Marsden Magic

Sadly I have to report that the black velvet jacket got abandoned on Thursday, I was already having trouble with the bodice fitting, the seams kept slipping as I was stitching but the final crunch came when I realised I had cut down the sleeves too small again!

I have so much trouble with fitting, everything was far too big when I first cut it out and I thought I had trimmed just enough off but it was not to be so I now have a bag of large velvet scraps that I will do something with at some point.Next time I attempt a jacket I am going to do a toile first and get the fitting right before I cut!

I was disappointed but at least I had the lovely red skirt and my old velvet jacket to wear. Ellie came up for a few days and I was saying to her that evening that what I really wanted was to find a charity shop jacket that I could adorn, preferably a man’s dinner suit but they were so hard to find.

We went for a little walk and a bit of charity shop browsing the following afternoon and a miracle occurred as one of the charity shops had not one but ten brand new men’s dinner suits on sale and one of the ones in my size was a beautiful shawl collared one, with the collar made of black satin. It fitted really well apart from the sleeves being too long and the whole suit was only ÂŁ10 🙂

Dinner jacket 1

A few hours of adding lace yesterday and I now have a beautifully decorated jacket for next weekend, without all the stress of sewing black velvet! I am very happy and relieved. I have also put lace on the cuffs and pockets.

Dinner jacket 2

Dinner jacket 4

Dinner jacket 3

The little red insert in the pocket is a cut off from altering the waistband on the gorgeous skirt I bought some time ago, I love the style of these and will probably end up with one in every colour!

Steampunk red skirt

Ellie also found some boots for herself in another charity shop which she was really pleased with having been on an unsuccessful shopping trip on the way here to a huge shopping complex where she trailed round every shop unsuccessfully. Marsden truly is a wonderful place!

My theme for the Steampunks in Space event is Star Trek and I am taking inspiration from Kathryn Janeway, the captain of Voyager, with my outfit.

Captain Janeway

We have some comm badges that we bought from Etsy and I have some tiny space ships to decorate my red hat and hopefully some printouts of the control screens.Ellie has made a lovely bolero jacket and still has her phaser from a previous outfit so we are ready to beam aboard and go where no man has gone before! Photos of all the outfits to follow plus all the other amazing stuff, we were so in awe last year.

I have also been making more delicious bread, I made an olive version as well this weekend, I really could just live on this, it is wonderful.

Nov bread baking

We had Christmas bauble making part two on Friday, at a friend’s house and there were lots of people there, I think in total about 12 baubles got made and everyone enjoyed themselves so that was great. Only a couple of photos due to lack of light and being busy but don’t these two look lovely?

Nov baubles at Janes 1

Nov baubles at Janes 2

Nov baubles at Janes 3

After next weekend I must crack on with the Christmas stockings and gifts, as it will be only a month to go, every year I think I give myself lots of time to do things and then it all evaporates!

At least I now have a jacket to wear to Whitby Steampunk in February as well so will just concentrate on making some capes. I have the capelet/bustle from the black velvet cut out and that doesn’t have to fit so will put that together for an extra layer and the just embellish the red hat again.

Hope that you all have a good week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

Gentle (or frantic!) domesticity

The lovely Jenny of Elefantz has a Facebook group as well as her web page, called Gentle Domesticity, partly inspired by the book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket. I love seeing all the things that people have made on that page and she also gives free designs away there as well, as she is not only very talented but very kind. It is a closed group so you have to ask to join.

One of her latest freebies is a set of monogram pincushions, she is uploading them weekly and they are on her blog and we have just had the letter D uploaded. These ones will be free until the 4th Oct so if you are interested please check them out soon. This is the picture of Jenny’s D one from her blog. I love it , it is so neat and the stitching either side really of the letter really sets it off and I think the little teapot pin is wonderful 🙂

ELEFANTZ d pincushion SAL main

Jenny writes a lot about homemaking and domesticity on her blog and I really enjoy her posts about recipes and things she has made for her home. I love cooking and have really enjoyed being at home more over the summer to cook.I have just made the most delicious spinach, feta and butternut squash loaf for work lunches, the recipe is here if you want to try it and mine did look very much like the picture below! I love Sainsburys magazine and always get lots of great recipes from there.

SPINACH,-FETA-AND-SQUASH-LOAF

Another one of my favorite sources of recipes is the Tasty website and I like the videos that they have,they come up on my Facebook feed a lot which is where I got this recipe for chilli with cornbread dumplings which uses my favourite cooking implement, my slow cooker.

Now that term has started it is back to more frantic than gentle domesticity and as I am not going to be able to get home early in the evenings due to a timetable change I have been trying to streamline the menu planning and shopping. I have not tried any of these recipes yet but this site, Creme de la Crumb , has some really good quick recipes which are much appreciated.

Having been a full time teacher as well as a mum since Jake started school I have always menu planned but I have spent some time this weekend creating a spreadsheet with all our favourite recipes in categories so that I can easily plan a month’s worth of menus at a time.

I love looking at other people’s menu planning for new ideas, I am secretly addicted to all those videos on Youtube about people’s bargain food shopping and the menu planning and organising for very large families. I find it fascinating having a glimpse into people’s lives and am always getting new ideas for making things more efficient.I truly would love to have more time to spend at home, that is why I am so looking forward to retirement so that I can spend far more of my life practising the domestic arts!

I have had a really lovely domestic weekend sorting lots of things out in preparation for the busy times ahead. I hope that you have a good week and I will be back soon. Thanks, as always for visiting.

Jazztastic!

Hope you are having a nice weekend. I am having a lovely relaxing yet creative one but just thought I would show you a few pictures from the lovely (sunny!) Jazz Festival last week.

You may remember the event last year was very, very wet so it was a real pleasure to have brilliant sunshine all weekend – in October, in Yorkshire.

It also put paid to all those comments about, ‘why don’t we have the festival at some other time of year’. As if you can ever guarantee nice weather in England!

Here are some pictures of the parade (courtesy of our local paper’s website ) with the brilliant Tongues of Fire – loved that machine, very steam punk!

Jazz Festival

Jazz Festival 2

Jazz Festival 3

Jazz Festival 6

Jazz Festival 7

Jazz Festival 8

And this is a great picture of my lovely friend Bob who plays with several excellent bands including The Graham Browning Trio and String-fellows.

Jazz Festival

I managed to get away from my box office duties for a little bit to see the lovely Sugar Sisters and had a boogie to the late night band Bugalu Foundation who were excellent. Will definitely look out for future gigs from them.

Am finishing off the Christmas present aprons with the hexi design on the front and making a patchwork washbag this weekend in between stitching more hexis for future projects.

Hopefully I will be able to show you some completed stuff before I leave for Spain next Friday – I have lots of spa and Jacuzzi visits planned 🙂

I am also doing some cooking – experimenting with muffins again and I have made some chocolate and orange ones with passionfruit curd inside (curd courtesy of the National Trust shop). I can safely say they are delicious and will not be around for long.

Also am planning to make some spinach and feta rolls tomorrow from this recipe to use up more of my veg box delivery.

I do love weekends at home! Take care and thanks for visiting.

Turned out better than expected

Hello again

The baking that is , the weather has been pretty bad, that lovely blend of freezing sideways rain that with wind Yorkshire does so well. So I used that as an excuse to do some baking and sewing (not that I really need an excuse but was considering a walk until the heavens opened).

I used a recipe from the BBC Food site for my gluten-free muffins, you can find it here and adapted it to a savoury mixture by adding leftover baked sweet potato and cheese.

I have found gluten-free needs more moisture and flavour as the flours (potato, rice and tapioca mainly) do not give much of these. I used the Doves Farm Gluten free self-raising blend.

Gluten free muffins 1

Gluten free muffins 2

Before they went into the oven they didn’t look very promising but came out nicely – a good crumb as Paul Hollywood (Great British Bake Off) would say and a nice colour. They could have done with a bit more flavour but ok with a bit of butter!

The loaf was an adaptation of the recipe on the back of the Doves Farm gluten-free bread flour, I added orange juice, cranberries and seeds , mainly sunflower and pumpkin my favourites :-).

Gluten free baking

Straight out of the oven it was very good, though the loaf weighs a lot and could prove a handy weapon if needed the warm slice was lovely. Later on when cold it was a bit dense and again could do with a bit more flavour but will be ok toasted.

I forgot to tell you yesterday about some very good books I have been reading, the Cobbled Court novels by Marie Bostwick.

They are a set of quilt themed novels (as in they are about a woman who owns a quilt shop) so quilting is mentioned and there are related free patterns on the author’s website. They are brilliant and I really enjoyed reading them and can’t wait to get the last couple I haven’t read, the one below will be released in April.

Marie Bostwick book

I have put myself on a strict monthly diet in terms of my Amazon books orders and have already had my quota for Jan. It doesn’t help being registered so all that lovely stuff is just a few clicks away 🙂

I do try and buy secondhand and from the charity suppliers when I can so I don’t feel so guilty. And I do pass them on, Mum and her friends are really enjoying the Cobble Court ones I left in Spain.

Well back to making curtains now and I have a padded arming jack to start making this afternoon. Have a lovely rest of the weekend and thanks for visiting.

Catching Up

Have spent a lovely weekend catching up, on sleep, on time with old friends and today I will be catching up with the crafting I need to have finished for my Autumn Exchange.

It has been lovely to see my friend Anita, she showed me some of her amazing machine quilting pictures while she was here and I was very excited to learn that she has met Ricky Tims (from the Quilt Show) and knows Melly (from the Melly and me blog) and has quilted an item for her latest book!

We all met up on Friday and spent lots of time looking at old pictures of the kids when they were babies, we have 21 kids between us so lots and lots of memories of good times 🙂

I have also been busy with the latest bunny, in between stitching and here are a couple of cute little dresses that I have made.

Blue bunny dresses

I also thought I would show you the latest in my Xmas stitching, these are still to be buttoned and backed but here are some of my fave designs from JBW that I am stitching for relatives this year.

Xmas Wip 1

Xmas Wip 4

Xmas Wip 1

Xmas Wip 2

And I have been experimenting with my bread book, had Anita and friends round for dinner so this was an adaptation of the Stilton and Bacon Rolls recipe with seeds, apologies for the quality of the photo, light not good in the kitchen!

Bread rolls Oct

I will be off to Spain next Saturday (where my mother tells me the temperature has dropped to only 28 degrees) so am planning lots more catching up on sleeping, crafting and reading – the terrace is calling!

Have a nice time whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

More domestic loveliness

Hello everyone

Well I am having a lovely autumn here, am not going to be going to China anytime soon now so I am making the most of the season in the UK with some more lovely walks, practising being a domestic goddess and still more bunny knitting 🙂

Have been busy baking cakes and crumbles, cooking stews and soups and have just taken possession of a new cookbook, Paul Hollywood’s Bread – inspired by watching The Great British Bake Off. Today I made some delicious Stilton and bacon rolls from this recipe and have lots more great ideas for the coming weeks.

Bread book

You will notice I also have a pumpkin all ready for the now obligatory pumpkin soup with melting cheese – yum, yum.

I have just sent off another bunny, this one is a very special one as it is a present for one of my daughter’s very good friends.

Ellie is being a bridesmaid this weekend for her school friend Charlotte and the bunny is a present for Charlotte’s daughter Elizabeth. I was asked to make the dress in the same colours as the bridesmaids will be wearing and added a little hairband as well.

Bridesmaid bunny

Bridesmaid bunny 2

Here are some photos of a beautiful cottage garden from a walk on the hills above my house a couple of weeks ago. There were some donkeys in the field next to the house as well, looking very cute.

Sept walk 3 -donkeys

Cottage garden

Cottage garden 2

Cottage garden 3

Cottage garden 4

Sept walk

Sept walk 2

Also went to my favourite reservoir, they have partly drained it as they are doing some work so went right down to the water.

Sept walk 4 - Butterley

It is the Marsden Jazz Festival this coming weekend so I will be manning the Box Office all weekend. Looking forward to it and hoping for very good weather, we have had beautiful sunshine just lately 🙂

Hope you have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Domestic Bliss

Hello everyone

I am having a rare weekend at home indulging in some domestic bliss.

As I type this I am eating my lunch – the very tasty Olive and Chilli Sourdough bread in the picture below that I made this morning with dried olives from my friend Martin and Suzie’s Cowley’s Fine Foods  accompanied by some delicious cheese from the local deli Radish.

Olive Sourdough

The recipe is by Jo Wheatley and is from the Sainsbury’s magazine a couple of months ago.

I have been doing a little gardening – thankfully my lovely new house has virtually nothing to do in that respect but I have just been tidying up the pots and later I will continue making a medieval cloak for my friend Luke.

Embroidery wise I am working on a christening present for Alice, my cousin’s daughter at the moment.All will be revealed when it is finished!

Mum and I will be going to Plymouth for the christening next weekend as they have very kindly asked me to be a godmother which is very lovely!

The recipient of my Spring Exchange through the Seasonal Exchange Blog , Stephanie , has now got her gift so I can post pics of it.

Spring Exchange

Spring Exchange 2

This pincushion is from the Blackbird Designs,  ‘ A Stitcher’s Journey’,  book and it is stitched on evenweave with Silk Mill thread. The charm is one I picked up at one of the knitting and stitching shows but you can get similar ones from Sitch Direct.

I backed it with some of the lovely fabric from my lovely friends Helen and Lucy at Material Goods and added a little pocket for scissors or an unpicker.

Well must be getting on with the sewing , hope you are having domestic fun as well, take care and thanks for visiting!

Photo Scavenger Hunt – April

photo-scavenger-hunt-2012

Hasn’t the time flown? Nearly forgot to do this as the end of the month seems to have come so quickly.Click on the pic above to go to Kathy’s blog where you can see all the other lovely pics as well.

Most of these were taken on our recent trip to Lake Como in Italy.

Amazing

Amazing

We went on a boat trip across the lake from where we were to a little town called Varenna. We were just wandering up the hill on a little path and came across this villa which is now a museum and this was the view from the terrace – wow!

Can’t live without

Can't live without

I hadn’t got the list for this month’s hunt before I went so used the computer in the hotel to check. As soon as my Mum and the kids heard this category they said ‘red wine’ – so here is a pic of the wine we had every evening – even Jake got into drinking it. Though I think I could live without it …. but do love it!

Direction

Direction

The ferry-boat going in the direction of Bellagio across the lake from our hotel on a very misty first morning.

In/out

In and out

This had to be one of my (many) door pics – this one from the Duomo Cathedral in Milan – what a door!

Indulgence

Indulgence

While in Milan we visited the Milanese version of Harrods and this was in the Food Hall , designer water .  I don’t know if you can see the price tag but it says 59 euros – the phrase ‘more money than sense’ comes to mind!

Multi – coloured

Multicoloured

From the same store these lovely Pantone mugs – have just bought Jake a couple of the cheap version of these from our local store for his ‘bottom drawer’ for going to University in Sept.

On the move

On the move

Our amazing train journey over the Alps – the Bernina Express train.

Rock

Rock

The first morning was very dull and misty but that meant there were amazing clouds clinging to the rocks in the village behind the hotel.

Smile

Smile

Ellie has just bought me this book from my wish list as a pressie for help with her dissertation -she is such a lovely daughter and it did make me smile lots and lots! I love Rick Stein, the series was brilliant and he has a lovely smile as well!

Spring

Spring

Beautiful wisteria in bloom all along Lake Como.

Sticky

Sticky

They would be if you tried to wear them! Miniature chocolate shoes from the Milan store food hall – yours for 35 euros.

Tangle

Tangle

The clematis and honeysuckle over my garden arch – just waiting for it all to bloom now.

Made with love – and surprisingly straight machine stitching!

Hello there everyone

I have just been sitting outside in my garden basking in the late evening sunshine drinking a glass of bubbly (only the cheap cava type!) and celebrating life. It has been the most glorious weekend here – hope you have had nice weather where you are.We have had a really unexpectedly hot weekend – it is never usually this hot in April in Yorkshire, to be fair it is often not this hot in Yorkshire in July.

I have spent most of the last few days finishing off my charity quilt that I posted about earlier this month. This has been a WIP for many months but I got a lot done on the last Quilt Group sewing day and wanted to get it finished to take to the Quilt Group meeting tomorrow. I am very pleased with the way it has turned out – the machine stitching is not perfect but better than I have managed previously.

Hospice quilt 1
The quilt front with hand quilted hearts
Hospice quilt 3
The quilt back made with fleece and a bunny applique
Hospice quilt 4
Detail of the bunny face with embroidery

The quilt was machine pieced and then mainly machine quilted – I quilted ‘in the ditch’ round all the blocks which was good for developing my machining skills and shadow quilted around the dark turquoise border. The original design had the bunny on the front but the consensus at the quilt sewing day was that the front was very nice on its own so I just added some hand quilted hearts and backed it with fleece and the bunny applique.

In the style of one of the bloggers I very much admire, Hen House , I have taken pics of the finished item in the garden, lovely son Jake has been absolute star today and spent two hours mowing the lawn (not that you can see it in these pics) but it has been a great help. I have been on light duties only as my back has not been good so I have been deadheading!

I have posted lots of pics of my garden before but have been trying to take some more arty shots so this is one I took today which I really like, the garden is looking very splendid now which makes such a difference after the horrible wet and messy months.

Garden - April
Can never remember if this is a Skimmia or a Viburnum - anyway I have two and they are very pretty!

This quilt is going to a local children’s hospice which is opening soon so it has been a strange piece to make. I have enjoyed making it but I have been thinking a lot about who will use it and the things that they and their parents will be going through. It is a cot quilt so that make is very hard to think about especially as I have so many friends who have young babies or are expecting babies. But life is often not easy and all we can really do is support people who are experiencing difficult times, be it friends who you can help face to face or others who you can give a little gift made with love.

On the subject of made with love I thought  that I would show you a few recent baking goodies – one of the reasons that my son is so nice and helps out with the garden is that he gets a regular supply of cake. These are adapted from a very nice recipe from Sainsbury’s magazine and are chocolate orange cupcakes – yum yum.

cake
Version 1 - with Smarties
WI cake
Version 2 - with white chocolate stars

In other crafting news the pink Sublime baby cardi is coming on well – the eyelets have been a bit of a challenge and my knitting friend Barbara suggested stitch markers which I have been trying for the first time but have been getting a bit tangled with – they seem to slow me down a lot! The Spring exchange piece is almost complete. I am off to Spain on this week so am planning lots of lovely sitting on the terrace in the sun reading and crafting – I have four Benni Harper quilt mystery novels to take with me so am in for a lovely time!

If you read last week’s post about Mothers’ day you may remember I was writing about how much I admired all those Mums who have young kids who craft and this week at knitting group I met another person who does just that. She knits, she quilts and she blogs – it was very lovely to meet Justine and I have really enjoyed looking at all her posts and links to fab fabric sites that I have not come across before. I have saved them in my favourites and may have to indulge very soon! Please do go and visit her blog Sew Justine Sew  as it is lovely!

Hope that you have a nice week ahead and see you all in a couple of weeks – thank you for visiting.

Doing the mezzaluna

As promised here are some pics of the new Jamie at Home items. Some of these are from the party I attended a while ago but there are also some of my new purchases that arrived yesterday, also got lots of lovely things for people for Xmas which shall remain hidden! 

Jamie at Home 2
My lovely storage jars in various sizes

I couldn’t resist these – ceramic topped versions of the traditional Kilner jars which I thought were very cute and very good value – tiny ones ÂŁ2.50 and largest ones only ÂŁ6 each. 

Jamie at Home 1
My mezzaluna, platters and terracotta

And here is my mezzaluna! I have wanted one of these for years – I bought my brother one for Xmas a long time ago but no-one has returned the favour so had to get myself one. It is a device for chopping herbs etc with a shallow bowl and double handled blade. 

Underneath that is a round wooden plate and I also bought the long bread and dip server and an assortment of terracotta bowls for tapas. Am planning to do lots of entertaining in this glorious summer we are going to be having! 

Well it has been lovely weather here – last night I got home late and so when I had finished tea sat outside with my free Jamie magazine and a couple of glasses of wine and just enjoyed the garden and the birdsong. Today I also sat out after tea for another hour or so – I really do love this time of year! Am planning the first BBQ of the season tomorrow – wish me luck! 

I also had a lovely piece of stitching in the post – my Spring Ornament from Terry  through ASOE  arrived. 

Spring ornie
Beautiful flowers

It is now hanging on the patio doors to complement all the lovely flowers I can see in the garden. I really like the beaded hanging string – I often get stuck when trying to match stitching colours to braid for hangings and had not thought of doing that before. 

Hopefully my piece for her will arrive soon so that I can show you pics of that.

Hope that you all have a lovely sunny weekend – thanks for visiting.