LastMinuteLucie and the search for time

Archive for July, 2013

homemade crisps

I know, it was just what you were waiting for – a homemade crisp tutorial ūüôā

I had some soft-ish potatoes and a crisp craving and I thought ‘it can’t be that hard.’

crisp1 crisp2

I sliced the potatoes thinly on a mandolin – being very carful not to slice myself in the same way, and heated a couple of inches of sunflower oil in my wok.

crisp3 crisp4

I patted the slices dry in a clean teatowel to remove some of the starchy stuff. When the oil was very hot I put the slices in, trying to ensure they went in individually as far as possible so they didn’t stick together. They don’t take long to cook – a couple of minutes maybe. It’s a judgement call.

I was so proud of this first crisp it got it’s own portrait!

crisp5

8 small to medium potatoes netted us a bowl of crisps each (lightly dusted with salt) and a small box of crisps for Husband. He left his ’til the following day and they still had the perfect crunch.

They took about 20 minutes, but¬†that was quicker than trawling to the shops and back, healthier (probably)¬†and perhaps cheaper¬†ūüôā and they definitely make the’ best Mum ever’ list.

what to do with all this free time…

I like to think of the summer holidays – that long stretch of (if we’re lucky) sunny weeks that¬†I get to spend with my girls, as a challenge. A challenge to have a lovely interesting time on as little money as possible ūüôā

I splashed out in the 99p shop a couple of weeks ago on blowing bubbles, water pistols and a strange lacrosse-esque plastic ball catching game (under £7 in total) which my girls have already had fun with.  We also have an old bath tub for wallowing / splashing in on the lawn Рdid I mention husband sells bathrooms? and the bikes and scooters are ready to use.

In addition we are lucky enough to live 15 minutes walk¬†from a small local library and we’re taking part in the library’s Creepy House reading challenge and 5 minutes walk from¬†the seafront should we wish to try salty water instead of fresh.¬†So we are really very well set up.

However, for rainy days or when your children need to sit in the shade for an hour, there’s nothing like a bit of playdough to take up some time and unleash in them¬†some creativity, whatever their ages.

I found¬†the instructions¬†in a book I picked up pre-kids; bought for ¬£4 with an idea that it might come in useful at some point, for something…see, I was right! !¬† It’s called something like ‘500 things for kids to do instead of watching TV’ – naturally I can’t lay my hand on it right at this moment, but when I do I’ll post the recipe. It’s super easy, made of store cupboard ingredients and I’m sure counts as doing science with your children ūüôā

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I made this batch¬†about 2 weeks ago and it’s been kept in a box in the¬†fridge in between uses and has stayed perfect.

Youngest daughter had it out again today – she likes monsters…

tazmonster

 

 

now I know why children draw rays round the sun

Later, in the early hours of the morning the heavens opened and the sky was lit with great wide flashes between bouts of incredibly loud thunder. But at teatime the sky was a glorious vision. A picture perfect sunset sky so beautiful I actually stopped doing anything for 20 minutes or more so I could savour it Рand photograph it.

sunset3sunset

making presents for friends

Oldest daughter is moving on this year – no more Junior School ūüė¶

She and her friends¬†are all off to different schools, but I’ve told her to think of it as new beginnings, not the end. Just an opportunity to choose who you stay in touch with.

In this age of easy communication it’s hard to believe anyone can just drop out of your life, but I am of the firm belief (and have first hand experience) that if your friendship is strong enough it will stand pretty much any length of time apart.

She’s bearing up under the changes, but wanted to give her special friends a parting gift. As with the teacher gift I persuaded her to go down the practical route – it also allowed me to use up some of those denim circles plus some other preloved fabrics from my stash¬†– and she made mini purses for each girl, each with a different fancy lining.

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They were made by sewing fancy and denim right sides together, leaving a gap for turning through. Then they were folded into rectangles (with a bit of fabric origami) and stitched down the sides. the ribbon loop was stitched in when we simultaneously closed the turning gap and topstitched the flap, making sure some of the lining showed for effect and then a button was stitched to the front.

They will only hold change but they are cute and, according to Oldest daughter, happily received.

 

Mum, what can I give my teacher this year?

I am shocked and appalled that I have been away so long – I had no idea how fast the days were going by.

I have spent a significant amount of time in the last 25 days attending school swimming galas, sports days, leavers assemblies, leavers parties, helping to decide what and supervising the making of¬†teacher and friends’ gifts with my children. I am SO glad its the holidays!

The summer teacher’s gift is always a practical item handmade by the children. I like to think that handmade gifts are appreciated and looked back fondly on…
This year both gifts had the same theme. Youngest daughter decorated a wooden pencil box

wooden pencil box decorated with pens

wooden pencil box decorated with pens

 

Oldest daughter made a pencil roll. I’d forgotten how easy the pencil rolls are to make – all straight lines on the sewing machine. Now I want one of my own.

made using preloved materials

made using preloved materials

rolled up and fastened with a button

rolled up and fastened with a button

Maybe when I make one for me I’ll do a tutorial too. Watch this space!

 

exploring the mandala

I’ve been looking at CraftyMadre’s mandalas and wanted to know even more, so I¬†googled ‘mandala’ and came across this blog which gave a tutorial based on doodling, which I love to do: http://thistimethisspace.com/2011/04/03/making-mandalas-a-magical-process/

The girls and I had a go this evening (I drew round a bean can) and I am surprised and pleased with mine. I really got into the zone doing them. What’s also interesting is that the colours I chose to use influenced the outcome. The green has a plant/outdoor motif, the red and grey is more space like and the pinks look like sweets. Totally unconscious changes in style. Weird, but cool.

Now I want to make a giant one

A bespoke TV cabinet for under ¬£50

10 days into my time off and I have refreshed my front room with paint, rearranged the furniture¬†so it’s¬†much more attractive and useable and spent as little as possible on a new carpet¬† – the aim was to have carpet without holes, but not so costly I was too precious to let¬†my girls¬†in ever again!

The final touch was to FINALLY organise a TV cabinet for the alcove / corner / window. It’s such an awkward space we’ve never been able to go down the ready to wear route and, as you can see, it was a mess of wires and a waste of a perfectly good husband made coffee table. Also, ancient cat kept pooping behind it – not good.

So bespoke was the only way, but my budget was tight. I popped into a few second hand stores and found this mahogany coloured beauty for £20 (reduced from £25!)

With a few coats of the same paint as I used for the walls, new handles and half a sheet of MDF cut to shape and painted in the same way, I have a bespoke TV cabinet that holds the TV, the video/DVD machine, the cable TV doobrie, all the Wii remotes and games and all the DVDs for less than £50. My husband thinks it was a great idea of his.

I’m pretty chuffed with it too!

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