Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I have a post over here today, please do click the cake and have a look.

Monday, November 23, 2009

November, November

Be off on your way. November really is sorriest of months, right up there with February. It has little to redeem it. Every year I try to face November with a more positive outlook but it isn't long before those short grey days work on my cheer.

This year I was baking my way through it with reasonable happiness but last weeks cold (and its univited friend, 'the cough') soon had me thinking meanly of November. This week I am a still a little croakier than I would like but I can see an end in sight.

We have a birthday at the end of this week, Tilly will be seven years old and in a fit of insanity it seems we have invited all the girls from her class (they surely won't all come, will they?) As a result this week will be cutting a swathe through November's dullness, a swathe of pink. Rather unhelpfully I have decided to make the party favours myself. As I sat surrounded by felt and glue yesterday this seemed somewhat daunting but today as the rain batters the windows and the sky grows darker by the minute I can think of few things that would be more fun.

Shades of pink and little pockets of Liberty Lawn prints can surely push aside the dreariest of weather. The kitchen is warm and something sweet and lemony bakes in the oven. Suddenly I can think of so much that is good about November. The acceptance that Autumn is fast becoming winter and the thought of winter gives me so much to be happy about. I have a warm, cosy house, a stack of logs outside and winter is just made for spending time in a cosy kitchen. One need make no apolgies for repeatedly putting butter on the shopping list as winter goes hand in hand with the very best sort of things to come out of a kitchen. Hot, peppery soups and warm baked bread. Steaming, sweetened cocoa with spiced Norwegian buns. Pots of tea accompany sticky ginger cake or sharp, lemon drenched sponge. Walks through new landscapes, trees stripped back, cold easterly winds on your face and home to a mound of hot buttered toast. These are the things November promises, the things to be grateful for.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tissue anyone?
I have a cold, a real shocker of a cold. In fact I this is my second cold in four weeks which seems ridiculous. As I have mentioned before in this space, I am not good at being ill. I feel enormously resentful of any germ that settles upon my body and most of the time I enjoy excellent health but yesterday my nose dripped so much that I thought about giving up on tissues and just tying a bucket around my neck.

I am sorry, that was an unpleasant thought but honnestly it was terrible.

It has crossed my mind that perhaps moving to Suffolk has made me vulnerable to a whole new set of germs and I just need to build up my resistance. This is my third heavy cold since moving here and it's not quite 5 months yet! This really does seem excessive to me but much as I would like to blame the new germs of Suffolk I know that sadly, in my heart of hearts, it probably has a whole lot more to do with my not exercising enough of late. It seems to me that I am whole lot healthier when I exercise, I am not talking about being a gym bunny (I am long way away from ever being any sort of a gym bunny) but just a manageble mix of yoga, walking and maybe the odd Davina workout when I need to break a bit more of a sweat. Regularity is crucial for me, if I fall out of the routine it just seems so very hard to get back in there.

So today, with my nose dripping a little less, in spite of feeling really pretty rubbish I did some exercise and I already feel stronger, mentally and physically.

And therefore I feel absolutely justified in eating one of these.

Peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, recipe here. Mouthpuckeringly dry, salty and sweet, a very good thing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just a dress

These children of mine will keep growing. Tilly seems to sprout up quite literally overnight on occasion so more clothes were definitely required.

Thankfully she is still happy to wear the things I make, I know there will probably come a time when this will most certainly not be the case but for the moment I am so glad she lets me indulge myself.

She does have more and more input these days. There must be fabric and pattern consultation and all too often her wishes are rather unrealistic (there is a limit to how much tulle and sequin a girl can wear don't you think?) but sometimes we are perfectly in tune. This time it needed to be just a dress, a dress to play in, a dress to read in, a dress to run and jump in. Just a dress.

I knew she would love this babycord the moment I saw it and thankfully she picked the ribbon that I had my fingers crossed for.

We both agreed that the dress needed a little embellishment and she did a great job of choosing the felts for the flower.

The pattern was easy to choose, I steered her firmly in the direction I wanted to go on and she was persuaded by promise of speed, after all we had agreed on "just a dress."

Such a simple pattern and I have made it several times over. Yes, this dress is a little on the large side but I daresay one of those overnight growing sessions is just around the corner.

The pattern comes from a well thumbed Japanese Craft book, ISBN4-579-11054-4
and I have made it a number of times, the very first version was way back here
and looks so very tiny now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cabled love

It has been rather too long since this supposed knitting led blog featured any actual knitting. And there has been knitting.

Of course there has been knitting, for Autumn is the knitter's season, the onset of dark evenings and a crackling fire were just made for knitters, don't you think?

I have a few things to share with you but this one deserves its own post.

Stockport from Rowan 46. If you have been reading here a while you will know that I love a cable, not too complicated a cable but a nice soothing sort of cable, the kind that gently twists and turns comfortably along, providing a bit of rhythm and interest but no nasty surprises. The sort of cable that can be easily managed whilst still paying the correct amount of attention to the likes of the lovely Dr Gregory House without the need of recourse to swearing and ripping back.

Stockport offers just that and the extra bonus of being knitted in Cocoon (I actually swoon as I say that), I do like Cocoon, soft and silky, quick to knit and light to wear.

Stockport is my new favourite sweater and as you can see I very imaginatively made exactly the same colour featured in the magazine but I am not going to apologise for my sheep like tendency, I like this colour and would have chosen it whatever the pattern was worked in, really, I would have.

I like clever shaping of this top although I nurse a tiny nagging feeling that it may accentuate my hips which seem to be more hip like than they were 10 years ago but thankfully a shortage of good full length mirrors in this house prevent me from knowing the full horror of what may be lurking around that area of my body and I am pretty sure that the 56 images I deleted from this shoot were just taken from a bad angle.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Looking down
Since moving to Suffolk I have spent a great deal of time looking up. I find the landscape different and dare I say, less inspiring than North Wales, it can be so flat and vast and there seem to be less trees gennerally but it more than excuses itself with those big East Anglian skies which are a
pleasure to gaze at. As I round the bend into the village there is a particular view that always catches my eye, one of these days I may even get around to photographing this view where sky meets and intersection of two fields with their different colours, the view is perfectly framed between two properties and I can see this same view from a different angle at the bottom of my garden. It is a good view and I love to look at this piece of sky each day and see how it is changed. Often through the summer it was wide and blue and sometimes strange clouds seem to pause just here as though waiting to be painted.

This last week the sky has been resolutely grey and ominous, doing little to make me smile.

But today I cast my eyes downwards as I finally faced up to the fact that the grass should most certainly be cut, it has grown more in these last weeks than it grew all summer and getting to the washing line was beginni
ng to require wellies and a scythe, like some sort of laundry laiden grim reaper. I got out the mowing beast and turned me eyes downwards and before I knew I had forgotten the grey skies above. Each time I stopped to empty the beast I would be momentarily distracted by the leaves all around and my world felt full of colour once more.

I was rather missing the Welsh Autumn and my views of tree studded hillsides where great swarthes of crimson, orange, sienna and every tone in between could be viewed but how wrong I have been for now I see that there is colour everywhere here in Suffolk, the browns of newly ploughed fields meet the acid greens of the newly sown, there are trees of course, not so many but how good they are and under these big Suffolk skies they glow with colour, illuminated by those occasional breaks in the clouds. The berries are everywhere and similarly jewel like. I have much to appreciate I just needed to look down.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Tales of surf and sky

I expected to return from beautiful St Ives culturally fed, able to write about the exciting exhibitions at The Tate, the tactile experience of visiting The Hepworth Gardens and ceramic inspiration found at The Leach Museum.

But instead I return to this space lightly freckled, finding sand in the strangest of places, feeling renewed and windswept and full of my new found love of body boarding.

So we went to St Ives and we hit the waves, day after day.

It was amazing, exhilarating, addictive. Who knew it was legal to have that much fun!

I did not mind swallowing mouthful after mouthful of salty sea-water because that next wave, the one just coming now, building and gathering, a looming swell, ready to break. It might be a good one, I might catch it just right, I might skate across the top of the water, washed all the way to shore, a smile splitting my face.

Dylan quickly became the expert amongst us.

My brave and fearless boy. He was the one racing down to the beach first thing in the morning, before the amatueurs arrived to cramp his style. Honing his skills, learning to twist and turn.

I really didn't think that late October would find my non-water loving self happily walking into a British sea but the magic of a full wetsuit and the rush of adrenalin have me longing to do it all over again.