Archive for November, 2007

How to be a domestic goddess (I wish)

Friday morning

I’m feeling a bit smug this morning, all I’ve done is put some chicken portions in a plastic bag with some marinade ingredients ready to tip out and bake tomorrow or Sunday, and suddenly I’m feeling like a domestic goddess. Of course I still have to sort tonights dinner and do some food shopping instead of patronising Tesco Express every second we run out of something else. But I can’t help feeling smug and slightly organised, if only it was that easy! This meal in anticipation is all down to another of Nigellas recipes, this time from her new book Nigella Express, which Rick brought home unexpectedly as a surprise for me a couple of weeks ago. I expect you’re thinking ‘that’s very nice of him’ or maybe ‘ooo, how devious, maybe I  should buy my partner a copy of this and then I’ll never have to cook again’.  Ha ha, I know what you’re up to mate!

I do like how she thinks and writes too, as she discusses spending a few minutes in the day to prepare something that can marinade/freeze/cook slowly for a couple of hours while she goes and attempts to do what she calls ‘doomed jobs’ like trying to tidy her desk. I know how she feels, but really wish I could plan things on the dinner front a bit better than I do. Marinading meat, preparing meatballs and kebabs and generally being organised, as well as using the pasta machine we bought when we married eleven years ago were all things that I thought I’d do when I gave up working full time. However I had no idea I’d start a small business and end up busier than I ever was before self-employment. I don’t really think I could ever be a ‘lady wot lunches’. I also wonder how organised Nigella would be if she didn’t write recipes for a job, I mean, she’s actually working when she prepares a meal ahead. If I did that for a living I expect I’d be more organised, after all, my work would be planning and preparing food. Maybe I’m in the wrong business? Have a great weekend!

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2 down, 4 to go

Tuesday morning

It’s finally here, silly season has started and I’m up to my eyeballs in making jewellery to sell at the pre Christmas events I’ve booked, and the current score is 2 down, 4 to go. I actually have a slight feeling of euphoria this morning, wondering whether it’s worth slogging my guts out any more for the remaining events, but I know it will be worth it. On today’s list of makes are some aluminium earrings, using some of the sheets of designs I enjoyed colouring during the summer and a further selection of freshwater pearl earrings and maybe some bracelets to go with them. I also somehow need to get some fresh food in the house as we seem to have run out of our basic building blocks for so many of our meals here. It’s finding time to do t’internet shopping whilst I’m knee deep in fairs that’s a problem. I honestly don’t know how other designer makers survive doing the fair circuit that they do, some people I know do a couple of weekend fairs a month, farmers markets, kids parties and still seem to be able to live. What I want to know is how do they find time to make what they sell and keep their house running?…I’ll leave you with that thought, must dash!

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Breakfast in Bed (or not)(still trying to go with the song titles)

Thursday morning

It’s my birthday today, and I’m having to work cos my fairs start on Saturday, boo hiss boo. Still, that didn’t stop me trying to tart up my usual breakfast of porridge, that I normally do the same every day, with the exception of weekend when I might add a squirt of maple syrup, golden syrup or chocolate ice cream sauce – that’s the sauce not the ice cream….just in case you were wondering. So what I want to know is, what can you do to porridge to make it posh? The recipe books are full of all sorts of glamorous food, and new twists on old favourites, but seems everyone out there has neglected poor old porridge. In my quest to have a special birthday breakfast, you know, something modest and a bit different from normal, I thought where better to look than t’internet! Hmm, what I found is making me feel sicker than I do already (but more about that in a minute). Here’s a few of the recipes I found:-

Snail Porridge – yes I know, and this one’s on the BBC Food pages, seriously…check it out

Cranachan – this is porridge with cream and raspberries in, sounds OK so far? but get this……whisky! for breakfast? If I said it’s a Scottish recipe you’d understand.

Banoffee Porridge – this intrigued me, but what on earth is dulce de leche?

This was all a bit complicated for me this morning, and I’d come across a couple of recipes using apples and cinnamon, so I thought I’d just use a bit of the later to spice it up a bit. I have to say I’m now feeling a bit queezy, having gently tapped my jar of cinnamon and about 1 teaspoon of the powder came wooshing out and onto my porridge, covering it in a brown dust of old smelling spice which I quickly stirred in hoping it wouldn’t be too bad. A little pinch would probably have been better, and a quick look at the date on the jar revealed it was best before 1998, that’s not so long ago, isn’t it? oh yes, it is, 9 years!

An hour later and the taste is still there, better go and eat something else that might get rid of it at last. I don’t think I’ll be trying apple and cinnamon in my porridge, ever!

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Keum-Boo yah

Tuesday morning

I was reminded today that I haven’t blogged for over a week, is it really that long? I’ve been so busy teaching that the last couple of weeks have wizzed by and now I’m in full swing (well trying to be) getting ready for my local Christmas fairs. I’ve cut right back on these, concentrating on three that are really good normally (all in private schools), together with a couple at Bromley Adult Education centre where I go for a day off (ha ha) each week. I also have a group show with the 2 x 4 artists that I belong too, details for that can be found on my events page. Of course these shows are like buses, all coming at once, I have 4 in 8 days, then the rest are better spaced fortunately.

Oh I’d love to go out to my studio and make beads, but I’m indoors keeping warm and dry, spending my time making silver jewellery and assembling pieces with my beads. I’ve been going through my toolbox and jewellery experiments box the last few weeks to try and use some of the bits that I started and didn’t finish, it was amazing just how many ‘bits’ I’d accumulated, etching experiments, Keum-Boo shapes (gold foil applied to a silver sheet substrate), bits of fusing, castings, and list goes on. I’ve managed to use a small proportion of these, and have been going through the process to turn them into jewellery, but today is the best, as I’m actually finishing some pieces now, woo hoo.

Well, that was a pleasant break, chatting to you guys, but now I have to get on with my work, and go and see if my Flog Blog on Facebook has updated. Ciao.

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Sarah’s Soapbox (although nowadays it’s all liquid in a plastic bottle)

Friday evening

Another lovely autumnal day today.  It was certainly cold when I got up this morning so winter is on it’s way at last.  I did one of my days in the Surrey Guild Gallery today and had the pleasure once more of my favourite drive over the downs through the woods between Dunsfold Aerodrome and Millford. The trees looked splendid in their orange, green and yellow leaf tones, and occasionally I drove through a leaf flurry or two, which was very much like a mini snowstorm of colourful swirling leaves. Lush. My cabinet is now restocked with lots of goodies, perfect for Christmas pressies, so do go and have a look if you’re passing.

Back to the drive today…..I’m going to get on my soapbox now….maybe I should have a new feature called ‘Sarah’s Soapbox’, it could be a bit like Annabelles rant on Virgin radio in the evening! What’s it called? ‘That’s so rubbish?’ Hmmm.  Anyway, what’s with all the 40 tonne lorries and JCB’s going along the single track road with only a few passing places and lots of wiggly bends and little hills and steep banks? Why are they driving along a road that plainly says ‘Unsuitable for heavy vehicles’ and ‘single track road with passing places’? The frequency of these huge beasts that struggle to go up the hills and around corners at the same time, forcing normal cars (that’s us) to back up the road several hundred yards, seems to be increasing every time I take this leg of the journey, and to say that it spoils the route (and wastes my time) would be an understatement. My friend reckons that it’s all down to the dreaded sat-nav, where haulage companies are using  new found short-cuts  and not engaging their brains before they take said  new routes, as she has recently been having the same problem on a couple of other single track roads she takes. That’s so stupid! hee hee.

Now I’ve got that off my mind, I must dash and clean some mandrels and get a dipping them in preparation for teaching again tomorrow. Have a good weekend, see y’all.

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Now you see it, now you don’t

Tuesday Morning

It’s a beautiful day out there today. The sun’s shining and it’s not too cold, so, lovely conditions to meander down to my studio today and make some beads. It feels fairly calm today, with an undercurrent of panic setting in when I think too hard about the work I have to do in the next few weeks in the lead up to Christmas. I’ve already spent several days sorting my beads into sets and assembling them into my range of jewellery, and oh, I had to stop myself from just going and making beads or cute penguins and maybe a fish sculpture or two. To say ‘I’d rather be making beads’ would be an understatement. I’d better pop and put the kiln on as I’ve already spent far too long tidying the kitchen. (I’ve changed my mind, it’s a bit nippy out there, 6.5 deg C, but I’m still going to make beads. Now where did I put my thermals? )

It looked like the proverbial bomb had gone off in our kitchen after we entertained a friend on Sunday, and of course all the bakeware was still piled up in several greasy (but delicious smelling) piles waiting to be cleaned. I’ve managed to squeeze it all in the dishwasher, so I hope it comes out clean….but don’t tell Rick, I want him to think I’ve been stood barefoot at the sink all morning…lol.

Our visitor on Sunday was a friend, James Brown, who does magic, actually it’s a bit more than that, he was awarded the Magic Circle close-up magician of the year in 2006, and here’s a link to a video clip on You Tube. What a weekend it’s been, teaching on Saturday and James visiting on Sunday, and today it’s Ricks birthday, so, Happy Birthday Rick.

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New gallery!

Friday morning

I’m very pleased to announce that my work is for sale in a new gallery, well, new for me, but the gallery has been open for a few years now. Wave 7 Gallery is full of lots of very colourful pieces of work, much of it inspired by it’s location, near the sea. Actually it’s ideally placed for several beaches, Polzeath and New Polzeath, Rock, and Port Issac. Anyway, my work arrived before the half term holiday and has been on show for a couple of weeks now. If you’re in this area do go and have a look and say hello to Victoria, the proprietor, who also has her studio there making gorgeous coloured abstract mirrors (I have a teeny one that sits on my desk).

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Exhausted and happy

Thursday lunchtime

Je suis tres content merci. I’ve had a lovely 3 days on a glass course and I’m smiling from ear to ear and feeling very content with my world. After 5 years beadmaking and experience I decided it was time to push the boundaries out once more and increase my skills by learning some flameworking. You may be wondering what the difference is….well, flameworking is the term generally given for items that are not necessarily made on a mandrel (the mandrel makes a bead with a hole).  So flameworking can be anything from goblets to sculptural animals and fish, dragons, the human form, you name it, but generally not beads. Most of these items tend to be decorative, or pendants that can be worn from a chain or similar. I already do a small amount of flamework with my leaves and heart pendants, but now I’m revved up and raring to go on all sorts, so tomorrow when I go out to my studio to make dichroic focal beads to sell as pendants I’m going to be struggling to stay on track!

So a huge thank you to my friend Julie Anne Denton who was such a good and inspiring teacher, and an excellent artist. Do go and check out her website.

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