Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Good enough to eat

Tasty parcels delivered to the table. Leaves selected, carefully prepared and beautifully presented.

The chef calls them Herb Surprise, she has been very busy with these creations, it has taken all morning.

And surprised you would be, not to mention sick, should you venture to try one.

Which is a shame because they really do look good enough to eat.

Perhaps the fairies at the bottom of the garden will enjoy them.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In answer to a question

The school holidays are finally upon us which makes it rather difficult to keep up with this space, please forgive me if my response to comments is poor at present, I do so love to receive them and when Blogger permits me there is nothing I like better than to acknowledge and thank the writer but I know that I will get very behind over the next few weeks so please accept my apologies and know just how very important they are to me, thank you, thank you, thank you.

So now, a post in response to a comment on my last post.

Hi that is a beautiful skirt. Question for you though, hope you don't mind, how do you trace the patterns from the book?
I have that book and can't find anything that will let me trace the patterns on to other paper - my john lewis just had plastic slidy paper which would not stay still - so I gave up. But I want to make that skirt, and the pyjamas, and the shirt, and the trapeze dress.......... Many thanks Patti

I decided that Patti's question deserved a post, it is a question I have been asked several times in the past and I very clearly recall my own struggle with the same issue when I began first began to use sewing books. My answer is very simple, I use perfectly ordinary rolls of greaseproof paper
. They are cheap, easily available and come in really long rolls. Should more width be required I join with Scotch Magic Tape, I also use my Magic Tape to secure paper to pattern whilst tracing, it peels away easily when I am finished.

However, there is a rather fabulous product available called Swedish Tracing Paper and the large sewing shop in Colchester (my nearest large town) sells this off the roll, cut to length. I have been meaning to try it for a very long time, it is not slippery, thicker than the tissue paper normally used for commercial patterns, a little bit of drape and you can actually sew it which would be brilliant for making alterations to a pattern.

Unfortunately I find every trip I make to Colchester to be so traumatic that by the time I have negotiated 37 (well it feels like 37) roundabouts and found a car park without height restrictions I am generally too frazzled to buy any of the things I meant to buy. I usually leave having drunk coffee, bought a soul restoring but overly expensive lipstick and new pants & socks for children making it rather a waste of a journey. One of these days though....

I have had a quick Google and discovered that rolls of the paper are available at Gloriarty and on Ebay and should anyone have any other pattern tracing recommendations I would be very glad to hear them.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

So good I made it twice

Thank you for all your kind comments on my last post, the colours of the blankets are indeed working wonders for my mood, they cannot make my worries disappear but they can certainly tint them a little brighter.

I bought this Liberty print on Ebay some time ago and as usual I spent too long paralysed by indecision as to what to make from it. Eventually I decided to play it safe and went another Yard Sale Wrap Skirt, from Weekend Sewing: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Stitching. I made this last year and thoroughly enjoyed the whole twirliness of it. Thankfully this time around I knew about all about the errata before I began.

The lady in the book wears her skirt whilst looking rather fetching up a ladder in the orchard.

I thought I would re-create that image for you. This is me just casually picking fruit in my new skirt. I always hold my tummy in and stretch that way when cherry picking.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Turn that frown upside down

I have an irritating habit of enforcing jolliness and happiness upon my children when they are grumpy or sad. I try to buoy them up, I tell them that putting on a smile or thinking happy thoughts will work wonders at improving their mood.

Mostly they ignore me but sometimes it works.

It's advice that I would do well to take heed of at the moment for I have much on my plate, my shoulders weigh heavy and my heart feels sad. I don't think I can do anything much about the concerns that keep me awake at night, the worries that feel like I'm walking up hill with a rucksack full of rocks. They are things that must simply play their own way out.

But perhaps I could take a spoonful of my own medicine and put on a happy face for it surely does feel better to smile a little.

And maybe I need to return to working on this blanket, colours like this surely must be mood enhancing.

A new ripple blanket, much longed for, the old ripple is a family favourite. This time the colours are a little perkier, a good deal brighter and the sequence somewhat more thought about than that of the previous blanket.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

When life gives you cherries

The cherry tree in our garden has been prolific this year and I have been productive in an attempt to beat the birds to the fruit.

Over the last few days I have removed the stones from 3kg of cherries. It takes an alarmingly long time.

The kitchen and I have looked like we may be starring in a cheap horror movie, red stained fingers and impressive splatter marks. It's a gory business.

I have bottled, made jam, made muffins, made more jam and made a cake. I intend to freeze some for future winter clafoutis, the sweet red taste of summer will be such a treat in the dark winter months.

But I need more ideas, the branches of the trees still weigh heavy and I am concerned that if I wait too long before using my cherry stoner again my hand might altogether seize up.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Here comes the rain

So finally, after seemingly weeks of hot, dry days it rained. And rained and rained. Momentarily appalled, what to wear? I later embraced it, taking two reluctant dogs out to get soaked. A warm summer downpour, like the trees and flowers around us we turned up our faces and enjoyed the wet. My skirt was soaked and dripping but it really did feel good to get wet.

As I type this evening the grey skies have already turned blue once more and my washing is back on the line but I do have some suitably grey and stormy knitting to show you.

This is the Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig in Malabrigo Lace, which I must say I really rather love and wish I had discovered before. Certainly lace-weight stocking stitch would at first seemingly have little to recommend it but I find myself drawn to it in the warmer months of the year and this yarn is so incredibly soft making it a pleasure to work with.

There was a dog meets knitting related disaster however. A sort of "when good dogs go bad" tale. Zak, that new man in my life, apparently has a weakness. A weakness for knitting!! Yes, there had been some amusingly unravelled balls of wool and it as hard to tell him off because he looked so playful. I just had to remember to put them out of reach but then we had an actual destruction of knitting incident.

And that was not so funny. To see a big hole in ones lace-weight stocking stitch does not make one smile. It makes one shout very loudly.

I despaired for a few days and then decided to knit on regardless hoping for a miracle and then I finally decided it was time to do something. What I did was a curious combination of grafting, come picking up stitches come patching type of thing and it's OK. It really isn't perfect but I think I can live with it. I hope I can live with it.

Otherwise there will be a whole lot more shouting.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Some girl time

The dear boy arrived back from his school trip, exhausted but happy and after just one night at home he was off again, this time to see some classic car racing with his father and grandfather.

That left Tilly and I alone in a quiet and somewhat tidy house.

On Saturday morning, once we had waved goodbye, we ate a lazy breakfast in the sunshine. Strawberries, honey baked rhubarb and yoghurt. A breakfast that pleased our eyes and our palettes.

Then Tilly gathered fallen petals for perfumed concoctions and I photographed the beautiful colours she made.

Later we shopped in wonderfully impractical shops where we bought the prettiest white night-dress embroidered with blue flowers. We slowly ate lunch in a pretty cafe and stopped for ice-cream on our way back down the hill.

We nibbled cheese and olives and ate mushrooms on toast in the evening's warmth and then, as the day began to cool, we curled up indoors and watched the sort of film where the girl gets her prince in the end.

It was a pretty good way to spend some time.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Falling in love again

No, I haven't suddenly decided upon a Technical Advisor upgrade but there is a new man in my life.

It is almost a year since we lost our sweet, Springer Spaniel, Teal. We simply couldn't imagine getting another dog for some months, we still had Oakley, our ageing English Setter so we were not dog-less, thank goodness. But in the last few months the tide began to gently turn. Pressure was building, some people (i.e. those family members who do not clean the house) kept mentioning puppies.

I am very much afraid I put my foot down on the puppy front, they tried to wear me down, at one point the children emptied out there money boxes and offered to pool their resources. But I still said no.

I was a mean Mummy. But we really did want another dog.

So we began to ring around and we got lucky.

Oh so very, very lucky.

This is Zak, he was destined for a working life on the moors, striding out in search of grouse.

But he is not so interested in the working life, he did not want to stride out, he wanted to hang around his master.

So now he hangs around us. We went to meet him the weekend before last and it was love at first sight, he came straight home with us. I think he rather likes his new life.