Saturday, 25 June 2022

Looking Back To Lockdown

I was looking again at old photos. It is hard to believe it is two years since Rosie came to Grandma's School at Cornerstones during lockdown! She's grown up and learned so much more in the time since then. But what fun we had together in that crazy summer...

Maths, literacy, science, art... Unicorns, Dinosaurs and lots more

I shall treasure these memories for the rest of my life.

Friday, 24 June 2022


Up to my eyes in sewing machine related matters - back later!

Thursday, 23 June 2022

This Blogpost Is A Little Sili

Let's clarify this - Silicon is a chemical element, symbol Si, atomic number 14. It has a hard, brittle blue grey crystalline structure, and is used in hard coatings for computers, keyboards and more.  You are probably looking at or holding something made of silicon right now as you read this. Its oxide [silica] occurs naturally in sand, agate, quartz etc.
Silicones are synthetic polymers, rubber-like compounds. Used widely in insulation, kitchenware, medical equipment, dentures etc [and breast implants] Silicones are seen as an eco friendly alternative to plastics. Resistant to oxidative deterioration (normal aging) for decades on end. They cope well with exposure to extreme heat and cold, harsh chemicals, sterilization,, ultraviolet radiation, ozone and acid rain, just to name a few. Not toxic to aquatic or soil organisms, not hazardous waste, and whilst not biodegradable, can be recycled after a lifetime of use [lasting longer than similar plastic items]. If disposed of at a landfill for incineration, silicones (unlike plastic) is converted back into inorganic, harmless ingredients: amorphous silica, carbon dioxide, and water vapour.
So not perfect, but considerably better than plastics. And extremely useful. Here are some pieces of silicone ware which are in regular use in my kitchen. I mentioned moopops lids last year. Perfect for pots of cream or yogurt in the fridge. I also bought a pack of stretchy silicone lids in Robert Dyas which give a good airtight seal to different sized containers. [Waxwraps are good, but not as airtight or secure, particularly with a pyrex bowl of sloshy liquid stuff]
My pan lids [from IKEA and Lidl] are SO useful. They fit saucepans, and bowls - on the hob, in the microwave and in the oven. Mostly mine are used in the microwave - but good in the oven if I want to keep a dish of food warm, without drying out.
And my collapsible colander is fabulous. It packs flat in the lid rack, in my pan drawer - but opens to three possible depths. I can put it over various different sized pans. And if I use it with my stainless steel steamer pan, then I can cook potatoes in the bottom, and steam two different veg - all on the same ring. A great energy saver. And I can strain the veg easily too, as its handles do not get overly hot. 
I love my silicone spatulas- flexible enough to scrape every scrap from the mixing bowl, and easy to wash. Following Steph's tip, I always use one of these to make my scrambled eggs nowadays. Very fluffy and all the contents properly delivered to my plate.
I don't have a lot of silicone bakeware - mostly because I have an adequate supply of tins already and I'm not replacing them just for the sake of it. 
But a little sili is definitely useful - do you have any silicone stuff?

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

A Wind And A Prayer

The sun is shining, and it is lovely to be outside in the garden. When I took down all my patriotic bunting after the Jubilee, I decided to keep my newly made flags and hang them in the back garden for the summer, as they seem bright and nautical and not overly patriotic. Because I made them quickly, and didn't hem them, they have started to fray and fade already as they flap in the sunny summer breeze.

I went outside on Monday morning and noticed my neighbour's washing line - he had clearly laundered all his dusters and cleaning cloths and pegged them out

They reminded me of a row of colourful Tibetan Buddhist Prayer Flags fluttering in the breeze!

The traditional five colours used are
  • red [fire] 
  • green [water] 
  • yellow [earth] 
  • blue [sky/space]  
  • white [air/wind] 
Tibetans believe that as the flags blow in the wind, they will spread the good will into the all-pervading space, and bring benefit to all.
It is natural for these flags in the Himalayas to fade and fray - they are traditionally left unhemmed to enable this to happen, symbolic of the passing of all things.

As far as I am aware, my friendly neighbour is not a Buddhist - but I like the idea of our flapping displays promoting peace, compassion, strength and wisdom around the neighbourhood!

Tuesday, 21 June 2022


First there was WMD - Weapons of Mass Destruction [I was not at all happy about them]

Then we had WWMD - What Would Martha Do? [I was OK with that, on questions of home organisation - but then she went into prison, and I felt she was not a very nice person, and lost my enthusiasm]

But now I am at the stage of WWMDD - What Would Monty Don Do?  - I watch Gardeners' World avidly, and find his cheerful manner, and self-deprecating honesty quite delightful. He makes me believe I can do this gardening lark!

I am still assiduously following Huw's book - but that is really basic, and I kid myself I am just a little beyond the babysteps now. Especially as friends and family have kindly donated extra plants which are growing in the green house and on the patio and not in that one bed.

I am incredibly grateful to my brother, for lending me this book. It is lovely to just read through - but also full of useful tips and has a very comprehensive index. When a book has over 400 pages and you want to find quickly the thing you read in bed last week, a good index is a must! Definitely a ***** volume.
We returned from 3 days away last week, and I discovered the potatoes had some leaves with brown spots and yellow patches. "Blight!" I yelled. I rushed inside to check WWMDD?
Answer - all is not lost, harvest promptly. OK, some of the spuds will not have grown to their full size, but cropping immediately mean they will not be utterly lost. I have over 6kg of new potatoes carefully  stored in brown paper bags in a cool place. We will be eating them relatively soon - with chives and fresh mint from my herb collection
Liz was in a shop the other week, and realised the tall pleasant guy coming the other way down the aisle was MD. He smiled and they passed each other. I would have been so tempted to say something. But what??? "You are Monty Don, and I claim my free packet of seeds" "I do like the way you manage your raised beds" "Please will you come and advise me on my tomatoes?".
I suspect I'd have been rooted to the spot, in silent admiration [apologies for unintentional gardening pun]

Monday, 20 June 2022

I Was A Stranger And You Welcomed Me

 The quote from Matthew 25 is very appropriate today

It's World Refugee Day. Read more HERE. I could go on about this, but I am sure you know already about the desperate plight of so many in our world. 

Nobody puts their child in a boat unless the water is safer than the land. 

Sadly many people fleeing war and persecution end up in the clutches of people traffickers. For a long time, the charity Stop the Traffik has worked to break up trafficking rings, and enable people to escape. 
A while ago, I turned one of their keyrings into an earring. Then I made a second earring using a short length of chain. 
I have worn these in the past to show my commitment to praying for those caught up in this evil trade, and for all refugees. To working for a kinder, safer world
There is much evidence of people trafficking in Rwanda. HERE 

I am appalled that our government thinks it is a good idea to take refugees landing on our shores and fly them to Rwanda. This is ungodly, and an abomination. I have been wearing these earrings for the past week - a number of people have asked about them, and I've explained how angry I am about the words and actions of the Home Secretary. 
I think the late Tony Benn was right... 

UPDATE  I completely forgot to include a link to Sue's page. She is fundraising for refugees this week, and has already achieved sponsorship for around 10 refugees for A WHOLE YEAR. Read more HERE

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Joie De Vivre

My friend's Mum died suddenly, just after Easter. Pauline was a lovely woman- loving, helpful, full of joy. It was a privilege to be asked to make two Memory Bears for her grandchildren. Mim gave me a selection of her Mum's blouses and a lightweight blue skirt. I started preparing to make the bears, by dismantling the garments and pressing the fabrics. In the skirt pocket I found a neatly pressed handkerchief, and one blouse had a tag at the collar, and a garment care label, both naming the manufacturer. I made the bears. A pink ribbon for her granddaughter, a blue one for the grandson.

I wasn't surprised to find the hankie. Pauline was always prepared, and would have been ready to use that hankie to dry tears, or wipe away dirt... As a Christian, she was forever serving other people, helping them, showing them the love of Jesus. There's a verse in Isaiah 52 How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the Good News! There was just enough fabric to cut two little 'soles' from the hankie. So each bear has a 'beautiful' foot, a memory of a good soul.
All my bears have a backpack - and inside an personalised label saying in memory of X made with love for Y. I used the skirt fabric to make the backpacks - but then decided to sew the two manufacturer's tags on the outside. The company was called "Joie de Vivre" - and Pauline radiated joy wherever she went.
Pauline understood what it meant in Nehemiah 8 The joy of the Lord is your strengthMim sent me lovely message when her parcel arrived- she was really touched by the extra personalisation. I hope these bears bring joy and comfort to two young people who miss their wonderful gran so much. RIP Pauline - rest in peace and rise in glory.