A new chapter

Dear reader,

I have neglected Lalomino for a long time now. It isn’t because I wanted to, it’s because I had to. There is so much that’s going on around me at the moment, that I couldn’t concentrate on blogging. 

Besides still studying for my degree and parenting, I’ve been putting all my energies into building Veronika Lavey Design. 

I’ve been busy designing and making linen dolls that I will be selling on my website at http://www.veronikalaveydesign.com and at select boutiques. 

The proposed launch date for Veronika Lavey Design both online and in some boutiques is 1st May 2012. 

I am also online at:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Veronika-Lavey-Design/224126680989524

and

https://twitter.com/#!/VeronikaLavey

Please come and say hello. I always say hello back!

Veronika

 

Autumn is here

It’s absolutely crazy how quickly the summer holidays have passed by! I suppose this was our first proper summer holidays, with Max’s first year at school over and us enjoying ‘us-time’ for a couple of months.

We had family staying over both from my side and from Ian’s side almost back to back, which was lots of fun for everyone! Ok, so the weather wasn’t terribly summery (except when my sister-in-law Jo and co stayed over, then it was faaaaabulous!! – I mean we even ate breakfast on the patio!), but we definitely made the most of it and enjoyed any bit of sunshine, either on the beach in Wales or in the garden. We discovered loads of new places in the area, which now doesn’t feel as new and strange as it did four months ago. Four months!!! Geez, can’t believe we moved in four months ago!

I’m looking out of my kitchen window as I write this, how the sun is shining on the garden and the swing we put up on the old apple tree and all the space, and still can’t believe we live here, and how lucky we are. But I can also see that the leaves are slowly turning colour, which can only mean that autumn is here!! I love autumn! I love the colours the smell of the forests, I love putting on a cardigan and I love wearing my boots! And recently I’ve discovered that I love making the most of our fruit trees! We have apple trees, pear trees, plum trees and hazelnuts. The apples are still ripening and the hazelnuts are all being carried off by squirrels (grrrrr!!!!!!), but the plums are in full action and very tasty.

We picked as much as we could and I’ve been busy trying out making jam and tarts. Want to see? Hmm?? Oh, ok then, if you insist!!

The plum jam was so much easier to make than I thought it would be.

2 kg plums (boil this up in 1 pint of water in a preserving pan)

2 kg preserving sugar (gradually add to the plums, once they’ve boiled mushy and keep simmering for about half an hour or until the set-test works – see below)

1 lemon’s juice (add to the 1 pint of water in the beginning)

The tricks were:

I put 3 saucers in the fridge when I started the whole process and when I thought the jam might be ready I took one of the saucers out, put a spoon full of wanna-be-jam on and waited until it cooled down. If it wrinkled up, the jam was ready to be taken off the cooker, if not, keep simmering for a few more minutes and try again.

And also, have the jars as clean as you can have them! Steam them all and put them in the oven at 80C for 15 min. (do this while the jars are still warm, or else they’ll crack!) When you fill them, they have to be hot still, or else the glass will crack. Oh, and it helps to put the jars on a tea towel when you fill them.

Pretty, no?

Then there was the plum tart. Mmmmmmmmmm….. plum tart….!!!

My good friend Jocelyn gave me a recipe for this, which I had to alter a little bit, as I didn’t have her My Secret Kitchen ingredients, but it still worked beautifully (maybe because I used my mum’s Hungarian plum jam – much runnier than my jam – as a substitute)

Here’s the recipe as given by Jocelyn:

Figgy Plum Tart 

Sweet Pastry Tart Case

250gr. Plain Flour

125gr. Butter

100gr. Icing Sugar

3 medium egg yolks

Rub butter and flour together until a fine mix is obtained.

Add icing sugar and quickly mix, then add egg yolks to the mix to form a smooth pastry – some times a little more egg yolk is required – wrap in cling film and put in fridge for one hour – roll out and gently place in 22cm. loose bottomed flan tin, pushing pastry in to the sides with thumb and forefinger then crimp neatly around the top. Keep in fridge.

Frangipane

125gr. Butter

125gr. Sugar

125gr. Eggs – weigh without shells

125gr. Ground almonds

13gr. Plain flour

Mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs, then the ground almonds and flour – the mix is now ready to use. Keep in fridge.

Cut six Victoria Plums in half and de-stone

Melt  25gr. Butter in small frying pan, add 2 tablespoons MSK Fig Pudding Pickle

Stir off the heat until melted – add plums cut side down and bubble until syrupy – spoon mixture over the top of the plums to glaze.

My other lovely friend Nicci, from Home Gurrown has a very similar recipe, which was featured on ITV the other day in their ‘Country Wise Kitchen’ series. Here’s the recipe and here’s the video.

(picture off Nicci’s website)

You can read all about Nicci and all the fab things they do on her wonderful website. On a side note though: she’s a super lady and a wonderful friend and mum, who loves what she does and seriously gives 100% to it all. I wish I had half the determination she has! I would recommend their produce and catering to anyone in a heartbeat. If you live in Kent, find them at the local Farmers’ Markets and buy some of their food. Yuuummmmmmmieeeeeee!!!!!

It’s done!

I realise that I should have waited until the morning so I could take better photos with day light shining on Anabelle’s new dress, but I was way too excited about sharing the end result!

With kids in bed, I finished hand stitching the hem of the dress, ironed, checked for pins (!!!! Very important !!!! The first knitted cardigan I made for Anabelle had one hidden, which I quickly realised after she complained!!), cut thread ends off and tadaaaa!

I kept my pen and my sewing notebook handy while working on the dress, to note down all the mistakes I’ve made or things I should have or could have done differently.

By nature I am an incredibly impatient person (Ian will tell you…) and I’m trying to teach myself that good, lasting things don’t just happen overnight. I made mistakes, it took much longer than I would have liked, but in time I’m sure I will get better and quicker. Practice, practice, practice, right?

Still, I think this first little dress I made for my little girl is quite alright actually!

I think I know what Anabelle will be wearing to the movies tomorrow. I just hope she’ll like it!

Getting there

The Studio is coming along nicely. There’s still so much to organise though. I need to get lots of things and I need to paint lots of furniture before it is the way I would like it to be, but it certainly is getting there!!

I thought I’d show you what happened to the taped down wall

I was almost sorry to have to put the shelf on the wall and hide my lovely stripes! After I finished with it, I couldn’t stop smiling every time I went into the Studio. It’s sort of a cross between a circus and candy cane, don’t you think? The other side of the room is painted completely in the blue and the two ends of the room are painted in the Timeless White I used for the white stripes. Next on the list is the brown table on the picture and the chair.

I’ve painted the sewing/pattern/useful table but while the turquoise is a nice colour, I was too impatient with the drying time and didn’t wait long enough between the red base coat and the top turquoise, which means I can’t expose the red… Still, it’s better than it was before and I might paint it again. However, my darling husband helped me with raising the top of the table, so it is now at a perfect hight and my amazingly clever friend Jocelyn was ever so sweet and helped me cover it with interlining and a nice piece of fabric so I can now do this:

The table top is now thick enough that I can stick pins in it, and it doesn’t slide, so the fabric stays put. Good stuff!

Do you recognise the fabric? I think my friend Sarah might, as I used it when I made this cat for her beautiful little girl Zoe. This time though, I’m making a dress for Anabelle:

View 1. Should be sweet.

Well, it’s getting there! And look at that, you can even see the table and my inspiration board! That’s still a bit empty, but I’m working on it!! Can you believe I picked it up at a Boot Sale for £2? Bargain. I miss my Boot Sales.

Well, to finish the post off, I’ll include a few pictures of these wonderful Red Kites our friends and us saw recently at a feeding station. My wild life photography isn’t very good, so excuse the blurriness please!

Cheerio!

Oreo Pops

Here’s something super yummy!:

Oreo Pops!!

A little while ago I ordered some plastic (reusable!!!) lollypop sticks and some candy melt with the intention of making cake pops Bakerella style!

Well, with absolutely no time on my hands and two children demanding dessert, I quickly popped some Oreos at the end of a few sticks, melted the candy melt, dipped the Oreos and sprinkled with some cake decoration. Et Voila!

It went down really well!

On another note: I found this table at the junk auction the other week. This will be my perfect sewing table.

That’s Ian helping me out with sanding the old paint off. Thank you honey!

I was inspired by my friend, Jocelyn’s sewing table and have decided to paint the table turquoise with a deep red under coat. Somehow I doubt it will look as fabulous as hers, but it will definitely look better than its old state.

Yes… umm… whooooops!!! Well, honestly how well did the paint-mixing-woman put that lid on? Surely it shouldn’t have come flying off at the first little knock over!

(and no… I didn’t dip the Oreos in the paint instead of the melt!)

Just to finish off the post, here’s a little sneaky peak at my studio going through its transformation:

oooooooh, what will this be??

Knocking walls through

Have I mentioned that I have a studio in our new house?

It’s ever so exciting!

I feel so very lucky that I can have a space of my own that I can get creative in and hopefully produce things that I can be proud of in the future. It isn’t small either! The room used to be a single garage, which later was converted into an office.

This is what it looked like when we were just viewing the house.

The yellow wall in the back is the garage door blocked off. The plan is to brick it up and put a window in, so I will have more light in the room. Eventually. Not priority at the moment, but it’s on the list.

To be honest, the room doesn’t look much different now.

Tadaaa:

Actually, there IS a big difference!! Can you see it? Yup, there is now a door through to the house!!

Our lovely neighbour, Dave was working on it all day and he’s done a smashing job so far. This door makes all the difference! The Studio is now connected to the house, which means we actually want to go into the room. Before, it just didn’t feel right having to go outside to go back inside into the Studio again. Plus one of the best things about my Studio is that it’s right next door to Ian’s study. (yes, he is repainting that purple!) I love being in the same space with Ian, so I don’t think that door will be shut very often! (none the less I will definitely have a door, just in case I DO want to be on my own for 10 minutes!!)

As you can see there’s lots to do before it will become a creative space to work in, but it will certainly get there soon!

A bit of interior

What is happening to our summer weather??! Can you believe it, but I actually had to put the heating on yesterday for the WHOLE day! And it’s June!

As I type this in my kitchen, I’m wearing long trousers and a long sleeve top and I’m seriously considering a wooly cardigan. Not ideal, but hey, it could be worse.

With the weather being what it is, I have a little more time for making the inside of the house pretty.

This is our entrance hall. The beautiful mirror was a gift from Ian to me for Christmas two years ago. The little table I found in an antique shop the other week. It’s still waiting to be distressed a little bit, but it’s lovely as it is too, really.

I’m hoping to tackle the back door hall soon too as it’s a real mess, but for that I’d like to have a nice organiser for the wall something like these would do very nicely:

(all sourced from Pinterest. To find original pictures, click through my Pinterest board pictures)

I went to the junk auction place two weeks ago and found a really cool kitchen dresser top, that would have converted very nicely into one of these organisers. Ian didn’t see how, but I thought it had potential. So I bid. And so I lost!! Agh…! Never mind, there’ll be others, I’m sure. I hope. Until then, it’s shoes and coats galore at the back door!

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