Sunday, 31 January 2010

The Latest Lapacuddlyghan !

"Love is Something if you Give it Away!"
Here is the latest Lapacuddlyghan for the Charity project I am involved with. 
We had a terrible storm last week which gave me a little bit of time to sort out my wool. I had so many small balls so I decided to use them all up in one go!
What a lot of sewing in ends!
 But they all go in my friends garden for the birds to line their nests so a bonus all around!

Last year she found a vacated nest and when she peeped inside it was beautifully lined with scraps of Spanish rugs.
 The little birds must have found them after the rugs had been given a good shake on the terrace!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Swiss Roll, Muffin, Chocolate Cake anybody?

" Tea for Two and Two for Tea!"
We love our winters in Spain,blue skies and sunshine instead of grey winter days prove to be the perfect backdrop to optimism and feeling positive about life in general.
But, as with most good things in life there are also drawbacks.
 Missing family occasions is certainly one of them.
Being with loved ones and sharing their special days is something we really do miss.
So last week I found myself leaving my usual creative pursuits and I started knitting and crocheting cakes!! 
I did not need Clement Freud to tell me this was because we were not at home to celebrate a special birthday.
Of course, the telephone,texts and emails make the world quite a small place and the completion of another year was celebrated.
Suddenly the cake selection was growing!
An assortment to tempt anybody!
Bakewell Tarts,Chocolate Swiss Rolls,Jam and Cream Sponge, Chocolate Muffins!
Battenburg, Iced Doughnut, Oriel Biscuits Strawberry Fancies!
Chocolate Swiss Roll, Iced Gems, Viennese Fingers, Iced Biscuits and Mini Swiss Rolls!

A selection worthy of the cake stands in Madge Mellors, a beautiful cafe that I used to go to as a child for afternoon tea.

( Thanks to a very old friend of mine for this wonderful picture.)

Well, then I was left pondering what I could do with this wonderful collection of confectionery!!
I thought about this for a few days and my nieces came to mind. They are both grown women now one with a baby of her own!
However, when they were little one of their favourite games was to pretend to go shopping. They used to visit my Mums and pretend to go shopping ,filling their little baskets with everything they could reach in the larder!!
So I thought my sweet little Great Nephew might be like his Mummy and enjoy "pretend " shopping!!
So I found these pieces of material with which I am going to make a bag where he can keep all the cakes.
Add a little purse and some pennies and I hope he enjoys going shopping in his pretend cake shop just as much as his Mummy did !!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Welcome to a new little one-- Lets wave a name flag!

One of my dearest friends had just been made a Grandmother for the second time.
A dear little girl called -----

I am sure she will be just as special as her Grandma!
When I heard her name I thought of the little children I used to teach and a song they used to love to sing

Oh Jemima!
Oh, Jemima look at your Uncle Jim.
He's in the Bathtub learning how to swim!
First he does the Breast stroke,
Then he does the side.
Now he's under the water swimming against the tide!

I will have to wait a while to meet her. But "hello" Jemima and welcome. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Adventures in Andalucia .The Tale of Three villages!! Adventure 3 !!!

Los Molinos De Rio de Aguas.

We have been so lucky to join friends already living in Spain and they have been so generous sharing information with us.
This has resulted in us being able to visit little gems that are so tucked away that you would never find them. The Village of Mills on the River Aguas is just such a place.
Historically the Mediterranean Sea extended inland in Southern Spain, in inlets which ran between the mountain ranges near our home.
About 6 million years ago the inland waters started to evaporate.This led eventually, when the salts had concentrated into crystals, to the formation of the gypsum highlands "yesares."In these gypsum formations  extensive cave systems have been formed by underground water courses.
Rio de Aguas, the river in whose valley Los Molinos is situated, carved a gorge through  this gypsum.
In 1988 the Spanish Government officially created the Paraje Natural de Karst en Yeso de Sorbas. 
The combination of a lush river valley with its year round flow of water and the stark uplands of the yeso is extremely rare.

Running water is also very rare near our home. The bridge which leads to our village spans a very dry river bed and it is more usual to see river beds with a form of bamboo growing than water flowing.
In the valley wonderful bridges have been crafted from the cana and rope made of Esparto Grass which grows on the mountainside.

 So it is lovely to take a trip and spend some time by the river.

We were lucky enough to see this little fellow who seemed wuite happy to take a look at us too!

Valleys have formed as the force of the water cut  through the soft rock.
Massive boulders broke away from the tops of the cliffs and come to rest in a chaotic tumble on the valley floor.

Los Molinos villlage is about a kilometre north of a spring which was harnessed to both drive the mills and irrigate the terraces which sustained life.
Originally water was bought to the village in rock cut tunnels.
 On the first part of the system there are a succession of twelve semicircular openings which were designed to control the flow of the water to the system.
Today a Ram Pump makes it possible to lift water to storage containers near the houses.

In its heyday there were some fifty families,a school and 5 mills in the village. Obviously more than was required to mill the grain of Los Molinos.Milling grain from the surrounding farms must have made the village prosperous. However the village became deserted in the 1960's.
Today The Sunseed Project  has its base in the village

Sunseed exists primarily to provide visitors with an experience of low impact living in a community setting. 
They use solar power for heating and cooking and for food dryers. 
Approximately 200  people from all over the world visit each year.100's volunteer to find sustainable ways of combating desertification.
As well as living in some of the restored village houses yurts provide acomodation in the valley.

So we can adventure out to this really interesting and very beautiful village and enjoy all it has to offer.

Amazing natural sculptures!

And lush greenery.

There was another little development project on offer as we left!

But no! Too much adventuring in Andalucia to do !!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

A little bit of pampering and looking at some Myrrh!

"Grapefruit Juicy Fruit!"
Just before Christmas when time was at a premium I watched the "Grow your Own Drugs" Christmas Special. 
There was a lovely recipe for Orange,Clove and Myrrh massage Oil.
So On the Day before Christmas Charlotte and I set to and followed the instructions carefully and did end up with a jar of the most delicious smelling oil. 
I gave all that away to the girls hoping they would find time to pamper themselves knowing I would be able to try it again on our return to Spain.
So today, after visiting the market yesterday I decided to change the recipe slightly and add the skin of a grapefruit and mandarin to the oranges. They are so ripe and juicy here at the moment I thought it would add another dimension.

After spending so many years teaching little ones about the Three Kings and one of their gifts to the New Baby being Myrrh I was fascinated to actually see what it was like. This Myrrh wasn't bought on a camel but through the post thanks to modern Technology and Ebay, But it had travelled all the way from Somalia!
It reminds me of the posh brown sugar crystals you get in hotels.

So all in the whizzer except the myrrh!

It smelt absolutely gorgeous!

Add the Myrrh and give a stir to mix all the elements.
Place on top of a saucepan of simmering water for an hour '

Strain and leave to drain.

The wonderful coloured aromatic oil you are left with smells gorgeous,

Some bottled in a special bottle for me!

Some little bottles for gifts.

And some to beautifully scent the house and remind me of happy times at Christmas!

So in case you want to try it here is the recipe.

Peel of 5 oranges or tangerines
4 tablespoons of cloves.
400 ml of Sunflower Oil ( The second time I added more)
1 tablespoon of Myrrh resin.
1. Put the orange peel,cloves and Sunflower oil in a blender and whizz til smooth.
2. Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of boiling water.
3. Add the Myrrh, then cover and leave to simmer for 1 hour making sure the pan does not boil dry.
4. Take off the heat and leave to cool. Strain the mixture and bottle up.

Myrrh's anti-inflammatory properties moisturises dry skin.

USE. Apply as needed to dry skin, or use for massage oil.
Add a few drops and luxuriate in a warm bath.
A few drops can be added to any carrier hand or body cream to provide a rich caring lotion.
A few drops can be added to water and used in an oil burner to beautifully fragrance your house

Thursday, 14 January 2010

A pound coin and a Chocolate Penny !!

"Heads,Shoulders,Knees and Toes!!"
I knew something had to be done when I came in from the cold during our last few days in the UK and tried to unwrap the pound coin in my pocket thinking there was chocolate inside!
I suppose I could congratulate myself because over Christmas I did not succumb to my absolute favourites- Chocolate Brazil Nuts!
 But in all honesty that was only because we did not have any !!
 Everything else was sampled and enjoyed.
So with Christmas and New Year done and dusted it really is time to get back into non stretchy jeans and fitted tops.
In the village where we live in Spain there has been a lot of activity just down the hill from our house.

Tennis Courts have been built. 

Then a track was made in a big loop.

 and now twelve pieces of exercise equipment have been added. 

So yesterday we went to investigate. And a new regime has started for the Sporty One and ME !!
So lots of "Heads,Shoulders,Knees and toes.
Then back up the hill.

For a well deserved coffee!!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

What is it about carrots!!!

"Needles and Pins!"
I have a little leather needle case with "Newquay" stamped on it accompanied by a little picture of a Cornish Pixie. The little stud which closes it has the letter "S" on it. 
"S" for Staddon, my maternal Grandmothers name. She taught me so much about sewing and looked after her needles beautifully. I wish I had inherited that trait. I lose mine all the time and then find them prodded into the nearest soft surface to where I have been working!

My girls don't really sew. and look upon my crafting with a mixture of affection and humour. They can however soon knock up a fancy dress costume when needed, which is quite often !!

The men in my life are really quite adept at sewing -- years of neglect by me I guess!!

So thinking of sewing and Fancy Dress carrots came to mind. This costume is a firm favourite and one that always make me smile!

I wanted to make all three of my girls something Hand made for Christmas that they could keep.

A carrot needle case for the carrot!!

And apples for the other two!

I filled them with needles and lots of love!

And they were really pleased -- I think!

As my very special Vintage case is safely in Ogwell I thought I would make myself one.
 And I will try and stop prodding needles in random places!