Tag Archives: china

Love Handles ~Love in ten lines

I am not one for blog challenges. I undertake very few ( too lazy, I am ūüėČ ). But what’s a girl to do when¬† the lovely blogger you persuaded to find a special totem pole in Oregon, nudges invites you to get busy on the ‘Love in Ten Lines ‘ challenge.¬† Well, not much you can do, except hop to, and fall in line.

Here are the rules for the challenge

  • Write about love using only 10 lines.
  • Use the word love in every line.
  • Each line can only be 4 words long.
  • Nominate others who are up for the challenge.
  • Let them know about the challenge.
  • Title the post: ¬†Love in Ten Lines
  • Include a quote about love ( this can be your own)
  • You may write in any language

And here , Britt Skrabanek,¬† is Gallivanta’s response to your gauntlet. It’s a photo poem ( phoem?) , called Love Handles.

When you choose love

When you choose love

or love chooses you

or love chooses you,

 

Remember love has handles

Remember love has handles,

 

for love needs holding.

for love needs holding.

Love is not froth
on the chai. Love

is earthy, love is

is earthy, love is

the china cup, love
is the pot, love

 

pours the tea; love

pours the tea; love.

 

Yesterday, I spent some time at the Canterbury Province Field of Remembrance in Cranmer Square, where our Anzac Day will be commemorated on April 25th.  In the Field are 632 simple, white crosses, one for each man and woman from our region, who was a  casualty of war in 1914-1915.

Canterbury Province Field of Remembrance, Cranmer Square, 2015

Canterbury Province Field of Remembrance, Cranmer Square, 2015

As I walked around the rows, I thought of the unprecedented grief which sat at family tables that year. The cup not used, the plate not laid, the tea not poured, the meal not cooked, the empty chair, the hand not there to tousle a child’s hair….. there was grief; there was love with nowhere to go*.

Grief has softened with the years, and love has found a place again. Some of that love is in these crosses, all with handles;  most not known to us personally, but handles which we can whisper quietly, and hold faithfully  in our collective soul.

For those of you reading in New Zealand, you will know  there are many ways in which we are being encouraged to remember the centenary of the Gallipoli landings. One way which I have found meaningful is to place a virtual poppy on my relatives listed in the Auckland War Memorial  Cenotaph Online Database.  Perhaps that is something you would like to do for your family, if you have not already done so.

*¬† “grief is just love with nowhere to go” ; a saying I read this week in an interview with Cambridge author, Helen Macdonald. It is my love quote for Love in Ten Lines.

© silkannthreades

 

Feasting

In recent weeks, when I was feeling ‘under the weather’, on account of my cold/cough, my desire to eat and cook was as lacking as my tastebuds. Now that I am all better, my appetite and interest in cooking have returned and, yesterday, my meal seemed like a feast; it tasted so good!

First up, we had brown lentils and mushrooms in pasta sauce. This is a dish I  created using a combination of different ideas and recipes. It is an authentic mish mash rather than anything elegant with a specific and identifiable origin. Here is a small sample of the finished product.

As usual, my recipe  for this dish is fairly carefree and easy but, for those of you who are interested, here is an outline of the ingredients and cooking method:  Roughly chop one onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 celery stick and 1 carrot and place in the blender and blitz. Place a little olive oil in a large pan and add blitzed mixture to the pan. Cover and let mixture sweat for about 10 minutes. Add a half teaspoon of dried oregano, and about a half teaspoon of salt and a cup of canned, chopped tomatoes in thick juice. Stir and cook covered for a couple of minutes. Add one tin/can of drained and rinsed brown lentils (about 400gm) and stir. Then add one bottle of thick pasta sauce. I use Bertolli Five Brothers Pasta Sauce, large size, in the summer tomato and basil flavour.  Stir again and cover and simmer gently for a few more minutes. Lastly add about 200 gm of quartered, button mushrooms and 3  Tablespoons of bulghur wheat.  Cover and cook on low heat for another 15 minutes, or until the bulghur wheat is tender. Before serving add freshly ground pepper and 2 or 3 Tablespoons of cream to the pan.

The textures of the ingredients and the smooth richness of the sauce are wonderfully hearty¬† on a winter’s night. I served the sauce on creamy mashed potatoes with steamed carrots and steamed broccoli stalks. And ,because the recipe makes a large amount, we will be having the sauce again tonight, but this time with polenta.

To follow the main meal, I made a scrumptious fruit crumble, using an absolutely excellent crumble recipe from blogger Valerie Davies; excellent because it is¬† both delicious and makes a large amount (which means at least enough for two fruit crumbles in my house). For the fruit component of the dish, I used freshly sliced cooking apples and a good handful of less than perfect grapes which I blanched and peeled and sprinkled with lemon juice.¬† The results were so good that I had to restrain myself from taking a third helping. Thanks Valerie ūüôā

If you would like the recipe take a look Here.

While you are there, check out her other delicious recipe for Convent Eggs. http://valeriedavies.com/2013/07/13/the-real-dalai-lama/ 

I am sure it was the Convent Eggs that finally set my tastebuds on the road to recovery. Food has been tasting superb, since the day I made those delicious eggs.

Finally, what’s a feast without something for the eyes as well. I am so thrilled to have these three lovely books on my table today. The two Virago books arrived by post this morning, via Amazon.¬† The¬† third¬† book, With Bold Needle and Thread by Rosemary Mcleod¬† is on loan from the library. It is subtitled Adventures in Vintage Needlecraft, and so it is, so it is; a very lovely adventure.

Books of a Vintage

Books of a Vintage

A Visual Feast

A Visual Feast

© silkannthreades

Back to the box, for the record…

Back to the box;¬† not the tissue box, which is permanently attached to my nose at the moment,¬† but the one in the living room. Back to the box, to take a look at what other ‘treasures’ it has for me to record, to envisage as my own¬† personal palimpsest.¬† TreasuresToday, on top of the box, there is Royal Doulton ware that once belonged to my grandmother. I am the current custodian but I know little about the items other than they date from the 1920s.

The book is a recent purchase of mine from a second-hand store.CopybookIt is a copybook. I love that it is a copybook; that we are being invited to copy the illustrations. It makes me feel like a child again, industriously copying pictures or using tracing paper to copy pictures.¬† I want to take up my brush and copy this illustration from the book,Copycatsalthough the artist, Shutei ( whose name has the lovely meaning of ‘small teahouse in an autumn garden’), says that cats are a difficult subject to paint. She suggests we¬† begin with the much simpler white plum blossoms.

I wish Shutei were here to guide my hand, as she did with her own students, but, since she was born in 1894, I think I will have to manage with only her guiding spirit via the book.

Shutei’s book probably had a print run of thousands. Or maybe not. It is still available on Amazon but, then, what isn’t! I have a another type of copybook , that is one out of the box;¬† literally. I found this account book¬† in the box in my living room. It was used in my grandparents’ bakery and butchery. It is a record of accounts, paid and unpaid, in 1948 and 1949.

One summer, I think the summer of 1970/71, my sister, and others, used the book for writing and drawing and copying and rough drafts and games, and general amusement. Although it is not a treasure as valuable in monetary terms as the Royal Doulton, it is priceless, as a layered, multi-dimensional record of a short period in our family’s history. It’s also very funny and provides as much entertainment now as it did back in that summer of the seventies.An original, one of a kindTake a look, it’s all in the book…

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Our history, personal and otherwise, is recorded in many different formats. Each has its own value and worth.

This week in New Zealand, we are asked to record the birds in our garden, for the annual Garden Bird Survey.¬† Last year the top bird in New Zealand gardens was the commonplace sparrow. Other years, the brilliant little silver eye has taken top honours.¬† If you live in New Zealand, and are reading this post, take a little time¬† to participate in the¬† survey. http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/science/plants-animals-fungi/animals/birds/garden-bird-surveys/instructions.¬† And, then, let’s see which bird tops the charts in 2013. If you want to get more fun out of the survey, as well as recording your answers online, write them down on a piece of scrap paper or a docket and tuck it away somewhere, like a box; it will be a lovely find for you, or someone else, one day.

© silkannthreades

Take one box

Take one box Take one box

Take one box (take 2)Take one box (take 2)Take one box (take 3)Take one box (take 3)Take 4Take 4Take five Take 5-ishTake a key

Take another lookAnother lookPenultimatePenultimateFinal take? Final take?Boxes, chests, travelling trunks, cartons, suitcases……these containers for possessions, precious and plain, have been part of my family’s life and history for generations. They have traversed the world with us, and then some.¬† For as long as I can remember, boxes/trunks/chests have been as integral to my living spaces as the kitchen sink. Unlike the kitchen sink, I love them.

On 20th June, the UNHCR asked us, the people of the world, to consider, as part of World Refugee Day, what one thing we would take with us, if we had one minute to flee our homes. http://unhcr.org/1family/¬†¬† The question is difficult to answer, and, of course, there is no, single correct answer.¬† I don’t know what one thing I would take. When we¬† fled our home after the big earthquake¬† in February 2011, I took my laptop, my mobile phone, my handbag, which happened to have cash, credit cards, passports and medications in it at the time, a bit of food, and a handful of clothing.¬† And the keys to the house.¬† ( I have heard it said that people fleeing will often take the keys to their house even though the house may have been lost; and/or¬† the owners have no idea when they will be returning ) As you can see that’s more than one thing!¬† But I had more than a minute to think about what to take ūüôā¬†¬† However, I will say that, out of all the things I took away with us that day, the one thing that turned out to be the most valuable¬† was¬† knowledge. The knowledge that boxes and belongings are non-essentials. When it really matters I know how to let them go.

© silkannthreades

Down to the basics

Once upon a time I was an avid viewer of Martha Stewart’s TV series. Yet, despite my avidity, I think I have only¬† incorporated a couple of Martha’s ideas into my household ways.

The first idea was Martha’s method of stacking cups and saucers.¬†¬† (http://www.marthastewart.com/275482/kitchen-organizing-tips/@center/277007/kitchen-design#end ) ¬† Although my cup and saucer collection is paltry compared to Martha’s, her system worked exceptionally well for me…..until….. the earthquakes, when I decided that stacks of cups/saucers were not the way to go. To be fair, my small monuments to Martha’s organizational genius didn’t even teeter in the first big earthquake. They remained rock solid, but I thought they looked too precarious to survive any further assaults on their structural integrity, so I deconstructed the stacks and rearranged my cups and saucers in a plain and simple fashion. Like this.Plain, simple, secure

Very bland, and hopefully very secure and safe. (Particularly safe if I remember to latch the cupboard door. Before the earthquakes, I had a reputation for leaving the contents of kitchen cupboards fully exposed. I have improved my lax ways.)  I am sure Martha would give me points for clean and tidy, but  would she be compelled to roll her eyes over the uncoordinated nature of my china? I fear so.

The second Martha ‘idea’ to enter my life was in the form of her recipe for Potato Frittata. As with the cups and saucers, I have adapted the idea/recipe to suit my circumstances but it is a frittata that I make regularly.¬† It is completely delicious and completely easy. I love it.

Here’s Martha at work on the frittata ( http://www.marthastewart.com/254051/potato-frittata), and here is my handiwork. Not bad, if I say so myself.Fantastic Frittata

Four ingredients; onions, olive oil, potatoes, eggs; a pinch of Martha and me and there you have it; a good basic meal. A salad, and a crusty loaf of bread on the side, make for mouth-watering perfection. Hungry?

© silkannthreades

A place setting for restful memories

I had a couple of¬† dizzy spells during the weekend.¬† I didn’t, and don’t, feel unwell, so maybe the dizziness was caused by insufficient fluid intake or, perhaps, it was my body telling me to put my feet up for a while. I was going to say “telling me to slow down” but I don’t go very fast anyway .If I went any slower I would come to a stand still. However, in my slow way, I potter around a great deal and rarely sit down except for meals or when I am driving.

To appease the Gods of Dizzy, on¬† Saturday I had a rest on the sofa which the dog thought was wonderful. “Yay, she’s sitting still. We can snuggle” seemed to be the message from a delighted pooch. Yesterday, I went to the hairdresser where I had a lovely sit down for 30 minutes. And, today, I am forcing myself to sit down at the computer. Usually, I stand to work at the computer. Why? Bad habits, I suppose. And it’s easier to multi task that way.

So, although I am feeling fine and undizzy today, I do feel in need of quiet and one thing that says quiet to me is this photo that I took, last year, in my pre-blogging days. Be StillIn the photo, you can see a small breakfast set that I have had for more than 30 years. (It’s been with me longer than my husband!) Why does this say “quiet” to me on this day?¬† I am not sure. Is it the design, the colours, the shapes or the associations? Or all of these things?

The set¬† certainly takes me back to a time, and a place, where putting up your feet¬† and having a relaxing daytime nap were considered¬† a normal part of a lady’s daily routine. Memories of my colonial childhood in the tropics are full of images of mothers (not mine!) who were not to be disturbed during their afternoon siesta. Children were required to play quietly. That might have been boring, but we soon realised that¬† quietly didn’t have to be synonymous with staying out of mischief. Although we were well-behaved, most of the time.¬† I can only remember being told off once for being too noisy and disturbing a napping mother.¬† And it really wasn’t my fault, it was my friend’s! ūüôā

And that is all I will write because today is for quiet moments and memories and contemplation.

China note: The pattern is Mayflower and the china is made by Figgio of Norway.