Sunday, 14 August 2016

Sunday 14th August 2016

Saturday breakfast

 Somehow, Saturday morning breakfasts are the best of the week, not only time to make these little scotch pancakes (they are low GI and wholemeal!) but all the lovely promise of two days to enjoy.

We went on with our local to Glorious Goodwood Ladies Day, it was a beautiful morning - I think I enjoyed seeing the outfits more than the horses. This red dress really caught my eye - these sisters were enjoying pimms before the racing. Unfortunately, after an hour of sunshine the rain set in! At one point we could barely see the horses! I came home with the same money I left with - having only lost one bet! which was quite an achievement.


 My cucumber is really doing well - the fruits are enormous! We are investigating a couple of recipes for preservation - it would be nice to enjoy the freshness for as long as possible. My tomato plants are also giving a few ripe fruits - delicious and sweet. It has encouraged me to buy some winter cabbage and spinach seeds to see us through the winter. The veg box I bought a couple of weeks ago is still going strong - with a few fattening leeks among the seeding herbs.

We took a trip to Little Woodham in Gosport - it is a delightful little living history village - populated by re-enactors of the mid 16th Century. More on this visit soon.


 We are enjoying having the Aga - it is our only cooker - it's gentle heat is always welcome - despite the summer our kitchen remains pleasant. I decided to try a cooked cheesecake recipe - as the warming oven is perfect.

I find that if you cook the biscuit base with the cheesecake it comes out all soggy - so I made the cheesecake first then added the biscuits to the top.
  Cheese cake Aga

 It might look a little messy, but it takes delicious!
  Breakfast poached peaches

 Mr D made some poached peaches for breakfast on Sunday... enough to bring the sunshine for the rest of the week.

Little Sausage dog Pincushion

sewing items sausage dog pincushion
 Oh how I am missing the Great British Sewing Bee... Heather's lovely little sausage dog pincushion was always sitting next to her sewing machine. When I saw the patten in Love Sewing Magazine I decided to make one of my own Sausage dog pincushion 3  
 I had some lovely pink tweed left over from a project I made 6 years ago! As the pattern was for a door stop, I decided to decrease it a little. Everything is so much easier to hand sew - especially when you are working with tiny fiddly pieces like the head gusset and tiny ears. Sausage dog pincushion 8
 I decided to embellish him a little with some lazy daisies and fly stitches along his back. Sausage dog pin cushion 7
He is a very friendly chap!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

1940's wedding dress
 I visited the D Day museum last week and thought I would show you a lovely exhibit; this lovely wedding dress is a good example of clothing that would have been usual for 1940's women. It would have been home made, either by the bride or someone in the family, and most likely from parachute silk.
  Bodice section 1940's wedding dress

 It is a simple design with a central panel - it is so nice to be up close to a dress that is not couture (as many on the internet are), for me it is an example of what ordinary women wore - more home spun, in design and technique and therefore more exciting in some ways. 1940s wedding dress with matching bag

 You can see the machine stitching on the bodice, the gathers are small however, this dress has a long train and long sleeves, which may indicate it pre-dates clothing rationing. I did not wish to touch the fabric as it was on display - so I could not guess if this was parachute silk or rayon - you can just make out the patterning. The little bag is such a lovely addition - someone put a lot of love and attention into making the dress for a bride who married in 1944. With the invasion imminent it was tricky to organise a date for the wedding, but this bride managed to do so before her husband went to France

. 1940s Wedding dress

 The bag and the train have these beautiful little pearl beads - which would have been difficult to get hold of during war time. It does make me wonder if this dress was made before the war and re -modelled - wedding dresses were often lent or borrowed during the war as fabric was rationed and was scarce. Usually a bride would dye the wedding dress after the wedding so she could get more wear out of it. So while this dress looks very simplistic it is quite a rare find as many dresses would have been re-purposed after the event.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Friday, 17 October 2014

A peek at the studio

I am in the process of setting up a new studio, which is very exciting, but first I thought I would share my little studio space I have in my small flat.

My first studio was a large summer house at the bottom of the garden, I was studying at the time and my children were teenagers so it was the easiest way to find sanctuary to write my essays! 
It was featured in Prima Magazine and I was very proud of it. 

This beauty holds zippers, sequins and metallic embroidery threads.

When I moved to my little flat I decided that the second bedroom would make a great studio. 
I had a magnificent find in a charity furniture shop, three large Ikea bookshelves for £30! 

They run almost the whole length of the wall, 
but it makes it ideal to keep lots of things close and handy. 

I love books, here is a small part of my crafty ones

I have a large selection of crafting books, the oldest one is from the 1930's 
I love to be inspired by craft books although I struggle to follow a pattern
Usually I adapt it in some way. 

I am a huge fan of beautiful boxes, I like everything neat and tidy 
but labels are essential when the boxes all look the same! 
these contain paper, birthday cards and embellishments 
the wooden case holds pastels.

You can just get a glimpse of the wicker picnic baskets at the top of the shelves, 
I have a whole basket of felt. 
I love jars, and embellish them with glitter and glue before storing 
buttons and bows. 
The vintage quality street tin contains a lot of crayons
and the basket has a lot of cherry blossom 
flowers for a project I have in mind. 

This little wicker basket set is perfect for all the clutter bug stencils 
and the boxes alongside hold computer leads for my embroidery machine, 
and pots of acrylic paints.

The big oval contains a huge muddle of bias binding and ribbon
the suitcases contain zips, Rubber stamps, embroidery wool, 
felting fleece, gadgets and gizmos. 
The pretty shoe boxes contain some vintage sewing items and metallic pens. 

The large box at the bottom is where I keep magazine cuttings of inspiring pictures, 
the two books store all my sewing machine accessories like feet, bobbins and frames. 

Button tins, sewing boxes and cutter bug all jumble together. 
The small tins store buttons, cable needles and feathers! 

I like to keep things in boxes so that they are handy when I am in the middle of something. 
I have most of my fabric and other larger items in storage, 
so I am able to work in a clear space. 

The walls of the studio are white and the wall opposite has a large mood board 
for things that inspire me. Photos from holiday, quotations 
together with postcards and cards that are like small works of art. 

I also have a large corner desk that takes up about a third of the little room, 
with a lovely northern light. 

I would be interested to see your little workspace... 

ttfn xx 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Book Review - Sweet Shop of Dreams

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful.... its the time of year for snuggling down with a good book. We have spent a couple of Sunday afternoons companionably reading; the ticking of the clock being the only sound to compete with the beating of the rain on the windows. One of us will break to make a pot of tea - usually there's some cake or other. 

I read many books at once: a lot of spiritual development books that simply cannot be read in one go, sometimes it is nice just to read something that is not to taxing. 

This book is a lovely read, the main character, Rosie, is very endearing, she leaves behind a rather grey existence in London to travel to a remote village in Darbyshire to tend to her elderly aunt, Lillian. 

Alongside the Rosie's tale is Lillian's story of lost love, a wartime romance that was never given the chance to grow. I found Lillian's story deeper and somehow more substantial than Rosie's comical exploits as she comes to term with living in a strange place. 

There appears to be a quotations from a 'book about sweets' with most of the chapters having a page dedicated to a particular type of sweet - old fashioned ones, fudge, liquorish etc. It is never quite clear if this is Lillian's writing or simply quotations from an old book. With all three being separate it made it rather difficult at first to get into the story, but by the middle I became used to the disjointed nature. 

While it is a fairly satisfying read, I felt that it could have been better. I was waiting for Rosie and Lillian to bond, but oddly enough they never really have a good conversation. I found it most odd that Rosie arrived at Lillian's house late in the evening and the following morning Rosie simply gets up and leaves the house to explore. I found that a little unbelievable, it would be incredibly rude so the relationship between these characters never really establishes itself. Rosie does nurse Lillian, but they are kept apart, the writer even resorts to conversations held on a child monitor. 

I imagined some form of connection between old and young, with Lillian tutoring Rosie in the art of sweet making, but all that happens is that Rosie simply orders sweets from suppliers. The sweetshop could have been far more magical. The sudden emergence of another character to help run the shop so that Rosie can spend time with her man seemed a bit too easy. 

I miss Mauve Binchy, she would have really brought the characters alive, I used to end her books feeling I was saying goodbye to dear friends, but I did not have that connection with Rosie or Lillian. 

Its an enjoyable quick read, like eating a boiled sweet, nice while it lasts but not really substantial, but then that is what Chick Lit is after all. 

ttfn x

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