Thursday, 31 March 2011

A Little Blue "Skye"

This tiny little fellow is looking for a good home. He's 1.4" tall (when standing) made from pale blue vintage Rayon, with onyx bead eyes, a cotter-pinned head, and thread-jointed limbs. The button seat has a 2" wide felt flower attached to it, which is decorated with glass petite seed beads."Skye" is wearing a brown lacy scarf of crinkled lacet thread. £40 GBP.
For a bit of fun I thought I'd try to post a picture of him at actual size:-

Not bad! Sadly I may not be able to make many more teeny, tiny bears like this - I just can't find suppliers of 1mm onyx bead eyes; I ordered some recently from the only supplier carrying them, and whilst they will be extremely useful within the graded sizes I have (actually all professing to be 2mm, but I've graded them in to 6 sizes!!) they are just not tiny enough.I find that getting hold of the really tiny cotter pins is also difficult ... none are ever quite as "right" as though which used to come from Dinky Do miniature supplies, and ditto the hard board / vinyl / metal washers. My stash is ever-dwindling, and desperation is looming over the horizon!!!
 Any ideas or leads would be truly appreciated folks :0)

T.T.F.N  Ruth xx

Friday, 25 March 2011

Life is Different;Life is the Same .... and a Casserole.....

For a good long while I have pondered on how to tackle the next blog post after the last. I didn't want to jump in to some incongruous banality after my heart felt tribute - but I've realised that it is all the "same-as-always", mundane things which row you smoothly over the murky, deeper, choppier waters of all that is different, and changed forever.To this end I decided to post photos of our family dinner.Even though we are a family of 5, with sons aged 15, 19 and 21 (and all their attendant differences, comings and goings) the main meal of the day is our shared familial lynchpin.We gather in the kitchen and talk and eat together.Maybe not a big deal? To me it is; just as my mother provided meals and love in equal measure - and demonstrably so with her effort and joy in sustaining us- so I have tried to follow her lead.
  And the casserole? It was bought for me about a year ago by my mother, and I love it. This one is a Chasseur, cream cast iron oval pot; not quite so arm-breakingly heavy as the other brand; Le Creuset.An essential piece of kit for producing warming,nurturing, comforting food.To me it metaphorically encapsulates everything your mother represents.

What's on the menu then? A casserole of Beef Brisket with mini herb dumplings, and Apricot and Butterscotch Upside Down Pudding to follow:-

This piece of Brisket was only £4.56 for just under a kilo (whatever that is!) and proved to be meltingly glorious when surrounded by celery, carrots, tiny new potatoes, and some of those fancy long shaped shallots, which are well worth adding a little expense to the meal when they caramelise down so sweetly and create such a rich gravy. I also added a teaspoon of dark brown sugar. Cooked at 180 degrees for 2 and a half hours, not forgetting to add the mini dumplings around the meat for the last 25 minutes. They are always referred to as "babies heads" in this household ... not a name I particularly approve of!

After turning out of the tin, the pudding was oozing with butterscotchy scrumptiousness! I just chucked dark brown sugar, butter and maple syrup in to a saucepan, reduced it down at boiling point then threw in chopped pecans and salted almonds.Pour over previously arranged apricot halves (in natural juice) then top with a creamed sponge mixture.Yummy!

This weekend I'll be going on something of a culinary adventure with our new Princess Raclette hot stone, with dinky pans underneath.I couldn't believe my luck when they had some in stock at the huge John Lewis branch I visited on Wednesday.I love the idea of us all getting involved in the communally sharing aspect of this style of eating... plus we're all quite partial to melted cheese! If anyone has any good suggestions or tips for using it I'll be most interested!

With love,
Ruth xx

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A Loving Tribute

I don't usually use this blog for my innermost private thoughts and feelings, but I feel that it is right for me to make this exception.I would like to record my loving tribute to my Mother here in these "pages"; as a testament to her, and all that she meant to me.Yesterday was her funeral, and despite the pain, I feel we managed to celebrate her life, and find a way to take all those good thoughts and memories forward in to the rest of our lives.
I am grateful to the minister for reading what I had written just as it appeared on the page; it was so very important to me.

"Our Mother assumed many family roles throughout the 75 years of her life.In order they would be: Daughter, Sister, Wife, Aunty, Mother, Grandmother.But a title can't fully describe who a person is.
She was the 3 year old war time evacuee who found herself sat up on a high shelf, in the pub-home of strangers, for some imagined misdemeanour.She was the young woman taught to speedily tot up long columns of figures by an Uncle.She was the mother who, without fail, reserved the tenderest morsels on the plate for her two young daughters, or encouraged us to eat the last chocolates in her box.
A constant presence in our lives giving comfort and reassurance.She was the perfect, adoring Grandmother who was herself adored in return.
She had a warm and pretty smile,and we loved to hear her giggle and laugh.She was also immensely capable, efficient and unflappable - and a confirmed stoic.She would never have asked," Why me?" but rather, calmly stated "Why not me."
Gail and I used to joke that Mummy squeezed way more than 60 minutes out of every hour.You can bet that within 59 minutes of arriving where she is now she had taken down the curtains and washed them, cleaned out the cupboards, run up some cushions, and put an excellent home-cooked meal in the oven.
She wouldn't mind me concluding this summary of her character whimsically, by saying she was:
more casserole than steamer,
more chocolate than crispbread
more Rolling Stones than the Beatles
more Blue Skies than clouds.

To our Mother, and our Best Friend, in the words of Simon and Garfunkel; "Sail on Silver Girl.""

As a family we used to love listening to Simon and Garfunkel's greatest hits album.It would often be playing on a Sunday through the '70s, when I would come home from riding, and she would be in the kitchen making the dinner. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was a favourite track with its beautiful lyrics.I was honoured to hear the song I specially requested played yesterday.

extract from "Bridge Over Troubled Water"

Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way.

See how they shine,
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.
Like a bridge over troubled water,
I will ease your mind.

Thank you to everyone for all your kind and tender thoughts.It has given much comfort.

Ruth x