Thursday, October 28, 2010

A blouse of agreement

With the change in seasons and the associated clothing it became glaringly obvious that Miss Tilly has grown like a bean over the last year. There was very little left that fitted and it was time to sew.

I love corduroy fabric, particularly the finer, lighter weight cords and luckily my local tiny fabric shop seems to love it too. They keep an array of gorgeous colours and it is perfect for children's clothing. In fact it is just about the nicest fabric they sell.

As my little girl grows older her clothing likes and dislikes are becoming more defined, in other words it is becoming harder to dress her as I would wish and the time has come for me to accept that I need to step back a little and take on board her wishes.

We sat down together with a pile of Japanese sewing books and the Mini-Boden catalogue and worked our way through, thankfully there was as much agreement as there was disagreement, long may this balance continue.

This blouse was a definite success for both of us, made from the pattern in
ISBN978-4-579-11194-7 . I made only a couple of changes, adding bias binding at the neck and redrafting the sleeves to be slightly narrower, finishing with two rows of shearing elastic.

It has turned out to be a useful and flattering piece, it can be layered over a long sleeve tee or worn under a cardigan, is perfect with jeans or skirts and I think it may very well be essential to make an apron dress like the one in the book - providing Miss Tilly and I can reach an agreement that is....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I do like to be

Beside the sea.

We spent a week in St Ives with our very dear friends.

The famous light sparkled on the beach, the view from our window took our breath away at least ten times each day.

There were weaver fish stings, complete wipe outs and various assorted surfing injuries, including my own rather pathetic injury of bleeding knuckles caused by attempting to pull on a veeeerrry tight wet suit, but these things did not matter at all.

The days were mild and the sun shone warmly. Some days we made the very most of the roaring, terrifying, awe inspiring surf in a sea that boiled and swelled. And on other days we enjoyed the gentle bobbing of ripples in a mill pond.

Every evening was full of laughter and food, I laughed until I wept time and time again.

There was much meandering amongst narrow cobbled streets and browsing in quirky shops and galleries.

It was all good.

And now I am back at home and attempting to conquer laundry mountain.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Colouring in the days

It seems to me that autumn is truly one of the most generous of seasons. This weekend the sun shone warmly upon us and our days were tinged with gold and red, orange and copper, chestnut brown and mossy green. Today is a little greyer but from my windows I can see that the dark pencil lines of the landscape have been artfully coloured in along the way and I feel buoyed, relieved that there is still colour to be celebrated amongst the grey.

I gathered crab apples from the garden. I plan to preserve them as jelly but right now I can hardly bare to boil them up, so vibrantly colourful in all their red and yellow glory, my heart soars every time I look at them.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Because you asked so nicely

I thought I would share my cookie recipe here. I have no more cookie photographs to share as the cookies are a long time gone.

But in keeping with the chocolate theme I thought I would photograph my sanity saver. The jar that I turn to when the pantry can provide me with no freshly baked treats.

My secret jar of Green & Black's chocolate spread. I eat it straight from the jar, just an occasional spoonful, every once in a while, to keep my strength up you know.

It is mine and mine alone. I eat it standing up which means the calories do not count. Now, without further ado:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

100g unsalted butter,at room temperature

85g caster sugar
85g soft brown sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla essence
175g plain flour

1/2tsp baking powder

1/4tsp salt

200g chocolate chips/chunks - sometimes I mix plain & milk, but mostly I use plain

  • Pre-heat oven @ 190' c/365' f/Gas 5
  • Beat together butter & sugar until creamy
  • Lightly whisk egg with vanilla and beat into butter mixture
  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt and add to mix
  • Mix in chocolate chunks
  • Form into walnut sized balls and place on lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Make a cup of coffee, sit down and enjoy. I often double the quantities shown here and freeze half of the dough, there is something very reassuring about knowing your have a batch of cookie dough in your freezer. The same cannot be said of the half empty packet of fish-fingers which surely lives in the freezer of even the very most domestic goddess like amongst us.

Monday, October 04, 2010

As the proverb says

Make hay while the sun shines. I do love a proverb, I recall being very taken with them when at school and my own mothering is peppered with sage proverbial lines which make my rather too sceptical children chuckle aloud.

Today there was simply no question of any actual hay making for the rain has been incessant. I was forced to abandon my plans of garden tidying and laundry drying and give myself up to the elements.

For really there can just one sensible course of action when the rain comes tumbling down and that is to retreat to a warm steamy kitchen and make chocolate chip cookies; while the skies, they pour.


Friday, October 01, 2010

Matters of the head

Today I followed the charming Mrs M's links and found my way to Perpetual Motion whose post rang a very loud bell in my head.

Since moving to Suffolk my hair has been an area of failure. I had waist length hair for most of my life, it was long, thick and rather pre-Raphaelite in style and curl, it was really quite lovely but of course I never realised this at the time and rather regretted my lack of experimentation and style. At the age of 33, i
n the early stages of pregnancy and therefore very likely hormonally unbalanced I had it all cut off quite short, in the popular Meg Ryan style of the day. It was quickly apparent that I do not look like Meg Ryan and I certainly do not have her hair type and so began my often unrewarding relationship with hairdressers.

On that occasion, I found myself entirely unable to make my hair look as it did when I walked out of the salon and I returned a few days later. They were very kind and patient, they took me through all the steps, I left feelin
g confident and the next day I began to style with abandon. Of course you already know what I am going to say don't you? Yup, it never did look salon beautiful and I resigned myself to birds nest hair and stocked up on hair ties as I began the growing process.

In Wales I was lucky enough to finally find a rather wonderful stylist called Emma, she listened to what I wanted, she understood my hair, she did not laugh when I brought her unrealistic pictures from magazines and on many occasions she actually made my hair look like those pictures. She was a complete treasure and it rather broke my heart to leave her. In the past year I have been to several different hairdressers and not one of them has made my hair look like Emma did, indeed one of them sent me out with neon orange and yellow hair which I think might have made dear Emma cry.

Right now I am supporting a good inch of grey and brown roots atop my yellow and brown mop and deciding just where to present my head on a platter to this time. Ever hopeful that one of these days I might just find another Emma.

The entirely unrelated photographs which accompany this post are of a recent scarf I made for a friend in a combination of linen and Liberty prints, I simply could not bear to supply you with a selection of my bad hair pictures. In case you are ever in need of fantastic hair in North Wales my lovely ex-hairdresser can be found at Clinton James, Junction.