


 

The bad news: The barbecue has just collapsed.

 

But the good news? It’s a job for the husband…and might just keep him away from my plants….

 

 

Laters, Kate x

Doings x

 

The Sketchbook Revival has proved to be a family life line in this strange and weird time and has become a part of our routine, like furniture in a room.  In fact a few odd things have become a part of our routine: Over lunch we all do a number puzzle (this makes it sound easier than it is – some of them are real buggers) which over in North London my Father and Brother are also doing (It’s sent out in the morning..and I hear it’s being passed on to all manner of people who want to give their brain cells a beating).  Then after supper, when work is finished and the day is drawing to a close, we gather round the kitchen table to follow the sketchbook revival, never knowing what we’re going to be asked to do next.  This time together is not about comparison or competition, but connecting and just doing; Here’s a thought: if you don’t do art because you think everything you produce is sh*t, think about who’s made that decision?  Is it limiting? Why should you limit yourself? Now put it into perspective –  are you ever going to sell your art? No.  Will it be a fun thing to do? Possibly…but until you try with an open mind, you’ll never know…and let me tell you from experience..shit art has real comedy value.

 

 

But that’s now come to an end.  (Although you can still follow the series until April 26, link here) Sob. So what next??

 

My mother sent a link this morning to Firstsite and their Artist Activity Packs which can be downloaded for FREE. All manner of artists from Jeremy Deller to Annie Morris to Anthony Gormley and Grayson Perry have or are intending to contribute, offering projects, thoughts and inspiration, designed for children and adults alike  that can be explained or done on a sheet of A4. A quick look through – the first pack is 26 pages – reveals all sorts of gems from drawing a self portrait with your eyes closed to making a chain of people designed by Anthony Gormley. Can I underline – this is pure gold dust and  liquid star beams and basically the stuff dreams are made of: Can you imagine all these artist’s competing to come up with the best ideas..and then giving it out for free???

 

(All pics Firstsite and Pinterest)

Sorted. With a huge, happy smile.

Laters, Kate x