Saturday, 31 October 2009


Over on something completely different the theme is Hallow'een. I set my self a challenge, could I carve a pumpkin from a pumpkin and take a print from it? Bearing in mind they are still on inchies (1 inch squares); this was the result.

Friday, 30 October 2009

All Shapes and Sizes - Skinny – Illustration Friday

The topic for Illustration Friday this week is skinny and has the rider "never trust a skinny chef". I've never claimed I can draw so all I can do is put down the image in my head. The skinny chef, probably starting out  at the local chef course; just like when children have their first school uniform fitted. To all my food blogging friends, I think we know the little chef will grow into the hat if he loves food as much as we do. Created using brushes and powerpoint.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

To Wit, To Woo, Owl Power & Faces

The topic for this week's something completely different was inchies (ie one inch squares) with the theme faces. I've been away so my found object this week was the Sunday magazine and I decided to continue with the bird idea from the previous two weeks. Again, I have produced a one inch mini collage, this time of an owlet. Look closely though; all of the elements are made up from faces in the magazine. The wings are ears, the face and body are the shine on a face and the feet are Barry Gibbs' teeth. In the end the whole thing spooked me slightly, but as we are getting near to Halloween I guess that is to be expected.

On the theme of Owls we have just installed an Owl to monitor our electricity usage – scary. To be honest the oven was on when this photo was taken but the heated towel rails are now only to be used during limited time periods!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Fast – Illustration Friday

The topic for Illustration Friday was 'fast'. I've been away and so I am cheating, using wordle and playing with words to illustrate the fact that fast has so many meanings and synonyms, is this just a product of our ever accelerating lives I wonder? The speed with which we progress through life, telling ourselves we must tarry not, use less haste and more speed, whilst hastily flying around trying to complete nineteen tasks to the dozen. We gabble our words and gobble our food trying to fit one more act into time that goes by in a flash. If we are not quick we miss out on opportunities; but moving swiftly on, I feel my pulse becoming more rapid as tachycardia takes effect. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog and I try to express the hurried, spur-of-the-moment action required to rush to the rescue. As we thrash like speeding bullets, turbo torpedoes, down the motorway or information super highway, we expect everything to rocket along even dating is expected to be carried out at speed; a clear run, supersonic, rapido. Continuing to gallop along at such a pace may make us fast, but also furious.

Of course if we slow things down, it is possible to remember that fast also means the complete opposite. A dye which is fast does not run. Something which is fast can be stuck, held firmly like a limpet, never a speedy creature at the best of times. 'To fast' can also be the opposite of gobbling our food, resisting food altogether; strange thing the English language.

So the illustration at the top is all the fast words and the second one is what happens when you focus on the slow words. Which do you prefer?

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Black and White

The theme for this week's something completely different is black and white. People were kind enough to comment positively on the mini collage last week so I have created another this weekend. The 'found objects' for this inchie [one inch square] were a bit trickier as we have been on the move. Therefore; backing is security envelope, giving the chicken wire effect in the bottom corner. The ice floe is from an honesty pod also known as silver shillings. The penguin is from a picture of mud flats cut up from a copy of the weekend's East Anglian Daily times and the snowflakes are daisy petals. The sky is part of a feather collected in Gloucestershire.

Frozen – Illustration Friday

I've been on the move most of the weekend so I have to admit this week's Illustration Friday was created whilst driving. It wasn't me doing the driving you understand but I was busy with brushes on the iphone whilst in transit. I also wanted to play with the layers in brushes so this is a four layered piece of the poor little snow man in the distance whilst some of the snowflakes have a bokeh like effect.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Badingham Fireworks - My annual therapy

Badingham Community Council Fireworks 2009 - Saturday 31st October

Massive display of fireworks

Bonfire lit at 6.30 pm with fireworks at 7.15 pm

Pay on the gate Adults £3 Children £1

Free sparklers for children 
Bring a guy for the bonfire 1st, 2nd & 3rd prizes

Beer, wine, teas, bbq Lite ropes and grand draw Signposted from the A1120

Monday, 12 October 2009

Squeezing hips for a place on the fourth plinth


I have received an award; specifically a Kreativ blogger award. It comes with some 'rules' and I will attempt to follow them.

  1. Thank the person who gave the award to you – Thank you to….@easternsparkle aka Random Ramblings. I am faltered, sorry make that flattered
  2. Copy the logo and post it on your blog. Done, above, quite a pretty little thing; though I'm not sure about the spelling.
  3. Link the person who nominated you – see 1 above.

  4. Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know
    1. I like squeezing hips. Not ball and socket femur joints, but rosehips once they have reached a perfect point of ripeness. If you are lucky a rich fruity paste emerges like squeezing toothpaste from a tube. The trick is to stop before any of the itching hairs or seeds come out; it is a luscious little hedgeside treat.
    2. I have far too many Spike Milligan books and a head full of his rhymes.
    3. I love bonfires but am no good at all with fireworks.
    4. I can say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
    5. I have a fascination with and would love to visit, Japan.
    6. I taught myself the Greek alphabet and it is no help to me apart from in pub quizzes.
    7. I had only heard of blog awards, blog candy and such like in the last few days. I normally refuse to take part in pyramids, chains and other such activities but flattery can get you everywhere as they say. I will have to trust my instinct in passing the award on, that those I pass it to will either wish to participate or will decline gracefully or come up with another crafty plan. See below.

  5. Nominate 7 bloggers for the award, post links to their blogs and leave a comment to tell them they have been nominated. I am assuming you cannot nominate someone who has already received one but from there on in I have a problem. Most of the blogs I follow are the 'what I grow, gather, cook, paint, cycle, write' type of blogs and not the 'This is me, telling you about me' type of blogs. So I have decided that from here the Kreativ Blog will be represented by a fourth plinth. There are 7 places available, if you would like to put yourself forward please submit a comment and I will put you forward to the Plinth committee.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Wordle – words as art

Very grateful to @Easternsparkle for finding another way to distract me. I have decided I love word clouds so here is what follows as a cloud.

Birds, not custard but something completely different

Each year I send people their Christmas cards back. Basically I cut bits out of the one they sent me the previous year, remount it and send back part of the card they sent me. Some friends are becoming canny and trying to fox me. I am always up for new crafting challenges. One of the Blogs I follow is jaydubblah and through her I have discovered Something Completely Different . Now I am new to this so may not fully understand the rules so I hope no one will take offence at my take on the challenge. Described as an 'inchie' and using the theme birds. I have spent most of this weekend hacking back the hedge to our garden and so I have created a mini collage from things found in the garden. The frame is ivy leaf, the sky is pigeon feather, the tree line is cherry leaf and the ploughed fields are ginko leaf. The sun is a gall from the back of an oak leaf the telegraph posts are fennel stems and the birds are individual blackberry pips. If you get your recorder out the notes should play 'Cuckoo, Cuckoo' from The Cuckoo Madrigal from my mother's 'The New National Song Book'.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Flying – Illustration Friday

The image above was created using Brushes on the iphone. Brushes is a bit like finger painting without the fun of the mess.  In my head there is a little cartoon that goes with this of the pilot's face as he creates the loop the loops as quickly as possible before the skywriting smoke dissipates. Then as he cuts the smoke to make the gallant climb to form the dot, cuts the smoke again and gives a little smile of triumph. Only to swear when he realises he has switched the smoke back on again.

When I master brushes properly I might re do this and try to capture the sky blue pink shot with a carrot contrails of a polluted summer sunset.  Contrails are a topic of concern for cloud spotters; for more information look at the Cloud Appreciation Society.

This week has been one of discussions on handwriting and learning the skills of 'joined-up' and spelling, especially 'ing words so the topic seems even more apt.  Who remembers copperplate or the initial teaching alphabet, spelling tests that taught you to spell but not necessarily how to spell and there is a difference?

Thursday, 8 October 2009

The Twitter Louse – How am I driving?

Today is National Poetry Day. I knitted a square which I hope is now part of the Poetry Society knitted poem. It transpired the poem was Dylan Thomas', In My Craft and Sullen Art. However, as Twitter is currently having a bit of an odd day (about 2 hours behind in messages) it was Rabbie Burns who occupied my mind as I sat at the PC. I thought "Oh what great power has twitter gi us to see ourselves as others see us?" OK, maybe not twitter but those who write mashables and algorithms encouraging us to see ourselves as others see us. Here are just a few (puts heart on sleeve):
  • Twitter Grader – currently 94/100
  • Twanalyst - Personality: popular inquisitive cautious Style: garrulous coherent NETWORKER
  • Tweeteffect – People come, people go
  • HappyTweets – I'm pretty happy
  • TwitterCounter – A graph that grows as your count does
  • Twitalyzer – apparently I have an astonishingly high signal to noise ratio and am rated low in all other areas.
  • TweetStats – interesting stuff that shows hourly tweet density
  • TwitterFriends – a whole host of stats you never knew you needed including your follow cost
  • Twittersheep – Gives a cloud based on the Bios of your followers (see above)
  • Twitteranalyzer - A graph junkies heaven
  • TwitterFriendsnetworkbrowser – Wow – I find this strangely addictive; creates visual networks as you click on each picture that person's network is revealed.

    Just to mix my human parasites and poets a little remember: Big Fleas have lesser fleas upon their backs to bite em, and lesser fleas have smaller fleas and so ad infinitum.

    Please do add comments after the Poem to a Louse

    To A Louse
On Seeing One On A Lady's Bonnet, At Church

Ha! whaur ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly;
I canna say but ye strunt rarely,
Owre gauze and lace;
Tho', faith! I fear ye dine but sparely
On sic a place.

Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn'd by saunt an' sinner,
How daur ye set your fit upon her-
Sae fine a lady?
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body.

Swith! in some beggar's haffet squattle;
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle,
Wi' ither kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Whaur horn nor bane ne'er daur unsettle
Your thick plantations.

Now haud you there, ye're out o' sight,
Below the fatt'rels, snug and tight;
Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right,
Till ye've got on it-
The verra tapmost, tow'rin height
O' Miss' bonnet.

My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an' grey as ony groset:
O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I'd gie you sic a hearty dose o't,
Wad dress your droddum.

I wad na been surpris'd to spy
You on an auld wife's flainen toy;
Or aiblins some bit dubbie boy,
On's wyliecoat;
But Miss' fine Lunardi! fye!
How daur ye do't?

O Jeany, dinna toss your head,
An' set your beauties a' abread!
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie's makin:
Thae winks an' finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin.

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Germs, gems, and chicken salad

This Friday as part of the Aldeburgh Food Festival Fringe I went to Maple Farm Organic Farm in Kelsale to take part in their farm walk. I have written previously about the industrial scale of farming immediately around our house, the farm at Kelsale is quite a different story. We went around the poly tunnels where salads are grown for sale in local shops and farmers markets, met Kylie and co the very tame and contented pigs, the outdoor, free range, organic chickens, the Limosin cattle and the flour mill, which is pictured above. Having been raised on a farm and living in Bow and Arrow country I am always intrigued by the different ways that people choose to farm. Maple Farm are clear, they are an arable farm that need to add value by, for example, turning their grain into eggs or flour to sell to bakers to make the sums work. The result is a delight, small fields, friendly animals and increased wildlife. The Kendal family and farm manager Simon were interesting and informative and even sent us home with a goody bag of eggs. Part of the party trundled off to the Bell at Saxmundham for an excellent meal afterwards.

One of the concerns for the owners in running a tour was the recent publicity about E Coli infections following visits to farms by children. They had hand sprays available for the children who seemed quite content to play with the chickens and then go off and eat their sandwiches. It amused me because I am a firm believer in the 'peck of dirt' approach to children and dirt; it reminded me that my own children thought chicken salad was a mix of worms and grass that they collected to feed to our hens when they were younger. Also this weeks Illustration Friday topic is germs, so another brushes on iphone concoction.

The gem, was the latest must have kitchen essential; a table top milling machine, so tempted to get one, I could extend my gleaning to wheat field edges…….

Friday, 2 October 2009

Were You Dragged Through a Hedge Backwards? – How to make hedgerow jelly

One thing my ativar doesn't tell you; I have very curly hair, which refuses to be tamed. My mother seemed to say to me most mornings "were you dragged through a hedge backwards? Go back upstairs and brush it."

In the lane near my house I can pick sloes, bullace, hawthorns, rosehips, crab apples and blackberries; all within half a mile of the front door. If I can arrange for some people to help a couple of hours can produce quite a haul of fruit. These are taken home cleaned and picked over and weighed to create the right proportions, the actual recipe will be different each year depending on what is available but broadly it goes:

3lb crab apples (slit them)

2lb of reds (Rosehips, hawthorns)

2lb drupes & blacks (bullace, sloes and blackberries)

Juice of one lemon


The fruit without the lemon is cooked up in a pan along with water deep enough to cover all of the fruit until things are soft and the colours are flowing. Then comes the dripping, transfer everything to jelly bags; this is why cup hooks were invented. Don't be tempted to squeeze the bags as you do not want any pulp to go through, just the juice. Ideally leave over night and the next day you will have a beautiful fruity broth.

Measure the broth and weigh an equal weight of sugar; i.e. in kilos one litre of juice needs one kilo of sugar and in pounds one pint of juice needs one pound of sugar. Bring the juice to the boil and put the sugar in a 100c oven. Also put your jam jars in the oven to sterilise. Once the juice is boiling, add the lemon juice and hot sugar, turn the oven off to let the jars cool to a bit. As the scum starts to form on the surface of your jelly skim with a spoon to remove and continue to boil until the setting point is reached. My preferred testing method is putting plates into the freezer and dropping a small amount of the jelly onto the plate, leave it for two minutes and check that the surface wrinkles when pushed with a finger. Pot and seal.

The resultant jelly is clear and has a fantastically jewel like quality. It is great with meat, as a basis for gravy like sauces and on toast.