Monday, 19 August 2013

Mama's Weekend

I'm back from my week off from blogging and a weekend to myself and am feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world again!  
I find it almost funny now how I used to torture myself with guilt about sending Cameron off to spend time with his Grandparents so I could take a break, and then spent the time doing chores and pining for him to return. A little bit of Mama-time sprinkled here and there is useful (particularly for a single Mama) and really strengthens our relationship when we come back together to share our news - which, this time, involved a six foot stuffed tiger!

My original plan this weekend was to head off to the coast but between my lax organisation and the rain that was teaming down on Saturday morning I decided to have a little staycation instead.  My first stop: Art in the Pen.

Art in the Pen is a visual arts fair held at Skipton Auction Mart (where Yarndale will be in less than 6 weeks time - eek!).  The art displays are set up inside the cattle pens, hence the name.  It's been running for 8 years now but this is the first time I've been able to make it and I'm really glad I did - there was some amazing work.

fused glass display at Art in the Pen
Photo from Debbie March display.

I don't know if there was a lot of it or if it just really appealed to me, but the fused glass art seemed to be everywhere. Fused glass fascinates me, possibly because it's one of the few techniques I haven't tried, yet. The Auction Mart is not very well lit so my photos don't do it any justice at all.
I came home with a little piece from Jo at Glassprimitif, which is now hanging at the landing window and cheering me every time I walk past it.

Fused Glass hanging at the window by Glassprimitif

Some really interesting things I didn't manage to photograph but are worth a look are the SciArtImages by Neil Taylor. I brought home a card of Moss leaf viewed by brightfield microscopy to show Cameron (he's been studying plant cells this last term at school) which is beautiful but there were so many other fascinating images.

My Favourite (and most expensive) discovery was Smashing China Mosaics.  I absolutely adore the vibrant mosaics made from pieces of vintage china.
I splashed out my saved-up holiday money on a gorgeous green tea pot stand which I cannot stop looking at and wondering if tiny, intricate china patterns like the green and white one are still being made today.

Mosaic teapot stand from Smashing China Mosaics

One last thing I have to show you from the fair is these knitted birds.

Full of character and very cleverly displayed (not that I captured it well..). 

Knitted Seagulls at Art in the Pen

Huge apologies to the artist because I was so excited by the knitting that I didn't pick up a card so I could credit the photo and I can't seem to find you via the website.

Knitted birds at Art in the Pen

Back at home there was much time for pottering and crafting.  I brought inside one of the apricot begonias I have proudly grown from tubers for the first time this year to cheer up the windowsill.

Homegrown Apricot Begonia

I baked a cake, too, inspired by Natalie who blogged the recipe for Apple Cake which had been passed down through her family.  I love things like this - you can keep celebrity chefs, food styling and trends, if someone shares a nostalgic recipe that their family has been eating for generations then I'm inspired to pick up my wooden spoon!

I followed the recipe exactly, except for substituting for gluten free self-raising flour and it was delicious! Tart apples, light but substantial cake with sweet raisins, a hint of spice and a crunchy top.  Perfect rainy day food.

apple cake, coffee and crochet

The cake was accompanied by Puro Coffee which I was sent to review. The Puro story about how the company is helping to save the rainforest and give back to the environment is an inspiring watch.

And the coffee is good!  Really good. I'm very picky about coffee and the Puro ticked all of my boxes for flavour, aroma, smoothness and ethics. I've been drinking and enjoying the decaf over the weekend but am eyeing up Puro Noble shadegrown coffee this morning which has hints of fruit and hazelnut.

august homegrown veg box for Dad

A little bit of pottering in the garden turned into a whole lot of harvesting.  I've been giving away lettuces all week and yesterday I had enough surplus produce to make up a veg box for my Dad!  
It feels like the season is starting to wind down but I'm reading about another heatwave  predicted in the news this morning and uncharacteristically I hope it turns out to be true because I have a LOT of green tomatoes waiting to ripen and a whole heap of work to get done before Autumn arrives.

How was your weekend?


  1. love the knitted birds, maybe they will see the post and let you know who they are. Glad your week off was fun and so glad you're back.

    1. They're wonderful, aren't they? I hope they see it and let me know, too.

  2. I feel very relaxed myself after reading your lovely post!

  3. I went to art in the pen too, we only managed to do 2/3 of it though. I love glass artwork, I spent £2 on a tiny ceramic bowl with a pool of glass in the bottom of it :)
    I was also inspired by the watercolours, I think it would be amazing to do something like that!

    1. Oh, how come you didn't get all the way around?
      I'm sure I remember seeing you do watercolour painting before and being impressed at your skills!

  4. Oh I love this post. So many neat things to see and I love hearing that you took care of yourself and spent the weekend doing things you love. You inspire me to do the same. Someone recently told me about knitting an "infinity" scarf that is like a cowl that slips over your head, on round knitting needles. I might have to try it. It sounds simple enough!

    1. Thanks, Annette :o)
      I hope you get some time to do the same. An infinity scarf is very easy to knit - definitely have a go!

  5. Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend! Glad you liked the Apple cake recipe. I forgot to mention on my post that it is also delicious served warm with custard ;-)
    Can I ask what flour you used as John has asked me to do a gf version for him. Was it a ready made blend or one you do yourself? xx

    1. I kept thinking about pairing it with custard!
      When I first started attempting gluten free baking I got my knickers in a twist about flour blends and ended up with a lot of inedible rubbish, then a friend said she just substitutes Doves Farm plain/self raising flour as a straight substitute and it as changed my world! So, I used the self raising flour blend for the cake and it was fine - slightly more crumbly than the wheat one, probably but still really great results.

    2. You mean I don't have to keep buying a load of different flours and starches to blend together because everywhere on the web tells us we get better results than if we use ready made blends? Doh! I have an entire cupboard devoted to the 1001 packets of flour I seem to need just to bake a few basic recipes!
      Thank you so much!

    3. I know! I'm the same with a cupboard full of flours. I'm sure they do make more intricate flavour and texture blends if you have time to faff about but I don't and I was getting frustrated with all of the gluten free fails coming out of my oven!

  6. What a wonderful good blessing your mama-time staycation sounds like it was! And filled with so many good things, too! Welcome back. :) Our garden is full of green tomatoes, too. I did pick a couple Romas for a salad on Sunday and harvested a few tasty cukes. Lettuces are bolted, but we have seedlings started to enjoy as the weather cools. Saturday was spent putting a plastic tunnel over the tomato bed to aid in ripening. Saying a prayer and keeping my fingers crossed for both your tomatoes and mine! Blessings, ~Lisa :)

    1. Oh, a tunnel over the tomato bed sounds like a good idea. My plants are 6 feet tall now, though so not possible for me. I will say a prayer for our tomatoes, too!

  7. That sounds like a divine weekend. I'm so with you on the family recipe thing - I'd much rather know a recipe had stood the test of time and countless generations than try a new recipe from celeb chef. I like to know the recipe has nourished the souls of many a generation ;-) Might have to give that apple cake a whirl - sounds just the thing to ward off the autumnal feeling that has arrived up north!

    1. It is feeling very autumnal, isn't it? For the first time ever I'm hoping summer drags just a bit longer!

  8. Sounds like you had a lovely weekend. The cake, coffee and what you are crocheting all look nice. Great turn out from your garden! Like the smashed china mosaic.


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