Home Sweet Home – an Apron, using Graphic 45

One of my lovely neighbours is moving to a new home.  She put her property up for sale just a few weeks ago and it sold really quickly, too quickly for me, because I’m not ready to lose her yet.  (She has a lovely home so I’m really not surprised it sold so quickly). 

Obviously I wanted to make her a ‘New Home’ card, but I didn’t want the usual sort of ‘new home’ card that can normally be found on the mantel shelves of new homes.

So I put my thinking cap on and came up with the idea of making her a shaped card using my Graphic 45 ‘Home Sweet Home’ papers.  And here’s what my fingers came up with…

Home Sweet Home 1
An Apron card, made using Graphic 45 Papers

Fortunately for me, I already had in my stash some Apron shaped cards, so I didn’t have to measure and cut that, it was already done.   I chose my patterned papers ensuring that the patterns were of the right size for the card and the plan I had in my head.  I used 4 different patterned papers from Graphic 45, and one paper from another brand of papers, which I had in my stash.

The pocket on the front of the apron was easy to make.  I simply drew half around a big pot of paint in my craft room and cut it out.   I added a toning paper to the top of the pocket, and then added some lovely green seam binding which I’d had in my ribbons for ages but never had the chance to use that particular colour of green.  It was a total delight to use it, as it’s such a fabulous vintage colour.

The Oven Glove (mitt) I drew out onto some card, then traced around the card in order to get a glove which matched the patterns on the card itself.  The additions of some buttons helped to hang things off the apron, and also anchor the ribbon neck to the top of the apron.

Home Sweet Home 5
Inside the Home Sweet Home card.

Again, the inside of the card was decorated with Graphic 45 papers and I added a Recipe Card for ‘Grandma’s Apple Pie’.  Yum!

Home Sweet Home 4

On the facing (inside) page is where I wanted to write the dedication (To/from) and the best wishes etc.  But I also wanted to add some little wooden embellishments which I had in my crafty stash, and thought they might look kind of cute, and tie the front of the card to the inside of the card ….Home Sweet Home 2

If you look on the ‘scoop’ you can just see a scoop of …. something ….

Home Sweet Home 3

. . .   is it sugar?  Salt?  . . . .  Maybe Grandma seasons her apple pies with something more ‘exotic’!  Who knows.  It’s her secret and it will remain her secret.

Home Sweet Home 1

And that’s all there was to it!

I haven’t taken it to my neighbour yet.  I’ll do that on Thursday as she’ll be busy moving on Friday.  I shall be so sorry to see her leave.  She’s an incredibly lovely lady and so kind.  I’ll miss her very much.

Anyhoo …. Here in the UK and Ireland, we have received a bit of a bashing from Hurricane Ophelia.  Although it was no longer a Hurricane by the time it reached the land of my heart and home, it still brought with it devastation and took 3 lives in Ireland.

On Monday afternoon here in the south of England, it went very quiet outside.  No bird song was heard.  Nothing.  Inside Cobweb Towers it became black as midnight and we had to put lamps on around the cottage because we just couldn’t see.  Outside – now that’s where things got a little freaky.  Everything turned, first, a warm orange colour.  But then it got darker ….  and darker …. and darker as the minutes passed until it became almost blood orange colour.   It was very strange and rather unsettling.

This didn’t look at all like a regular ‘natural’ phenomenon.   And from what I’ve read in the news this happened over quite a large area of the UK.  Apparently, in London, they experienced a double sun. 

The weird thing is … that those  ‘in the know’  are telling us that it’s dust picked up perhaps in the Sahara,  by the Hurricane, and it was being carried in the winds.  But, and here’s the thing … it really wasn’t that windy here where I live.  I had washing on the line (which was brought in when it began to get ‘orange’ outside) and it was barely wafting in the gentle breeze we had going on here.  The breeze did pick up a little – but it really was only a little.  But the orange … well I’ll be truthful and say that it felt almost apocalyptic.

The rain came later in the day, and it was a good old downpour, but not for long.   Then … just to add a bit of interest to the day (as if we hadn’t had enough) …. we lost all power to our cottage.  Mr.C popped to the neighbours and they’d lost power too, and our other neighbour had obviously lost power as her burglar alarm was announcing it’s shock and horror at what had happened!  We got the candles out, and for a time we were living back in a strange Victorian age.

Of course … the power would go just when I was three quarters the way through on a ink painting!  tsk tsk.

It’s been raining again here today (typing this on Tuesday 17th Oct.) –  a downpour again this afternoon, but turning into just regular raining after that.

Here in the South, we’ve been really lucky, and I’ve given thanks over and over, because I was seriously worried that it could have been very much worse.  But, that orange  …  that is still puzzling me.  I checked my car over today to see how much of this  “dust”  had landed on my car, and considering how orange it got outside … there was very little dust on my car.  Certainly not enough to tell the tale of what happened here on Monday.

The more I think … the more difficult it gets to understand it.  So I’m stopping thinking.

Thank you so much for coming to visit and staying to read.  I truly love your company and love to see you here.  So thank you.  Without you, blogging would be a very lonely, silent affair, and I’d probably give up.  I continue to blog because I love the wonderful people I’ve met through blogging and have made friends with a lot of them.  Of course … there are one or two who I love to pieces … but they know who they are.

Wishing you a truly wonderful Wednesday.  May you be in receipt of joy, supplied to you from someone who likes you.  May you also be free of Orange Air and Red Suns.  Avoid those.  They’re freaky and I’m really very unsure about what they are caused by.

Have a truly blessed day.  ❤

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A Weekus Horribilis, A Fabulous Blogging Friend .. and Beetroot Chutney!

The Queen once said that she’d had an ‘Annus Horribilis’ [Latin for A Horrible Year] and I agree that, at the time, she really had.

Now I can’t lay claim to having a horrible year, but  …  last week was absolutely a Weekus Horribilis (well, ten days to be precise).  One thing, then another, then another, then another – all seemed to either get the better of me, spoil things, upset me, or just made me bl**dy cross.

Individually,  they were just annoying or upsetting things which we all get – but we deal with them and move on.   However last week, they seemed to be coming at me like arrows from a battalion of Archers – all at once, – and I began to feel totally snowed under.

THEN, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse,  the cherry on the top of the cake was delivered . . .

I received a text message from the bank.  It said that they had declined a particular transaction for the amount of   £627  – which, they told me,  was an attempt to purchase some tickets for something or other.  The text message asked if it actually was Mr.Cobs or myself trying to make this purchase.

I called the Bank straight away in a right old panic and was put through to their Fraud department.

The lady on the Fraud section told me that someone was trying to use the details of our cards to obtain goods via our account.

Once I’d told her that it wasn’t us trying to buy anything for that amount,  our cards were frozenand she told us to cut them up, – then we had to wait for replacement cards to be sent to us, with different numbers and different security codes.  Happily no money was lost (thanks to the banks security systems which stopped and waved a flag when it saw this unusual (for us) transaction appeared) and we’ve double checked every single thing on our account.  But it scared me at how easily someone had tried to get money/purchase goods out of our account.

Something has to change regarding these types of bank/credit/debit cards.  If it’s THAT easy to do this type of thieving, then the financial organisations need to come up with something way better than we currently have.

So anyhoo . . .  last week had it’s ‘moments’ which would have tried the patience of an Angel with nothing on her mind.   BUT … one truly lovely,  incredibly kind,  beautiful hearted blogger changed all of that around.  She knew nothing of the pains/strains/ and Weekus Horribilis and yet … she turned my world around and made it better.

I follow the blog of Mrs.Craft of Craft and Other Crazy Plans and she’d written a post on her blog called:  Recipe Post – Beetroot Chutney  which I found totally enthralling.  I’ve never pickled or made Chutney or even made Jam before, but I’ve wanted to.  Everything I looked at seemed really quite complicated, so it put me off.  However this post of Mrs. Crafts was written for a numbskull like me.   After reading I was raring to go.  I wanted to go and buy the equipment there and then.

Mrs. Crafts Beetroot Chutney
photograph credit:  Mrs. Craft,  – borrow from her blog post to show you her mixing her chutney

I told Mrs. Craft, (in a comment) how amazing her Beetroot Chutney sounded and that I was going to go on-line to see if I could buy the things she’d mentioned in her post, and Mrs. Craft replied saying she’d found some of the things at Aldi in their weekly specials.   That was it!!!  I went straight to the Aldi site to see what they had left.   After all, Mrs.C had used them, so they must be ok!

What happened next was a magical happening which touched me so deeply that it made me cry.

Mrs.Craft emailed me and told me that she would like to send me a jar of her Chutney!  ME!!  A WHOLE JAR OF HER CHUTNEY!!!  Just for ME

Oh my goodness!  I wrote back to her saying I would love a jar, and that I would pay her for the jar, along with the postage costs,  maybe via PayPal, or even some money in an envelope – but she was having none of it.

I gave her my details and within a few short days a box wrapped up in brown paper arrived.  The scissors were summoned the paper was cut off, and the lid to the box was gently opened.  I was so scared that this jar of delight would have got broken in the post, but no.  There is was, nestled snug in its box bed.  I was over-come with thankfulness, both for the jar not being broken but more importantly to Mrs.Craft.

But it didn’t stop there …  also in the box was one of those special thermometers which you use when making jam, to ensure that you get the mixture to the right temperature!  I had this little gadget on my list to go and buy!

But then … another surprise in the box ….  a Handmade Card with a Unicorn on the front.  Of course, this wee Unicorn looks exactly like the Unicorn I keep in my back garden!  How did she know?  *GASP*

BEETROOT CHUTNEY made by Mrs.Craft b

Mr. Cobs laughed at me as I began to bubble.  Tears welled up in my eyes and tipped over the edge of them and I sat there sniffling and snuffling as he chuckled.

See … here’s the thing;  If someone is horrid to me I cry.  But if someone is nice – well then I cry too.  I blubber and bubble and get all sniffly.  People don’t even have to be nice to me.  Someone being nice to anyone will set me off.  Kindness’s which come from the heart are the things which can start me off and I become like a tap which won’t turn off.

tsk tsk…  like Cobs Snr says …  I’m a blubber baby.  But I don’t care.  I’d rather be one of those than one of the other things.

I have thanked Mrs.Craft, and I take this opportunity to publicly thank her for this incredible kindness which she’s shown me and which has totally blown me away.

Please do go and visit her blog.  I know you’ll love her just as much as I do.  She’s lots of fun, and if she can put up with me then she must be brilliant!  (There are links to her blog, and to the Beetroot Chutney post, above.  They’ll open in another page for you).

BEETROOT CHUTNEY made by Mrs.Craft A

I’ve found a place to buy one of those heavy bottomed saucepans and am planning a trip to buy one, hopefully this week.  So . . . If I don’t poison anyone, expect a blog post about the results.   [insert fearful face]  lol

I made Mrs.Craft a handmade card to say thank you … and I was going to share it with you in this post, but I’ve talked the hind leg off a donkey, so I’ll shut up and share the card with you in another post, another day.

Thank you so much for coming and sharing my Chutney with me.  Oh … nearly forgot to tell you….  I have no idea (yet) what the Beetroot Chutney tastes like because I’m saving it until Christmas, at which point I’ll have the Opening of the Jar Ceremony and all the family present will have a taste with some cheese and crackers.  (Can’t wait!  YUM).

May your Monday have been wonderful and may your tomorrow be truly blessed.

Sending great big squidges from my corner to yours.

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What I’ve Learned This Week.

Hello, and a very happy Friday to you.  This week … or is it this month in general?,  seems to be positively whizzing past!   There are only 9 days left (as of today 17/2/2017) of this month!   Y’know .. considering that February only has two or three days short of the other months, it seems (to me at least) to go twice as quick!

I’ve learned this week … that Little Cobs (my Grandson aged 5) still (apparently) believes that I can do ‘stuff’ with Lego.  I can’t.  To be honest, I’m unsure whether it’s misplaced faith, or out-and-out humour which keeps him asking.

He hands the big red storage box of Lego over to me (for that read: shoves the box into my hands) with the instruction:- “Build me something Grammy!”, he has this smile on his face teamed with a twinkle in his eye which tells me that this little chap is holding in hysterical laughter as he enjoys watching me squirm and groan as I roll my eyes and experience the pain of being a non-starter in the game of Lego Builder of the Year!  (at which I lose BIG TIME!).  But he allows me to struggle as he watches me take out a brick, peer at it through my glasses and just when I think it might ‘fit’ … he takes it off me with the words:  “Give it to me Grammy” … and he sighs a tired sigh which says:  ‘Give it to me and Grandad.  We know what we’re doing.’

This week I also learned:  That I LOVE those blow torches which you see professional chefs using!

They’re called a ‘Cooks Blow Torch’  –  and I’ve had mine for . . . .  (wait for this) . . .  about 6 years.  (I know, I know!)  It was bought as a gift for me, from daughter No.2,  and should have been taken from the packaging AND USED when I first received it.

To be honest:  I looked at it when I received it and was fully up for using it….  however … I read the instructions and they scared the living snot out of me.  Everything went back in the packaging and it’s stayed in there since.

But … I found a recipe for some cupcakes in a Sunday Supplement Magazine and SOOO wanted to make the cakes.  The recipe gave an option of putting the cupcakes under the grill, or using a Cooks Blow Torch to brown off the topping.  So … since Mr. Cobs was there, I told him to hang around the kitchen while I tried this new (old now! sheesh!) toy out as I was scared silly of burning the house down … or me!  But …  OH.  MY.  GOODNESS!!!  I have found out that I LOVE Cooks Blow Torches!  Aw my stars, these things are magical!  Although mind…  please, if you go out and buy one, do be careful with them because they can be dangerous – they are a blow torch after all,  … but ohhhh I LOVE mine!

(…And daughter No.2 is really very pleased that I’m now using it!  LOL)

Now this next ‘thing I learned’ is probably not news to folks from the USA, but cor, was it an eye opener to me!

I learned this week that …  In the U.S. you can buy bras with in-built gun holsters!  Now see, this both tickled me, and at the same time, my brain said:  “Well that would be totally useless to you kiddo!”.  You see …  I have a little too much .. erm … no.  Hang on.  Let me put this another way.  I, uhm  …  .  No. No.  Wait.  I’m sure I can get this worked out.   I’m afraid that there would be a problem with me having an in-built gun holster in my bra beeeecauuuuse ...  I don’t have enough spare room to begin with.  There.  That sorts that out.

I tuck my cell (mobile) phone down my bra, because one really can’t look lady-like and carry a cell phone – but I can only tuck it down the right side of my bra, for if I tuck it down the left side, I found out that it makes my heart race.  Yes.  Seriously.  I’m not joking.  I can feel my heart begin to quicken and pound hard in my chest after a short while of having my cell phone stored on the left. So I stopped carrying it around on that side of my body pretty darn quick once I realised that it only happened when my cell phone was on the same side as my heart.

Now a cell phone is very much slimmer than a gun – so I don’t think I would be able to hide one adequately.  I guess I could just hang one on a chain around my neck …. although trying to pull it up could cause an accident if it caught on the bra.  Mmm.. I think I’d better think it out again! (as the song from ‘Oliver’ goes)

Now I know that I’ve learned an awful lot of other things this week, but for the life of me I can’t remember what they are.  Had I been a sensible Cobs, I would have made a note of them like I normally try to do, as I learn things, so that I can share them with you.  However, apparently this week, sensible wasn’t managable.  Not even for a numbskull like me!  tsk tsk.

So  … shall we go straight into the jokes, because I know that’s all you’re here for?

Ok. …  get ready … here they come:

Q…  What is invisible and smells like carrots?    …. A:-Rabbit Farts.

Q…What do you do when you see a spaceman?  …A:-Park Your Car, Man

Q…What do you call a Bee who’s having a bad hair day?  …A:-Frisbee

Q…What do you call a pig that does karate?   A:-Pork Chop

Q…What’s the best way to carve wood?  …A:-Whittle by whittle

Q…How does a lion like his meat?   …A:-Roar

Q…What kind of horses go out after dark?  …A:-Nightmares

Q…How does the man in the moon cut his hair?  …A:-Eclipse it.

and I bring to you  . . .   a beautiful poem . . . .

My eyes are full of tears, 

and they can no longer see. 

I wish that you were here, 

to chop these onions for me.

Finally ….

For those of you who might be wondering what the Cup Cakes were which I made this week and used my Blow Torch on …. here’s the recipe, along with a photo of the finished cakes.

I’d invited Little Cobs round to Afternoon Tea, and told him to bring his Mummy of course!  His school was on its half term break this week so I thought it might break the week up for him, and give his mummy some brain chill time by inviting them both round to afternoon tea.

There were little sandwiches, tiny sausage rolls (cocktail sized), and cocktail sausages because he loves them, and one or two other things which I know can tempt him – which probably aren’t on the Queens Afternoon Tea list of fun food, but they’re firmly on Little Cobs list.  I wanted to make him some cakes.  I made Lemon Meringue and Strawberry Cupcakes …  the recipe for which I’d found in the Sunday Supplement magazine which came with one of the weekend newspapers.  He LOVED them.  So much so that he asked if he could have another one.  So did his mummy!  (I have to admit … they are rather more’ish’.  You have been warned!)

lemonmeringue-and-strawberry-cupcakes

Lemon Meringue and Strawberry Cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

cook time 20 minutes, plus cooling.

FOR THE SPONGES

  • 100g (4oz) baking spread (such as Flora)
  • 150g (5oz) self-raising flour
  • 150g (5oz) castor sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 2 eggs
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 7g (¼ oz) freeze-dried strawberries.  If they don’t have the really tiny chopped up dried strawberry pieces, then do what I did,  —  using the back of a wide bladed knife, press and crush a little at a time of the dried strawberry pieces until they’re tiny enough.
  • ½ jar homemade or shop-bought lemon curd

FOR THE MERINGUE TOPPING

  • 2 egg whites
  • 100g (4oz) castor sugar
  1. You will need a 12-hole muffin tin lined with paper cases and a piping bag fitted with a plain 1cm (½ in) nozzle (optional). Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
  2. First make the sponges. Measure the baking spread, flour, sugar, milk and eggs into a large bowl and add the lemon zest. Use an electric hand whisk to beat until light and fluffy, then fold in three-quarters of the strawberries. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases (see tip), dividing it evenly among them. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden, risen and springy to the touch. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
  3. When the cupcakes are cold, use a small sharp knife to cut a circle (about the diameter of a £2 coin) in the centre of each cake and scoop out a walnut-sized piece of sponge to leave a hole. Spoon 1 teaspoon of lemon curd into each hole, making sure the curd is level with the top of the cake.  (You can buy a little gizmo which will remove a ‘plug’ of cake in just the right size.  I found mine quite some time ago, on a cooks website.  But there must be lots of places you can get one, – if you think you’ll get use out of it).
  4. To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites until stiff in a large, spotlessly clean bowl using an electric hand whisk. Gradually add the sugar a little at a time and continue whisking on full speed until you have a stiff glossy mixture.
  5. Use a small palette knife to spread some of the meringue mixture on the top of each cupcake, or pipe the mixture on if using a piping bag, and place back in the moulds of the muffin tin. Use a blowtorch or heat briefly under a hot grill to lightly brown the tops of the cupcakes – watching carefully as it only takes a minute – and sprinkle over the remaining dried strawberries to serve. Allow to cool and enjoy!

If you don’t use the measurements shown above, but instead use ‘cups’ or something else – then Google will be your friend for the conversions.

If you use a different system of cooking heat, again, ask Google and it will give you the conversion to what you use in your country.

Close ups so that you can see them better ….  although I’m sorry about the blurry images … they were the best I had.

Well that’s another week done and dusted.  Have you learned anything this week?  Do share, as I’m sure I must bore the arms and legs off the proverbial donkey with my ramblings, and I’d love to do some of your learnings!

Have a fabulous Friday….  and a truly wonderful weekend.  Try not to get in a twist over stuff – and that includes Politics.  There are enough people to do that, give yourself the weekend off.

May your days be peaceful, may any visitors you have come bringing warm smiles and happy hearts, and may the Fairy of Fun sprinkle you with happy dust.

Sending weekend squidges and soft little kisses to your head!  Stay safe, stay warm, stay happy, be good to each other and … be good to yourself.  You’re worth it.

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