Saturday 7 December 2013


Last Saturday I decided that I needed to step back for a little while to catch up on life and get Dev through the antibiotic stage.  Thank you to everyone who sent good wishes to Dev - I read them to him and I'm sure it helped him to get over a very testing time.  Fortunately the worries from each clinic came back clear, so we are both relieved.  So, just one more clinic visit next week and hopefully nothing else before Christmas.

I waded straight into giving the flat a thorough clean instead of the lick and promise it has been having, and felt much better for it.  Doesn't take all that long in a flat, which is a great advantage of apartment living.  

Apart from Dev's routine visit to the hospital on Wednesday, which takes a whole morning, I decided the rest of the week would be mine to do just what I wanted.

Every day holds something to lift the heart and bring a smile, and Wednesday morning was no exception.  As I drew into a space in the hospital car park, right in front of the car was a cherry tree in full white blossom, so beautiful.  This is my favourite parking space, in front of the lake.  In the photo you can just see a swan, and on the opposite bank a heron posed as a grey statue.  Enough to lift the heart all day.  I took a quick snap of the sign that is permanently fixed to the railings.  It always makes me smile, the two statements seem so contradictory.

Apron recycled from an African dress
'Me time' in the afternoon, but no drawing, no painting.  I did something I've wanted to do for quite a while.  I've had a long traditional Nigerian dress hanging in my wardrobe for over 30 years, and apart from a few times in the early days I never wear it.

There's a story behind the dress.  I was on a business trip to Nigeria and was taken by a Nigerian acquaintance firstly to choose a fabric I liked, and then to a dressmaker to have a traditional dress custom-made to my size.  The fabric was beautiful, but when I received the dress the extensive embroidery at the neck and in a wide strip of embroidery at the hem had been sewn with a shocking fluorescent green thread and the colours clashed violently.  I was so upset, it was completely spoilt.

Fortunately a colleague decided that he'd like to take a dress home as a gift for his wife, and I sold it to him at a knock-down price.  Hope she liked the colours!  I bought an off-the-rail dress in a tie-dye fabric, much cheaper quality fabric, a standard size and not too well made.  Still it held many memories of the trip, and I have kept it all these years.

But I wanted to clear the wardrobes a bit, and I needed a couple of new aprons.  Time for some recycling.  I managed to squeeze two aprons from the dress, and the hems still have the original stitching as a memory of their origin.  The photo shows the first one, and the second one is not quite completed.

Both aprons were made on the tiny Janome sewing machine I bought a few months ago, so it proved to me that it can certainly sew through a few thicknesses of fabric very well.

Last night I was up sleepless for a couple of hours, and for some reason I thought about the Dorset Apple Cake I used to make years ago.  I started searching the internet for the recipe but couldn't fine one the same as I used to have.  I did find a recipe for an 'Easy Apple Tea Loaf Cake' which appealed, and this morning I decided to make it.  

I bought a new electronic scale yesterday, which is very neat, slim and precise and just 7"square, which was fortunate because the quantities in the recipe were only in grammes.  The cake was very quick and easy to make, though I wasn't convinced the recipe would work when I was mixing it.  But here it is:

I seem to remember reading years ago that the split down the middle is a feature of apple cake.  Anyway, it's a feature of this one.  A smaller loaf pan would be better because the cake was only a couple of inches high.

How did it taste?  Absolutely delicious, and we ate almost half of it after our lunch.  I'll either double up the quantities next time or find a smaller loaf tin.

Yesterday I also bought a silicon loaf pan, but when I came to use it I couldn't decide whether it should be greased it or not, so I used my old tin loaf pan.  What do you do if you use a silicon cake 'tin', do you grease or not?


So I have created this week, but just not on paper.  It's been a happy week and I feel refreshed and ready to get the pens and paints out on Monday, so it was well worth stepping back for a few days.


  1. Nice to have you back Jez. That sign did make me smile too! I'm pleased it looks like you and Dev can have a christmas away from hospital appointments. The apron is an ingenious use of a fantastic piece of fabris, no wonder you kept it. I have items that have been hanging in my wardrobe for years and if ever I get any time to use my Janhome would love to try and do this sort of up-cycling.
    re the silicone moulds I don't grease them and they usually just peel off easily. I love baking although recently seem to spend more time watching baking programs on TV than actually doing it! ( Paul Hollywood is far too distracting ) :) Hope you enjoyed your apple cake.

  2. Hello Jez, Thanks for sharing your enjoy-yourself week with us. Your apple loaf looks and sounds delicious. I line the bottom of the tin with baking parchment, seems to work.

  3. Well it looks like you had a very creative week my dear...just not painting!! Creative people just know how to make everyday a part of that! Sometimes even housecleaning feels creative when you change things up. So happy Dev is on the mend....that was so scary for both of you! Someone bought my daughter silicon cupcake pots and she gave them away....she's an old school girl who likes conventional pans....we have a quad style loaf pan that we use to make small banana bread. It's so nice to give those little ones to singles it's a great size!! It's one of our favorite things we searched high and low to get another for our friend who's an avid baker! Love love love the apron...I have always been a keen tie dye fan...that is beautiful...great recycle project too!! Have a great week!

    Hugs Giggles

  4. Oh Jez that's great that things are looking better for Dev and you. And good for you that you chose a me-week and did all kinds of things you've been wanting to do for a long time. That can be such a great feeling. Love that apron btw! Can't give you any advice on the silicon pan. I bought one once and just never used it, so in the end I gave it away.

  5. Wishing you and Dev the best, Jez. Sending good thoughts and prayers for both of you. Caregiving takes a lot of effort, love and stamina. God bless you. Love the "no fishing" sign with the swan.

  6. Hello Jez! I enjoyed so much reading your enjoy-yourself week. You have been busy but happy.
    I thank you for your lovely, warm words on my blog when I got healthy broblems. By the way they are swans there in my collage. This is the firs day I am posting and leaving comments after that.. I'm recovering well, from which I'm very greatful.
    Blessings to you dear Jez and to Dev!

  7. Our banana loaf splits down the middle like that too - ooh I do love a good bit of fruit loaf. Or cinnamon - anything with cinnamon in. Yum.

    I haven't got my sewing machine out once this year. not once. Something I intend to change next year. I've been cleaning and de-cluttering too. nagging the kids to get their rooms straight while at the same time, clearing our bedroom so it looks like a bedroom and not the house dumping ground. The bathroom is tidy and now just downstairs to hit. I figure a tidy house must equal more time to art. more organisation next year is the thing I am aiming for.

    Love your colourful apron and the story behind it :)


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