26 April 2013

bucket chemistry :: rhubarb

There's a point in the year when there are only two edible plants in the garden: rhubarb and chives. We are at that point. Too bad I've misplaced all my many rhubarb + chive based recipes.

We eat a LOT of rhubarb at this time of year (fewer chives). Add the fact that I only ever make one kind of dessert on a week night (and then only if they're very lucky) and what do you get?

You get rhubarb, honey and nuts over yoghurt.

I heard once that the most inherited feature of any British house (ghosts, rising damp, vermin and poor insulation aside presumably) is a rhubarb patch. So if you have a neglected crown or two, please do this. It takes moments to prepare and tastes just as delicious as crumble without any of the hassle.

It's probably too late to start forcing your rhubarb under a bucket now, but there's another reason this is called Bucket Chemistry Rhubarb; the quantities, temperatures and timings aren't exact or important. Just chuck it in the oven and hope for the best, it's not really possible to get it wrong.

But if you can't be bothered to cook up rhubarb, that's okay. Try the other (incredibly varied) desserts in my week night repertoire: yoghurt + passion fruit/berries/mango +/- honey +/- nuts.

I know, bor-ING huh? No, I promise it really hits the sweet spot.

And when your children are in bed, never ever replace the honey with golden syrup. No, I said don't. Stop it, it'll taste frightful.

Not that I'd know, you understand...

15 April 2013

why don't you get things started?

The iTunes window tells me that we've listened to the Muppet Movie soundtrack 25 times during chicken-pock recovery week. So it comes as no surprise that, with the sun shining and the tulips blooming, I've got a Miss Piggy earworm.

"...it's time to get things started, why don't you get things started..."

At last Spring seems to have arrived (though we'll almost certainly be in for a snow flurry or two yet, and some hard frosts) and I am determined not to watch the Chelsea Flower Show coverage this year in a state of despair.

Obviously I don't anticipate having an award-winning garden by the end of May, but I want to watch the Chelsea programmes and feel genuinely inspired to enjoy the great things about our garden. I refuse to drool over the on-screen gorgeousness with the curtains guiltily drawn to blot out our own weedy, overgrown wasteland.

And so, over the next five weeks, I mean business. It's time to get things started.

I'll stick to this schedule and plant rotation for about the next week, possibly. Then I'll wing it.

Set to work as soon as the sun comes out.

Child labour.

It's not pretty and it's not subtle, but I'd like to see the effing weeds try this year.
Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough. (There will be gravel soon.)

A benefit of not having a dog = being able to use cocoa shell.
An amazing mulch that smells of chocolate (but is poisonous to mutts).

10 April 2013

out of the corner of my eye

The corner of your eye is a very deceptive place.

When we left our old cat in London in 2010, en route to the Far East, every dark cushion or discarded swimming towel in our new Singapore flat was, to the corner of my eye, a black cat. It took a long time for our minds to adjust to her absence.

Likewise, when we moved back to the UK two years later, every dark knot in the floorboards, every clump of black cat fur that blew across the floor, every dark piece of playmobile under the sofa was - to the corner of my eye - a cockroach. Any number of double takes couldn't convince my brain that they do not exist in freezing cold Scottish houses.

It's playing tricks on me again today. In a fit of optimism borne of seven whole degrees of Celsius, I hung out washing this morning for the first time this year. Now there is a perpetual intruder in the garden according to the corner of my eye. He or she is not a very stealthy intruder and appears to be wearing flappy wet pink leggings on his/her arms. Wetter since it started raining.

Is that pathetic fallacy or something? The Easter break has been a wee bit of a disaster. The Boss got the chicken pox which forced us to return from our holiday after about 36 hours. We're housebound, watching kids' movies on the computer every afternoon and subsisting on Easter chocolate. For a former dentist that eschewed telly a year ago, that's a weird old week. 

You'd think I would have got some knitting done? Lots of reading? Studying? No chance. The table is littered with bank statements and gently ageing clementines. Crumbs are amalgamating with paint flecks, puree and glitter in depraved corners of the room, and I seem to be wearing my husband's clothes. I've genuinely no idea how or why that has happened. A misguided glimpse in the mirror shows that the dry shampoo I sprayed in this morning hasn't been combed through, resulting in a weird grey patch.

It may or may not be dry shampoo actually, it may be a bit that I "missed" while dyeing in a hurry last week. Let's face it, neither of these possibilities is glamorous. But out of the corner of my eye, I'm going to go with the dry shampoo option. (Never let it be said that I project a phoney perfect life here, eh.)

Strangely, if you caught sight of us out of the corner of your eye you'd see that we're all having rather a nice time. And for once it wouldn't be deceiving you. I'm just grateful that the corner of my eye doesn't have a chicken pock on it.

a wee bit oof varjo has been started, but as you can see, it's being overwhelmed!

03 April 2013

colour lovers

Some people have just got it. The colours of their lives are tasteful, elegant, conscious decisions. I do not have it. As a family we either leave the house looking like a wet weekend or a pride of Liberace's peacocks. (Did he have peacocks? I imagine so.)

All this graphic design studying I am doing only confirms my utterly hopeless lack of colour sense. When faced with a set of electronic colour swatches (or worse, a whole spectrum wheel with sliders... run for the hills with tongue lolling and arms flapping) I get completely paralysed by choice. And then proceed to make exactly the wrong choice almost every time. Ditto in a wool shop faced with a wall of rainbow yarn.

So you can imagine what a pleasure it is to have that choice removed. I have been bought some wool to make a shawl; to be a gift from one lady to another. I guess you could call it a commission! I've never been indulgent enough to treat myself to this lovely kind of wool, and certainly wouldn't have had the good taste to choose these colours. So, without further ado; Madelinetosh I'd like to introduce you to Varjo.

Making these colour swatches of photos is quick, easy and hopefully a good way to work on my sense of colour.

A few other projects I have just finished got the colour treatment as well. Oh, and the first luridly fluorescent forced rhubarb of the season from my garden. It was crumble 30 minutes after this shot was taken (and after 45 minutes, it was history).

Where reading is concerned, I realised that as well as being a colour cretin, I am also a font fool, so I'm geeking up on this Type book. Which I adore.

If anyone has advice on choosing colours for their projects I'd certainly love to hear it. Some of you just get it right every time (looking at you Greer, Lori and Ginny!)

01 April 2013

mr & mrs macnoodle-bloggs :: win a YEAR OF CLASSES!

As I looked back over my homework assignments for the past couple of months I realised - the big day has arrived! The MacNoodle-Bloggs nuptials! Gah, I wish I was there.

copyright 2013 little macaroon

Which gives me as good an excuse as any to share a few few things with you. Firstly, Nicole's Classes are having the mother and father of all competitions; to win A WHOLE YEAR worth of classes! Just head over to their blog to enter. This is such an amazing opportunity, I would sell a body part for less...

So here are some of the assignments I've been working on lately, mostly colour palette work, and drawing practice (with a little logo for an imaginary shop there that I'm super pleased with!). I actually just did my first little piece of "work" for a friend, just a logo and a form, for which I was paid in a pretty posy of British spring blooms from here. Happy days!

So if any of you lovely friends have a little electronic or print job you need designed and think I could practice on, please leave me a message with your details. I'm a fervent novice, so I'm desperate for reasons to keep plugging away in the software to cement my skills and create some sort of recognisable style. I'm more than happy to be reimbursed in virtual tea and cake (for a limited time only!).

copyright 2013 little macaroon
copyright 2013 little macaroon
copyright 2013 little macaroon
copyright 2013 little macaroon
copyright 2013 little macaroon
copyright 2013 little macaroon
copyright 2013 little macaroon

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