Wednesday, 19 September 2018


I’m sorry I didn’t make it to our weekly round-the-desks nosey fest last week – I fully intended to, but in the end was too busy with other things.

Great news this week – I’ve spent some time in the studio!

First of all, a general view, showing how much tidier it is, after I spent quite a long time tidying up, putting things away, and putting some things aside that I no longer want.

WOYWW 485 Studio a Lot Tidier

The white unit in the foreground is one of my pull-out units. This one belongs under the main desk, but it’s never in there because that’s where I generally sit. You can see another one under the fan. They are on casters and can pull out, giving me a place to sit and an extra work surface. When the builder was making my studio, I asked him to make me several of these, to go in the different zones where I can sit to work. I can only sit in one place at a time and it seemed a shame to waste the space, and they can be pulled out when required. If I want a large flat surface, I can pull them all out and put them together.

There’s still quite a lot of tidying and sorting to do, but at least I can move around in there now.

Here’s my desk, taken last night.

WOYWW 485 2 Backgrounds

I’ve done two more backgrounds for the box for the album about Mum, 12 x 12’s from the ghastly paper stack I’ve had hanging around for years. These two identical ones were done with a combination of Distress Inks, Distress Oxides and Infusions. I don’t think I’ve got quite as much coverage as I did when altering smaller pieces for the album itself so I may add a bit more to these. I think I’ve probably done enough pieces to cover the outside of two boxes now. I am keen to get this project finished because I am full of ideas for things I want to be doing, and having gone off the boil with this one for a while, it’s a bit of a duty rather than a pleasure to get it done, but I am trying to be good and get it out of the way before I tackle anything else (such as getting down to some of my other UFOs!).

I’ve done a bit more on the scarf embellishments. I think I’ve crocheted enough flowers now, and have started on the leaves. No photos yet as I’ve only done one so far! Not much time this week to pursue this.


Dried Apples

Last week, I sliced up a lot of our apples and tried drying them in the oven at 50 deg. C over a long period. I wasn’t sure how successful this would be. To start with, a huge amount of moisture came out of them and I could see it running down inside the oven door! I opened the door and mopped up quite a bit, and left it open a crack for about half an hour till it was cleared, then shut it again and kept it going. I turned the oven off overnight and gave it another boost the next day.

I had sprinkled ground cinnamon over them, and the kitchen smelt absolutely marvellous.

01 Drying Apples 1 12-9-18

Here are the apples as I was turning them over.

02 Drying Apples 2 - Turning Over 12-9-18

Here they are in a box. Some of them got a bit over-done but it doesn’t seem to have affected them apart from looking very dark.

03 Delicious Dried Apples 18-9-18

We’ve already made inroads into them. They don’t look particularly appetising – more like dried up old mushrooms! – but they are absolutely delicious – chewy, very sweet and flavoursome, and extremely more-ish!


Two more successful batches on successive weekends. Here is the last one, baked on Saturday night and cut on Sunday morning.

40 Sourdough with Whole Wheat 16-9-18

Look at that lovely open crumb! This is what we are after with traditional sourdough. Nice glossy holes.

41 Sourdough with Whole Wheat Cut 16-9-18

It is so delicious. This loaf was made with half-and-half whole wheat and white flour. I’ve more or less given up on the rye flour now, apart from feeding Esmeralda (my starter) with it – she seems to like it! It tends to make the dough extremely wet and sticky, and difficult to handle. My dough-handling technique has improved a lot and I’m getting a good structure and a decent amount of oven spring now, and producing pretty consistent results week by week – no more flying saucers lately!

When you feed the starter you have to take some out or it becomes spent and stale and stops working, as the yeasts have eaten what they need. Some people throw this excess starter away but this seems an awful waste of excellent nutritious food to me. I discovered some recipes online, including a truly fabulous one for sourdough crackers, which I am now making on a regular basis. Here is last week’s batch.

42 Sourdough Crackers 18-9-18

They are quite quick and easy to make, and so crisp and delicious. These are made with rye flour because that’s what I feed Esmeralda with. They are a lot more satisfying than regular crackers, and are great with the kefir cheese that I make. There is no sugar in them, just flour, salt and water and a dash of baking soda, and coconut oil (a healthy saturated fat). I have found the secret for making successful sourdough crackers is to roll the dough out very thinly so they get really crisp. Yummy!

This week I also made a fresh batch of curries for the freezer, having run out a while back – Madras curry, chicken korma, and curried vegetables, all frozen in small portions so we can have our own “takeaway” selection when we want!

This week I must make more soup, and some roasted vegetable quiches if I have the time and energy.


Lily and Ruby aren’t quite so keen on going out in the garden these days, since the weather went off. Ruby always gets very dirty feet! Hope you can see them in this photo! That front paw is supposed to be white…

03 Ruby's Dirty Feet 6-9-18

They have really settled down now they are grown up, and now that it’s cooler, they love to spend time with us in the evenings, sitting with us. We have both been looking forward so much to this – up until fairly recently they were still such babies and our sitting room isn’t really kitten-proof. Now, they have the run of the place and can (mostly) be trusted!

When I am busy preparing meals etc., they settle down with my hubby, and like Beatrice and Phoebe before them, tend to sit one on each knee.

05 Two Kitties on Daddy's Legs 16-9-18

However, when I finally sit down, they prefer to come to me, because on the recliner with a nice soft blanket (not just for warmth for me but to protect myself a bit from their claws), they can get a lot more comfortable and can cuddle up together, and are less likely to fall off.

06 Two Kitties on My Legs 16-9-18

This picture was taken later that same evening. I hate having to tip them off when I need to get up! Ruby is usually nearer my feet, and if she lies on them, she is soooo heavy and my feet get very uncomfortable! (Note the wet patch just behind Lily’s left ear – well washed by Ruby!)

A couple of evenings ago my hubby was trying to get them in for supper and they were both making a terrific noise outside, rushing around and obviously very interested in something behind the pots in the patio. We went out to look, and there was a toad there! They will need to be a lot quieter and more restrained if they are ever going to make successful hunters – the racket they were making would have scared any prey off well in advance of the onslaught! Happily the toad lived to croak another day and the kitties eventually came in for a more civilised meal.

Health Update

I have now seen the support garments lady and she’s measured me up for new pants – I’ve gone down a size since the last prescription over 18 months ago because I’ve lost weight. My current ones have lost a lot of their stretch and supportiveness so they probably aren’t doing much good. You are supposed to have new ones every year but I didn’t arrange it at the beginning of the year because I knew I was due for surgery and you can’t wear them for several weeks afterwards, and also I didn’t know if I would change shape during that time, so a new prescription is long overdue. I am now awaiting the arrival of the first pair and if they are OK, they will make up two more for me to make the total of three that I am allowed in one year. They are extremely expensive (bespoke, specially designed for people with stomas) at around £80 a pair, but the cost of three pairs is nothing compared with the cost of a hernia repair operation. Thanks to our wonderful NHS, I get them on prescription, free of charge.

I am pretty convinced now that my hernia has returned. I still haven’t had my CT scan appointment and the support garments lady said she would ask the stoma nurse to chase this up for me. Everything takes soooo long…

Apart from that, I’ve been OK, although extremely tired during the week after the conference. Going back on my rivaroxaban (anti-coagulant) soon sorted out the thrombophlebitis in my leg and I’ve had no more pain, which is a relief.

Other Activities

Last week I resumed my little Bible study group again after a long break. I stopped it after my hubby broke his leg and Mum died, and then I was so ill earlier in the year, and after I had recovered, I had a lot of catching up to do, so we decided to leave it till the autumn to start again. It’s so nice to be getting together again and we have a new member, too, which is very encouraging. I need to spend quite a bit of time during the week preparing for these meetings, and designing the visual aids which I show by connecting the computer to the TV by cable.

After the recent conference, our local Torbay Friends of Israel group has now started having regular evening meetings at the same conference centre (which is only about 5 mins away from us by car) and we had our first meeting on Sunday. I was too tired to sing for them but will no doubt do so at future meetings. We have another Erev Shabbat (Sabbath Eve) meal coming up this Friday (the leader does one each month) and on Thursday I shall be making the challah for that (the two plaited loaves made from enriched, sweet dough – delicious!).  It’s very nice to be able to do something to contribute to the meal. Our leader is a full-time wheelchair user and he does the whole thing himself, cooking a lovely chicken casserole (other people provide the puddings) and lays up a beautiful table each time. Usually about a dozen of us attend and it’s a very special evening. I sometimes sing during those evenings too.

Yesterday afternoon I was back at the conference centre, spending the afternoon with a friend who is down from Bournemouth for a conference – we always try to get together when she’s down and has a free afternoon. We had such a great time! I only see her about twice a year so we make the most of it.

So all in all, it’s been a very busy fortnight chez-Shosh.


  1. Morning Shoshi. My word - it has indeed been a busy time - trust all gets sorted soon healthwise for you. I know everything seems to take so long - I confess I am only grateful I don't need to walk for three days to see my doctor... I actually got a letter the other day saying the hospital sends out six monthly updates to see if the waiting people still need an appointment!! So goodness knows how long I will be waiting to see the specialist. Oh well... I suppose it isn't urgent - yet - but I'd rather it didn't get that way either!
    Take care. God bless.
    Margaret #6

  2. I am surprised you get any time to do any crafting with all the cooking and baking. Everything looks so delicious and I wish we had smelly-vision on our computers. I can almost smell those wonderful aromas from your kitchen.
    Had to smile about your fur babies, how lovely to see them sitting, one on each knee but how lovely for you that they come to your lap when you sit.
    Lovely 'family' photos - thanks for sharing it all.
    Hugs, Neet 2 xx

  3. Those pull out units are such a good idea and must be so useful! I loved the pics of the kitties on your husband, really made me smile!!
    Hugs LLJ 13 xx

  4. Wow, you have had a busy time. I love your studio - it is simply gorgeous and so well designed and the apples and bread look yummy! I did smile at the photo of your husband. Enjoy your Bible study group - ours meets fortnightly in an evening, which i love. Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week. God Bless. Caro x (#16)

  5. Happy WOYWW, and I love that we are both busier than a lot of people who have no health issues! Thank you for the reminder that my mum brought a bag of cooking apples with her (from her friend's tree) when she visited over the weekend, along with her recipe for Dorset Apple Cake, and I really must get some baking done (probably tomorrow now to be honest). Milky the Cat has developed a very strong need for routine as she gets older (she is 11 now) and gets quite cross if we are not around to sit with her (either in the living room or kitchen - she has cosy spots in both rooms) when it is her time to take a snooze. She particularly loves Rich, and they are both in heaven when they take to the reclining sofa in the afternoon! I love your pull out units, so useful. The only 'on wheels' storage in my craft room are my 2 Ikea Raskog trolleys (one is never enough!). I have one for my journals/notebooks/scrapbooking stash, and another for paints etc. I have been thinking about joining a Bible Study group for a while (there is one at a local chapel especially for women), but do not read the Bible at home now (I am frequently drawn to the words, but then I will get upset by the violence/some of the messages and pull away). My little head gets confused! Ali x #20

  6. The exact same things happened to me - I wanted to link up last week too but was just too busy with other things. Nice to see your studio again - all that storage looks very practical. You must have spent quite a bit of time in your kitchen as well. The crackers look like something I might like! With cream cheese, perhaps? And a slice of cucumber, hmm. Or houmous! Cats are so opportunistic, aren't they? As soon as they spot a place deemed more suitable than the one they already have, they'll take it. No sense of loyalty at all! Sometimes I sit down and the next thing I know, Oreo is right there on my lap and I don't even know how he got there. He only ever sits on other laps if mine is not available. Have fun Shoshi - I hope you'll have some time to spend in your studio creating as well. xx

  7. Glad that your leg has cleared up and that things are progressing on the support garment and bread baking front. I bet the kitchen smelled lovely for a couple of days after the apples and cinnamon baking. Great to see your studio looking so spick and span it must be so much easier to get around it. Meow to the kitties, they look so comfy! Sarah #4

  8. Great that you've been back in your studio and using some unloved craft paper! I think we all have plenty of that - seemed so nice at the time.... The dried apples sound yummy, if they are still chewy; and Paul Hollywood would be proud of your bread! Helen #3

  9. Hi Shoshi, just letting you know that I did get your comment on G+ (G+ comments post on my blog like any other) but now you're worrying me that some people may not be able to comment, even if they're logged into G+. So annoying, but if I change my commenting system now, I'll lose 4 years' worth of comments! I might just one day start a WordPress blog - now that I have more experience with it through work.

  10. Hi Shoshi, you had my mouth watering with the Apple slices! I hadntvthoughtvwhat to do with all the apples of my trees. I might look at that after my holiday. You have had such av busy time lately! Glad you have resumed your Bible study group. Your studio looks an inviting place to sit and craft. I have a roll out desk for when I need extra space. I leave it out more often than not. Have a lovely week Heather x #9

  11. Hi Shoshi, that's life there are always things stopping us from doing the things we enjoy. Glad you had time to get into your studio at least for a short time. Kitties looking well and finding a good spot to relax. Have a great crafty week and a happy woywww, Angela x17x

  12. Forgive me, I've only had time to read the desk section this week! The units on castors are a great idea. I cannot stand not being able to get my knees under a worktop when I want to sit!

  13. Thank you for the studio tour Shoshi, what a clever design. I dream of having a room of my very own one day but am happy with my little corner for the moment.
    Such a good idea to use up those unfavoured papers, I have stopped buying pattern paper as I have more I do not like than I do.
    Those sourdough biscuits look delicious, definitely need to dip them in some sour cream or homemade chutney.
    Ruby and Lily have a fabulous friendship, I hope they play together as well as they sleep together too.
    Take Care & rest when you can. Praying that appointment comes very soon.
    Tracey #7

  14. You have been so busy! That bread looks so delicious, and so do those crackers. I just want to come and live at you house and eat sourdough bread, crackers and curry. Mmmmm!!!! And have those beautiful kitties sleep on my lap! Inky comes and sleeps on my chest every night for about 10 minutes, then abruptly gets up and leaves! It's like she says, Ok, my mom time is up, now I go where I really want to sleep! Love your craft room, especially those movable shelves! Have a great week, Lindart #25

  15. Your posts always amaze me. Great things going on and I love your craft room. I love the idea of the moving “carts”. Have a wonderful week. Dorlene #28

  16. Just desk hopping to get to know who is who. You are all so passionate and creative.


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