Sunday, 3 April 2016

Make, Bake, Sew, Grow

{ Make }

Making - at last - decisions and purchases, resulting in two lovely, shiny new lampshades for the hall.

I am in love with them. They were just as I hoped they would be. No more prison-chic bare light bulbs!

I've also been making a few sneaky purchases for myself lately, like these bits and bobs from the Liberty range at Uniqlo. John said the wide shorts look like pyjama bottoms. I am ignoring him and insisting that I will be both stylish and comfortable in them this summer, with a white vest and my Saltwater sandals. 

{ Bake }

I was given Anna Jones' A Modern Way to Cook for Christmas. I loved (really loved) her first book A Modern Way to Eat, but found I was less drawn to her second in the months following Christmas. It seemed too light, too salady, in the winter months when all I wanted was stodge, and I never seemed to have the right ingredients in the cupboard at the right time. But I've been using it so much over the last month and have found it an incredibly inspiring and helpful resource in my quest to eat not less, but better. It's worth buying for the breakfast chapter alone.

I made these chocolate bars, which are like a healthier version of a Bounty bar. Really, really good.  

My other current obsession is these rice bowls

They are amazing and have made them every week for the last three weeks when John is working a late shift (he would consider this a glorified salad, and therefore Not Dinner). It's essentially a bowl of brown rice, shredded roast chicken and lots of greens and fresh, crunchy shredded vegetables, elevated to the level of high-deliciousness by a dressing made of soy sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, sesame oil and ginger. 

And this evening, John is making roast lamb followed by sticky toffee pudding so, you know, it's not all health, health, health.

{ Sew }

Thank you so much for your kind words on my Midsummer Sprigs cross stitch sampler. Recent creative efforts have been quicker but no less enjoyable. 

Oh a whim I made a few felt baubles/pompoms, from the book Felt Sew Good. I've had it for a while and this is the first thing I've made. Something about the colours and shapes is really pleasing. 

I am about to try my first kit from Wool and the Gang, a tablet cover. I'll let you know how I get on. In the mean time, nice packaging.

But the main thing I have been working on lately is the border for my blanket

I am nearly, nearly there. I keep thinking I'm at the end, then add another row, but I reckon it's almost finished now.

{ Grow }

Ever the fair weather gardener, the garden and I have been spending some quality time together lately and now my pots are fresh and colourful and my borders weed free. Drooping daffodils and withered tete-a-tetes have been removed and the front door step now looks respectable. (It's that kind of street.)

I remembered some great advice Sarah kindly left in a comment a while back: 

"When your daffodils have finished flowering you could plant them straight into the border letting the foliage die down naturally. Next year they will flower again and you can avoid bulb planting in Autumn which always carries the risk of damaging existing bulbs. Buy fresh bulbs and use fresh compost for your pots in Autumn and you will be able to continue the cycle."

Thank you Sarah. I planted all these fading bulbs in a bare patch of border in the back garden where they can die down with the rest of the foliage and hopefully re-emerge next year!

The long border at the end of our garden is a big old mess of yellow and purple. Suddenly, everything I planted last autumn has come up and burst into colour.  It's not going to win any prizes but it makes me so happy to look out the kitchen window and see this messy, colourful border that my mum and I created, rather than a big long fence.

Over the last week it seems like everything woke up in the garden.  Wall flowers suddenly have tiny flowers and plants suddenly look fuller, greener. 

The blossom is almost gone. It was so pretty while it lasted.

Can you tell that I'm enjoying being at home this Easter? My head is just bursting with ideas and plans, and my heart is full. I love spending time in and on our home. 

{Make } Something for our home, or for me.

{ Bake } Something from the kitchen.

{ Sew } Something crafty.

{ Grow } Something in the garden.


  1. Oh, come on! You can't show us those gorgeous lampshades and not tell us where you got them. :) I'm looking all over the internet for them.

    1. Sorry! I forgot. :-) they're from John Lewis.

    2. Not sure if that link works as u tried to do it from my phone.
      They're "House by John Lewis easy to fit Harvey shade, white," £45

    3. Thank you! Unfortunately the website says they are out of stock and I'm not sure if I can order from across the pond, but I'm going to keep an eye out for that style because I just love it!

  2. You have a lot of interesting things going on, Gillian. I like your lampshades very much. I think they look very fresh and I enjoy the spareness of them. I've never heard of Wool and the Gang, it looks like an interesting way to try new projects. I never think to do things from kits because it always seems so much more expensive to me than just buying whatever supplies in my budget, but I should try not to be so frugal about hobbies; they're meant to bring happiness not induce guilt. I saw your sampler the other day but didn't have a chance to comment in the chaos of returning from a few days away from home. It came out beautifully and I love the way you had it framed. I'm sure you'll enjoy it a lot. I'm very proud of mine and I'm glad we're again sampler twins. :)

  3. Gorgeous food, gorgeous blanket, gorgeous lampshades and gorgeous flowers. Spring is so invigorating isn't it? It makes me want to start all sorts of new projects.
    Hugs to you,

  4. I've just had a rice bowl for my tea :) the blanket is looking lovely as is the garden and wow felt pom poms
    Clare xx

  5. Gorgeous lightshades, and oh those chocolate-coconut bars look absolutely divine. Lovely to see your garden, it felt quite springlike this weekend didn't it. CJ xx

  6. Your garden looks wonderful, so full of spring colour! I love the look of the rice bowl too, you've reminded me to revist my Anna Jones book! Laura x

  7. Ooh, homemade Bounties - yum! Your Buddha Bowl looks lovely too, although I have to have mine with some sort of pulse rather than the chicken. Love the light shades and well done on having a weed free garden - I made a start today (I love weeding after it's been raining) and you can certainly tell by the state of my fingernails! Can't wait for the blanket Ta-Dah. Have a good week. xx

  8. I look forward to these posts from you each week and spring has certainly renewed your energy. Adore the felt pompoms and your rug is looking great. Wish my hubby could cook! Isn't it strange that although on the other side of the world, I've got bulbs already showing green, mainly muscari & freesias, though the dutch iris & black pearl lily are "just" poking through. Have a good week and take care. BTW, how's the kitchen coming along?

  9. Your blanket is amazing, love the border you're putting on it. It's fun to look out the window and see what's growing, even if weeds get mixed in. We're big salad eaters here, fixed a shrimp salad last Sunday that had everything but the kitchen sink in it.

  10. Even though I haven't typed to you for awhile, I too, admire your Midsummer Sprigs stitching, and your projects highlighted in this post. I am excited for you about your home decoration plans, and hope all your alternative meal plans help you through the redecorating inconvenience. I have Sweet Pea seeds soaking in a bowl of water inside preparing to plant them by the trellis out front tomorrow. Happy Spring! xx

  11. I so love these posts Gillian, they are so homely and always inspire me to embark/ fi ish off a few projects of my own. I've been naming to say I really liked the crochet baskets you made and enjoys having a go myself- it's nice to have a little project that comes together quickly! Just a little tip about daffodil
    / narcissi foliage I found useful; I always find as its dying it looks a bit messy and crowds where the next flowers want to come through for summer. I read once the foliage is dying off tie it in knots to speed the process up. Leave it a few weeks and give it a gentle tug it should come away from ground with no force. I e done this for the last couple of years with success and it's a little garden tidying ritual I always find quite pleasing! Ella x

  12. You are so busy and productive Gillian, I have a lot of admiration for your attitude! Love your new lampshades, looking good against that wallpaper. I do the same with bulbs that die back in pots, and it's always very satisfying to see them pop up again the following year. Your blossom is dying back, up here in Scotland it hasn't yet bloomed! X

  13. Those lampshades are great! I need (read that "want") new ones, too, once my redecorating-and-room-swapping project is done. Something like that would suit my place, too, I think.
    Love the "bounty" chocolate bars! Anything with coconut and chocolate in it is a sure winner with me :-)

  14. Lovely to see your garden springing into life and the blanket is looking great

  15. The sun is shining whilst I'm reading your post this morning and it's all feeling very spring-like! I need to do something with my pots too, they're all looking a little bit sad at the moment - you are inspiring me to get on with it! xx

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  17. I do like your Make Bake Sew Grow posts: there's always so much to see in them and it's all lovely. I especially like your blanket, though. It's gorgeous.

  18. Lots of lovely stuff going on here Gillian. Those bounty bars look delish and your blanket is looking great. Just a little add-on to the comment above about daff leaves dying back (sorry if you already know this!) – it's good to leave the leaves alone until they've gone brown, then pull them off. The leaves photosynthesise and bulk up the bulbs for next year. Cut them off too early (or tie them up) and they can't do this. But I guess it depends how tidy you want your border to be :-) Sam x

  19. Love these posts as always. Those are uber cool light shades and the pom poms are a delight. Love Jo x

  20. Gosh you have been busy Gillian. Your bake looks delicious, as does your rice dish. Yes we have younger son home from University at the moment, I feel obliged to cook large meals for him, I can feel my waistline expanding while he's at home!
    Caz xx
    PS your sampler from the last post is gorgeous!

  21. Hey Gillian,
    I like the look of the bounty bars and salad bowls very much. I fear I am to return to the hideousness that is fat club after Easter. I need a boot up the backside. I'm liking the shades too, and thinking that something similar will look very good in living room, after it's make over next month. And there's now't wrong with higgledy piggledy borders and fair weather gardening; I am proof of that ;)
    Enjoy the rest of your holiday, my friend.
    Leanne xx

  22. Great post - so many good things going on in house and garden. You make so many lovely things to eat, to wear and to decorate your home - and your sampler in the simple wood frame is so beautiful. I'm echoing Sam's plea about not tying up daffodil foliage, just let it die down naturally as it is the leaves that nourish the bulb for next year.

  23. Hi Gillian, I'm loving the look of that salad bowl. I often have the problem of Not Dinner - fahitas have been confined to that descriptor now! (Apparently not enough food) Hoping your Easter break has been good and filled with even more sunshine, gardening and making. Hope the blanket is nearly finished. Would love to see it on your bed now...xx

  24. I was given that book for Christmas and so far have tried the all in one spaghetti dish which turned out really well and I'm keen to try some more.
    Love the shades and I think your blanket is looking lovely.

  25. It looks like garden started new life. It looks full of the spring energy. Greens inspire for something new.

  26. So many gorgeous things to comment on! I've loved those lights for ages but just don't have the right space here - yours look perfect in their setting. I'm going to look those books up as I'm trying to build myself up after one of those horrid sick bugs. Love the felt ornaments too. x

  27. The link for the healthy Bounty Bars doesn't work - could you check it again? I found something on another site that looks like what you describe, but yours actually look yummier, so I want to make sure I have the right recipe before I try them!

    All your projects are inspiring - your sedum looks like one I have in my garden, too - Autumn Joy. I wonder if it is the same...

  28. I really love everything in this post! The lampshades are fabulous, and that book looks like a good buy if those two recipes are anything to go by. The blanket looks great. x

  29. Hi Gillian! I'm happy I found you and your beautiful blog! Your lamps are fantastic and I admire the Marimekko wall paper! I'm Finnish living in Greece and miss Finnish decoration! x Teje


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