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Taking Stock November 2015

Golden Syrup tin

Taking stock is a fun exercise in quick answers (or mulled over answers, I don’t judge) to see what is going on right now in my little section of the universe. Tomorrow is my birthday, so this will be a final taking stock of my 45th year.

Making : Christmas cards which are also colouring sheets.
Cooking : Flapjack (the English kind with oats and golden syrup) and Christmas cake.
Drinking : Tea and lots of it.
Reading: The new Margaret Atwood book, ‘The Heart Goes Last’.
Wanting: New sketchbooks, I may have an addiction…
Looking: At the sky and wondering what it is planning.
Playing: ‘Sketchbook challenge’ and just managing to catch up with the prompts.
Deciding: How to mail my colouring sheet cards, they are quite big.
Wishing: The headache I have had all week would go away.
Enjoying: Having the kids off school for Thanksgiving.
Waiting: For my birthday!
Liking: Chocolate chip brioche pretzels from the Smitten Kitchen book which I am going to make for our breakfast tomorrow.
Wondering: If it will rain tomorrow, we want to go on a hike, so hopefully not.
Loving: The fall into winter transition, chilly days and dark snuggly nights.
Pondering: When to make mincemeat for mince pies – ’tis the season!
Considering: The best way to get people over to my blog here at CatsEatDogs.
Buying: Wool to crochet a new blanket.
Watching: Project Runway Junior and not hating it as much as I thought I would.  I would have loved it when I was 13 or 14 and making lots of my own clothes.
Hoping: I manage to cook the turkey breast successfully tomorrow for Thanksgiving.
Marvelling: At what art bursts forth when you are made to follow a prompt every day, some of my best pictures are from prompts I did a little eye roll at!
Cringing: At the dog hair on my rug.  Need to vacuum methinks.
Needing: To vacuum the floor.
Questioning: My kids ‘why do you need to be on screens for so long?’
Smelling: Peppermint-y, vanilla-y lip balms I have just made.
Wearing: Sloppy jumper/sweater and sloppy trousers and red converse low tops.
Following: Recipes. Lots to make, lots of recipes to follow!
Noticing: People starting to get a little nuts as Thanksgiving arrives and Christmas follows.
Knowing: I want noodles for dinner (Chinese noodles, not pasta noodles).
Thinking: What to have with said noodles.
Admiring: The new brush pens my Mum and Dad bought me for my birthday.
Sorting: Laundry.
Getting: Paint and stamp ink all over my hands.
Bookmarking: Magazines as I read part way in and have to stop.
Coveting: All the sketchbooks.
Disliking: The news.
Opening: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to read with my 10 year old, then we can watch the film.
Giggling: At Billy Connolly, funniest man ever!
Feeling: Hungry, time to cook the noodles.
Snacking: On flapjack.
Helping: Myself to another piece of flapjack
Hearing: Minecraft builds and ideas.


Here is a blank list if you fancy a stock take of your universe.

Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :

One + Four = Life. Weekly Photos 47/52.

1+4=Life week 47

1+4=Life week 47

1+4=Life week 47

1+4=Life week 47

I am joining the lovely Isabel from Nanjing Nian blog for this week’s One + Four = Life, a selection of photos taken through the last week.  It has turned cold here and we have had a few frosty mornings with icy puddles.

1. Before it got super cold, we had some torrential rain which rushed down our street, which is a hill, and into the woods.  As it raced along the woodland path, it gouged a path through the layer of leaves.  It looked like someone had got a leaf blower and walked down with the path blasting a narrow gully though the leaves.

2. Some hardy mushrooms keep peeking out, but I don’t suppose I will see many more until Spring now.

3. I made pizza for dinner one night this week, my whole house thought I was a mad person for putting kale on mine, but it went crispy and was delicious.

4. I managed to resist this chocolate in the International supermarket!  We went to stock up on English treats for Christmas – a box of Heroes chocolates, Jelly Babies, Smarties, Celebrations, Elderflower cordial and Hula Hoops to name a few.

Are you stocking up for Christmas?  Or will you grab all the good stuff nearer the date?  How is your weather, snow or sun?

Have a fab week whatever you are up to!

Six Word Saturday

Six word Saturday

We went to the local winter farmer’s market at Schlafly Brewery this morning and had a lovely wander around veggies and bread and various farmed and homemade goods.  We bought this massive bunch of beetroot and I can’t wait to boil it and cool it and slice it into a salad.

Do you like beetroot? Raw or cooked? I have never had it raw, I bet that would be nice in a slaw or salad.

By the time we left the market, it was snowing, but the rain had left the ground wet, so the snow was just flurrying about, rather than settling.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend, happy Saturday!

Through The Lens Thursday #47. Cut.


Ironically I took this photo nice and early when I was cutting down and pulling out the last of my tomatoes, and now I am posting late!
You might have noticed the change in surroundings around here. I have moved (or rather am moving, so excuse the empty boxes and bare walls) blog house back to my original blog, here at CatsEatDogs.
All of my old posts and bits and bobs are here too, so feel free to have a look around and if you want some old old posts, I started this blog in 2012 so there is lots to look at!
So I am sneaking in late with Through The Lens Thursday, sorry Greta! Hopefully normal posting will resume next week when the prompt is ‘Muted’ and it is my birthday! Whoo hoo! I love birthday’s, don’t you!

Finding Silver Linings in the Pouring Rain when your Umbrella is about to Blow away and your Legs are Wet.

Ginkgo trees in the rain

Do you look for the silver linings, or do they find you, or do you just stumble over them in the rain? I found some lovely silver linings yesterday in the rain and clouds.
I walked to catch the train amid a slight drizzle and wondered at the fact that I was supposed to be in a raging thunderstorm as predicted by the ever optimistic weather app on my phone, I was not even in need of my umbrella’s help in this rain.
As I sat on the train making sure no eye contact was made, I wondered why I didn’t bring a book or at least headphones to listen to a podcast. I find myself in this situation a lot and I still can’t get my brain to remember to bring ‘entertainment’ for my child sized attention span, I need something to do, I am not a sitter and relaxer, I am a listener or a reader or a note writer.  Unfortunately my head is not in agreement and refuses to remind me to bring stuff to do when I might be in a boring situation like sitting on the train or waiting for said train.
When I arrived at my stop, I was early for meeting my friend, so I stopped into a nearby coffee shop for a latte and scone. As I waited for my drink I noticed that they make brown sugar rosemary lattes and wished I had ordered one of those. Hey ho, next time. My plain coffee was very nice though and along with the gingerbread walnut scone (need to figure out this recipe) I wandered across Forest Park towards the Saint Louis Art Museum.
It was raining more by now and the umbrella had to be deployed which took a moment of juggling as I felt the urge to take a photo of the yellow gingko trees lining the path I was about to walk. I snapped my shot and off I went, scone nibbling and coffee sipping.
I amazed at how bright things like the yellow trees in Autumn seem so much brighter on a dull and rainy day, the trees and the leaves which had fallen from them seemed to glow gently through the rain.  The rain seems to give nature a shiny sheen and a lovely light, beacons in the gloom.
Once at the Art Museum I heard from my friend, who is really still a ‘pretend friend’, that is to say I haven’t actually met her yet in real life. I met her on Instagram and we decided that neither one of us is an axe murderer and we should meet. So we tried. Today. At the Art Museum. We failed. She had to get her kids from school and so that was that, she couldn’t make it. I felt like the naughty kid at the library talking on my phone in the museum too!
Well, I had made it through the rain and wind, my legs were wet, so I decided to stay a while and have a wander around the museum and maybe my legs would dry before my return journey.  I know the Art Museum pretty well and was delighted to find a new exhibit in the newer section of the building which houses my favourite galleries and paintings.

Scouts or Sports? SLAM StL

‘Scouts or Sports?’ by the artist brothers Steven and William Ladd made for a room of inspiration or at least it was to me, I loved almost every piece and wanted to illegally reach over the wire and have a prod to see exactly how they had created some of the art! Don’t worry, I didn’t.

This is art to smile at and art which makes you want to make art, to draw and make marks and paint and use colours, lots of colours. My colorful silver lining.
I also made sure I saw my most favourite painting in the museum which is ‘Betty’ by Gerhard Richter.


Then, I pulled my plastic bag covered umbrella out of my handbag and I was on my way, having had a lovely morning in the company of the Saint Louis Art Museum and the rain.

Not a bad turn out in my opinion, I am sure I will meet my friend another day, maybe under clear skies with a spot of sunshine this time!

I hope you have lots of silver linings in your days, whether they find you or you find them.

One + Four = Life. Weekly Photos 46/52

Weekly photos, fresh bread

Digging the garden

Tennis ball and shadow

November Sketchbook Magic. Leaves

1. It is soup and fresh bread season!  Hurrah, I love making soup and of course the bread to dunk in it.

2. All the tomato and aubergine plants have been pulled out of the raised beds and I have started to dig them over and add in a pile of compost.  The weekend was lovely and sunny and today it has rained all day so far with no sign of dry on the near horizon. Oh well at least the compost will get watered into the soil and the leaves will mulch down nicely.

3. More tennis this weekend, we like to play in the handball courts, bouncing the balls off the three walls.  Kind of tennis crossed with squash with a healthy dose of giggling thrown in.

4. I have been keeping up with a 30 day sketchbook challenge with Skillshare and day 13 was ‘leaves’.  I used my lovely sumi brush and gouache paint to quickly sketch the leaves I picked up in the woods that day.

Did you have a good week?  I hope so.  I have been thinking about Christmas baking and I need to get my ingredients together this week for Christmas cake and mincemeat for mince pies.  Are you prepping for Christmas yet or are you rolling your eyes right now at the very mention of it?!

I wonder if it will stop raining this week?  It looks pretty settled in to me.

Through the Lens Thursday #46. Smile.

TTLT 46 Smile


This doll is almost the same age as me, she was a birthday present from my Grandma and Grandad when I was two.  Her skin has changed colour a little bit over the years and she has new hair, but apart from that she is intact and as she was in 1971 when I got her.

Her smile is still enigmatic even though her face looks like she has just completed a mud run.

My doll Jenny is the subject of this week’s Through The Lens Thursday for the ‘smile’ prompt.  Next week is ‘cut’.

Happy Thursday.