Archive for March, 2010

Birthday Sunday Sunshine

Today brought lovely, sunny weather to our part of the country.

As it was my day and my choice what to do: we went to the local garden centre!

The Sussex Engine and Associated Machinery Society were there exhibiting their engines in the sunshine:

Apparently most of these engines were used to power farm machinery and pump water around farms. They run off petrol or diesel, and one small tank of fuel can keep the engine going for up to 2 days. They are pretty economical. But VERY noisy!

We moved on into the garden centre, where we chose our vegetables for this season, and also got hooked on DAHLIAS!

I have never grown these before, but my Mum says it’s pretty easy, so here goes! Will keep you posted.

Thank you to Edie and Bob for my beautiful Spring Planter, which is now adding a spot of much needed colour and freshness to our patio.


And thank you to my two favourite people for my fab birthday gifts and a lovely day.


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Carrots Galore!

We bought all these carrots from the garden centre on Sunday for £1!


What else was there to do but make carrot cake?:



“I’m just going to test it…”

Yep. It’s pretty good!

Thanks to vegetarian and vegan cook Rose Elliot for the recipe. It’s the Vegan Carrot Cake in her book Vegetarian Supercook.

And we had enough carrots left to make soup for all our friends at our Crafty Tuesday tommorow.

This is the recipe, thanks to Gillian McKeith and the BBC.

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A Railway in a Day

Last week we made a railway:


From this!

Here’s how we did it…

First we turned the table upside down onto a piece of 4ft by 2ft, 6mm MDF which we bought from the local DIY store. We screwed two strips of wood to the long edges of the board to hold it securely in place on the table, without having to fix it permanently.

Then we started planning the layout…

…as usual the trains couldn’t wait to try it out!…


When we were happy with our design we drew around the edges of the track with a pencil, and also took an ‘aerial’ photograph so that we could remember later which pieces went where…

Then got started on the painting:

We used our regular children’s paint, and followed the pencil lines only very loosely, so we got quite a vibrant, energetic feel to the ‘landscape’.

When it was dry, (or almost dry, as we just couldn’t wait any longer…), we stuck the track back down with wood glue.

Added some wooden buildings and trees, animals and of course, some trains. We stuck the trees and buildings too, but not the animals (or trains!)…


…and Voila!

Sam has played with it LOADS everyday since we made it.

Here’s some other views:


As an afterthought, I think we probably should have varnished over the painting before sticking the track down, as it would have made it more durable and more or less waterproof (useful when beakers of juice get placed on it etc.). But then, varnishing would have meant another (pretty messy) stage with a lot more drying time, whereas the way things were – we completed the whole project in less than a day – start to finish, and still had some time left to play with it! Also, there’s nothing stopping me varnish even now on an evening. Apart from writing this blog and a rather large pile of ironing that is…x

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Sheldon Turtle

Started knitting this today for Sam. He chose the wool and the pattern:

It’s knitted in the round on four needles, something I haven’t done before, but it’s occurred to me is really good practice for knitting socks, something I’ve been wanting to try my hand at for ages…

…better finish Sheldon first, before I speak too soon!

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Mother’s Day Weekend in the Garden

A day of flowers! Here’s my Mother’s Day bouquet, thank you Honey.

We went to the local park for a Mother’s Day lunch, a play in the sand and a spring crocus walk.


And then felt inspired to get going in our garden for the year…

We have decided to make some larger vegetable beds this year, and just use the raised beds for salads and strawberries. The area we’ve chosen needs quite a lot of clearing and digging over, but the soil seems to be in good condition underneath.

A couple of sessions later… it’s looking a lot better already! Will keep you posted.

Thanks Dad for inspiring me so much. x

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Chocolate Cup Cakes

Used this recipe for the buns, and just added cocoa powder to the mix.


Then made a simple butter icing (icing sugar and soft butter – we used Billingtons Golden Icing Sugarand Yeo Valley Spreadable Butter which contains some sunflower oil), mixed with cocoa powder.

They seemed to be popular!


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York Railway Museum

Did you know that the inside of a steam train looks like this!?

On a visit to the National Railway Museum in York we learned that there are over 40 pipes which control the flow of the steam around the boiler…

You can also walk right underneath an engine:

…and check out a great collection from across the history of rail.

Definitely worth a visit if you’re in York!

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