Thursday 31 January 2008

Raggy carnations

Some of you may have wondered what I was doing with this vicious looking tool yesterday...

I wasn't making rugs but instead was creating some flowers for a special occasion...

Some of you may have read on Mrs Lucy Locket's blog about a bloggers blind date that will be happening in London in March and Mrs Moogsmum suggested she might wear a pink carnation so we would recognise her. Well being textilely creative types I thought we should all have fabric carnations. I remembered reading a tutorial on Molly Chicken's blog long ago before I started blogging, about how to make a rag rug corsage so I looked it up and ... hey presto... a pink carnation (of sorts) You'd recognise that chest anywhere!

And when not wearing it on one's chest... you can take a simple pink bag (with retro Laura Ashley lining)

And simply pin it on!

I felt the back needed some matching ragged embroidery

Of course now I'm totally hooked (Ha! excuse the pun) and want to make a rag rug but have so many other things to finish first. Which of course means I'll probably make a start on the rug tonight.
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Thank you everyone who left a comment on yesterday's post... the names will all go in a hat.
(Except Neil... your marmalade awaits!)

Wednesday 30 January 2008

Wow... 100 posts!

What was I doing yesterday afternoon?
Slicing these...

To get these... (I was going for the artistic approach here!)

Ending up with a pan full of this...

Which I boiled up like this...

To make several jars ...

Of this!

I'm not at all sure why I make marmalade because I'm the only person in my house that eats it. Can you believe I'm married to a man from Dundee who hadn't even tasted marmalade until he met me! So I usually end up giving most of it away. But still every year I cannot resist buying the Seville Oranges and making another batch of marmalade. I think it must have something to do with their limited availability so I always buy some because I'm worried I'll miss out! I got this bowlful from our local farm shop a couple of weeks ago so thought I'd better get something done with them before they shrivelled up.

I've also resurrected this from the bottom of a cupboard and have been having fun discovering rag rugging... but I'll tell you more about this tomorrow...

Was there anything else... oh yes... I'm 100! Well not me personally you understand but this is my 100th post. Quite unbelievable that I've got this far and can still find stuff to ramble on about! So to celebrate and to say thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my rambling... a giveaway! I've made a clutch bag from the fabrics that I mentioned yesterday. A simple folded bag in brown/purple shot silk.

With a woven ribbon trim on the reverse.

And some non fattening cakes hidden inside.

This photo was taken in the sunlight which shows the way the silk is shot through with purple.

So, if this takes your fancy, please leave a comment by Sunday evening (2nd February) and I will put all names in a hat and draw out a winner on Monday morning. I'm sure there will be some other little goodies finding their way inside the bag too.
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I thought I'd finish with a couple more shots of Joe on his travels. The boys are now in New Zealand and judging by the hundreds of photos on Facebook they are having a brilliant time.

I'm not sure who he was trying to kid here but the laughter from his friends rather gives the game away!

This is more like it Joe!

Tuesday 29 January 2008

Can't think of a title today!

A couple of things I was going to mention yesterday but forgot (distracted by the Scotsman I think!) First of all thank you very much to Zoe who has nominated me for another You Make My Day Award. I'm honoured that anyone wants to read my blog let alone considers that I make their day. As I've already passed this one on before I won't do it again but instead just graciously accept - thank you Zoe!

Secondly, I'm sure some of you will have already read this in the Sunday Times Magazine but I was so amazed and touched by this "Life in the Day" article about Alice Hertz-Sommer that I wanted to share it. Alice is a Holocaust survivor and saw both her mother and her husband taken to camps, never to see them again. This amazing lady is 104 years old, she lives alone and cooks for herself. She walks twice a day (she used to swim 20 lengths a day until she was 97) and plays the piano daily. Obviously she is blessed to have her health and be of sound mind but nevertheless she is still extraordinary.

Photograph by Sam Holden

She is pictured in front of a portrait of her son, Raphael who died in 2001. It was her finishing words that made such an impression on me - "Every night, when I go to sleep, I think I've had another wonderful day, and tomorrow I will repeat it all over again." Her joy for life shows in her beautiful face (there's michief there too I think!) A lesson there for us all!

Not much else to share today - I've been sewing but nothing I can show you as I've been working on my Valentine swap, a couple of surprises and my 100th post giveaway and I don't want to spoil the surprises for the recipients. A little glimpse of the giveaway perhaps... I've been making something from this lovely Martha Negley cake fabric (another Liberty purchase), some unusual shot silk that came from India (you can just about see the purple running through the brown) and some woven cake ribbon by lfn textiles. More about this tomorrow...

There were more muffins today too. This time they were cinnamon crunch flavour voted by the boys as the best flavour yet (though the ginger came a close second). They are pretty much plain vanilla muffins but with a layer of crunch provided by chopped pecans, soft brown sugar and cinnamon.

Monday 28 January 2008

A perfect day!

What a lovely weekend! The sun has been shining and although a little premature there has been a definite air of Spring. The sun has actually had some warmth, the birds have suddenly burst into song and the primroses are emerging in the woods. No doubt it won't last but it is good to enjoy it whilst it's here.

I had a good day in Sevenoaks on Saturday, meeting my friend Jude first. We went to the Grace Barrand design centre to see the exhibition "Select" which had some interesting pieces. Then after a very nice lunch at the centre we went to the Embroiderers Guild to give a talk to about sixty ladies - think this could be the start of a double act! In the evening Stewart and I went to friends for a traditional Burns Supper of Haggis, neeps and tatties. (Julie has given a lovely description of this tradition.) Stewart even wore his kilt!

I was going to tell you this was him... but I would be fibbing! Sorry if the bare bum offends but I think it's quite nice! (You could always quickly scroll down the page!)

Sunday was another glorious day which was spent with my Mum and Dad but this morning we woke up to a damp foggy start and almost didn't go ahead with our trip to the seaside. But I'm so glad we went because this was Aldeburgh when we arrived. Who would believe this was England in January!

We had a long stroll along the beach where there were plenty of boats and fishermen. I loved the colours on this boat.

One of the reasons I wanted to visit Aldeburgh was to see this sculpture by Maggi Hambling - one of my favourite artists. It is called "Scallop" and is a tribute to the life of Benjamin Britten and his life on the Suffolk coast. I don't think it was particularly well received when it was erected on the beach but I think it is stunning!

The words are cut out of the stainless steel and read "I hear those voices that will not be drowned" - a line from the Britten opera "Peter Grimes"

This picture below, of Stewart standing beside it gives you some idea of the scale of the piece. There is a sign inviting you to sit on the sculpture and contemplate the sea.

As you can see, I was rather taken with it! After that long walk it was time for lunch... we found this rather promising fish and chip shop.

As the weather was so good we were tempted to sit outside and eat our fish and chips straight from the paper... But there there were so many of these chaps hovering about we sat inside the restaurant instead. They were the best fish and chips I've tasted in a long time!

And to round off a rather perfect day, when I got home there was a surprise package waiting for me! Inside was this lovely card (I would like the pattern for that bunny!) and a fat quarter of this cute fabric - a present from Angela. Angela doesn't have a blog (yet!) but is a frequent visitor to this and other blogs - as is her other half Neil (better known as "admin") Thank you so much Angela - it was a lovely surprise!

Friday 25 January 2008


What a lovely day today! This morning I had the pleasure of meeting Val of Dotty Cookie fame! We recently realised we live very close to each other so arranged to meet for a cuppa at a local garden centre/farm shop. Not only did I have the pleasure of meeting Val but also her "Tiny small" daughter and the amazing psychedelic monkee! It was an absolute pleasure to meet all three and the morning just whizzed by confirming what I already knew - Crafty Bloggers are lovely people.

Not a lot else done to day but I did have to try a recipe from my new purchase yesterday - so this is Tessa Kiros' tomato risotto - which was scrummy! I made a couple of adjustments (never could follow a recipe as printed) - like leaving in the garlic and using fresh chilli but it is set to become a firm favourite. I wouldn't let Stewart eat his dinner until I had taken the photo - he wasn't impressed so it was hastily taken and probably wouldn't win me any awards for food photography... but it did taste good!

A busy weekend ahead as I'm off to Sevenoaks tomorrow to talk to their Embroiderer's Guild, coming home for a Burn's supper at a friends house in the evening, my parents are here for lunch on Sunday and then Stewart has a day off on Monday so weather permitting we will try to get our day at the seaside! So could well be be absent for a few days. Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday 24 January 2008

Born to Shop

I've said before that I don't really like shopping... and I don't! But some days I just can't help myself! I had to have another dash into Cambridge today to pick up some things Jacob needed for school. While I was there I took the chance to buy some new jeans as all my trousers suddenly seem to have shrunk! Okay if I didn't make and eat so many muffins maybe I wouldn't have this problem. Of course then I had to get a couple of new tops to wear too because all my old ones are too shabby for my new jeans!
Just as I happened to pass through Waterstones (not sure how I got up to the first floor) I spotted this book and remember reading about it on a blog, so had a flick through and it is gorgeous. So of course I had to buy it! I didn't feel too guilty as I had some money for Christmas from my in-laws, so this will be their present to me.

Then I found this rather pretty tissue paper (I've got to wrap my Valentine swap in something nice!) and some lovely grosgrain ribbon with a running stitch edging which is bound to come in useful.

Then I bought some more sock yarn - but that's a present for a friend so it doesn't really count does it?

And finally in the sale bin at John Lewis I found this absolutely gorgeous pure cashmere yarn. I had seen it last week and was tempted but decided to leave it. So when it was still there today it was obviously meant to be! I'm embarassed to admit how much it cost but it was half price and still exorbitant. I don't really know what I'm going to use it for either - perhaps I will just keep it and take it out to stroke occasionally. It's all the fault of "The Friday Night Knitting Club" which I'm halfway through. All that talk of beautiful yarn is too tempting! At that point I couldn't carry anymore so I came home.

I would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who said lovely things about yesterday's Zigzag post and I will pass on your messages to the ladies, who I know will be delighted! While I'm saying thank you I've just noticed it will be my 100th post soon so as a very special thank you to you all there will be a "Giveaway" to celebrate my centenary, so keep looking in!

Wednesday 23 January 2008

Another Zigzag

As always, a fun filled productive day at Zigzag. There wasn't much new work to show as all the ladies had been working on individual projects over the holidays, developing design work which I think is going to result in some exciting new work during the year. However Joan and Sandy were rather taken with the Tyvek flowers we made at the December meeting and as a result went into mass production! And these are the results - Tyvek bouquets!

They were stunning. Here's a couple of close ups, first of Joan's flowers and then Sandy's.

Lesley also brought in her book to show us which was beautiful and very delicately stitched. It is going to be one of a series of small books. You can read more of what she is planning to do on her blog.

We spent the morning looking at different cutwork techniques and some of the ladies worked on some samples. Ann and Lynne favoured a more traditional approach working with white on white.

While Judith, Lynda and Lesley tried a more contemporary approach using colour and less traditional designs. I think they all work really well.

I sometimes think there is a danger of being swept away by all the latest products and gimmicks on the market and lose sight of the fact that good technique and control of the machine are all important so it was good to focus on some traditional stitching today.
Next month we'll be looking at image transfer... and all the latest products and gimmicks! ; )