Friday 28 August 2009

So.... lost four pounds each in two weeks and are going away for a few days.
So you're going to be sensible .
You arrive in the city and have to eat in a restaurant so you order the fish.
It has tartare sauce all over it so you won't eat that ..but somehow its gone and the plate is empty.
But you're not having a pudding so when the waitress comes you open your mouth to say 'nothing thank you' but 'whitechocolateandstrawberrycheesecakeplease..' comes out instead.
So you just have to eat it. won't have much for breakfast..just a bit of fruit and some muesli, but all they have in that line is a sachet of Alpen .
You pour it in the bowl and realize it bears very little resemblance to your usual variety but you've put milk on it now so you have to eat it.
You won't have anything else but he brings toast you are alone by now so you have to eat it. Then he stops for a chat and puts the basket with the pastries down on the table so you have to have one.
So you won't have much lunch.
Just a bit of tuna and a salad but it comes with beautiful brown bread so you have to have that..with butter and your friend buys a cake for herself and your husband so you have to have a bit of that ...
So in the evening when you get to the coast you arrive in 'CountryLivingLand' and look...

So guess what?
You eat it.
You just have to don't you?
Later you go for a meal in the pub.
Clever you.
You remember from the last visit how enormous the haddock and chips was last time you came here.
So you order the childrens portion.
Feeling very virtuous you enjoy every mouthful and you're not going to have a pudding but then you spot 'pear tartetatin' winking at you from the menu so you have to have at least half of that. morning you sit at the Awardwinningbreakfast table and order a very small portion of cereal but their small and your small are two different smalls.

You placed your order for smoked salmon and scrambled egg the previous night so you're committed, but you couldn't have know it was four slices of salmon and at least three eggs each could you?
And the toast...the bread for the toast....heavenly brown bread.
The best food in all the world.
So you do your best to eat all that and on the succeed. make up your mind you absolutely-will-not-have-any-lunch because you want to be ready for the meal you booked for the evening .
Later that day your husband..not you.....wants a coffee and a cake in a cafe.
You definitely don't want a coffee so you have a glass of water, and you don't want cake but you spot a very small quiche and after all its been hours since the scrambled egg and its a long long time till supper so that will just put you on.

You call back into countrylivingland while your husband waits in the car and just look whats on the windowsill!
Glowing from beneath a glass dome.
Two pieces of home-made carrot cake.
So you scoff one quick because that doesn't count, and rush out again.
So now you need a walk.
A long long walk .

Virtuous again.
And so it goes on.
Just before you go out you order your breakfast for the next day ..a small (underlined) portion of kedgeree,
and set off for the next evening meal, which turns out to be the best meal you've had in a long long time.
No pudding though.
There's the other piece of carrot cake in the room isn't there? And a spare piece of flapjack?
Two cakes. Two people.
So .............

So when you get back home the next day you're a bit worried about the scales.
Because the breakfast kedgeree was delicious, and on the way home you visited Holt and remembered reading about Byfords on someones blog so you just had to have lunch there .....

So.........will it be the same four pounds next time I lose it?

Monday 24 August 2009

Daisy chain

These are much smaller flowers just over two inches wide and I've made them to wear as a necklace.

I satin stitched them , by hand, on to a handmade cord.
They can be moved up and down the length of the cord so they can be worn overlapping, up close to the neck,

or more loosely arranged with a space between.
I actually made more than 5 but I like it with this arrangement.
Do you think these are worth obsessing about or shall I stick with brooches?
This isn't me by the way, its Constance Truelove my mannequin, named after the very delightful and much missed lady who gave her to me.


Saturday 22 August 2009

Obsession Number 2

Or shape.
Or, more particularly, making patterns and shapes on my sewing machine.

Sometimes, I just have

so much fun.

But then there's the boring bit.

Includes ironing.

I keep meaning to tell you about 'unplugz' . Can you see it on my iron plug?
If you are constantly plugging and unplugging iron, sewing machine, lamp, etc. or if you have difficulty pulling plugs out, these are great. You get 9 in a packet for about £5 and labels to stick on to write the item on. Then you use the strip to pull out the plug.
I don't get any commission or anything, they are made by someone with whom I used to work and I think he deserves to succeed. The website is here with a little demo video.

I now pass this award as seen here to any other blogger who reads this.
Link back to me and write your 5 current obsessions. I am spreading mine out but you can do it all at once, and pass it on to 5 more bloggers. You can copy the picture but I haven't got round to it yet. I might not even get round to the other three.

Monday 17 August 2009

Obsessive? Me?

Carol from Alcoholinky tagged me with an Obsessions tag.
As I am a pretty obsessive person I thought I'd do it.
I have to list 5 current obsessions and tag 5 more bloggers, but I thought I'd spread my obsessions through my next few posts instead of putting them all in one post.
I have to tag 5 more bloggers to do the same, so I'll do one at a time....the first one will be...Julia of junorth. She has a lovely piece of work on her embellisher at the moment.

Now Obsession number one.
As illustrated by the extreme enjoyment of the following juxtapositions.
I think I know how Anthony Gormley felt.
I am creating my very own Field
(He had other people to make his.)
How many colour possibilities are there?



twenty four?

Fifty four?

I have many more ideas of colour combinations for centres, backgrounds, stitches, but at some point I have to make these into brooches.
This is the first step of 'being prepared for Christmas'.
I need elves.

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Three bits of sewing.

Thank you everyone who commented on my last post and said how pleased they were to see that someone else worked in a mess.
I have to inform you that I was sharing those pictures because for once my sewing room is tidy.
Thank you also to those of you who elevated it from 'spare room' to 'studio' with all the shiny polished surfaces that word implies.

With the aid of my new work tops I have been creating this week.
First, of course, and due to popular demand from here and there, more felt brooches.
Its a good job I love making them.
I have orders.

Then a small commission from my Mum, who wants to send a wedding card.

But my favourite project of the week was this bag for Helen. She sent me lots of actual size photocopies of her best loved bag and asked me to make one for her in my own style but to her pattern.

I used two gorgeous blue tweeds that I think go together really well, one herringbone and one small check.
The long pointy flap of the bag pulls through a loop rather like one of my cuffs so I concentrated the detail on here adding silk and velvet in co ordinating colours.

Because I liked it so much I even spared one my most precious straight-from-the-weaver labels, and I lined it with russet silk taffeta for a contrast surprise when its open.

It was fiddly fitting the flap and straps and lining and I did swear a bit, but I love it so much and I think she is quite pleased too.

I had a nice surprise yesterday when I was told one of my brooches made it onto the ETSY front page and was sold almost immediately.
There is a flickr set of everything thats been on the front page but this one hasn't been loaded yet so you will have to make do with my screen shot.

Its amazing what a difference it makes getting on the front page...600 views in about 2 hours.

Something to look forward to..I decided that since I am unable this year to go to the Knitting and Stitching show when it comes to Harrogate, I would look into going on the train to Alexandra Palace.
I have booked advanced tickets for Friday 9th October, do let me know if you are going to be there that day.
The train fare is so cheap when you book so far in advance, that my friend and I are coming home first class. Well, we'll be shattered won't we?
I've never travelled first class before..oohh excited!

I was tagged this week. But oh shame on me..I can't remember who it was. Thats a bit of a nuisance because I really fancied doing this 'meme' . It was about obsession.
I have almost stopped doing the ones where you just pass awards on to 6 or 7 or even 15, I hope you'll forgive me. I have so many contacts and people in google reader that I just get frustrated trying to remember the ones I want to pass them on to.
Each time I post I think I must remember to thank '?' for that lovely comment but mind's a blank.
But be assured that at the time I read your comments I thoroughly enjoy them.
Thank you.
Oh, about the lamp..if I lived in USA I could have any one of a hundred similar but here in the uk no such luck. does this facebook thing work....???

Sunday 9 August 2009

Blowing away the cobwebs.

My goodness I've subjected you to an awful a lot of metaphorical navel gazing lately.
So sorry . Here's a bit of sunshine.
I am always amazed at new colour combinations that just seem to happen.
Lime and scarlet make this circle sing.

A long time ago when I was Vice chairman of Preston Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild we were contacted by the relatives of a deceased member and asked to empty out her 'stash' .She had been a teacher and a prolific embroiderer and the stash was immense. We were to remove it, sell it and use the proceeds towards the 'International centre for Embroidery' . This was a great idea but the Embroiderers' Guild bungled the attempt to build ICE . I'll say no more on that.
Sadly also, there was so much stuff that while we did raise quite a considerable amount of money there were a lot of things left.
Now I get to this tin, which was one of her little bits that I bought.

Inside we these tiny beads. Obviously much treasured and prized by her, but never used.

I have been treasuring them too, but have decided to use things.

I have had a big clear out of stuff I will never use and installed an extra surface.
Now I have a place to cut and iron.

A whole new table on which to embellish. (I used to have to put my sewing machine on the floor and pick up the embellisher.)

That big empty pin board is going to have a coat of paint..if I can get it on before it gets filled.
My sewing machine is no longer surrounded by jars of dubious liquids and rusty brushes.

But my shelves are such a mess. The one with the stuff I need the least has been covered with this UFO.
You didn't know I was a patchworker once did you?

Unfortunately my most used shelf is a terrible mess.
My threads are in the drawers and the plastic bags hold velvet, silk and chiffon in almost daily use so I don't want to cover them up.

But what do you do with the products of workshops and classes?

Have you seen 'Field of dreams'?
'If you build it they will come'?
Well, I can tell you that if you stand an empty set of shelves over your work area it will be filled in an instant .
This believe it or not is after a makeover. It was in serious danger of a topple-over prior to this.

Perhaps its as well that its a bit of a blurry picture.

I seem to have bag and basket overload..these are all to do with felt and are the tip of the iceberg.
At the extreme right of the above picture is a hard cover for a Bernina 1008 or 1000 ,which has never been used. If anyone wants to make me an offer.....
(I paid £50 about 10 years ago.)
I have two new little cupboards now full of Harris Tweeds .
A great idea I thought...

...but I wanted to try my felt on a piece and of course have had to pull it all out all over the floor.

I really MUST keep the floor clear.
Thats the killer of creativity..a floor you can't get across. dear wonderful lamp has died. There are no 'ways in' to try and fix it.
Its the best lamp I have ever had. I have been trying to find another for years with no luck.

It has a double length arm and stretches a long way, and when the table is covered in fabric and thread and other stuff, its so useful to have a switch on the business end.

Do you know where I can get another?

Thursday 6 August 2009

Cause and effect

My two best friends took me for lunch for my birthday(belated)
This is a 'trio of puddings'.
Yes you've seen them before, maybe a different selection. This was a Manchester Tart (!) a Vanilla Creme Brulee and a meringue with mango passion fruit and pineapple. And, of course, cream. All smaller versions of the single option.
This is 'Cause'.
'Effect' is that I got on the health centre scales today and after I had discovered that they weigh HALF A STONE heavier than mine at home, and the doctors scales must be correct, the TRUTH has made me very sad.

Nothing much else to report except a bit of sewing of a 'custom made' item.

I had no end of difficulty with it and had to do a complete re make but I think its turned out quite well.

Someone has stolen my idea..
I thought it might be a good idea to start a business called 'The Last post'.
In the event of a bloggers demise how would the readers know what had happened if all the bloggers other halves were like mine and wouldn't have the first idea how to blog my departure?
Everyone interested could pay a small fee and send me their passwords in a sealed envelope with their last blog post in it and when I got the nod I'd type and publish it.
I don't suppose I would ever have done it.
Anyway someone has beaten me to it.

Is it tomorrow that the date and time read 123456789?
at 12.34 and 56 seconds on the 7th of the 8th 09?
If you are an American this will already have happened in July because of the way you read the date.
I am tempted to schedule this post to be published at 12.34.56 7.8.09.
but I won't.

I was tagged by Red Bamboo.
One lovely blog award. Thank you.

To start with, I am passing it to beena from bbbs quilt designs.

I nominate anyone else to take it up who reads my blog. Choose 15 other lovely blogs and link to them. There are so many. Every day I find more to read and more guilt about not commenting back on more and more great blogs.
I'm going to stop worrying about it.
I really hope you don't mind if i don't get round to it.
Thank you for reading this non-crafty non-sewing non-interesting disjointed blog post.
Thank you everyone who comments.
I can't reply unless you add your e mail to your profile.

Saturday 1 August 2009

Thirty two years and two days

Thanks for all the comments on the previous post. People say my husband is very patient.
I say he gets a lot of practice.
Thirty two years and two days have passed since we tied the knot.
We went away for a few days to my favourite place on earth so far...the Lake District.
How could you not love it? Even in the rain. Look at the colours in this wall. Click any of these pictures to enlarge them.

They even have a better class of Grafitti...this is the only grafitti we saw mind you.

We stayed in the best B&B I have ever stayed in but I'm not going to tell you where it is because its almost always full and I don't want to increase the competition. (It number 2 in the trip advisor list of B&Bs in Keswick if you really want to know.)

I was in heaven at breakfast time eating their home made granola on Greek yoghurt with honey and raspberry coulis.

They even left a bottle of wine and a card in the room for our anniversary.
Absolutely lovely.

The weather was not great but we only had one actual soaking on our way to the pub for a meal, we survived.
According the TV news, the campsite flooded and had to be evacuated. Its right on the side of the lake.

Obligatory gratuitous Herdwick shot.

We planned a trip on an Ullswater steamer.

We were going to get off halfway up the lake and walk to the top, but there was too much water in the lake and the jetty was mostly submerged, so we just had a round trip.
Watching the different ways people enjoy the lake was fun.
These sailing boats were pure Swallows and Amazons with beaming children in charge.

We walked up to Aira Force, more spectacular than ever with all the heavy rainfall .

Thursday was the annual Ambleside sports, not to be missed. A traditional event with a few modern touches..

set in the valley below high mountains.
What more scenic competition arena could there be?
Natural 'props' for the competitiors!
Fell runners disappeared over this mountain at intervals during the day, all ages, all classes, some much older than me and some considerably younger.

They all came back too.
The main race is 9 miles.

The most Traditional local event is Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling.
Men in tights...loose ones...and heavily embroidered velvet 'centrepieces' compete in unfathomable bouts of of three falls.

They begin with the traditional costume competition. The pants are embroidered by wives and girlfriends. I wanted to grab one and take a photograph of his 'embroidery' but they stayed in their own area. Besides , it might have been misconstrued.
Here are two of the best ones.(I'm talking pants here)

The one below won the embroidery competition and here he is weighing in for the bouts, which went on all afternoon. As far as I could tell weight was a big advantage, but technique played a very big part.

Once again all ages competed. This is how they start..the 'tek owd' ....apparently.(For southerners that means' Take hold')

There were two TV personalities there...Rory McGrath and Paddy McGuinness who were filming for their show about unusual British sports.

The wrestling went on all day, but at the same time there were fell runners starting off, cycle races, running races around the track and each event had a different commentator all talking over one another.
Just as the cycle race was about to begin, the next event was suddenly due
'The hounds must leave at a quarter to two', so the cyclists had to be held up.

This was the very best bit.
The hound trailing.
Earlier, someone ran over the mountain or fell with a rag soaked in aniseed and paraffin and left a trail for the dogs to follow.
Suddenly the dogs are brought into the hear them first howling and barking and yelping with excitement dying to be off.

Its serious stuff and there's big money to be made so the hounds are all marked with a colour to show they started the race in the arena.

This is a VERY short video of the start..I cut it off too quickly but you get the idea.I had no way of knowing the start of the race was imminent.

They disappear over the fell and there's nothing for a while.

About 45 minutes later the noise begins as the first hounds are spotted on the fell, through binoculars. The owners scream and whistle and shout for their dogs to encourage them to run faster and beat the rest, the dogs hurtle down the mountainside through bracken scattering sheep , and arrive in a flurry of excitement wagging everything they can and dive into their reward.

What a fun day out . Add to that the exciting prospect of getting your car bogged down in the field and its a day to remember.

(I have just found a video clip of the day which shows a bit of everything and gives you a taste of the hectic atmosphere if you want to have a better look here)

Followed by a posh meal out and then a walk around Tarn Hows just before dark. What bliss.
On Friday it was time to come home and we went via Grasmere. There was a wedding at the Church. A lovely setting.
(I didn't take this picture.My husband did)

Further on in Ambleside I was sent out with the F&B swatches to match this woodwork colour.

I can report it was exactly as I had guessed...'Blue Green'.

I hope you have managed to stay awake up to here. I am well aware that not everyone wants to read about Cumbrian holidays but this blog is also my diary so I hope you'll forgive me.

I came home to a pile of lovely comments and e-mails(JP I can't find a way to answer your comments) and an acceptance for 'Sparkle' Contemporary Craft and gourmet food fair in November in Teddington.

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Dear Anonymous.....

....don't waste your time...I have a spam filter.