Friday, 24 July 2015

Take 5

1) We are well into jam making season here - loganberry, tayberry and strawberry so far. Theo also made some really delicious strawberry and apricot jam the other day - we had quite a few over ripe apricots in the fruit bowl which just got thrown in too basically, but it worked beautifully. Anyway, jam making, I find, encourages other baking. Usually fresh bread rolls, sometimes scones, and just occasionally a sponge cake. A whisked sponge is always my favourite choice to fill with jam and fresh cream.

4.5oz sugar
4.5oz plain flour
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp baking powder

Whisk the egg whites till stiff and white, then in a different bowl whisk the yolks and sugar till pale and thick. Gently fold the whites into the sugar mix, and then also fold in the flour/baking powder. Put into greased tins and cook in a medium hot oven for approx 10 mins.

2) My tablecloth is beginning to turn into a quilt. Here is the centre.

I cut another circle, the same size, from a really rich, yellow fabric (plain vintage sheet!) and sewed them together (right sides together), all the way round. No little gaps required for turning because once it was done I carefully cut into just the yellow side and cut out a large circle, leaving just a border, and then obviously it's easy to turn it right sides out.

So the embroidery you can see here is the reverse of my table cloth fabric.
Then I cut small slices into this border to help it lie flat nicely.

After a good iron I sewed it on to a white background. This is going to be the centre of my quilt. I think it's calling out for some spiral quilting.

3) Lots of photos to catch up with. The usual boys in water photos...

For some strange reason Theo loves doing belly flops at the moment!

And girls on the beach...

Venetia dancing of course!

But as well as the predictable beach/sea shots, we were away at the weekend and got the chance to go back to a few old haunts. When the boys were little, long before the girls came along, we used to live in a tiny village in Hertfordshire. There was a picturesque ford quite nearby with ducks and geese. The boys, particularly Sam, were mad about ducks and we used to go to feed them most days. I have many, many very happy memories of this particular place, so of course it was top of my list to revisit. We hadn't been there for probably 10 years, I don't think either Sam or Theo properly remembered it for real, but they've seen lots of photos of their littler selves there. It was really special to see how much they enjoyed being there again, the joys of feeding ducks clearly never grow old! And of course the girls loved it straight away too. 

It probably helped that there were some very cute baby ducks there too!

4) I saw this series of 'Nature is Speaking' videos the other day, very powerful. I think the first one was 'The Ocean' with Harrison Ford, which obviously resonated very much with me, but they were all good, particularly the Mother Nature one with Julia Roberts, I thought. 

5) Our very last day of school was yesterday. Holidays have, finally, officially begun, hooray! And we did manage to get most of our planned teacher presents finished! I'll leave you with just one, until I get round to sorting out my photos for the others! This one was very easy - black sharpie on a plain white mug. It was for a music teacher, so Venetia wrote a few lines from Abba's 'Thank you for the music' on there. 

We made a very simple little mug rug to go with it too.

I kind of thought, since it was only little, that I ought to have very narrow binding, but actually, with hindsight, I wish I'd gone quite a bit wider.
There's so much on Pinterest about sharpie drawing/writing on mugs/plates etc, definitely worth a browse if you're looking for gift inspiration. But there seems to be quite a bit of divided opinion on how durable it is, and whether or not there's a need to use an oil based sharpie. Ours seemed to work OK, but I would have liked to test it a little more, so I think we'll do a bit more experimenting before we make any more as gifts.


  1. Oh gosh, love the water, and beach photos. Soak up your summer holidays my friend. Happy weekend.

  2. I love the touch of orangey yellow around your center for the quilt top! And hooray for getting the teacher presents (mostly) finished up. :)

  3. Yay for cake and the summer holidays! I love your beach pictures too, Venetia makes really beautiful shapes!

  4. Something tells me those photographs of Venetia dancing so beautifully on the beach will work their way into a quilt....! Love the centrepiece of the quilt using vintage embroidered cloth; the deep egg yolk yellow bring out the colour perfectly. X

  5. This post has summer written all over it. A day of fun in the sun and a nice sponge to finish, heaven.

  6. Oh so much going on! love the sea and beach shots
    Sharpie wise we bake ours for durability and as long as you don't dishwash them you get about 6-9 months before it starts to wear off :-)

  7. The pictures of your babes are just wonderful. I love all the action shots. Cake looks delicious and so simple. I may have to make that today! We have ground cherry preserves from last year that would be decadent on that! Thank you for the video suggestions. I found the series online. Looking forward to sitting with a nice cup of tea and my husband tonight. We always enjoy a good documentary.


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