“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Monday, September 1, 2014

A final fling perhaps...

Everyone seemed to be on a mission this morning.
 The traffic even though it was rush hour was static, but it still didn't stop revving and inching closer and closer to the car bumper in front... getting nowhere fast!
Quite frankly, I've never understood why it's actually called rush hour, when most of the time the cars are static!
 It felt as though those leisurely drives at a slower pace may be a thing of the past for now, having been replaced with urgency whether it's to get to work, kids to school, appointments or those Christmas bargains! (ARGH)
Leisurely summer days seem to have drifted away. 

A few days ago I was watching the swallows stretching and putting on an incredible aerial display, but I knew all the time that they were participating in their pre-flight preparations to take off for warmer destinations soon. 
I've been searching the skies today to see if they're still here, but there's not one in sight. 
It's a shame because we're to have a warmer week ahead apparently, so they could have stayed for a little while longer. I feel sad that it will be quite some time before they return. 
I have to remind myself that to miss something sometimes is to really appreciate it upon it's return. 
Looking at the photo of my jasmine above and it's wonderful warm autumnal colour confirms my fear that perhaps summer is about to disappear. 
I doesn't feel like we had a long summer, but I'll embrace autumn if I must. 
One advantage will be that we can wake up our Aga soon... she's been asleep for far too long. Casseroles and comfort food will be on the menu and I can't wait. 

Here's a starter...Jam Doughnut Muffins
These gorgeous jam doughnut muffins are incredibly like doughnuts but without the deep frying. They are so quick and easy to make too... and I must say even quicker to disappear, but it does say in the recipe that they should be enjoyed whilst still warm. 
No problem there! 
They were wickedly divine even though my guilt would only let me eat half of one. Next time (oh yes... there will be a next time) I'll make them smaller and add more jam. 
Well if you're going to indulge you might as well make it worthwhile!
The recipe came from Karen's Lavender and Lovage blog and her photos are far more superior than mine. The smell brought a crowd so I had to snap the photo quickly.
Karen has amazing recipes so why not pop over (with a cuppa) and enjoy all the baking delights. 

Now the sun's shining here so I'm off outside...
Enjoy your Monday because it'll be Friday before you know it!
Late news in...
Tuesday afternoon: Wonderfully warm with glorious sun. 
Swallows seen so summer is still here. Yay!
Crazy weather and that's why people in the UK are always talking about the weather! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WOYWW...What's On Your Work Desk Wednesday #273

Today thankfully I didn't wake up next to a monster
Don't laugh because yesterday I did!
I turned to thank my hubby for my early morning cuppa and nearly dropped the cup.
Looking back at me was a red angry puffy slitted eyed monster.
Having someone look at you first thing in the morning and physically recoil from the sight of you, possibly isn't the best start to your day... or the fact that you have back to back meetings all day and look like you've been in the boxing ring all night.
But after anti-histamine and two days later he looks like he's just sleep deprived.
We're not sure what caused it... whether it was three excitable visiting dogs running throughout the house or the dust from yet more renovations.
Yep... we've moved into Phase 2 and this week we're changing all the radiators.
There are 18 radiators waiting to move in which means a little Pollifilla here, sanding there and a swish of paint in between. 

Anyway, I'm sitting here in the study on a 3C degree morning with the sun streaming through the window dreaming of hot showers and how long it might be before I can have one! 
I've lit the fire and I'm becoming increasingly cosy and comfy... at this rate I might not move for the remainder of the day, but before I forget I did promise that I'd show you my finished Highland Cow 'Hettie'
Yes, surprisingly I finished her and what's more I really like her!

(Painted using Daler Rowney Acrylic Artists Ink)

Here's my last WOYWW post that show's her in various stages of undress...click here

And below is a photo of a real HIghland Cow that I promised I'd take if I saw one on my rounds. 
I have to tell you that I did virtually everything to make her lift her head, but she was on a mission to consume as much grass as she could possibly manage before nightfall.

I haven't shown you my desk this morning because
1. My daughter is using it once more and
2. I've got my next drawing in the planning stage and it's a surprise.
I'll hopefully be able to show you that next week. 
If you'd like to see other artists finished work and their desks then there'll be lots to visit over at
 Julia's Stamping Ground. 
Click here to transport you

Have a great week and Happy WOYWW to one and all.

See you again soon

I've also linked up today with Jenn over at the Artist Playroom 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Take a peek Tuesday

Everyone is talking about autumn here at the moment, even though we're still in the month of August. I suppose if you look at the temperature records we've been experiencing over the last month... post ex-hurricane 'Bertha' it's not surprising. 
If you stay out of the biting wind and the sun is shining, then it can still feel reasonably warm. 
It reminds us we are still supposed to be enjoying summer, even if it's the tail-end and
I'm hoping because the last month has been so cold, we will have an Indian summer.
Well there's nothing wrong with being hopeful is there?! 
In fact, I'm determined to stay positive until the snow arrives (apparently 'they' say it's going to be a hard winter) Argh... 
If you're a regular visitor here then you may remember my tractor ride with the local farmer whilst in the middle of cooking the Sunday lunch. 
Well the above and below photos show the results of expert ploughing! 

Now I must admit when I see these photos they do make me think of autumn but I NEED heat. Not for selfish purposes (although it would better not to look like a 'mummy' bound up with layer upon layer of fleece), no it's because I have more visitors arriving from Australia! What am I to do? 
They'll freeze even though they've come from an Aussie winter!!!
Does anyone know if/where I might be able to a buy tartan onesie? 
I can see teeth chattering and not in a nice nattering sort of way.
I'm cleaning fireplaces ready to penetrate their layers and warm their bones once they arrive. We might be okay in the house but how am I going to get them from A to B or to see the place? 
I'm obviously going to have to be creative! 
 A neighbour's cat coming through the field. 
Good job Mufftypup hasn't seen him!

With the Great British Bake Off now into it's fifth season it's inspiring me to bake once again. Both my sister and I are keen bakers and we constantly send each other photo's of our latest creations. Click here to see her latest collection.
I baked Chocolate and Orange cake last week and yesterday I used some over ripe bananas for a banana loaf. 
I've searched through my blog to find the post that will have this recipe, but I can't seem to find it. 
I'm sure I've posted it previously but it must be hiding.
It's a very simple recipe, so if anyone wants it just let me know and I'll send it through. 

I would post it here but I've got lots to get through today and the times marching on. 
I'm on the final prep for the visitors... but there's the fresh linen and towels to put out (no I'll not be making animals out of the towel like on the cruise ships, but they will be folded neatly onto the bed with the must have chocolates etc.
It's all to detract from the cold.

I'm linking up for the first time with Our World Tuesday
Our World Tuesday Graphic
Have a wonderful week peeps and I'll try to catch up with you as and when I can. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WOYWW... What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #271

After the torrential rain and gales that have been blowing a hoolie here over the last few days, I'm surprised that I've managed to drop by for WOYWW without being swept clean past! 
'Bertha' the ex-hurricane has delivered her best (or should that read worst?) but thankfully we've escaped quite well in this part of the country considering. 
I have to say I'm a little stunned that the calendar still says it's August with the weather we're experiencing. So much so that I've actually checked it numerous times just in case a few months have slipped by without me noticing. 
There's even talk of autumn but I'm just not going to listen, as I'm not ready for that... 
not yet anyway. 

So onto my desk this Wednesday which is what Wednesday's are all about... 
WOYWW (What's on your work desk Wednesday, for anyone that doesn't know). 

I suppose it seems fitting that I'm working and painting a woolly cow this week. 
A highland cow to be precise. 
Everything seems to be wrapped up for coziness right now, so why not the cattle too?
    I'm still working from my kitchen table and probably will be for some time to come.
It's safer for starters as the studio doesn't have one ounce of space clear at the moment. 
It's a hive of activity and buzzing like a bees nest with my daughter's Etsy shop taking off plus commissions coming in. It's all very exciting and I'm thrilled, although I seem to have acquired the job description of admin assistant and chief tea maker!
 I do hope there's a name badge at least...
Now onto 'Hetty' as I've now decided to call her. 
She definitely looks like a she doesn't she?
The paper has crinkled slightly but that's not surprising as I've had to round her up after every session, so that we can use the table. 
She's been wandering from shelves to worktops and at the moment sitting on our bread bin... which is no mean feat for a highland cow, I can tell you! 
As you can see, I've still got a lot to add to her, so I'm going to carry on now before the light or next storm cloud appears. 
If you'd like to see artists finished work then there'll be lots of desks to visit over at Julia's Stamping Ground
Click here

Have a great week and Happy WOYWW to one and all.
I'll be painting and watching 'The Great British Bake Off' tonight so I may be a little later visiting your desks, but I hope to get there eventually.
See you again soon

Friday, August 8, 2014

Two Great British Events...The Bake Off and The Great Northern Run

It's been a whole summer of sporting events here in the UK from World Cup Football, Golf, Wimbledon, Tour de France cycling, cricket and the Commonwealth Games. We've enjoyed so many events and looking back I don't think we missed a thing, but I been ready for a change and right on cue the announcement comes along that 'The Great British Bake Off' was returning for another season. 
Woohoo! I surprised myself with just how excited I was to hear this news. 

For those people who haven't heard of the 'Great British Bake Off', twelve home bakers take part in a 'bake off', testing every aspect of their baking skills as they battle it out to be crowned the Great British Bake Off's Best Amateur Baker.

Finally the first episode aired. 
I was there sitting comfortably as the titles rolled, along with about 8 million other viewers and we weren't disappointed. 
Set in beautiful surroundings with great presenters, lovely knowledgeable judges and twelve interesting contestants, all wanting to share their skills along with all the trials and tribulations of the contest. All in all, a winning combination for someone who likes baking, eating cakes or just watching others battling it out with beaters.
If you want to know more about 'GBBO', as it's known, then click here 
Don't worry there are no spoilers here... I wouldn't dream of spoiling it for anyone. 

I share not only my love of this TV series along with my sister, but also a love of home baking. She's far more prolific and perfectionist than me. The photo below shows some of her baking from one day alone!
From the top left... raspberry jam with butter cream cup cakes
Top right... apricot jam with butter icing cup cakes
Bottom left... coffee cake
Bottom right... lemon cake
She doesn't always bake this many cakes (14 eggs in any one 24 hour period!!) but there's a good reason.
A female family member (thankfully not me... or my sister) is taking part in the 'Great North Run' for charity and is selling the cakes in work to raise money for a great cause... the Bobby Robson Cancer Foundation, before she runs the race in September. 
I'm in awe of her because I couldn't run for a bus and this is one tough race, so I've sent in my replacement... you may have heard of him 'Mo Farah' (lol)
Anyway, if you'd like to know more about 'The Great North Run' then click here
It's the world's greatest half marathon and with a spectator-lined course covering 13.1 miles from Newcastle across the iconic Tyne Bridge and onto the picturesque coastal finish in South Shields. It will provide a spectacular sight and raise lots of money for worthy causes. 
If you'd like to donate to J's fundraising then she'd certainly welcome any amount for this charity that's so close to her heart. 
Here's her link to Just Giving 
If you do decide to donate any amount...thank you so much Emoji
Good Luck J... run like the wind! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What's On Your Work Desk Wednesday...WOYWW #270

It's a showery day here today so what's the best thing to do? 
Head into the studio of course. 
Well that's what I thought but it appears that it's already a hive of activity.  
Exciting parcels have arrived for my daughter from the printers and when a new A3 scanner arrived... well that just tipped Muffy over the edge...it's all just too exciting! 
I have something in mind that I'd like to paint today and can't wait to play with the acrylic inks once more. But I'm going to migrate to the kitchen table in order to keep the creative flows from clashing. 
Here's the painting from last week of the feathers that I promised to come back and show you. If you'd like to see more of the WOYWW gang's desks then click here to visit Julia over at Stamping GroundI know I haven't visited everyone from last week but I hope to do that later today...so if you've visited me then stick the kettle on...I'm on my way. 
Unfortunately before I draw I need to iron first. 
I know that in the dictionary crafting comes before housework, but if I don't iron a shirt there's a serious risk my hubby will be going into his office in a vest! 
I've been putting off ironing for quite some time whilst the sun has been shining, but the 53 shirts are all stacked up in the laundry like Mount Etna and seriously looking like an accident waiting to happen. 
Enjoy your Wednesday everyone
Happy WOYWW to all the gang 
See you again soon
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