Paper Inspiration

Do you ever get that feeling?  You know the one where you have a card to design, a very specific occasion for a specific person and the mind just goes blank?  You do?

What do you do to get inspiration when nature, photos you have accumulated and books just don’t help you fill the blank?  Or when it is something very specific you require?

I have a few specific blogs which I turn to.  If it is , what I call a fussy card or which most paper crafter would call, shabby chic then it is to Yvonne I would turn to. http://cardartblogkilcoole.blogspot.ie  Yvonne has also included some wonderful recipes on her site.

Another blog which constantly inspires me is https://cardsandcompany.wordpress.com   Lorraine gives great directions and added to that she gives a glimpse into the city of Ballarat, in Victoria, Australia.

On YouTube  Geraldine on little snippets  is just full of wonderful ideas and again with straight forward directions. https://www.youtube.com/user/littlesnippets1

Now I will freely admit that I love Pinterest and it is a great resource, especially at 3.00 a.m. when sleep is elusive.  It is just amazing the wealth of ideas which abound there.   A word of warning though, you may find that you spend hours rather than 10 minutes on it.

However, I have two special crafting buddies to whom I turn to time and again. Invariably they come up with some great ideas.  Anne my paper crafting buddy who is my expert on die cutting.  What she can do with a die cutter is just amazing.  The other is Mary, who taught me how to make my first greeting card.  She has great ideas.  She is a great artist.

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These two ladies have one thing in common – they have the patience of Job.  They remain calm and will explain things over an over again.  Which is just as well for me.  Thanks to you both. You are amazing ladies.

 

 

Is It Bread Or Is It Cake?

4.15 a.m.  still wide awake and this tossing and turning is really not exercise.  So off to my writing space and firstly those lists.  I like lists.  I especially like lists when I am crossing off what I have accomplished.  Is it vain to want to pat myself on my back and say well done another job accomplished? Vain? No, definitely not.  It is just a good feeling.

So, the “to do list” for today which is very, very, very long as I was away for a few days was completed.  The next thing was a cuppa.  Kettle boiled, mug warmed, coffee jug ready and NO BREAD.  Yikes not good.  There are some mornings when only a slice of soda bread and jam will do.  This was one of those mornings.

Soda bread and scones would take me no time at all to make. I don’t need a recipe for either.  Changing my normal routine, I decided on scones first then the soda bread as it takes longer to bake.

Measured out the ingredients for scones and decided to measure out the flour for the soda bread while I was at it.  Butter milk out for the bread and while I was taking out the flour I came across the last spoonful of Christmas Mincemeat.  Yes, that would go lovely with the scones.

Baking in the oven, washing up completed, counters cleaned down, a quick scan of the local free newspaper which turned into a toal read of the said newspaper. Yes you’ve guess it I totally forgot about the scones.

I took the baking out of the oven and this is what I had……Scone and Soda Bread all in one!!!!!  Don’t ask.  I had managed to put all the ingredients together.

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It actually tastes grand even though it doesn’t look great. In fact I think that’s an understatement. It looks pretty miserable.

Perhaps I have come up with a new recipe? Perhaps it will take off and I will become know as the woman with the daft bread. Anyone who would like the recipe just give me a short while to try and remember what I actually used.

Perhaps I should have had that coffee or even gone back to bed before I started baking.

Then again perhaps I have given someone a laugh. I hope so.

Have a good day.

History Through Taste

I have been reading recently about food fusion and hearing about it on food programmes.  Surely this concept has been around since Adam was a boy.

Perhaps we use the style of cooking which we are used to, then move to a new location where ingredients are different but we use the cooking techniques we know, to cook with the new ingredients.  Surely people have been doing this for hundreds of years.

There are cook books abounding with the fusion concept.  The concept is not new but if it draws people into cooking for themselves I for one am all for it.

I really enjoy reading cook books especially second-hand ones.  I like to imagine those other food lovers who have read and used the recipes within.  However, it is the books which have been both loved and used which I cherish the most.

Some of my reading memories are to do with cook books and tonight not being able to sleep I started to read a cook book which had belonged to my mother-in-law Sheila and which was recently given to me.

The book is only 9 inches long by 5 inches wide with less than a hundred pages.    The cover is intact but the spine will need repairing and it is obvious that this book was used over and over again.    It is called “the Tricity cookery book”.    It is a very straight forward cook book with only 4 colour plates.    There are a few sketches but this book is all about the recipes.   Some pages were used more often than others and I love the fact that it isn’t in pristine condition.   It was a book which was used.

Right beside it on my cookery shelf, I found “A taste of Ireland in food and pictures” by Theodora Fitzgibbon.  A friend of mine Rhona, who knows how much I love cookery books, gave it to me prior to moving to Charlton near Banbury in the United Kingdom to run The Rose and Crown.  If you get a chance to visit just try the superb food there.

Again, this is a small cookery book but it has a wealth of history together with the recipes.  The edition I have ,was published by Pan in 1971.   One odd thing about the recipes is that the quantities are not only given in imperial measurement as was used in Ireland at the time but also in U.S.  cup measurements.   However, on the back of the book there is an endorsement by the Irish Tourist Board. Perhaps this book was intended for the tourist industry mainly and that would explain the use of U.S. measurements.

The black and white photographs which accompany each recipe give more information on the times and evoke a sense of times past. The recipes cover everything from toffee to cruibíns. If you ever come across this book it is well worth a read especially if you are interested in social history or cookery.

No Interruptions

Did you know that today was No Interruptions Day? Nor did I til my internal alarm clock went off at 3.00am. Bored with the usual sites I decided to see if December 29th held special significance.

I found that today was the day for sorting out your workspace without any interruptions. This involves clearing out unwanted items. Sorting out those “must do” lists and doing or discarding the items on them. Perhaps they are no longer “must do”.

Perhaps moving the work station to have a different view of the world? Turning off phones, internet connections and have no interruptions.

I have to admit that I found myself laughing out loud. My imagination just ran riot imagining work places being totally overhauled. Work stations being turned around. Perhaps desks being painted? People totally reorganising and in the process creating total chaos.

What about those who work from home on this ” interruptions day”? Perhaps they have a family and with school out can they really have a”no interruption” day?

This idea is similar to “Tick Tock Day”. Yes, there is such a day. Again, it’s the idea of finishing tasks which have not been completed. Or perhaps a goal which has not been achieved.

So, if you have nothing to do today……

Cherished Recipes

Early morning and yet again no sleep so think it is time for root among my cookery books. I really enjoy reading cookery books. I especially enjoy learning where the ideas for recipes have come from.

The most delicious recipes are very often those recipes which have been handed down through generations, with every generation adding a slight tweak.

I started to flick through some of the cookery books and immediately I was transported back to when I had bought them.  Wow I had totally forgotten I had the Food Aid Book.

Do you remember Band Aid in 1984? It was founded by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for the fight against famine in Ethiopia.   On November 20th the single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was recorded and five days later it was released.

In 1985, while watching Live Aid Delia Smith got the idea that the food industry including chefs could also give or donate to the fight against famine.  The seed of an idea for a cookery book grew.   Together with Sir Terry Wogan and within two months the book was selling off the shelves in 1986, having been published by the BBC. The book  however, was different form the norm in that it is made up of cherished recipes donated by the people both famous and not so famous.   Some recipes were sponsored by food industry with the recipes themselves being wide and varied.

The first recipe was provided by Dian Princess of Wales.   However, the majority of recipes are from ordinary individuals willing to share a cherished recipe.

My favourite recipe is a recipe for a ham sandwich devised by the comic Ronnie Barker and which finishes

 

“Place £5 in envelope and whisk off to Food Aid .   Enjoy sandwich knowing that someone will eat with that £5 note.”

My recipe for soda bread was given to me by my Aunty Mary Dan and hasn’t changed. Our Christmas Pudding Recipe has changed from the heavy dark pudding of childhood to a lighter pudding which at this stage cannot be altered or it is no longer “our” Christmas pudding. Of course we have “drinky” biscuits, so-called because our son would have half the batter drunk before the flour had been added to make it into biscuits.

Do you have any cherished family recipes or new ones which you have devised and are now part of the family repertoire?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry

 

Pen paper and mugs are part of my life but words are an integral part. I enjoy reading poetry as opposed to studying and learning poetry as had to be done in school.

During those many sleepless nights I  have come across some wonderful websites all to do with poetry. I am just amazed how a poet can put a few words together and conjure up images that are as vivid as an artist’s painting. It is pure alchemy.

I came across a contemporary poet Eileen Carney Hulme. Her poetry seemed to just lift off the page. She was born in Scotland of Irish/ Scottish descent. Here is just one I would like to share with you. It is from her poem The Letters

 

I wonder if you keep

 the letters still,

spidery and blotted

now, like old days

I remember sunlight burst

that inspired

Those winged words

Sleep or Lack of

Good morning

 

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I am one of those people who don’t have a regular sleep pattern.  There are many nights when 4.am arrives and I am still wide awake.

I gave up as fruitless remaining in bed tossing and turning and getting mor and more frustrated.  When I knew sleep was not going to happen I would get up and do something.

Years ago it was card making which kept me going during those hours thanks to a brilliant crafter and fantastic teacher Mary.  It cemented my love of paper.  This was in the day before tablets, iPhone and well before the ready availability of Wifi.  Paper crafting allowed me to have something to show after a sleepless night.  It allowed me the luxury of trying different ways to manipulate paper and card.  I still remember spending a night making a bag using tea bag folding to decorate the outside of the bag.  It was incredibly relaxing.  Would I do it again I don’t honestly know!

My Christmas cards got made during those hours especially those special ones which required many hours to choose colours, paper, card fold before assembly. Deciding on a specific card to suit someone can take me hours. Night time was great for this process. There was no pressure as there is during the day, when I have the myriad of “to do” to be completed.

My journaling came into its own giving me the space and opportunity of clearing my mind.  In the quiet of the night it was easy to allow the thoughts and ideas take flight.  So what, that those ideas didn’t come to fruition? I had the time to allow them to float and then decide whether or not they were not for me.  Some of the ideas were a bit barmy but they provided great amusement when re read on my five yearly clear out.

Recently a neighbour confided in me that she didn’t feel so alone when she could see lights on in my house.  She realised that there was someone else who also wasn’t asleep.  It surprised me that my inability to sleep was actually comforting someone else.

One just does not know how our actions can affect another human being.

 

Thank you for reading.