Cornish Trees

There are many trees in the UK, but I have never seen so many that resemble Donald Trump’s bad hair days… (Look at him, and tell me I’m wrong, lol!). I don’t suppose anyone would tell Mr Trump that his hair looks… silly, but these trees here on the Atlantic coast are all so windswept, that I have always called them “trees with funny haircuts”, ever since we moved to the West Country.

Nick and I were out and about today and I was again struck by the trees, had some time, pens and my sketching journal to hand, so here are my impressions of the Cornish landscape when there’s a stiff south-westerly breeze blowing:

Truly, before we move out of the region, I shall have to “borrow” Nick’s camera and shoot loads of trees. These were sketched in the car on the way home, parked up outside a small parade of shops in Northam, near Bideford. I don’t tend to take any notice of people watching me now, while I sketch. I have come a long way this year!!! 😉

Haiku my heart…

DD and I took a Road Trip yesterday, a la “Thelma & Louise”, as it turned out. We went to Newquay Zoo together, as Nick had left for Wales and the 4th annual Reels on Wheels Fishing Festival in Newport. As we have dogs a cat and a parrot, it isn’t always possible to all go together… so we made our own fun!

We had a couple of hours at the small, and beautifully kept, Newquay Zoo, went back to the car and phoned a friend who moved house last year, and whom we haven’t seen for ages. She only lived another 15 miles on from the zoo, so we thought, “Why not? We’ll go have lunch with them, as they’re at work…”

Redruth is a charming little town, nestled in the hills of mid-Cornwall. It’s neat, clean and pretty in a Victorian-architectural way… and my friend and her partner have bought a little gift shop in the middle of the main street, selling Celtic gifts, ethnic gifts and lovely (affordable) silver jewellery, made locally. They’ll also be selling my wearable art pins and pendants from next week!!

So, having started on the Haiku-my-heart-Fridays  journey last week, I wrote this one in preparation for this Friday (although I was too tired to put a post together yesterday!) and popped it into my “go-to” art journal:

If you can’t read my scrawl, it says:

So, haiku my heart

Beating its wings in my chest

The dove of my soul…

By the time we’d spent a happy lunch hour with our friends and returned home, we’d managed to travel 130 miles. This is the photo to accompany my Haiku…

My child and me… she’s the “dove of my soul” and thank everything that she’s growing up fierce. xoxo

I look forward to seeing everyone else’s haikus now as I head over to Rebecca’s blog – she’s our lovely hostess! 🙂

Baking Muffins!

Gosh it’s turned cold here! Some parts of the UK have had 6-8″ of snow and schools were closed… but here in Cornwall, we have had clear blue skies, sunshine and none of that awful white stuff! However, I was so cold earlier on, despite having the heating on, that I resorted to warming up the kitchen – yes, and baking muffins! (I also cooked a chicken curry for tea!)

Art Creations Friday #54 gave us a delightful image to use and here’s my version:

That is a picture of the choc n nut muffins I baked today!! Nick was kind enough to show me how to get my pic into a ‘speech bubble’ and use it how I wanted to – sometimes he can be so kind!

If you want the muffin recipe, go HERE and just ‘tweak’ it with your own version… I added chocolate chips, chunks and some chopped mixed nuts. If you want my simple chicken curry recipe, read on:

Simple Chicken Curry

400-500g chicken thigh fillets (cut into bite-sized pieces)

2-3 tbsps vegetable oil

1 large onion chopped (although I used 6 pickling onions!)

2 fat cloves of garlic (crushed or chopped)

I stick of celery, sliced

I can chopped tomatoes (400g)

Hot water (half the tomato can, or to suit you)

2 good tbsps Pataks Mild Curry Paste (or similar)

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and add the onions, garlic, celery and curry paste. Stir well so the flavour (and colour) of the paste is absorbed into the veg. Cook for a few  minutes till the onions soften.
  • Add the chicken thighs and stir well. Cook over low-medium heat till the chicken is sealed and not pink anymore.
  • Add the can of chopped tomatoes and the half can of water and bring to the boil.
  • Stir well and turn the heat down low. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes till the chicken is cooked through.
  • Serve with fluffy basmati rice and/or naan breads or chapatis.

This makes a fab veggie curry too – just substitute chunky veg (carrots, parsnip, potatoes, chickpeas (1 can), etc.) for the chicken thighs and cook till the veg is soft but not overcooked.

I also add a handful of raisins to my curry (at the same time as the tomatoes) – I just like the contrast of sweet and savoury! You can also use chicken on the bone or any other meat – just adjust the cooking time.

 

On the Beach!

How appropriate that I should host Mixed Media Monday with this particular theme, having just moved to Bude in Cornwall, where the beaches are a few minutes drive away! This canvas is something I was working on for Ten Two Studios before the move and it was such fun, trust me!

When Lisa Vollrath was designing her new matchbox shrine sheets, I sent her a link to typical British Beach Huts and it didn’t take the uber-talented Lisa long to come up with a new sheet of images – she really is amazing… and to top it all, it’s called “Rosie’s Beach Huts”. Yay!! So here is my Summer Beach Huts canvas:

beach-huts-canvas

Okay – I’m not the best photographer in the world, but if you have a look at the sheet over at Ten Two Studios, and also Lisa’s examples, I’m sure you’ll be inspired.

Personally, I assembled the shrines first, according to the instructions and then painted the canvas. Once I was happy(ish!) with it, I used gel medium to adhere the shrines in place. Then I sprinkled sand from a kids’ sand art kit onto my ‘beach’ and popped a few pieces of varnished broken shells on too.

I really love this canvas – it’s so reminiscent of English summers and sandy sandwiches – lol!! Thanks for having me, Diane and giving me the opportunity to share! xoxoxo

Stamping with Debs!

Firstly, I have to say that I had such a blast with Debs yesterday… the Hotel (The Countryman Hotel) is fab… and Camelford is barely a 30-minute drive from my home, so we shall definitely be returning! Apart from being crafty pals we have an awful lot in common on a personal level, our daughters got along really well and both our husbands fish! (Well, Mike used to and Debs thinks he should rediscover his passion for angling, so we have been plotting…)

Rachel Webber from my SBS12 group asked me about the handcarved zentangle stamp in my previous post and Anna (also from SBS12), suggested I do a tutorial – LOL! Ladies, go HERE and visit the source of my new addiction, see how it’s done, find lots of useful links and do it for yourselves. Join the Street Team Crusades and be inspired by Michelle Ward and the Crusaders – awesome fun! 

I still carve tiny stamps, like the birdie, on erasers and making your mates their own personal signature stamp can be a lovely way to say thanks, or showing that you treasure their friendship…

Make your own tools - carve stamps!

So, we had a cuppa, lovely pasties for lunch, a tour of the hotel (there are an awful lot of rooms and bathrooms to keep clean!) and then we sat in Debs’ newly organised Craft Room – lovely and light, very pink and best of all, crammed with super storage and stash. It was lovely to see what she buys, what she uses and get a good insight into products, where to buy (as we’re so rural, online is often our best option!) and generally chinwag.  Now, I had taken along with me the Zentangle doms for her as a gift and all my handcarved stamps, so she could see them…. Look what she did!!

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Yes, Debs is the one stamping and I’m the one watching her using my stamps!! That felt a bit strange!! My DD took all the pics of us on her mobile phone, so none of them were posed – and only Debs was aware that she was taking them! Me? Too busy chatting and laughing and asking my friend questions!! 🙂