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

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. 
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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.
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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! 
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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 
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See you again soon
xoxo

Friday, August 1, 2014

Feathers...done and dusted


 As promised I'm posting the finished painting from Wednesday and the WOYWW linkup. 

Instead of visiting everyone's desk today, I decided to use the time to revisit my own desk and finish the feather painting. 
Don't worry I'll get to visit everyone who visited me and maybe a few more if I can...hopefully later tonight when someone's distracted with the Commonwealth Games coverage. 
Here's the photo from Wednesday's post first for those who didn't see it.
(click here if you want to see the post)


(I'm still unsure who has lost the feather, so if you know then just pop my a line...I'm still thinking it's from a buzzard. 
We have quite a few living nearby and they often fly over the garden)

At one stage I thought I'd ruined the painting, so I just took a deep breath and went for it... apparently that's what I should always do. It'll help loosen my work.
I've been stating that unfortunately it doesn't look like the real feather, but then I'm also told that if you want your work to look like the real thing...then take a photo! 
So here's the final piece
 I used Daler-Rowney Acrylic Ink which is a new medium for me. 
I'm enjoying exploring and discovering just how they work, plus I used a fine nib for the highlights. 
So there you are...finally a finished piece of work and with that in mind I'm linking to Paint Party Friday and The Artist's Play Room

I wish you all a happy weekend.
Have fun and enjoy! 
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What's On Your Work Desk Wednesday...WOYWW #269...feathers

You aren't going to believe how quick I'm going to be this morning...this could be a gold medal if they awarded medals for short posts for WOYWW. 
If you visited my blog yesterday, then you'll know I had a 'ME' day and as part of that self-indulging day, I nipped into the art room and had a play. 
I had hoped to finish the feathers but time ran away with me. 
I'm hoping to nip back in there sometime today to carry on painting. 
I've got a few appointments first so it'll be a squeeze but one I'm willing to make. 
The feather appeared under one of the trees in our garden yesterday. 
I'm not sure who lost it...maybe a buzzard perhaps, but if you know what bird it would belong to then I'd be really interested to hear from you. 

If you're unsure what WOYWW is all about, then click here and you'll be transported to Julia over at Stamping Ground.

So that's it for today folks...

Have a brilliant day! 
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sticky Chicken with Sesame and Chilli

Today I thought I'd award myself with a 'ME' day.
Never heard of it? 
Well they are very rare, priceless and a bit of a phenomenon... they don't happen very often. So what do you do with a 'ME' day? 
Flick a duster around? 
Re-organise your drawers? 

I decided that for my 'ME' day, I'd only do what I wanted to do and not listen to that horrible, guilty, negative voice that would choose some of the most boring chores it could find. I decided that I'd paint and try out a new recipe.

I feel I have been in a rut with my cooking lately, relying on old favourites or easy quick meals with summer upon us (other than when I have guests of course). 
So I decided to browse through one of my daughter's recipe books. 
My choice was 'What Katie Ate' by Katie Quinn Davies, which contains fantastic recipes and brilliant photographs all taken by Katie herself. 
She's a blogger too.
If you'd like to check out Katie's blog then click here...I can highly recommend it.

So what to choose first from the 'What Katie Ate' recipe book?
I decided to go with a great mid-week, easy-peasy, 'throw-it-all-in-the-baking-dish' meal (
they're Katie's words not mine) I just love her ethos don't you? 

Sticky Chicken with Sesame and Chilli
Katie said that she thought I'd have most of the ingredients in my fridge or cupboard and she wasn't wrong. There were quite a few ingredients but it was so simple to pull together and so tasty. There were four very clean plates at the end of dinner which is always a winner for me.

Mmm...can you smell that? 


I'm afraid there isn't a final photograph...possibly the worst thing I could forget, but we were so keen to eat and I get quite a lot of hassle if I stop to photograph the food. I've over done this on numerous occasions that the starving masses have lost patience with me. 
(In fact to highlight this... my son has just come to check what I'm up to and said... I'd prefer you to cook some Mum, instead of talking about it' (typical)
See what I'm up against! 


I think I'll be working through this great recipe book in the coming weeks. 
But don't take my word for it or my photographs (they don't do it justice) 
Go and take a look for yourself. 
Click here to read Katie's blog and see her recipe book for yourself.

I'm off now to finish my painting and then there's that book waiting.
Enjoy your day whatever you get up to... hopefully you're indulging too. 
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