It’s pretty handy that where I’m clueless Nick seems to have a bank of knowledge and if not, he’ll learn what’s needed super quick. He gave me a list of things I needed, I designed and he put the layout together and made it happen. He linked me up with social media, which I wouldn’t have really given a second thought to, something I find pretty funny now. Without him this blog may well have been a stack of labelled drawings and diagrams that were never realised.
Someone recently emailed to ask why I chose the name ‘The Lovely Drawer’ and I have to admit I hadn’t really thought about it since choosing way back then. I’d grown up with a Mum that couldn’t bare to throw anything away, holding out hope that some day, some how, it might be used for something. She had an ability to see projects and uses in the simplist of things and so, much to my Dad’s dismay each last bit was hoarded in various boxes and drawers in our loft. I remember excitedly rifling through this treasure trove, wondering what inspiring gems were lurking inside. I wanted my blog to be like that…an unexpected treat, a feast of colour and fun and hopefully something that might inspire other designers. I also had to slip the word ‘lovely’ into the name as it’s perhaps one of my most used words. I’m reasonably convinced I overuse this little adjective but it’s my default describer.
I very quickly realised how much I enjoyed blogging and it certainly has focused my creativity and woven design opportunities into more and more everyday situations. I’ve also learnt a lot! It’s been a constant source of development for all my design skills, which has been brilliant. I can look back at my beginning posts and cringe a little because I’ve progressed since then and I’m sure I’ll say the same in another years time because I know I have so much to learn! But really none of these skills or gifts are mine to celebrate. Any gifting I have comes direct from God and should bring glory to him. I love that I can express my creativity and hope that it shows just a tiny fragment of God’s awesome and far superior creativity. He made the whole Earth; vast mountains, deep oceans, artistic sunsets, colourful seasons, weird and wonderful animals and complex human beings. Everything hangs together as it should because God is a creator and he’s made us to reflect something of who he is. Unsurprisingly, that’s why no matter what our skills, hobby or vocation, so often we end up using our gifts to create and cultivate. This mirrors something far bigger and greater than ourselves! I’m so glad it does, otherwise what’s the point?
I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use this Birthday gift ever since June. My mum bought me this cookie cutter with interchangeable letters. Now it might sound lame but this was definitely one of my favourite birthday presents. Anyway I ditched the cutter from the packet and used a heart one instead, stamping niceties into the biscuit dough, packaged them up and voila, homemade Valentine’s love hearts for the hubbie!
Life has seemed pretty non-stop busy recently, which is possibly why I ended up rundown and nursing a yucky cold this week. Nick and I decided to do Valentines day on Saturday rather than Thursday which was a brilliant idea! Pancake day had also been a no show as Mr Cold had me wiped out and asleep on the sofa by 8pm. It seemed to make perfect sense to combine the two celebrations, the outcome being Valentine’s Day pancake brunch…win, win!
I decided to do something a little different so it was raspberry pancakes, along with caramelised banana pancakes on the menu. The rest of the day was spent reading the Bible together, aimlessly wondering along Chiswick high street, lunching in a sweet little cafe, a candlelit dinner and a movie. It was the lovliest, chilled out day I’ve had in a long time and the fact it was with Nick made it even better.
Ok so I love pumpkin! Pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, roast pumpkin, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin bread…I could go on. Sometimes I think I should have been born in America. Anyway I’m always finding yummy recipes that incorporate this delicious ingredient but in Britain you can’t just walk into any old supermarket and pick up a can of pumpkin puree. The not so appealing alternative would be waiting until pumpkins are in season and then hacking into to the monster in order to cook it (for a LONG time) and mash it all up. This is far too time consuming not to mention hard work for someone with weedy arms like myself. You can imagine my sheer delight when I realised there was a Waitrose down the road from our new flat, selling the pumpkin puree I’ve been after. I found this recipe that combines pumpkin with another one of my favourite sweet ingredients, pecans.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup buttermilk. room temperature
1) Melt butter in a saucepan, stirring until it turns a golden colour. Leave to cool.
For the brown sugar cream cheese:
- 2 cups dark brown sugar, finely packed
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
- 500 grams cream cheese
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
2) Cook for 15 minutes, stirring once.
After my last post you might realise I’m digging the chalkboard trend. Here’s another simple gift idea…buy some glass water bottles (these are from IKEA) and paint on rectangles of blackboard paint so they can be labelled with whatever drink they want. Tie on some chalk and it’s good to go. Pretty handy for entertaining! In the spirit of things I got together some more ideas from the web….
These were another Christmas present make but could easily work for any gift during these chilly winter months. I made the mugs a bit more fun with some blackboard fun. Warm your insides and get doodle happy at the same time, lovely. You’ll need the following to make up your kit….
They are really easy to make…
- First melt white and milk chocolate. Pour the milk chocolate on to your wooden spoon and chill for 10 mins. Then drizzle the white chocolate over the top and leave in the fridge to set completely.
- Then take a plain mug and mask off half off the top half. Paint with two layers of blackboard paint, leaving it to dry in between. It smells pretty pungent! Peel off the tape when it’s completely dry.
- Download the tag here. Print and cut out your tag. I printed the front onto card and the back onto paper and then glued the two sides together with spray mount. Use a hole punch to create a hole to thread your string through.
- Now you can put everything together. Fill the mug with your goodies and then you’ll need some cellophane to hold it all in as a package. You can buy this online or try my trick and ask a florist…they might give you some for free! Pull together by tying a bow that holds both your tag and chalk in place.