Tuesday, 27 March 2012

More Raw

Before I tell you about the latest raw food experiments, I thought I'd share some of what I learned to make on my recent Crochet Workshop.  We started off making little round flowers but the number of petals varied depending on how closely we had been paying attention.  Once we'd mastered that we made dual layer flowers which I discovered are quite difficult to photograph!  I've got one more project started at the workshop which I'll finish and post later this week.  I hope :)  In the meantime, below is my finished flower ready to be attached to a scrapbook page.

It's been a lot calmer in the Week Day Home, no work travels for me this week so I've had some lovely evening time to try out some more "raw" recipes.  The first is for dairy, gluten and refined sugar free vegan raw chocolate brownies courtesy of http://www.therawtarian.com/raw-brownie-recipe and these are genuinely gorgeous!  

And this is raw rice made from cauliflower.  I didn't think it sounded thrilling when I read the recipe but I was big time wrong!  This makes such a wonderful, clean tasting savoury rice that I prefer it to the cooked version.  And it only takes a few minutes to blitz in a food processor and add the other ingredients!  It's the second time I've made it because it's a good lunch box meal to take into work.  The recipe is by Solla an Icelandic raw food chef and to make it more substantial and more colourful she adds goji berries.  Solla offers a free e-book to download on her site which includes the rice recipe http://www.rawsolla.com/  

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Swimming under the Stars

Yesterday I paid my first visit to the Thermae Bath Spa for a girls night out and our timing was perfect.  We swam and floated in the warm waters of the open air pool under the stars after one of the warmest days of the year so far.  I didn't know before we went that it's Britain's only natural thermal spa (thanks Wikipedia) but I did know it's right in the heart of the city and as you relax in the water, you get wonderful views over the rooftops. Fab.u.lous.

This morning I tootled round town, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the street performers.  This guy was playing Spanish guitar just outside the Abbey and something about being under a blue sky made everyone seem a bit happier.  

Just round the corner is one of my favourite fabric shops, Country Threads Patchwork on Pierrepont Place.  You can overdose on fabby fabrics just by standing in this place.  For those of a hooky persuasion there is a lovely yarn shop almost opposite called http://www.woolbath.co.uk/  Somehow I managed to visit both without parting with serious cash but it was hard, reeeeally hard!  They offer such temptations....

 And this group of musicians were great - I stood for a while and tapped my foot and swayed a little sway with the rest of the crowd.

Then it was back to the Week Day Home with some fresh flowers to pretty the place up and get on top of the Domestics because tomorrow I'm off to a workshop.  Intermediate Crochet with the ladies at Paperarts.  Hopefully there will be some little Woolly Wonder to share with you as a result :)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Going Raw

It's been creatively quiet in the Week Day Home as this week work has taken me to Yorkshire and what a beautiful Spring Equinox morning was waiting when I opened my hotel room curtains....ahhhh.  I visit this area quite often but never have time to explore and appreciate it properly.  It's on my list to Places to Do.

The closest I have come to being creative has been in the kitchen.  I'm interested in how a fresh, mostly vegan uncooked diet can improve health and have been gradually adding more uncooked meals to my normal mostly vegetarian diet.  The theory is that when you heat food above 40 degrees the digestive enzymes are destroyed meaning we lose the benefits and make it more taxing for our bodies to digest.  But woman can't exist on salad alone (well this woman can't) so I'm trying all sorts of things.  Including kelp noodles.  Kelp is a type of seaweed and packed with nutrients which is what makes these so good.  They're just like ordinary noodles but with a neutral taste so you can schoosh them up with all kinds of sauces or pesto's.
The Coconut Thai sauce I made for my noodles was super quick and even including time for cutting up some cucumbers, carrots and lettuce for a side salad took 5 mins max.
Creamy Coconut Sauce 

1 cup coconut milk*
1/2 cup almond butter
4-5 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
4 teaspoons white miso
1 small clove garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2-1 teaspoon tamari
1 drop stevia
Cayenne pepper, to taste

*Blend 1/3 cup shredded coconut with 1 cup water in a blender until smooth and then strain through a nut milk bag or piece of muslin for a smooth milk.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Dry Brushing Skills

It's been quiet in the Week Day Home for a few days because all the activity has taken place elsewhere.  Work took me to the North West of England and the weekend kept me home which meant I woke up to bright, hazy weather with the trees starting to get that green spring fringe as their leaves unfurl.  Nice!

Then it was shopping at the local Farmers Market with it's organic produce, homemade cakes, freshly laid eggs, sizzling sausages to munch as you walk round, handmade cordials, locally pressed apple juice and spring plants. Everything comes from within a 30 mile radius so you know it's local and seasonal.

 The stalls all look as if they're bursting into life after the winter months.

Then it was off to a workshop with http://andyskinnerorg.blogspot.com/  organised by the lovely ladies at paperarts.co.uk.  I suppose you'd call Andy a mixed media artist and the morning was full of dry brushing techniques.  (And cake!)  In the afternoon (and after a lovely buffet lunch and more cake) we were given a white earthenware pot to paint.  We put on a base coat of black acrylic then glued on cardboard shapes and half beads and goggley eyes to make rivets.  Seen like this is looks very odd.  But....

 ...when you paint on a second black layer (and have another bit of cake) it starts to look a bit more promising.  

 A layer of dry brushed burnt umber, followed by burnt sienna, followed by metallic gold and you have a rusty looking box.  Ta dahh!!

I thought it looked quite masculine so I presented it to Himself and now it is resident in the Country House.  It was a great day and all of us who attended this workshop have already signed up for Andy's next class in a couple of months.  Must have been good!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Wallflower Whoops

Just when I thought I'd cracked the crochet wallflower and was thinking I was all the clever things and an undiscovered crochet genius...reality came along to remind me that my ability to stuff up is almost endless.  Can you see what I did?  I sewed the front of the flower to the back of the stem so that you can see the darned ends!  Unpick, unpick, unpick!  

On a happier hooky note, when I went on my birthday trip to the wool shop in Bristol a couple a weeks ago, the lovely ladies there helped me select the right colour of wool I'll need to make the border for my six ball blanket.  I went thinking I wanted a plain blue but they brilliantly suggested the variable blue wool from the same range, Rico - Superba Bamboo.   At the moment the Six Ball Blanket is a Four Ball Blanket but each month that creeps by it gets a little longer :)

Thursday, 1 March 2012

February mosaic

It seems too soon to be looking back on February already!  It was an active month where I found the smallest snowman ever, sprouted some great radish seeds (we'll talk about that some time), notched up a few more running miles, got a special hand knitted hat for my birthday, took photos of amazing sparkly trees and had an evening out at the theatre.  Happy days :)

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Another Use for Mug Trees

I like to make lots of miniature scrapbooks. It's quick and most of my miniature books are based around a theme such as autumn or a winter walk. I was finding these small books all over the place and wanted someway not only to store them but to display them too. My solution was a mug tree from a local charity shop. I painted it, added ribbons to my books and loaded the mug tree up.

Ta dahh!!