Monday, 16 June 2014

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Gooseberry Jam

It is that time of year when I make Gooseberry Jam.

The gooseberries are ready - or almost anyway.  As I am going to be away for nearly two weeks I thought rather than risk waiting until I got back I would make the jam now.

A nice bunch for a small gooseberry bush.

Top and tail them.

Measure an equal amount of sugar

Place gooseberries in with water and simmer until softened.

Add sugar, stir until dissolved and rapid boil for 10 minutes until reaches setting point.

Once ready, pour into sterilised jars.

Not quite three jars of jam.


Now off to make the scones.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Art Class Weeks 12 & 13

'Sophie' is finished and I am now trying to find a mount for the picture so I can send it to NZ.  I would like to get it framed, but it just adds to much to the weight and cost of postage to the parcel unfortunately.  

I will take a final photo once mounted...and hopefully capture the true colours.  On a whole I am really pleased with this painting and really hope my Mum and Dad like it.  I am not overly happy with the back end, but some of that will be covered with the mount anyway.  I want to get it posted early next week as I want it to arrive in time for Mum's birthday.

This week I spent most of my time staring at a blank canvas...the class tutor wanted me to paint a scene with a Chinese Pagoda in it, but I find those straight lines and buildings really difficult and my heart wasn't in it.  Try as I might I just wasn't happy with anything I came up with.  

In the end so I didn't go home with a blank canvas I decided to paint a bird.

This was done in about the last half hour I think.

It is painted from a photo I took of a shag on a rock in Whangarei.  Interestingly, having just put this photo on here, I can see things that I need to add to the painting.  I had printed it out on paper, but some of the detail was missed.

So thirteen weeks into my very first ever art classes having not painted or drawn since I was at primary school - I didn't take Art at secondary school as it was an 'optional' subject and I chose to take Woodwork and Music instead - I can say I am rather enjoying the experience.  On a whole it is something I can do that doesn't hurt too much...sometimes it is a bit problematic when I am having a flare up, but as the class is quite relaxed, I can get up, move around, stand or sit and paint and sometimes I swap hands I am painting with to give my right hand and arm a rest.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Roses, Birds and Clothes!

 A lovely day today and time spent out in the garden.  One of my roses planted, another two to find pots for until the ground is ready for them.  

'Rachel' one of the roses bought yesterday has opened up even more and is simply gorgeous.

The gooseberries are almost ready for picking...hopefully there will be enough to make some jam.

I think I only got one jar last year...but hoping for more this year...will also have to check to see if there are any at our other house.

Back in February I had a big clear out from my wardrobe and the loft and gave it must be about 10 black sacks of clothing to the charity shops...most of it too big, some never going to wear again.  I am still working on clearing and reorganising, albeit very slowly.  I am also 'revamping' my wardrobe and clothing.  For anything that comes in, at least one similar item, preferably two must then go out...  My task for tomorrow is to find some items that must go as I have had some 'new to me' items arrive the last two weeks that I found in local charity shops.  I go for practical above all else.  Everything has to have a purpose and be something I am going to use/wear regularly, not just occasionally...

This bag is in as new condition and is leather and very practical...yup, I need practical.  It is not too big and can be carried by its handles...something I consider as I find carrying things on my shoulder difficult.

Two zip pockets on each of the outsides.

This rather 'snazzy' top, is lightweight and will be ideal for when I go to Phoenix later this month...actually I have an idea of what to team this with for the 'Groovy Girl' night.

The bag matches!

Now for some practical wear.  I had to leave some clothes behind in NZ, which included a couple of pairs of shorts so was pleased to find a couple of pairs in some local charity shops that I liked.

They have the 'trendy' fade marks...

Can be worn long...

Or folded up.


The other pair of shorts.

Hopefully these shorts will be useful in will be HOT!

A denim skirt.

A pair of new black denim jeans, again from the CS.

Gorgeous scarf - just love these colours.

Brand new Merino wool sweater.

All these for under £22.00  - not bad.

So by my reckoning I now need to jettison at least the follow:

A pair of jeans, a skirt, a top and a bag...not counting the shorts as those were left in NZ and thus these are replacements.  Will report back as hoping to do some sorting tomorrow.


While I was getting the washing in from the line today I was delighted to see this young robin visiting.

A bold little fellow

So inquisitive.

Just love the robins.

This morning the woodpecker was also is a regular visitor every morning now.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Gardens of the Rose

Today was the opening day of the Gardens of the Rose.  We joined last year and were looking forward to visiting again this year.  It was pouring with rain this morning and we weren't sure we were going to be able to go, but fortunately the weather brightened up by the afternoon and we had a pleasant couple of hours wandering round.

Painted lady butterfly.

The bumble bees were enjoying the flowers.

As were the bees.

Gorgeous water lilies.

Stunning roses.

Of course we just happened to come home with three more roses for my garden.

Two hybrid tea roses - Chandos Beauty (Harmisty) and Rachel (Tangist) and a Floribunda, Lady Marmalade.


Lady Marmalade

Friday, 6 June 2014

An Afternoon at Stowe Gardens

Today we had an enjoyable afternoon at Stowe Gardens in Buckingham.  These gardens are National Trust and free for members to visit.

Stowe House.

These grand gardens of around 250 acres were created by Lord Cobham in the 18th Century.  Lord Cobham was a highly influential aristocrat and politician and the family at the height of their wealth and power were richer than the King and the gardens were a bold statement to show this.  These gardens very quickly became on of the country's first tourist attractions and visitors have been coming to the gardens for over 300 years.

Palladian Bridge

Looking down the lake from the bridge.

Pebble Alcove

Gothic Temple

Temple of Friendship

Mark & Percy

Some of the sheep that roam part of the grounds.

Mark, his Mum and Percy

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Saxon Dieties who gave their names to the seven days of the week.

Lord Cobham's Pillar

Temple of Concord and Victory

Lord Cobham's Pillar

Fane of Pastoral Poetry

Temple of British Worthies

Shell Bridge

Temple of Ancient Virtue

Percy enjoying the gardens.

Looking across the Octagon Lake

Eastern and Western Lake Pavilions.

Looking down towards the Palladian Bridge

Cascade and Artificial Ruins

A fabulous day that ended with a cream tea!