Wednesday 29 August 2012

You don't always know what you want or All That Glitters...

Ever since I saw pictures of French Macaron on flickr I have been desirous of getting my teeth around some.
The pretty colours and possibilities of flavours made them look so beautiful.

I made enquiries.
The North west of England is a Macaron desert.
Even Selfridges deli in Manchester were macaron-devoid.

I once had a glimpse of one on a tea stand in Betty's in Harrogate but was the last one.

 I watched Lorraine Pascale pipe beautiful dollops onto silicone paper and knew it was beyond me. Piping bags turn themselves upside down in my hands. Its squirts out the top.
My dear friend Margaret bought me a recipe book for my birthday. I read it and my fears were confirmed.

We were due to go for a long weekend to Paris. At last, I thought..I will be able to hunt 'macaron' on their own ground.
But we had to cancel.
The pretty pretty discs of almondy deliciousness were never to be in my grasp.The perfect cake for a person who loves colour were just a dream. I especially wanted pistachio flavour.


On the journey to Dorset we stopped on the M6 at M&S simply food and there....could I believe my eyes?..there was a box of mini macaroons..and I seized them.

Oh they were pretty. Pink, brown and cream. (No pistachio sadly)
By the  time we got to the M5 I was feeling sick. Stuffed. But....

 I had eaten the vanilla ones..quite nice . Then I had a chocolate one...bleurrgh. The raspberry ones Yuk.
I am released.
 I don't really like macaroons.

Just because a cake looks pretty doesn't mean it tastes good.
Look at the humble Eccles cake.
An underwhelming blob of brown pastry.
Packed full of the utmost deliciousness thats hard to beat.
My favourite.
And they sell them at the Village store.

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Wednesday 22 August 2012

Corsages and two ladies

Well, the last post had a single corsage but now I have a grand total of five.

 They are a bit experimental, having a centre in my usual technique..velvet appliqued to felt, and the spiky bits are stitched on a separate piee of felt and cut out, along with a few extras, and then its all assembled and glued in place onto a very lovely antique bronzed suersize pin.
 They are perfect for adding to woollen things such as shrugs or shawls or cardigans. I have a felt coat which fastens with a pin, so I'll be using one of these from now on.

This one is more oval in outline which I thought someone might like.
 I have also started the smaller brooch trail with this red heart...
 I thought I'd show the difference in size, and I love photographing piles of things!

Here's something I started ages ago. I have wanted to make a mirror in felt for a long time but wasn't quite sure where to start. 
I did start with this piece of felt quite a while ago. The little blobs were added pre-felts and were just placed roughly in a 'growy' sort of see I don't really know what I'm doing?

So I just started stitching and chopping until I had this.
 I like the colours and they remind me of pre-Raphaelite paintings. From there I leapt to The Lady of Shalott. She viewed the world through a mirror from a tower and wove her tapestry until Sir Lancelot came trotting by and she was smitten, and....
Well you'll have to read it for yourself. Its quite mesmeric so I added a few scene-setting words that I liked.

You may guess the word River would be in the next lines.
'Thro the wave that runs forever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot'
Perhaps I should make a companion piece with the rest of the verse!

 Here it is standing on a rather grubby island in the river of untidiness that is my workroom.

And here is not...the Lady of Shalott.

But here is my little Lady in relaxed mode after her op.
I'm happy to say she is much better now. The collar is off but we have to keep our eyes on her for stitch biting.

Friday 17 August 2012

Corsage anyone?

 Ages ago I bought some huge corsage pins but they need a composite sort of thing on them and not a flat brooch. So I've had a fiddle about and made a big corsage from separate pieces.

 Whats the verdict?
 I rather like it. The back is a bit higgledy piggledy but its a prototype. 

 I had to enlist 'Venus' to model it.

 Unfortunately she is royal blue but never mind.

 A white background helps.

 Here's a shot of the big pin.

I think I might list it on etsy to see what happens.

My etsy shop is eerily fault. Even I haven't been there.
Nothing but tumbleweed and teabag paper....

Thursday 9 August 2012

Quickstep with my needle

Not Slow cloth.

 I love the idea of slow cloth but I am always anxious to know where I'm going quickly and using the sewing machine makes that happen.
 I slowly when I make the felt.
It dries very slowly and slowly slowly I work out where I'm going to machine.
 Then I have a quick quick time on my machine.
Outlining , defining laying down the structure.
Then finally I have a slow slow slow time which is most enjoyable, adding hand stitch. I have to restrain myself from doing too much.
 And here's a piece I'm making slow progress with.
Work in progress.
 I've done more since this picture..and there's more to do.

Sunday 5 August 2012

What we did on our holidays a year later.

 'The Tallet':the wheelwrights cottage we stayed in a year ago revisited. (Click the coloured words to read last years report and see the gorgeous garden!)
There it was, just as delightful and quirky with its steep windy staircase. Last year I used the outdoor stairs a lot but this year I coped with the spiral.
The weather wasn't as good as last year but we had a lovely break again. 
We go at this time of year to coincide with our wedding anniversary but I have to say, until our son phoned in the evening we had completely forgotten it! 35 years too.

We did a few of the same and a few different things this year. 
I went to church in Bridport and met my first married Catholic priest. (Formerly and Anglican vicar)

Later we caught up with some friends who met us in Honiton. They moved to Cornwall a year ago and I still had some of Jenni's work from the last exhibition so it was good to catch up.
We came home via Sidmouth and Beer and promised ourselves a day on the beach at Beer.

Monday saw us visiting 'The Sawmill Cafe' for lunch.

Inside is a beautiful Indian-made wedding canopy. Really lovely.

 All hand pieced in a beautiful palette.

There were all sorts of fowl about.

 The cafe belongs to Mapperton Hall, a beautiful mellow manor house with an amazing garden.

 We were impressed with a huge magnolia in the front of the hall. 
Look at the seed head.

 There were lovely areas with peeling paint covered by unusual plants.

 Real stone pillars holding up the pergola.

and a  lovely lily pond
 A real treat. Its nice to be in a garden even if you have paid to look round!

This was our anniversary but we'd fogotten.

On Tuesday we visited Chesil Beach. Million upon million of pebbles.
The sea pounding against them and slushing out again making a terrific sucking sound as it did.
 Windy as anything on the top 
and really sheltered on the grassy area  in front. We sat and read and listened to the sea.
On the way home we called at Chideock which has a parish church with a lovely memorial chapel. This is the frieze all around .
Here's a view from the outside. 

I love these capitals.
Its 19th Century.

I was amazed that someone had attempted , years ago, to carve passion flowers in stone.

But even older is the Catholic church dedicated to the Chideock Martyrs.
Much older and quite spectacular.

Then a walk along Charmouth beach as far as we dare, 
If you look carefully here you will see a whole family climbing on the cliffs searching for fossils.
The cliffs are extremely unstable and I can't help thinking they were taking a terrible risk.

I love the colours in this picture. It reminds me of a Turner watercolour .

 Now here's Saint Candida. I think its very appropriate that this was the day we saw her and we watched quite a lot of Olympic rowing on TV. Wednesday.

 She has her own Torch and she stands in a niche in the Church of Whitchurch Canonicorum, the next village to where we stayed.

Her remains are in the church and she was also called St White hence the church name.

We also had some time in Lyme regis, where we ate the obligatory and very delicious pasty on the beach. I suddenly felt a bang as if I'd been hit by a football but it was seagull swiping a big bit of meat from my pie!
We had a walk in the evening to The Five Bells in Morecombelake. SHUT!!!

On Thursday we went to Wareham via Dorchester..via this place:

We spotted it as we approached Dorchester and couldn't quote work out what it was. Huge..eeenormous Georgian style buildings on the skyline just outside Dorchester.Massively bigger than anything in Dorchester itself, and no signs to tell ius what it was. Finally, by using maps on my iphone I discovered it was Poundbury.

 I don't really know what to make of it. 
All the buildings are a pastiche of 'old buildings' or should I say built in the styles of shall we say 'the past'. A bit of everything. Georgian, Regency. Victorian, Arts and crafts,Thatched cottages...all around wide open spaces so not a bit villagey. It reminded me of 'The Prisoner' and I do apologise to anyone who lives there. 
It was quiet.

 I may be wrong but I just get the impression that there would lost of rules  and regulations to living there. I bet you can't hang your washing out or let your grass grow.

However I just had to take a picture of this place as I won the blog award in 2009.
I found Dorchester a bit disappointing. We'd been before years ago and stayed in The Kings Arms on our honeymoon.

Wareham was lovely and there is a super Saxon church there, well worth a visit.
On our way back we ate at Hive beach cafe. It was a bit cool and windy but the food was superb. 

Friday brings me to one of the best things about the holiday. 

We went to Sidmouth where Folk Week was starting.
We had booked for a very special event. Michael Morpurgo reading from his book 'War Horse' with songs from John Tams and Barry Coupe.
Just wonderful. 
There were 1000 people there. The venue, a marquee, was booked out. 
 I'd been a bit dubious about spending an afternoon in a marquee, but it really was good. I cried. A lot.
 This is Micahel Morpurgo from a distance.
I am so glad we went.
Then on our way home, more lovely food. We doggedly sat on the cliffs at The Anchor, Seatown, overlooking the sea and eating delicious fish and chips which cooled down VERY fast! Even though it was cold and windy there were people swimming in the sea.

Oh what a lovely holiday.
I must mention the bank across the road from our cottage...full of wild strawberries. How wonderful is that?
 We enjoyed the Olympics too while we were there, and still are. I am surprising myself by feeling very engaged with it. I LOVED the opening ceremony and I haven't heard  a bad word about it.

But every holiday needs preparation so I thought I'd just share this photograph . 
My friend Anne and I having our hair..erhermm,,,,coloured, by our friend Denise.
'Pride must abide.'

Another lovely thing that happened just before the holiday was the arrival of this 

A gorgeous notebook by Whitney Anne Baker .See more of her work Here. What a lovely birthday surprise.

I have some sewing I'm quite pleased with that I can't wait to blog about. Oh and I did miss Hetty so much.

One thing I've learnt whilst on my holiday: where there are pebbles and water kids will throw them.

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

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