Saturday, 29 March 2008

Easter catch up.

Golly it seems ages since I blogged. I'm not too sure what happened, but it seems the holidays started and here we are. One week in and so far so good - it's been fun and restful, busy and creative, family and friends all in fairly equal measures...just lovely. Even the weather has managed to send us some sunshine and warmth albeit interspersed with days of rain. Today is about as grotty as it could be: high winds and endless rain, yet for once I don't feel miserable at the sight as I can see the signs of Spring through the windows and it makes the difference. So what have we been up to? Well, there was this...

Dave made the simmnel cake as he does every year. Originally I was the only one who liked it as the others don't like marzipan (or marchpane as we call it in our slightly pretentious way!) whereas I love the homemade almondy paste sandwiched between the light fruit cake with another thick slab on the top. Unfortunately Lauren discovered that she liked it too, closely followed by Dave and as for Isabella...hmm, no longer is the entire cake all mine.

We made the most of the good weather - Dave cleared our drive and garage which have for the past year resembled the local tip! Car parts (cheers Tom) lay piled on top of various bits of wood, general rubble and rubbish vied for space with broken toys and demi-johns. Lovely eh? Elias, Dave and Isabella did a few trips to the tip and order is now restored; the garage is wonderful to walk through on my6 way to the sewing room and even has beautiful wooden gates complete with lock thanks to Mr Dave.


Spurred on by this activity I gave the front garden the first cut of the year - that gorgeous green smell of freshly cut grass...mmm. The back garden which is much larger has begun to see signs of care - I have begun the Spring clean and the hens have enjoyed the resulting trugs of weeds. The picture shows the view through the boys' bedroom window - the sloe tree is just a mass of blossom now so bodes well for the Autumnal sloe gin making. It grows in a kind of raised bed known to us as Mulberry's patch. Mulberry was one of the first ducks we had many years ago now. We raised him from a ten day duckling along with a white we named Marigold and a Khaki Campbell called Tansy. What a learning curve those dear things turned out to be; I remember Matzen and I sitting for ages trying to encouraage them into the paddling pool for their first ever swim and shrieking with excitement when they finally managed it. Eventually a fox got them - another learning curve with rather more horrendous outcome which I blogged about a long time ago - and we buried them beneath the sloe tree hoping that at least some good could come out of the massacre that is a fox raid. The tree fruits heavily every year rewarding us with the most delicious rich liqueur. Beneath it lies the little wildlife pond I built to encourage newts and toads into the garden. You can just see the marsh marigolds flowering at the edge soon to be joined by water forget-me-nots, flag iris and water hyacinths.

The campfire (which can just be seen by the bucket and axe in the picture) has been fed regularly with prunings and has filled the air with that lovely smell of wood smoke. I do think it is best in the autumn but I love lighting that fire at any time of year.

The rest of the holiday has had get togethers with friends - huge meals and an egg hunt in their garden after which the children piled into a trailer to be pulled around the garden by a ride-on mower. Golly the squeals must have been heard miles away! There has also been a little sewing of course...

an apron for my assistant chef

mob caps for little babies - a bit of an obsession of mine this one. I love the flowery fabrics all bunched up and cute framing babies faces. I am making one for Isabella next as she keeps trying to squeeze her head into these! Unfortunately the light is so poor today I am not really doing any favours photographing these - I
will try again on a sunny day, but at least these give a bit of an idea...

And finally a Haiwaiian shirt for Dave - I know it's a bit shocking and flowery but we do live in a seaside county and these are worn by most men in the summer. Dave chose the fabric - all different types of orchids - and away I went. Just the buttonholes to do and it's finished. I've never made a shirt before so I enjoyed doing this one - Elias and Sam have asked me to make them one each now so I feel I have the seal of approval: teenagers wanting homemade clothes!!!!!

Have a lovely day xx


  1. What a lovely blog, Pipany. I love Simnel cake and all that Marzipan. How lucky you are to have someone who makes it!

    Wish the weather would clear up. Most unEasterly (or even post Easterly) cold, wet, no chance of cutting the overgrown lawn. I shall plant some artichokes this afternoon (Jerusalem!)

  2. When I was a child I used to think marchpane was something really olde worlde and interesting until I found out it was just marzipan - which I love I hasten to add!

    Sweet little mob caps! My eldest used to wear a white and blue striped one edge with white broderie anglais, and little dungarees - many moons ago.

  3. What an incredibly productive person you are Pipany! Your cake looks so tasty and all the sewing is gorgeous!

  4. What a fantastic shirt (and an excellent blog I hasten to add.) He'll be a habby hubby wearing it.

  5. Love the look of your simnel cake. I made one to a new recipe this year from BBC's Good Food magazine with balls of marzipan inside it. Sounds weird I know but it was absolutely delicious. Love your apron too.

  6. Gorgeous blog.
    I LOVE those mobcaps, I have a thing about those all I need is a baby....

  7. I can just smell that fabric. Love the apron and almost worth contemplating having another baby just to force a mob cap onto its dear little head. And adore simnel cake. Yum.

  8. Hello Pipany,

    Look at that cake! I have never had a simnel cake, but would really like to have a bite of that one! No, many bites, it must be delicious for anyone, like myself who does go for marzipan!

    And the view from the window sings springtime!

    And on to the sewing. As always, you are amazingly productive. I used to do so much sewing, made all my own clothes, and have made a few male shirts and even velvet jeans in the past.

    Nowadays, I wonder how I found the time, effort, patience to sew what the evidence still shows that I did sew. Looking at what you've made, I have my answer, you like doing it, and have folks who appreciate your creations.


  9. Cool hawaiian shirt! And I may be needing a mob-cap for a friend's baby (and maybe a babbit too) so will be in touch when the big event happens.
    Lovely Easter blog, shame there's none of that Simnel cake left, I just fancy a piece...

  10. I dont like marzipan but the cake looks lovely. Id love to sit eating some on a beach somewhere in cornwall, possibly Marazion overlooking st michaels mount. How fortunate you are to live by beaches and have a husband who can bake cakes!

    Lindsay x