Sunday, 25 May 2014


Good Morning to you,

As a child, I remember quite vividly, Gramps making rag rugs, as there was always a half moon rag rug placed in front of the fire place. The rag rug was not used in the parlour, as the parlour was a very formal room and it was the room where all Ivy's beautiful possessions were displayed. The parlour was also the room where visitors were invited to sit and enjoy a cup of tea and a piece of cake.  The rag rug was not grand enough for the parlour, so it was situated in the family room..... the family room was where Ivy and Gramps lived on a daily basis.... a much more relaxed area.

So it was with great excitement that I visited the Sunderland Museum for a demonstration on how to make rag rugs.  I thought we would be shown how they were made, so both my friends and myself were really surprised when we were handed the equipment to try this skill.  

..... and fun it was.  The first technique we learnt was how to make a proggy mat. Proggy is a Northumbrian word and in other parts of the country these mats are known as proddy mats or clippy mats.

To start our proggy sampler we were give a piece of hessian, a prodder to make a hole in the hessian and in the centre of the table was a selection of materials.  Our tutor demonstrated  the technique and then we tried our hand at making a proggy sampler.... we all loved the technique and we were all up and running in no time.

The prodder I had chosen to use, had a beautiful wooden handle, which had been well used, as it was so very smooth and wonderful to hold.... of course I am now on the hunt for a wooden handled prodder. One of the girls used a sharpened wooden clothes peg, which worked just as well.... remember recycling was a way of life, nothing was ever wasted. We then chose strips of material which had already been cut up for us to use.    My friend Mary told me that as a child she grew up on a farm and had been taught this technique by her mother, as they had proggy mats all around the house, so she was very experienced and produced a lovely sampler.

The second technique we learnt was how to make a hooky mat and for this we used something akin to a crochet hook..... again with a beautifully smooth wooden handle..... and yes, you've guessed it, I am on the hunt for one of these as well. Again there are alternative tools and one of them is a thick crochet hook. The technique was different, because for the hooky mat we created small hoops which could be left as they were or snipped.

Our tutor gave us a little back ground to both mats and she said that often, these mats were used on beds during the winter time,  as the Northumbrian winters were and still are very cold.  When the mats had worn a little they were then placed on the floor as rugs and then as the rugs became even more worn, the pieces would be cut up and used for something else.... so nothing was wasted.

It was a lovely afternoon and we were all inspired to make something.  I am fascinated with the process and it makes me realise how easy my life is today, compared to Ivy and Phyllis' generation of women. 

So by the time I travelled back from Sunderland to Newcastle it was a little late.  George was busy in the garage so I needed to come up with a meal pretty quickly..... and as speed was of the essence, I decided to make,

a Three Bean Salad for our supper.  I usually use dried beans, because they are a lot cheaper, but I also have a few tins of beans in my store cupboard, ready to make a quick meal.  So I sorted through my store cupboard and found the beans I was looking for. The meal took a little longer than usual, because normally I would just add ingredients as I go, because I have made this Three Bean Salad so many times, I do not need to weigh anything, but as George was very busy in the garage,  it allowed me a little extra time to make a note of the ingredients, so that I could make sure I gave you the correct amounts.

So, it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to today is someone who you will be very well acquainted with,

James Taylor.  I think the song which you will know him best for is 'You've got a Friend', I also like 'Isn't it Nice To Be Home Again'. So whilst I am enjoying 'Places in My Past' I will organise my ingredients.


175g Pinto Beans
240g Cannellini Beans
240g Red Kidney Beans
150g Artichoke Hearts
140g Sun Dried Tomatoes
2 large Spring Onions
1 handful of coriander leaves
2 tablespoonfuls of Capers


4 tablespoonfuls of Olive Oil
2 cloves of Garlic
2 tablespoonfuls of lemon juice
1 tablespoonful of dried oregano
1 teaspoonful of sea salt
1 teaspoonful of ground black pepper


Rinse the pinto beans,

the cannellini beans

and the 
red kidney beans.

Finely grate the garlic.

Cut the artichoke hearts into quarters,


slice the sun dried tomatoes


the spring onions


drain the
liquid from the capers
and set everything aside for the moment.


Place the olive oil,

dried oregano
(this is the oregano which I dried so I will
remove the leaves from the stems)

Add the grated garlic
which you previously set aside

add the juice of the lemon,
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
a few of the sliced spring onions

to a jam jar.
Replace the lid 

shake for a couple of minutes,
to combine the ingredients.
Remove the lid
and taste to see if more
lemon juice, salt or pepper needs
to be added, if so, add now.

Leave to stand for 10 minutes
to allow the sliced spring onions
to infuse with the dressing.

Place pinto, cannellini and red kidney beans
in to a bowl
the sliced spring onions,
the sun dried tomatoes,

the coriander leaves.

Reserve a little dressing for the
artichoke hearts
pour  the rest of the dressing
over the bean salad
toss  everything together, until
everything is coated with the dressing.
Do this gently as you do not want to 
break the beans.


pour the reserved dressing
over the artichoke hearts

arrange the artichoke hearts
on top
of the beans.

We often eat this three bean salad, just as it is, but on this occasion I added some cooked salmon.  

By the time the three bean salad was on the table, George had finished what  he was doing in the garage and had showered.  He was ravenous because he had been so busy he had forgotten to eat his lunch.... so this meal was ready in the nick of time.

.... and just in case you are wondering, this is a,

 Proggy mat 
this is a

Hooky mat

Of course, this is just a small demonstration piece, but it gives you the idea of what a large rug would look like.

Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

This week I will be joining,


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Dear Friends,

It is so wonderful to know you enjoy reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment. I really do appreciate it.

Best wishes to you.


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