Sunday, 22 November 2009

Martha Mondays - Birdseed and Suet Feeders

Brette from Martha & Me choose this weeks project and I was pleased to do a craft instead of cooking as I already knew what I wanted to cook this weekend.

Back to the bird feeders. Mum had already attempted this but was a bit mean with the bird seed and they were not put up. We did this as a joint task with me being more generous with the bird seed this time! We used lard instead of suet as we have always done. And we re-used the lard from the birdfeeders that we had not used. They were easy to make and we hung them in the garden this evening. No bird have touched them yet, but the rain has been falling and it always takes a day or two for the birds to suss them out.

We also did a task which we had seen in Country Living. You get a pinecone which you have ribbonned at the top and drip lard on to it and then sprinkle seeds on to it. We left them to set and then hung them outside also.

Thanks for the task this week Brette. I won't be doing the task next week as I will be in New York. If anyone has any last minute tips of where to try please let me know. Mum and I have managed to get tickets to see Martha and I can't wait!!!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Martha Mondays - Apple Tart

This weeks project was chosen by AquaSunday from the November issue of Living. I had looked at the tart and was keen to try it - I was glad to have the excuse to make it.

As 'Jazz' apples were on offer in the supermarket (2 for 1) I bought those, and got prepared and made the applesauce on Saturday night. Today (Sunday) I baked. I had planned to make it and then bake it later, but in the end decided that it was easier to get it done and then reheat some later. The recipe was easy to follow, although I didn't need 2 tablespoons of butter or all that apricot jam but it didn't matter.

The tart is lovely, the apples turned out a little dry but this could have been due to the type of apple and we had the tart with cream so it didn't matter at all. I think I might adapt this and add some sultanas and cinnamon for a Christmas treat.

Thanks for a great Martha Monday project - I think I will go and have another slice now!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Ragamuffin Garland

I always find it strange how from starting at looking at websites I spend most of my lunchtime and any time on the internet looking at blogs. As far as I am concerned, they are the best invention. Ordinary people opening up their lives so that we can look into them. I love it.

After a trip on Darby's 'Fly Through Our Window' blog I saw that she had done a guest blog on the 'Life In Grace' blog. This opened up Edie's 12 days of Christmas event in which she has asked friends to give projects for Christmas. I loved The Nester's ragamuffin garland and knew that I had to make one.

The instructions are posted in the link here and I urge you to make one. They are so easy and I am so pleased with the results. I used pink, grey, blue and cream for my colours. The pink was from a skirt which I tried on and was way too big! : ) At the bottom of the skirt was ribbon and sequins so these were cut into separate pieces as was the bright pink silk lining.

The garland is easy to make and looks wonderful. I have hung mine at my bedroom window and hung Christmas baubles underneath. I am so pleased with the results.

This Week Recap

After last week's manic week where I managed to not get alot done, but got slightly stressed by not having enough time to do things I took things slower.

  • I had a wonderful time with Jackie going to see the lights in Oxford Street and Regents Street. Whilst we couldn't get out of work early to get up there to see them being switched on they were still wonderful. And it has made me even more festive than I was before!

  • Mum and I did a wonderful walk from Waterloo Bridge through St James's park to Buckingham Palace before going shopping.

  • I wrapped presents for my sister and her partner as mum is off to see them next weekend.

  • I watched wonderful fireworks celebrating Guy Fawkes Night with mum.

  • I did my Martha Monday's project with great results!

Although it wasn't the busiest of weeks, I really enjoyed it. I took things slower and loved every minute of taking the time to wander around London and enjoy being a tourist for a couple of hours. I loved decided on Thursday afternoon that I would do some baking and then going home and getting on with it.

I am planning to be able to spend my weeks last this for the timebeing. Not rushing around, but enjoying the autumn and spending more time with friends and family as winter draws in.

Martha Mondays - Pasta with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

It was my turn for the pick for Martha Mondays and I chose a dish that I had wanted to do for ages. I don't know why I don't just cook it when I see it in the magazine, but I always feel there needs to be a good reason for me to cook instead of bake.

The ingredients were easy to find, unlike my last pick for Martha Mondays which required a lot of different ingredients.

The recipe was easy to follow and was quicker than the 45 minutes it gives as a guide. I had never cooked bacon without oil and I was amazed that it produced crispy tasty bacon very quickly. Although I see many Martha recipes with chicken stock in the UK it is quite rare to use it. But it worked wonderfully. I ended up with a sort of gravy and it was delicious.

Mum and I had this for our dinner after wrapping a ton of Christmas presents and we couldn't fault it. I thought it was perfect. I can't wait to see how everyone elses turned out!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Blogs I Love - Andrew Ritchie's Martha Moments

Andrew Ritchie's blog Martha Moments was the first blog that I ever looked at. A couple of years ago I Googled 'Martha' and found Andrew's account of attending a Good Things event where he critiqued the day including what they had done that day, Martha's presence at the event and the food that had been served. I loved it.

As I continued my search on the blog I found such detailed information on Martha it was as though Andrew had sat on Martha's shoulder for many years. How he manages to find such wonderful information and know so many facts is beyond me. Subject matters include all of Martha's houses, the magazines, Good Things and details on the business.

The joy of the blog, which I read before I even check out Martha's blog is that it is real. In the past Andrew has commented on things that he feels could be modified, and changed for the better. His annual review of Living is superb and I can't wait until the end of December to see what he thought about the 2009 magazines.

If you are after information on Martha and what is coming up, Andrew's blog is the likely place to find that information. Andrew has twice helped me with information on Martha and he has always been very gracious about my rambling emails.

I truly love Martha Moments and can't wait to have my own Martha Moment so that I can tell Andrew all about it.

If you haven't stopped by at Martha Moments, I urge you to. Andrew keeps a wonderful blog and I love him dearly for keeping me updated on all that is going on in Martha's world.

Monday, 2 November 2009

This Week Recap

This week has flown by. I am now gearing up completely for Christmas, lists have been made, cards are all written (see last week's recap) and I am beginning to look through magazines for recipes for Christmas.

  • Have decided which cookies to make for Christmas (Snickerdoodles, chocolate and peanut butter cookies, chocolate meringues from Smitten Kitchen.

  • Made my first ever trip to Anthropologie which has just opened on Regent Street. I was dissapointed. The clothes are lovely and so was everything, but it was so expensive! I purchased nothing, but did find many items for my Christmas wish list.

  • Bought my sister and her partner's Christmas presents.

  • Brined a chicken for dinner.

  • Carved my pumpkin for Halloween.

Maybe it just seemed like a busier week. I didn't do the Martha Mondays project as nuts around here are ridiculously expensive and I don't own a glue gun. I do know that I was changing my bed at 8.00pm last night and still putting clothes away at 10.30pm. Maybe I just need to be more organised.