Sunday, 22 September 2013

Vintage simplicity 5244- Cushion pattern

What a find! this lovely pattern was in a small box in a charity shop in Chichester priced at 4 shillings it pre-dates decimalisation but I think it must be more like a fifties pattern. It was thrilling when I visited the gorgeous thru the looking glass and discovered a modern day version for sale! 

I love the look of the bolster cushion it is just a case of finding time!  As I write the three metre by 90 cm drop lined curtains that are hanging across the door of my studio are looking at me reproachfully waiting to be finished! 

Still no more news on my poorly sewing machine, it needs a new board to run the computer element - but I have my daughter's machine. It is the second time the motherboard has been replaced, it seems the more complicated things are the more they seem to need repairing. The board will hopefully arrive next week and I will be re-united with my dear friend. In the meantime I am learning how to knit cables - will show you when I am done!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Taking Great Photos

I have been playing with my new camera, trying out different techniques and combinations, I bought these buttons for the button bouquet I was making for my daughter's wedding and I bought this pretty little cup at the local tablet top sale. It was taken in my only 'darkroom' space - my bathroom which has no natural light. I used simple table top lamps for illumination and played with the direction of the light to see the different effects. 

I think there are some people who are naturally gifted at staging - they can make the simplest object look stunning! Just look at this collection here, taken from a French sewing book. The whole thing seems to have a restful harmony.   
The problem is that I am in the middle of a project and don't want to stop and 'stage' what I am doing! Sometimes I have ideas of what I would like to do and take lots of pictures only to forget to upload them! 

It is my intention to develop this skill so that I will be able to see how my photography has developed over time, which is the great thing about a blog. While I might look back and cringe at some of the photography - or even the projects (gasp!) it is a great way to see how my skills have improved (well hopefully!) 

I bought this book on line - sometimes I regret it, there is nothing nicer than browsing in a bookstore with a nice latte beside me, but this book has lived up to its title. Taking great photos talks a language that I can understand, the photography examples are beautiful and inspirational - and she pretty much covers all my needs without bamboozling me with technicalities (ok by that I mean numbers!) I hope it will up my game! but let me not be the judge of that! I would recommend it - in this new cyber world where online selling has become a normal part of our lives, it is definitely worth a read. 

A friend of mine is a great photographer; he taught me a lot about how to see - most importantly we never left home without a camera! I think it helps you to sit back from the 'busyness' of life, and become an observer. It is surprising just how much you notice. It can make something as beautiful and transitory - like a flower - have its beauty set forever. 

Southsea gardens Spring 2011

Monday, 16 September 2013

Shhh.. a pool of one's own!

Beautiful isn't it? There is nothing quite like having a swimming pool all to yourself! No it isn't mine, I swim at the local hotel - I plan the visit to co-incide with their dining times so I get this all to myself! 

It is the next best thing to having your own pool and it is cheaper than paying to go to the local amenity pool! 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Oh no!

This evening my sewing machine just switched off - no power!  I changed the fuse on the plug but it made no difference! I am so concerned it is like losing a very good friend. I shall phone the service department tomorrow hopefully my machine can be fixed.

Update, still waiting for the workshop to get back to me. ;-( but I have borrowed my daughters Janome, which is simply excellent! I am in the middle of curtain making - it feels as if I am battling with armies of fabric! Will post when I am done. 

September Seasons of Mists

September is considered the first month of Autumn here, but the Sep comes from seven, when it was the seventh month of the Roman Calendar! While the hedgerows are full of blackberries they are still not ripened, which is surprising given the long hot summer days we had.  I went to my Son's for dinner on Saturday and came to the realisation that Autumn is definitely upon us, I was chilly for the first time in months. I woke up this morning and put on tights - and was looking at all my summer dresses thinking that it was time to start putting them away, I told S and he smiled saying that maybe I might need them if we went somewhere warm! It cheered me up!

Saturday was the monthly table top sale at St Mary's church - there is a wonderful variety of stalls but I was delighted to find this gorgeous little sandwich plate, as you can see by my tea cup it matches perfectly with my little tea set. I don't think I shall ever grow out of playing with tea sets. A snip at £3! I also found a lovely wicker picnic basket, which I love to use for storage in my studio - it is just the perfect size another bargain at £2!

We had a lazy weekend really, just relaxing at home - the joy of working from home means that you can keep up with Domesticity without chores encroaching on your weekend. After visiting the table top sale we ambled over to Rose Green Centre of Art and Craft where there was an Autumn painting work shop taking place. The centre is wonderful selling lots of work from local artists as well as running regular workshops on different themes. I signed up for a printmaking course next Saturday - I have been wanting to explore printing for a long time so I am now thinking about what to design!

I love my new casserole dish - there is something fabulous about cast iron cookware. Yes it is very heavy but this is such a gorgeous shade of blue and cream - an addition to my pot I bought a few months ago. I love cooking with these pots, they keep such a great even temperature - you can switch them off or down low and they retain the heat for a long time. 

I have also been re-vamping some things... will post more soon but until then here is a tiny taster ...

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

My homage to Klimt

Back in July we went to Vienna to see the art nouveau movement paintings, in particular Klimt and Shiele. I loved the way Klimt used gold with a lot of the decoration looking like egyptian hieroglyphics Which inspired me to try my hand at painting with gold... Of course this is not real gold but a gold paste for decorating china! 

I love the combination of  blue and gold

this plate was given to me by my son

So it was wonderful to make it into a work of art

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Rosemary Moon - Bread making evening with the Belles

Last night we had another wonderful cookery demonstration from the fabulous Rosemary Moon - the subject was bread making! 

Rosemary is the author of several cookery books, and runs a fantastic foodie blog  as well as having local links with West Dean College and Transition Chichester

Rosemary soon had us all giggling, her self deprecating humour combined wisdom and experience made a very inspiring evening - it has given me the enthusiasm to try my hand at sourdough bread. (it is Scott's favourite!)

Rosemary introduced us to the mysteries of bread making, taking us through each stage - she brought some ready prepared bread in true blue Peter style, although we had to battle to use the stove from the lady who was trying to run a slimming club in the other room! (Freshly baked bread might have led her slimmers into temptation!) 

Rosemary covered the following- 

The importance of the Ingredients - what type of flour to use, and how to combine flours - using a mixture of wholemeal and white flour. In addition the importance of good quality food - quality ingredients give a better result - if you are putting in all the effort - you want something that is superior to shop bought bread. By making your own you can have a choice to support local farmers by using British flour. You can also decide what flavourings to add, herbs, nuts or fruit which have to be added before the final proving. 

weighing (critical for sourdough but not so much for other types). We were able to see how the dough should look - giving us the confidence to add more flour or more liquid because we saw how the dough should be. 

Yeast - the varieties an differences between fast acting, dried yeast, fresh yeast and sour dough starters. 

The process, the importance of patience and time - really the hardest element of bread making is having the patience to allow it to develop and rise. As well as giving the dough a proper knead for 6 to 8 minutes. 

One of the many valuable tips she gave was to put the bread into a cold oven, which was a new idea to me, it prevents the loaf splitting during the cooking process. She also suggested that some loaves need to return to the oven to brown the bottoms when they have come out of the tin. I also picked up a tip about gas oven temperatures - it seems the middle is the right temperature, the top a little higher and the bottom lower. Common sense but sometimes these things pass me by! 

By the end of the evening, when everyone had tasted both loaves warm from the oven, we all went away likely to try out the recipes clasped in our hands. Thank you Rosemary!  

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