Okay - five of the things you wanted to know:
What was your favorite craft as a kid? (Capello, being nice and non-confrontational - her words, not mine!)
Did you go to college, and if so what was your major? (Kirsten)
University of Sheffield: Physical Geography - gravel bed rivers were my big thing. I wanted to do a PhD, but couldn't secure funding so I went off to Edinburgh to do an MSc in Environmental Technology instead. Great city. I loved University, but if I had my time again, I would do something different - forensic science maybe.
How did you meet your hubby? Was it love at first sight????? :) (JoJo)
What do you sound like?? Where were you born? (Tiel and Emma)
If you could do something with your crafting now, what would you do? (Raspberry)
Instead, let me distract you from that non-answer by looking at this great plate I found today. I popped into the Charity shop to get a saucer to put under a leaky plant pot and came home with 6 of these - 35p each. I love them.
It doesn't happen too often here, but when it does, it's magical and you have to seize the moment. Which is why we were running around like idiots at 7.45 this morning. And it's a good thing we did, because by eleven o'clock all the snow had gone.
Tomorrow I begin a pottery class. I'm so excited and a little bit nervous. I have thrown a pot only once before, but I loved it - the feel of the clay, soothing movements, beautiful glazes. I am hoping for great things, but steeling myself to start small and simple.
My teacher says I will have to learn hand-building techniques and 'get to know the clay' before she will let me on the wheel. It'll be good discipline for me - I have a terrible tendency to run before I can walk. It's something that frustrates me with trying to teach Mark, but the blame for his impatience can be laid firmly at my genetic door.
I've been having exploring sources of ceramic inspiration - my favourite so far: One Black Bird. My apron and old clothes are ready and I have cut off all my fingernails - yup, taking this very seriously!
D'you think I'll be coming home with one of these?
And in lieu of a pot picture to show you, here's a little glimpse of Johnny doing the baby equivalent of running before you can walk.
Standby for a food post. Dieters, look away now. Yup, my turn to nominate an ingredient in the international cooking fest this week and I've chosen cheese.
This particular handsome devil is a Colston Bassett Stilton. A gift from hubby's colleague Dave, whose family are from the same village as the cheese. We Brits can be fairly fanatical about our cheeses (More Wensleydale Gromit?) but I have the misfortune of living with three boys who can't stand it. So what's a girl to do? I need cheese-friendly dishes, which work without cheese too.
My stilton standby is Cream of Celery soup. Mine gets a handful of crumbled stilton stirred into the bowl of hot soup just before eating. His is unsullied.
Recipe? So easy it doesn't really warrant one, but take some celery sticks, clean and chop (0.5 cm thin ish). Melt a couple of ounces of butter and cook the celery for about 5 mins until soft but NOT brown. Stir in 2 tbsp or so of flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add about half a pint of milk and half a pint of chicken stock. I could lie and tell you I always make my stock from scratch, but in this case, a good quality stock liquid works just fine.
Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 mins until the celery is tender. Stir in your stilton (or other cheese of choice, I like something blue).
So, are you ready to join in this week? Let's all generate some cheesy dreams.
Painting dilemma - I have some wooden storage units for my new craft room cum office walls. They are sitting in the garage all primed and ready for paint. If only I could decide which colour.
I spent a fruitless hour on Sunday in Homebase trying to pick one out and instead found myself back home with a fistful of paint chips, no further forward.
Her book Not Buying It is out in paperback in a week or two. I'm waiting impatiently to read it since I read this review from The Independent:
"Many of us are unhappy, not because we don't have enough, but because we have too much. The usual answer to this problem? Just consume more stuff. We have a vast market in storage (things in which we put other things in order to make it seem as if we have no things)"
Oh yes, this struck a chord. The book is a memoir detailing the author's experiment in not buying anything but the essentials for a year. I need to read it.
When I told my hubby I planned to buy it, he laughed at the irony of that statement. So I did try to reserve it at the library, but there is a long waiting list (guess I'm not the first to have that idea) so in my impatience I've ordered it. Hey, at least I did it from my local independent bookshop...
Months after finding a great wool fabric, I have finally got round to my take on the oh-so-popular Tiny Happy Bag.
It is lined in a linen/viscose mix of a turquoise almost guaranteed to banish the winter blues. Just what I need on this dismal, dreary weekend.
When I finally got down to it, the bag came together pretty fast. I used a magnetic snap closure instead of a button which was a shame in a way as I had a couple of great button options, but speed of closure won over style this time. The interfacing I added gives the wool a really nice weight and the only thing that irritates me is the fact that despite careful pattern cutting, I totally failed to match up the checks on the centre seam. How do you top sewers out there manage it? I need to know, because the bag is a great size and shape and when Spring finally arrives, I may need to make another.
We're enjoying the last couple of days school holiday over here, assisted by a newsletter I subscribe to - Kids Craft Weekly. Each week, via e-mail, you get a themed set of activity suggestions. This week was dinosaurs - very popular round here. So behold, the paper-plate-a-saurus. I'm told he's vegetarian, so we're quite safe.
Dinner tonight was a decidedly un-vegetarian affair. Steak sandwiches with aubergine and cumin relish, watercress and portabello mushrooms. Yummmm - perfect for a quick supper before Hubby heads off to play badminton.
See, I am trying hard with those resolutions.