Creative ideas come "out of the wild" growing like yeast. Enjoy a meander around my creative pursuits - art printing with stamps, sketching, photography, baking, gardening...

23 December, 2012

Season's Greetings Dear Bloggers & Att: LLJ.

Dear All,

...my Followers, my WOYWW folk, and blog friends. I do hope that you have a festive Christmas and a New Year filled with promise, creativity and contentment.

I have missed joining in WOYWW for a couple of weeks or more. I had dramas with a burst hot water pipe under the concrete slab and the excavation is not a pretty sight. It's been full of anxious moments and wouldn't you know, the 'comprehensive' insurance won't pay for any of it. On top of that, I've picked up some kind of staph infection through a cut on my elbow. (I seem to recall my Mother telling me not to lean on my elbows at the table!)  Well... both the infection and the antibiotics have me a tad laid low. BUT I will bounce back, mark my words.



It's two days before Christmas and it's hot, as it should be. Not much over 35C I'd say. Went to the Farmers Market this morning, reasonably early and picked up vegies, eggs laid yesterday, and dried fruit without sulphur in it. I love these 'Heritage' radishes in different colours.

We stopped off at the local supermarket to get a few things and there was a young busker outside blowing her heart and soul into some Christmas carols with grunt!!  She was ably supported by her twin brother who gave me permission to take her photo. Isn't she great? 

LLJ, I thought of you and this photo is for you!





Purchased some spices and sourdough bread for tonight. The spices are for a fresh batch of dukkah to take with extra virgin olive oil and the bread to our Street Christmas Party tonight. That will be great fun as some people whose properties are beach houses we don't see through the year very much.

BTW, I posted the dukkah recipe not long ago - you can find it here.  And the EVOO is grown and pressed locally.



Here are the ingredients for the dukkah. The kitchen smells gorgeous after all the spices are toasted.

If it isn't still too hot, we'll walk down the hill to Carols by Candlelight, but I'm reserving judgement on that.

You might recall I mentioned that my Christmas cards would probably mutate as I got to around the forty or fifty mark. Well they did just a bit and here's a snap to show the little changes.

They've been fun to make in batches.
 Here's an Irish blessing that I rather like:

May your roof never fall in
And your friends never fall out.  


Happy days to all,
Ros.

05 December, 2012

WOYWW No. 183 - Getting All Together

Hello dear Followers, Friends and Visitors.

Here we are again sharing views of our desks, starting at The Stamping Ground. As well we share snippets of life in one hemisphere or another - northern, southern, eastern, western - and ideas about our shared creative enthusiasms.

Thanks to all who left comments which I emjoy unreservedly. I hope I returned them; forgive me if not. The days get busier as the year runs out of puff and me too.

Christmas Card Components
I have a photo of my Assembly Box which I use for any big run of cards. I like to give myself a break from one part of the process to stack up another part. When I have stock-piled the components, there's a wild flurry putting it all together. Notice another use for cat food tins. Hope this isn't too boring because it is related to the last WOYWW post which was about the watercoloured panel, and then a post of the finished card.  It is however, what's On My Workdesk this Wednesday.

 Quick Cutz embossing folder, 'circles' and Memory Box die 'rings'.
I've also included these little items I bought earlier this week. I prefer to regard them as bubbles to which I have some attachment - could it be the season for bubbles???

Enjoy the week. See you round the traps, as they say.
Ros.

04 December, 2012

The Christmas Card

Well here is the first cab off the rank for the Christmas cards. Last Wednesday I had the panel on my desk for colouring using Lyra watercolour crayons and Twinkling H2O's. I had the best day on Sunday painting, stamping, die-cutting and all the while "reading" a book, a talking book. I was completely engrossed with hands, heart and head.

I heat embossed the message inside fifty cards and it occured to me that when one can do that without any spatters or over-cooked EP, one has become quite good at it. I felt pleased.

The Michael Powell stamp is sufficiently detailed to allow simple matting and a couple of die-cuts.
You can probably pick up the spritz with Perfect Pearls as a finishing touch. As with all these things, the cards will evolve so I don't expect the first ten will be quite the same as the next, or the last ten. I'll be back again on Wednesday for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday with some more of the same since I'm really pressing to get these done and in the mail.

Miles of smiles,
Ros.

28 November, 2012

WOYWW No.182. Christmas cards a-go-go

Good evening South-west Pacific. Good morning over the other side. Hope you're all doing well, desk-hoppers one and all. Yes, this is the weekly What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday which is a large of mob of people who connect over at Julia Dunnit's Stamping Ground and then share the current desk projects.

This week is not very enlightening in my studio as it's a continuation of last week with the assembly line of Christmas cards under way. It takes me roughly seven minutes to make each panel, and then there are all the added bits which I will show you during the week. In another life, I used to set up assembly lines for light packaging and assembly work for people re-training for work following a disability. Now the secret is out... Ha!

A bit of late afternoon sun on the desk.
On the left are the panels in three stages of completion, then selected Lyra colours and their palette, and selected Twinks and DIs. I use a Marvy Metallic pen for edging the matts, a white dabber for clouds (dabbed with built-in dabber called finger), and mini-mister with Perfect Pearls spritz. It's all go, at last!!!

Will show you the finished product mighty soon.
Happy desk hopping, and enjoy the week.
Ros.

22 November, 2012

Storing Long Skinny Things

This post is a little side-step from an exchange with Shoshi during the week. Her show and tell post about storing rulers prompted me to mention my little set of drawers that are invaluable for long skinny things.

It is really a wooden cabinet set of three drawers designed to store paints or pastels of various kinds, however I find it so useful for things I want quickly whilst working, and then a place to put them rather all over the desk.

Of particular relevance to rulers firstly, is the bottom drawer which has no dividers so it accommodates 30cm/12 inch rulers easily. Longer than that, they are a problem for which Shoshi may just have the right solution. The link above will take you to her post.

You can see that this set of drawers also takes a stack of stuff on top. I'm planning to get another paper tray.
There are not only no dividers but this bottom drawer is slightly deeper than the next two. Here are bulky pens, a Fiskars knife, sundry rulers, set square, large erasers, texture hammer and so forth.

A shallower drawer which holds items in a single layer, and which is partitioned.
In this layer are punches, special pens for glue, Versamark, fine-liners, and various craft knives. There is also a mouldable eraser for pastels.


The top drawer is similar in size and layout to the second.
In this top drawer is a swag of tweezers which I use frequently, some of my more fine brushes, sundry poking and pricking tools, nibs and blades of different kinds, and my favourite tiny fussy-cutting scissors.

So there you have it. Hope this is of some interest to the desk hoppers.

Warm wishes,
Ros. 

21 November, 2012

WOYWW No 181. Christmas Cheer

Greeting friends and followers.

I hope you are well, content, and feeling creative. I'm looking forward to the usual round of desks and beg your indulgence if it takes me a few days. Tomorrow I'm off to Melbourne again for another workshop at Bellbird with a different instructor this time. That will divert me from my desk hopping somewhat but I'll around to as many as possible.

If you are curious, visit The Stamping Ground and find out more about What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday from Julia Dunnit there.

Here's a broad view of the general flurry happening at present. What about the cute ironing board.
I have been playing with wax paper and heat techniques, and also some new shrink plastic I found in a cheap and cheerful shop. It works very well - both the ironing board and the plastic.  ;-)   My stamps catalogue is open on the same table but otherwise you just have an overview of the Den!

Here is the intense muddle of too much on the go at once.
I have indeed got three things (or more) happening here. Encapsulated in the usual array of 'grab n use' items around the decreasing work area, on the left are the dummy runs for Christmas cards. Have I ever got to get a wriggle on!!!  Then sitting on top of a DI pad further to the right is some music, reduced and distressed  that I though might work as a background for another design. It's a version of an Australian bush Christmas song which is lovely words and music, but maybe next year. Then open in the centre is my ideas book where I'm recording some possible designs and techniques that I had on my phone. The phone is not my fave for taking photos as it's old and inconvenient but then I just want it to be a phone. So I'm recording and deleting and as a photographer, I'll take a camera any day.

Now here is the real Christmas Cheer! I went to the local grog shop to buy wines for the impending round of hospitality. Amongst the sparkling reds I found this bottle of shiraz bubbly which I couldn't resist. McLaren Vale is a good wine growing area in South Aus but of course, I thought immediately of you Elizabeth. You can see that we have this silly affection for chooks in this country - hope you can read the wine-maker's tongue-in-cheek description on the label. I'll report on the contents of the bottle in due course.

Quite the handsome chook. Hope the shiraz is as fine.
Sometimes the wine-makers do this silly stuff which I thing is the best fun. It's a great conversation point and the wine is usually great. Does anyone have other examples of fun wine labels?

Speaks for itself.

Enjoy your week remaining and the weekend.
Miles of smiles,
Ros. 


Poppies Running Riot

I wish I could move my art room into the bathroom. The view is so lovely, especially in the mornings as it faces east. Just look at this view. The tall trees in the background are eucalypts and are not on this property. They are part of our 'borrowed' view. The bit of the vista that demands my attention is the wheel barrow and the prunings stacked for the mulching machine.


So much colour, remembering that soon it will be drying off and the mulch will help keep some moisture in the soil.
 In amongst all this are the poppies, self-sown from last year and full of surprises that we didn't know we had. What a picture.
Here is a good selection in the early sunlight.
Here are the big reds! Interesting how the centres are black and lemon on the same plant.
Little California dreamers that come back each year. Love 'em.

And this gorgeous purple dish mop that has never appeared before.
Hope you enjoyed this little poppy show. Best wishes to my followers and callers. I do enjoy your comments very much. Thank you.
Ros. 

14 November, 2012

WOYWW No. 180 - a double dip.

Hello again dear WOYWW-ers. (I feel as though this silly acronym could be Warriors with a speech impediment.) Let me assure you that a silly acronym belies the serious and delirious enjoyment we People of the Desks have on Wednesdays. It's What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday, you see. If you're even half curious, then follow this link to Julia Dunnit's Stamping Ground to see where it all starts. Why, she's even been on the radio about this splendid delirium!!!

Thank you and welcome to my new followers. It's a pleasure to have you along and if I haven't already, I will certainly return the compliment.

I was absent last week to my regret, however am back again and looking forward to seeing as many desks as I can manage. On my desk this week is some preliminary design planning for my Christmas and New Year Greeting cards which will have a nautical theme. I have another idea as well that is musical but it's taking time to gel.

This is one of Michael Powell's shore thing stamps which seems quite celebratory with all the bunting.
The other thing on my desk today is my lovely art journal that I started in a workshop with Cathy at Bellbird Paperarts a little while ago. We did part 2 last weekend, adding three pages to which I have been putting the finishing touches today.

Various techniques here for background and the features. I particularly like the vellum butterfly wing.
The designs are Cathy's although she encourages us to make individual changes to the colour schemes for instance, or the placement of the elements. I love the butterfly which is stamped on 160 gsm vellum and coloured with Twinklings. It's then embossed with a ball tool on the back which bruises the vellum making it white. This makes the mica water colours so much more brilliant.

These workshops are such a great way to learn the nature of art materials and techniques and come away with some tools and materials that we have been able to try out. She also expects us to add our own pages between classes so we learn from a bit of  'show and tell' the next time. Great idea.

Enjoy the rest of the week and the weekend.
Miles of smiles,
Ros.

01 November, 2012

Firestar - the Rose

Here is the name of the rose I photographed yesterday but could not tell you its name - Firestar. It honours the Country Fire Authority volunteers and staff in Victoria, who fought the fires on 7th February, 2009. So many lives were lost, homes destroyed and beautiful countryside razed. It was such an awful day that I will not forget in my life-time.

Firestar - beauty, fragrance and meaning.

http://www.firestarrose.com.au/index.php/the-birth-of-the-rose/  This link will take you to the story of Firestar rose which might be of interest. Otherwise, just enjoy.

Miles of smiles,
Ros.



31 October, 2012

WOYWW No. 178 A Pot Pourri

Greetings dear WOYWW Folk. Sorry I missed so many people last week, but be assured I really loved the comments that came along and trust that I returned the compliment and visited more besides. Thinking of all the people on the US east coast trying to manage without power and every other drama following the super storm. What feelings of absolute impotence this must bring. My thoughts are with you.

The weather's been warm here. In fact it was up around 30C, and I found myself dripping with perspiration whilst gardening for the first time this season. Not a pretty sight for either the by-stander or for me looking through small pools of salt water at the weeds I'm pulling out. The rewards are broad beans and rhubarb, all gorgeous and more lovelies on the way.

Not a lot is different on my desk this week. Here are a few of the variations that came along after the card I did for my friend's birthday. This photo just shows the panels but they look fine as finished cards and some have already gone to friends to say Thank You for lovely dinner parties.



Christmas cards are cranking up and I've been playing with a new set of dies for greeting messages. I just cut them out of paint colour swatches from the hardware paint department (Bunnings for the locals, naturally). It's a bit boring and the rest of my desk looks the same as usual but at least I'm getting on with it.



I took a photo today of this lovely rose we have in the garden. It was bred to commemorate the Black Saturday fires in 2009 and is so beautiful in both colour and fragrance. So happy it's doing well.
I can't recall the name but I'll pop it in tomorrow morning.


Must away to bed. I'm done in tonight, but looking forward to another day of gardening, walking on the beach, and exploring desks. If you wonder about this desk business, it's all about snooping in a world of desks starting with Julia at the Stamping Ground.

Cheers,
Ros.

29 October, 2012

My Letterbox Runneth Over

I've been very busy however this late news is still a "must share", and no less wonderful in my mind despite the passing of ten days. I've had three letterbox surprises in a few days.

First of all, some peeps will recall that Jo of JoZarty had a little competition about pole dancer names. My Miss Dixie Bolitho had a little win!  It was so unexpected to me that poor Jo went through the list of comments to find who was behind Miss Dixie - thank you so much, Jo.

I received a lovely parcel beautifully presented and some stash As WELL. It was like Christmas, in fact much of the lovely papers and things will go with Christmas cards and tags very nicely. In my parcel were bag blind items that will be the best conversation starters. I've examined each piece with great interest Jo, thank you so much.

Centre stage is the prize beautifully wrapped. Also love the little suede ATC wallet at the top.

Lovely handbag bling and think I'll use the piece on the right as a pendant.

Next surprise was the arrival of a parcel from Ryn Tanaka that was lost, stolen or strayed. Ryn and I decided that it was unlikely to show after a month so she sent me another set of the stamps I ordered. She is generous in business and we came to an arrangement about it all. The long and short of it is that the parcel arrived three months after the due date!!! Wonder where they've been? Ryn, I'll send them to you this week and maybe you'll get them by Christmas!?

Look at the date sent! Maybe it went to Mexico and drank a lot of Tequila on the way like I did. Ha!
And now for the final surprise! Here's the little saga - my August Craft Stamper magazine was missing about ten pages. No great drama, sometimes happens in a print run. I looked into various ways to replace it starting with the newsagent. She thought it was most unlikely so I went to the website and found an Australian email contact. Well, after a few emails and calls, the lovely Dave at the office in Sydney organised the replacement for August, sent me the October and Novemeber issues and then I arranged a subscription in Aussie dollars. (I had September.)

Then.... I received a parcel of stamps from CS in UK. Coulda knocked me down with a feather! So happy with this totally unexpected bonus. Gorjius, gorjius, gorjius.

Doors to open wide and windows to Stain. What fun. 
This is when you know your number's not up, so many folks are kind, and life's good! 

Thanks for sharing my bon mots.
Lots of smiles,
Ros.

28 October, 2012

Friday Funny ...and a bit naughty (published on Saturday)

LORD, THEY ARE FINALLY TOGETHER


Judy got married to Ted and had 13 children.  Ted died of cancer.

She married again, and she & Bob had 7 more children. Bob was killed in a car accident, 12 years later.

Judy again remarried, and this time she & John had 5 more children.

Judy finally died after having 25 children. Standing before her coffin, the preacher prayed for her. He thanked the Lord for this very loving woman and said,  "Lord, they are finally together."

Ethel leaned over and quietly asked her best friend Margaret, "Do you think he means her first, second, or third husband?"

Margaret replied, "I think he means her legs, Ethel."



27 October, 2012

Pom-pom Daisies

I finished a card for my friend, Jill's birthday using one of the pom-pom daisy panels that were on the desk for WOYWW 177. I'm pleased with how it worked out and will do a few more. In addition, I'll follow a comment from one of my visitors who suggested making a bundle of gift cards tied with raffia or something similar. Thanks for the suggestion, Maureen.

Pom-pom daisies in greens.
The Happy Birthday is cut with a Memory Box die and then the matt is just trimmed by eye around the die-cut and punched with a 5/16th round punch using a quarter of the circle. Inside, I glued another Memory Box die-cut that goes with the Itty-bitty stamp very nicely.

The pom-pom is die-cut from copper metallic card.
Cheeri-o for now.
Ros.

25 October, 2012

WOYWW No 177.

Hi people. Thanks to all for your comments. I'm having Such A Busy Fortnight so apologies for neglecting my followers and friends.

My Wednesday desk is somewhat creative this week. For those who wonder why a post about the desk...this is what we Desk Hoppers do on Wednesdays starting over at Julia's Stamping Ground. I'm writing this at some ungodly hour on Wednesday morning but not posting it until Mr Linky goes up. In the meantime, I'm leaving Early for Melbourne to go to a concert at the Grandies' primary school. Breakfast in near the school beforehand so that we beat the %$#&@*!!!!  traffic.

The desk: left is the mask cut from an old overhead, above it is the Itty Bitty stamp, and some versions.
All the panels are Distress Inked with the mask, then heat embossed, and finally painted with Twinkling H2O colours. The middle one made a lovely birthday card - more tomorrow.

This is posted way after it was written but I'll just do it anyway. Please, please, do remember to add your Mr Linky number so that I can find you in the list a bit faster. Thank you again for comments.

Miles of smiles,
Ros.

17 October, 2012

WOYWW No 176.

Greetings all. Lovely to have a couple of new followers - really appreciate you coming along and I do hope you enjoy the ride. Thanks to my visitors too. I do so enjoy our comments and some that to and fro.

I'm about to wizz out the door for dinner with university days friends. It's scary to count in decades instead of years since we've known each other and of course the decibels will rise as the evening progresses.

Here's the business...
I'm showing a picture of my desk because it's What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. A great crowd of us start at The Stamping Ground courtesy of Julia and we leap around to as many of 150 desks as can fit into busy lives. Follow the link to satisfy your curiosity.

Most importantly this week, I have found a delightful man who runs the Australian office for Traplet Publications and have taken a subscription to Craft Stamper which will arrive On Time instead of two months late! Oh sweet! There are a few things I bought at Picture 2 Page recently including the Enamel Accents in black & white, some nice dies and a new small trimmer. No designing or making this week although there are a million ideas in the head. I have to tie it down sometimes.

Now for the garden...

The philadelphus is out, smells heavenly and the bees love it.
The other little growing project hiding in the laundry in the dark behind the clothes basket...

The Portobello mushies.  Aren't they cute?  And they're delicious.
Gotta flit. With any luck, I'll be just in between the school traffic and the peak hour. Will be back tomorrow afternoon so no visits from me until then my Lovelies but I'm sure looking forward to it.

Miles of smiles,
Ros.

03 October, 2012

WOYWW No 174. More alley cats.

I'm really stuck with the cat theme - well that's true in real life too. Miss Dixie is lying right next to me as I write. She really wishes she was the laptop because it's sitting in her place, in truth! And the Pumpkin cat, oft called Punkie, Spunkie and many more variations is sitting in the garden smelling the catnip and the freesias.

Now down to business for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. This is all about desk hopping, starting over at The Stamping Ground with Julia and 150 or more desk jockies. Go and see for yourself.

I've returned to the street cat from Memory Box and have been playing with various ideas, mostly night time scenes. You will see that I've just decided to move to daylight hours and spring flowers to the lamp post which suits the season here. I've used a variety of masks with blending tool, mostly DI black soot and mustard yellow, and added some shadows with either water brush or Memento London Fog (vintage car).

Lots of panels in the making about a well-bred alley cat. Night scenes to the right, daylight hours centre stage.
 The weather is just glorious here today, as it was yesterday when I had a family outing in Melbourne to the Aquarium then finished the day with a tasting plate and a glass of wine at Southgate on the Yarra River.

Southgate with restaurants humming, boats cruising, and trees in fresh green.

Home to a lovely sunset.

 Today, coffee with friends at Southbeach Cafe near home, and three loads of washing nearly dry although the morning began with mist that lifted by 8 o'clock.  We'll have a barbecue tonight.

Misty morning before a lovely day of 25 degrees.

Have a great week everyone.
Ros. (no numbers yet.)

26 September, 2012

WOYWW No 173. The Parlour Pussicat.

I bought a couple of cats stamps from my paper arts shop. They are Memory Box cats and I was playing with the alley cat stamp in a recent post. This one of the Parlour Puss seemed to need wall paper so I started with a marbled background stamp with DI pinks and aged mahogony at the edges. 

The cat stamp is heat embossed with fine detail black and then lamp light is blended in with mustard seed, using a mask. The lamp and table are painted with Twinkling H2O colours and I embellished with punched tiny flowers and a corner punch for a more ornate matt.

Design notes and stuff. See the freesias and bluebells at the back on the left?

Here's the Parlour Puss ready to go. I like using Darkroom Door string sentiments stamps.

Hope you like the finished product. Sorry I missed out last week but life was sooooo busy that I neglected my visitors and followers. Thank you for your lovely messages the week before. Still not an idle moment, but doing more of what makes me happy this week.

If you're wondering why I would publish a desk photo, there's a funny little crowd of us who log into Julia's
Stamping Ground and then visit all the other Wednesday desks. Hop over and have a peek.

Have a great week everyone.
Ros.

25 September, 2012

Sunshine came softly through my window today...

Remember that Beatles song? (edit: it was Donovan actually. I woke up just now with that insight, and Sue said the same. Thanks for that.)   The Spring day today was just bliss on a stick!

Had lunch at a local winery to celebrate a family birthday. The food was gorgeous, the service excellent and the view across the lake a Spring symphony. Thought I'd share a few garden photos.

Looking towards the front gate, here is a patch of freesias that have fragrance to make me bliss out.
I call this the tree fern garden but it's quite English. In the centre is a tree fern surrounded by spring bulbs and other small precious locals like a ground cover we call running postman. There's a crab apple showing first leaves top left and at the back, the trunk of a very old banksia.
This is a native hibiscus. The flowers are lovely and remind me of floppy silk flowers. Behind it is a cherry ballart, a native cherry that only grows in symbiosis with the roots of other trees, usually eucalypts. One can't plant them; rather just be happy if one arrives.
Hope you enjoyed a little look at Spring delights. Here's a dark secret to share now...

Portobello mushroons living in the mostly darkened space behind the laundry basket. They have given us three tiny harvests in recent days and are now going like the clappers.
I'll be around tomorrow with the Desk hopping regulars at What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday.

'Til then,
Ros.

13 September, 2012

WOYWW No 171.

Greetings to all my WOYWW friends. I'm late this week and was pretty sparse with my comments because of all the busy work happening last week. Glad to say that my major project is now done, and perhaps there will be an opportunity to use it again down the track. Thank you for your comments last week and looking forward to seeing you later.

My desk this week uses a couple of the things I bought at Paperific and just some fanciful play with bits that came to hand or came out of a long period 'lost' in the cupboard.
Working late today - note that the tea cup is now a scotch glass.
On the left is my new storage box for blending sponges, coping with expansion. Clockwise from there is a collection of glue, reinkers, clock, cleaners, spray bottles and so on. Closer to me is the (empty) scotch glass, the distress inks, little tapestry stamps, tape, scissors, tweezers - I use tweezers a lot, being an old stamp collector. It comes very easily to me and helps me to place things accurately with my eye not to mention preventing burnt fingers or buckled surfaces when heat embossing.

The little panel is chicken wire stamped with silver ink and embossed with Judikins pastel EP which is effectively a resist technique. Enjoying a little rediscovery with the pastel powder. The little bird house is from Marianne I think and the bird is a Memory Box die. I stamped and stencilled leaves and berries then sprayed with Perfect Pearl. Will put up the finished card tomorrow. 

Happy WOYWW travelling. Start over at Julia Dunnit's Stamping Ground if you'd like to see more desks around the world. 
Miles of smiles,
Ros. 

06 September, 2012

Gloria's First Birthday

Before I get to Gloria, I want to thank everyone who mentioned 'good luck' messages about the high winds. Amazingly, we were quite sheltered here although the Manna Gums across the valley were swaying in a very fancy tango. The worst parts of Melbourne to be swept up in stormy gusts were the east and south suburbs. If I was still living in my old place, it would have been more of an adventure I think.

Gloria is my sourdough starter, and about a year ago, after about a week's gestation, she produced her first loaf. Since then, she has been fed and nurtured and has returned full measure of home-baked bread most weeks of the calendar. Here's a little photo essay to celebrate her success...baking with sourdough is something I've never managed to do before.

Gloria and her family of ingredient for two fruit loaves and one light wholemeal.
Gloria is in the red bowl, ready to make the leaven in the little buckets at the bottom right. Notice how bubbly she is! And she smells gorgeous too. Three cups of fruit - dried pears, apricots, peaches, cranberries and crimsons which are like gigantic sultanas, are all soaking in boiling water for an hour or so then drained in a colander. The leaven is made in the small buckets with starter, flour and water adding up to 400g for each loaf. It has to double in size before mixing and what a merry fizzy mixture it is.

After the first proving over night. Sourdough flavour is better for a long rising period. 
Almost my favourite thing is knocking down the dough when it's grown so fat the next morning.  Kneading it is gorgeous because it's soft and very elastic - as it should be. The bread dough on the right has a soft grain mix through it and about 100g wholemeal spelt added to the unbleached strong flour. Oh yum.
After the second kneading, slashed, sprinkled with fine semolina and ready for rising in the tin.
Semolina allows me to handle the loaf without the slashes sticking  together and  closing
 
It's about 8.30 a.m. and here they are tucked in the oven on the proving setting, warm and humid.
This means they will be ready by lunch time. 

Cooling for the shortest possible time before "testing".  Can hardly wait.  Waiting for lunch be blowed.
Isn't Gloria a star? Some of you may not know that starters are often given a name and provided they are looked after and used, they can last for thirty years. I might be dead by then. Fancy being out-lived by a bowl of yeasty cement. Yes, it is cement and it flings itself around in the most unlikely places. By the way, Gloria's red bowl is a microwave rice cooker which has a valve in the lid. That's ideal because she grows and produces gas which would blow the lid off without the valve. Just imagine an explosion of cement in the fridge.

I hope you've enjoyed this little kitchen story. I regard making bread as part of my creative activity and just love my other workshop, the kitchen.

Miles of smiles,
Ros.