buzzoole code

“The children of Houla were not killed by random shelling. The UN yesterday revealed that they were murdered one by one. The militia came in the night armed with knives and guns, and the young victims were executed with a bullet to the head or a knife to the throat.” – The Times, 30th May 2012

For those that follow what happens in the world of blogging, last Friday was declared a day of protest against the killings in Syria, promted by the above article from The Times. I didn’t join in. I had nothing against it but I had a house full of housework to do, lunch round a friend’s and then a small child to entertain until bedtime. And then, it being Friday, my main plan was to flop on the sofa. If I’m honest, I also thought ‘but I want to write about lovely crafty things!’ And so I vaguely turned my back on it.

But the facts of the matter keep going round and round my head and they will not go away. And then last night, flopped on the sofa, in front of the news, they reported more killings. Men, women, children. And this morning, with the radio on they strted talking about it again. About the houses that were purposely burnt down with people in them. About the children who had their throats cut.

And despite how much I think ‘don’t think about your son, don’t think about your son’ the thought remains with me that it is someone elses child. And I don’t want to be one of those people who harps on and on about politics or charity (although sometimes I am that person) but ffs if you can read about children, lots of children, purposefully being killed, one by one, on purpose and it doesn’t affect you even the slightest bit then there is probably something very wrong with you.

I don’t think military intervention will solve everything, it never normally does. And I’ve done my share of protests, contacting MPs, fundraising and all the rest over the years and know how well some of those work. But if for no other reason that if that was my child then I would want to know that someone else gave a monkeys about them having their throat slit, we do have to raise awareness about this. Everyone has the time to go and fill out the petition on Save the Children’s website. Please go and sign it and add your name to the list of people who don’t think its acceptable to turn their backs on this.

 

Hurray! It’s finished!!!!

Part of me wants to say ‘well, its not all that’ or point out some problem with it and generally put it down. But you know what? I’m actually quite pleased with it so I’m going to do my very best for once to just be happy.

Two Tree Island, Leigh on Sea

This copper bangle is the first thing I’ve made as part of my Silversmithing class. Obviously you are supposed to start with something relatively easy, but I wanted to do something that reflected the view of Two Tree Island that I love, with the marshes, mud flats and sea-water all joining together and constantly changing. This has meant that I have spent bloomin’ ages cutting pieces out of the copper but if nothing else my sawing skills have improved immeasurably and I am getting a lot quicker at replacing broken saw blades!

Next to do is some heart shaped earrings, and this time I’ll be cracking out the silver I bought at Cooksons last week. Will update when they’re done…

Eight years ago the Husband (who was then The Boyfriend) and I moved into our flat. We’d been hunting for ages, been gazumped, been fed up and finally, in my lunch break one day I’d nipped in to the estate agent’s over the road and found The One. Bigger than any other place locally. Nice Road. Not horrifically priced. The Boyfriend went to view it, an offer was made and low and behold it was ours. There was one small issue though, it was a bit of a state.

The previous owner had been an old lady and when The Then Boyfriend was shown around the property, the estate agent had refused to enter due to the stench of urine. We ripped out wet carpets, took the dead bird out of the dining room and after a couple of years even managed to get the bathroom done up and remove the old lady handles to hold onto while you do a wee. (Of course, there was the mild issue of the fire the next day which kind of messed up new bathroom, but thats another story for another day.)

The package awaits...

Anyway, throughout all of this wee soaked, messy flat, can’t ruddy afford to fix it fun, my father in law used to regularly tell us not to worry, the place had ‘lots of potential’. And, sorry Mo if you’re reading this, but IT USED TO DRIVE ME BLOODY INSANE!!!! ARGH!!!!!!! Because potential is all very well and good but without the cash to back it up it’s no ruddy good what so ever. And so as such the term having potential is always used round ours as a term of abuse rather than endearment, however, all this changed yesterday.

Because yesterday I arrived home (late, stressed, with small child that needed cleaning) to discover a package on my doorstop and despite the fact that I had small child to look after, housework to do and dinner to cook, this small parcel was there in the back of my mind, waiting for me. It was a small parcel of potential.

The loot...

The contents are an order from Cookson’s I’d put in the day before (and for those not in the know, ie me a month ago, Cooksons are the shop EVERYONE uses to buy metal from) so this morning over breakfast I finally got to unwrap my goodies. Some squares that will one day become earrings, a long strip that may be a ring, a rectangle that I have no idea quite what I’m going to do with but is’t that half the fun? My thumb still hurts a bit from Monday nights class, but I’m already looking forward to the next few weeks and what these tiny bits of silver might metamorphosize into. It has some potential, lets hope I have enough to do it justice.

And so we start with a confession. I was laughed at at work last week because I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a Sunday Roast. I thought they were something only people’s grandparents made, and apparently this, ahem, isn’t the case.

In my defence I was a vegetarian for eight years. Mumma Crafts on Sea  is a veggie. My brother is a veggie. Roast dinners were never going to be a big part of my childhood. Even when I started eating meat again The Husband had to teach me how to cook bacon. Roast dinners always look like such a pain to cook, and yet there is that desire that occasionally builds up to eat a ‘proper meal’. The kind of meals mums are supposed to make and not just the total carb-junkie pastathon that I live on.

Thankfully my mild case of paternal guilt was thwarted this week by my friend Aimee Fox-Godden who asked me to blog a couple of slow cooker recipes. Being a parent to Vaguely Fussy Child, I obviously could not be faffed to cook him something separate to what I’m eating. Predictably, this being the latest in a long line of Teething Hell weeks (sponsored by calpol and cbeebies) the Small Thing would not eat a ruddy mouthful of this (I appreciate that I should probably lie and say that he loved it or I’ll never get my advance on How To Feed Your Fuss-Pot Child) However he has wolfed it down before, I promise! Either way, I had it on at lunchtime which meant once he was in bed I could concentrate on more important things, like drinking.

For two adults with proper appetites, and one toddler who may or may not eat it.

Ingredients:

1 pack skinless chicken thighs, chopped into bite size pieces

A few potatoes, peeled and chopped

Half a low salt stock cube

Whatever vegetables you have knocking around that want eating. In my case this was peas, sweetcorn, green beans and a leek. Sweet potato is also nice but that would have involved going to the shops.

Pop everything in your slow cooker with about 1 cup of water. With slow cookers the thing to remember is that the water needs to be there to cook everything, but it will not disappear, so unless you want a soup don’t add loads, you can always put more in later.

Turn slow cooker on. Feel smug. (A re-occuring theme in this blog, you may wish to note)

Feed child. Cross fingers if appropriate.

Because the husband is also not generally  a fan of sensible foods, we tend to chuck loads of dried chili flakes on ours when we serve it so that voila! Not too sensible, but still tasty, healthy and no effort at all.

Hasn’t the weather been awful this week? I know that’s a very British thing to moan on about but it makes keeping a toddler entertained a bit of a nightmare and while the roads to work kept flooding, which made me late for work (not actually that bad a thing) I park next to a river which made me a bit concerned that I’d come back to my car floating through Chelmsford.

So the weather being not to insanely awful this morning, me, The Husband and The Small Thing managed to make it out and as we had time to kill decided to pop along to the Farmers Market in Rochford.

I’m always slightly sceptical of going to farmers markets. I love the idea of it, ‘oh yes, just nipping along to the farmers market to get some bits’. But in this imaginary lifestyle I also drive a shiny Range Rover, wear lots of Boden and think Waitrose is reasonably priced. Obviously none of this is actually true. Farmers Markets are a bit like craft markets, vintage fairs, art fairs and all the rest of those bits in that once you’ve crossed the threshold you’re pretty much committed to buying something that you wouldn’t normally buy. You’ve committed yourself to that dream lifestyle and once you’ve had a chat with a cople of stall holders, well, you feel kinda bad if you don’t buy anything as they all seem so nice and you like to support small businesses and actually you don’t really agree with with Tesco’s anyway, it’s just that they’re rather more conviently located.

Behold! The honey….

So todays purchase was honey but by god it does look like rather special honey. The very nice bee keeper I spoke to (Ann) keeps beehives locally in Leigh on Sea, Hadleigh, Canewdon and Hawkwell. She also has one next to the prison at Bullwood Hall but that doesn’t really fit in with my Boden wearing fantasy.

What I’d never thought about before was that the honey would be totally different depending on where the beehive was. So the bee’s in Hadleigh that fly over towards the castle get a dark strong tasting honey, while the ones in Leigh that fly over and feast in Two Tree Island get a pale light honey. There’s the difference they don’t give you in Tesco’s.

I’d love to do bee keeping, its a proper craft isn’t it? I’d wear my Boden (are you noticing a theme here?) and listen to folk music and chat to my bees in my embarrassingly large garden. But the reality is that I’d worry about the bee’s stinging the Small Thing, my garden is pretty small and quite frankly if I try to fit one more job into the already crowded mum/work/housework/cooking/cleaning/drinking juggle then I’ll probably explode. So we bought the honey instead. The light one is what you have on your porridge or for honey and lemon. The dark is for the proper honey eaters. We went for the dark one. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but I know I’ll enjoy thinking about my fabulous life as a beekeeper when I do have a go.