Wednesday 26 September 2018

Bouquet Garni ... Soup, Art and Films

'A bouquet garni is a bundle of herbs that is added to casseroles, stocks, sauces and soups. It traditionally comprises parsley (or parsley stalks, which have lots of flavour), a few sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf. These herbs may be bundled into a strip of leek or a piece of celery stalk, or tied in a muslin bag or with string, to keep them together during cooking and allow easy removal before serving'. 

I have never heard it called this before...I do like learning new words.  I've done this many times to add flavour to dishes especially stew and soup dishes...
On a bright, Crisp Autumnal day I felt like making Soup. Lately, I have become a bit more frugal. So I delved deep into the back of the fruit and veg baskets...Looking for what we had left.
And remembered the loose carrots Stevie had picked up at the Farmer's market...and found several big loose onions.  So after a good read through several cook books, including Jamie Oliver, The welsh Cook and Miss Dahl's (which in the past have been my favourite go to's) I ended up scouring the internet...For simple recipes...That kind of recipe that you dont need to plan for (or run to the shop for extra ingredients like I usually have to). I found the  BBC recipe website really helpful.  

And the Curried Carrot recipe really grabbed me with hints of spice.
I did change mine a bit, adding grated mild chedder cheese. I added snippets of herbs from my own garden...and making it more chunky and less of a smooth texture...Mainly because my blender is on the way out...blades kept stopping. It tasted just fine to me....Sure warms the soul on an Autumnal day.

Starting to look quite Autumnal out there in the woods....

(Little evening drawings, knitted hand made Foxy from my Twinny for Sophia)

I have noticed that in the evenings now I am reaching for a jumper...Still, resisting putting the heating on!...Well,  at least 'til October. So, Big snuggly jumpers and woolly socks....
I have also been reading snippets of my new book 'Say Good bye To The Cuckoo' by Micheal McCarthy. Heart warming...'The first call of the cuckoo. Swallows swooping through the sky. A nightingale's song at dusk'...the celebration of our spring-bringers at a time when they may be disappearing.  I call it a 'New book', But I found this book on the local Market a week ago. Just £2....I am more of a magazine girl~ Not Vogue or Celebrity mags!, but 'Simple Things' and 'Country Living'  magazine. Those two are my usual pleasures. And I keep all my copies. I do have two scrap books too with snippets of visual fav's from older mags. But I do like to read a book now and again. Usually books that document wild life, nature, country and living in the wild. 

(google search images, readers digest . films)

 There's a special 12th birthday looming...Oh' My, how did my girl grow so quick!? We had a pre- birthday celebration with family over the last weekend and We did a special Cinema trip to see the 'The house with a clock in its wall'...12A , We saw younger children in the cinema and I think some of it was a bit scary!...But Sophia loved it...There is something quite exciting about going to the cinema ( I dont go often...once maybe twice a year!). I think I should go more often. My Partner loves, Marvel, Sci-fi, Star wars anything a long those lines and he will book tickets and Sophia goes with him. So they must have been to the cinema at least 4-5 times this year. I  also watched the new film 'The Guernsey literacy & potato peel pie society'...Years ago, when Sophia was about 4 years I'd found the book in a charity shop...I kept reading snippets of it for about two years. The film really brought it to life. I loved it.  Sad and heart warming.

Autumn Fairs looming too...This October is going to be a busy month!...At least i've been motivated to print, mount and package all my prints up...My partner has been busy re-organising our Etsy, We even plan a change of name~ And photographs need to taken, endless listing of artwork and makes~ even needle felting too.  I've even been trying out a fairy garland with flowers and fairies using my own artwork.  So much to do, very little time...Story of my life!.
And despite all this I found time to join a little swapsie circle on Instagram and have been packaging up some sweet parcels and some illustration gifts for my swapsie partner~ The october swap. Actually, feel proud as Ive managed to send it off today~ A head of time!. 

*My father has been back in to hospital again...Its worrying because they've found new tumours and at the moment he's trying out a new drug....I wish I lived closer to him...To hold his hand and give him a well needed hug.

x    K a z z y    x

Sunday 16 September 2018

Sweet September...Walks together

On a typical weekend Myself and Stevie will sit up in bed with cups of tea and chat about what we would like to do. Usually non-expensive things...Walks, trips to the woods or Coastlines...Depending on weather and how energetic we are all feeling...Sophia will usually clamber on top of the duvet at our feet and asks 'what will we be doing today?'...And Some weekends we will just potter about at home. I think I'm quite an 'easy going' person...I'm actually quite happy to go with someone else's plan. Stevie is a very thoughtful person and usually wants me to decide where to go for a day trip.  On weekends when Sophia is with her dad's family its just 'me' and 'stevie'...Its almost like having the best of both worlds...Our own time and family time.. This weekend its just 'us'.   On Saturday We headed to a local spot a few miles away...We'd actually got up late, Stevie was on a late shift at work and needed a well deserved lay in. So by the time I'd done the washing, cooked some lunch and cleared away all my 'creative' piles of mess to do with sorting things out for Autumn fairs...We were ready to head out the door and drive somewhere for a walk. 
We Drove to Clearbrook on the Dartmoor National park. We parked up and walked the Moor lands...Down bridal pathways and rugged rocky paths where sheep were roaming freely...Passing woodlands, dried up streams and old Celtic stones.  I think we walked 4 miles...We did stop a few times.
The sun lit woodlands with dappled light shining on mossy loose branches and hawthorn shiny berries, Skeleton seed heads of Cow parsley and Hogweed.  It is a busy path we took towards the village of Yelverton. Bike riders every where. We nearly got knocked over on the small paths! ~ I dont think they had any intention of slowing down a bit!....The Sun seemed warmer on our backs heading towards the car.

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On Sunday Stevie and Myself had set the alarm to get ourselves up a bit earlier. We headed to one of  his favourite childhood places called Fowey in Cornwall... 
It was lovely and peaceful  by the beach but towards the harbour town it was packed with people...We stopped off to have a Cup of tea and lunch in a lovely Tea room....
Out at sea we saw a wonderful old fashioned boat...It was quite a way out So my mobile Camera couldn't get the best picture but I tried. 
It was lovely to see Crochet bunting down by the coastline...

(Beautiful and colourful stain glass and painting on a door in Fowey)

It was a peaceful walk back to the car park and we gave a few tourists directions as they seemed a bit lost. 

Back to another busy week...It was good to have some fresh air on the Moorlands and down by the Cornish coast at Fowey.

x     K a z z y     x

Tuesday 11 September 2018

If you go down to the woods today...

...You might find some Autumnal delights, like Toadstools, Mushrooms and a friendly robin by your side.

Well, After such a busy and quite full on first week back into routines like School, work and meetings It was a great sense of freedom and well needed 'time out' to visit a favourite nature park and woodlands called Stover Nature Reserve, Bovey Tracey, Devon. I have never liked mass crowds and cannot wait to escape busy, bustling places. I always prefer places out of season so to speak...Even our little country town can get ever so packed in July and August (I know its great for local businesses though!).  I'm getting used to new routines...Like I've said before I'm not great with 'change'...And its been such a fast paced week. Its a slow pace getting my head around new chapters, challenges and routines...I do get there eventually. So it was just lovely to escape for an afternoon!...

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The woodlands are that happy tonic for the soul.
A big 'Sigh..I can breathe' again...And face what ever the next week brings.
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Sophia surprised me that she was so happy to embrace a good long walk without any moaning or negative reactions (You know how it can be sometimes). Maybe the conversation that we'd stop off at a favourite Gallery Cafe, 'Devon guild of craftsmen' and she could have a Hot choco and all the trimmings like whipped cream and marshmallow helped her make the right decision?!...When we parked up and Sophia had bread scraps in her hand, A very friendly Robin came right onto her hand to take some bread~ She was beyond frilled with that.  My partner Stevie enjoys a good walk too and escaping the crowds.  Actually, we had very similar childhoods where his and my parents never had  expensive holidays or  spending hours in shopping centres spending lots of money.  Instead it was cheap trips to the coast. And long walks in the Country...I used to love it on Saturday's and my Dads treat of Fish 'n' Chips in the car~ I loved that! Chips always tasted best parked up with a coastal view.  Aww! Memories.  Actually, I never remember us as a family having a meal out in a restaurant in my childhood or teenage years. I'm not complaining though. We do treat Sophia to meals out quite often ...I quite like packing pic-nics instead.

(Gallery at the Devon Guild Of Craftsmen)... Wonderful gallery, Craft area for children to make and create, Shop with the most beautiful artists work, prints, textiles, mix media,  sculptures and one of a kind cards.
And we had lunch upstairs in the attic Cafe which is set in an old Mill building over looking the stream...

On our walk through the Woodlands I noticed a sign on the post offering 'guided Toadstool/Mushroom walk'...but not until October. So with that I was not expecting to see any signs yet of Toadstools. But to our surprise the deeper we walked into the woods and off the beaten track we found quite a few varieties.
Sometimes I wish I was a good 'forager' for things like Mushrooms~ The ones that wont poison /kill you!.

(A family of swans were on the lake )

(home comforts...)

I picked up an Autumnal copy of  the 'Country Living' magazine ...and enjoyed it with a hot cuppa!.
I love the owl cushion!...
Stevie had walked to our local Farmer's Market and came back with a big bunch of 'home grown' Dahlia's, How beautiful and he's so thoughtful....Lucky me!.
The colours remind me of the 'change' from Summer's end to Autumn~ golden yellow's, shades of rust red and orange tangy and rich~ Such beauts!~ Must try and grow them next year...

I have been busy sorting more drawings & pen and ink illustrations to get some more cards and prints printed out...In my portfolio it is full to the top with drawings, I have been busy the last two years!. Sometimes I dont think Ive been that creative and then I look at my drawings and think 'oh' Ive produced quite a lot really over the years...Stevie and Sophia always support my artwork and having that appreciation keeps me going...One day, One day (I say this a lot!) I will produce a Children's book. So any budding Children's writer's 'Please send me a message' I'd love to do a collaboration with you....
I have two Autumn fairs coming up...and I think a Christmas Market fair but waiting to see if they have space...So I want to make sure I have a nice lot of stock for those... I am also updating my 'shared' etsy shop online, So once thats completed with new prints I will let you know the link.
I was quite happy with the 'new' line of fairies~ I have two more designs as well (not photographed yet).
I was thinking maybe a garland for Children's rooms or a card that Children could cut out and put on the Christmas tree.  I'm still busy needle felting, usually before I head to bed. I will finish sewing the brooch pins on and show you in the next few weeks. Its just been a whirlwind of projects, jobs, School and household chores...We even tackled the hill top garden grass with the strimmer! Oh' my like a jungle!...need to get the sheers out as well...Another  job for the weekend....

(I photographed this image on my phone So not best quality!)

My Father is still undergoing intensive Cancer treatments~ He's been home in between, But back in a week. Hopefully to trail a 'new' Drug as well .
He's coping...And keeping his strength up! and keeping his positivity going...And cracking his old jokes!,
I'm so very proud of him...Despite the tough road that lies a head he keeps smiling!.
Fingers, toes, everything that can be crossed is crossed for a happy, healthy outcome...
We are hoping to get him here for Christmas~ A long way from the East Coast to the West Coast, but we want him with us.  Thankyou for all the warming, heart felt and kind comments on my Instagram feed as well.

Anyway...for now I wish you a happy week.
Thanks for following and your lovely messages!.

x   K a z z y  x

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Sweet child of mine...

 Its quite a strange feeling when the children go back to School and Summer's come to an end...
But I feel it even more so now my daughter, Sophia started Secondary School. I don't think i'm very good at change and starting new chapter's in my life. I almost have that feeling inside to hold on to her even more tightly than normal.  She walked to School alone...(her own choice)...No more Mother by her side. I am the anxious one, double checking her bag for P.E kit, lunch box ect...She's as calm as can be and was beaming her beautiful smile and longing to see her friends.  I watched her walk down our hill top lane...
She has a mobile phone and actually its great because otherwise i'd be stressing all day not knowing she arrived at the School O.K. And she texts when she arrives...I know I will get used to these changes and I am due for big changes myself into full-time employment. Its just a 'Biggy' to me all this and my heart feels a little bruised that I am not needed so much.  She 'Loves' me and still needs me in other ways...I know that.  I'm So very proud of her Today~ She came home so Happy~ And that means the world. She is bright, beautiful and full of many talents...She surprises me everyday with her knowledge, her love for Science and Maths~ She is also so creative and caring and loving...She was full to bursting with a beaming smile of enthusiasm when telling me all about her day...I hope she continues on this happy path.  
I will be O.K....knowing she will be O.K.
I had a huge milky, hot cup of coffee and sat with my laptop, listening to classic fm and just breathing a huge sigh of relief...

Its a New chapter...And I will get used to these changes...
And I am quite looking forward to Autumn...

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I picked huge apples off the Hill Top garden tree's... oh' and i've been doing some more needle felting and card designs for two Autumn fairs coming up!...In another post I will share some new artwork and needle felted brooches. 

Some of the Photographs from our trip to Slapton Sands in the South Hams...
Oh' that sea air...Bliss!

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