Archive | June 2012

My grandson Dylan – update


This is my grandson Dylan, eating his tea at my cottage yesterday.  I introduced you to him last week here. He is 18 months old now and a typical mischievous child for his age. He’s curious and likes to know what everything is or does. He’s like a sponge, soaking up information from all around him.

Every week something delightful happens when he comes to visit. Yesterday I took him shopping and for a change from yoghurt, I bought him four chocolate puddings.  He likes to eat those himself and does really well with his spoon. At lunch-time we had fish fingers with chips and sweetcorn and tomato ketchup (he loves that) and he had his chocolate pudding for dessert.  I wasn’t sure if he would like it, but he did, very much.

Then at tea-time (see above picture) he had sandwiches with chocolate sprinkles in, cheese and Pringles. When he was finished he offered up the dish to me and I thought he’d had enough. I took the dish into the kitchen and came back to remove his bib. Then he got into a strop! ‘bib on’ he roared, which came as a complete surprise to me because he usually wants the bib off, not on. Puzzled I said to him, ‘I thought you’d finished your lunch?’ but he kept shouting, ‘No, pingit, pingit.’ I didn’t know what he meant and he was frustrated because he couldn’t make his silly Oma understand!

After a bit, I realised he was saying ‘bring it’ not ‘pingit’ and then the penny dropped.  He wanted another chocolate pudding and he wanted his grandad to bring it in. Once we got that sorted, we were ok. Grandad brought the chocolate pudding in and Dylan ate it up beautifully.  However…. when he’d finished he wanted another one! Now that was asking too much. I didn’t want him to be sick and he really had had enough so I said ‘No’, firmly and removed the bib again. You can guess what happened next.

The moment soon passed and peace returned to the room. The event went into my memory bank to cogitate on later and he was collected by his mum to return home with a full tummy having had a happy day at Oma’s cottage.

You can see a little video of Dylan eating his tea here.

I wonder what will happen next week?

Hell found me….in the dentist’s chair!


Hell found Me. David and I sat on the plastic seats and looked around us. The dentists’ surgery was busy today, when wasn’t it? Here we sat for David’s six monthly check up and after that, my extraction. I couldn’t look nervous, could I? I had to be the strong one because David, at the age of eight, needed my support. I gave him a comic to read. His face was white. He always got that sweaty, white look when he was nervous.

I was lucky, lucky! Huh! I was lucky to be fitted in at such short notice. Lucky I was not, when I bit into that delicious piece of toast yesterday and heard my back tooth crack ominously. Spitting out the larger part of the tooth, I regarded it with contempt and wondered if I could use the super glue and stick it back in. No, I think not. The edges felt jagged. Soon my tongue was sore and yet I couldn’t leave it alone. Every spare minute my tongue sort out the roughness and returned to its usual position more red and more sore than before.

“Good morning. This is Mrs. Smith, I have an appointment tomorrow for my son David, for his six monthly check up and now I have broken one of my back teeth. Could I please see the dentist as well?”

“Which dentist do you see Mrs. Smith?”

“Mr. Suami.”

“He’s not in tomorrow. He’s on holiday. We have a stand in dentist. His name is Mr. Adam. I’ll put you in as an emergency, after David. Don’t eat anything for an hour or so before you come, just in case.”

“Thank you,” I grovelled, remembering the dentist’s receptionist as a grumpy, fat woman with a body odour problem.

Hell found me in the surgery on that glorious August morning.

The appointment was at 9.30 a.m and, since I had not enjoyed breakfast that morning, I began to feel my tummy rumbling and groaning in its emptiness.

“You can go in now, Mrs. Smith”

I gently touched David in the centre of his back to encourage him to move towards the dentist’s room. He looked up at me with his big blue eyes and I felt like a traitor.

“It’s o.k.” I told him. “You’ll be all right.”

We walked towards the dentist’s chair but one look at the dentist in his white coat told David that here was a doctor and doctors were for kicking. He sat in the chair when told to do so but as soon as it started to move upwards, up came his right leg, kicking the dentist right where it hurts the most. Normally, David is a good little boy and gives me no trouble but when in the doctor’s surgery, he transforms into the child from hell and there is very little anyone can do with him.

The dentist glared at him and then looked across at me. “Does he always behave like this, Mrs. Smith?”

“No,” I lied. “He’s usually very good.”

“Well we shan’t get very far if he does that again,” Mr. Adam retorted.

David saw the look on my face and lay back but when Mr. Adam tried to look in his mouth, he refused to open it and that was that, we got no further.

“You’ll have to hold him still,” Mr. Adam commanded.

“I can’t do that. That is your job. You should have a bedside manner.”

As a mother, I felt defensive. I thought Mr. Adam had obviously not had very much to do with children. He had not done a thing to gain David’s confidence.

“You’ll have to take him home then.”

“I’m not doing that,” I answered. “I’ll never get him back here again, if I do that.”

“David,” I said with authority. “Sit still and open your mouth NOW.”

That worked. David opened his mouth for the dentist and the check up took place.

Then it was my turn. The nurse took David away into the waiting room to read his comic and I sat in the chair.

“What’s the trouble, Mrs. Smith.”?

“I’ve broken my back tooth,” I mumbled, with my finger in my mouth, pointing to the offending tooth but obliterating speech in so doing.

“Let’s have a look then.”

Mr. Adam leaned into me with his little mirror that looked like a toothbrush. Straight away I breathed on it and it steamed up. He wiped it. Then he tried again.

“Ah, yes, I see the trouble. You’ve broken it right down to the gum line, unfortunately. You have two choices, either “we” take it out or you can have a crown.”

“How much do the crowns cost?”

“They start at £100 and go up to £300, depending on the type of crown you have.”

I did some mental arithmetic concerning income and expenditure for the month and decided that the extraction was the best option.

“Take it out please.” I said, humbly, not feeling very brave.

“Are you taking any medication at the moment.”?

“No,” I replied.

“Right, well, let’s get on with it then. I’ll just give you a little injection.”

He leaned across and picked up a huge needle. It looked huge because he was holding it right in front of my face and it didn’t shrink when he moved a bit further away. Was it pleasure I saw on his face as he inserted the needle deep into my gum, three times in different places? The bitter cocaine filled my gums and a trickle of it ran down my jaw.

“There, now, just go and wait in the waiting room for a few minutes until that takes effect and then we’ll blow the little tooth away for you” he reassured me.

Ten minutes later the whole of the left side of my face was frozen and I found I couldn’t talk properly. The lips felt numb, large and fleshy. I touched them with my fingers to make sure they were still there. My cheek was numb too, so when I returned to the dentist’s chair, I felt fairly confident that I wouldn’t feel any pain. Leaning back in the chair I felt all my blood rushing towards my head, which was considerably lower that then rest of me. Shining into my eyes was a bright dentist’s lamp threatening to give me a migraine at any minute.

I looked towards the ceiling. Was God with me this morning or was he hiding behind a cloud? There was nothing, absolutely nothing to look at on the ceiling, no flies, no cracks, nothing, just a white nothingness. I looked again at the lamp, thinking maybe I would pass out and not know any more about this morning.

“Can you feel this, Mrs. Smith?” he asked me, banging my broken tooth with his drill.

“Yes,” I uttered.

“And this?” he asked again, as he prodded my lip with another sharp instrument.

“No,” but this time, I wasn’t sure. I thought I did feel a little sensation.

“I’ll give you a bit more anaesthaetic. You must have a very dense bony plate under that tooth.”

He gave me another injection, waited a little while. It felt more numb.

“First I’m going to press down into your gum, and then the tooth will move more easily.”

“Ughhh,”

Mr. Adam reached across to his little shelf and picked up one of his instruments. I closed my eyes. I didn’t want to see it. Then he grasped my tooth with it and pressed down into the gum. Nothing moved. I looked up into his face anxiously. I could see right up into his nose. I could see little hairs in there, which were sticking out. I could see something else in there too but I looked away. I looked at his forehead. It looked sweaty. Realising he was nervous too, I felt more anxious. The mask he had over his mouth went in and out with his breathing.

He tried again, still no movement. Ten minutes went by. Then he announced: –

“The roots of this tooth are wrapped around your jaw. I will just have to free them for you.”

By this he meant that he would have to saw through them with a miniature saw, only it didn’t look miniature when he held it up to my mouth. He started to saw. I felt no pain, only anxiety. My heart began to pound. Blood filled my mouth. There was still no movement. My tooth was proving difficult and that is an understatement.

I had visions of tooth roots like snakes winding round and round my jaw bone. In my imagination the roots grew longer and longer…

Another five minutes went by. Mr. Adam scratched his head.

“I just want to pop downstairs a minute and speak with Mr. Johnson, the senior partner. I won’t be long.”

He left the room, leaving me in a panic. Tears sprang from my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. My whole face felt numb but I knew that the numbness wouldn’t last for long.

When Mr. Adam returned, he had Mr. Johnson with him. Mr. Johnson looked inside my mouth and frowned.

“Try cutting into the jaw to free the roots,” he suggested.

Mr. Adam looked reluctant to do that but Mr. Johnson remained where he was and once again Mr. Adam sat in his seat. He took out the saw and sawed again. I nearly passed out. At this point I started to pray.

“Please God, if I get out of here alive, I will promise to be a good citizen every day for the rest of my life, only please spare me, I beseech you.”

My back was running with sweat, the tears were running. I was terrified. Hell had found me in that dentist’s chair.

“Make haste,” said Mr. Johnson. “The anaesthetic will soon be wearing off.

At last the sawing stopped. The tooth came out. Mr. Adam packed it. That means he took from a sterile tray, a small hard lump of dressing about the size of a peanut and placed it in the hole where the tooth had been to staunch the blood.

I heard the tooth fall into a tray with a clink. It was the best sound I had heard in a long time.

“All done, Mrs. Smith. You’ve been very brave.”

I was speechless. Slowly my head was raised to the normal position as the chair moved downwards. I could feel the sensations returning.

“It might be an idea to have an aspirin when you get home,” suggested Mr. Adam.

Mr. Johnson left the room and returned to his own patients.

Fumbling in my pocket, I found a large white handkerchief, which I placed against my mouth. My legs felt weak and I doubted that I would be able to stand up.

Somehow, I managed to lift myself off the chair and walk to the waiting room, where a host of anxious people were waiting. I realised that I had held them all up and they would all be late. David was waiting for me, playing with some bricks, which had been provided for the children.

Together we walked out of the surgery, down the steps and up the road to our home.

Humpty Bunny


This is Humpty Bunny. He’s a full-sized cushion and I make him regularly for one of my sons, who likes to rest his head on him in bed whilst reading. Apparently he’s just right for that purpose.

I made this one whilst I was in America last year, but when he was finished he had to travel back to England.

Here he is in the car awaiting the journey.

 

and my last cuddle before parting with him on his long trek:

 

I wouldn’t like to say how many of these I have made, but each one comes out just a little different to the rest.

I’m pleased to report that he arrived safely and is now resting after all the excitement.

Victoria Sandwich Cake


Here’s what we’re going to make:

So let’s begin with an empty bowl.

Yesterday I made an English Victoria Sandwich Cake. I thought you might like to see how I made it. First take a clean bowl. The bowl is important.  It has to be large enough to get some serious whisking done. The secret of making a light Victoria Sandwich Cake is to whisk the mixture till it’s just right. Too little or too much whisking and you’ll spoil it.

I made a 6oz cake, which takes the following ingredients:

6 ozs self-raising flour

6 ozs caster sugar (in America this is more refined sugar with a smaller grain. I can’t remember what you call it, sorry).

6 ozs butter or margarine. Tip – use soft margarine. It makes the whisking easier.

I use a hand-held electric whisk.

There are several ways of making the cake. You could make it by creaming the butter and sugar together first and then adding the eggs slowly, one by one or as in this case, I combined the margarine, eggs and sugar together in the bowl and used an electric whisk.

When whisking, here’s the secret: You need to whisk until the mixture goes white, from yellow. Stop immediately it changes colour. If you see signs of curdling (egg separating) add a spoonful of flour and continue whisking. Add the flour when the egg mixture is whisked, combining it using the folding in method with a metal spoon.

This is what it should look like: it should be at a dropping consistency, i.e. if you hold the spoon a foot above the bowl, loaded with mixture, the mixture should drop off the spoon fairly slowly. If too fast, add another spoon of flour, if too slow, add a dessert spoonful of milk.

Once you’ve made the mixture, you need to grease your cake pans. I use margarine and spread a walnut sized piece with some kitchen towel. The pans are sized: 8 inches.

Measure the mixture evenly into the two pans:

and put the pans on the same shelf in your oven, set to Gas Mark 4 or equivalent. I use the middle shelf. NB ovens vary. My gas oven is hottest at the top and coolest at the bottom so I put the cake pans in the middle. If you have a fan oven, the heat is evenly distributed in all parts of the oven so it doesn’t matter which shelf you use. You know your own oven.

Set the time to 25 mins. This is just right for my oven, but yours could vary by 5 minutes either way so check it five minutes before or after. This is dangerous because if you open the door too soon, the cake will sink, too late and it will be burnt so you do really need to get to know your own oven. Be guided by instinct to start with and improve the next time you make the cake.

When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and cool on the side for a few minutes.  Don’t try to take it out of the pans too soon or it might stick to the bottom. Same if you’re too long about it.  You need to get this bit just right.  Sometimes it will just fall out and other times you might need to work at it a bit.

Nb if your oven is not level, then you might find that you have a patch on the cake which is a little more done than the rest.  If you do, then stabilise the oven.  If that is not possible, then put that half of the cake upside down on the plate and it won’t show!

While the cake is cooling down, make up the cream. I use Elmlea double cream and whip it till it leaves a trail.  I don’t add any sugar to it. If you’re in America, use Heavy Cream to get the same result. When it looks like the following picture, stop whisking otherwise it will turn into butter!

Spread one side of the cake with your favourite jam (preserves if you’re American).

Then spread some cream on top of the jam, carefully.

Next put the other half of the sandwich on top and decorate.  You may have some whipped cream left over. If so, you could use that. Personally I think there is enough cream and jam in the middle and you don’t really need to add much more. Traditionally, some caster sugar would be sprinkled over the top. It’s up to you really, but don’t overdo it.

You will need a nice plate to display it on:

and you’re almost done.

Maybe a strawberry on the top?

Now I just have to wait until the grandchildren come round.

For those of you who haven’t made one of these before, why not have a go and do a post on your results, with a link back here to help me make some new friends and gain some new followers? I’m a newbie in the WordPress world.

Enjoy your cooking.

Oma

Lady’s Mantle, Alchemilla Mollis, Sunday in the garden.


‘The botanical name of Lady’s mantle, Alchemilla mollis, means ‘the little alchemist.’  A hardy perennial, it has soft, fuzzy leaves with pleated edges that collect drops of dew, which explains how it earned the folk name of ‘dewdrop’ and ‘dewcup’.  This plant bears gorgeous yellow-green, loose and frothy-looking clusters of flowers in the summer, making it very popular in bridal bouquets and floral designs.

If you gather the dew that collects on the leaves of this herb, add it to spells and potions for a boost.  Or touch a dewdrop to your forehead for a herbal blessing.  Alchemilla Mollis was originally sacred to the Goddess, but as time went on, it became a popular plant in Monastic gardens and later became connected to the Virgin Mary.  This easy-to-grow herb is a wonderful addition to the magickal garden.  Work the flowers and leaves into spells for women’s magick, the earth goddess, healing and turning up the volume on your own herbal spells.  The elemental correspondence for lady’s mantle is water.  The planetary association is Venus. In the language of flowers, this herb signifies the comfort of protection.

Ellen Dugan

 

When I went into the garden this morning, it had been raining. Raindrops adorned many of the plants and shrubs and dripped from the trees, but the most beautiful were the lady’s mantles.  This year I intend to move some of them to fill up some empty spaces (choke – there aren’t many empty spaces!) but maybe I’ll find a few.

It is midsummer and what better time to work some spells for the good of other people. Alchemilla Mollis is the perfect choice to use at this time of the year.

Who knows,if you look really closely you might even see a fairy taking a shower as the wind disturbs the droplets.

 

 

My Latest Knitting Project


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This is my current project with the knitting needles.  The yarn I’m using is Emu Coolspun and it’s a cool, cotton yarn, ideal for the summer.  You have to be a little bit careful when washing cotton, otherwise it’s pretty perfect and very comfortable to wear.

All hand knitted garments made of natural fibres like wool, silk or cotton should be washed by hand ideally and dried flat.  If you don’t do that then you’re asking for a failure. It’s as simple as that. The man-made fibres are fine for the washing machine and respond well at 30 degrees temperature. Some say 40 degrees. I pick and choose which ones I’m careful with and which ones I can be a bit more confident with.

The pattern I’m using is specially designed for the yarn I’ve got so there should be no problems there and it is knitting up rather well.  I love the colour.

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Miss Babs Hand-dyed Yarns & Fibers


In a previous post, I told you about thespinning wheel I got for Christmas. I don’t know how to like back to my previous posts so if anyone can advise me, please do?  I also got two lessons. The first thing I made was a cushion cover. A picture of that is at the end of this post. Then I bought some roving and made some skeins. I’ll write more about making skeins later.

When I had a lot of skeins, I started knitting.  Before you can start knitting, you have to check your tension, otherwise the garment comes out too big or too small. Since the skeins were made with wool I’d spun myself, I needed to see what my tension was so using size 4.00mm needles, I knitted up a sample square of 50 stitches to 50 rows and then counted the number of stitches and rows to one inch. That way I could make sure that the pattern would come out right. I found that the yarn I spun myself was very slightly thicker than the English double knit wool yarn I am used to knitting with so I changed to a smaller needle and then it came out just right.  In America the usual thickness for yarn seems to be what they call Worsted. We don’t have that expression over here (that I know of) and it is slightly thicker to knit with than our D.K. yarn, so popular in England.

Back at Christmas time I bought some brown Worsted and made a garment with that. It felt thicker than I am used to.  So knitting with my own spun yarn is akin to the Worsted over there.  However, I would like to get it a bit thinner so I am working on that. With my spinning I am trying to make a thinner, finer yarn and I think that will come with practice.

So here we go… This is the start of a sleeve for my cardigan.

This is the back of the cardigan.  I think the colours are just gorgeous, don’t you?

This is the front. It’s not quite complete. I have to find some buttons in the right colour and then give it a gentle press.

The wool yarn is so soft to knit with and will be so warm to wear. Here in England we wear woollies all winter and our winter starts at the end of October and sometimes goes on till the end of March.

Because I am a bit wacky and I like things which are a bit different and individual, I spun in some of the roving from a cushion cover I made previously. Only a little mind, just enough to notice.

The roving for the cardigan was purchased from MissBabs hand-dyed yarns and fibers of Mountain City, Tennessee. It is composed of Blue Face Leicester (BFL) and Tussah Silk top. It spins and knits beautifully. It is 80% white BFL/20% Tussah Top.

It comes in 4 oz lots and for the cardigan I used 2.5 lbs plus a little of the plain green at the top of the sleeves.

Miss Babs has her own website at www.missbabs.com and a blog too. Click to visit her blog here.