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July already & more photos for Clive

July 1, 2010

Just a quick to do list for the month and photos of the studio/family room progress.

Application for Art for Heaven’s Sake – 100% (now waiting for a reply)

Bracelet blanks –100%

Santa Monica gem show

Will summer school – A – great well done!

Find somewhere for a few days away from the house painting etc… oops got side tracked

Bread making, finding some interesting zuc’ recipes and using our own veggies on going, yeah!


Spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and peppers from out own garden for tea one night this week.

Boys bedrooms – they are deaf to this!

Finish pink blanket bag – mislaid crochet hook, found and can now finish

2 new bracelet designs – 50 % on each, you’ll have to wait for the unveiling!

Possible new earring design – getting there.

Pool filter – ordered & waiting arrival, along with new timer.

Pool pump and filter house – remove!

Christmas quilt design

Both boys have Wildwood Music camp at the end of the month, next week is Matt’s marching band camp, Will’s band camp the 1st week of August)

Studio/family room – on going but I have new photos


Geraint and Matt framing the cupboard doorway


Geraint explaining how to do something with the drill.


Geraint put in a central support! Sadly I didn’t have the camera handy when Geraint was testing the frame by swinging from the doorway frame!


This is our nightmare corner! When we first moved in it had tiles and a Franklin stove in it. The toddlers that were in the house loved playing around the stove and sooty fingers got everywhere. The stove and tiles went! We covered up the area with a play rug but now were are putting down flooring we have to deal with the old glue and this black bitumen type glue – note to self don’t do this for the next person who buys the house! The old glue scrapes off easily, the black stuff DOESN’T WANT TO LEAVE the floor! You can see where we’ve scraped and sanded the left hand side and just need to do the bit under the planks of wood. The lump if black stuff making the corner – we’ve scraped and scraped and I guess will do more scraping! The mini shop/ vac I bought at the weekend is great for cleaning up all this stuff, I was so thrilled to have found it!


Remember the dark stained brown window frames – GONE! It makes the room look bigger and lighter and I wish we’d done it years ago. Even the windows which could do with replacing (but not this year) but the new coat of paint and a wash makes them look so much better.


Starting to paint the big picture window at the front!

Last night I crashed early I was so tired and woke up this morning to find this!


Yeah – the back end of the cupboard that lines up with the stairs


Wow, the cupboard has a front to it. Not sure if we are going to put the downstairs door on the cupboard or find a door, didn’t see one I liked at the weekend! Thank you so much Will and Matt for helping Geraint cos I just too tired!


Weekend yard sale finds…

June 26, 2010

I stopped at a yard sale yesterday and found Matt a 21 gear bike which he was cool about, a book about buttons and a few other things.

Today I found 4 jewelry trays, a velvet watch or bracelet tray and this wooden holder. It looks rather sad for itself, but I thought that as I was sanding the window frames I could sand this and give it a coat of paint and use it for scissors, rotary cutters and rulers in the studio.




Oh and the Scrabble box, has some wooden pieces in… I thought I could make up one set from from the 2 we have around the house and then perhaps use the remaining pieces for something.

All in all fun. But back to filling, sanding, painting and framing tomorrow.

Almost the end of the month

June 26, 2010

May leftovers:

Just a few bits left from May that will carry over to July.

Torrey Pine for my friend Teri – um would like to dye some fabrics with Candy

silk purses – 0%

Make new Bizzi Lizzi silk labels

Studio/family room – on going

IMG_1803[1]Possible door for the cupboard – kitchen bifold door used for size and height!


Look who was here to help!

Application for Art for Heaven’s Sake – 100% just need to drop off.

Bracelet blanks  – made: 20 plus size (9” for the larger wrist)  50 x 8”, 20 x 7 in.

Santa Monica gem show – went oh did I only spend that much! The rubies at the end of the day were just tooooo tempting.

Will summer school – 2 days left thank goodness and fingers crossed A+ and he’ll never have to bump up his grade EVER AGAIN!

Might just head to Big Bear for a few days!

Bread making, zuc’ use and using our own veggies on going, yeah!

Boys bedrooms – next month!

Finish pink blanket bag – mislaid crochet hook, found and can now finish

2 new bracelet designs – 50 % on each, you’ll have to wait for the unveiling!

Possible new earring design to go with one of the bracelets.

Pool filter – so needs replacing,

Pool pump and filter house – remove!

We have flooring!

June 26, 2010

Yeah, we went to Palm Desert yesterday (ok City of Industry was nearer but traffic at 3pm ??? ) We headed for the desert – a nice run in a borrowed truck. Passed all the wind farms – I love the windmills there is something elegant about them just standing there as if chatting with each other and leisurely turning (obviously not a windy day). We found Lumber Liquidators – finally, so well hidden we had to ring and ask where they were. It was the only loop we hadn’t been through!

Initially I wanted Bamboo flooring. I liked the blonde colour because I thought it looked modern, cool and possibly eco friendly. But Geraint is concerned about bamboo products because of the chemicals used to process it. Plus, they are sometimes made in China which means they have to be transported to the USA (more pollution!). He found Hickory on clearance at Lumber Liquidators, for only 10c more per square foot  and fell in love with it. Its slightly darker, which blends well with the knotted pine ceiling, stronger hence more resilient to teenage feet, does not have a strong grain pattern which was one of my objections to the oak, and the hand scraped slightly rustic look finish will be forgiving on the occasional dropped pair of scissors, rotary cutter or pliers.




22 boxes are now acclimatizing in the room!

I was surprised at just how tall and strong Will really is! He stood below the balcony and lifted up each box to Geraint who took it inside. It looked like he’d had a work out 19 boxes later (Matt kindly carried up 3 boxes) but that was good for him!

So wouldn’t it be nice to cool off in the pool  – oops sorry forgot the pea soup! But the veggies are thriving and I might start using the pool water to water them!

Father’s Day

June 20, 2010

Happy Father’s Day to everyone and all dad’s everywhere – where would we be without them. This year Geraint wanted a special saw to do the floor upstairs so I let him buy it but thought it would be nice to to make some apricot jam, from my friend Lesley’s tree, and some fresh bread.

Oh dear, baking bread spiraled into more zucchini bread – a mini one for my friend Anne, a mini one with chocolate chips for Matt to try, a 2 large ones, then while I was doing that Will made the apricot jam (I had to “pip” the apricots!).2010-06-20 13.14.49

Will stirring jam with the right hand and oh yeah, he claims he was multi-tasking, stirring the zucchini bread as well!!!!!

There were too many apricots for the jam so I thought I would make apricot crumble as well. Sadly, the apricots were too runny so they bled over the crumble mixture but it looks delicious and I can’t wait to have some for desert!


Back: Apricot jam (oops ran out of jars, so used plastic containers and will use them first),2 loaves of bread  – round one had sesame seeds, tin has poppy seeds on top.

Bottom: zucchini bread, Matt’s mini loaf with choc’ chips, crumble the raisins caught.


Instead of going out for dinner, Geraint decided he would rather stay home and eat bread and cheese and garlic in oil and have crumble for desert. Matt kindly took the photo before we cleared the table for tea. Wish you could be there to taste test. even Matt liked the bread.


Sadly we had an unexpected surprise today _ Geraint went to sort out the pool and noticed the filter was leaking. Having been really good at fixing things recently (including the jammed cake mixer), he took the ring off the filter and – yes it broke into several pieces! Oh, we’ve lived in the house for 12 years, since 1998 and the filter is older than that, pre 1991 so yes, Happy Father’s Day – we now need a new filter if we want to swim this summer! I guess we’ll take it in our stride and get a new one. It will become another thing on the to do list because we wanted to do some things around the pool this summer. Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh can you hear me screaming!

Mid June round up

June 16, 2010

May leftovers:

veggies: The last of the veggies need planting _ 5 tomato plants went into the front garden bed, which was left empty after I curtailed the California poppies (which are now blooming after their hair cut and sending up new flowers – crazy plants!) and I gave away some basil plants and tom’s to my neighbour for her and her little girl to watch growing – I hope they get some fruit.

lawn mower serviced – fixed! I got some petrol/gas, Geraint took it apart and cleaned things and he cut the lawn

Plan a Christmas wall hanging of  a Torrey Pine for my friend Teri still thinking of this

silk purses –????? need to make some new bizzi lizzi labels to go in these

Artists for a Cause website – done and invitations sent out to last year’s artists and any artist interested in participating, please check out the web site the application form for this year’s show is now available.

June plans…

Tackle May’s leftovers almost finished

Studio/family room – now need to sand down the window frames and paint, Geraint to continue framing the cupboard, source the new banisters, find a bifold door I like,

application for Art for Heaven’s Sake – take photos, finish application

make my own bracelets – I’ve started, 20 plus size (9” for the larger wrist) 38 x 8” my size wrist but would like to bump that up to 50.

Santa Monica gem show with Adele mid June… this Saturday, very exciting.

Summer school – oops hick up there, Will didn’t know about application forms etc.. but he got in –phew!

Checking out last minute rv parks or camp grounds to get away.

Additions: Make bread every other day, cook with the veggies that are ripening, like the zuc’s and tomatoes, and peppers and basil.

Excavate Matt’s bedroom – Will’s isn’t too bad just strewn everywhere… Matt’s leaves me speechless and he doesn’t seem to care!

Finish pink blanket bag! oops forgot to add that one to the list of UFO’s to finish and

put away for the Fall.


I love these geraniums, they are sorely neglected, but bloom profusely outside my bedroom window and are a real joy to me when I walk along the path. I just thought I would share them.

Ummm… zucchini bread

June 13, 2010

When we first came to America I was confused by Italian squash and zucchini, I was looking everywhere for courgettes. Finally the penny dropped and I realized zucchini and Italian squash were courgettes!

I love growing them, they take so little effort and make such a brilliant veggie. But one of my favourite recipes is zucchini bread. I found it on the internet and after tweaking the ingredients its become a family favourite.

I am determined to try an encourage Matt to expand his interest in food (very limited) so I encouraged him to come and help me!

So here is the recipe for my zucchini bread….

1 cup of vegetable oil

2 eggs

3 teaspoons of vanilla essence (I like the organic ones they seem stronger)

2 cups of grated zucchini ( usually very generous to use up lots of zuc’)

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of baking power

3 cups of flour

2 cups of brown sugar (I like the dark colour in the bread)

3 teaspoons of mixed spice (this is English, found in all our supermarkets but I’ve never found it here)

(If I have no mixed spice I used 3 teaspoons of cinnamon

& a teaspoon of nutmeg)

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (never measured just add what I like because I love the texture in the bread)

1 cup of raisins ( again never measured cos I love raisins)


in a large bowl beat the eggs until light and frothy

Mix in the oil and sugar ( Matt did this and said they made a great colour)

Stir in zucchini and vanilla

Combine the flour, spices, baking soda & power, salt, nuts and raisins and stir or fold in.

Divide the batter into prepared pans.

I tend to line a bread loaf tin with grease proof or wax paper – very lazy but works.

Bake for 1hr or until done at 350f, I like to use the middle shelf.


Um so hard to wait for them to finish cooking… just a few minutes more!

We always have so much zucchini by the time I make this that I make a double batch which makes 2 huge loaf tins…


Leave to cool for as long as you can resist it and then cut and enjoy with hot tea (English style) or coffee… Hopefully this will last us several days and Will can take a “chunk” with his for a snack to summer school.

I have been known to make it in muffin or cup cake tins but this more work!



It was totally delicious and I could have eaten more, Fay! The smell was heavenly and it was still warm at this point. Sadly I couldn’t persuade Matt to try it.


Matt kneading bread for the first time


French bread by Matt with some kneading help from Mum! The “Halloween Rolls” with scary faces, have chocolate cooking drops in them – Matt’s choice. His verdict they were as nice as the chocolate scones I make! The plain bread and rolls were delicious!


Geraint took the lawn mower apart and fiddled with it for a while and was able to cut the lawn – Yeah!

The plants I transplanted survived the night, look lush and green and seem to be thriving now need to finish the rest in the cool of the day!