Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Stoma Cakes and WOYWW

This evening I suddenly remembered it was Wednesday and time for WOYWW! Better late than never… That seems to be my theme recently.

Here’s my desk as it is today.

WOYWW 382 28-9-16

I’ve been working on some Zentangle tracings of photos I took in Mamhead Woods when we went with friends last month. I am making a small album (2 copies, one for me and one for them) and am going to overlay some of them with tracings done on parchment paper. See here for more details of this.

I haven’t done any more since that post because I’ve been pretty busy with other things.

On Saturday we went to Montacute in Somerset, and had a lovely day out.

03 Main Facade of House

This coming Saturday, my hubby is very kindly driving me to Somerset again, for an Ileostomy Association meeting – I don’t usually ask him to take me to meetings as far afield as this, but it’s the 60th anniversary and I thought it would be good to go to that one – the Devon and Somerset branch covers quite a large geographical area. As well as the usual things (lunch, the committee stuff, reps from supply companies showing their products, a speaker, a supplies exchange table and a raffle), because it’s a special meeting, they’ve decided to hold a cake baking competition. With my love of baking I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. Unfortunately Mary Berry wasn’t available to judge the cakes… I know that my baking isn’t up to winning standard, and I expect there will be some beautifully iced offerings and this is something I can’t manage to do, but nothing daunted, I thought I’d enter anyway because it’s fun! To make it more fun, I decided to make some stoma cakes and see if anyone recognises what they are!! I might get the booby prize for giving people a good laugh, anyway!

So yesterday I rolled up my sleeves and got baking. I finished the icing this morning.

Here are the stoma cakes.

01 Stoma Cakes

02 Stoma Cake

Note the chocolate chip in the centre of each one or a bit of added realism!!!

This time I decided to make marble cake, so I made up two mixtures, one plain and one chocolate, and mixed them together without stirring too much. The plain mixture had a generous dose of vanilla extract and the chocolate mixture was flavoured with cocoa powder, and the resulting cake has a delicate chocolate flavour, as well as looking quite interesting! I used a basic Madeira cake recipe which is nice and moist.

While making them, I had a complete mental aberration – I was putting alternate spoonfuls of the two mixtures into the cup cake cases and thought the plain mix seemed a bit runny, and suddenly realised I hadn’t put the flour in! Duh… A narrowly averted disaster! I scooped out as much as I could and added the flour, but they were a bit of a mess! I had originally decided to make 12 stoma cakes, and then use the rest of the mixture to make a larger square cake to cut into portions, but to be sure I got a decent enough batch to take on Saturday, I made a second lot, and kept the others for home consumption. There was enough mixture left for a half-sized square cake which yielded a few portions.

I had made enough of the pale pink icing for the stoma cakes, but made too much of the red icing, so I used this up on the other cakes, just swirling it on with the piping bag, and added some candy sprinkles for decoration.

Here are the resulting cakes.

03 Buns to Use Up Icing

04 Square Cakes to Use Up Icing

I wouldn’t normally use such lurid red icing on my cakes!!

I made them in good time for Saturday, as the buttercream stomas are quite thick, and will take a few days to firm up and be safe for transporting to Somerset. I’ll let you know how I get on in the competition, and whether they go down all right, and whether anyone recognises what they are!!

I also made an almond and cherry cake from my mum’s old recipe. She used to make it in a round tin and put whole almonds on top, but I used my usual baking frame and cut it into portions. To make the cutting easier, I used flaked almonds rather than whole ones.

05 Almond and Cherry Cakes

This is a lovely moist cake. I add more almond essence than the recipe says, as I like a good robust flavour!

Last time I baked, I made some coffee drizzle cake as an experiment. I love lemon drizzle cake and wondered if it would work as well with coffee – the result was a delicious moist and flavoursome cake, but the top did not end up nice and crunchy like on the lemon version. I forgot to photograph these. Most of them are now in the freezer.

In between all this activity I’ve been pretty exhausted and resting a good deal of the time. I’ve done a few more Zentangle samples for my album and a lot of preparation for my Bible study group which is going very well.

Have a great week, everybody.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Tracings for Mamhead Album

Continuing to work on the two copies of my mini-album commemorating our visit to the fabulous Mamhead Woods a few weeks ago.

On my last WOYWW post, I shared the first Zentangle tracing I did of one of my manipulated photos. I’ve had another two or three sessions working on further tracings.

Some of them didn’t lend themselves well to Zentangle, so I’ve just done straight tracings, and I may add some gold, or some colour, to these – not sure yet.

These first two tracings were done using a sepia pen to echo the photo underneath.

06 Sepia Tracing - Sweeping Bramble


09 Sepia Leaves Tracing

This was done with the usual black pen.

08 Sepia Fern Tracing

Today I started working on tracings of the manipulated tree trunks photo – this was desaturated and then made into a negative image and posterised and I really like the effect. I thought the tree trunks would work well with ribbon-style Zentangles and I’m quite pleased with the result.

10 Tree Trunks Zentangle Tracing with Photos

I may add a little more. Here’s the tracing a bit closer up.

11 Tree Trunks Zentangle Tracing

Here it is in situ over the photograph.

12 Tree Trunks Zentangle Tracing Over Photo

I ran out of steam before starting on the pair of this one, and had to come down and have a cup of tea and rest! More another day.

Sunday, 25 September 2016


Warning: picture-rich post

Yesterday my hubby and I went off to Somerset for the day. We haven’t used our National Trust membership recently and although we’d planned on lots of outings this spring and summer, somehow we have both been busy and it hasn’t happened. In the end we had a wonderful day out, in a beautiful place, and the weather was fine, if a bit windy, and we had lunch and tea in the open air in the courtyard outside the restaurant.

As usual I took lots of photos. Here is a selection.

03 Main Facade of House

15 Pavilion and Flowers in the Walled Garden

The garden surrounded by these stone balustrades, with the stone pavilions at each corner, was full of simply gorgeous flowers of all colours.

07 Flowers in the Walled Garden

08 Flowers in the Walled Garden

16 Flowers in the Walled Garden

19 Flowers in the Walled Garden

20 Fountain

The house is built of lovely warm-coloured stone, and has numerous little alcoves and other embellishments. It is a Tudor house and very beautiful.

23 Door with Alcoves

This is the orangery.

25 Approaching the Orangery

In this picture you can see the old Victorian heating pipes.

29 Heating Pipes in the Orangery

It is filled with interesting plants.

31 Giant Fern in Orangery

I got some interesting shots of these giant ferns.

34 Giant Fern in Orangery

35 Frond of Giant Fern in Orangery

36 Bromeliad in Orangery

I am always amazed how often the Fibonacci series appears in nature – here is the famous nautilus spiral – in the leaves of a begonia!

37 Begonia Showing Fibonacci Spirals

38 Begonia Showing Fibonacci Spiral Detail

This is the entrance where we went into the house. My hubby with Yum Sing in his rucksack!

41 N Outside Entrance

The stewards were all dressed in Elizabethan costume.

42 Lady in Elizabethan Costume

The first room we came to was the great hall. On the far wall is a plaster relief depicting a Skimmity Ride, when couples of dubious moral character were paraded in effigy through the community and pilloried by the locals – this event was graphically described by Thomas Hardy in “The Mayor of Casterbridge.”

43 Main Hall

At the other end of the great hall are the stone archways where we came in.

46 Minstrels' Gallery

A beautiful stained glass panel in one of the doors leading to the garden.

48 Stained Glass Panel in Door

In one of the rooms, in the plasterwork frieze running along under the ceiling, was the depiction of a rather curious-looking elephant – we wondered if the artist had ever actually seen one, or whether he created it from someone else’s description!

51 Elephant in Plaster Frieze

A beautiful Chinese cabinet.

54 Chinese Cabinet

One of the bedrooms had an en-suite bathroom!

64 En-Suite Bathroom

There were beautiful doors and carved panels everywhere.

65 Door

A detail of the inlay on a lovely little semi-circular table.

68 Semi-Circular Table Inlay Detail

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more delicate and lovely set of library steps than these.

69 Library Steps

Beautiful stained glass windows in many of the rooms.

71 Stained Glass Windows

Here is the Elizabethan lady again, kindly posing for me in the beautiful doorway.

73 Elizabethan Lady in Doorway

I’d love to have slipped this bed into the back of the car when nobody was looking…

75 Four Poster Bed

At the foot of the bed was this magnificent chest.

76 Leather Chest

In one of the rooms there was an exhibition of vintage embroidered samplers. The work was so fine and the detail amazing.

80 Samplers

84 Needle Lace Sampler

We both thought this one was particularly charming.

91 Dearest Aunt Sampler

On the top floor is the long gallery. This one was relatively plain compared with those in other houses we have visited, which have magnificent moulded plaster ceilings. They had a collection of works of art painted by contemporaries of Holbein, from the National Portrait Gallery.

93 Long Gallery

More Elizabethan stewards.

94 Stewards in Elizabethan Costume

Going back outside, we were amused by this enormous box “hedge” – how did they clip the top?!!

97 How do they Cut the Middle

The top of one of the many stone alcoves.

100 Stone Alcove

A view of the house from below – we went down to the stable block where there was a second hand bookshop. I didn’t buy any, but of course my hubby came away with about six!

101 The House from the Stable Block

Some amazing tree roots. I thought these would lend themselves to Zentangle art!

102 Tree Roots

Going in to the restaurant to order our lunch (we had some simply delicious butternut squash quiche and salad), I was highly amused at this – “Got a food allergy? Have a dog biscuit!”

103 Food Allergies - Eat Dog Biscuits

Later, we returned to the courtyard for a cream tea. Around this courtyard where we ate, there were several unusual benches carved from logs, in the shape of different kinds of clothes pegs.

107a Clothes Peg Benches

The corner of the courtyard, with the old pump.

108 Corner of the Courtyard

As we left, I got some photos of the gate house:

109 Gate House

112 Gate House

and also of some of the buildings in the beautiful village just by the entrance.

110 Montacute Village

111 Montacute Village

It was quite a long and tiring day, and quite a long drive to get there, too, but it was worth it!

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