Thursday, 8 December 2011

My Diamond Blog!

People can have diamond anniversaries for 60 years of marriage so I’ve decided that as this is my 60th blog to make it a diamond one!

Yesterday was our second last week in college and the last day of hand-ins before Christmas.  I had a particularly busy week writing two case studies; one for presentation in my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Option and one for my Integrative Option.  I have also had to obtain reports from both placements and submit them by the 4pm deadline.  Now I can relax and get ready for Christmas.  I still have to send off cards and start shopping. I have put myself under slightly more pressure by deciding that I must complete my stained glass windows and install them ready for Christmas Day.  It has taken me three months to come up with my design and I have been doing samples of fusing glass with fern leaves between.  They have come out so well that I am able to use them in my design.  Last Friday, after a particularly challenging session at my placement, I needed to give my brain a rest from anything to do with counselling.  I got out my window design and started cutting glass pieces. I only meant to do an hour or so but before I knew it midnight had come and gone!  I probably should have put it aside on the weekend to focus on this week’s readings but I had been having so much fun that I carried on until I had finished all the glass cutting by Saturday afternoon.  It is a good thing that I have to wait to go to my class on Thursday to get lead or I would have kept going doing all the leading up!

14th December

My diamond blog has become a two parter.  I have been so busy working on my stained glass that everything else has taken a back seat but I am nearly finished and am looking forward to installing it this weekend.

This pic shows all the glass cut and I have started ‘leading up’  we use a special lead knife with a flat end which is used to hammer in the horse shoe nails to hold it all in place ready for soldering.  The red thing is called a fid and is really handy for opening up the lead channels, and pushing the glass into place.

The leading up is completed all the joints are then soldered on both sides. It is always a bit hairy turning the panel over to solder the second side.  I have visions of all the glass falling out and having to start all over again

I love making a mess and this is one of my favourite stages>  The  soldering is done and black cement pushed into all the gaps between the glass and lead to stabilise and weather proof the panel.  Whiting is then sprinkled all over to set the cement.  It feels really soft and silky to smooth in.

I am now waiting for it to dry ready for the final stage of blacking the lead and polishing the glass. I should be able to install it by the end of the week so my next blog will be pics of the unveiling.  I wonder if the queen would agree to do it for me?

My Kate came up on Sunday to have a mummy -daughter session of Christmas baking.  When she was younger it was impossible to keep her in the house.  She spent every spare moment out with horses; mucking out, cleaning their tack, grooming and riding.  I didn’t have the time or energy to deal with the agro, so cooking lessons pretty much went out the window until just a couple of years ago when she started getting bored with takeaways and realised how expensive ready meals are.

She phoned me two days before with her wish list.  It included crackle cakes, gingerbread, shortbread and, to my horror, fairy cakes and chocolate truffles. 

I have never made perfect fairy cakes, always heavily disguising my rather solid offerings with ‘extreme’ icing, attempting to dazzle people with lairy colours so they ignore the dodgy cake beneath! This session was no exception.  Although not meeting the exacting standards of the WI, once covered in girly pink icing and holographic edible glitter our fairy cakes looked very pretty and Kate was delighted.

Our gingerbread people came out very squidgy because the kitchen got too hot but the chocolate crackle cakes were perfect and sparkled with bronze glitter!  I was very nervous attempting truffles for the first time but thanks to Jamie Oliver’s online recipe they came out perfectly. We had a lovely girly time together while him –at- home escaped to his manly, glitter- free office and submerged himself in techy stuff.  We were ably assisted by Kate’s Murphy who arrived in his country style Sherlock Holmes tweed jacket, and kept the floor sparkling clean by licking up any of our dropped crumbs.  Murphy has acquired quite a reputation for his ability to sniff out food and devour it in record time.  Memorable occasions included Christmas two years ago when he scoffed the remains of our three bird roast and a camping trip where he stole a one pound block of cheese and  all our ham sandwiches while we were pitching the tent. We managed to keep everything safe this time and rewarded him with his second favourite meal – sardine porridge.  His no 1 favourite is dried pigs ears – yum!


  1. Thanks Samantha! Yes, I am pretty staggered to have made it past 5 - but it has become rather addictive ...and fun...once I realised I did not have to treat it as a chore or an essay!