Wednesday, 27 June 2018


Nothing much on my desk this week because I’ve been pretty busy with other things.


Before we went out the other day, I cleaned my blue shoes with some liquid polish in a bottle with a sponge applicator on the top. They said to wash the applicator after use, so I did this, and then I wiped it with some kitchen paper. The colour on the paper was gorgeous. I had to wipe up some that I’d spilt, and the water made the colour run into the paper. I decided to dry it and keep it to use in projects! I love the patterns it’s made, and I thought I could put some gold paper behind the piece with the hole in it. Not sure what I’m going to do with them yet, but can never waste anything I think might be turned into art!

I managed to complete the card and its box, and the present, for the lady whose 100th birthday party we attended on Saturday. You can see it here and here. Here is a picture.

26 Box, Card and Embroidery Complete

The party was amazing and we all had a good time. Now it’s all over and I’ve finished the projects for it, I’ve been trying to catch up with my endless computer backups. There are still external hard drives and cables all over the sitting room floor… I’ve got another 4TB drive on order and I hope to get rid of the small ones once I’ve rationalised everything. It’s going to make life a lot easier once I get it all sorted out.

We’ve had a couple of afternoon outings this week, which you can scroll down and read about if you want. We are trying to take advantage of the summer weather while we’ve got it.


03 View Down into Rose Garden


01 Entering the Courtyard

Now for your weekly Lily and Ruby fix.

They’ve found a couple of new places to sleep. I will never understand kitties. Neither of these places is particularly comfortable! They go through phases, and use a particular place to the exclusion of everywhere else, and then suddenly get fed up with it and choose somewhere else!

Here’s where I found them a couple of days ago.

14 On the Microwave in the Flat 2 25-6-18

They look like a cat with two heads! Lily is always underneath, with Ruby resting on top. I don’t blame Ruby – Lily is so deliciously soft, like a feather duvet.

Last night I found them here.

On my Trolley at the Top of the Stairs 26-6-18

Here’s a fun video of them going for a ride. I think they might get used to this, and expect me to ferry them around all the time…

Here’s another one of them playing with my hubby in the garden with the birdie toy.

Have a great week, everyone.

Outing to Seale-Hayne

Yesterday afternoon my hubby and I went to Seale-Hayne outside Newton Abbot. This beautiful place used to be an agricultural college but is now the home of Dame Hannah Rogers’ school for disabled children, now known simply as Hannah’s. We have visited several times in the past. They host a lot of art in various forms, with small workshops and studios available for local artists, and a gallery. Unfortunately they were in the process of installing a new exhibition so all the gallery had to offer was a collection of workmen and a lot of pieces of MDF and dust!

From the front entrance archway, you enter a large open courtyard. It was extremely hot in there as there wasn’t a breath of wind!

01 Entering the Courtyard

In one corner of the courtyard was an amazing sculpture of a kind of robot, made from all sorts of agricultural and industrial scrap. The man in the shop said it had been made by a blacksmith who has a studio on the estate, with the help of some of the students.

02 Scrap Sculpture

03 Scrap Sculpture's Hand

04 Scrap Sculpture's Head

It looks like something out of War of the Worlds! Amazing what you can make with stuff that most people would think of as rubbish.

They have a very nice gift shop.

05 Entering the Shop

I loved these little hanging ornaments. The heart-shaped ones reminded me of the heart embellishment I made for my hubby’s anniversary card recently.

06 Hanging Heart Ornaments

07 Hanging Bird and Heart Ornaments

I think I must make some more of these. I love the little birds.

I remember this long corridor from previous visits. The lampshades are just gorgeous – almost Zentangle.

08 Long Corridor with Interesting Lights

09 Hanging Light 1

12 Hanging Light 2

10 Wall Sconce 1

I love this beautiful Celtic calendar.

13 Wheel of the Year

14 Wheel of the Year Detail

15 Wheel of the Year Legend

Back in the courtyard again. Along one wall are several large painted posters on wood.

16 Painted Posters in the Courtyard

Round the back I found a place called The Green Room which has been converted into a sort of common room, club and music studio for the older children and young adults.

17 Jukebox in the Green Room

19 Gramophone in the Green Room

18 Making Music in the Green Room

A gorgeous old door. Love the handle!

21 Beautiful Old Door

In the corner of the courtyard. This tree sculpture could have lots more things hanging from it. It just has some rather uninspiring leaves!

20 Corner of the Courtyard

View of the main building again.

22 View Across the Courtyard

In another wing we found a long paper pasted to the wall, with lots of little frames drawn on it. Apparently this is for the children to draw their portraits in.

23 Frames Ready for the Children's Portraits

Also in that corridor, some beautiful glass hanging plaques in the window,

24 Framed Glass Hangings

and a framed piece of weaving.

25 Weaving

A lovely afternoon out. It was disappointing that there was less to see on this occasion, but no doubt we’ll go back sometime soon, and in the meantime we’ll keep an eye on the website to see what exhibitions are coming up.

Monday, 25 June 2018

A Visit to Cockington

Yesterday afternoon my hubby and I went to Cockington, a beautiful village near where we live. Unfortunately we didn’t have very much time but we did manage to see a good bit. In the village there are some workshops for artists and craftsmen and you can wander around and look, and it’s all in such a beautiful setting. At the moment they’ve got a sculpture trail and I photographed a few of the pieces.

01 Leopard Sculpture

02 Rainbow Spiral Sculpture

There is a beautiful rose garden, full of white roses, in an enclosed slightly sunken area.

03 View Down into Rose Garden

04 View Down into Corner of Rose Garden

Interesting little archways and pathways.

05 View through Archway

Another sculpture.

06 White Flames Sculpture

I loved this sign outside one of the workshops. Unfortunately I managed to get my hand over the camera lens on my phone! The sun was very bright and it was almost impossible to see the screen so I didn’t notice, and also I haven’t had the phone very long, and I keep forgetting where the lens is and spoiling my photos!

07 Wooden Workshop Sign

Anyway, I loved the idea of the slats of wood with the worn paint and the letters painted on them. I’ve got some bits from an old garden border fence about 18 inches long and was wondering what to do with them and I’m sure I could do something like this…

This is the walkway into the rose garden.

08 Walkway into Rose Garden

The rose garden.

09 In the Rose Garden

In the glass workshop, I was intrigued by this strip of wood along the front of the counter. We weren’t allowed to take photos of her work, unfortunately.

10 Counter in Glass Workshop

Not many photos this time, but I’m hoping to go back fairly soon when we’ve got a bit more time. It was a nice little outing for a Sunday afternoon, though. It’s a pity we didn’t set off earlier but we had rather a late lunch.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

More Sourdough Bread, and a Very Determined Kitty

Last night I baked my second lot of sourdough bread, having started the levain yesterday. It does take much longer to rise than normal bread but it’s well worth the wait, and the work in between the long proving periods is minimal.

It was ready in time for supper again, and this time, I rationed it because I said to my hubby that it’s no good us getting through a whole loaf in one sitting! I know that sourdough bread is extremely good for you and much less likely to put on the weight that normal bread does, but even so…

I made a double quantity this time. The second loaf will go in the freezer.

03 Sourdough Bread, 22-6-18

I love the texture with the holes, and the amazing crust you get on it. It’s quite hard work on the jaws to eat – really substantial, unlike the cotton wool and polystyrene bread you buy in the supermarket! And as for the flavour… This is bread that really packs a punch. I saw a programme on TV recently about carbohydrates and how Western society is suffering all sorts of health problems (in particular a positive epidemic of Type II Diabetes) because the wrong sort of carbs are too readily available. Sourdough provides resistant carbs that “feed your gut bacteria, not you” – in other words, it passes through to the colon without being absorbed and converted into sugar, and then (if you don’t burn it off), stored as fat. A healthy gut microbiome is the secret to good overall health. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about this recently and it’s a quite fascinating study. (I just wish there was more information on people without a colon but this is a very new area of research.)

Since coming out of hospital I’ve been drinking home-made kefir daily, and now eating sourdough bread, in addition to my normal daily intake of home-made live natural yoghurt. I have now got the correct spice to start making kimchee (a type of spiced sauerkraut from Korea) which, like all fermented foods, is extremely good for you as it encourages a healthy gut microbiome.

Since I am now going to be making sourdough bread regularly, I decided to order some bannetons from Ebay – two medium round ones and two medium ovals. These are the traditional rattan baskets used to prove the sourdough, and which leave the distinctive ridges on the sides of the bread. When I went on the bread baking day a few months ago, I saw these for the first time and witnessed the other person on the course using them as she was doing sourdough. The ones I have ordered come with nice fabric liners that can be removed and washed – you are not supposed to wash the bannetons themselves, and a build-up of flour could result in an infestation of flour weevils.

I have seen some photos online of beautiful designs on sourdough loaves – it is traditional to slash the top with a very sharp blade, which makes the dough inside the crust burst out and get lovely and crispy on top. Some people make small slashes in decorative designs and the bread comes out looking so lovely! As the bread rises in the oven and expands, the slashes spread apart and the darker interior is shown in contrast with the floured surface of the crust. This is something I definitely want to try. Have a look at this!

A very determined kitty…

Our two kitties are so loving being in the garden. They come in in time for supper and we have to keep them in after that as we don’t want them out all night. Contrary to what I thought, my hubby said today that he thinks he saw a fox in the garden once – I was surprised since we are in the town, but foxes do get very bold these days, and I wouldn’t want to risk our kitties with a fox.

Our cat flap is lockable, with two separate cams that can be engaged separately or together, to prevent passage in, or out, or both. My hubby has been locking it, but twice Lily has been found outside again afterwards, which made me wonder if my hubby hadn’t been doing it properly. I have pushed against the locked flap and it is pretty secure. Last night, I watched to see what would happen, and she pushed and pushed really hard against the flap, so that it bent outwards on the side away from the lock, and if I hadn’t prevented her, she would either have bent it far enough to squeeze through (which is what we think has been happening), or she would have broken it! All that nonsense about cats not going through openings that their whiskers won’t fit through is a myth! My hubby brought down a heavy little wooden stool (which we’ve used in the past to block the cat flap in our old house) but even this wasn’t going to stop her – I watched her attacking it from various angles and using quite considerable strength in one so small, and she eventually succeeded in moving it out about an inch, and left to her own devices for any longer, and she’d have succeeded in getting out again! I can’t believe how strong, and how determined she is, and also, how intelligent – you could see her working it out. In the end, we agreed that the only answer was to get them in for supper, and then shut them right through in the house and not allow them into the kitchen until the morning. My hubby said he’d think about how to make the cat flap really secure when we need it to be. Unfortunately we can’t drill into the door because it’s glass.

What a performance. What a naughty girl!

Ruby loves to be outside too, but she isn’t so independently minded as Lily, and not so intelligent. Once back indoors, she’s happy with that.

Yesterday my hubby said he was worried about the kitties because they are so keen on the garden that they are no longer interested in cuddles and coming to him as they used to, and he thought they were turning feral!! I went out later, and as I went up the garden path, one after the other, they both came running to me to say hello and have a stroke, and in the evening I had a big cuddle with Ruby, so I said to him that of course they weren’t turning feral lol! I am sure that eventually the novelty of the garden will wear off, especially when winter comes, and they will want to be snuggled up somewhere nice and warm!

Friday, 22 June 2018

Card for a Centenarian–Box for the Card

Having completed the card yesterday, today I worked on embellishing a box for it, as it is too thick for an envelope.

11 Starting the Box for the Card

The box was in my stash, and originally contained some samples of stoma supplies! (Nothing goes to waste chez Shosh…)

I painted the bottom, sides and edges of the top with black acrylic paint.

12 The Box Painted with Black Acrylic

Inside the box, I sprayed it with some pink shimmer spray that I’ve had from when I started papercrafting, many years ago!

13 Spraying the Inside of the Box with Shimmer Mist

I noticed some had got on the bottom of the box and I really liked the effect of it on black (something I’d never tried before) so I ended up spraying the whole thing with it.

14 The Outside of the Box Sprayed with Shimmer Mist

I thought the inside needed something a bit extra, so I painted on a thin layer of soft gloss gel medium diluted with water, and sprinkled on some variegated copper gilding flakes, dabbing them into place with the paintbrush.

15 Gilding Flakes on Inside of Box

I wasn’t really happy with it, so I made up a wash of gold acrylic paint with some iridescent medium and painted that on. It was really shimmery but the brush strokes showed more than I wanted, and this was particularly obvious on the lid, unfortunately.

16 Wash of Gold and Iridescent Medium on Inside of Box

Here’s a detail of the effect. You don’t really get the shimmer from the photo.

17 Detail of Inside of Box

In the end, I covered the inside of the lid with some of the paper left over from making the card, first distressing the edges with Evergreen Bough and then Forest Moss Distress Inks. This improved the look of it.

18 Inside of Box Completed

Here is the card in the box. It will be wrapped in tissue paper.

19 Card in Box

The front of the box completed. As with the card, I added some stickles to the butterfly’s body, and to the centres of the flowers – Holly, and Magenta. In this photo, they still aren’t dry.

20 Box Lid Completed

I used scraps of the cards and paper used for the card. The circular die cut was one of several in my stash that a friend sent me ages ago. The flowers were more left over from the Floral Mini-Album, and the butterfly is another die cut from the set I used for the card. I used the same two ribbons, and where the “Congratulations” gold card meets the decorative paper, I added a thin strip of gold card from my stash, trimmed when making some other project in the past.

Here is a detail of the floral embellishment.

21 Detail of Box Lid Embellishments

As with the butterflies on the card, I lifted the wings of this butterfly and secured them in place with a blob of Pinflair gel glue under each one, to stop them being flattened.

Now that the card is fully dry, I can return to it and show you the finished result. Here are a couple of detail photos showing the topper and embellishments.

22 Detail of Die-Cut Card Topper

23 Detail of Floral Embellishment

The sentiment on the inside of the card.

24 Card Inside Complete with Sentiment

25 Detail of Sentiment Inside Card

Finally, a photo of the box, the card and the embroidered piece, all for a remarkable lady whose 100th birthday we shall be celebrating with her at her party tomorrow.

26 Box, Card and Embroidery Complete

I can’t believe I’ve completed this lot in under a week! The trouble is, apart from making bread, that’s all I’ve done this week, and everything else has been neglected!

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