Hello everyone – sorry it has been so long since I blogged; you must have thought I’d got lost. On the contrary I have been knee deep in projects and activities which have taken up far more time than I ever imagined possible. In fact I think I’ve been trying to do far too much and really feel the need to take things a little bit quieter which I find easier said than done. I’m sure you all know the feeling. Sometimes it’s like we’re in a race.
Recently I’ve contemplated on the wonderful role mentors can play in our lives or the reward we can gain by being a mentor ourselves.
The role a mentor can play in our lives
Sharing skills and helping others achieve their goals can be rewarding and fulfilling. I have been fortunate to experience the wisdom and guidance of two ladies, Janet Staben and Ingrid Riddell who I met when joining the Coal Creek Spinners Group. When I started I really had no idea about the art of spinning and all that is entailed in the preparation of fibre. With their patience and forthright approach I have gained so much knowledge and insight. They are always there to help, give support and answer any questions. I must tell you a little about them.
Janet has been spinning for over 17 years and produces the most amazing skeins of wool which she knits into all kinds of garments. She doesn’t stop there, she crochets, makes lace, felts, and recently has taken up rag rug construction. I think there’s a lot more in her bag of skills. I will be forever grateful to her for her role in my quest to spin.
Let me share with you a photo of a beautiful garment Janet has just completed for entry into a Vintage Knits Exhibition. It’s from a pattern Janet found of a dress her mum made her when she was a child (blog 14/02/17).
Time with Ingrid is an education in all things fibre. Her head is absolutely full of knowledge and her hands full of skill. In 1990 she won a world wide competition for the longest plied thread of yard from 10g of wool, She has undertaken an apprenticeship as a weaver and subsequently ran weaving courses and took on special weaving commissions like curtains and bar mitzvah apparel As with Janet there’s much more to tell. Ingrid says she thinks it’s in her blood as her Swedish half sister, who she didn’t meet until later in life, is a weaver.
Feast your eyes on some of Ingrid’s creations:
Seek out a mentor you will be rewarded many times over as I have been.
The prospect of Spring in the garden – it’s round the corner
If you are a gardener there’s nothing more promising than seeing the first daffodils showing their faces and seeds you may have put in during the autumn starting to show progress
If you have been following my blog for a while you will remember that a couple of years ago I decided to downsize the veggie garden – o’h dear I’m still having trouble doing just that. The joy of seeing my seeds emerge is just too much so perhaps just one more season !! There’s already the prospect of early carrots, beetroot, broad beans and onions. I think I have far too much kohlrabi; it’s not a very popular vegetable but I find it so versatile as you can roast, boil, use in salads or just have as a crunchy snack.
Do write and let me know how you are going if you love vegetable gardening as I do. Did any of you try making the newspaper pots highlighted in my blog from July last year. Here’s the Youtube video to watch again. They worked so well for me.
Clever uses for Olive Oil
A good olive oil is a staple for any household and it has plenty of uses that stretch beyond salads and stir frys. Here are a few I came across recently which you may find useful.
Hair conditioner – Keep your hair smooth and healthy in between visits to the salon or washes by using olive oil. Brush a little olive oil through your hair and leave overnight.
Remove sticky substances – If you have sticky substances lingering on spoons and measuring tools, or even from stickers on glass gars, olive oil will help remove it. Apply with a cloth and rub gently until the residue is gone.
Make a herb mix – Save time with cooking by adding a mix of herbs to an ice cube tray – oregano, sage and rosemary for example – then top up with olive oil and freeze. Then you can simply add it to a frying pan when you’re ready to cook next for a perfectly seasoned mix.
Remove grease from hands – If you have car grease or paint on your hands, put some olive oil into the palm of your hand, sprinkle with salt, then rub together. Follow with soap and water; the grease will be gone and your hands will feel soft and smooth, too.
Furniture polish – You can restore some of the shine from your old furniture using a mixture of two parts olive oil and one-part lemon juice. Apply onto a paper towel and rub into the furniture. Then, using a clean cloth or paper towel, rub to remove any excess residue. I really love this one.
Australian Sheep and Wool Show, Bendigo
A couple of weeks ago Ken and I travelled to Bendigo to attend the Sheep and Wool Show and catch up with our grandson who is working at the general hospital. So much to see, do and buy. Ken has put together a short film of Woolcraft Highlights from the show. You will see me demonstrating felting with the Victorian Feltmakers; quite an experience and hard work.
Carrot, leek and mustard seed soup
This soup is great if you are trying to cut down on calories (mmmm, yes I know, how boring). I found it recently on a Scottish cooking site. It’s reported to be super good as it’s high in Vitamin A & B12, Dietary Fiber, Potassium and Vitamin C, each portion containing in the region of 120 calories.
5 large/450g carrots, roughly chopped
1 medium leek, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 tbsp oil
1tbsp mustard seed
a pinch of salt and pepper
1 litre vegetable stock
125ml skimmed milk
25ml low fat yoghurt (optional)
a handful of fresh chives, chopped
1. Heat the oil in a large pan, then add the mustard seeds, after a couple of minutes they will start to pop. Don’t let them heat for any longer or they will burn.
2. Add the onions leeks and season them. Saute them for about 5 minutes until they have started to soften.
3. Add the carrots and allow them to cook gently for 5 minutes.
4. Add the stock and bring to the boil. When it has reached boiling point, reduce it to a simmer and leave it to cook away for about 20 minutes until the carrots have softened.
5. Turn of the heat, add the milk and whizz with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth.
6. Serve with a swirl of milk or a dollop of yoghurt and some chives.
I hope you are all taking care of yourselves and enjoying your various activities, so until next time I’ll leave you with this thought:
Cherish the friends that make tomorrow
better than yesterday