Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sunny Sunday Afternoon

Hasn't the weather been wonderful today?

We made a start on the new allotment, and I remembered to take photographs.

This is the blank canvas, so to speak. A lovely large stretch of ...

...well okay weeds at the moment, but a plot of weeds with potential!

We (okay -  Dave, someone had to take charge of the camera!) set to with a gusto and after two hours a small dent had been made. It is very slow going as those weeds have a tangling mass of roots below them that takes an age to get out.

Although it was hard work, it was so satisfying, we both thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, and who wouldn't when surrounded by views like these..

A perfect Sunday afternoon. 

Linda xxx

Saturday, 24 March 2012

I have an allotment!

Walking past my local village hall last night I spotted a sign which said that there were two allotments available for local residents.  I quickly scribbled down the contact details and at 9.30 this morning I rang to enquire. By 10.30 I was being shown around by two delightful ladies and by 11am, an allotment was mine. I cannot describe how excited I am!

When I lived in the town I had a garden, not very large, but large enough to potter in, have a fantastic herb patch and grow at least some fresh veg. Ironically my move to the country 12 years ago meant a move to a house with a very tiny front garden only 2ft x 4ft approx and a very dull, enclosed, north facing rear yard. I grow a few herbs in the front, but as the back yard is surrounded on three sides by two storey extensions all I tend to manage here is a few pots of bizzy lizzies in summertime. I do love where I live, but have really missed the opportunity to grow things and particularly to have access to freshly picked salads in summer.

There is a lot of work to do, but both Dave and I are eagerly looking forward to getting started. I was so excited this morning that despite taking my camera with me when I went to view the allotment, I totally forgot to take any pictures!!! 

I will remedy that situation tomorrow.

I did remember that I had the said camera with me on my stroll home however and couldn't help but notice that it wasn't just me with a "spring" in my step, but spring has definitely sprung!

I passed several trees with these delicate blossoms on - not sure what they are, do any of you know?

 A closer look at the blossoms.

 Celendine flowering among nibbled ransom (wild garlic) leaves.

Buds ready to burst into leaf.

I didn't get the job I was interviewed for the other day, and from Friday, I shall join the growing ranks of the unemployed, but for today - I'm full of the joys of spring!

Linda xxx

Monday, 19 March 2012

Frugal Lunch Box Pizzas

Both Dave and I take our lunches to work. Not only is it cheaper, but I like to know what is in my food and try to eat organically as much as possible.

 Whenever we are in Alston or Barnard Castle we pay a visit to The Moody Baker a fabulous artisan bakery, and will often partake of their excellent mini stottie pizzas. They have a really fresh tasting vegetable topping and we always eat them cold (too greedy to wait  till we get home and warm them!) and they are absolutely gorgeous. The downside is that at £1.80 each they aren't cheap (but they are worth it.) It is also unfortunate for our taste buds, but fortunate for our pockets that the nearest Moody Baker is 15 miles from where we live.

Now it just so happens that a couple of weeks ago B&M had  bags of Allinson Organic Bread Mix for only 35p each. Needless to say I stocked up on quite a few and came up with the idea of  having a go at making a similar pizza to those from the Moody Baker.

To make the topping I chopped a red onion, a clove of garlic, a red pepper and three skinned tomatoes. I then sauted them in a little olive oil till soft. I made up the whole packet of bread mix using just water and left it to double in size. I then knocked it back and divided it into two. I further divided one of the lumps of dough into six and rolled each piece out to a saucer sized round. Each round was topped by the vegetable mixture and some grated vintage cheddar then immediately put into a hot oven for 10 minutes.

The second lump of dough was shaped into a small loaf and left to prove before baking. I reckon that with the veggies and cheese the six mini pizzas and the loaf of bread probably cost no more than £2.

The verdict on the pizzas from Dave  was a definite thumbs up.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Mother's Day Makes

Still job hunting and have an interview on Tuesday, so fingers crossed.

In the meantime although I have struggled to find time for new posts, I haven't spent all my time job hunting. (Just most of it!). I managed to put together a swap parcel for Nikki at homebird.  It was an "Afternoon Tea Swap" organised by Jewel at Pretty Little Jewels and I even managed to make a "Tea Time" necklace to include. Unfortunately I didn't remember to take any photographs before I sent it off. 

I also made two gifts for Mother's Day. The first was a hand sewn patchwork cushion for my mother. I actually started this last year, but it kept getting pushed to one side and wasn't actually completed till January. This is the first time I have attempted "proper patchwork" and although it's by no means perfect, I am quite pleased with the finished article and hope my mam will like it. The organza flower isn't part of the cushion but was just used to pin the tag on.

Next time I do patchwork I will try and get the pattern on the patches running in the same direction, but unfortunately for this attempt I didn't have a great deal of each fabric and so had to cut the patches out any way they would fit. (Hope that makes sense!!!)

The second was an apron for my Aunty Ann. I always buy her a mother's day present as I used to stay with her a lot when I was younger. She is my dad's sister and will be ninety years young in June. She always wears an apron and I know she really appreciates homemade gifts, however it was a bit daunting as in her working life she was a lecturer in tailoring! I made sure that I took my time and got my stitching as straight as possible and must say that I am really pleased with how this turned out. I used a fat quarter of the spotted fabric from my stash and the flowered fabric is actually a vintage pillowcase that I bought in a charity shop for 50p. I lined the back of the apron with a piece of white cotton from an old duvet cover.

Well fingers crossed for Tuesday, but either way I should begin to have a bit more time available for blogging.

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