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.

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A perfect day!

This weekend was my wonderful friend Kerry’s wedding and we had the most perfect day. Despite huge weather issues in the UK that meant lots of public transport was not running and roads were shut so some people did not manage to make the wedding and me stupidly getting flu last week we made it to the beautiful medieval church they had chosen for the most perfect ceremony and then reception in a nearby manorial barn.

Kerry wedding 1

We ended up staying in a lovely hotel on the Friday night as well as we were not sure about driving from Ellie’s Saturday morning so that gave a nice relaxed start to the occasion and meant that at least we were only a short drive away on the day.

Kerry wedding 2

Everything was wonderful with such attention to detail. Kerry and Dave have planned this wedding so well and had put such a huge amount of effort into everything, from the scrolls with the history of the barn on at the tables and wedding favours which were medieval spice packets, everything was perfect.

Kerry wedding 4

The very best thing was seeing her so happy though, they both really enjoyed their day which is how it should be and it was just brilliant to see how relaxed and happy she looked. She made her own dress which was just stunning and most of our re-enactment friends came in kit as well.Photo above and below courtesy of Silke.

Kerry wedding 3

The cake was a masterpiece, made by another re-enactor friend Eloise, it is a page from the Gutenberg Bible , apologies as the barn was a bit dark so it is not the best picture but you can tell how amazing it is.

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I am so, so pleased everything went well, Kerry and Dave deserve the very best of happiness. I first met Kerry in the pouring rain outside a castle about 15 years ago when she offered to help me pitch the tent so we could get the kids out of the rain and dry. We started spending lots more time together about 10 years ago when we began travelling to the bigger shows together and since then we have been best buddies and partners in crime.

Kerry wedding 5

She is one of the kindest people on the planet, more than a friend, a second Mum and best friend to Ellie as well as me. She is always there if I need her and I have lost count of the number of times she has driven me to and from events insisting I can’t go by train, gone and got things that we needed at shows last minute and just generally been wonderful. I don’t know what the last 10 years would have been like without her, we have had so much fun together, supported each other through some tough times and to have a day like Saturday where she smiled and laughed all day was just wonderful.

Kerry wedding 6

Congratulations  lovely couple, enjoy your honeymoon in Iceland! It may well be warmer than here 🙂

Kerry wedding 7

Take care everyone and thanks for visiting, see you at the weekend for small update though not much else been happening here apart from festivities!

Possibly the best National Trust tearoom ever !

I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas, we did and are now having a few quiet, and snowy, days before departing for Spain.

We made our now traditional visit to Clumber Park on Boxing Day and Ellie had booked us in to the very lovely tea room that is located in the old Head Gardener’s House.

I found this wonderful picture of part of the lake that we walked around from the National Trust website, it has been taken from a crane next to the chapel that Ellie is in charge of.

Clumber from air

We usually stop off for tea and cake at every Trust property and always rate the tea rooms for theme, decor and availability of gluten free cake and this one scored very highly indeed.

It has been restored and is absolutely gorgeous inside. This exterior picture is from the National Trust website as I forgot to take one but all others are mine. We especially loved the very glamorous Victorian themed toilets.

Clumber - Head Gardener's House

They also had exceptional good gluten free chocolate brownie, no pictures of that as it was eaten too quickly!

This gorgeous silk embroidery was hanging in the upstairs hallway.

Clumber embroidery 1

Clumber embroidery 2

Before the tea we had a lovely walk round the park, again there was a beautiful winter sun like last year so I was able to take some arty shots.

This beautiful old stone bench by the lake is part of the collection that Ellen looks after, I love the long shadows in the photos.

On Christmas Eve we visited Nottingham for the Christmas market and had a quick wander round, they have beautifully decorated stalls with lots of chocolate, gingerbread and German inspired food.

There are some beautiful buildings in the city centre as well.

It was lovely to meet Ava, my great niece,  as well, she is such a happy, smiling baby and she really loved her little knitted mouse, she fell asleep holding it which was so cute.Here is a picture of my lovely children at the family lunch we had. Jake looks so grown up with his beard.

Xmas Ellie and Jake

Hope you all have a lovely New Year, don’t forget to like this post for a chance to enter the giveaway. Thanks very much for visiting and see you all again in 2018.

 

 

Change of plans

Hello everyone, hope you are all ok. I am here and not in Worcester visiting my sister and we did not go to Budapest either as sadly my Uncle John died the week before last so I have been to Spain instead to be with the family for his funeral.

It was all very last minute and slightly chaotic but I made the right decision to change my plans. We knew on the Weds night that Mum was not going to be able to come here to go to Budapest as he has been very ill for some time and she could not leave her sister Maureen so I was all ready to fly out on my own on the Sunday as she still wanted me to go and enjoy the holiday.

He died on Friday morning and I made the decision Friday night to cancel the holiday and booked a flight to Spain for the next day and arrived Saturday night.All the family came from England so though it was a very sad time we were all together which is the most important thing to be able support each other and my Aunt Maureen who has been so wonderful and brave during his long illness. Thank God for the internet so we could all get flights with little time to plan.

The reason I was going to see my sister in Worcester with Mum was that we have just welcomed a new member to the family, my nephew Sam and his partner Paige have had a beautiful baby girl called Ava Grace and we were going to meet her. We will postpone that until later on in the Summer when Mum comes over next.

So it has been a very emotional few weeks, very happy and very sad and just brought home to all of us the value of family and the love and support that they give us at the start and the end of life.

I have made Ava Grace a mouse as a gift, you may remember I was knitting various mouse parts some time ago and here she is, designed by the lovely Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits once again.You can buy the pattern for this and all the other animals here.

ava-mouse-1

This is my first mouse and I am very pleased with her, I am calling her Ava after her recipient and although I had some trouble with the nose the rest of the knit was fine and I am very pleased with the lacy dress and the very cute little tail!

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I also made some pincushions a while ago to add to my ever growing pile, these may go to Yarndale to be sold or they may be given as gifts but I love making them, so quick and easy.Patterns for the strippy one is here and the other came as inspiration from my Pinterest board here. There were no instructions for this one so just made it up as I went along!

linen-pincushions-1

Am not going to be very productive over the next few weeks as I have a huge amount of marking to do which may take up weekends as well and some other sewing that needs to be completed but will keep revisiting my Pinterest pages to remind me of all the pretty things that I really want to be doing.

Take care and keep happy and thanks for visiting.

 

 

The internet is broken!

Hello everyone, luckily not the whole of the internet or we would be in trouble but my little bit is very poorly. I have had a whole week of very slow speeds, caused by a broken copper cable that is hopefully going to be fixed tomorrow so have not even been able to load WordPress for the last few days hence my lack of posting.

So have had no chance to tell you about the lovely knitted mouse I have just completed or the pincushions I made. Will not be around for the next couple of weeks either as Mum is coming on Friday and we leave for Budapest next Sunday, on our return we go down South for a visit to Ellie, then to my sister.

So will be back in a couple of weeks with pictures of lovely Budapest, really looking forward to it as it has been on my  wishlist for a long time.

In the meantime here is a pic of lovely daughter Ellie at a Steampunk Festival this weekend, she has made new jewelry.Beautiful and talented, not that I am at all biased!

ellie-steampunk

Thanks for visiting and see you all in a few weeks.

Mainly Sky

Hello and a Happy New Year to you all. I have had a lovely time with Ellie and Jake and then my Mum in Spain and hope that your festive season has been good as well.

I love looking at the sky, I love the way it changes and provides us with the most beautiful colours, one of the things that I love most about Spain is the wonderful sunsets every night, pink and orange as the sun goes down over the mountains.

Here is a gorgeous sunset behind the palm trees from one of our trips out.

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We went to Clumber Park on Boxing Day as Ellie was working, she and I had been for the morning service on Christmas Day which was lovely but this was Jake’s first visit to Clumber.

We went to see the Kitchen Garden which is part of her responsibility as well as the Chapel and I took lots of pictures of the sky above and through the beautiful greenhouse.

 

These pots are also her responsibility, at some point she has to sort and catalogue them all!

 

clumber-10

We then went on the fairy trail, just as the sun was setting, there were lots of different parts of the woodland decorated with clues for children to find treasure and it looked beautiful in the winter light.

I also took this picture with the Chapel in the background which I really like.

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I did try to get ‘seven swans a swimming’ but alas they were too quick for me but here are a few on the lake anyway.

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It is very dull here today but the mists over the moors look beautiful, good job I am not planning to go out but instead to spend quality time in the craft room before I am back to work on Monday.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

The hottest day of the year ….

Or even the century. You may be aware that we had a mini heatwave this week, it reached about 33 degrees, even in Yorkshire and in typical British style we were all saying how it was too hot and we needed it to cool down – we are never happy with the weather   😉

Anyway it was a lovely day made even more special as my very lovely son Jake graduated from University with a 2:1 in Multimedia Journalism, which makes me a very proud Mum 🙂

Poor boy was roasting in his black gown but we managed to get some nice photos before he had to disrobe.

Here he is with a cute bear who was posing for photos with the graduates, he must have been really hot! Also his lovely sister Ellie and his best friend from University, Charlie , who he met at sixth form and they have studied together for the last 6 years.

We had a great time in Middlesbrough including a trip to the Bowes Museum, somewhere I have always wanted to visit, and a curry at a place with naan breads as that were at least two feet in length.

The day also ended very well as I had a visit booked to Simply Solids  to hear Sarah Fielke give a trunk show talk. I had not really come across her work before but loved it, she bases a lot of her designs on antique quilts and uses a lot of applique and hand quilting all which very much appeals to me.

I have just treated myself to a copy of her latest book of designs based on antique quilts so that will be arriving next week, more ideas for the retirement crafting!

Sarah Fielke 3 - book

She was really lovely, especially so in the extreme heat, poor women had packed for her European tour a few weeks previously and had not packed for our heatwave so she did a wonderful job, we were hot enough just sitting there listening.

Sarah Fielke 1

I not only loved the quilts but found her very inspirational, she had a serious car accident when she was just starting her quilting career and her children were very young and still managed to continue with things, even after four months in hospital and time after that using a wheelchair.

Sarah Fielke 2

I hope that the quilting helped her recover as it does for so many people, I am a great believer in the power of crafting to help heal, I know it helps me when I am in pain and think it is a really good way of relieving stress as well.

Below is one of my favourite designs by her from her Quilting with Little Things book, love the little appliqued leaves.

Sarah Fielke Quilting-From-Little-Things

Well it still sunny here but not so hot so will be watching the weather carefully while I craft as have lots of washing on the line! Hope that you have a lovely weekend and thanks for visiting.