Monday, 23 March 2015

Spinning art yarn with Wensleydale locks

In between working on my cardigan project for next Autumn and making baby clothes for charity, I like to spin art yarn with the Wensleydale locks that I acquired last Summer. The locks are different colours, ranging from black to almost white and the locks are most attractive.

I've been plying the singles with some black yarn with lurex in it and the end result is very attractive. I shall probably make a cowl or snood of some sort and I'm sure it will be very warm.

Here are some more pictures:

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Date and Banana Cake

This is a delightful cut and come again cake using healthy main ingredients, i.e. dates and banana. Here are the ingredients:

8 ozs self raising flour
pinch of salt
4 ozs of soft margarine
4 ozs caster sugar
1 large banana
4 ozs of chopped dates
1 large egg
4 tablespoons milk

For the topping:
1/2 oz of chopped walnuts (optional)
2 level tablespoons demarara sugar

Measure out the self raising flour and put into a large bowl.

Measure the soft margarine and add it to the flour.
Take the stones out of the dates and chop them up.

Then measure out the sugar and add it.

Rub the flour mixture into the fat and the sugar until it looks like breadcrumbs. I usually add the sugar after the fat.

Mash the banana and add it to the mixture with the chopped dates.

Add an egg

Add 4 tablespoons of milk and mix together all the ingredients with a fork.

Put a paper lining into a 2lb loaf tin. No need to grease.

Smooth the top with the fork or a knife and sprinkle with the demarara sugar and/or the chopped walnuts.

Bake the cake for one hour at gas mark 4 or equivalent on the medium shelf of the oven.
When it is done it should look like this:

Leave to cool, then turn out onto an oblong plate.

We like to eat ours with a cup of tea on Sundays. The outside of the cake is crisp and the inside is soft.

This cake will keep for two or three days under cling film or in a tin.

Have a wonderful Sunday; Star

Sunday, 1 March 2015

My English Garden - 1st March 2015

At last we're out of February and into March. I'm ready for some warmer weather. My shed is looking forward to a new year although already I've had a disaster in there! The beautiful medium sized geraniums I put in there at the start of the winter have all died! They got some sort of fungus on them and soon had to be chucked out. I do hope it wasn't anything in the shed although I don't see how it could be because the shed was brand new. Still the fact remains that the geraniums are no more I am sad at their passing. Now I have several very large plants indoors and all the baby cuttings have taken. It just goes to show that we shouldn't be greedy. I need to be glad of the ones I still have and not mourn too much for the ones that are no more.

In the next week or so I shall be looking out for frogs coming to the pond, which was also new last year. Over the years I have found that the favourite day for frogs to arrive is March 5th. I don't know why but I have the date in my diary.

This is the little pond where our natural fish lives.  He/she is two years old now. I can't believe that it was two years ago that I went fishing with Dylan and brought the fish home. I only expected it to live for a few days, but here we are two years on and it's doing fine and really big. We also have a lot of pond snails in there and they are doing their job of keeping the sides clean and the water clear. As you can see it is possible to look right down into the water. We have had ice on the top, strong winds and snow but still our little fish survives. I think it might be a minnow. This Spring I'm hoping to find him/her a friend but Dylan is not keen to go fishing because he remembers that last time we went he got stuck in the mud!

Bulbs are coming up in the borders and on the patio. We nearly have one daffodil out.

I'll leave you today with some Spring primulas. Have a great Sunday.


Saturday, 21 February 2015

Toast by the fire.

We have had some nice Spring days this week, but there is always a chill wind and once it gets dark, the heating goes up and the fire is lit.

There is nothing nicer than toast done on an open fire, dripping with butter and slathered with honey when the wind is blowing outside and sleet blows sideways.

I have seen the news where the eastern half of the United States is suffering extreme conditions and my heart goes out to those people who are without warmth and light. May it soon come back for you folks.


Saturday, 14 February 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Whatever you're doing today I hope it is a day filled with romance and love.

So from my computer to yous... Happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, 11 February 2015

New Grandson - Oliver B. Jones

Here is our adorable new baby grandson, Oliver B. Jones. Isn't he sweet. I've spent the last few months knitting some items for him. Here they are below.

Oliver weighed 8lbs 12ozs at birth and he was born on 9th February, 2015. Welcome to the family little one.

It could be a while before we get to see him because he will be living in North Carolina with his mum and dad. Fortunately these days, we have Facebook, Facetime and Skype so we can keep in touch. Last night we were able to watch the little fella in his cot - so new, just day two of his life. So precious, these first few days. Mum and Dad looked a little tired, but that is only to be expected.

Needless to say, we are delighted and I couldn't wait to tell you all about it.


Sunday, 1 February 2015

Selling the software

Although I like to live a cottage life as much as possible, there are many times these days when my computer takes priority. It's great for winter afternoons for example, when it is too cold to go in the garden and you've seen all the films on TV before!

When I was in America Larry bought me CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5 and I was just getting to grips with it when I moved over here. We brought the computer over with us, the one I was using, but with the difference in voltage here in England, it was no good. It ran too slow and had other anomalies so we got rid of it. It was a shame to see it go because it had a very large screen, which was great for doing graphics. Here I have a Sony laptop, but the screen is quite small and I soon discovered that it was no good for CorelDRAW. Two of my sons are Graphic Designers and they didn't have a good word to say about CorelDRAW, but when I was working for the Catering Partnership, I had to do quite a lot with CorelD... and I got used to it. I had no intentions of buying Adobe Photoshop at my time of life either. It's so expensive.

Within a short space of time I found I no longer wanted to use CorelDRAW with such a small screen so we bought a new one. It was a Dell. I didn't realise when we bought it that it would be incompatible with my Sony laptop. It was! Try as we might we couldn't get it to work so it had to go back to the manufacturer. We bought the screen through Amazon and they didn't want it back. They wanted us to return it to the manufacturer, but the manufacturer phoned us and tried to get us to keep it. They didn't want it back either! No good, it wouldn't work so eventually we persuaded them to take it back, complaining that they should have checked with us to make sure the screen was compatible with what we had here. We did get a refund, but it put me off buying a new screen.

Larry suggested getting a new Apple computer, one of those all-in-one's with a big screen and all the gubbins inside but I have used Windows for so long I was reluctant. I decided to wait until this laptop is too old. Then I will definitely go over to Apple. If I was young, I would start off with Apple. I'm sure a lot of people would agree.

So I have put my copy of CorelDRAW up for sale on Ebay and by tomorrow I should know if it's been sold. We have lost a lot of money on it but I hate to have something I cannot use and never will be able to use so it's going, going, gone, I hope. I am hoping it will give someone else the pleasure which escaped me this time.

Have you got any 'white elephants' in your house?