Monday, 27 August 2012

Bags of rain

I've been enviously reading lots of holiday blogs this week while I have been back at work.  So I have tried to catch some seaside feeling for myself by making a seaside inspired bag!  I have had a pattern for a seagul picture from   Bustle and Sew's  e-magazine for months and bought some seaside fabric from Cath Kidson in anticipation.   I didn't really need another picture so this week I suddenly decided I might be able to make it into a bag, and I found instructions for a tote bag from  Mama's Pocketbook.  First I made the picture; an appliqued felt seagul with some fabric bunting (this was machine stitched - very easy even for those like me who are fairly new to a sewing machine because the messiness doesn't really matter).  The words are hand embroidered in backstitch (you can still see the purple marker pen - which I didn't follow very closely!).  The line is from a song which reminds me of one of my happiest holiday moments on a beach in Normandy when Dan, aged 6, was flying a kite on the sands  singing to himself "I believe I can fly". 

Next I made the bag shape (with interfacing) and a lining from some rather lovely cloud material. 

Then having fitted two straps, pinned the bag and lining together and joined them.  Nearly there ....

et voila .... I have actually made a bag, my first ever!  And actually I'm rather pleased.  The pattern was simple so I could see myself making another.  Why do I always struggle with straps and handles though (e.g. on pictures and decorations).  The handles are not exactly the same length!  Still think its manageable.

I swapped an English quilting magazine with Debbie from Happy Little Cottage because her blog was mentioned in it (she lives in the USA) and she sent me ....

... how generous, and her work is so beautifully done.  She has some lovely pincushions in her Etsy shop if you every want to treat yourself.  I would show you a photo of the bunting in situ, but it's so dark inside today.

I'm writing this on bank holiday monday and it would have been nice to have included lots of things we did over the long weekend .... however .... it has rained and rained and rained here in Cumbria and I'm very envious of the lovely photos on other blogs where there is actually some sunshine.  There was some late sun on Saturday and we duly went out for a walk, but it actually isn't so enjoyable when you are sinking into mud

and the dogs have to be bathed every time you go out! 

So being indoors we have watched a few films; the best being Hugo which I really enjoyed (even though it is a children's film).  The 1930's Paris setting was beautiful.

My other crafty times have been spent mainly on my large projects; a few rows on my ripple blanket, a bit of cross-stitch and I have only 2 blocks to make for my farmer's wife quilt.   These are all projects which are taking quite a while and so I did deviate for another quick bit of crochet and made another tin cover (for no real reason other than enjoyment).

... and on a more colourful note I think I'll stop as its back to work tomorrow.  Have a good week.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

So long summer

Thanks for the comments on my trip to Lewes which were lovely to read!

The last week of my holiday has flown past and I've now returned to work and as usual some new challenges.  It's amazing how quickly you get out of your work routines and into new ones which involve tea in bed, lots of crafting and other self-indulgences.  Still I'm very lucky to have the job I have and to work for a great organization so I'm sure I'll be back in the swing fairly quickly.

The weather has been so bad that it's been difficult to get any decent photos but inbetween showers I've managed to snatch a few.

There have been a few colourful dishes from my new Rose Eliot cookbook 30 minute vegetarian meals. 

I actually timed how long it took me .... definitely more than 30 minutes.  First time I have ever cooked beetroot from scratch ... delicious!

I finished my new green bolero shown a few blogs ago.  As I also mentioned I snapped a bit of a bargain dress at the Manchester Cath Kidson shop and when I got it home and looked at the colours I immediately thought how great the lime green Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmero wool would look with it.  So I trawled Ravelry and found a bolero pattern (available here bonnie bolero).  I really enjoyed this knit.  Its actually knitted in one piece (although you cast on from the middle and then pick up and knit from the cast on and knit in the opposite direction).  It's not perfect and I probably should have knitted the next size but I do really like it and if it washes OK this is one pattern I will knit again.

... and just enjoying a rare cuppa and cake in the garden  (my favourite lemon meringue cake) ... and thankfully Rosie's coat has grown a little!

Rosie and Tess will do anything for cake (or any food come to that).

While in the garden I'll just show you the vintage cup tea-lighters bought in Lewes which are now in the garden, although too wet to light.

I also made a little cross-stitch project which came free with Cross-stitcher magazine for a "Diary of an Ewardian Lady" bookmark which is quite sweet.

After my bright green bolero I've started an even brighter coloured jumper with the raspberry baby cashmero I picked up cheap on Ebay.

More details soon.  Well all for now - hope you are getting some sunny times wherever you are.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Holiday adventures

Back from my travels in Lewes and what a wonderful time I had.  I visited my oldest friends Katie and Bob and its always so good to see them.  Even when I haven't seen them for ages it just feels completely comfortable to be together.  I've known Katie and Bob for 30 years when they worked for a company in London I was sent to as a temp.  Seems another life time!  Anway after a 5 1/2 hour journey I arrived in Lewes on Friday and we spent the afternoon in their glorious garden in the sun!  What a treat after the awful weather in Cumbria.  Katie's garden is glorious and I was spoilt for choice for photos to take and Katie gave me lots of advice about my own garden plus some seeds.

Saturday we visited Anne of Cleves house in Lewes and what a great visit that was.  There were no room sitters, photos are allowed and lots of activities for children (or rather older children in our case) to do.   So wonderful to be able to actually touch the ancient wood and sit in the chairs where so many others had sat before.   I love the Tudor and Elizabethan periods and you really could feel the history in the house.


Lunch in a park ... the food wasn't much to write home about,  but I do love a bit of park watching with all the children happily playing in the sun and the flowers were glorious  (excuse a few more flowery photos!).

(Hope you spotted the beetle).

Then some more culture.  This time Virginia Woolf's house; Monk's house in Rodmell.  I have to confess to never having read any Virginia Woolf and know little about her life but learnt quite a bit this weekend - especially the rather active partner swapping which was difficult to keep up with!  Monk's house is also where she walked to her death from.

More olympics in the evening with a fantastic 5000m final; Mo Farah was just stupendous - though its a good job it wasn't any longer because we were close to having heart attacks.  Great to see Tom Daley win the bronze too.  Really going to miss the olympics I think it's been such a great 2 weeks of not just sport but people's stories and sharing the most wonderful emotional times.   Rachel didn't get in the medals but did get a fifth and sixth in two finals and she made a really good effort - looking forward to Rio.  A relief  that it all went so well and there were no security issues.

Sunday was another lovely day.  I've never been to an open garden before and I think I probably started with one of the best.  We went to a garden which was beautiful, eccentric and abslutely packed.  Plants crammed in banks of colour with sculptures and textures everywhere ... and as for the cupcakes!! 

I really enjoyed sharing this garden and it gave me lots of ideas.  I also went completely bonkers myself by buying 2 vintage cup garden candle holders ...... you know how it is when something seems a good idea at the time .... and then you have to carry them home without breaking them.  But clearly hanging cups in your garden is an absolute must!  Far too gloomy to photograph them though I'm afraid.

We then continued with our Bloomsbury group tour by visiting Charlston House which was lived in by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.    This is rather a crazy place where they have painted most of the surfaces and although the art was mostly not something  I really appreciated (except I did like the cat by Duncan Grant) it was a fascinating visit - no photos allowed inside though.

While I was in Lewes I bought a couple of Moda charm packs; Papillon which is my favourite current favourite and also Reunion which feels quite nautical and has some bunting in case you are feeling a bit deprived now the jubilee and olympics are finished.

It would make lovely cushions or a picnic quilt (though I don't need either of those).   

No finished items to show you this week, but will hopefully next weekend. 

I'm still on holiday this week, but its back to the wet weather and it's absolutely pouring down here.  This has been a bit of an epic blog but that's what a few days sunshine does for you!  Have a great week.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Rachel's races

Just an update on the progress of my step-niece in the olympics.  I am bursting with pride having watched her win her first heat and then put up a fantastic effort to qualify second for her second final!  First final tomorrow and second on Thursday!  And just to prove it here is a photo of her on the tele!