Monday, February 20, 2012


Right now we are gathering so much from the garden that many of our meals are almost entirely homegrown. I have just munched my way through this salad and apart from a little marinated feta cheese sprinkled over the top the entire bowl was picked fresh from the garden moments before I ate it.

As I enjoyed the fresh vital flavours of the salad greens, herbs, tomato, cucumber and capsicum, I realised how lucky we are to be able to grow so much of what we eat. The addition of our new poly-tunnel this season really has contributed a great deal to our garden's bounty (and it's not even finished!)

The cucumbers have gone rampant and we were in danger of disappearing under a mountain of them so I resolved to pickle some of them over the weekend. I dug out my trusty old book of preserve recipes, given to me by a friend many years ago. I found just what I was looking for, a recipe for bread and butter cucumber pickle. Much slicing and dicing later, and a little cooking, I had these gorgeous looking jars ready for use later in the year when the garden won't be so productive.

Today I've also been out picking blackberries. I have been keeping an eye on the roadside brambles while out and about, waiting for them to ripen. We had a little rain in the past few days and this seems to have really brought them on, so today I stopped on my way home from an errand and picked myself a bucket of these glossy, black jewels. I'll put them into the freezer so that they are there for us in Winter when a nice blackberry and apple pie might be just the thing to chase the winter blues away. Or even better adding them to a raspberriy crumble, where their inclusion acts as a foil to the intense flavour of the raspberries, creating an all together devine combination of fruit under an almondy crumble mix.

As for the studio, right now I'm working on a polar bear cub. He's just a pile of bits at the moment, but in the next day or two he will come to life as I work on him. I'm having to take things a little easy at present, my hands are playing up again. I have to mix things up a bit so I don't run the risk of further straining them.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What Have You Been Up To Mrs. B?

Well now, what have I been up to?

I have just spent a busy ten days in Victoria, teaching two wonderful groups of ladies how to make Sierra. At the end of it all we had 18 "Sierras" in various stages of completion. I have to say that these workshops, which lasted three days each, were jammed full of techniques and I think all of the girls who participated were exhausted, but extremely happy at the end of the third day.

On day one we made feet! This was an optional extra workshop to create trapunto leather foot pads which were then sewn into the legs ready for the following two days. I was really pleased with how well this day went, and we had some beautiful feet at the end of it. Such a simple technique for absolutely stunning results!

On one of my free days, I designed and made "Mr Jingles" after requests for something small for my next workshop at Bear Essence (in May). These  workshops are already filling fast! After some consultation with the girls in one of the workshops and the addition of his accessories this little fellow was named after the mouse in "The Green Mile"

Well that's about it, apart from a mountain of housework and weeding in the garden and of course more bears, that's what I've been up to. I also need to find some pickle recipes for our abundance of cucumbers, the plants are at peak production right now and don't look like they're going to be giving up any time soon, so it would be nice to put some up for use later in the year. And I promise, my giveaway will be coming real soon!