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Category — cake


:: Saturday ::

Stroud’s rag market…always so fab, rummaging around offcuts of hand dyed french linens, buttons, quilts, beads…such a good distraction on a difficult day

:: Sunday ::

An Equinox gathering on Kesty and Martin’s land – hot tea and some community theatre which made me laugh and cheered me up

:: Monday ::

Sewing together some pink pieces of scarf, and really loving the moving stories being sent to me along with them….there are some wonderful people out there

:: Tuesday ::

A Twitter tutorial – trying to get my middle aged brain around something really simple – slightly edgy when teenagers arent the most patient of teachers

:: Wednesday ::

A good old fashioned day at the seaside with Grandma and Grandpa – eating ice cream in a near blizzard – March – you’ve got to love springtime….

:: Thursday ::

A truly mad, crazy two hours with Pixie-Bee, the Hotpants and Saskia-pie – playing trains, stitching lavender bags, nappy changing, song singing, biscuit eating and other fun stuff

:: Friday ::

Back to big kids – a chocolate fudge birthday cake for my youngest teenager

:: Saturday ::

Stroud Farmers Market essential – olives from the Olive Ladies – seriously good, guaranteed happiness

My birthday boy – gotta love a 15 year old in a furry owl onesy

So this is my funny old week – week one of the school holidays – and still feeling like midwinter. Not an especially easy one, but there are pieces of loveliness and colour to be found if I look hard enough. And as always, my camera is around my neck, ready and waiting.

March 30, 2013   2 Comments

Not Christmas shopping….

Hello lovelies….I thought I would be back here sooner, but no, these have been funny, busy, run up to Christmas kind of days.

Days in which I have tried to avoid big bouts of Christmas shopping in crowded places, really I have. Days in which I have tried to pretend I am part of the Von Trapp family and am making all of my presents….without breaking a sweat.

This present making malarky has been much boosted by a return of my insomnia. Well, that’s the official party line – the truth of my insomnia might also be ascribed to the love of a quiet house that is ALL MINE. Cat purring, hot waterbottle snuggling, tea drinking, music listening and crochet hook twiddling at 3am. Lush.

Whatever my motivations, whilst the fields outside have frosted up, I have where possible remained inside, by the fire, twiddling away with all sorts of frivolous crucial Christmassy projects.

O.K, I know you will want a full report. So let me see. I have made baby bunting for my Faery Goddaughter – this was before I attached little silver bells. Thanks to Lucy at Attic 24 for the sweet pattern.

I have made little stitchings, some textile machine embroidery tree decorations, and a dream journal notebook

I am also unforgivably smug that I even managed about six Christmas cards – go girl…(even if I am the only person cheering my sad self on….)

Despite our stove breaking down in the coldest week of the year, my little frost bitten fingers have been beavering away on a hot water bottle – the word ‘hot’ becoming an obsessional thought for our family over the last week or so.

Just so as I didn’t feel like a total slacker, I did manage to fit in about 15 minutes work in my dining room office, where I miraculously made a deadline for a piece of artwork. Rewarded, naturally, by a slice of my sister-in-law’s homemade Christmas cake…that she absolutely insisted I scoff before Christmas Day. And yes, that is my Facebook page you can see there on my work laptop (before one of my very clever friends points that out to the world, in the comments section below…smile.)

So this has been my little world, in the Stroud land of ‘Not Christmas Shopping’. Which to be fair, could also be subtitled ‘Not remotely doing any Housework’, ‘Not being Focused’ and certainly ‘Not engaging in anything more taxing than a ball of wool and a cup of witchy tea’. So be it. In any case, we are ready, we are there, bring it on. The teenagers are either hitting new sugar-induced highs of anticipation or reassuringly doing what teenagers do best – sleep in all sorts of odd places….

…and as for Santa’s little helper….(giddy on way too much sherry and shortbread)

Have a wonderful time everyone! Big hugs and love to you….

December 20, 2012   2 Comments

The Quilt of Terror….

There’s nothing like a bit of leaf blowing and single figure temperatures to have me wistfully wandering back to the light, bright days of late summer….and so it is back to early September that I am journeying to today.

And more specifically to my daughter Holly’s 16th birthday, oh and my 44th! We share! Pretty cool, huh? Well, I had decided about 8 months before that to make her a quilt, something really special, that she would treasure (did you ever meet a 16 year old that fantasised about home-made family heirlooms? No, that would be a 44 year old) No worries.

I had forgotten to remind myself that I had never actually made a proper quilt. Even better, I had decided in my very non-virgo way to leave it all to about 3 weeks before her actual birthday. Of course, we all know, denial is not a river in Egypt….

Don’t be fooled by this happy, confidant woman laying out the pieces. I had the ‘dummie guide to quilt making’ stuffed up my jumper, and a rising feeling of terror at those squares of pinkness. Worse still, quilt making best friend had selfishly hoofed off to Cornwall, leaving me QUITE ALONE……

But one thing led to another, and I found myself actually just doing it…zipping up those babies, stitching one row to another, keeping going, ironing, keeping going. I had pieces of dresses that Holly wore as a little girl, favourite pyjamas, things that I have worn over the years, and most specially pieces from her grandmother and great grandmother. Lots of stories, all joined up.

It got a little crazy quilting it with my Husquavarna machine…she’s a very accommodating old lady when she’s in the mood. Bought the softest batting and brushed cotton piece for the back – how very technical of me…. and this is what it finished up looking like:

The last bit of backstitching went in the night before…so right up to the wire, but hey…I did it!! And even more perfect, she loved it.

My sweet girl, with a ring in her nose, and an attitude to match, quietly listening to the stories of the fabric, and still agreeing to wear the birthday crown. My happy heart.

There was cake, lots. And sunshine, and wonderment that sixteen years had whooshed by in a naughty nano-second.

And it is true that she loved and appreciated all the work I had done on her surprise quilt. But do you know what totally rocked my baby-girls birthday world?

That would be the pair of kick-ass purple Doc Martens that I bought her….

November 1, 2012   3 Comments

Prema – a sweet little outing

Continuing on my sparkly theme (can I? Is it O.K? You will tell me, won’t you….) I have this overdue little offering of art gallery bling.

In the days leading up to my recent REVOLUTION, I needed to fortify myself, and what better way than a small tripette to a charming little arts centre in the neighbouring valley of Uley with a couple of girlies.

This is Prema and it really is a centre of arty funkiness with workshops, performance, exhibitions and plenty of lovely gorgeous things for sale, as witnessed below….

Did you see those blankets? Did you? My girlfriends made me keep my hands firmly in my pockets. Especially as I was probably going to need bail money very shortly.

Lets get down to business. We were actually there to see the amazing work of a Bristol-based artist called Beci Whatley – beautifully intricate and madly colourful pieces that are made from layers and layers of paint, mirrors, gems and glitter. Whooohooo. They were exquisite and I loved them.

Hard to describe, but they were sort of Aboriginal art – meets Klimt – meets Art Deco – meets craziness. Right up my street.

We were so giddy that we had to beat a retreat to the rather red and ultra cool coffee shop below…..

…where we stilled our beating hearts with extra large cappuccinos and calming hot chocolates. It would have been rude not to.

It was ever-so-slightly tragic that I wasn’t able to get my eager chops around the array of homemade cakes that were on the counter (being a tad wheat-free at the moment), but the waitress saw my sad eyes and I do believe that extra chocolate was sprinkled in the direction of my drink. Love.

All in all, one very lovely little outing, two very lovely friends (and fab kids) and a break from every day-ness…isn’t that what its all about?

October 21, 2012   3 Comments

Road to Nowhere….

I will tell you what I know. I know that the earth is not flat, I know that pigs do not fly, and I know that nuclear power is not safe.

I also know that sometimes women who would normally prefer the gentle art of sofa crochet to a rugged hike over rough terrain are driven by a passionate love of this land to do rather terrifying and crazy things. Like scale fences at nuclear power stations. It seems I may be one of those women.

So armed with my lucky pants, rescue remedy, and of course my crochet hook, I set off in the company of two rather fantastic and dear friends for a protest demo at Hinkley. Never mind that it was grey and rainy. I was much cheered by my splendidly foxy and totally pink wellingtons.

Along with a heavy police presence, and a team of Gurkhas and security guards with snapping dogs, I also came across some wonderful and inspiring activists who regularly take part in non-violent direct actions because their hearts tell them that protecting this precious earth for our children is the right thing to do.

EDF, the French company wanting to build a new nuclear reactor on this existing site, doesn’t have planning permission yet. But work has started already, despite this being an insane and lethal energy plan for our small island where renewable energy could thrive.

Friends, do you know how wildly tricky it is to climb a 7 foot high fence with barbed wire at the top? No, neither did I. My friend Kesty was awesomely intrepid and leapt over like a gazelle. Despite lots of shoving and pushing by security, she fell dramatically into the arms of cheering, waiting women.

Did you notice the wool? It seems that knitting and activism go together. Yaaaayyyy! It was a powerful and amazing event. Lots of people willing to join in a mass trespass even though they faced arrest. And I was one of them. One. Of. Them. I crossed a threshold in myself that I didn’t even know I had. And I am shining.

Of course I could not have done it without dear sisters holding me, being right there by my side, and not minding when I arrived over the fence and stupidly left my bags on the wrong side. What an amateur!!!! (Thank you Lisa for your patience and good humour yesterday, I hope me and my bobble hat didn’t compromise your activist cred…..). I tell you, I was so happy skipping across that meadow, doing a little victory dance to the cheers of the activists, that I nearly flashed my lucky pants at the police. Now that would have got me arrested.

You know, walking the lanes, up to the main gate, I saw the most beautiful hedgerows, alive with bramble, agrimony, fig wort, meadowsweet and chamomile. These are not blackberries you want to put in a pie though, with two dirty great nuclear reactors across the field, and a third one planned. So there the berries stayed. Unwanted, wasted. The pain of that was enough to make me cry.

But there are other ways. Alternative pathways, because we have wind turbines, solar thermal, wave power, people power and where energy is concerned we can learn to live with less.I believe that’s worth a shot.

This was a pretty exciting day for me. The day I not only jumped a fence, but stepped over a line in my own head, that had been telling me that everything is o.k, play by the rules, behave. Everything is not o.k, and never more so have we needed acts of civil disobedience to send a clear message out to the waiting world: ENOUGH.

So I salute you Theo Simon, Angie Zelter, Natalie Bennett (elected Green Party Leader), and all the other people who got us there, who cared enough. What a great camp, an inspiring day, and to round it off, as it so often does in my world, cake…..

October 9, 2012   9 Comments

More sugar than you can shake a stick at……

I feel that today’s blog should come with some sort of health warning. Listen up people, it is NOT for the faint hearted. And if you have the sort of wayward hips and thighs that dance to the tune of their own fiddle, as I do, then you should just turn away now. Not that diets and me ever exchange niceties …. I love food far too much….and life is way to short for denial in the eating department. Sorry, rambling again.

O.K…so sugar! Today’s post is about the rather spectacular adventure I have just had in London at the Cake & Bake Show 2012 – hooraah!! Held at Earls Court in West London, which is a lovely Art Deco building….

This was the first big show I have done, and so it was all a bit nervewracking, what with navigating madly through the streets of London with crazy drivers, and unloading in the right place. Then there was finding my spot in the biggest hall you have ever seen, setting up a stand that hopefully didn’t look like a girl guide’s yard sale, and negotiating in a professional way with very handsome event directors (I am allowed to say that, this particular superstar is my much adored cousin Luke)

So, it all worked out pretty well, and this is what I came up with:

I had all the Stitchy Witch cards there, that my dear friends had worked so hard at helping me pack, and of course I took along my old lady sewing machine – she likes a little outing now and again, and was much admired which pleased her greatly. It was fun meeting lots of new people and all the lovely comments made me feel very shiny. Thank you if you did come and say hello!

Now to the sugar bit……have you ever been to a Cake & Bake show?? Me neither! It is one huge ol’ party for every kind of cake and sugar paste flower that you are ever likely to see. I nearly hyperventilated in front of the homemade chocolates section. They were on the point of calling security as I was twitching and drooling (in rather an inappropriate and strange way). But my inner paparazzi kicked in, and so for your delight, I offer up the following saucy little snapshots….

Are you feeling giddy yet? Have you decided to take sacred vows to the High Order of Cakeyness? Well, here are some more…..

Now will someone please tell me – is blue cake allowed? Is anything that is edible allowed to be blue – apart from blueberries and sometimes soup (yes, that did happen in my life once before)…….

Well, why not – it was a crazy kind of weekend – and 18,000 queuing up to get inside is testimony to its greatness. Why were these in a cabinet? Were they dangerous? Dangerous to my thighs maybe, little sponge cakes of badness.

Oh Betty Crocker…..with your gleaming demonstration kitchen, and perky girls in gingham making it look so effortless (I saw Stepford Wives, I KNOW THE TRUTH…..) Sorry, exaggerating again, but Betty, really – a perfect cake every time you bake?? You lie madam, I tried to make the perfect cake, and even blogged about its sad demise here.

Which brings me to the end of this bake fest…and well done reader for staying the course. I promise something a little earthier and witchy in the week, especially as it is full moon time, but for now, this is Jaine Rose, all sugared up and feeling a little speedy, signing off.

September 30, 2012   11 Comments