Friday, 27 January 2017

Make, Bake, Sew, Grow

It's Friday night, the house is clean (well, clean for a dog-owner's house), the fridge is full of food and there are rainbow tulips on the kitchen table. These things all make me feel very happy and grateful. I felt like doing one of my round-ups of what I've been up to lately on the domestic and creative front.

{ Make }

I recently moaned on Instagram about how hard it is to find preserve labels with a modern styling - they tend towards the bunting/country kitchen/shabby chic style which is lovely but not really me. People had loads of brilliant suggestions but in the end I found a roll of those boring plain white office labels and used those. They're a bit thin, but they do the job and I had a lot of fun making them. 

I made a trivet from wooden beads. It's about the size of a saucer and perfect for my coffee pot. 

It honestly took about ten minutes. 

You just make three small rings which increase in size, sitting one inside the other. 

It's important that they fit very snugly together and there is no movement, so that you get a nice stable mat. I am now thinking about making one from felt balls. 

And, of course, I have been arranging and re-arranging the mantel. I removed everything and then just put back a few things. This was really hard but I think it looks better this way, lighter and fresher.


{ Bake }

I recently tried this spelt, lemon and maple drizzle cake from the Waitrose magazine. I did deviate from the recipe a bit though, using wholemeal spelt flour rather than white flour, and this did not make for the lightest of cakes. Also, I am too tight to pour almost a whole bottle of expensive maple syrup into one cake so I used sugar. It caught a little on top, hence the lemons. The spelt flour did give it a very nice nuttiness, but I think I still prefer my usual lemon drizzle cake recipe.

Much more successful was this chocolate granola, based loosely on Sue's granola recipe although I fiddled around with it based on my preferences.

4 cups oats
1 cup seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar/syrup
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp cinnamon 
1 cup cranberries or sultanas

Combine everything except the dried fruit, and spread on a couple of baking trays. Bake for an hour at 140°C, stirring a couple of times. When cool, store in an airtight jar.

Don't be tempted to add too much cocoa - it's very bitter. Chocolate chips would obviously be amazing in this, should you fancy more chocolate. 

I eat mine with a little milk and a lot of Greek yogurt. The tartness of the yogurt makes the granola taste sweeter than it is.


{ Sew }

This week I've mostly been working on my Wool And The Gang Rose cardigan. It's cotton on a 6.5mm hook, so it makes quite a loose fabric.

At the moment it just looks like a scarf, but this is part of the front and back panel. The colour is so gorgeous, and the cotton such nice quality - I'm really excited to see how this turns out.


{ Grow }

Plant life is firmly based indoors at the moment, as my passion for house plants continues. I recently bought a small pilea plant (those things are tricky to find!) and was delighted to spot a tiny shoot on it the other day.

I carefully removed it and planted it in a small pot, where I will lovingly tend to it until it's bigger, then I'll give it away. I am nurturing it on the kitchen windowsill, which is where plants stand a really good chance of growing in this house - partly for the light, and partly because I don't forget they're there.

Less happily, my beautiful new monstera plant was damaged. I arrived home from work one day to find it lying on the floor in the living room, the pot smashed and two large stems snapped. I can only blame a certain four legged friend who really wanted to look out of the window. 

I removed the snapped stems and have placed them in a glass of water where, I'm told, they may grow roots and I'll be able to re-pot them. Or they may end up on the compost heap. Luckily the main body of the plant is intact, it's just been moved to a more, err, secure location.


It's been a long and busy week and we have a full weekend ahead. Some nice things are planned, like dinner with my lovely friend tonight, and tedious things, like going shopping to get John a new suit tomorrow, and hopefully a lot of ordinary like cooking, dog walks and pottering in between. John is going out with some of his colleagues tomorrow night and I'm so excited about my night alone, I have planned my whole evening, what I'm going to eat (rice bowl, which John does not consider a "proper dinner"), what I'm going to drink (Sauvignon blanc) and what I'm going to watch on TV (The Crown or possibly a romantic comedy). 

Happy weekend lovelies. 


  1. Hey Gillian,
    I'm reading this whilst enjoying a cheeky Sauvignon Blanc myself.... lovely things. I'm intending on buying plants for the house thus year. I used to have loads when I was a student and in my first place with Marc in Muswell Hill. But I slowly fell out of love with them for some reason. Anyway, enjoy your solo evening.!
    Leanne xx

  2. Sounds like a good week! Enjoy your evening to yourself tomorrow, a rice bowl sounds like a good sort of dinner to me.

  3. Yes, that is indeed a gorgeous pink colour, love it. Love the marmalade labels, I do the same if I ever make jam. Hope you have a lovely weekend. CJ xx

  4. I don't think I knew you could get jam labels, I always just make my own with colorful pens. I think yours look very nice. Too bad about the plant, it sounds like Molly was having an active day. Do you know whether she was ever crate-trained? I hope you have a nice evening alone, it sounds right up my alley. :)

  5. Have a wonderful weekend Gillian. I'm in love with and rather coveting your pink cardigan, can't wait to see it grow. Plants do best on my kitchen windowsill too as they get more care and encouraging 'talking to'.

  6. You've certainly been busy this week with makes, bakes & indoor gardening. I'll admit to loving the lemon drizzle I make & not sure I'd want one that heavy or sweet with lots of maple syrup. Have good weekend & take care.

  7. you have a lovely home, it's lovely to peek your style and the pretty things that you have gathered to make it 'yours'. I know the feeling - having the house empty is very rare here but 'me time' is good for us - hope you have a lovely evening.

  8. I like the trivet you made - making another one with little pom poms is a clever idea. The cake looks inviting, the lemon slices is a great way to disguise the spots where the sugar browned too much. I am also looking forward to seeing how your cardigan turns out. The colour is lovely. I hope you have a nice weekend. Enjoy your evening! x

  9. I do love these round-ups Gillian. I'm trying to catch up on blog reading now following a bit of a rubbish New year. It's reassuring to find life is ticking along nicely at yours. And, wow! You always manage to make the most of your time. I don't know how you manage to achieve so much.
    The idea of a clean and tidy house in preparation for the weekend sounds wonderful and something I really need to aspire to.
    For now, however, I think I'll just make a lemon drizzle cake. It's definitely been too long since I enjoyed one of those. X

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  11. Enjoyed your post, that pink is such a pretty color, can't wait to see the finish. The trivet was a brilliant idea. I'm always changing recipes around. Learned how to make a substitute for heavy cream the other day.

  12. What a lovely round up of your week with beautiful photos. I love your makes, puts me to shame as I've made nothing this week!

  13. It is always so nice to be allowed glimpses of your home, and your home life! The cake does not sound as if it is going to become a favourite with you. Very nice look for the mantel right now, and I love your marmalade labels. I hope the rescued plant will grow back to its former glory!
    Enjoy your weekend, and I hope you have found the perfect suit for your husband.

  14. I love it when I know I am going to be in on my own too. I love your posts. I used some labels from IKEA with a modern motif on them and then did my own writing. Looks great marmalade. Jo x

  15. Homemade labels are fab.....I too use Sue's recipe as a base for granola, this week I added raw cacao thinking the chocolate appearance might lead the kids away from shop bought such luck!! xx

  16. Naughty doggy! Your marmalade labels are lovely and I can't wait to see your finished cardigan; that colour is beautiful. Enjoy your evening. xx

  17. I hope you are enjoying your busy weekend Gillian. Your jam labels look lovely. More often than not, I don't bother with labels because I don't like cleaning them off when the glass is empty. x

  18. I always look forward to your Make Bake...posts. Love the tulips photo with the fairy lights twinkling in the background. I treated myself to a bunch of daffodils with pussy willow today and it's making me feel all spring like :) Love your handmade labels too though I hate marmalade! X

  19. What a great blog you have Gillian. Just the tonic for a dark January. Love the cake recipe, will give it ago. All the best x

  20. Do hope you had a lovely weekend... and a quite eve with your knitting. Which is looking rather gorgeous. We have a smaller, furrier four-legged Miss Ethel who loves to jump up onto things and so makes the life of a house plant quite a precarious thing. I keep trying though!


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