Wednesday, 31 August 2016

And my butterfly mind has now landed at.....

peg-loom weaving!

I've been wanting to try it for quite some time and finally bought myself a loom from Dales Looms, who are based in North Yorkshire.   
In the end I decided to go for the 90cm loom, with 6mm and 9mm pegs and three different peg spacings.  I had a little play with it for the first time yesterday, setting it up on my ironing-board.  Perhaps in future I will be able to get the warp threads in place, turn it around and use it sitting down ~ hopefully the loom will be wide enough to rest on the arms of my chair. 



It was rather tedious setting up the warp threads in the pegs ~ perhaps I shouldn't have use 33 pegs for my first attempt LOL  I used the 6mm pegs and really could have done with using longer threads but hey ho, it was my first attempt after all!


I've been doing lots of searches for peg-looming instructions, hints, tips, etc, and somewhere in my travels I came across the idea of adding tassels at the start of the work.  Perhaps I should have done some practice pieces before leaping in with tassels ~ they look lovely here but got somewhat tangled up further in the process.


The actual weaving itself is simply a case of going in and out of the pegs.  I found that I quickly got into a rhythm, and it was actually rather lovely ~ gentle and soothing.


It didn't take long to fill the pegs and then came (for me, at any rate) the tricky part of taking the work from the pegs, and pulling the warp threads through.


The instructions I was following said to take each peg from its hole, pull the warp thread all the way through until the knot is reached, and replace the peg in its hole.  Now, this seemed perfectly clear and easy when reading the instructions, but in practice I found it a tad more difficult.  This is also where the tassels got rather tangled up in the loose ends of the warp threads!

Anyhoo, I persevered all the way along and then found myself in something of a quandry.  The work was at the end of the warp threads, as per the instructions, and so there was an expanse of empty warps ~ and I couldn't work out how to keep the last length of weaving yarn at the right tension.  In the end, I just sort of fudged it together and hoped for the best! 


 I've since found some more instructions which say to pull the warp threads just through the weaving, then replace the pegs in their holes, which is actually what I did for the second round of weaving on the pegs.  I guess it will come good with enough practice :-)


And there it is, my first attempt at peg loom weaving!  I'm really rather pleased with it, and using a chunky yard with the smaller pegs has produced a nice firm piece of weaving.  I'm already thinking of things I want to make ~ cushion covers.....rugs.....dining chair seat pads.....bags......wall hangings

I think I will definitely be able to keep myself busy LOL

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Happy Anniversary....


...to Adrian and I.  That's us, on our wedding day in 1984 ~ gosh, how can 32 years have gone by so quickly!
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Little words of wisdom


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

So much conflicting advice...

Healthy Food Wallpaper
http://www.wallpaperhd.pk/healthy-food-wallpaper/


I have just been reading The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet by Michael Mosley, the latest in a long line of assorted dieting books I have read over the years.  I think I've probably read most varieties of the different diet plans which have come and gone, including low calorie/low fat/low carbohydrate, along with the other side of the dieting equation such as eat like the French, eat fat, etc.  This latest book has left me feeling very fed up (no pun intended!) and rather deflated.  The advice available to would-be dieters these days is so varied, and runs from one extreme to the other.  How on earth are we supposed to decide just which plan ~ if any ~ we should be following?

If you have come here from my Lavender and Pearls blog, then you will be all too aware of my dieting trials and tribulations over the years.  I've made many half-hearted attempts to shed some of this excess weight (and boy do I have a shed-load of the stuff to shift!), but frankly my interest has soon waned.  I've ended up feeling inadequate and despondent, ashamed and embarrassed, both by my size and my seeming lack of will-power to do something about it.  I now find myself back at the same place I was in over two years ago; I've travelled full-circle yet again.

For far to many years now my diet (i.e. the foods I usually eat, rather than a slimming plan) has, in all honesty, been extremely dire.  It's a subject that is almost constantly on my mind, in one form or another, and the bottom line is that I have to do something to rectify this situation before it's too late.  I turned 55 back in June and am the heaviest I have ever been in my whole life.  It's too much, I can't carry on like this and expect to live a reasonably healthy life well into old age.

The mad thing is that when I was growing up during the 1960s and 1970s, I ate a far better diet than I have done since I married my ex-husband back in 1980.  He was an extremely picky eater.  The only vegetables he ate were carrots and potatoes; he ate very little fruit and no meat or fish other chicken breast.  He did eat a lot of peanut butter and milk, though, which I guess contributed to his stature of 6'4", with a 46" chest!  I admit that I became very lazy during the two years we were married, and just didn't bother making different things for myself.  We both had a sweet tooth, so biscuits, cakes, desserts, etc, were always on the menu ~ shop-bought, of course, not homemade.

As a child and teenager, though, we had "proper" dinners at home, usually with a pudding of some description each day, along with a traditional roast on Sundays.  We ate meat, fish, potatoes, vegetables and fruit.  There were cereals and toast for breakfast, or perhaps a boiled egg with toast fingers, and often a traditional English fried breakfast at the weekend.  For tea, or at lunchtime if  we were were having our main meal in the evening, there would probably be sandwiches ~ cheese, ham, tuna or egg ~ or perhaps baked beans, tinned sardines or scrambled eggs on toast.  There would almost always be a piece of cake as well, usually homemade.

So after reading this latest "revolutionary" diet book, I have found myself looking back at those childhood meals, and also to the meals I ate when staying with my Grandma on holidays as a youngster.  The more I think about it, the less doubt there is in my mind that food, the way we ate, in fact meals in general, really was different back then.  I don't remember eating any ready-meals until I was in my early teens; Mum mostly cooked from scratch and Grandma always did, apart from the occasional treat of fish-and-chips for tea.

You may be surprised to know that my Grandma didn't have a fridge when I was a child, everything was kept in her pantry.  It was really cool in there, a large walk-in cupboard beneath her stairs.  She kept bottles of milk in a bucket of cold water and walked to the village shops at least every other day or so to buy fresh food.  Meat came from the butcher, wet fish from the fish and chip shop, bread from the village baker, vegetables and fruit from the greengrocer.  There was a little supermarket of sorts where Grandma bought tinned goods, packet foods such as flour, sugar, etc, and various household sundries.

Meals didn't consist of the large portions that they do these days, either, but I can't recall ever leaving the table still feeling hungry.  We didn't eat until we were unable to move, we simply ate enough to satisfy our hunger.  At Grandma's house we usually had four meals: breakfast, the main meal at midday, tea and a light supper before bedtime.  There wasn't much eating between meals then, either, and if we did complain about being hungry we would most likely have been given a piece of fruit.  It's not that we never had sweets, chocolate, shop-bought biscuits or ice-cream, but they were regarded as occasional treats.  Almost everything else we ate was homemade, from scratch, including cakes and puddings.

I imagine that most of you from my generation or older grew up eating in a similar way; our parents and grandparents would almost certainly have eaten those kinds of meals.  It was real food, not low fat/low carbohydrate/full of man-made additives.  I suspect that that is the simple answer to what seems to have gone wrong with our eating habits now.  What so many of us eat these days is far removed from good, basic, wholesome ingredients.  It surely can't be possible to sustain and nourish our bodies on such a diet, nor our minds either, for that matter.

I too have overloaded my body with too much "non-food" year-upon-year-upon-year, and in the process have become ever fatter and so terribly unhealthy ~ and unhappy, too.  Perhaps my comfort-eating may also be partly due to lack of proper nourishment, I certainly think it's a possibility.  All this seems to be in the minds of many other folk, too, and there are now lots of links on search engines to some interesting websites and blogs.

The upshot of all this, then, is that I have decided the time has come to ditch all the "diet" books and the latest conflicting advice in favour of cooking from scratch as much as possible, using good old-fashioned basic ingredients.  I am not saying that cooking from scratch will magically melt away my excess weight; I know that I need to take a long, hard, honest look at my overall eating patterns as well.  Still, I want to feed my body and mind with good wholesome nourishing food ~ and I think it will be good for my soul too.

I have plenty of great cookery books full of ideas, recipes and inspiration to help me in my quest.  I also have my Grandma's lovely, battered old notebook containing some of her own handwritten recipes, as well as the books that came with her cookers when she got new ones.  It's not so easy for me to simply pop into town each day for fresh ingredients like Grandma did, but I do have the convenience of a freezer which makes it simpler to buy meat and fish on a weekly (or even longer) basis.  I also think that proper, full, menu-planning is a good idea, rather than the half-hearted attempts I usually make.....then don't follow anyway!

I thought I might share my culinary adventures with you...I haven't felt this excited about cooking for a very long time :-)
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Monday, 29 August 2016

80 years old.....

.....my Dad, that is, not me!  He turned 80 on 6th August, and the weekend before we had a family celebration at The Brudenell Hotel, which is right on the seafront in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.  It's a very nice hotel, with great food and friendly staff, and we had four lovely days there.

 

My sister, Amanda, daughter Beverly and I paddling in the sea at Southwold.  The beach at Aldeburgh is very pebbly so it was nice to walk over a mostly sandy beach to get to the water at Southwold ~ even if we did sink into the sand in a rather alarming manner!


Sam, my son, joined us for a photo but declined our suggestions that he might like a paddle LOL


Dad, Adrian, Sam and Beverly took themselves off for a little walk in Aldeburgh ~ we ladies were much more sensible, choosing instead to stay at the hotel and have a nice sit down in the shade.  Beverly took this photo just before we placed our order for drinkies!


We had the birthday celebration dinner on the Saturday evening, in a private room at the hotel.  It was lovely, and the staff looked after us beautifully.


The floral centrepiece was so pretty.


Birthday cake, made by your's truly :-)


Adrian and I...


Mum and Dad...


Dad and his girls...


Grandad with the "gruesome twosome" (In case you didn't know, Sam and Beverly are twins). 


About to blow out the candles...


looking suitably pleased with himself afterwards! 


Amanda supervising the cutting of the cake.


Dad solved the issue of getting all those unruly balloons up to the bedroom by tying them to Mum's walker... 


and commandeering the lift!


This was the view from Adrian's and my bedroom ~ he took the photo when he woke up early one morning whilst we were there.

Thanks for a fab weekend, Dad :-)
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Sunday, 28 August 2016

Peace...



www.allposters.co.uk

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)

Sunday, 21 August 2016

So.....put together this.....


bowl of buttercream, plus these.....


packs of sugarpaste, and these....


homemade madeira cakes, with the addition of....


some yummy chocolate creations....


and you get an 80th birthday cake for my Dad!

Dad turned 80 on 6th August, and the previous weekend we had a family celebration in Aldeburgh....


and here's the birthday boy himself :-)

It's been a long time since I've made any celebration cakes, and quite honestly I'd forgotten how exhausing I tend to find it.  Plus, of course, I'm never satisfied with how the end product looks, although it always seems to taste good thank goodness!  In case you are wondering, the idea was to make something that resembled a tatty, dirty, old toolbox with the bottom drawer open ~ does it look like that to you???  I hope so!

I used the madeira cake recipe from Lindy's Cakes Ltd and it was delicious ~ I shall definitely make it again.  It was rich, moist and firm enough to use as the base for a celebration cake.  I made two 12" cakes (cutting one in half) which was quite a lot of hard work ~ thank goodness for electric hand mixers!  The buttercream for the crumbcoat was simply flavoured with lemon juice and peel to cut through some of the sweetness, and I made it fairly stiff.  As you can see, I purchased the sugarpaste and modelling paste ~ way too much hassle for me to make my own!

The chocolate tools were absolutely fantastic!  I got them from a seller on Yumbles, Schokolat, and I kid you not, the nuts and bolts actually unscrew!  Granted, it wasn't exactly cheap to fill up that toolbox drawer but the effect was well worth it I think.

Everyone said the cake looked good ~ perhaps they were just being kind LOL  Now I can take a break from the trauma of celebration cake making until August 2018, when my Mum turns 80!
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Peace...


www.allposters.co.uk

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence during the bright and sunny days.
For then we can share that which we have with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence during the Holy Days.
For then we are able to celebrate you and our families and our friends

For those who have no voice, we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy, we ask you to pour your love out in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain, we ask you to bathe them in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed, we ask you to shower upon them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the world that which we need most.....PEACE.

Maya Angelou
(4th April 1928 - 28th May 2014)



So here we are....

Forked Coastal Path

...at the beginning of a new phase in my life.  'Tis nothing drastic or dramatic ~ just a gentle veering off along a slightly different path.  I am sure that once this blog gets going there will be things here that you will recognise from Lavender and Pearls, but there will be new things too ~ new things to talk about and share with you, new interests, new ways of looking at and thinking about my changing journey.

I guess you may be wondering about the name of my new blog ~ and my new signature, too!  The blog name is pretty simple, really: I have a butterfly mind.  My head is always flitting about here, there and everywhere, never able to stay in one place for any length of time.  I've tried to fight against it over the years but have finally admitted defeat and am going to do my best to embrace and accept this character trait: this is just the way I am made.

And as for "Tabi".....Well, many years ago when I was desperately trying to find a niche that fitted me, I joined a new age/spiritual/pagan-type forum and had to think of a username.  "Tabitha" just popped into my head from somewhere and a dear friend that I made on the forum (and yes, we are still friends all these years later) always called me Tabi.  In fact, she still does ~ and I rather like it LOL

So there it is, not exactly a brand-spanking new life but certainly a turn along a slightly different pathway :-)


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