I was going to wite this post yesterday. It didn’t want to be written, but better late than never:
Two years ago yesterday my beautiful gentle Oakley made an assisted trip over the rainbow bridge. He was fifteen years old and had lived a good life.
Normally by this stage of the year, I would have already made several dozen crochet snowflakes and will be elbow deep in the thinned down PVA mixture that I use to stiffen them. Having passed the mid-point in November, the undecorating and redecorating should be well underway too.
This year is going to be a little different.
Firstly – of course – while I factored the surgery in August in to my forward planning, and got as far ahead on that score as I could, I didn’t really count on bringing Golden Staph home from Hospital, or the resultant month and a half spent horizontal on the couch, too exhausted to even lift a book or knitting needle. Nor did I foresee the need to spend the next month or so all strapped up in splints and wrist braces.
The secondly, to that firstly, is of course, the imminent arrival of Chris and Nadie’s little miss, still affectionately being referred to as Cookie. We are currently at due date minus 4 days and counting, so I know not what my movements over the next couple of weeks will be.
Anyway, as you may have guessed, the crochet snowflakes are running a bit behind schedule, but I have not been idle.
In the absence of block clearing, goat wrangling, spinning, reading, knitting, crochet and quilting, there was … Pinterest!
I thought Facebook was a major timesuck [ and it is ]
I thought Ravelry was a major timesuck [ and it really really is ]
but Pinterest really should carry a health warning.
Inevitably I browsed [ amongst other things ] for Christmas ideas.
I rediscovered the salt-dough cookie ornaments that we all used to make
forty years a long time ago. So David helped me to whip up a batch
The results were a little … MEH!
[ Yes, of course I have a goat cookie cutter … and you were surprised, why exactly? ]
In the face of such underwhelmingness, I tried this recipe from Woodside Kitchen, which uses a much finer textured mix of Bicarb Soda and cornflour [ cornstarch ] which is cooked in a saucepan, much like the play-dough of yore, before rolling the mix out, cutting and baking for a fairly long time in a slow oven.
The first lot I used a cheap Black & Gold brand wheaten Cornflour, and the results predictably have a slightly wheaten hue but with a silken texture that is almost porcelain like.
The next batch I used a name branded cornflour and the results are slightly lighter, though still not the glossy white of the original blog post. One of the challenges was deciding how thick [ or rather how thin ] to roll the dough. IMHO thin absolutely looks best but there’s a definite point at which the number of accidental breakages increases exponentially.
I took a Pinterest-guided leaf from here on Katy Elliott’s blog, and freehand drew swirls, curls and hearts with a red felt pen on some of them before a top coat of spray clear varnish.
The last batch of ornaments, destined for the wee kitchenalia-themed tree in … yes … the kitchen, were made with a recipe that pretty much everyone accepts originated with Martha Stewart about twenty years ago: Cinnamon Applesauce dough. This has a bit of Elmer’s Glue in the mix, which seems to be an American brand name for a PVA glue, so that’s what I used.
They do smell wonderfully cinnamonish, but you can also smell the glue in there, so next time I may try one of the versions that are purely applesauce and cinnamon.
Of all of these that I’ve tried, I think by far my favourite is the bicarb/ cornflour version, and I hope one day to find a brand that replicates that wonderful glossy white finish of the original.
annoy cheer up my friends in the parts of the globe that are heading towards Winter, herewith a couple of Spring garden photos:
Cuban lily – these send up a central spike that gradually opens out with dozens of tiny florets that are always amazing to watch … and they are easy to grow, spread but don’t take over PLUS … purplish blue. So a tick in every box.
a good red rose, possibly Papa Meilland, and English Lavender [ Avonhurst maybe ? ]
Fruhlingsmorgen [ Spring Morning ] Rose and was ever rose so aptly named ?
I’m not a fan of the peaches and apricots into orange side of the colour wheel, but you can’t beat a David Austin Leander rose
and that, as a certain much loved Aussie gardening guru was wont to say, is your bloomin’ lot!
The weather has been [finally ] warming up and so, inevitably, we have come to Bear’s least favourite day of the year.The Annual Shearing of His Hairy Beariness.
It’s not just a heat thing – although that is one major consideration -but out here, the grass seeds are a real problem. Nasty wiry little beggars that cling onto anything and given half a chance will burrow into places one doesn’t really want grass seeds. So given the magnificent lushness of the pelt on The Bear, a trip to the hairdresser was in order.
Cue the shaking and shivering on the back seat of the car
which lasted precisely as long as it took to drive around the corner to Bear’s ‘stylist’ Ms Leanne
What he doesn’t love is
a] that he gets sent home sporting a bow on his collar [ although at least this time he got a blue one ] and smelling like a Francophilic female of negotiable virtue.
b] he gets teased by the duck
The really weird thing though is that I almost expect him to behave differently once I get him home. I feel like I’ve got a different dog, so how can he possibly behave like MY Bear ?