As we look towards week four of our lockdown, we are probably starting to find a new normal and establish some new rhythms to our days where we can. Even so, the ongoing disruption and uncertainty can take its toll and little surprises and contact with friends and family whether by telephone, online or traditional post can provide a very welcome lift in our day.
So, Sian is giving away 20 free lavender pouches along with a gift card that she will post out to special individuals that you know who may be isolated during this lockdown or working extremely hard to keep us all safe and protect lives. Hopefully, receiving this gift will let them know that they are loved and brighten their day.
Lavender is known for its relaxation benefits and wrapped in one of Sian’s signature fabrics, these pouches provide wafts of calming scent whether hung in a room or tucked in a draw. Just leave a comment on this post to be entered and Sian will get in touch. (Pouches will be sent as soon as possible after April 17th). If you are lucky enough to receive one of these lovely gifts, do take a picture to show us what you have done with yours and post on Instagram tagged #handmadeinWales and/or #sianodohertytextiledesigner so we can see what you have done with yours!
Speaking of beautiful things in small packages – pop over and check out the range of purses now available in the shop, each featuring an eye-catching Sian O’Doherty textile. Also available as a set with a larger pouch – perfect as a make-up bag – these make a beautiful and thoughtful gift to send or to keep… decisions, decisions!
What will you make with yours?
Some of us seem busier than ever (“What extra time?!”) but some of us are feeling time weighing heavy on our hands, especially if we really are “home alone”. If you are looking for a creative way to occupy some longs days, why not ask Sian for one of the 5 fabric bundles that she will also be sending out this month. Each bundle will contain 5 machine knitted fabrics in a range of colours. Combine them your way or use them individually for solo projects – Sian can’t wait to be inspired by what you have done with yours. Again, pop over to the online journal and let Sian know in the comments that you would like to receive one of these crafty packs so you can show us what you have been creating. Don’t be shy – post your creations on Instagram #sianodohertyproject.
Sneaky peek at what’s happening in the studio…
Sian has taken on the challenge! Several of you have asked whether Sian would be adding gloves to her range and now the answer is, “Yes!”
These super-soft and stylish gloves are made from Ash Farm’s beautiful home grown alpaca fibre for the ultimate sustainable hand-warmer for those who like to keep their fingertips out of chilly breezes. You can find these in the shop now; make sure you have your pair before the Autumn frosts return.
If you fancy a knitting machine challenge, Sian is excited to be developing this design as a pattern for sale in the shop, too. This will be the first time (hopefully of many) that Sian has developed a pattern for you to knit at home and she is looking forward to seeing the results. If you would like to give it a go, but feel like you made need a bit of extra support, this pattern will also form the basis of a new workshop to be announced later in the year, when we can all look forward to seeing each other face to face again. Look out for further announcements in future newsletters. (You can register your interest in this course by dropping Sian an email via the contact page on the website.)
Open Studios and Workshops…
Sadly, of course, we have had to take the decision to cancel the Summer Open Studio for 2020. Although some months away, it did not seem feasible or appropriate to keep trying to plan this – one of our favourite events of the year – with so much uncertainty ahead. We are currently still planning for you to be able to visit us again for the Christmas Open Studio in December – the extra wait will make seeing other again all the sweeter.
The workshops that were planned for the summer have also been postponed – BUT NOT CANCELLED! We don’t know, yet when each will be held, but all of our course leaders are keen to get the courses running again as soon as possible, restrictions and calendars allowing. Watch this space for good news!
Creative makes from the Ash Farm kitchen…
Sian says, “This is a really quick and simple recipe to make with all ages and with the aid of any Christmas cookie cutters you can make a mixture of fun shapes that will make this even more attractive for the little ones and adults in your household to eat :)” How can you resist? Go and get those baking sheets out, create a tasty snack and make the house smell great while you’re at it.
- 200 grams of porridge oats
- 100 grams of sunflower seeds
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 heaped teaspoons of dried parsley or rosemary or herbs de provence or dried basil
- 140-150ml of warm water
- extra oatmeal for rolling
“I have made this many times and used a range of dried herbs dependent on what we have around. I’ve used all of the herbs mentioned below and I think Fennel would also make a great addition if you like it, but perhaps 1 tablespoon will be enough for this recipe. I also choose a lower heat setting for the oven as our oven can be a bit too fierce so to avoid burnt edges I find 180 degrees works well. Also if you don’t have sunflower seeds I can’t see why it wouldn’t work by replacing with extra oatmeal. I haven’t tried yet but I’m sure it will work just as well 🙂
- Set your oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Weigh out all your dry ingredients and add to your blender/magimix and pulse until you have a grainy flour like consistency.
- Add the warm water to the dry mixture and mix together. You want it to come together so that its a firm ball. You don’t want it too sticky that its sticking to your hands so if that’s the case just add some more oatmeal until it is just right.
- Roll the dough out onto an oatmeal dusted surface and start cutting your shapes. (I use a spatula to lift the shapes easily and on to the tray).
- Place your shapes on to an over tray and cook for 25 minutes. I turn mine half way through, but you want them to be a light brown and have a good crunch. Ovens are always different so you might find they need longer or less dependent on yours…. but after the first attempt you will have a good idea how they might need to be altered to suit you.
- Store in an airtight container once cooled and enjoy as a yummy snack with cheeses, hummus or soups.
I hope you enjoy… x“
Recipe adapted and inspired by The Kind Earth Cookbook by Anastasia Eden which I highly recommend.