Salt Dough Kettle

There was a load of plain flour sitting in the cupboard and I wasn’t sure how long it had been there (the packet had been opened) so thought I’d make some salt dough with it. The recipe is simply 2 cups of flour to 1 of salt. I add a tbs of wallpaper paste as well. Mix with water until it looks like pastry then roll it out and cut it into shapes. I drew the kettle shapes in illustrator, printed them,  stuck them onto cereal-packet cardboard then cut them out to use as templates.

I inserted a short, curved length of wire (shaped some thing like the Greek Omega) to hang it on the wall with and cemented it in place with flour-glue.

If you add surface detail, as I have in my kettle, glue them on with a thickish mixture of flour and water. I used cake decorating bits and bobs to create the flowers and leaves and used a paintbrush to brush on the flour-glue to stick them on with.

The steam from the spout is made from three wires, curled, dipped in the flour-glue and poked into the dough. The same for the thick wire that is poked through the handle and into the kettle. This is the kettle having been left in the oven overnight on its lowest setting.

I’m going to paint it to look like a clock:

but with lots more colour, ie, paint all the kettle.

I have some dough left over so will need to make something else soon or throw it away.

The girls don’t complain about the oven on all night. They love a bit of warmth. Gracie and Jess love their beds in front of the fire. Despite days of mini heatwaves, we still get days of rain and cold and the fire has to go on.

My lovely Jess. She has a real thing about flies. I think the buzzing annoys her. We joke that Jess has caught the ‘flew’. She downs them with a ruddy hard thump of a paw – she’s a ninja, I’m telling ya! One thump and they never fly again.

Flowers are blooming all over. Unfortunately, so are the dandelions. They pop up like hydras. Pull one flower or seed head off and at least two more replace them. The clocks, or seedheads, are so pretty though… I chop them down before they go to seed, if I can. I used to try digging up the roots but you know what that’s like. Taproots down to the centre of the earth…



Spring flowers

Spring is here, at long last. I see birds carrying little bits for their nest building activities; twigs, fluff, scraps of fabric (don’t tell them about the stash in my sewing room) and other nicey things that catch their eyes.

The garden is coming to life. A few weeks ago I dead-headed the large and numerous hydrangeas… that is such a chore but they pay me back when they come into bloom in a riot of cheer-leader pom-poms later in the summer. Before they burst onto the scene, lots of little things are poking their heads above ground and saying hello to the world.

Bluebells, daises and bright yellow poppies are popping up around the garden…

Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?!

Two of them chomping away on my pink-thingummy potted plants! I left them to it. I have a soft spot for snails.

Forget-me-Nots are everywhere! They make for bright blue splashes of colour and brighten things up beautifully. Things are coming along nicely.

I haven’t posted for a while. Been busy decorating. The back room is getting the treatment now. The dark wood covering the ceiling in an already dark room has now been given a coat of off-white. It’s transformed the bat cave into a much lighter and brighter airy room. Walls are next – something light; probably that good old staple, magnolia. The brown sludgy coloured carpet is going and we’re putting down laminate so cat hair and fluff will be easy to pick up.

It will be furnished fairly minimally. A double futon is ordered and will be delivered this week so there’ll be the futon, a white rocking chair (looking forward to sewing  a couple of nice cushion covers for it) and a mirror. I have the rug (Ikea) already – mainly grey with a white pattern. Long champagne curtains with a gorgeous sheen at the window and two mad lightshades (also Ikea – they look like they’re made from sheets of filo pastry and you literally crumple them around to shape how you want).

We took a whole load of stuff down to the tip and another whole load of stuff to the charity shops. We used to give stuff to an old fella round here to sell at his car boot .. unfortunately, he got stopped by the Garda going the wrong way down the M7… he was on his way to Portlaoise, missed his junction and did a U-turn  on the motorway… well he’s not driving anywhere now, least of all his car boot….

There was time to bake some buns:

These were flavoured with lemon – real lemon (juice and zest). I give them a sprinkle of edible glitter. A bit of sparkle is fun any day of the week, as far as I am concerned.

I made a chocolate biscuit cake for Earth Day (April 22nd so a wee while ago now):

I was going to pour melted white chocolate over the top and bottom for the polar ice caps but good intentions didn’t stop the white chocolate bars getting eaten.

Here is the Earth in two halves – as Mr T would say, a balanced diet – one in each hand.

You can see all the nutritional goodness exposed (according to Homer Simpson – fat, sugar and carbohydrate; all the major foodgroups). Malteasers, marshmallow, biscuits, small amount of finely chopped hazelnuts all embedded in chocolate.

It’s addictive. Chocolate G spot… I have to make this cake very rarely otherwise I’d be on that show ‘My 600 lb life’.

This is what I make it in. A Christmas pudding mould. I line it with clingfilm then press the pliable biscuit cake mix into each half, then close the mould together and leave somewhere cool to set. Pretty easy. I made some chocolate dinosaurs to go with it. Amazing how much chocolate is needed for what looks like a little mould for 12 or so dinosaurs.

Flowers in vases – I love flowers in the house. They brighten a grey day – we have plenty of them in rainy Ireland. I’m not really complaining. Without the rain and the green, green grass, Irish dairy wouldn’t be the best in the world (IMHO, lol). I love Irish butter and full cream milk. Rich, creamy and flavoursome.

I have a thing about tulips, at the moment.

So, what else? I still have a passion for collecting words. Kummerspeck is a German word which means grief bacon: it is the word that describes excess weight gained from emotion-related overeating. Beware Earth Day Cake!

Drachenfutter – literally translated as dragon fodder – are the peace offerings made by guilty husbands to their wives. Ha ha. Mr T would never do that. Actually, we joke about my Unbirthdays and Unchristmas presents when I get a bit spendy on Amazon.

Then there’s ‘die beleidigte Leberwurst spielen’ – meaning to pout in a proper sulk and translated means to play the insulted liver sausage.

My favourite is Backpfeifengesicht – a face that just screams out for a slap or a fist in it.

Brilliant words.

A couple more from the Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities that I got for Christmas before I go:

Twankle – to play idly on a musical instrument

Scurryfunge – to hastily tidy a house  – like when you just get a call to say somebody’s just popping round

Panshite – a state of panic, confusion or uproar

Thrimble – to grudgingly repay a debt

Twarvlement – circuitous, long-winded speech


That’s all for now. Have  happy days wherever you are.



Home Again

Spring is here. The sun is shining – le soleil brille! I’m not long back from a 4-day stay in Paris where I attended a series of workshops. People-centric writing, Citizen Data Science, video scripting, review of processes and tools….  interesting.

The building I was in had 14 floors with magnificent views. I could see the Sacre Coeur and the Eiffel Tower a little way in the distance. I’ll post a few pictures taken on my phone when I get a chance.

But am glad to be home, I have to say! Hello Dublin! I booked a couple of day’s holiday and go back to work on Tuesday and tomorrow night I’m off to the Bord Gais to see Tosca so very excited about that.

In the meantime, am washing the international germs out of my clothes and chilling out a bit.

Finally, I put together a quick neon-sign effect video for fun (based on a tutorial on SpoonBlogGraphics site).

Ta Ra a bit!

Still getting up to speed in Illustrator

Being snowed in and going slightly stir crazy has some benefits. The house got a good cleaning and I spent time with Adobe apps having great fun with online tutorials. Since I got Adobe CC at the beginning of the year I found there was some catching up to do from CS6 (the previous version I had) to the new features and functionality in the cloud suite.

The curvy, organic shapes was created in Illustrator and inspired by Veerle’s blog . The combination of the juicy colours and the lovely curvy shapes drew me in and kept me occupied for a good wee while.

You can check out her tutorial in the link below.

Elegant Gradient Ribbon

The snow is melting away and there’s a fine mizzly rain coming down that’s helping it to go. Back in the office tomorrow so hope this mizzle washes away any snow on the roads. I think it’s pretty clear on the motorway and it’s just the side roads where I live that are still slushy and snowy so no problem driving in. All good.

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