Gluten Free Banana Loaf

I like to use up bananas once they are too squashy to eat by making a gluten free banana loaf. I first made this gluten free banana loaf several years ago from a recipe found on the Angel Eden blog . I like the fact that it’s texture and taste are both so good,  that it is not obviously free from gluten. The recipe uses sultanas but I have changed it to use up crystallised ginger chunks. These were bought originally to eat on a boat trip to the Scilly Islands. Ginger is very good to help with combating sea sickness. I am not that keen on just eating the ginger as I find the chunks a bit too hot. They do work well when mixed with other ingredients and add a bit of texture to the loaf cake.Gluten free banana loaf in the tinThe recipe is exactly as found on the Angel Eden Blog with the use of 4 ozs ginger chunks roughly chopped instead of sultanas and a good heaped teaspoon of ginger powder added to the flour. The loaf can be eaten as cake with or without butter or as a pudding warmed with ice cream.loaf

The recipe says to use a mixture of 6 ozs rice flour and 2 ozs cornflour. I have realised that I used 8 ozs of SR gluten free flour plus the baking powder and this also worked very well. It really does seem to be a fool proof recipe and one I recommend as a very successful gluten free cake. Slice of gluten free bananna loaf


Happy New Year

Its 2015, Happy New Year to anyone who reads this blog. The last four months of 2014 were very busy for my family and I hope things will be a little quieter now so that I can start blogging again.

In November I had a new Stoves duel range cooker and I am still trying to get used to the way it cooks. My previous oven burnt everything and I used to compensate by turning the temperature down about 30% and altering the timings. I am now working on getting used to my smart new cooker.

New Jalapeno Stoves Cooker.
New Jalapeno Stoves Cooker.

I thought I would share a couple of recipes that I made for a New Year’s Day family gathering.

Homemade cheese scones
Homemade cheese scones

The recipe for the scones can be found here notonthemenu blog. I have made them several times and they always taste delicious. The recipe says to cook at Gas mark 5 which I looked up on BBC Good Food and converted to electric 170C for a fan oven. In the past I would have cooked scones at a much higher temperature but 170 works very nicely.

I also made a Raspberry and Amaretti crunch cake. This recipe was found on the BBC Good Food site.

Raspberry and Amaretti Cake
Raspberry and Amaretti Cake

The cake was surprisingly easy to make but looks quite impressive and more importantly it tastes good. This will definitely be one to repeat.

I am including one last picture of the table loaded with the sweet items we ate. The rest of the cakes were made by Abi of the Angeleden Blog. You can find lots of interesting recipes on that blog. cake3Once again Happy New Year 2015.


Harley Gallery and Welbeck Village

Last weekend I visited the Harley Gallery and  Welbeck village. The village is owned by the Duke of Portland. He is responsible for continuing the Welbeck Project started by his Aunt, Ivy the Duchess of Portland. The village is not usually open for the public to walk around so it was lovely to be able to visit it.WelbeckThe Harley Gallery is part of The Harley Foundation.  Twenty one artists work in the  Craft studios situated behind the Harley Gallery. The studios are open to the public twice a year. The next date for the open studios is 28-30th November 2014. There is also a cafe and garden centre so there is plenty to see and do.

Craft studios at Welbeck.
Craft Studios at Harley Gallery.

There are so many interesting workshops, it has been very difficult for me to narrow it down to a few to feature on this blog.

One of my favourite has to be Hope and Elvis, run by a textile artist Louise Presley. Inside Hope and Elvis Studio I have been to Hope and Elvis several times to attend creative workshops. workshop at harley GalleryIn this picture Louise is in the stripy shirt and Julie Arkell  is standing on the right hand side of the picture. I have previously written about this on the Angel Eden Blog

I was most interested to go into Phil Neal’s workshop which was crammed full of wood, old instruments , parts of bicycle frames and much more.Phil Neal's Studio at the harley GalleryPhil is a sculptor, wood turner, and community workshop leader. I love the things he makes and bought a necklace from him. The necklace was made from brass spacers that would have been used for printing.necklaceIn another studio I loved the work of master florist  Alison Doxey. Here are a few pictures from her studio.Studio2b Studio2a Alison Doxey florist

There are several jewellers in the studios and I really loved the work made by Laura Baxter. Studio3b Studio3a Laura runs workshops in her studio and one day I would like to attend one of these.

The Harley Gallery shop sells work from artists on site and many more. It also has some very interesting exhibitions. The current one is of work by Jason Taylor

Gallery exhibition1 exhibitionJason uses everyday materials and makes something different with them.

I am now looking forward to the Christmas Open Studios.


Tin with a sewn proberb, A cat can look at a Queen.

I Love Making Things.

I love making things hence the title of my blog, Anne Clark Handmade. I also like to create small worlds using papier mache, fabric, wire and knitting. There is a lot of fun to be had experimenting with different materials. A couple of years ago I spent a day attending a Jessie Chorley workshop at Hope and Elvis in Nottinghamshire.  We were given an old cutlery box to do something with and I made it into a small room with clock, curtain and dressing table. A small room made from an old cutlery boxWith my husband’s help I added a tiny LED light with a battery box stuck to the back of the display. I then made a lady from a clothes peg and gave her a leather book and a small key. I still haven’t decided whether to give her a face!ladyI have been experimenting, making things with papier mache and this next picture is of a house made from cereal box, masking tape, newspaper, glue and pictures cut from a book bought from an Oxfam bookshop.A papier mache house made from paper and glueUsing the same sort of construction I have made a bed and then sewn and knitted the bedding. The instructions on how to make this bed can be found on the Angeleden Blog. There are also pictures of the mouse who sleeps in the bed.A bed made from cardboard and glue.Recently I have started to collect small tins when I can find them at reasonable prices. I decided to embroider pictures inside them and the first ones illustrate proverbs and sayings. The fabric that I have used to sew things onto is 100% cashmere sourced form a British Mill that used to make cashmere coats. Old battered tins.For my first creation I used the Meggezone tin and the proverb ‘A stitch in time saves nine’.A tine with an embroidered proverb.My second tin has the proverb ‘A cat can look at a Queen’. I found the crown in an antique shop and it is supposed to have been made in 1953 at the time of our Queens coronation so was ideal to add to a cat charm from a Christmas cracker.Tin with a sewn proberb, A cat can look at a Queen.Although these tins are very tiny works of art they do take me a long time to make as I love to fill every space with embroidery. I have a small stack of tins and at the moment am working on a couple of proverbs which I will write about when finished. I am also experimenting with altering old books and automata which I will post about once I have taken pictures.


Highdown Gardens West Sussex

Highdown Gardens near Worthing in West Sussex, are stunningly beautiful. They are situated on downland countryside with views of the sea beyond. The gardens  offer a unique collection of rare plants and trees and have been deemed a National Collection. Entry to the gardens are free but donations are very welcome.

Post Box in Highdown gardens

The 34479 sq m (8.52 acres) of garden were created out of a chalk pit, where there was little soil and very unfavourable conditions for plant growth.  The Chalk Garden at Highdown is the achievement of Sir Frederick and Lady Stern who worked for 50 years to prove that plants would grow on chalk. There are lots of paths winding around the gardens and you are never sure what will be seen round the next corner.Path at HighdownThere are also a number of ponds with some quite large fish swimming beneath the lilies.A pond in Highdown gardens pond2These photographs were taken at the beginning of April and the spring flowers were in full bloom with the buds opening up on the trees.Bud opening at Highdown.HD7 HD8 HD9  I love the colour of the tulips against the tree bark.HD5 HD4 HD3 HD2 In the next photograph you can glimpse Highdown House which is now a hotel. A popular place for weddings.HD10I love to visit these gardens and then have tea at www.highdowntearooms.co.uk These are dog friendly tearooms with the most delicious homemade cakes.



Beast Shed in the garden

A Shed of my Own.

I really need a shed and that is why I am entering the Beast Shed competition. It may seem strange but I have dreamed of owning a shed for many years but to buy a good quality one that will last, does cost a tidy sum. I imagined my shed to be quite a pretty affair with bunting hung outside,  a metal cafe type table and chairs where I could sit and savour a cup of tea. A place to enjoy the garden even on wet days and  a place to pot up some plants or do some knitting.

Finally this year I achieved my dream and we bought a fantastic Beast Shed. I was a little worried about how it would look in the garden as we went for a reasonably large one measuring ten feet by seven feet. I needn’t have worried because it looks really good.

The Beast Shed in our garden.
The Beast Shed in our garden.

However as you can see there isn’t any bunting and there is a man at work in the shed! Since our shed arrived a couple of months ago my husband has discovered how useful a place it is to keep his tools and beer. He is more organised then he has ever been been before and can at last find the thing he is looking for. In fact jobs get completed quickly as half a day is not wasted looking for the correct tool. There is a place for everything!

The shedshed4shed3






This is not the shed I was looking for and so I now realise I will need to get a shed of my own.  I would like a shed to become my Yarn Bombing Headquarters. I need a place to keep my numerous boxes  of yarn and also my sacks of completed pieces that are waiting to be displayed. I started this activity about three years ago and once it got known, people started to offer me their left over  wool and spare needles. No ball will go to waste but I am running out of storage space in my house. There are woolly things under the beds, in the loft, in the airing cupboard, under the stairs and in the garage. It would be fantastic to be able to become as organised as my husband. The local Derby Telegraph paper has recently published an article about some of the things I have achieved but even they have not mentioned everything. Here are some pictures of some of my knitting.

Ladybirds and bees on Wheeldon Avenue Derby.
Ladybirds and bees on Wheeldon Avenue Derby.
caterpillars and butterflies on Wheeldon Avenue Derby.
Caterpillars and butterflies on Wheeldon Avenue Derby.
Birds and flowers on the railings at Derby Silk Mill.
Birds and flowers on the railings at Derby Silk Mill.

Multi chesstowards bridge







Chess and games pieces knitted as part of Games Time for Derby Feste. Lots more pictures can be seen on the Angel Eden Blog

Once this work was finished I had to store about ten dustbin bags full of knitting until it was displayed again at the Derby Royal Hospital.

Dice in tree Snakes in Tree








I am always knitting and really enjoy displaying work where it can give pleasure to others.  At Christmas I yarn bombed my own porch.

Angels and stars in the porch.
Angels and stars in the porch.

It has been a very wet winter but woolly raindrops can put a smile on anyone’s face.

RaindropsAny way to get back to the shed. I would love to have my own Beast Shed where I could store and organise my yarn . A place with a table and chair to use when enjoying a cup of tea while knitting. I would decorate it with wooly masterpieces and some yarn bunting.

Art in the shed.
Art in the shed.

I am writing this blog in the hope that I might win the shed to complete my dream.








3 things

Hand Cream from Hotel Chocolat

I was very pleased when Abi from the Angeledenblog nominated me to receive this hand cream from Hotel Chocolat  to try. Abi had been given some of their body butter to test and her thoughts can be seen HERE. The company contacted me to ask for my address and it arrived very quickly. When I opened the package it all looked very special in its own carrier.

Packaging from Hotel Chocolat.
Elegant Hotel Chocolat carrier.

The feeling continued as I took the hand cream out.

Hand Cream packaging.
Hand Cream packaging.

It also comes with its own guarantee.garuntee

The hand cream is not cheap at £19.00 but it does look expensive. I have to admit that I would not normally think of spending £19.00 on hand cream but having tried this one I will definitely do so in future. It is strange that we will spend money on face creams but not so much on our hands which obviously work so hard and also show our age.

The hand cream rubs in very well and does not leave a greasy sticking feeling. It has a nice citrus smell which is not over powering. I  found my hands felt smooth for several hours after applying. I have recently been doing a lot of raindrop knitting as can be seen in the previous post on this blog and it is also that time of year when I start gardening so my hands can suffer from dryness and rough patches.

I am very impressed with this hand cream and will buy for myself once it has run out. Thank You Abi and Hotel Chocolat.


Global Service Jam 2014

I have just spent an enjoyable, challenging and exhausting weekend joining in with the Global Service Jam at Quad in Derby. It is the first time that I have ever been involved with something like this so I am giving some feedback on how I found it. To start with, here is some background information on what a Global Service Jam involves. The global bit is easy, it takes place all over the world on the same weekend or as near to that as is possible. This year over 100 cities joined in with Jam sites existing on six continents. On the poster below you can see the Derby Ram just over halfway down.

Poster of Service Jam Locations.
Poster of Service Jam Locations.

Secondly who can take part? The simple answer is anybody, the official Jam site says, ‘There will be designers, students, academics, business people, unemployed people, customers, mums, kids and grand-dads.
The idea is that groups of interested people get together to design a service that they believe someone somewhere may want. Everyone is given the same theme which could be a word, phrase or a picture and from that work in groups to design something. You can get much more information from the Global Service Jam website

In Derby the Jam took place at Quad  situated on the market Place. We arrived on Friday March 7th at 5.30pm to meet the others who were taking part. There were drinks, introductions and then at 6.30pm we watched the video that gave us the theme for the weekend. drinksThis year the theme was a diagram which to me looked like a box that had been taken apart and flattened. As a group we sat and wrote numerous ideas on post it notes about what the theme brought to mind. We then compared and grouped these together to try and formulate some group ideas.

Post it notes of group ideas.
Post it notes of group ideas.

Friday night we left Quad about 9.00pm and went home with brains buzzing with thoughts and ideas. Saturday involved more time working out three different ideas which were then refined down to the one we ran with. This idea was pitched to the other group and Mentors and was then taken outside Quad to talk to the public about and get their feedback. Luckily all the feedback was positive so then as a group we needed to start to plan how this service would work in practice.

Our plan was to provide a comfortable environment where people could meet to make friends and then go on to plan their own social events. We had used the idea of the box as everyone of us lives in our own home or box but many people for numerous reasons in our modern world don’t know many people that they can interact with in a social way. We decided the location could possibly be a pub or a cafe.

Cafe to meet in
Cafe to meet in

As a group we started to work on different aspects of the service. There was an app to design, a paper leaflet, a badge and a website to consider. As part of the whole process we started to think about the sort of customers this service could attract and wrote Persona’s for them. All the work was loaded onto the Global Service Jam website and this needed to be completed by 3.00pm Sunday afternoon . Both Derby ideas and the work done by each group can be seen HERE.

On the Global service jam website you can also see all the work completed by every Jam site and it does make very interesting reading. It is amazing to see how many different creative ideas have been produced from the same starting point.

As part of the whole process we were encouraged to make prototypes not to just talk about our ideas. Doing not Talking. The part I personally really enjoyed was making models of the different situations our customers could find themselves in. I hadn’t realised how much fun could be had making people from pipe cleaners and locations from cereal boxes.

Row of cardboard room settings.
Row of cardboard room settings.

One of the group I was working with said she was really enjoying the fact that a group of people were all working on the same project but each one had a different job to do according to their strengths.

Mock up of our phone app
Mock up of our phone app

When the work was completed each group pitched their idea to a panel of judges who then asked some very searching questions! A winning group was announced. It wasn’t the group I was part of but in the end it was the taking part that was interesting and worthwhile and I would certainly do it again. There was a real feeling of achieving something.

Relaxing, we have done it.
Relaxing, we have done it.
More pipe cleaner figures!
More pipe cleaner figures!



WaterAid, Knitted Raindrops.

I love knitting and wanted to make something to raise money for WaterAid. WaterAid is an international charity that transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation. In this country we can take water for granted, especially this year and many of us must feel we have seen enough rain for a life time. However it is not the same everywhere and thousands of children die each year because they do not have clean water to drink. Lots of information on what your donation can provide and the projects that are going on can be found on the WaterAid website.

My idea was to knit friendly raindrops and sell them at £1.00 each to help raise money. The first occasion that these will be for sale will be at International Women’s Day on March 8th, in the Assembly Rooms Derby. There will also be the opportunity for children to make their own pom poms to take home to remember how lucky we are to have safe water but also we have a chance through WaterAid to help those who don’t.RaindropsMy grandchildren have been thinking about the journey that water takes and writing stories about their own raindrop and we hope to be able to share these stories at International Women’s day Derby. Here is a taste of a story written by a five year old,


“This is the story of a raindrop called James Adventure. James enjoyed swimming in the river with his friends. One day they swam into the ocean where they joined many more drops.  The drops swam to where the sun was hot and James felt himself going up and up and up. Eventually he joined lots of other raindrops to form a cloud.”James the raindrop in the river.

James the raindrop swimming in the river.

Instructions for knitting a raindrop.

I used double knitting yarn and size 2.25mm(10) needles.

Cast on 6 stitches.

Row 1 Increase in each stitch to give 12 stitches.

Row 2 Purl.

Row 3 (Knit 1, increase in next stitch) repeat across the row.

Row 4 Purl.

Row 5 (Knit 2, Increase in next stitch) repeat across the row.

Row 6 Purl.

Rows 7-12 stocking stitch,( one row knit, next row purl)

Row 13 (K2, Knit 2 together) repeat across the row. (18 sts)

Row 14 Purl.

Row 15 (K2, Knit 2 together) repeat across the row. (14 sts)

Row 16 Purl.

Row 17 (K1, Knit 2 together) repeat across the row. (10 sts)

Row 18 Purl.

Row 19 (K1, Knit 2 together) repeat across the row. (7 sts)

Row 20 Purl.

Row 21 ( Knit 2 together) repeat across the row. (4 sts)

Row 22 Purl.

Row 23 ( Knit 2 together) repeat across the row. (2 sts)

Row 24 Purl 2 together.

Pull the yarn through the last stitch and sew the raindrop up and stuff with a small amount of toy stuffing.

For the arms and legs I thread the needle with some chunky black wool and sewed though the body to the length I wanted. Cut the yarn and tied a knot at each end.

I used some double knitting black yarn to sew on a face.Raindrops knitted for WaterAid

Raindrops knitted for WaterAid


Carsington Water Visitor Centre

Carsington Water

Last week I went on a trip to Carsington Water, a reservoir in Derbyshire. The sun was out but it was a very cold day and the black clouds were gathering. The purpose of the visit was to see what the visitor centre could offer as an educational resource. It had very good  interactive displays and lots of information about where our water comes from and how it is cleaned for household use. I found it informative and fun as an adult but I feel sure it would be equally so for children.Carsington Water Visitor CentreThe Carsington Water Visitor Centre can be seen to the right of this stone with the hole in it. To the left of the stone you can glimpse the Carsington Water Sports and Leisure Centre.

A short walk from the Visitor Centre is this small hill with a path that spirals to the top. There are standing stones with holes which can be looked through to enjoy the views all round Carsington water.

Hole to look through at Carsington Water.
Hole to look through at Carsington Water.
Top of the hill.
Top of the hill.

I loved the colour and shape of the plant leaves that bordered each side of the path and the dried grasses beside the water. I am not sure what they are, possible a blackberry/bramble leaf.Leaves in the sunshine.


Looking through the grasses.
Looking through the grasses.

There are two stoney beeches quite near the Visitor Centre where there are lots of rocks and children are encouraged to move the rocks to make shelters.

Rocks beside Carsington Water.
Rocks beside Carsington Water.

Carsington Water is a fantastic place to visit for both children and adults with lots to see and do and a couple of cafes to visit.

Anyone for tea?
Anyone for tea?