Archive for January, 2009


Thursday morning

There’s good news and bad news…….the good news first…..It seems to be warming up! Yesterday my kiln showed a temperature of 9 deg C when I turned it on at 10am, not bad considering it was a toe freezing minus 1 the other week, and try as I may I just couldn’t work fast, which was bad ‘cos I desperately wanted to go back indoors. The bad news is that they predict cold weather sweeping in from the east, wow, I managed to listen for a couple of seconds to a weather forecast, that’s a first. I’m sure I’ve written about this before, I try so hard to listen to weather forecasts, I really do, I wanna know what’s going on,  but even though I’m stood/sat/balanced on one leg watching and listening intently, I find I only catch the first couple of comments then find myself in a mind stupor watching him/her waving their arms about as if to sing ‘the wheels on the bus, then I awake to the subtitle ‘Thursday PM’ and realise I’ve just missed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday……..for the 1000th time.

So to prepare me for the possible icy gales that will start this afternoon I have stoked my internal boiler and fuelled up on my usual porridge, although this is not just ordinary porridge, this is Sarah Downton’s chocolate porridge. After my fiasco with the cinnamon porridge of a couple of years ago I’ve shied away from spiking my porridge in any but the traditional ways, you know, salt and a bit of sugar, well I always use salt now, but also have it occasionally with little extras like soft dark brown sugar, golden syrup, maple syrup, chocolate sauce  or caramel de leche. Today I felt inspired by Jamie Oliver’s list of porridge variations in his new book, Ministry of Food, and decided to try my hand at my version, but using cocoa powder rather than sacrificing my Divine fair trade chocolate bar and using Nigella’s ‘Chocolate Rice Pudding’ recipe from ‘Feast’ to work out how to do this, after all, cooking dry oats is probably not that different from cooking rice pudding.

Success, it was really yummy, and I have some to put in the fridge for tomorrow as I always do a double batch. It was may not be so sweet as I tried not to overdo the sugar, and maybe not buttery, I’m guessing Jamie’s is buttery from the chocolate bar, but that could be easily tweaked if desired by adding some butter.

here’s my recipe for 2 servings:

1/2 cup rolled oats,  1/2 cup milk,  1 cup water,  1 twist sea salt – my normal recipe but with less salt.

1 tbsp Cocoa powder,  preferably Green and Blacks,  1 1/2 tsp sugar,  1/2 tsp real vanilla extract.

Just bung all these ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil, whisking to disperse the cocoa powder and stop lumps. When the coca is mixed in you can revert to using a wooden spoon, but not one you’ve been using for stir-fries or it will taste of garlic and chocolate (maybe not a bad combo actually). Bring to the boil and simmer for 7 minutes. Serve. Oh yum, you could probably add cream to this at the end if you felt really naughty.

Thirsty te thyme….thes pist has bon majerly edeted ta stip Ricks’ wineghing aboot moy apostrophies ant spoolling….and hear I waz twodai treying to speeed thinks oup bi knot labouriously cheacking evrythong. …tee hee

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What credit crunch?

Monday lunchtime

I’m so tired! I’m supposed to be out today, but didn’t wake up until late and I’m dragging myself around the house like a draggy thing. I really should be taking it easy having worked every evening last week in addition to everyday, and all day and evening Saturday and then at the beadfair yesterday. I also had my accountant round last night (that’s my MIL!) and we went through my tax accounts ready to do the online bit, woo hoo. I was hoping to come home from the fair and put my feet up with a glass of wine but at least the bulk of the tax thang is done now. I’ve been in a haze of tax and beadfair stuff this month, but now I can look forward to planning my new year of work and projects ahead of me, and I may even cook an evening meal or two! The last 2 years have been a bit wierd with health issues happening early in the spring that have knocked us all sideways for the rest of the year, last year was my hip replacement, which took much researching, organisation, and recuperation and the previous year our daughter had serious pneumonia in February with a long stay in hospital and about 4 months off school as she didn’t go back full time until June. Both of these issues put a huge emotional stain on us all, and have seriously reduced my worktime for several months of the last 2 years, so I’m hoping that something else doesn’t happen this year! Although another hip replacement is on the cards, this time for my left hip, but I have no idea when I’ll need that done. I suppose I should be grateful really that I’m not employed full time by someone else, as it would be very hard to cope with all these upheavals if I was having to ask for time off.

Yesterday at Ardingly was another very pleasant day, meeting with other bead enthusiasts and lampworking friends. Even though the fair was relativley quiet compared to the summer one, I saw no evidence of the credit crunch. It was a compact affair on one floor this year, probably because the other half of the traders were at the Hop Farm in Kent for a Gem and Bead fair. Thank you to everyone who came by to say hello and buy my beadies, and thank you for all the lovely compliments, they make the day so special and encourage me to continue making my gems. I hope you all liked my improved packaging and the little extra goody in with your shopping 😉

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History in the making

Tuesday evening

I couldn’t let today go without celebrating such a historic occasion as Americas first black president. I normally steer clear of politics and personal issues in my blog but how can this be contentious?I’m so pleased to see that America has come forward this far in 50 years, but I’m also sad that it had such an awful history. I’ve always believed in racial equality and just don’t understand how people can treat others badly because of race or even sex. To be honset in a perfect world no one would bat an eyelid over todays proceedings, but considering the history, I think it’s great. It was fun to see the nerves during the oaths, just like Charles and Di’s wedding, where Charles fluffed the words, Mr Obama had a few stumbles and forgot his lines he had to repeat, mind you I think most people would struggle with that sort of performance in front of so many people.

On another note I should report that I’ve all but finished my tax and accounts, hurrah! Now I can concentrate on my weekly order tomorrow, and have Thursday and Friday to make some new beads for the Ardingly bead fair this Sunday. I’ve already been busy making more encased frit beads in lovely spring colours and making up sets of the TNT2 beads I made and also the larger Psyche beads I made during November. I hope to make some really girly pink valentine inspired beads and maybe a heart or two. I may even post a couple of spoiler photos if you’re lucky ( or rather that should be if Rick does my photos before Midnight on Saturday – I’m hoping to get an earlier night than I normally do before one of these shows!)

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Paper, paper, everywhere

Wednesday afternoon

nrrrgghhhhhh! I’m feeling swamped! I have paper everywhere, all over my desk and the dining table and in my filing tray and stuffed away in numerous drawers. I try so hard, I really do, but I just can’t keep things tidy, and I really struggle with keeping the piles of paper down and keeping all the odd things in the correct place, I just don’t understand how some people have such immaculate desks, I really don’t get it. I keep so many pieces of paper because if I don’t I forget stuff, then I go and loose the scrap with the information on.  I’ve tried so many things, buying desk tidies, filing trays, folders, pop files, magazine holders…I could go on. These things have helped to an extent, but the mass goes on increasing, as fast if not faster than I can throw stuff away (or rather recycle). At the moment I’m doing my accounts for the year ending April 08, and having the usual struggle of finding and remembering everything I need to find and include, although I should say that so far things are going faily smoothly, I’m just feeling panicked as I empty another drawer full of paper (surprise, surprise). Maybe I need a break, I can’t do this stuff all day, I get bored and then start working slower and loose my attention, then start panicking that I won’t finish fast enough. I have so much to do this month with these accounts and making new stock for the Ardingly bead fair (sunday 25th January), and also fitting in my regular order which seems to be taking twice as long to do at the moment, I think it’s the cold weather and me feeling absolutely shattered from my 1 month cold. I must stop panicking.

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New Year plans

Monday morning

It’s back to normality again, at least kind of, because I have my daughter here on an inset day, and I only found out about that by chance after a party she went to yesterday. If it hadn’t been for my friend saying ‘oh you do know it’s an inset day tomorrow’, my poor daughter would have been walking up the school path on her own,wondering where on earth everyone else was, ha ha. I had all sorts of things planned for today, well, I say that, but I was planning to make my weekly 90 beads today, but I’m not really ready, well, I should really say that the studio isn’t, I have to tidy it and remove the 2 spare kilns from the floor and anything else that was shoved there out of the way on Christmas day so we could sit down on chairs instead of kilns to have our festive lunch! I expect there aren’t any mandrels ready either, I think I’ll bring those indoors to dip and dry because it’s a bit white outside with thin patches of snow. There’s nothing more frustrating than going to make beads and finding you have to spend an hour tidying up first.

So we’re having a nice quiet day together today, just me and my daughter, as Rick is back to work after a 2 week break. I may just make the effort to take her into town and get her feet checked while all the other kids are in school, that will save queuing.

Of course this month is also my dreaded month of catching up with my accounts and doing my tax, oh joy of joys. I always dread it but enjoy it when I get going, I just have a real problem making a regular slot to do my bookeeping, there’s always something more urgent needs doing. We were planning to replace the studio this month with a much larger version while I’m indoors doing my accounts, but discussions with the shed suppliers have revealed that I’ll need a concrete base to support the new size and of course it’s been very frosty this winter, so we’re rescheduling this for the Easter break. Also this month is the Beadworks bead fair at Ardingly on the 25th January, so I’ll have to punctuate the month with bead making sessions, what a I’m planning to make more Double Helix beads for sale at this fair, using my new found silvered glass skills, yipee, I can’t wait to get out there and play.

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