Friday, 30 September 2011


so, we went away for a couple of days and found a cute little bookshop where Bert bought a Simenon and I went for a nonfiction book about the moon. My moon book has one of those new crazy soft slipcovers, do you know what I mean by that? (I hope so as I don't know how to describe it...) It's a newish thing I think and the covers are almost velvety in feel.

There was also a second hand bookshop where we picked up these beauties:

I'm really excited about 'August is a Wicked Month', I've been wanting to read it for ages and the cover is pretty saucy. The Elvis book is Bert's - he has flicked through it, apparently Elvis thinks that Elvis impersonators stink.

I bought this book for Bert as he loves it when different animals become friends. Look at the cover! oh my. It has such cuteness as gorillas snuggling kitties, a sheep hanging out with an elephant, a cat and a bear and a piglet and a dog. 

 'Whip It' is one of my favourite films of late (that and 'Fantastic Mr Fox'), so I quite fancied reading the novel, I also ordered 'Going in Circles' which is also about roller derby and written by the woman that wrote the tv show 'Samantha Who' - I am looking forward to both of these.

...and I finished this book - 'Project X' by Jim Shepard. It was pretty powerful stuff.

All in all we may have gone overboard in the book department. We also have maxed out our library cards.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

thank you and hello

Hello new friends and followers!!
I've had so many nice comments recently! how lovely!
I particularly enjoyed the comments on my what we wore post. I may very well do some more similar posts, although I don't have that many outfits so that may be a problem...

Just a couple of things:

The lovely lucewoman asked if I would be selling my quilts...
I am really touched that such a question was asked! I would really like to sell my quilts at some point but I have a few issues about that at the moment... one is that I don't think they are quite good enough yet. two, they take me forever to make as I am handsewing them (not through any moral anti-machine issues) and three, because they take forever to make I am a bit worried about what I would have to charge for them. Nevertheless.. am going to see how this latest pink quilt goes and have a proper think about it all.

The lovely knitxcore recommended I try cooking Tiella. How exciting - a cooking suggestion! I am totally going to give it a go, and I checked my book 'Nonna's Italian Kitchen: Delicious Homestyle Vegan Cuisine' and I am ready to go!

this is how happy nice comments make me.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

creative space

I am still working on the brown quilt... but went away for a couple of days and wanted to take something less bulky to sew... so started on a new pink quilt....
and I've also been trying some things out for my halloween crafts in work....

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

bread and tomato salad and butter pasta

 Recently I have been eating lots of tomatoes with basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. I can't get enough of them. As a variation on this I mixed up lots of sweet little tomatoes with ripped up bread, some leftover roasted pumpkin and cauliflower and just mixed it all up with olive oil, fresh parsley and fresh basil. With a glass of wine, this is my favourite kind of dinner.
 Am pretty sure I've mentioned butter pasta before... but we love it. Bert said he used to eat it when he was little - just pasta, with butter (or soya margarine in our case), salt and pepper. These days we liven it up a little with some chili, onion and garlic, maybe a little mustard and tomato paste and then some fresh coriander.  It's quite plain but still really tasty and comforting.

Monday, 26 September 2011

what we wore

I love 'what I wore' posts on other people's blogs. Unfortunately I look like an idiot when I try and do one myself. Bert looks pretty suave though.

anyone interested in what we wore? my mustard top is from H&M, bird tshirt from Topshop, skirt a gift from Bert's mum and boots (which I wear everyday and all through summer) from Vegetarian Shoes.

Bert is wearing Pop cords, and his shirt was a gift. On his trousers you can just see his tiger patch that I got him on etsy... and Bert wants me to point out that he is wearing his rainbow belt. That green strap is not a 'Mr Italian 2011' sash but his nice new kelly green flight bag bought through Amazon.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

vintage fabric

Not only has tea wagon tales got the most amazing shed... but she also sells delicious vingage sheets in her online store. 

Am not sure if it's cheating buying things online... but am linking up with Her Library Adventures and her flea market finds anyways.

yoko ono question update.

my question to Yoko Ono:
what is your favourite food Ms Ono? do you like to bake? (you are one of my favourite artists).x

Yoko Ono's answer:
I like things that are baked by others.

more questions and answers at imagine peace.

this has made my day. well that and reading 'The Reading Promise' by Alice Ozma

Sunday Music - Splish Splash by Bobby Darin

Today, Bert is blogging, hurray! Maybe you'd like to comment on his music choice or the background story? that would be lovely.

Here goes:

I grew up in Leighton Buzzard.  It's a small industrial town about an hour from London if you take the train.  My mum runs a little boutique there, has done since the mid-Eighties.  I went to middle school just around the corner.  Leighton Middle School.  Every day after school I'd have to wait for my mum to close the shop before driving us home.  This was the early Nineties, so I would've been about 11 or 12, and those 2 hours seemed like a long time to wait.  I remember walking around town.  I'd go to the library or go buy some chips from the Ocean Fish Bar, where you'd walk in and the Chinese woman would ask you "Wha you want?"  (Years later, while visiting home after university, I went in there to get some chips, this must've been at least 10 years later, and the same woman asked me "You want the usual?")  Sometimes I'd sit on the bench outside the Superdrug and pick up the used cigarette butts, hold them up to my mouth, pretend I was a smoker.  But my favourite thing to do was go to the Co-op.  In the Co-op they had tapes of rock'n'roll music for £1.99.  When I was 11 or 12 I really liked rock'n'roll music.  Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, I really liked the song Runaway by Del Shannon, because his voice went really high. 

I don't remember the first time I heard Splish Splash by Bobby Darin.  I know they used it in an episode of Family Ties, when the parents go to a school reunion.  Family Ties was my favourite thing on TV, because it had Michael J Fox in it.  I bought the Bobby Darin tape from Co-op and memorised all the words to the song.  I used to sing it to myself when I was walking around town.  I remember wishing that I could do that jumping and clicking feet together in the air thing.  That song is catchy.  In the song Bobby Darin is singing about missing a party because he's in the bath.  I think the party's in his living room and he's so busy splishing and splashing that he doesn't hear the party going on.  Even at the time I found that charming.  When I listen to the song now I feel nostalgic for the 12 year old boy who felt nostalgic for the Fifties. 

Bobby was actually quite versatile, he could croon too.  His real name was Walden Cassotto, and he suffered from rheumatic fever in his youth which damaged his heart and which meant he would only have a short life.  He left behind some music I really liked when I was 12. 

Saturday, 24 September 2011

baby squirrels

baby squirrels! they got blown out of a tree and taken to a sanctuary.. the shock made them sleepy.

( a little add: I didn't take these pictures although I would very much have liked to have found these cuties. They were on the website of a popular British newspaper which I kinda didn't want to link too!)

Yoko Ono

Over on twitter on a friday you can ask yoko a question and then she'll answer some of them....
Here's mine....
'what is your favourite food Ms Ono? do you like to bake? (you are one of my favourite artists).'
I hope she answers!!

(did she answer? dyeah she did)

pay day gift

 I got a griddle pan for my pay day gift from Bert! and a lemon squeezer! and some Halloween cupcake cases! and yep, now i'm writing this, I realize how crazy spoiled it is to get a gift every month.. am not sure if other people get payday gifts... if you don't, I think you should probably drop some hints...does anyone else get payday gifts? I don't want to look like a princess all on my own.

So am learning how to griddle... I don't really know what I'm meant to do, but I cooked some tomatoes on it and toasted a bagel too. The bagel and tomatoes were part of our full English (vegan) breakfast that we had the other night for dinner.

that's some scrambled tofu up there in the top right of the photo. We love scrambled tofu....and griddling things.

Friday, 23 September 2011

getting ready for halloween

I have been trying out some halloween crafty things today for a workshop I'll be running next month. I'll add some pictures of them soon. Meanwhile.... how great is this?

I have loads of photos of halloween from the last two years before I had a blog... I think as soon as it's the first of October it's ok to go ghost crazy.x

potato soup

 Mama gave me a big bag of potatoes from her garden, and Soule Mama has a recipe for potato soup in her new book 'The Rhythm of Family'.  I know a sign when I see one - so I made myself some soup.   The recipe is pretty basic, just butter, onion, potatoes, stock and milk, Soule Mama also adds cheese and leeks, but I didn't have any leeks and don't eat cheese so I went plain.

I sauted a large onion and a lot of (um. maybe about 8 medium sized) potatoes in quite a bit of soya butter. I gathered from Soule Mama and watching the movie 'Julie and Julia' that you need a lot of butter in your potato soup, it was more butter than I have ever used before (although still less then the recipes I read called for). I added two chopped garlics, covered the pan and let cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes, then I added hot water and a little salt and cooked until the potatoes were soft.  I blended a couple of ladles of the soup with some soya milk and fresh parsley.

That's it! simple huh? It's nice and creamy with a delicate flavour. It reminds me of a cross between mashed potato and a parsley sauce.... which I don't think is a bad thing. This isn't a soup I am going to be making regularly but it's a great way to use up a glut of potatoes, although I do still have more potatoes left...

Thursday, 22 September 2011


Sadie and I have been reading 'The Rhythm of Family' by Amanda Blake Soule and 'A Homemade Life' by Molly Wizenberg.  Reading these books make me feel super calm and cozy - perfect for autumn days and drizzly weather.

(should have said that the cushion/pillow that sadie is posing against was made for me by Bert one Christmas - it has cowgirls on it)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

My Creative Space

Hello, I think this quilt is very nearly done! I had read that it should be as long as the person is tall... but I haven't made it that big - it's more the size of a blanket. Dya think that's big enough?
I more or less have done the top - just a few bits on the sides.

I think for the back I'd like something that is quite a  contrast to the front and am liking the idea of some Amy Butler.  Maybe this..

 or this...
or this!

What do you think? I like the idea of having completely different on the back, and I love those acidy yellows and greens and slightly flashy electric blues.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Damson Gin

A complaint came my way from my mother. She said that as this blog is called 'Sian Lile Makes' it should be just about things I make and not about music or books out of the library.

So here's some photos of the damson gin we were drinking yesterday... and guess what? I didn't make it, but mama did... so today the blog should be called 'Judy Lile Makes' if we are being exact.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Brussel Sprouts

Or is it Brussels Sprouts?
Either way do you like them? Last winter I read a lot of brussel sprouts recipes...and this is how I like them:
Par-boil the sprouts and then stirfry in soya butter and olive oil until browned, add some grated lemon zest and lemon juice and salt and pepper.
Also fabulous if you add chestnuts, or bacon/facon or parmesan/schmarmesan.
The ones in the picture which we had last night have chestnuts...yum.

Sunday Music

Sunday Music is going to be my weekly blogpost about music!! am already worried about being able to keep it up, but am going to ask Bert to take part and, ooo, maybe I could ask other people??

I was inspired by Knitxcore's Vinyl Monday, and I wanted to pick a song I like with a bit of a personal (rubbish) story to go with it.

So, for my first Sunday Music I am picking Someday (from his first album Guitar Town) by Steve Earle.

Until about last year I didn't really know anything about Steve Earle... then Bert started buying his Cds.... (I think leading on from his love of Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt) and bought a biography about him which he made me read (there are lots of wives and drugs in it) and then he played in Cardiff and we went to see him... and then I watched the film The Bridge to Terebithia where Zooey Deschanel sang Someday with a group of school children which I thought was an odd choice condsidering that the song is all about getting out of this place. (plus, have you watched the Bridge to Terebithia?? it is a tragic). The following is just a little bit of Zooey..

Now, people who I have discussed Steve Earle with (that would probably just be Bert) might question my choice of Someday as my Earle choice as I also adore Fearless Heart (nice 80s guitar in it and I love it so much I almost want a tattoo that says 'Fearless Heart' on it) and Little Rock 'n' roller (a song about his son - I cannot resist a song about kids - I shall be talking about Bowie's Kooks at some point soon!), but Someday is a bit of a grower and it also has great lyrics

'There ain't a lot that you can do in this town
You drive down to the lake and then you turn back around
You go to school and you learn to read and write
So you can walk into the county bank and sign away your life'

(see why I think it's a weird choice to sing with a group of kids Zooey??)

Any Steve Earle fans out there? also, has anyone watched Treme? Steve is in that but I haven't seen it yet, although it is on my love film list.x

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Cauliflower soup

I've been reading Sophie Dahl's new cookbook today and came across a recipe for cauliflower chowder and I thought it sounded delicious. I didn't actually follow her recipe though (she also had fish and cream in it) but just went with the general idea. Today I bought one of these cauliflowers...

 ...and decided to roast it with 3 cloves of garlic. Meanwhile I fried some onion and potatoes in soya butter and olive oil and once they started sticking added water and nutritional yeast flakes.  I let it simmer on the hob until the potatoes were cooked and when the cauliflower and garlic cloves were roasted I added them too. I added soy milk and whizzed it all up until smooth.  To serve I added a little bit more soya butter and smoked paprika.
It was really lovely. Creamy with a subtle flavour and a touch of smokiness.x

Friday, 16 September 2011

The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

This book is beautiful. I got it out from the library in Cardiff where it was bequeathed in 1935.  This is how the novel starts:

'Half-way down a by-street of one of our New England towns, stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely-peaked gables, facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst. The street is Pyncheon-street; the house is the old Pyncheon-house; and an elm-tree, of wide circumference, rooted before the door, is familiar to every town-born child by the title of the Pyncheon-elm.  On my occasional visits to the town aforesaid, I seldom fail to turn down Pyncheon-street, for the sake of passing through the shadow of these two antiquities, - the great elm-tree, and the weather-beaten edifice.'

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Bedside table books...

 This is my bedside table... and these are my 'to read' books....
...and these are my books from the library... it's ridiculous.

The books by my bed to read are:

Phantasmagoria by Marina Warner
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Great Night by Chris Adrian
Becoming Animal by David Abram
Failure edited by Lisa de Feuvre
Gossip of the Starlings by Nina de Gramont
America the Beautiful by Moon Unit Zappa (I have already read this years ago but wanted to re-read it)
Turn off your Mind: The Dedalus Book of the 1960s by Gary Lachman
The Rituals of Dinner by Margaret Visser
Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann
Bright Before Us by Katie Arnold-Ratliff
All Over by the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (also read this before)
Witches of the East by Melissa de la Cruz
Project X by Jim Shepard
Llewellyn's 2012 Witches' Companion
Therese Raquin by Emile Zola
The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield
The River King by Alice Hoffman
The Old Man and Me by Elaine Dundy

and the ones from the library are:

The Rum Diary by Hunter S.Thompson
The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hardboiled and Hard Luck by Banana Yoshimoto
After Dark by Haruki Murakami
The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve
Aphrodite by Isabel Allende
Size 14 is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe
Lucky Break by Esther Freud
Travel Writing by Peter Ferry
At Last by Edward St Aubyn
The Geometry of Pasta by Hilderbrand and Kenedy

Anyone read any of these? any thoughts? any reading suggestions? anyone reading anything good? I just love book related chat.x  I am also over on Goodreads if anyone wants to be my friend....

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Vegan Pancake Recipe

This is for you Another Diamond Day!

Ok, the recipe is from the book Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm and it's called Weekend Pancakes Made Easy. The reason it's easy is because she puts it all in a blender (starting with the wet ingredients and then adding the dry) but I don't have a blender, so I whisked it in a bowl and started with the dry ingredients and added the wet. So here goes:

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl - one and a third cups of flour (I used a self raising, although Lauren also goes for spelt), one tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon baking poweder and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt.
Then add the wet ingredients which are one and a half cups of soy milk, two tablespoons of oil, 1 teaspoon of extract (I went for vanilla) and then whisk it all up. If it seems to thick you can add water, although I think it is meant to be quite thick so it will make those yummy thick American style pancakes.

That's the mixing done, then you just need to cook them, heat up some oil and ladle some batter in to the frying pan, you'll know it's ready to turn when the edges get a darker yellow and bubbles form on the top. Lauren says that she makes her pancakes about 3 inches in diameter and I guess that's about the same size as mine too.

I made six pancakes out of the batter and kept them warm in a really low oven until we were ready to eat them. We ate them with vegan margarine and syrup (golden for Bert, Maple for me), they are also really delicious with a bit of vegan bacon on the top.


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